Links 2/12/18

Farthest photos ever taken, from nearly 4 billion miles away AP

My heart stopped’: An Indian shark anthropologist writes about his encounter with a Great White

Where Old, Unreadable Documents Go to Be Understood Atlas Obscura (Chuck L)

Unilever warns Big Tech to drain online ads ‘swamp’ FT. Wowsers.

How Delivery Apps May Put Your Favorite Restaurant Out of Business New Yorker

Peru leader accused of taking bribes through company based at Scots law firm Herald Scotland (Richard Smith)

Olympic anti-corruption measures, in three dimensions FCPA Blog


Russian Billionaires Are Building Megaschools to Rival Eton and Exeter Bloomberg

Tech-free schools for children of Silicon Valley The Times

BACOW IS 29TH PRESIDENT Harvard Crimson. Wishing him a more successful tenure as head of Harvard than that of the last MIT undergrad to serve in that position– and who, coincidentally, also had the first name Lawrence.


Queen Elizabeth is behind a royal push to cut plastic waste WaPo

Climate Change and Privileged Despair Common Dreams (JB)

The Beautiful Cure: The lethal complexity of our immune systems New Statesman

Barbed Wiring:The eminently quotable Martin Amis Bookforum. An appreciation of his prose style– which is not to everyone’s taste I look forward to reader comments.


Brexit: understating the case

U.S., UK government websites infected with crypto-mining malware: report Reuters (furzy)

Oxfam could lose funding over sex abuse claims Metro

Health Care

Flu Is Causing 1 in 10 American Deaths and Climbing Bloomberg

Why are people outside high-risk groups dying from the flu? USA Today

McCain and Baldwin to Trump: Hold pharma’s feet to the fire on drug prices Stat

OxyContin maker Purdue will no longer market opioid drugs to doctors The Verge

Class Warfare

The bond vigilantes saddle up their Shetland ponies – apparently Billy Mitchell– billy blog (UserFriendly)

How a British telecoms startup is bridging UK’s rural digital divide Politico

911 fees paid by phone customers “stolen” by states to fill budget gap Ars Technica

What makes life shitty? Medium (UserFriendly)

Ride-Hailing Is Deepening Social and Economic Inequity in the US Motherboard

Crime Is Down, So Why Do Most Americans Believe the Opposite? AlterNet

North Korea

Seoul seeks to ease US concerns about the deepening detente FT

North Korea heads for diplomacy gold medal at Olympics: analysts Reuters (furzy)

North Korea Newspaper Says US Will Face ‘Unimaginable Tragic Consequences’ For Bloody Nose Attack International Business Times


How India Became Democratic The Wire

US policies may disrupt global markets: Urjit Patel Economic Times

$3.6 billion in hidden bad loans spotlight Indian banking stress Economic Times

The Daily Fix: Unchecked foreign funds for political parties will endanger Indian democracy


How American Media Spin-Doctored the Iranian Protests American Conservative

Trump Transition

Kushner Companies Decides to Fight Tenants in State Court Rather Than Reveal Its Investors’ Identities ProPublica (furzy)

Trump warns Israel that settlements ‘complicate’ peace hopes BBC

Hillary Clinton Needs to Move On Politico. Well, yes. Obviously.

White House to Roll Out Trump Infrastructure Plan WSJ

Dems left Dreamers out to dry, say activists The Hill

The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows WaPo

Mattis Says Immigrant Service Members Won’t Face Deportation International Business Times

Australia’s secret Timor Sea deal could pave oil and gas revenue future for East Timor Brisbane Times (The Rev Kev). I’m not at all hopeful that the people of Timor-Leste actually benefit. Resource curse, anyone? The sole time I visited the country, in 2014, the economy was still a mess. Although the Timorese had achieved political independence, after a long and brutal struggle, any semblance of economic reconstruction had yet to be achieved. Beautiful place– which I would highly recommend to anyone in search of an off-the-beaten track holiday– particularly for readers in Australia or Asia. It’s a bit of a hike from Europe, and even moreso from North America.  I visited because I remembered Noam Chomsky talking about what was going on there when I was a student at MIT, and felt that with independence achieved, the money I spent as a tourist might benefit the Timorese– at least in some small way.

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. UserFriendly

    My response to “What Makes Life Shitty?”

    If you haven’t already, read Exiting the Vampires Castle. I am VERY hard left and I am getting so completely fed up with the inevitable twitter lynch mob that forms when absolutely anyone on the left so much as looks at anyone on the right without the explicit intent of screaming racist at them. Because trying to understand why they think and act the way they do is normalizing Trump, or platforming him, or whatever; because usually the best way to resolve conflicts is ignore them and hope they go away. When Chelsea Manning went to that stupid party, or Caitlin Johnstone proposed cooperating with Mike Cernovich to end our pointless neverending wars; the outrage from the left was absolutely ridiculous. A movement that can’t tolerate it’s members having any interaction with anyone that isn’t ideologically simpatico with them is not a strong movement.

    If you can’t tolerate so much as having a conversation with someone who you disagree with how on earth to you expect to win anyone over to your side? Granted that you aren’t likely to convince someone who has strong views but that isn’t always the point. Especially with people that have a following; the point is to win over the audience member who isn’t as committed, or at the very least humanize yourself to them. Figuring out what makes someone tick and how they ended up believing what they do is essential if we want to fix society so that it stops pumping out more and more of them.

    We do have to share a country with these people. Once you have gotten to the point where you honestly believe that some people are irredeemable (which is the antithesis of leftism) you have to decide what you are going to do with these deplorables once you take power. Scream Racist! Sexist! Nazi! every time you interact with them?Just ignore them and let their movement grow, endangering marginalized people? Round them up and put them in camps? It’s a slippery slope that ends with authoritarian tendencies.

    It isn’t like these Twitter lynch mobs are quietly pulling someone aside to question their judgement. They are doing it in the most public, disgusting, displays of virtue signaling I have ever seen. How do you think that looks to the casual observer? It certainly isn’t winning over anymore converts to leftism.

    This strain of leftism is so incredibly short sided. It is completely devoid of empathy. It has taken the horrible smug style of liberalism and perverted intersectional analysis into a justification to discriminate against poor white people. I really, really hope this nasty aspect of it fizzles out and dies. The sooner the better.

    Jordan Peterson is not all that bad of a person. He’s definitely to the right of me but if your opinion of him was based off of that stupid interview with the British Reporter where she was just trying, and failing, to score points with her base rather than have an actual discussion you are working off of too small a sample. He interviewed the amazing feminist Camille Paglia in October and it was very insightful,

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Bravo! And thanks also for the OP. That there are thirty-somethings like you out there gives me what hope I have for the world, UF.

    2. ml detroit

      If you want a brilliant example of “winning over somebody who is not on your side,” see the Oscar-nominated short “DeKalb Elementary.”

    3. perpetualWAR

      It dawned on me, while protesting Obama’s visit to Seattle during Occupy, as the protesters were on 3 corners, severely divided: Occupy on one corner, the Tea Party on another corner and the American immigrants were on the 3rd corner. I thought, “Why are we all divided, when foreclosure unites us?” I walked over to the Tea Partiers and said, ‘Aren’t you guys getting foreclosed on unlawfully’?” They answered “Yes, that’s a large part of why we’re here!” I said, “Great, let’s begin a dialog.” I got the name of their local organizer and moved onto the immigrant corner, to ask the same thing. The answer was the same: unlawful foreclosures were uniting all three protest groups. After I began organizing a meeting between the groups, is when the FBI moved in to beat the occupiers to leave the center of the cities.

      I always thought that was a strange coincidence.

        1. JBird

          Co-incidentally? Anything is possible. But there’s almost certainly someone writing a good book-length expose which is going to be hard to find.

          The various reformists movements be it religious, political, or economic, once they started working with other groups often develop lead poisoning, lethal neck ties, have homes, businesses, churches and meetings halls burn down, and become terrorists with long prison terms. It’s happened during and after Reconstruction, any major union organizing, any anti-war protests, strikes, really anything from at least the 1850s through today.

          It’s just unending and frequent, yet not really covered in school until maybe, sometimes in college. If I had not had good teachers, wasn’t such a history freak, from a family of leftish history nerds whose first question was always about any good books to read, I would not know half of it.

          I still don’t know enough. Better say, I don’t know enough to make even a half clear description of all the connections. It’s like trying to understand the collapse of the British Empire without knowing about the massive unreleased Foreign Office records. Or the Eugenics Movement which only got good comprehensive books because a large number of people went through records from two continents, multiple countries and languages, American States, and umpteen institutes, foundations, universities and court houses.

    4. DJG

      UserFriendly: Agree. There is something about Twitter that is a case study in action without consequences. The recent dustup over Katie Roiphe was another instance: How dare anyone criticize the Twitter vigilantes.

      And I’m not sure that leftists are the panic-stricken ones here. The leftists I know all understand that coalition-building goes on forever. It’s our duty. That’s why people on the left go to community / neighborhood meetings and try to listen and listen and listen.

      And as a friend of mine in Italy–who is disabled and in a wheelchair–recently wrote: To be on the left means solidarity, equality, and inclusion. Those are the goals. Not snark.

    5. David

      You are right of course, but the problem is that these people don’t want to convert by reasoned argument (they have very few anyway) but by bludgeoning resistance into silence. They are the descendants of the Marxist campus activists of my youth, without their genuine (if incoherent) desire for actual change. Their audience is internal: think of them as entrepreneurs trying to capture support and adoration from a narrowly selected group, against vicious competition from other entrepreneurs. They have to convince their target audience that they are more radical and recalcitrant than their competitors, who have by definition sold out. Listen to any nationalist politician from an Eastern European country and you’ll see where they style comes from.
      Thanks for the link to the Mark Fisher piece – he’s much missed on Left (the real one, that is).

        1. David

          Er, the people we’re all complaining about – the social justice warriors. My point was that they have inherited much of the aggressive, bullying, intolerant behaviour of the Marxist groupuscules of my youth, and the lack of interest in rational persuasion, but have dropped the political and economic agenda for a vapid social one.

    6. cocomaan

      Something about these identitarian-social-justice-twitterati strikes me as fundamentally conservative. Their tirades don’t seem to have anything to do securing benefits for other people, but instead taking a paternalist tone toward anything that might be perceived as threatening. Punishment arrives swiftly It’s rarely empathetic. It’s more interested in destruction of threats than building up of any of those groups it purports to help.

      To me it’s a product of the academy. If you think that it’s bad on twitter, try voicing concerns like this vampire castle piece in a university administrative office. There, such things have been codified into speech codes.

      Somehow these people have failed spectacularly at changing anything having to do with race and gender. Schools are more segregated than ever. Hollywood is a cesspool of rape.

      Hence why I call them conservative: it’s not interested in change, it’s interested in paternalism.

      1. DJG

        cocomaan: Yes. I tried to turn up a copy of Antonio Gramsci’s article Socialism and Culture, which appeared in Grido del Popolo as Socialismo e Cultura about 100 years ago. The article seems to be in The Gramsci Reader.

