Links 2/25/18

Will you take plastic with your tea? Treehugger. Yet another unnecessary use of plastics. I drink an enormous amount of tea– several cups each day–and always brew loose leaf tea in a pot.

What Poisons Are in Your Body? NYT. Latest from Nick Kristof.

The terrifying phenomenon that is pushing species towards extinction Guardian

Coral Reefs at Risk of Dissolving as Oceans Get More Acidic, Finds Study The Wire

Worst Roommate Ever New York magazine

Former Freemason, 51, found drunk and naked inside a huge pipe organ with a toy gun and remote-controlled police car says he got lost while trying to hand out cheeseburgers to the homeless Daily Mail (Richard Smith)

Unenlightened thinking: Steven Pinker’s embarrassing new book is a feeble sermon for rattled liberals New Statesman. Philosopher John Gray pulls no punches.

FBI warns taxpayers to beware of new scams to steal W-2 info Ars Technica

America Should Have Stayed Home This Flu Season FiveThirtyEight

Why (almost) no one wants to host the Olympics anymore Vox


Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Military, FBI, and ICE Are Customers of Controversial ‘Stalkerware’ Motherboard

Greitens case could test the definition of ‘privacy’ in the smartphone era St. Louis Post- Dispatch

A startup that runs marijuana dispensaries is America’s first $1 billion marijuana ‘unicorn’ Business Insider

Volkswagen Settles U.S. Emissions Lawsuit After Nazi Comparisons Bloomberg

Tax “Reform”

‘This is not normal’: Glitches mar new tax law Politico

Washington’s Fight Over Taxes Is Only Beginningg NYT


Behold the Reckoning of a Gun Culture in Collapse TruthOut

Florida shooting: Firms abandon NRA amid consumer boycott BBC

Seven gun control measures Congress could consider after Florida shooting The Hill

Could credit-card companies ban gun sales? MarketWatch

Bank of America takes aim at gun-making clients Reuters


Class Warfare

Revealed: British university vice-chancellors’ five-star expenses Guardian

Tech companies should stop pretending AI won’t destroy jobs MIT Technology Review

Kentucky pension reform bill would move future teachers into cash balance plan Pensions and Investments

How S.2155 (the Bank Lobbyist Act) Facilitates Discriminatory Lending Credit Slips

ECB determined ABLV Bank was failing or likely to fail European Central Bank (Richard Smith)


Brexit: Labour in the frame

Exposed: The Tory-Trump Plan to Kill Food Safety with Brexit Chicken DeSmogBlog

Brexit: Tory and Labour MPs sound alarm over moves to block Lords from changing Theresa May’s EU withdrawal plans Independent

The overreaction to Oxfam’s failings is part of a deeper and more damaging malaise Independent. Patrick Cockburn.


UN Security Council votes in favour of 30-day Syria ceasefire Al Jazeera


‘Quad’ version of Belt and Road feels like a South China Sea Watch Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

China will scrap limit on presidential term, meaning Xi Jinping can stay on SCMP

Apple to Start Putting Sensitive Encryption Keys in China WSJ


The Modi Government Is Hiding Information About Black Money Inside a Black Hole The Wire

Uber is slowly quitting developing markets in Asia – here’s why India is probably next Business Insider

Air Asia India to roll out etiquette video for first-time flyers FT

India Chennai clinic to offer free breast reconstruction BBC

Trump Transition

President Trump’s Eleventh Wave Of Judicial Nominees Above the Law

Trump uses more lenient requirements for security clearances. Thank Obama McClatchy

After testy call with Trump over border wall, Mexican president shelves plan to visit White Housee WaPo

Democratic memo: FBI was investigating Trump campaign associates weeks before receiving dossier Politico

North Korea


Trump’s ‘Phase Two’ for North Korea Means War American Conservative

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Why (almost) no one wants to host the Olympics anymore Vox

    I would put forth the proposition of NFL football – viewership falling off not because of Trump – but because it is more expensive than it is worth. And after so many decades that I watched men catch footballs, and decided it really isn’t interesting enough to invest more than a token amount of time in anymore, I imagine a lot of people have seen enough of people sliding down hills or on frozen ponds, or push tea kettles on ice….

    1. Clive

      Same with soccer, certainly in the U.K. (and when soccer loses the U.K. …) — increasingly detached from any semblance of its historical community foundations, “investments” by Disney alumni working the same business model, used as a pawn in Fox/telco/media conglomerates’ turf wars, hostages to gouging pay TV subscription fees, on and on. Eventually even diehard fans start to consider the distinct possibility they are being had.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If they would allow athletes to compete without being attached to any particular nation, maybe we wouldn’t get this much xenophobic propaganda.

        What if some people like the guy better from Russia than the athlete from, say, Vermont?

        Would it be OK to cheer for the former public in a bar?

      2. JustAnObserver

        … and when they add to all this the fact that the next world cup will be hosted by Qatar (!??!) they [family blog]ing know they have.

    2. Wukchumni

      The Olympics has become passe and while not in the same league in terms of downfall as Worlds Fairs-which once were quite the affair and highly anticipated, there’s an obvious dropoff in viewership.

      In particular the winter version with all of it’s goofy events that nobody cares about except once every 100 fortnights.

      Were any of you on your high school’s curling, luge, skeleton or bobsled teams, and if so, JV or Varsity?