        In short, Gramsci makes a similar diagnosis. Culture can be used by those in power to feign change. And Twitter is likely to be an example of it. Mob rule at 144 characters.

      2. Telly

        I volunteered at a program that offered non-credit classes at a university to disadvantaged people. The program was run by the gender studies program. I can tell you from experience these people are not left-wing in any sense. The professors from that department would openly laugh at the students in the non-credit classes, and they would correct your speech as you talked to them. If you brought up Marx, Polanyi, Graeber or any leftist thinker the faculty would instantly call them misogynists and imply that you were one to for even bringing up their names. This group of women were the most deeply conservative people i’ve ever met. The only thing i can compare the experience with is with talking with very religious people.

        1. Paul Cardan

          Yeah. In my experience, most of the people quick to dismiss Marx as racist, misogynist, essentialist, modernist, etc. have never read him, which is understandable, reading Capital being something of a chore. Actually, reading other texts, like the German Ideology, is also a chore, since it’s next to impossible to make much sense of them without understanding the views he’s rejecting. Who, these days, has actually read Max Stirner, or Proudhon, or is even familiar with their views? Who can provide a succinct, accurate account of Hegel’s philosophy? In my experience, not even Hegel scholars. Anyway, those dismissive of Marx do seem have somehow learned that he makes seemingly racist remarks about Lassalle and Russians, and that he sounds, from time to time, supportive of British activities in India. Perhaps these bits of information are hand-me-down put-downs, passed on from one generation of academics to another, aka everything one needs to know so as not to bother to look and see for oneself. Oddly enough, this is, I think, a recurring feature of academic training.

          As for Polyani, I know very little about his personal life. I regard it as irrelevant, except when it can help inform me about his views. I’m interested in his views and his arguments for those views. I’ve not the least bit of interest in the man’s character flaws. Argumentum ad hominem is still a fallacy, right?

          I suspect it’s fair to characterize the individuals in question as “deeply conservative.” DJG and cocomaan have both brought up Gramsci, and his ideas about hegemony do appear quite helpful for getting a handle on what we’re talking about. Our consent is required for the world to continue to work as it does, and consent is generated through certain ways of talking about this world. Terms of so-called “identity politics” nowadays figure prominently in such talk. As used by some people (e.g., a good many academics in the humanities), they have a conserving function. This is, of course, well-known to regular NC readers. I think though that we often fail to appreciate just how weak the position of progressive neoliberals actually is. What can they really offer persons belonging to so-called communities of color? A job guarantee? No way. What can they offer women? Protections in the workplace afforded by strong unions? Reduced hours and higher real wages? Medicare for All? Nothing doing. In other words, this particular coalition, self-described “progressives” and neoliberals, is inherently unstable. Both it and it’s favorite way of talking about the world can, in principle, be taken apart.

          1. witters

            Gramsci is crucial, but so too is Simone Weil. I wish I could find a link to her “On Human Personality,” but no luck.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Or perhaps the Red Guard of China’s Cultural Revolution. I am seeing a few similarities there in behaviour.

      3. FluffytheObeseCat

        If they did effect a change for the better, who would they have left to sneer at and belittle? Who would they be able to use in promoting themselves, either on Twitter, in comments sections, or in the real world?

    7. Tim

      Hey UserFriendly – well said.

      2 things:
      1. Vampires Castle link is broke
      2. whats your Twitter handle so us lefties can stick together ? :-)

    8. JohnnyGL

      In this vein….Sam Seder and Michael Brooks often have good material on their show.

      But then you see their true colors on when it comes to the seething hatred they have for Jimmy Dore.

      Michael Brooks says he wants to ‘end capitalism’ without a hint of joking in his voice….and then scolds people like Dore for advocating voting for Jill Stein, the candidate who, you know, wants to end capitalism and all that stuff.

      There was a respectable case for voting for HRC as lessor of two evils, there was a case for tossing her overboard. Both are respectable opinions, but Seder and Brooks quite clearly don’t want people like Dore to even have a voice. THAT is a problem.

      Strangely, for a youtube comment section, the comments are actually decent and decidedly mixed. Some good, witty one-liners.

      1. diptherio

        Shows the problem with calling people “dumb.” Seems like a pretty ineffective communication strategy. Inevitably, the “dumb” comes back at you. Pretty soon, it’s just “you are,” “no, you are,” ad infinitum. Going to try harder to avoid doing that from now on….

    9. diptherio

      As regards both Peterson and Paglia, they have a few valid points, but they both are so far off on so much that it can be hard to stick around for an entire conversation.

      To wit, Peterson: “If [as a man] you’re talking to someone who under no circumstances will fight you, you don’t have any respect for them.” Uh…no. Actually, traditionally a man is expected to respect his elders, even if they don’t pose a physical threat to him. Truly bizarre that Peterson claims otherwise. Paglia: “Nowhere in the history of humanity have men and women worked side by side.” Bwaahaahaahaa! She needs to get out more. Guess what, out in the countryside, be it Montana or Nepal, all the big jobs require all hands on deck, and yes we all work side by side just fine and have been for millennia. Something tells me ol’ Camile hasn’t been on many harvest crews lately.

      Out of touch academics attacking other out of touch academics…fun for a minute or two, but not much longer, imho.

      1. a different chris

        Re your examples – neither of them are fighting the world as it exists, but a caricature of it: the world they need to justify their existence.

        At least as people that lecture the rest of us. If they wanted to and did do the real, messy work we would never have heard of them.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        “Nowhere in the history of humanity have men and women worked side by side.”

        Thanks for pointing that out. I do enjoy listening to Paglia and checked out part of that interview with Peterson, but always good to know others’ bias.

        My grandparents ran a diary farm. Every day my grandfather milked the cows on one half of the barn and my grandmother handled the other half, then she went in the house and did all the cooking and cleaning for everyone too. Worked out pretty well for them until she got sick – then my grandfather took over all the housework, taking instructions from my grandmother.

        As you noted, Paglia needs to get out more. Maybe she should have listened to the radicals she describes in the interview who in her younger days told her graduate school was a waste of time.

        1. Procopius

          Yeah, people nowadays have forgotten what “women’s work” was like. I’ll bet your grandmother carried buckets of water from the pump to the house, too, unless your grandfather took time from his other chores to run a pipe from the well to the house, which most farmers did not. Just think about sewing. Before the invention of the sewing machine all the women in the household gathered for hours at a time, sewing and darning. Clothes were too expensive to not repair them when they were ripped or torn. How many hours does it take to sew a pair of pants without a sewing machine? Is there anyone alive today, man or woman, who could sew a seam? There was a reason for the saying, “Man may work from sun to sun, but women’s work is never done.”

      3. knowbuddhau

        I happen to be so lucky as to work with some hard-working women, myself. Kinda sweet on one of the bartenders. Kinda think she’s sweeting back.

        By all the gods, you should see that woman work. It’s like watching Kali Herself, with openers and jiggers and muddlers and taps and bottles and booze and beer all at once, with an impish wit and a girlish smile that just about kill me.

        What planet are these people from?

        1. knowbuddhau

          Everyone else sees just not-so-plain Jane. I see her, sure, and I see Her, too. (This sculpture in particular, bc I’ve been in the presence of that marvel, too.)

          What is it with some people and their perpetual damnation of Eve?

          I also used to be the only man among dozens of dementia care-certified nursing assistants. Smart, compassionate, harder working than most men I know. OMGoddess it was great.

          And being in health care, and working 7 days a week with the same people for months on end, I am privy to knowledge that would make most grown men faint. I happen to have good reason to believe the average monthly week in the average woman’s life would kill the average man. And they still work harder.

          And now ain’t *that a woman?

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              Your words that is–the sculpture you linked is a Nataraja–dancing Shiva–that is, male.

              Brahma the creator, Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer

              Shiva destroys the world by dancing

    10. ryan

      Your intention to neutralize some of the hysteria surrounding Peterson is certainly admirable. He is definitely not alt-right ideologue that many make him out to be, and if people were willing to give him a chance and explore some of his thought they would see it. I’ve even heard him make arguments about reducing inequality in some of his interviews (because rampant inequality destabilizes modern economies, and he is a conservative after all).

      Funny story actually-I first encountered him sometime after reading The Culture of Narcissism. I wanted to see if there were any videos with Christopher Lasch in them.. and after watching the one or so that was available there the youtube algos introduced me to Jung, and then to a Peterson lecture (circa ~2015) on Depth Psycology. Completely a perspective shift-very interesting to see the Jungian objections to Freudian precepts. And it makes me wonder why many leftists tend to treat Freudian ideas as a sort of dogmatic truth to a degree. But anyways, I see Peterson more as a sort of new depth psycologists that also incorporates more modern perspectives such as cognitive science and neuropsycology.

      1. knowbuddhau

        I don’t know anything about Petersen. But I’m glad to hear you got Freud out of your system. Sure wish the rest of the Left would discover Jung. With you 100% on that.

        It is a good bullshit tell. People who sprinkle their discourse with anachronistic, discredited, superficial Freudian motifs, most often an incoherent hodgepodge drawn from Hollywood, only tell me they don’t know what tf they’re talking about. Good to know.

        The power of myth, even a bs one, is strong in this cult. You don’t even have to be cultish, that’s unfair of me. It’s yet another unchallenged received view that’s total bullshit. It’s amazing how many things that “are,” that aren’t so, Watts quotes some guy whose name escapes me, as saying. And it’s true.

        Freud’s revolutionary insight, that the subconscious exists, is dynamic, and plays a mostly unacknowledged role in conscious thought, stands as one of the pivotal achievements in science. How it works is another matter altogether.

        Only so much time in a day. You’ll make more progress, toward our more perfect Union, nitpicking people’s grammar.

    11. Roquentin

      Yes, but the elephant in the room is the other side of the coin…the vicious right wing trolls of 4chan, /r/the_donald, and the like. You can’t really understand the pettiness and cattiness of left Twitter without bringing them into the picture. These two groups are like the Yin and Yang of the internet in 2018, with each feeding off each other. Yeah, the leftist Twitter mobs are awful, almost objectively so, but they make no sense without being put into that context. We all remember “GamerGate,” right? That was a internet lynch mob if there ever was one…

      The near term future looks bleak politically. The left is an unmanageable mess and the right is so demonstratively awful it’s hard to even know where to start.

    12. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yes. The mob-action, fake SJWs of the online “Left” are a bunch of self-admiring, self-pleasuring heels. They are part of ‘the problem’ that wracks our society.

      And they are not actually leftists. They are pseudo-intellectual dominance gamers. That’s all they are. Hence their essential happiness when Sanders failed to get the nomination, their sniffing disdain over his continued presence in the public eye, and their overriding disinterest in the unsexy younger politicians he is promoting. They want their artfully crafted ‘opponents’ to fail more than they want the majority of us to succeed. At anything. Most of them are fairly secure in their lives, and disguise it with online/Twitterverse tantrums.

    13. Petter

      For those interested in what’s happening in the universities, also check out Peterson’s interview with Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, and if anyone is really, really interested in Peterson his book Maps of Meaning:The Structure of Belief is a free download from his website. And then there are his YouTube videos. Decide for yourself what sort of person he is.
      Paglia has been been critical of the post-modernists for a long time. Her essay Junk Bond and Corporate Raiders, in her book Sex, Art and American Culture (1992) takes Foucault and his Francophile followers in academe to task. I was taken aback by the essay when i read it and dismissed it. Foucault was one of my faves back then, as I had bought into the everything comes down to power thesis.
      For a real time – this is how crazy it’s gotten in the universities, learn what happened to Lindsay Shepherd. This is a good watch:

      Peterson has been misrepresented in the media, at least all the stories I’ve read including one by a young Norwegian psychologist, who got hammered in the comments.
      I watched the Peterson-Kathy Newman interview. It backfired on her.
      Here’s a very interesting deconstruction of how the media works, using Bret Weinstein’s Four Quadrant Model, which I hadn’t even heard of until two days ago.

      From the link:
      In broad terms, the model is a tool for illustrating how the media stigmatizes certain nuanced views that challenge the status quo by portraying people who hold those views as prejudiced or intolerant

    14. MageM

      Camille Paglia is *not* an amazing feminist. Or a feminist of any description. I think you must not know her work.

      I agree with your points, though.

    15. Plenue

      That interview is actually atrocious and embarrassing,. They both say many things that are simply batshit and wrong, and contradict themselves frequently (usually within about 30 seconds). Are modern progressives elitist fake hippies, or middle-brow? Make up your mind Paglia.

    16. djrichard

      The comment I posted to the article was simple, “why don’t we call it capitalism supremacy?”

      I would argue capitalism has been successful in asking us to suspend judgement on the institution of capitalism itself. That capitalism is still capable of changing its stripes, that it’s evolving to be more civilized. How? By subjecting itself to the same laws that we subject ourselves to. Laws against fraud, sexual harassment, and other things that bad people do. The argument being that as the people employed in capitalism are perfected that the institution of capitalism will be perfected as well.

      Of course, even then, capitalism by definition would still need to collect the surplus from labor. I mean after all, the whole idea is to make a profit. Would a perfected capitalism (or a capitalism with unflawed people) still want to outsource supply chains to other countries that have cheaper labor? Of course. I’m sure there are all kinds of virtuous people who already populate corporations who make that decision every day. For instance, me. I used to work on business cases. All business cases are focused on only two things: increasing revenue or reducing cost. And I like to think I’m virtuous. On occasion I experienced cognitive dissonance about the decisions I was helping to support. But I confess my cognitive dissonance was easy to ignore. It was instead an interesting intellectual exercise (a game).

      Of course, capitalism has a lot of dirty tricks up its sleeve, such as the stuff that CJ Hopkins has been going on about, e.g. demonizing the enemies of capitalism as evil doers (e.g. white supremacists, nationalist and populists, etc). And I do think that a lot of that is in play in the current national conversation. And the game for me at least has been to “fight the good fight” against such dirty tricks. But it also means I get to avoid thinking about the role I play in helping the institution of capitalism achieve its perfected outcomes, of even more revenues and even more cost savings.

      And if I have to guess, I would say the people who are fighting against white supremacy and such are probably doing the same thing. They’re already compromised by capitalism. But that doesn’t mean they can’t fight the good fight otherwise. For them, that’s the fight against white supremacy.

      In the mean time, us fighting the good fight buys us time until we figure out an answer to whether it’s possible to even find safe harbor in the world so that we’re not compromised by capitalism. And even if we find safe harbor (e.g. academia, government), do we even have means to call into question capitalism itself? Because wouldn’t that mean that we identify an alternative, one that’s not about increasing revenue and reducing cost? I confess that I haven’t been able to solve that one. So in the mean time, I continue to fight other good fights, battles I think I can actually solve. And I think everybody else is too. And in the end it means we’re all fighting each other. Instead of the institution that is grinding us down because it reduces us down to revenue and cost.

    17. integer

      The way I see it, the left’s best chance at any kind of lasting political ascendency is to kill the D party. Yes, at some point that will involve allowing the R party to be the only viable party left standing, however the game doesn’t end there. FWIW Trump is doing the left (as defined at NC), in fact all US citizens, an enormous favor by taking on the intelligence agencies, and it amazes me that more people don’t see this as the positive development it is. Stockholm syndrome is alive and well in the Western world, I guess. Anyway, linear thinkers assume that the best or only way forward for the left is to ceaselessly keep pushing against the sheer faced mountain that is the D party establishment, but this is incorrect, for the same reason that the shortest distance between two points, as seen on a map, is not always the best, or even a viable, path from one point to the other. Sometimes the long way is the only way, especially if one wants others to make the journey with them, and sometimes one even has to retrace one’s steps for a while in order to find a suitable point to begin that journey from. Just my opinion, of course.

    18. Daryl

      I don’t think Jordan Peterson is a bad guy or arguing in bad faith, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what all his popularity is about.

    19. Lambert Strether

      Kudos on Vampires Castle, a must-read:

      The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt. It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd. The danger in attacking the Vampires’ Castle is that it can look as if – and it will do everything it can to reinforce this thought – that one is also attacking the struggles against racism, sexism, heterosexism. But, far from being the only legitimate expression of such struggles, the Vampires’ Castle is best understood as a bourgeois-liberal perversion and appropriation of the energy of these movements. The Vampires’ Castle was born the moment when the struggle not to be defined by identitarian categories became the quest to have ‘identities’ recognised by a bourgeois big Other.

      And this:

      The first law of the Vampires’ Castle is: individualise and privatise everything. …

      The second law of the Vampires’ Castle is: make thought and action appear very, very difficult. …

      The third law of the Vampires’ Castle is: propagate as much guilt as you can. The more guilt the better. …

      The fourth law of the Vampires’ Castle is: essentialize. …

      The fifth law of the Vampires’ Castle: think like a liberal (because you are one). …

      Sounds rather like the #MeToo movement…

      Adding, the author, sadly, seems to have been a casualty of the neoliberal epidemic of depress.

  2. Bugs Bunny

    Re “OxyContin maker Purdue will no longer market opioid drugs to doctors”

    Since the product has been off patent generic for years now, why would they even have been marketing it? This screams corporate PR to mask cost cutting job cuts.

  3. The Rev Kev

    North Korea heads for diplomacy gold medal at Olympics: analysts

    From reading the article, it seems that Japan is not making many friends in Korea by wanting South Korea-U.S. military drills resumed immediately after the games. This came after an NBC analyst at the opening ceremony described Japan as “a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.” The Koreans remember this period as a time of degradation and barbarity so were very much unimpressed. One wag asked if NBC wanted America to thank Japan for Pearl Harbour as well.
    Between Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong giving her best Ivanka Trump imitation and Mike Pence insulting both his host’s team and flipping off the Olympic dinner to boot, what could have proved a great opportunity to let things cool off in Korea apiece has been squandered. Worse yet, it has put South Korea’s ‘allies’ into the worst possible light. Likely they would have heard that a supposed ‘benefit’ of a war against North Korea would be that most of the death and destruction would be limited to the Korean peninsular. An official actually said that. Too soon to tell what will come out of the Olympic games diplomacy but I am betting that it will be significant and long term.

    1. a different chris

      >Between Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong giving her best Ivanka Trump imitation

      ???? What do you mean by that? KYJ reviews, whether they reflect her “true self” or not, have been unambiguously positive. She blew the horrid Pence, who hilariously has been repeated dissed by our own Olympians, right out of the water.

      Even if NK is the worst country of all time, when leaders meet they are expected to at least fake it. Being able to do that when necessary is usually how you become a leader in a true democracy. Reagan, even post-senility, knew that instinctively. He would have treated KYJ like a queen in front of every camera.

      Pence being that close to the center of power is one of the many signals (dwarfed by the two actual contestants for POTUS, admittedly) that our democracy has gone way wrong.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The Vice Presidency is one of the flagrant botches in the Constitution, and the Hoosiers who’ve been VP recently (remember Dan Quayle?) are perfect examples. These days, the VP exists primarily as anti-impeachment insurance.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ???? What do you mean by that?
        Relax. What I meant by that was that she, for the Koreans, has not the baggage her older brother has. She is exotic, well-dressed, accomplished and was putting her country in a better light. I am not the only one to comment on this-
        Apparently Trump is sending his daughter for the Closing Ceremony so it will be interesting to see how these two women inter-react with each other.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It is notable that North Korea is mounting the charm offensive via an ‘Army of (female) Beauties.’

      Is that because power in the West is held by men, who are more visual, and can be easily charmed by an army of beauties, and the leader’s sister who appears to be also charming?

      Is this a step backward for feminism?

      Is preserving peace important that a step backward is a credit to feminists?

      “You ugly people, stay home. This is not a job for you.”

      1. Off The Street

        Beijing also mounted a charm offensive when they hosted the Summer Olympics, and they had millions of tall, pretty women from which to select their representatives.

      2. ChrisPacific

        You probably have a point, but even if it’s propaganda, anything that helps the world see the North Koreans as people can’t be all bad. And it’s not like the US doesn’t do the same thing.

        There was an interesting WaPo article on the NK cheerleaders that appeared to have been written by two different people. The bulk of the article did a good job of explaining the cultural context behind the various songs, and came across as honestly interested and non-judgmental. Someone obviously decided that it portrayed the North Koreans too positively, and added three or four paragraphs of snark at the start.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I hope it helps to bring peace, though it depends on how it’s interpreted.

          If it is perceived as sanctions working, and the North Koreans are now reaching out, will it make for more aggressive moves?

          Also subject to interpreting – Does Kim the socialist believe in beauty pageant-worthy beauties, or is he doing it only because he knows the West loves beauty pageant beauties, and not ordinary women, or men (why doesn’t he send out pleasant looking North Korean men)?

        2. JTFaraday

          “anything that helps the world see the North Koreans as people can’t be all bad. And it’s not like the US doesn’t do the same thing.”

          ….We do?

          1. ChrisPacific

            Mount a charm offensive via an army of female beauties? The US practically invented the practice.

    3. David

      The NBC analyst was quite right, and the quotation makes it clear that he was referring to post-1945, and especially post-1960. President Park was a former junior officer in the Japanese Army, trained in Tokyo, who explicitly and publicly used Japan as a model and created the Chaebol (like Samsung), after the pattern of the pre-war Japanese Zaibatsu. The Koreans followed the Japanese model of protectionism export-led growth, and often cooperated with the Japanese industrially: as late as 2000 I was told by an insider that most Korean cars actually had imported Japanese engines. The Koreans are sensitive about this, but that doesn’t make it less true.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A lot of sushi places here in Southern California are run by Koreans and Taiwanese, people from their former colonies.

        I’m still trying to find a Chinese or Korean eatery run by Japanese.

      2. jsn

        “followed the US, Hamiltonian model of protectionism export-led growth, and often cooperated with (other nations on whom they were) industrially (dependent). Japan didn’t invent the development model, its the one that’s been used for the decisive period by every country that has risen to “developed” status.

        1. David

          Indeed, but the Koreans deliberately imitated the Japanese model (experience if you prefer) which was the one they were familiar with.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          While Japan didn’t invent the concpet, she showed her neighbors how with what she did after World War II.