      Colorado voters nixed the 1976 Winter Olympics from going there in 1972, after Denver was awarded the games in 1970 by the IOC. So, that shows you how far back it was thought of being a dubious venture.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Stick with traditional winter sports such as cross country skiing to see truly incredible athletes competing at superhuman levels of strength and endurance.

        This Olympics the U.S. cross country ski team won its first medal in the sport since 1976. It was the U.S. women’s cross country sprint team of Jesse Diggens and Kikkan Randell that upset Norway, Sweden, Russia and many other favored teams to win Gold. Imagine if Norway fielded a football team and won the superbowl — that’s the level of thrilling upset that DIggens and Randell pulled off.

        It can be just as enjoyable to watch someone on another country’s team rise to an impossible challenge and triumph against all odds. Aside from all the political B.S. and economic arguments for and against, I think the world is a better place when we have a chance to marvel at the amazing athletes of the Olympic Games.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I saw last night that Russia beat Germany in ice hockey which for the Russians verges on a national religion. At the medal ceremony, when they played the Olympic anthem for the winning team, the Russians said to hell with it and sang the Russian national anthem which was joined by all the Russians in the audience. The OIC must have passed a kidney stone at this though posts of this were blocked by Facebook, Instagram and YouTube at the time.
            On another cheerful note Ester Ledecká whom I mentioned in a comment the other night for grabbing gold when it had all been but decided did it again by winning another gold medal in a different sport altogether, thus being the first woman to win double gold in two sports at the same Olympics. Hah! Specialization is for insects.

            1. Lemmy Caution

              I saw that too and what an awesome achievement by Ledecká to win Gold in two sports.

              Speaking of versatility, I’ll put in another plug for cross country skiers: the Nordic combined event first has the athletes compete on the big ski jump, where they fly 100 meters or so before touching back down. Their ski jump scores determine their position for the next phase of competition — a 10 km cross country race.

              Other Nordic skiing events have the racers complete the first half of the race using the traditional diagonal stride and the second half using the skating stride — like a swimmer doing half the race using a crawl stroke and the second half doing the breast stroke.

              And of course there’s the Biathlon, a 10 or 20 km race in which skiers have to periodically stop to shoot 2″ targets from 150 feet away — while their hearts are beating 190 bpm. They rarely miss and often have a perfect score.

              Seems like a lot of the Nordic events require expertise in multiple disciplines.

            2. integer

              The OIC must have passed a kidney stone at this though posts of this were blocked by Facebook, Instagram and YouTube at the time.

              Someone better tell the people in charge of social media censorship that meddling and medalling are two entirely different things.

        1. Pespi

          I too appreciate fringe sports.
          The games have become an opportunity for massive graft, as we saw, the IOC is controlled by inbred euro aristocrats who manage to become richer every time a velodrome or man made kayaking river is built.

          Why not go back to the old model where the olympics are only held in one place, and everyone returns to it? That would mean fewer 10,000 sq feet swimming arenas that are never used again.

        2. Altandmain

          The issue is that it is costing billions of dollars, much of it lost to corruption, and enriching a bunch of oligarchs.

          There have also been many, many people displaced by the Olympics. Here’s an example:

          Some are satisfied, but others got screwed over by their governments. Is you “joy” of watching sports worthy of seeing thousands get displaced every time there is a game?

          This also happens in the developed world:

          What about the debts that happen afterwards? Montreal, Canada had decades of debt to pay off. As a Canadian taxpayer, I’m outraged too at how much was spent in the 2010 Olympic games (we had the misfortune of hosting them and they, as they always do, went overbudget).

          Years later, all the lofty goals become broken promises:

          Meanwhile, developers, the IOC, and certain corrupt politicians, along with their cronies make off like bandits. Is that really worth 2 weeks of pleasure? This is a racket.

          As others have said, why not just host them in 1 city or have a handful of cities rotate them and keep it a low budget affair? You could still have your pleasure of watching a bunch of people set world records. The real reason why is because that isn’t profitable for the oligarchs.

          1. oh

            If one has to have the Olympics (which I don’t think is needed at all), it’s better to have it one place with less fanfare and a lot less funding and spending.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One brainwashing aspect of the Olympics is the emphasis of speed, and how fast.

        So, you get the ‘faster runner,’ the fastest swimmer, etc.

        As if slow is undesirable, bad and shameful.

        No slow-food for you.

        And talking fast in a ‘modern’ debate is good (discussed a few weeks back).

        Thus, we are brainwashed…subtly.

        1. Altandmain

          Meanwhile the common citizen is dealing with an ever worsening obesity epidemic.

          I wonder if this mindless athlete worship is a big part of the problems. Bread and circuses in the 21st century it seems …

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            As elite athletes become ever fitter, the average person gets worse…not even community (or in your home) weight training/yoga/Taichi for older people.

            One more reason to stay away from spectatorship Olympics.

            “Just go for a walk in the park.”

      3. fresno dan

        February 25, 2018 at 8:08 am

        After almost being eliminated earlier in the XXIII Winter Games, last night’s all-time first gold medal in curling for Team USA was a sweeter than usual win for skipper John Shuster and crew.
        ‘The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.’ Apocryphal…..
        But considering global warming…..and our last unambiguous victory was Grenada, I kinda doubt any future commander will attribute victory to the curling ponds at….?where the heck does the US curling team train?