          Sometimes, it’s the idea; sometimes, it’s how to apply it to the situation at hand.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, most Korean cars were based on Mitsubishi models (not just the engines) up to around 20 years ago.

        The Korean economic model was highly influenced by Japan, but not slavishly so. The Anglo-Korean economist Ha Joon-Chang has written some interesting things on the origins of the Korean model and the manner in which it has changed since the 1980’s. The Koreans did in some respects develop distinctive aspects away from the Japanese model, but a lot of the similarities come from the inevitable overlap of Korean and Japanese culture and governmental models. Japan was the obvious development model for all rising Asian powers, although its often overlooked as to how closely they studied European and American systems and picked and chose what suited them.

  4. ChiGal in Carolina

    Unless McCain and Baldwin are going for more than the paltry steps proposed so far, that fire isn’t burning hot enough to be felt, let alone singe Trump’s feet.

    More nothing from there lot of them.

  5. larry

    Richard North makes an elementary error in his otherwise interesting blog post on Brexit. He contends in passing that the agrcultural subsidies are made up of taxpayers’ money, which they are not. It is government money to be sure but no taxpayers are involved.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Actually, he is right, as almost all agricultural subsidies now come directly from Brussels. The EU budget comes from a variety of sources, mostly customs duties and levies and a percentage of each countries VAT. The EU does not have its own fiat currency (the Euro is separate in operation) so must be funded directly from taxes, or indirectly from individual members contributions, which comes in a variety of currencies.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I thought it was a good piece by North. He is at his best when he gets down into the details and lets the big picture paint itself (it’s usually orders of magnitude more terrifying than the government or media are admitting). When he makes it personal, however sound his justification might be, he ends up sounding like just another angry guy on the Internet.

  6. DorothyT

    Re: Why are people from outside risk groups dying from the flu?

    Sepsis is being reported as cause of death in some articles about seemingly unlikely victims of the flu. I’m struck by the random reporting that some patients have died after being sent home or treated in hospital with antibiotics. Those that read closely know that antibiotics are (usually) contraindicated for a virus and can in fact worsen the illness. Test results that measure the patient’s strain of infection against possible antibiotics take time, so random treatment with antibiotics is difficult if not risky. And once infection reaches the blood stream (sepsis), proper treatment is essential.

    Naked Capitalism has included links for some time to articles about antibiotic resistance. I’m waiting for reporting on research correlating antibiotic usage and death from sepsis with the flu. Meanwhile new information (NPR et al reporting) has been circulating about treatment of sepsis as discovered by Dr. Paul Marik in Virginia.

    1. a different chris

      >and can in fact worsen the illness.
      Interesting. I wonder if someday we will find that mistreating with antibiotics is like fragging your own troops. Said bacteria have a vested interest in the host recovering, so I would not be surprised if it’s found out that they are actually doing things to help.

      1. DorothyT

        Re comment: “Interesting. I wonder if someday we will find that mistreating with antibiotics is like fragging your own troops. Said bacteria have a vested interest in the host recovering, so I would not be surprised if it’s found out that they are actually doing things to help.”

        With antibiotic resistant bacteria, “said bacteria” are attacking a host whose immune system has been compromised/weakened by antibiotics to begin with. Taking the ‘wrong’ antibiotic — one that hasn’t been shown in a culture to be appropriate to the specific strain of bacteria — can worsen the sick person.

        Since writing my comment above, I’ve heard from a friend whose previously healthy 50 year old colleague just died with the flu.

        Without starting a war on the subject, let me share my wish: now is the time with this flu epidemic for a non-political public health system to demand testing on all flu deaths. Determine the strain of the infection, whether and what antibiotics or other medications were prescribed, what lab tests were taken, was sepsis the cause of death. Maintain a comprehensive database of the results, which could determine if antibiotic resistance was involved, among other findings.

        And now is the time for a real CDC/Centers for Disease Control to be in the forefront of research and analysis. The recent Trump appointee resigned because of conflict of interest: she was trading tobacco stocks. Don’t want a Republican-Democratic skirmish here — just answers to these vital concerns. And for the less government voices, only government can quickly make this a mandate and gather the needed information.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          And indeed our failure to do so is of a piece with our approach to public health as an opportunity for corporate plunder rather than societal well-being.

        2. Brian

          There is no antibiotic that treats the flu which is a virus, and doing so can cause the body to lose its ability to attack the flu by impairing helpful bacteria that make up our biosphere. (please correct me if wrong)
          treating the flu patient with antibiotics would have to be for a different ailment, (please correct me if I am wrong)

          1. Anon

            Well, yes, you don’t treat flu symptoms with antibiotics. But as one Link article discussed, some of the morbidity is being caused by pneumonia. And pneumonia is treated using antibiotics. (I’m deathly afraid of getting the flu because it readily cases pneumonia-like symptoms in my lungs.)

            The many times I’ve visited my PC physician for flu/pneumonia symptoms they prescribe a “Z-Pack”, which is a seven day regimen of antibiotics. It improves my breathing, but the symptoms still take time to dissipate (weeks).

            So, every body is different and doctoring is an Art and Science. I thank my lucky stars that I haven’t contracted this seasons flu (knock on wood).

            1. MichaelSF

              My elderly aunt is now back home after going into the hospital with pneumonia and then getting the flu (and oral thrush) on top of the pneumonia. She said it was not any kind of fun.

        3. a different chris

          I would love that approach to medicine in general. Instead, we all are hiding our medical info because we fear it will compromise our ability to find and keep jobs. How stupid is that?

          I suppose if you are dead the right of privacy disappears, but I would like a bit more data than that.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Has it always been like this, or are we seeing more cases of patients dying after being treated with antibiotics?

      Is it something about this year’s flu? And does have anything to do with being partially man-made, directly or indirectly (via environmental destruction, or excess use of antibiotics up to now)?

      1. Ignacio

        This years flu is dominated by the highly virulent strain H3N2. Antibiotics do nothing against flu but, in some particular cases, migth be indicated to prevent secondary/opportunistic infections

      2. DorothyT

        To MyPrimeBeef:

        I don’t have time this morning to locate ‘the best’ analysis of how and in what circumstances antibiotics may be dangerous. But I did find this general discussion that is helpful. Much more is learned about other specific antibiotics as they are discovered to be resistant to infectious bacteria.

        Why is this so important? Biofilms: What is left behind and could be a critical future problem.
        Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in bacterial biofilms. Bacteria that attach to a surface and grow as a biofilm are protected from killing by antibiotics.

        1. Ignacio

          Biofilms are produced in some specific diseases. Many times those have to do with prosthetics. For instance, heart devices. Bacteria can attach to such devices and form biofilms and those are dificcult to attack with antibiotics.

          Not related with flu virulence

      3. Ignacio

        Notice this was published in 2014
        The co-pathogenesis of influenza viruses with bacteria in the lung
        (Paywalled as usual.
        Concern that a highly pathogenic virus might cause the next influenza pandemic has spurred recent research into influenza and its complications. Bacterial superinfection in the lungs of people suffering from influenza is a key element that promotes severe disease and mortality. This co-pathogenesis is characterized by complex interactions between co-infecting pathogens and the host, leading to the disruption of physical barriers, dysregulation of immune responses and delays in a return to homeostasis. The net effect of this cascade can be the outgrowth of the pathogens, immune-mediated pathology and increased morbidity. In this Review, advances in our understanding of the underlying mechanisms are discussed, and the key questions that will drive the field forwards are articulated.

      4. Waitwhatno

        One thing that has occurred to me is population stress and mortality during flu season. I can’t remember where I saw a review on the 1918 flu and a discussion of how post-WWI population-level immunosuppresssion from the misery and stress of surviving the war may have had more to do with mortality than the potency of the strain itself. Utter conjecture but the US and the UK appear to be up there with mortality for this season’s flu – could it correlate with population-level insecurity and stress? Spitballing is all.

        1. Mark P.

          a discussion of how post-WWI population-level immunosuppresssion from the misery and stress of surviving the war may have had more to do with mortality than the potency of the strain itself.

          You’re close. It’s simpler than that.

          WWI was literally unprecedented because it was the first war in which it was possible to mass such large groupings of troops in proximity to each other in order to’ garrison’ the trenches, etc. Hitherto, outbreaks of cholera, etc. would have occurred. The then-new technologies of antibiotics and vaccines made possible the ‘War to End All Wars.’

          While thus massed, all those soldiers were a perfect bioreactor for a particularly virulent, resistant strain of influenza, which was nevertheless kept under control. Once demobilized and dispersed, the returning soldiers spread the virus, which burned through the global human population in 1919. There are anecdotal accounts of occurrences like three apparently healthy people sitting down for a card game and eighteen hours later all being dead at the card table.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Then new technologies of antibiotics.

            It sounds like ‘progress’ can be lethal, sometimes, or perhaps, often (we have to poll animals and plants).

    3. cocomaan

      I find it hard to believe that this year’s flu outbreak is only the worst in a decade. The CDC, whose word I often find to be rubbish because they worry more about homeopathic remedies than opiate holocaust, says that it’s about the same as 2009:

      As far as flu seasons go, experts are saying the levels of visits to hospitals and emergency rooms for this one are comparable to the 2009 swine flu.

      I worked in welfare services in Philadelphia in 2009. I talked with hundreds of people a day. At no point did I hear of children dying from the flu. But this year? I am two degrees separated from someone whose three year old died from the flu.

      The medical establishment should be in an absolute panic over this year’s flu. My workplace has been savaged by it. Projects are going off the rails all over the place. Sure, it’s all anecdote, but I don’t remember anything like this before.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Northern California had an early start with some virulent stuff but for the last month…very little.
        Granted our streak of 70 degree weather might be helping…

        Definitely not a big deal that I’m seeing.

      2. DorothyT

        As is apparent in my comments above, I want immediate research on antibiotic resistance to see if it plays any part in this. Sepsis cause of some reported deaths demands this. If you go in most walk in clinics and to many doctors with symptoms that may or may not be flu or be secondary bacterial infections, you will or may be given an antibiotic prescription. No lab testing (perhaps no time for a culture to be tested).

        Your comment resonates about a weakened public health system. However, do read about what a doctor tried in desperation to halt imminent death from sepsis in his patients. He must be pharma’s public enemy #1. NPR’s reporting on Dr. Paul Marik.

      3. Mark P.

        cocomaan wrote: My workplace has been savaged by it. Projects are going off the rails all over the place.

        That might be the point. I’m going to make a claim that in the context of any ‘normal and rational’ understanding of the world would be automatic grounds to dismiss me as a crazy person. So I better back up and provide some evidence of my background, and why I make it.

        I used to work as a journalist, with global security and biotech both being areas of relative expertise. Thus, I used to chat with bioweaponeers — some of then from the former USSR, which ran a Manhattan Project-sized program that did some very innovative things given the limited technology of the last century (you don’t want to know) — and also Pentagon consultants, and leaders in the then-emerging field of synthetic biology.