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      In the case of the NFL, I think much of Mark Cuban’s predictions are coming true. The demand on the audience to become full time participants with Thursday through Monday games and fantasy leagues would lead to burnout. Who remembers to set their teams before Thursday or those bizarre Sunday morning games they make Jacksonville go to? Then the NFL was pushing those gambling sites.

      I imagine it’s the same with the Olympics over time and the demands on rah rah participation. The Cold War is over, but the jingoism during coverage is nauseating.

            1. The Rev Kev

              “The poor you will always have with you”
              -Mark 14:7

              Note: Modern research has shown this to be a choice, not a law of nature.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The last time was because if we didn’t go, the Russians. or rather the Soviets would be number one.

              It’s China this time, I believe. If we don’t go to Mars, we will be vulnerable.

            3. JBird

              I was just a very young child in a very poor family, but I remember the excitement of the adults seeing those funky black and white pictures on the tube.

              Funny isn’t? The whole planet, or at least anyone able to get to at a radio, excited about something extraordinary. An amazing trip to the Moon; human beings on another world!

              Now it’s libtards, gun-nutz, RUSSIA!, and tax cuts. Oh and we need yet another war.

              Maybe instead of dehumanizing half of humanity, while screaming your fears, one could seek some dreams to share and bond with others.

      1. Wukchumni

        There were quite a few AARP tv commercials during the World Series, their target audience being me.

        I think a lot of people my age are like me, in that I rarely watch a full 9 inning stanza during the 162 game MLB season, and catch snippets of a few here and there. Then comes the playoffs & WS, and I watch 5-7 games.

        1. Enquiring Mind

          The prototypical LA Dodger fan shows up late in the third inning (traffic, ya know…..), eats a Dodger Dog, maybe a Cool-a-coo (ice cream treat), but no popcorn or CrackerJacks (too many carbs, ya know….) and then leaves around the seventh inning stretch (traffic, ya know…., and got rezzers at that new place on Melrose or wherever).

          I’m with you, the playoffs are the most likely time to watch. You can see the players often enough over a short time to get more of a feel for who they are and what they can do.

          1. Wukchumni

            I was working for a firm in 1988 that had 4 company seats behind home plate to the left a bit about 50 rows back in the orange section, which came with a parking pass, and as it happened that magical year, @ 5 pm on game day, over the p.a. would come the announcement that Dodger tix were available, and another bachelor and I would scoop them up more often than not, and we went to 30-35 games that year, including playoffs and 1 WS game. (#2, after Gibson’s heroics in #1)

            Usually we’d invite friends along, but sometimes nobody could go and we’d scalp the other 2 tix, and we were a little choosy, as they were sitting next to us.

            It didn’t matter what was going on in the midst of play on the field, when Roger the peanut man was making the rounds, as everybody was eager to be the target of his uncannily accurate behind the back throws with deadly accuracy from 17 rows away.


            I’d guess i’ve been to a total of a dozen MLB games since…

            1. HotFlash

              I saw a Toronto Bluejays game in 1986 (tix courtesy of my BFF’s beau). It was OK.

              Didn’t see another game until 1993 when a friend got tix from his sister, from her work. Boy, was I disappointed — it was the same dang game.

      2. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        February 25, 2018 at 9:48 am
        I thought the dance celebration after the touchdown was a display of greater talent and more entertaining tan the touchdown as well. And the line about recruiting from mental institutions, prisons, and Texas was worth a chuckle too.

    4. GLocal Griftolympics

      No wonder the Olympics does not drive tourism. I was in Sochi in the main area and a couple of other areas. They were cultural dead zones/airport like no-places.
      The south of Russia produces nice wines and they have nice food. You experience none of that because Coca Cola and McDonalds are sponsors. All you can eat and drink is consequently their crap.
      Make Olympics a way for the local food and drink and the local economy (not only the local construction oligarchs)

      On the other hand IOC is like a Hillary Clinton organization: it is a grifter organization, nothing else. It has nothing to do with sports. Kicking out the global sponsors would of course kill that scheme.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. I think political dramas are more addictive than many of those games. (Russia!)

      2. I cut back when I realized my sports addiction was the key to making some people very rich. That seems kind of asymmetrical to me.

      3. I then confronted myself with the simple fact that the cure lied elsewhere.

      4. That it’s about myself doing something that would make the journey interesting. At least in this small area in life, I could be disappointed or happy due to my own actions, instead of beng like those Boston football fans who did what they did (visiting some stress relief websites) after their team lost in the last super bowl, even though they couldn’t have done anything to change the outcome.

    6. c_heale

      Although I live in Korea, I haven’t watched any of it because they cut down part of a 1,000 year old forest (which was protected) to build it.

    1. Richard

      Thanks UF! One of the few economists I can really understand. I know this is probably not the site to admit that…:)

    2. David

      Thank you.

      The title of the lecture was “Why people vote against those who work against their best interest”. Mr. Blyth took issue with the title early in the lecture.