        That claim sounds like I might be a grandiose crank, as I say. So as proof I’m not entirely that, here’s a typical cover story I did in those days for MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW —

        As readers of Naked Capitalism know, the real world operates nothing like ‘normal discourse’ suggests. Our rulers — the Obamas, Clintons, Bushes, etc — are not great and good, but the sycophantic servants of the monsters of Wall Street, etc. (Again, as a journalist I used to go to Washington hearings and sit twenty feet away from Hillary Clinton, Lindsay Graham, and Joe Leiberman, and observe them and listen to them.)

        Similarly, just as the great and good are no such thing, inter-state conflict and competition isn’t carried out in the simple binary mode of war vs. peace that normal discourse suggests. States and other players are always in conflict. When open war breaks out — and ever since nuclear weapons emerged, it’s become nearly impossible for major powers to indulge in open war with each other — that’s a failure by the players.

        As one does, back around 2006 I was chatting about the future of war — and the role of bioweapons — with a Pentagon consultant who was, among other things, an acolyte of the late Andy Marshall. In other words, he was one of the MIC’s futurists. Because we were both science fiction readers, he said ‘You know what it’ll be like? It’ll be like Fred Pohl’s novel The Cool War.’

        Fred Pohl, as many NC readers will know, was one of the authors of the classic The Space Merchants. The Cool War was a novel he published in 1981. From the Wiki synopsis:

        ‘Like many of Pohl’s novels, this opens in a world reduced by a crisis, in this case the loss of fossil fuels …. The Rev. H. Hornswell “Horny” Hake becomes embroiled in “the Cool War”, in which each country tries to sabotage the economies of its rivals, even if politically they are allies. For instance, he is put in charge of a party of schoolchildren touring Europe. The children are, however, carrying a virulent flu-like disease that affects only adults aged between 30 and 50, the “prime of life” individuals who tend to run businesses and government in industrialized countries. As a result, industrial production in Europe falls drastically. The group who created the infection is known only as “The Team” and is composed of former agents of the CIA and other organizations … the Cool War has produced a group of people who profit by its continuation and can suppress technologies that might solve humanity’s problems.’

        Excuse the long post. To sum up:

        There is no evidence to suggest that this current flu outbreak is necessarily anything but entirely natural. Furthermore, even if this particular flu virus were artificially tailored for enhanced virulence, there would be no way to prove that and no way to attribute it to any source.

        With that out of the way, once one starts looking through history, neither Fred Pohl nor that Pentagon analyst and Pohl were suggesting anything novel. Ever since the emergence of modern industrial states, such industrial sabotage has actually been the primary mode of conflict.

        And ten and twenty years ago, when people who thought about the future of interstate conflict discussed such things, one of the things they — we — talked about was, alongside the rise of cyberattacks and the use of the Internet for social disruption, the increasing use of biological agents for purposes of industrial sabotage of national competitors. It’s striking how events in the real world of 2017-18 resemble our speculations.

    4. pcraig

      Dorothy T, Thanks for the link. Before I clicked on it I told myself it must be about vit C and thankfully it was!
      As the bodies basic essential requirement for fighting ANY infection, people should supplement vit C 2-3 times everyday and increase your dosage when you feel a cold or flu coming on or when recovering from surgery. As far as the cold and flu is concerned you get them less often and with less intensity. The clinical research for vit C supplementation is extensive. Buy it in powdered (crystal) form – 1 level teaspoonful of pure C is approximately 5 grams (5000 mg.) Just like cannabis, when more people supplement certain nutrients it is a serious threat to the bottom line of big pharma etc… BTW, generally speaking, MD’s don’t know squat about preventative methods therefore consulting your Dr. about Vitamin C (for instance) is about as productive as consulting an economist about it.

    5. Irrational

      Thank you, that is very interesting.
      Treatment with antibiotics without awaiting test results seem not to be frowned upon in the US as my mother-in-law experienced in 2016. She still has severe problems after having been subjected to Cipro (which others have posted on at length on this blog), arguably worse than the infection (admittedly bacterial) she was being treated for.
      And I note
      In Europe, we have campaigns to limit the use of antibiotics, strange world.

  7. Tom Stone

    I loved the article on HRC, especially where her time as Secretary of State is lauded ( No mention of Libya).
    Comey is now known to be part of the vast right wing Russian conspiracy! … hoocoodanode?
    If it weren’t for these treasonous plotters the USA would be entering a Golden Age of peace and prosperity led by a woman who would have been as magnanimous in Victory as she has been gracious in Defeat.
    Keep it up Hillary!

    1. Pat

      I enjoyed the comparisons to Gore and Romney where their reinvention was discussed without managing to notice that once any official duties were past they disappeared. Meanwhile Clinton has been at the front of the “resistance” and even wrote a book that pretty much blamed everyone and Putin for the loss ignoring the effects of her own double dealing and flat out incompetence released long before the first anniversary of that loss.

      Mind you this also ignores that her phony “statesmanship” but very real sore loser behavior has actually sucked the air out of any real resistance to Trump and the Republicans. The avoidance of real responsibility from her and the DNC has even enabled a type of circus maximus coup where the Patricians are battling the Roman Army they enabled for decades for the spoils of the empire. With both groups burning out the fields and homes of the peons in their wake.

      But then I am one of those contrary people who believe that the Clintons, Bushes, Obama and their minions not only paved the way for Trump but provided the tools he has been using and created the unchecked security and consultant state that is having a hissy fit because he isn’t interested in being their front and paying their freight.

    2. cocomaan

      Seems to me that the reason she won’t go away is that she’s going to begin running for president in about a year’s time.

      That we’re all still reliving the 2016 election is kind of a continuing, ethereal nightmare. Can you believe it’s been two years since Trump really started to take off in the polls? About two years ago, Trump was dismantling Jeb Bush’s candidacy.

      Two years and we’re still litigating the last election. If that isn’t a weeping sore on the face of the republic, I don’t know what is.

      How the hell are we going to run an election in 2020 in this kind of atmosphere? We’re ripe for a coup at this point.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Expect a puff piece at some point about how HRC has, after much soul-searching, learned to forgive voters for what they did in 2016, and now feels obligated to give them a chance to make amends.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Or big bill suffers a horrendous, timely, heart attack and the brave, selfless widow must carry on, ala biden.

      2. integer

        We’re ripe for a coup at this point.

        In case you haven’t noticed, a soft coup has been under way since November 8, 2016.

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    Bacow pulled a Cheney.

    Interesting that a guy who’s spent the last six years as a “President-in-Residence” at the Grad School of Ed and a “Leader-in Residence” at the Kennedy School becomes president of the place.

    Anyone checking out his statement about Harvard included by the search committee in the notification should know that it’s not recommended for those suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis:

    “Whenever I see tourists taking pictures in Harvard Yard, I want to stop them and say, ‘No! Harvard is not its buildings. It is its people, and they are inspiring, from faculty pushing the boundaries of knowledge in virtually every field imaginable, to students who excel in every possible dimension, to our staff who are dedicated to enabling everything we do.’

    He’s not ashamed to lay it on thick.

    1. nycTerrierist

      And quel surprise, he wouldn’t mind replacing those actual people with machines.

      “He was co-author of a 2012 report that said machines would soon be sophisticated enough to fill certain faculty roles at traditional universities. But to make this revolution work for students, academic leaders at those traditional institutions will need to broker a peace between artificially intelligent teaching programs and their human counterparts, the report said”

      1. Lambert Strether

        > machines would soon be sophisticated enough to fill certain faculty roles at traditional universities

        But not, of course, administrators, who are, as all right-thinking people know, the heart and soul of the modern university.

    2. Matt

      “…to students who excel in every possible dimension.”

      Is he the president of the university or is he in marketing?

  9. Carolinian

    Schneiderman moves to block Weinstein Company sale to ex Obama official.

    The office “also believes that the proposed terms of the sale would allow the perpetrators or enablers of the misconduct to see a windfall, and allow top officials at TWC who share responsibility for the misconduct to serve in executive positions of the new entity,” according to the statement.[…]

    According to a document reviewed by The Times, the attorney general’s office has been seeking assurances that the company will establish a fund that will adequately compensate accusers. The office has also demanded that the company put into escrow any proceeds from the sale that would go to Harvey Weinstein or his brother, Bob, who co-founded the studio in 2005.

    Sounds fair to me. If law enforcement starts requiring white collar malefactors to make the ultimate sacrifice–their money–our world might be different.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I think civil asset forfeiture would be “appropriate” here.

      Just seize the whole damn thing and make them prove they didn’t do nuthin’ before they get it back.

      Now that’s something I’d pay to watch.

      1. Arizona Slim

        You have to put ’em on trial first. And then you have to win the case.

        How do I know this? Well, I’ve received restitution that resulted from the sale of forfeited property. I was only too happy to cash that check.

        1. Oregoncharles

          In Oregon, you have to win the case BEFORE the asset forfeiture, because of an initiative election that was supported by many consrevatives as well as lefties. Doesn’t apply to the feds, of course, but they seem circumspect about it here.

          The real problem, as I understand, is that most people “forfeited” don’t have the resources to go to court and force restitution. In many places, it’s very difficult.

          IOW, you were lucky. You might want to recommend your lawyer.

  10. ChiGal in Carolina

    Good to hear Trump finally figured out the settlements “complicate” the peace process. It’s funny in a horrifying way when he makes these common-sense remarks about shops he has already bulldozed his way into leaving bits of broken china and people’s lives scattered all over the floor.

    1. JTMcPhee

      On examination, there is no such thing as “the peace process.” Just an extend-and-pretend by the bosses of that Special Nation and their supporters here in Uncle Sucker, while the long game of extirpating the Philistines from Canaan goes on, and on. Looking at how the process is proceeding, it appears to be as much a commercial venture (all those expensive developments being marketed to Eastern Europeans and dual-citizenship USians, grabbing water resources, of course the effort to claim all the petro-reserves on and off shore, slave labor by desperate Philistines in Israeli-owned and operated businesses.)

      For a nice wide view of how a lot of this “process,” peace and colonization, got started, one might take a long read from The Atlantic, a few years ago: “In A Ruined Country: How Yasir Arafat Destroyed Palestine,” Showing the linkages and corruption and crony dealings that form the substrate of what the Israelites have been up to, and the venality of Palestinian “leadership” over many years. I wonder if anyone has managed to find the maybe $4 billion, maybe more, that Arafat, like so many other “leaders,” apparently managed to “send overseas” to personal accounts…

    1. Lambert Strether

      I should really give up pounding my head on my desk when I’m only anticipating what liberal Democrats will do, but I’m picturing “Trump blew up the deficit!!!!!!!” messaging in 2018 and 2020. Works for suburban Republicans, I guess…

  11. allan

    $1.5 Million to Get Into an Ivy [Inside Higher Ed]

    … A lawsuit filed last week by Ivy Coach revealed that it charged a woman in Vietnam $1.5 million to help her daughter apply to 22 elite colleges, as well as seven top boarding schools she sought to attend in high school, before applying to college. The fee was worth it, the lawsuit says. In December, an (unnamed) Ivy League institution granted the daughter early admission.