      I don’t believe that’s true…I think it’s incredibly patronising for anyone to tell someone else what they think should be in their interest. So, it’s very easy, particularly for sort of, you know, elites, however that word is used and abused, to say, well it’s in the best interests of people to do this or people vote against their interests. It’s like, really? Maybe they just see the world in a very different way than you. Maybe you don’t like the way that they see the world, but they’re entitled to see the world that way and they will act upon it; and the more that you tell them that they shouldn’t do this, they’re probably going to tell you, no, that’s what I’m gonna do…

      Considering the article yesterday about progressive narratives…

      1. HopeLB

        The elites’ disdain for the cognitive ability of the masses is continually on display and being used now, due to the masses’ supposed inability to resist mind manipulation from a few social media posts, to usher in an age of censorship, thereby protecting the feeble minded from confusing discourse/countervailing arguments/disruptive narravtive.

        This passage from here;
        says it all;

        “§ A foundational principle of theories of democratic representative government is that voters make rational and legitimate decisions. But Russiagate advocates strongly imply—even state outright—that American voters are easily duped by “Russian disinformation,” zombie-like awaiting a signal as how to act and vote. The allegation is reminiscent of, for people old enough to remember, the classic Cold War film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” But, Cohen proposes, let the following representatives of America’s elite media speak for themselves:

        § According to Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, Russia social-media intrusions “manipulated American thought.… The minds of social media users are likely becoming more, not less, malleable.” And this, she goes on, is especially true of “older, nonwhite, less-educated people.” New York Times columnist Charles Blow adds that this was true of “black folks.” Times reporter Scott Shane is entirely straightforward, writing about “Americans duped by the Russian trolls,” and Evan Osnos of The New Yorker spells it out without nuance: “At the heart of the Russian fraud is an essential, embarrassing insight into American life: large numbers of Americans are ill-equipped to assess the credibility of the things they read.”

        § Cohen emphasizes (though this is hardly necessary) that these are lead writers for some of America’s most elite publications. He adds, their apparent contempt for “ordinary” Americans is not unlike a centuries-old trait of the Russian intelligentsia, which held the Russian narod (people) in similar contempt, while maintaining that it therefore must lead them, and not always in democratic ways. ”

        If true, why not teach rhetoric and logic? For the same reason, they aren’t demanding paper ballots/publicly counted to avert Russian hacking?

    3. grayslady

      Thanks from me, too. Excellent, as usual. He actually changed my thinking on a couple of issues, while I disagreed with him on others. I particularly appreciate his emphasis on how “averages” do not reflect the real economy since wealth is so wildly skewed these days.

  2. Steve H.


    “Untangling the causes – and working out the role of climate change in MMEs is difficult. “In many cases, there are multiple stressors – such as, in the case of the saiga, a low-lying bacterial infection, slightly higher humidity and higher temperatures,” says Siepielski.”

    “Like the bacteria that triggered the MME in saiga, the virus appears to have been present in starfish for decades – if not longer. Samples stored in museums since the 1940s tested positive.”

    Two aspects transcend traditional paradigms. First, the multiple stressors are not simply additive, and it rapidly becomes impossible to analyze causality by reduction. Second, the variation with the external environment causes variation within the internal environment, and crushes the delusion that we are unitary beings. Unfold the lotus, and most of the DNA in our bodies is not human, but all these various organisms and neuroendocrine modules serve each other. Twist a dial and alter some fundamental condition, even a little, and the causal chains unwind and tangle with each other.

    Abstract up a bit, and apply to intersectionality. That notion seems to originate in a desire to overcome category errors to combat discriminatory -isms. People get along when conditions are good, and as Sapolsky says “you come out of that deciding you are on top of the hierarchy that matters to you.” But as conditions change, the value of the hierarchical categories change, and the discriminatory contrasts ramp up. Which leads to people rejecting and discriminating against not just others, but parts of themselves.

    1. DorothyT

      Re: The terrifying phenomenon that is pushing species towards extinction Guardian

      IMHO, the must read link today along with your comment. Thanks for opening up the discussion

      People get along when conditions are good, and as Sapolsky says “you come out of that deciding you are on top of the hierarchy that matters to you.” But as conditions change, the value of the hierarchical categories change, and the discriminatory contrasts ramp up.

      1. John Merryman

        The current hierarchy being money as the commodity it is assumed to be, rather than the social contract it functions as, aka, neoliberalism, capitalism austerity, etc.

        When society is small, economics is reciprocal, as it is more efficient to share, then privately store, but as it grows, accounting becomes necessary and that is what money functions as . The circulation system of the community, much like the body’s circulation system or roads, for example.
        The problem is that since we all wish to accumulate and store this medium, assuming it is a commodity, more has to be constantly added and ways found to store the excess.
        Yet medium and storage are separate functions. As in the body, blood is the medium and fat is the store, or with cars, roads are the medium and parking lots are the store.
        Since there are limits to the amount of wealth that can be effectively invested, cycled back into the economy, one method of storing it is to have the government borrow it and spend in ways which support private investment, but don’t compete with it. Such as large militaries and welfare systems, where the people exist primarily as a conduit for public monies into private corporations.
        If the government was to threaten to tax excess money out of the system and not just borrow it(entirely hypothetical), then people would quickly find other ways to store value.
        Given that the great mass of people save for the same basic needs and reasons, from raising children and housing, to retirement, if these could be invested in as communal assets, rather than saved for, through personal bank accounts, society would return to a more reciprocal economy. One which would become less atomized, as people would be required to function as larger social entities and not as interchangeable units.
        Thoughts for when the grand ponzi scheme does blow up.