    But, the lawsuit charges, the Vietnamese mother has paid only half of the $1.5 million. …

    While most private consultants don’t charge anywhere near what Ivy Coach does, many worry about a system that provides help to those who can pay, while many public high schools have high ratios of students to counselors. Adding to the concerns are additional trends that favor the wealthy. For example, a growing trend among those who can afford it is to hire consultants to focus only on application essays, while also hiring others to serve as overall consultants.

    1. JTMcPhee

      When I got out of the Army in 1969, after a tour in Vietnam, I got admitted to a nice liberal artsy college in Lake Forest, IL, a rich enclave on the shores of Lake Michigan. A very active time for students, especially those still concerned about the draft. Two new students joined the matriculants that year also, a couple from the Catholic Vietnamese upper crust. Their fees, tuition, books, sustenance and off-campus (and very nice) digs were paid for by “Uncle Sucker,” on some “exchange program.” At an “activist event,” these two, fluent in English and French as well as their native tongue, gave speeches about how horrible the War was, how badly it was damaging their own, their native land, and how much help Vietnam needed to end the war (favorably for the South’s elites, of course.) To thunderous applause from the assembled ranks.

      I had to ask, in the question-and-answer they invited (lots of opportunities for other activist students to do some orating and grandstanding) what they were going to do with their free education in science, business (a big part of the curriculum, now even bigger) and the humanities — Were they going to go back to Vietnam, to help the war effort and help lift up and rebuild “their country” after they graduated? “Oh noes, we will stay in America and take advantage of the opportunities we have gotten!”

      Ill winds indeed, that blow no one good…

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’m reminded of a friend who had neighbors who’d come here from Nam. My friend and his mother were afraid of them.

        Reason: They were fond of openly displaying their weaponry in the yard, where my friend could see what they were doing. My friend suspected that they were gun-running, but he could never prove it.

        Any-hoo, those people moved away, and the house is now a rental. Well, sometimes it’s a rental. For the past year or so, it has sat there empty. Makes me wonder how the mortgage is being paid.

  12. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Re Purdue not marketing OxyContin

    The empirical study that needs to be done one year from now, and then again for each year after for, say 5 years:

    1) have total opioid prescriptions decreased? (or did other opioids fill any gap?)
    2) have OxyContin branded prescriptions increased? (does marketing to doctors drive prescriptions when the drug is mature/well known to doctors)
    3) have OxyContin generic prescriptions decreased? (does marketing to doctors when the prescription is mature minimize the shift to generic?)
    4) pulling the prescriber-level data, how does the behavior of the top 20 OxyContin prescribers in each state change?
    5) how significant are these changes v. trends across all opioids in the same period?

    1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

      Shoot I messed up the increased/decreased in 2 and three, edited to fix and multiplied my error.

      Should have been:
      2) have branded Oxy *decreased*
      3) have generic Oxy *increased*

  13. ambrit

    Re. the New Statesman piece on immunotherapy.
    Phyllis went through an initial course of this regimen, and had to give it up because she turned out to be one of those people that suffered more from the ‘cure’ than the ’cause.’ The basic message hidden within this piece is that most cancer treatments do not cure anything. They just push death back a few years. So, the calculation is, what is better for the patients’ quality of life?
    This brings to the fore the knotty question of greed. Phyls’ physician was smooth and reassuring. A really good ‘bedside manner.’ It wasn’t until we did some digging later that the high costs of this therapy became clear. I’ve said it elsewhere, but this therapy went on for six treatments, once every two weeks, for a cost billed to Medicare of, if I remember correctly, $14,500 per treatment. The doctors wanted Phyl to do this for one or two years. Add it all up. A two year course of treatment would result in an overall cost of $754,000 USD just for the drugs used. The added costs for the visits, check-ups, and routine tests, etc, are just icing on the cake.
    The actual drugs used are produced, at the affiliated hospital, in its’ labs, which are, in this case, just across the street from the clinic where the ‘therapy’ is conducted. We could not get any information on how much it cost the medical practice to produce the drug. How much is ‘overhead,’ and how much is rent seeking?
    We have seen a similar ‘rent seeking’ behaviour in many other ‘alternative’ treatment options providers. The clinics in Mexico or the Baltics aren’t afraid to charge a thousand dollars a day for whichever treatment has favour this week. Charlatains and quacks abound, while those seriously trying unofficial treatments go begging. Doctors and enthusiasts of merit risk public shaming and even prosecution for suggesting that “official” medicine is not all that there is in this world of pain. More perniciously, a negative feedback loop is developed when ‘alternative’ treatments are dismissed out of hand by official medicine. The status quo gatekeepers don’t even bother to scientifically debunk most treatment ideas coming in out of ‘left field.’ So, enthusiasts can legitimately say that their pet theories have not been disproved, because they have not been properly evaluated. The man who discovered that stomach ulcers were bacterial infections was so marginalized that he, in desperation I’m assuming, became his own guinea pig and ingested a dose of the offending bacillus in a live test of his theory. He got an ulcer right after. Then, if I remember correctly, he cured the ulcer with anti bacterial treatments. A simple, elegant test of his theory. Contrary to settled opinion, he was proven correct. Everyone else had been wrong, and, what is worse, had refused to do the simple experiment that would have proved or disproved his theory.
    Then, to understand how entrenched “official” anything can be, peruse this short article about the ulcer controversy and try to find anything at all about the desperate measures that the doctor had to resort to to get his point across.
    This is a fairly simple case. Cancers are an order of magnitude more complex. At least, that is how they appear today.
    Meanwhile, people keep dying, probably unnecessarily, because there are Rent Seekers in control of the system.
    The struggle continues.

    1. Summer

      The more I think about it “Rent Seekers” is too passive to describe profit over life.
      “Death Merchants” seems more apt.

      1. ambrit

        True that. I use ‘rent seekers’ in a quasi scientific manner. As a description of a class. Changing it to something like “Death Merchants” runs the risk of triggering sub conscious cues that associate whatever is being said with ‘extremist’ opinions. So, “Death Merchants,” if applied to other than military or civilian weapons manufacturers, runs the risk of getting ones’ rant classified as a polemic.
        To turn the phrase on its’ head, one can also view ‘rent seekers’ as a reverse smear term. By associating the phrase with literally deadly outcomes, it subtly taints the more financial activities subsumed under the phrase with a morbidity of purpose association.
        Thanks for pointing this out. I hadn’t had to try and think this out before.

      2. Jessica

        Summer, I think that you are sensing that the rent seeking is actually just the tip of the iceberg. The much larger damage is all the potential that is suppressed and destroyed in order to create the monopoly on which rent can be collected.
        Some rent seekers just opportunistically take advantage of artificial scarcity but the rent system overall suppresses and destroys so much potential. In the process, it renders many people seemingly superfluous. This in turn creates rents at the gateways into non-superfluity. This connects medical rents with Ivy Coach above.

  14. JTMcPhee

    “NYT fails to report that Netanyahu started air war over Syria as corruption probes close in on him,”

    “All politics is local,” except when it sort of spills over into Great Game play… And how could one believe that the leader of a nuclear-armed nation would initiate a war just to bolster his (or her, Thatcher) popularity and continued rule at home?

  15. Carolinian

    Latest Greenwald

    If there’s any lesson that should unite everyone in the west, it’s that the greatest skepticism is required when it comes to government and media claims about the nature of foreign threats. If we’re going to rejuvenate a Cold War, or submit to greater military spending and government powers in the name of stopping alleged Russian aggression, we should at least ensure that the information on which those campaigns succeed are grounded in fact. Even a casual review of the propaganda spewing forth from western power centers over the last year leaves little doubt that the exact opposite is happening.

    The above perhaps not unrelated to this

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Russian Billionaires Are Building Megaschools to Rival Eton and Exeter Bloomberg

    How do you say ‘separate the elite wheat (early) from the chaff’ in Russian?

    1. Olga

      Did you read the article? If yes, then you’d know that it suggests the exact opposite of what you assert…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks. It’s my knee-jerk reaction to elite schools.

        Still nice to know how to say that in Russian, because most of us likely already know how to say ‘No’ in Russian.

        “Just add ‘Nyet’ to that new phrase you just learned.”

        1. Arizona Slim

          And, from your friendly neighborhood student of the Russian language, here’s how you spell it:


          Yup. That’s how you spell “nyet.”

  17. L

    You could file this under “Democrats in Disarray” or better under “Will you still love me tomorrow?” But Politico’s title is probably the best:

    The resistance gets rolled

    The basic upshot of the article was that the lefties are all important to the dems until they are not. It even includes a choice quote from “Liberal Hero™” Sherrod Brown:

    “I pay attention to everybody,” said Brown, who’s also spurned calls from the grass roots to champion a Medicaid-for-all effort this Congress. “If the suggestion is if I’m spooked by them or they affect my voting record, the answer is of course not.

    Well glad they cleared that up. I was worried they cared.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Good link, the end result is likely that the activists will be radicalized and more likely to look to support primary opponents. Party hacks in congress don’t understand anything more clearly than losing their seats.

      It’s really the height of stupidity that Dems made such a fuss about supporting DREAMers and then immediately caved when they were supposed to actually fight. Did they honestly think about how well this would be received among the activist base?

      1. L

        I suspect that their decision was based upon pandering to their true base of donors and consultants. And on feeling like Trump would do their work for them to keep the immigrants rights groups in the fold. Indeed Ed Kilgore has literally made that argument at NYMag Is Democratic Cooperation With Trump Depressing Supporters?

        He is, after all, the reason for the resistance, which would exist and thrive with or without the active help of the Democratic Party. I personally see no reason to believe that Democrats or those elements of the news media or civil society who fear Trump’s excesses have gone soft on him.

        I suspect his line of reasoning accurately reflects the donor-centric mindset of the party. I suspect that at this point they take the dreamer-supporters as a guaranteed voter bloc in the same way that the Republicans assume the pro-lifers. They simply believe that we have nowhere else to go and noone who can take them on in the primaries.

        And to be fair they are right on the first point and possibly in the second given how effectively self-interested organizations like the DCCC control the primary process. The Intercept has done some great reporting on this front The Dead Enders: Candidates Who Sign up to fight Trump must get past the Democratic Party first

      2. Fraibert

        I’m wholly unclear what the Democrats were intending to achieve with the recent DACA push in connection with the government funding bill.

        If you’re going to go on offense (whether in sports, war, or politics), you have to estimate ahead of time the risks and whether they are acceptable risks. The Republican countermove was obvious, even prospectively, and there was a reasonable chance that the Republican arguments would find some currency with the public. Given that case, why press forward, only to withdraw almost immediately?

        I suppose there’s some political value in virtue signaling to the base. But, on the other hand, I don’t see how virtual signaling that has no political weight behind it really accomplishes much. Maybe it just stands to create a “contrast” between the parties, and remind the base that “there is no alternative, and at least we say the right things”?

        In any case, from a tactical perspective, I don’t see how it makes sense. The larger strategy, I guess, is what I outlined above. But I don’t even get how that strategy works well–in the end, the base will be demoralized and stay home, if the Democrats don’t put any weight behind any of the base’s priorities.