        1. c_heale

          Could the ‘war against cash’ possibly be the trigger for blowing up our current monetary system? It would be ironic if complete control of all our monetary transactions, led to the destruction of our monetary system.

    2. John Merryman

      I might add a comment about Stephen Jay Gould’s, “punctuated equilibrium:” In that during the equilibrium phase, environmental pressures are mitigated through increasing complexity, as every possible niche and resource is evolving and used. Consequently it isn’t just that some catastrophic event leads to a collapse of the system, but that the system sets itself up for periodic collapse, as surpluses and resources are increasingly stretched to the max.
      Old Mother Nature is a bitch. The alternative to cyclical processes is a flatline.

    3. perpetualWAR

      This article provided an answer to the west coast starfish MME. I read about the melting starfish for some weeks, then there was no coverage on the reasons for the mass die off.

      Very troubling.

  3. allan

    Tax deform:

    … Another bug may allow hedge funds, private equity firms and others to dodge a crackdown on the rules surrounding so-called carried interest by taking advantage of a vague reference in the law excusing corporations from the new rules. Lawmakers appear to have meant C corporations like Apple or Ford, but lawyers say it could also excuse S corporations, which could be easily used to duck the restrictions. …

    Bug? Stop it, Politico, you’re killing me. On the campaign trail, eliminating carried interest was one of the centerpieces of Trump’s carnival barking on taxes. That part of the bill would have received special attention
    from the drafters, and any “bug” or “glitch” is as intended. Another win for the back-row kids.

    But as the article discusses, the Dems do have leverage.
    Waiting with bated breath to see when they throw it away.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Um, Apple is already one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, exceeded only by the “Central Bank” of Switzerland. The Japanese “Central Bank” is one of the country’s top ten holder of equities. (Yes, you read that right, equities). And for fixed income hedge funds you can’t go far past the Fed, the ECB, and the PBOC.

    1. integer

      Article title:

      Trump’s Big Button to Thai Penis Whitening: Hail the Emperor, Without his Clothes

      From the article:

      Little surprise then that hospitals in Thailand are offering penis whitening services. Apart from Thailand, many of the clients for the service are reportedly coming from other parts of Asia. That is how deeply ingrained the binary of power and white phallus has become in the region after centuries of colonial and neo-colonial experience.

      Perhaps I’m missing something here, but is this article seriously drawing a link between Donald Trump and the existence of “penis whitening services” in Thailand?

      Gimme a break.

  4. Wukchumni

    Speaking at a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump made apparent reference to military options his administration has repeatedly said remain on the table.

    “If the sanctions don’t work, we’ll have to go phase two,” Trump said. “Phase two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world. But hopefully the sanctions will work.”

    Would it be too late to formally apologize to the world at large for the reign of error before something very, very unfortunate, befalls it?

    1. RenoDino

      No need to apologize as the world’s hegemon. In fact, we will be looking for “thank yous” from the rest of the world after we fix this problem once and for all. One of the many rewards of Empire is never having to say you’re sorry.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Speaking of hegemons, China and Russia are not ready for the next, more benign hegemons.

        In the specific case of the former, one only have to look at the history of that last 100 years, to know that the Chinese communist party has become what they claimed to oppose, the corruption and wealth inequality of their predecessor government.

        So, it doesn’t bode well for their ‘we will be better.’

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Something to keep in mind:

      A credible bluff is known to be a bluff only afterwards; otherwise, it’s not credible.

      With that said, I pray for peace.

      And my gut feeling (and I could be wrong) is that NK (and China) has a weak hand. Just don’t push them too hard.

      1. Sid_finster

        As has been pointed out elsewhere – if you can propose any military option for the US that doesn’t result in tens of thousands of SK casualties, call the Pentagon.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          This is kind of sci-fi-ish, but with the Pentagon, one never knows if they haven’t already possessed such weapons.

          Here, I am thinking of sending in a team of robot attack dogs to disable the North Korean leadership.

          You parachute them in, and they can go with food for weeks and move at night. When they get close enough, they can scale high walls and open any doors.

  5. Arthur J

    The chicken safety story is truly appalling. The obvious response is to say that the farmers should band together and form a co-op to process and sell their chicken that way.
    Unfortunately the system is so corrupt these days, it’s likely not possible for them to do so. Until actual regulators can be installed instead of the current group of meat puppets things aren’t likely to change. Very depressing.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Continuing with the animal-rights theme – I like this as ‘metaphor of the week’ (as Maggie McNeill tagged it on her blog)

        Those who sit down and do nothing, those who meekly and quietly obey, comply, submit, and give in – get sent to the slaughterhouse. Sadly, the ending is not feelgood…apparently this cow died after the ‘authorities’ tranquilized her and she ended up dying on a truck of stress.

        The best inspirational stories often end tragically, for it is the response they give to others that matter. At least if you fight….you might win, and get to live out your life…well, *alive*. And if your fight is not successful at least it is better to die on your feet, then live on your knees.

        As one dastardly Missouri Ruffian Josey Wales once said:

        “…Now remember, when things look bad…and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head – and you give up – then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is…”

        1. djrichard

          Polish politician Pawel Kukiz wanted to twist the metaphor to his own end, “If all citizens could show such determination as this cow then Poland would be a much more prosperous country.”

          Had to laugh at that. If people were like the cow (escaped from the system, simply tending to themselves) how would capitalism make money off them?

          Anyways, just some thoughts going through my head: escaping the system is very powerful metaphor. Fighting the system is another. If Jesus were a cow, what would he have done? I’m sure there’s a Far Side cartoon for that. No disrespect by the way to either of those franchises.

      2. perpetualWAR

        I tried going vegan. My troubles were not being able to enjoy dining with friends, going to restaurants. I didn’t like the restrictions, so I stopped. Mostly, I am vegetarian, but I found total plant-based diet too restrictive.

      3. DorothyT

        So much misery could be prevented if more people considered a plan-based diet.

        Not to dispute this in any way, at least increasing that portion of our diet, but we need a reliable, science-based, uncorrupted USDA and FDA as E.coli has caused recalls, sickness, even death in some plant-based foods; i.e. romaine, spinach, cantaloupe. As we learn more about E.coli and many other antibiotic resistant bacteria, this is all the more important. (The ubiquitous E.coli bacteria was first reported as gaining that status in ground beef in the US not long ago.)

        1. Darius

          Lentils. Beans. Fruits and vegetables that grow off the ground. I think it’s possible to reduce one’s meat consumption significantly without going vegan.

          1. kareninca

            I was a vegan for ethical reasons for 19 years – and it wasn’t potato chips, it was “whole grains health food vegan”. I ended up pre-diabetic. My post meal readings are pretty bad. Even a half a cup of lentils is a problem; it will bring me up above the blood glucose level at which organ damage happens. An apple is a disaster. Anyone who wants to go vegan needs to get a blood glucose monitor to see if they are harming themselves.

            BTW, there are studies that claim to show that a vegan diet can lower A1c. But if you start reading up on this, you see that the A1c drop was due to weight loss, not the content of the diet. Weight loss by any means will often lower A1c, although maybe not enough and not for long; besides, the vast majority of dieters regain the weight.

      4. kareninca

        nycTerrierist, I hope you will read my comment above and consider urging people who want to try a plant based diet to get a blood sugar monitor. Some people can safely consume large quantities of carbs (and a plant based diet is necessarily high carb, unless you live on olive oil); some cannot. The lucky ones keep creating more beta cells on their pancreas to deal with the carbs; they can end up with an enormous number of beta cells. The unlucky ones don’t; their blood sugar rises, and the high sugar kills off the existing beta cells. It depends on your genes.

        As someone who was an ethical vegan for 19 years it pains me to write this, but a vegan diet can be dangerous to a certain percentage the population. I wish I had an answer; I would rather not eat animal products.

  6. Arthur J

    The worst roommate story is quite sad. There is a female version of Jason in Toronto, although she’s not quite as bad. She gets in, pays the first month and that’s it. Thanks to Ontario’s ridiculous tenant laws that are completely stacked against landlords, it takes at least six months to get rid of her.
    Nina Willis is her name, just looked it up.

  7. Wukchumni

    What happens after Pandora’s Box is open for business after being slammed shut since Nagasaki?

    Human nature being what it is, we’re creatures of habit and once the first one has been unleashed-where is the restraint from other quarters harboring H-bombs?

    The thought of using nuclear weapons in anger has long been unthinkable by those possessing them, except in retaliation or occasionally in a limited way, such as will probably happen in North Korea. Conventional bombing would take far too long and not be all that effective, allowing NK guns to pummel Seoul.

    Oh well, it was a good ride, and amazing that we went exactly 4 generations of 18 year olds between unleashing armageddon again.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For a few decades, this has been operative

      “The deadlier the weapon (the H bomb), the longer the peace*.”

      *relatively speaking. Peace, as in, not another World War II, though, there have been many smaller wars.

      How long will that last?

      Nobody knows.

      But for a short time, we have lived and are still living in the paradoxical world.

    2. ambrit

      The real problem with using Pandoras’ Box as an analogy is that it can be shut again, but its’ fraught cargo, once unleashed, cannot be returned into it.
      With all due respects to those who died at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the use of the weapons at the end of WW2 were demonstrations of potential force, not true Armageddons.
      My idea of a true nuclear armageddon is Fukushima. Or all those nuclear power plants situated within global warming flood zones. The decommissioning and removal of those power plants alone will be a measurable percentage of world GDP by the end of this century.

      1. Wukchumni

        The permanently decommissioned in a hurry ‘grand tetons’ @ San Onofre would give me pause to live anywhere near them, and that’s before sea rise has it’s way with it. The other one in California is Diablo Canyon, about 150 miles away. Still too close, but a nice cushion of distance.

        It’s bad enough we’re spoiling the atmosphere for generations to come and then some vis a vis climate change, but it’s hard to fathom somebody in 20218 having to be worried about getting too close to our handiwork, in what might be akin to the ‘Forbidden Zones’ from the Planet of the Apes. That wont stop our intrepid man or woman from the future in wanting to mess with it, trying to set it on fire, no doubt.