    2. Marco

      Like nails on a chalkboard!! Midwestern senators are the worse. Debbie Stabenow is equally obtuse wrt to single payer / M4A. My theory about the Midwest is basic demographics. Young people are leaving in droves leaving an older conservative / blue dog base.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I believe it’s called “pulling up the ladder…” Or maybe “the last immigrant” phenomenon. Nobody ever said humans are intelligent, eh?

  18. Romancing The Loan

    The “Privileged Despair” article from Common Dreams is just bizarre – the “young upper-middle class white women” she’s talking about who see the outcome of the policy choices continually being made and decide as a result not to add to the problem by sending more children into that looming disaster of a future are overprivileged whiners why exactly? The answer seems to be a confused assertion that other people will have it even worse than your hypothetical descendants and so deciding not to have children is somehow vaguely racist. As one of the top-rated comments has it, “I’ll never waste a minute reading anything written by this [family blog] again.”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment is far more succinct than mine and suggests “Privileged Despair” isn’t worthy of further consideration. I agree with that but having already wasted the energy refuting this link here goes:

      “Privileged Despair” conflates the wars and conflicts arising with the shortages Climate Disruption will bring with the convenient rationalizations of our MIC for boosting military budgets and instigating and conducting wars. People — at least most people — do indeed cooperate to share and help each other in times of disaster and stress. But many people, with less to share, less to hope for, and a little more anger is a formula for making a mob. Mobs can cooperate too in the focus of their anger. Leaders of today’s quality are adept at twisting mobs against each other and against mobs in other places — even mobs and groups they invent to their purposes. I believe those who will survive the harsh and rapid changes Climate Disruption brings and will bring are those who cooperate and work together as people. I hold less hope for those who cooperate and work together as an angry crowd.

      The privileged are “freaked out by climate change” but who are the “real victims of climate change”? This swipe at the “privileged” ignores what I believe is the unhappy explanation. The poor, who as intimated have the most right to be “freaked out by climate change” must spend too much of their time contemplating other more imminent problems like losing their “life, health, home, and/or livelihood” leading to an “unconscionably early death”. This swipe at the integrity of the privileged echoes similar suggestions made about the privileged (and left unsaid the “spoiled”) children of the 1960s protesting the draft even though the draft fell most heavily on the poor who at that time joined with the privileged to protest an imminent threat to their life and health. The assertion “middle-class white angst over birthing a baby in an era of climate change seems an unnecessary luxury” verges on the absurd. The costs to bear and raise a child seem to grow without bounds while the privileges, even the existence of a middle-class of any race, dwindle offering many further explanations for this “privileged” angst. I believe no small part of that angst can also be explained as a rationalization of hard decisions which even the young adults in the privileged white-middle class must face in a time of part-time jobs, living at home or with roomates, and little prospect of improving their situation. What kind of future will the children of today inherit? I agree that the dystopian visions of Hollywood and the media are over-the-top but just how wonderful will the future predicted in the most conservative scenarios of the IPCC be? Battlefields are indeed dystopian and worse and we are the most militarized country on Earth, but is it fair to suggest concern for Climate Disruption is the “main bogeyman” and concern for that bogeyman steels thunder from an anti-MIC concern? That sounds like the kind of “crab-bucket” undercutting all too common to the left: “You’re protesting ‘X’ but what about ‘Y’?”

      People do — at least most people — do indeed cooperate to share and help each other in times of disaster. But cooperation doesn’t scale linearly. That is where government should come in. The government should act at the larger scales of cooperation. I believe the root problem we face is that our government acts against the interests of our populations and populations abroad to support the short-term interests of a small class of psychopaths, sociopaths and their minions and sycophants at a time of impending threats from Nuclear War, Climate Disruption, Peak Oil, Overpopulation, Anti-biotic resistance, … War, Hunger, Disease and Death. “Doomsday panic is as American as apple pie.” I am privileged relative to many and I’m not panicked but I don’t need movie scenarios to generate concern for the future and the future of my children and (at my age) their children.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Interesting observations. Have you read Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror”? Walled towns, castle keeps, “war bands” of thugs cooperating to loot and steal and pillage (often unpaid and unemployed soldiers, continuing their trade by other means… A not uncommon phenomenon:

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Yes I’ve read most of “A Distant Mirror” and I’ve also read “One Second After”. I doubt the world after the next collapse, which I think will be more of an implosion, will be the same as what followed the fall of Rome. The scale of today’s society is completely unprecedented in terms of the size of our populations and the level of scientific and technical knowledge we’ve constructed. I believe the fall of Rome took place relatively slowly compared to the fall we may soon take. The resources left to humankind after the next fall will also be very different. Large parts of our science and technology depend on high concentrations of large amounts of energy. After the coal and petroleum is used up that amount and concentration of energy will become much much scarcer and difficult to obtain. However, I believe the science and technology we have and can preserve into the future is far greater than was left to the Dark Ages. I also believe large parts of our base of science and technology holds many secrets not yet constructed from the endless research bricks piled up by the practice of research contracts. I’m not sure what part “raiding bands of thugs” might play in the future to come.

          1. Oregoncharles

            A big difference is that civilization, and therefore the collapse, is now global. When Rome fell, China, India, and the New World were largely unaffected. And there were outsiders – the German tribes and the Huns – who invaded and administered the coup de grace. That isn’t a factor now, either. There are no outsiders to speak of.

            Nor did the Romans manage to significantly depress the carrying capacity of the Earth, or leave behind technology capable of ending human existence.

    2. jrs

      I agree with never read anything by that [family blog] again.

      Besides given the destruction of the middle class anyone who isn’t rich-rich, may not want to reproduce for that reason alone. Over-privileged, haha, how is a woman to know if they are privileged, AS IF they can know that at 25 or even 30 something that they won’t be reduced to poverty before their children are out of the nest even. No, many years left to fall into poverty in the vanishing middle class, so reproduction is a bad idea. And yes even if one is one of the declining few that does ok economically, the planet seems well and truly screwed.

      Fires are the stuff of future nightmares she says. No, they are stuff of current lived reality. And yes people can cooperate in times of immediate disaster like say an earthquake or a flood, but by all evidence the human race can not cooperate in times of abstract disaster like climate change.

    1. integer

      Expect to see a lot more articles like this from those aligned with the D party (the Clinton faction in particular) if Trump succeeds in purging the breathtakingly corrupt Obama-era appointees from the intelligence community.

  19. Wukchumni

    Snow falling from up over is on the rare side here in the Eastern Sierra this winter, but enough man-made snow @ Mammoth to cover every run to a depth of a foot or so. In contrast, the forested areas just off to the side of runs are largely bereft of snow. Skiing has been ok, but a little on the icy side, and neither lack of snow or frozen rain or heat causing the piste to resemble mashed potatoes, nor gloom of iffy conditions, shall keep our couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

    1. Lee

      Meanwhile, here is the sf bay area, another beautiful day for a motorcycle ride or perhaps a bit of gardening.

    2. ambrit

      Shouldn’t that be “swift completion of their appointed straights?” To draw an analogy. (He maintains his poker face.)

  20. Olga

    How American Media Spin-Doctored the Iranian Protests American Conservative
    While the protests were going on, there were reports in alt-media that the motivation was mostly economic. Headlines in the MSM – as shown in this TAC article – consistently twisted the reasons for the protests. Can one spell “propaganda”?

  21. JohnnyGL

    I saw this headline and got interested. But, as might be expected, it’s typical politico centrist dem agenda….lots of talk about fundraising, resumes and personal stories, more women and minorities (which is good, don’t misunderstand me)…barely anything about issues, except social issues. Some health care talk does sneak in there.

    A couple of the candidates mentioned seem interesting and may have potential. Some of them are pushing for a Sanders-style agenda. But, you won’t learn much about where they stand on issues from politico’s coverage. Just the way the party and the fundraisers like it!

  22. JohnnyGL

    Re: HRC needs to move on….

    “She could dive into the private sector, creating a market solution for any number of problems. She could follow Gore’s path and take on a single cause as a public advocate.”

    LOL, I can’t read ‘market solution’ without laughing anymore. Does anyone think Al Gore is seriously dedicated to the cause of climate change? The Al Gore I saw got himself filthy rich and probably did more to undermine the case for reducing fossil fuel use by giving the right a poster-child to point to and say “look at that energy hogging, money grubbing hypocrite”. Details given in a sympathetic light in the below….

    1. EricT

      Do you think we would even be discussing Global climate change if it wasn’t for his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”? And why does everyone think that if you want to change a destructive policy that impacts industry or the economy, you have to take a vow of poverty?

      1. Romancing The Loan

        I was aware of climate change as an issue before it came out but never saw Inconvenient Truth – I didn’t notice it making more than a blip in the overall consciousness. Climate change was a thing before Gore and it’s …well, in terms of what’s actually being done about it, it’s even less of a thing now.

        If you want to make the case that it is necessary for people to live with a greatly reduced energy footprint then yes, you do have to show how it can be achieved with comfort in order for people to follow suit.

        What policies could be changed that would halt global climate change while allowing most people, or really anyone, to live the multiple houses/airplane trips energy-intensive lifestyle of Gore and his ilk?

      2. JohnnyGL

        Vow of poverty? Who said that?

        The article states he was worth $1.7M in 2000, and is now worth over $200M. $70M from Qatar-based Al Jazeera for his cable TV station. Seems like Gore made himself an awful lot of money really quickly.

        People try to beat on Bernie about having a couple of houses. I don’t begrudge him that. But when we get up to $200M, it seems like maybe there’s something else going on.

    1. Arizona Slim

      He seemed sympathetic toward Assange in his recently published book, The Making of the President 2016.

  23. georgieboy

    The Alternet piece on crime being down but Fox TV volume up is interesting, but certainly misleading regarding certain places (like Chicago, home of the one-party state).

    Best part about that link was this nugget on the right side:
    Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Is on a Quest to Find America’s Stupidest Mayor

    Rahm, you listening?

    1. Jean

      Meanwhile in San Francisco, 30,000 car break-ins a year. (Not a typo). If caught, catch and release of criminals with a promise to appear in court unless theft is over $900.
      How many arrests? 13.
      Watch a car thief in action:

      Maybe a car burglar’s killing of a dog will finally motivate the authorities?

      Homeless lunatics smear their feces on high end downtown shop windows. The cops come over 100 times and can do nothing.

      San Francisco needs a Giuliani.

      1. was Jean til this Jean showed up

        Duterte needs a Giuliani, no one else does.

        His terms as mayor are a stain on my city, New York.

        I have posted here in the past under my name, which happens to be Jean. My comments have been largely about things in NY, like gentrification and the restaurant business.

        I can’t post any longer under that name.

        1. Jean

          The opposite of gentrification is white flight.
          Is that what you are for?
          How about a safe and decent city for all people without thugs and or fascistic cops ruling the streets?

      2. Matt

        Maybe instead your city’s residents need jobs, health care, and housing? Certainly those things cost money but prisons and police aren’t free either.