        1. ambrit

          Yes, I forgot about places like Diablo Canyon, where the nukes are situated right on top of a fault zone.
          We here in south central Mississippi have to worry about fallout from the Grand Gulf plant, a true ‘drama queen’ power plant. (Also leaking tritium.)
          Then there is the continuing tritium leakage from the Baxterville underground nuclear test site, just south of our fair city, Hattiesburg.
          We can run, but we can’t hide. Unless we fly off to Mars as indentured servants of the Muskogarchy.
          See, all you future serfs:

  8. John Zelnicker

    Hi, Jerri-Lynn – Looks like you’re on comment duty this morning.

    The Truthout and BBC links on the gun culture in collapse are mixed in with each other.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Seems that my fingers were particularly fat while I was compiling these links. Now fixed– thanks for drawing the problems to my attention.

      1. ambrit

        Another fun murkiness in there is the fact that which direction the shift from “moderates” is proceeding within the Cali Dem Party is not explained. As it stands, this phrasing can denote a shift to the Right as well as to the Left.
        Calling Feinstein a ‘moderate’ is indeed a perversion of common linguistic usage.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Mad as hell audience member:
          “Why won’t you support single-payer?”

          Her majesty Di-Fi:

          “If you’re asking me whether I’m for a complete government takeover of healthcare, I’m not”


          Q: “Do you like peas?”
          A: “I hate hot dogs!”

          (Hapless overworked time-poor lifelong Democrat hearing DiFi’s response: “Yeah, she must be doing her best, I’m not for communist healthcare either”)

    1. Louis Fyne

      Feinstein + real estate tycoon spouse + family got their Trump tax cut. Mission accomplished.

      California progressives finding religion after 25 years. better late than never.

      vote Feinstein for Senate. A woman can feign indignation for the bottom 90% as good as any man!

    2. Enquiring Mind

      Still mad about Feinstein’s post office giveaway to her hubby. Wouldn’t vote for her even if Hell froze over.

    3. John Wright

      The DNC also denied the endorsement for Gavin Newsom for CA governor.

      Here is a link to an interview with Newsom in the local free paper, The Bohemian.

      Excerpt, Newsom wisdom on inequality:

      “The Bohemian: Bay Area cities are ground zero for income inequality. How do you think we arrived at this point of extreme poverty in the shadow of plenty, and what steps would you take as governor to alleviate those problems—both on a structural level and in the short-term?”

      “Newsom: The only substantive way we’re going to address this issue is you’ve got to begin at the beginning. Our interventions come too late. We’re playing catch-up, we’re triaging it. At the end of the day, if we don’t focus on the first few precious years of a child’s life, we are making a huge mistake—and we’ve been doing that for a generation. The science is in, it’s overwhelming: billions and billions of neurons exploding at the same time; 85 percent of that brain is developed by the age of three. If you don’t capture a kid by the age of three, we’re going to be spending extraordinary amounts of money playing catch-up.”

      “So we have a huge focus on prenatal care, on nurse home visits, early intervention and those first three precious years. Obviously as mayor, I did universal preschool—fully implemented it. That’s profoundly important from a foundational perspective. But that’s, to me, my focus: the readiness gap, and not waiting for it to become an achievement gap.”

      So Newsom’s ONLY solution to inequality is early intervention in the first three years of a child’s life.

      This really moves the goalposts as one needs to wait until the child is working age to see if the early intervention DID lessen inequality when they sought work.

      Later in the interview Newsom mentions “One of my closest friends, the godfather of my firstborn, Marc Benioff [CEO of Salesforce],” making it appear his child is already well connected.

      Just what CA needs, a well-connected lightweight for Governor.

      1. Paul Cardan

        Note the reference to “the science.” Not sure where Newsom read about “neurons exploding.”

        The focus on the first few years is not a surprise, since the only inequality that matters to such people is inequality of opportunity. Once the playing field has been leveled, let the chips fall where they may. Let the market decide. That’s efficient. That’s just.

        This is why the article on framing from yesterday is important. There are widespread assumptions concerning economics which, given the importance of economic matters in this society, frame debate about most everything. Those assumptions have to be identified, challenged, and replaced.

      2. Jen

        “Newsom: The only substantive way we’re going to address this issue is you’ve got to begin at the beginning. Our interventions come too late. We’re playing catch-up, we’re triaging it. At the end of the day, …”

        Dear Lord. Gotta hand it to him though, the man’s been learning his cliches.

      3. neo-realist

        Speaking of well connected lightweights with no clue to deal with poverty and inequality at the local and state level, check out an exchange at a neighborhood Seattle town hall meeting between a Senior and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

        Next question: Diane Vincent, identifying herself as a lifelong renter whose Social Security barely covers half of her rent, and she’s been on a waitlist for a senior apartment for three years. The mayor’s Office of Senior Citizens is being shut down, she says, but she needs retraining because she has to work “to survive.” Her Social Security went up $12 – her rent went up $200. The city isn’t offering help for senior jobs, she said. The mayor’s reply included a mention that she is asking the state for tax breaks for landlords in affordable rentals – so that tax increases don’t automatically mean rent increases. Vincent follows up about jobs. Durkan mentions job losses imminent because of automation and uses “self-driving vehicles” as an example.

        In the words of Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav, “Can’t do nothing for ya man, can’t do nothing for ya man.”