    2. Spoofs

      Every year I read the pew center’s reported disconnect between people’s fear/perception of crime vs. the actual data. Hasn’t it ever occurred to anyone over there that this correlation is actually a causation? i.e. as fear of crime increases, people change their behavior to avoid crime and thus crime rates go down.

      I know retailers in the Bay Area cities are required close earlier to reduce crime; people do not go out as much because of fear of crime, etc.

      Of course this would be a narrative that law enforcement would not be too interested in hearing

  24. Summer

    Re: “Violent Crime” statistics

    My biggest question is whether or not “domestic violence” episodes are included in the “violent crime” statistics.
    The article points to the tv crime dramas and reality shows as hyping people’s fears. The dramas and reality shows that feature police procedure work do show somerthing that is very real: police all over the world, throughout time start investigations (violent and property crimes) close to home, with people known to the victim.
    Meanwhile, the stranger danger or danger form “others” gets the most hype.

  25. allan

    From p. 53 of the just released 2019 budget proposal:

    Provides States with Flexibility to Modernize Medicaid.

    In addition to the program flex-ibilities included in the Budget proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare, and building on the recent Administration guidance allowing States to explore community engagement requirements for able-bodied adults in Medicaid, the Budget proposes to empower States to further modernize Medicaid benefits and eligibility. The Budget would give States additional flexibility around benefits and cost-sharing, allow States to consider savings and other assets when determining Medicaid eligibility, and reduce waste by counting lottery winnings as income for Medicaid eligibility. These proposals enable the Federal and State governments to be partners in greater fiscal responsibility which would preserve and protect the Medicaid program for Americans who truly need it. [emphasis added] …

    Another major win for the back row kids.

    1. ambrit

      Yep. Whenever someone mentions “modernizing” anything, you just know that the service is going to become both more expensive and less useful.
      Now, it’s official. Medicaid is only for the rock bottom destitute.

    2. Jim Haygood

      counting lottery winnings as income for Medicaid eligibility

      From a neofeudal perspective, this is a flight of brilliance.

      Lottery payouts over a certain threshold are linked to a Social Security number and taxed. But no ID is required for habitual lottery punters to buy their weekly tickets.

      Converting an adult lifetime of net wagering losses into a taxable event in the rare case of a substantial win is a reverse tax shelter for the poor — the more they lose, the more they pay, with the coup de grace of suffering the withdrawal of even the meager benefits afforded by the loveless pity of the welfare state.

      MAGA … Make Austerity Great Again! /sarc

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Playing the lottery is like wagering. We get redistribution among those who play, after paying out to those who run the show.

      It’s a double whammy.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Queen Elizabeth is behind a royal push to cut plastic waste WaPo

    Similarly to another link over the weekend about a large UK food company to ‘cut down plastic usage and food waste,’ we should remind ourselves

    1. we need to cut down waste in all areas (plastic waste, food waste, clothing waste, etc).
    2. we need to cut down usage in all areas (will reducing plastic usage be compensated by increasing paper usage?)

    For example, carry a handkerchief with you all the time.

    Let’s not rushing into something that will lead to cutting down more trees. No tree huggers would want that.

  27. Jim Haygood

    From the Bookforum article on Martin Amis:

    Tim Henman, the frustrated It Boy of English tennis, is still “the first human being called Tim to achieve anything at all.” “Consider the essential unlikelihood,” he elaborates, “of Tim Sawyer, Uncle Tim’s Cabin, Tim Brown’s School Days. . . .”

    Though he failed to say so, Amis undoubtedly had in mind Obama’s boy wonder of the Treasury, “Timmah” Geithner.

    Who does this remind us of?

    The “great thing” about so many of Amis’s phrases is that “the author can be fairly sure they will never be used again.” With “juggernaut gasbag,” there is on [result from a Google search].

    You get one guess. :-)

    1. David

      It’s a good article but, perhaps understandably, concentrates on Amis’s recent work. Whilst he can still turn a good phrase, his best work was done in the 70s and 80s, when he was a foul-mouthed rebellious young man with a vicious style (the Angry Young Man his father was supposed to be but wasn’t). “Money” in particular is one of the great novels of the late 20th century, spittingly funny and horribly prescient. But he went into a bit of a decline in the 1990s, after “London Fields” and hasn’t really recovered. He’s unusual, in fact, for having done his best work as a novelist as a young man, and for having recently pretty much specialised in style, and not really worried very much about stuff like plot and character.
      For prose style, by the way, as for lots of other things, you’d have a hard time beating Thomas Pynchon, my nomination for greatest living novelist in the English language.

      1. bassmule

        I don’t know nuttin’ about nuttin’ but I don’t think even Captain Blicero could match this:

        “Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It’s passing, yet I’m the one who’s doing all the moving. I’m not the station, I’m not the stop: I’m the train. I’m the train.” (John Self, Money: A Suicide Note)

      2. Paul Boisvert

        Hi, David,

        I’ll have to take issue with you a bit on novelists’ peaks. London Fields was published when Amis was 40, while Gravity’s Rainbow was published by Pynchon at the age of 36. In fact, the substantial, if not vast, majority of all intellectual/creative workers (artists, scientists, etc.) achieve their best work while relatively young, certainly before the age of 40 in most cases.

        I agree that Amis went downhill from there, but so did Pynchon after GR, and much more dismayingly (since from a much higher peak.) GR was a stunning work of genius, but nothing after it had anywhere near its power–in fact, he was very similar in this to Amis. Pynchon’s works after GR are almost all “style”–there is plenty of plot but little overarching coherence or focus to it; and an absurd number of characters, but with increasingly slapdash, cursory, and shallow “characterization”, and little ability to create a sense of human empathy with them.

        After reading Vineland, which I wrote off on the principle that every major work is followed by a minor one, I had great hopes for Mason and Dixon–but the “style” had permanently won out, and every book since has gone downhill. Even the style is now on its last legs–Bleeding Edge and Inherent Vice have plenty of slack, routine (stylistically) passages that would (correctly) be considered “filler” in other authors.

        Of course, we were lucky to get Pynchon’s first three youthful works, on which alone his reputation can certainly stand. Anything more than that for most writers is gravy, and in Pynchon’s case it thinned out fairly quickly…

        1. Oregoncharles

          Poets seem to be a partial exception to the rule. Those who keep writing poetry past 30 generally keep getting better; W. B. Yeats being the best example: his last works are far and away his most moving. “The Second Coming” is quoted here pretty regularly, but “Lapis Lazuli” is another supreme example.

  28. ep3

    The hypocrisy Yves! Not just from “fiscal conservative” Ted Cruz, but the article itself. So typical. When it comes to giving people food, clothing, and shelter, those are wastes and don’t amount to anything. But because some bolt contractor in South Dakota gets money in his bank for overcharging the gov’t for his bolts, oh heavens no!, we can’t cancel a gov’t project like this. Think of the children!!!
    And of course privatization is great for schools, Social Security, the police, jails, on and on. But this pet project boon-doggle cannot never ever be privatized.

  29. lyman alpha blob

    RE: How Delivery Apps May Put Your Favorite Restaurant Out of Business

    …forty-three per cent of delivery patrons said that a meal they ordered in was replacing one they would have otherwise eaten at a restaurant…


    For a sense of why a thirty-per-cent delivery-service charge is so problematic, consider that in the restaurant world, notorious for its slim profit margins, an industry-standard budget apportions thirty per cent of revenue for the cost of ingredients, thirty per cent for the cost of labor, and the remainder for “everything else”—rent, utilities, insurance, supplies, credit-card fees, and profit.

    Articles like this one lead me to believe that those who want to ‘disrupt’ the restaurant industry by offering delivery service platforms have never actually managed a restaurant. It ought to be obvious to anyone who has managed a restaurant that trying to make money off of deliveries without a substantial delivery fee is a huge money loser.

    First of all, what the article doesn’t mention is liquor costs. Middle-to-high end restaurants don’t make much money on food at all – they have to carry inventory for all items on the menu, most of which has a limited shelf life, and if a menu item turns out not to be popular, food gets tossed. They also have to eat the cost on entrees every time someone takes a bite and sends their meal back to the kitchen,etc. Restaurants make their money off of the overpriced booze they sell you when you come in for a sit down dinner. The rule of thumb for a bottle of wine is that you make the cost of the bottle back on the first glass you sell, and if the restaurant I visited over the weekend is any guide, maybe even more than that. That’s how they stay in business and that goes right out the window on deliveries.

    The restaurants aren’t delivering on their own – they are using delivery services that hire drivers to pick up and deliver from many different restaurants on any given night. One restaurant I’m familiar with offers this service now but I do not see any added delivery fee on their menu.

    These tech companies model of ‘disruption’ only works but not charging what it would cost for all parties involved to actually be profitable. Uber offers below cost rides which it subsidizes with investor capital and by not paying its drivers enough to turn a profit. Now these delivery apps are trying to convince customers that they can have a 3 star meal at home, which requires an extra service, for the same cost as if they had gone out to eat. And as the quote above mentions, a lot of people who are eating in would have gone out if delivery were unavailable.

    The article also mentions that the delivery platforms themselves are having a hard time turning a profit too, and I doubt that’s because they are paying the delivery drivers too much. This sounds like a recipe for disaster where all parties come out losers – restaurants, delivery drivers, and the platform companies – because they all wanted to believe in unicorns a little too badly.

    Maybe it’s time to make sure these silicon valley types have some actual real world experience before they’re allowed to start ‘disrupting’ it for everybody else. Enough already with the foolish apps.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      As someone for whom food delivery can be a godsend when I work late, because I have a disability that makes cooking anything more complicated than a frozen dinner or soup problematic, I have never paid “less than the cost” of any meal I’ve ordered. Indeed, I’ve sometimes suspected the price is slightly higher, not to mention the delivery fee, the service fee, and the tip to the delivery person.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Nothing wrong with delivery service per se – it’s the app people inserting themselves in the middle of the transaction that are causing the problem. They are earning their fees out of the restaurant’s profit margins if the restaurants don’t raise prices.

    2. Oregoncharles

      ? Certain types of restaurant – pizza, Chinese – traditionally offer delivery, at no extra cost. It allows them to sell to people they don’t have seats for and don’t have to clean up after – we use pizza boxes for garden mulch. I don’t see how that fits with what you said. However, they aren’t paying a separate delivery service; usually it’s one college kid with one car. Once my son ordered Chinese and the owner delivered it.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Those types of fast food restaurants have much higher margins on their food, any potential delivery costs are already priced in (or should be), and as you noted, they already have their own drivers. Many pizza places have very limited in-house seating, if any, and their business model is geared to delivery. Those aren’t the type of places this article is referring to.

  30. moss

    China’s record credit expansion for January announced in the early hours this morning – an eye-popping 3 trillion CNY … there’s no sign this is slowing whatsoever, so keep buying your HK apartments, Sydney and Auckland, too. And the NASDAQ. Forget new year, that was just a hiatus and the newly minted credit is now leaking out once more and keeping our beloved global asset bubble aloft. Anchors away!

  31. Edward E

    Hmmm, Is today’s Antidote a variety of buzzard eagle? In the past I’ve been called one a few times.

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