    4. John k

      A neolib warmonger is moderate liberal… she is nothing if not liberal.
      Somebody that is anti war and for real benefits for workers, and maybe wants white collar criminals to go to jail, is a progressive, though maybe labeled leftist.
      I wish pundits would define their labels…
      I must say that maybe my state’s dem party is progressing nicely…

  9. Anon

    Did there used to be an admin address for submitting links? Failing at the internet and can’t seem to,find one.

    1. Jules Dickson

      As mentioned in our Contacts link at the top of the home page:
      Links and Antidotes
      We very much appreciate reader submitted links and Antidotes du Jour. The more, the merrier! Please send them to

      For links, please put the article headline either as the subject line or in the body of the message, as well as the link. If you have time, please also copy the article proper into the message. For antidotes, please put “Antidote” in the subject line. Also bear in mind we cannot upload photos bigger than 2 MB.

  10. The Rev Kev

    Today’s Antidote du Jour – that’s…that’s not a Maltese Falcon by any chance, is it?

    UN Security Council votes in favour of 30-day Syria ceasefire

    The propaganda that I have been watching on TV news has not been this bad since the liberation of Aleppo so it has really got me wound up. So, a few facts that are up to commentators to sort the truth of.
    First, the East Ghouta pocket is not that large but has perhaps 100 to 200 thousand people there. Accurate numbers are hard to confirm. Jihadist from this pocket constantly fire weapons and rockets at Damascus killing and wounding civilians but you will never hear of them in the news. No government in the world would tolerate a pocket of terrorist next to their capital city and the Syrian are no different, hence the offensive.
    The UN agreement include mention of medical evacuations of the sick and wounded. Considering that the place is a war zone, there is no mention of opening a border and letting any civilian leave that wants to. The reason is simple. The Jihadist won’t let them go as they are a human shield as well as disposable propaganda tools. No western news organization such as CNN, the Washington Post, The Times, Le Monde, etc will dare send reporters into the place because it is entirely run by Jihadists. Thus they rely on the Jihadists themselves to give them all news and film footage. Anybody see a problem with that?
    One major reason that the UN resolution was delayed was that the Russians were extracting anything in it that could be used as an excuse for the western powers to attack the Syrian forces here as happened with Libya and the agreement there. The Russians will never let that happen again. Why did the Russians agree to it?
    Simple. The agreement does not cover groups such as ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. There are no ISIS forces in this pocket but the above mentioned groups are the main one that occupy this pocket and therefore are fair game. Break them and the pocket will probably collapse or at the very least tens of thousands of civilians will be evacuated. So, when you read or see on TV reporters say that there is still firing going on in spite of the cease-fire agreement and the Russian are still dropping bombs, you know that someone is lying to you about what is happening.

    1. jawbone

      As I had trouble getting to sleep last night, and WNYC runs BBC news from midnight to 5 AM, I got to hear several iterations of Beeb coverage of the East Ghouta, all of which made it “clear” than the Russians and Syrian government were ignoring or breaking the UN resolution just passed. East Ghouta pretty much dominated the hourly news updates and there were longer repetitions in the body of the news yours.

      It was not until late in the early hours of the morning that 1) a BBC reporter in Beirut reported that the Syrian Arab Army and air force were playing games with the language of the resolution to enable attacks on the population of East Ghouta and, closer to 5 AM, that 2) well, there was language that might allow the SAA and Russians to continue fighting against UN recognized terrorist groups. However, that meant there would be deaths of civilians, and that was due to the dastardly Russians for not controlling Assad.. This was the very end of the report, just before the reporter was identified as being in Beirut.

      Amazingly, the BBC gets all sorts of interviews and videos of the “rebels” in East Shouta, but nary a word or smuggled video from any who support the Syrian government. And the Beirut reported got all sorts of his information directly from East Ghouta “rebels” and sad civilians who had to hide in basements. One such person had a fairly long report while walking around East Ghouta, purportedly, and capturing the sounds of planes, explosions, cries, etc.

      Once upon a time I trusted the BBC…now, not much.

      BTW, Rev Kev, how do you know there are no ISIS fighters in East Ghouta?

  11. JCC

    My immediate reaction to the American Conservative article is that it explains a rational – from a normal, irrational, Trumpian perspective – idea of the perfect solution for Global Warming.

    Nuclear Winter.

    1. Massinissa

      One of my liberal friends (albeit a very ‘centrist’ liberal) basically tried to convince me that the best way to stop global warming would be a ‘limited’ nuclear war. (Either that, or geoengineering…)

      Riiiiiight. And the sad thing is, is that he is otherwise well educated.

      1. funemployed

        Um….why a war? I mean, if the (thoroughly blinkered) idea of nuclear winter as an antidote is actually taken seriously, why, pray tell, must people die in the detonation?

      2. Baby Gerald

        That friend of yours might well have a nice resumé with lots of academic credentials from respectable institutions of higher learning, but it seems pretty clear from the claim made that this person is not, in fact, an intelligent person.

        I graduated from an ivy league college. The mean GPA of the class was and still is a 3.3. Think about that for a minute. The fact that you are given a piece of paper with title on it doesn’t mean you’re automatically smart.

      3. polecat

        So, was your .. ‘friend’* .. ready and waiting, should said solution be adopted as a matter of official policy, to volunteer to be present at one of any number of potential ground zeros, to prove-up what a real standup guy he was ??

        *with friends like these …

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Ilargi, at The Automatic Earth, begs to differ with Cockburn. Strenuously. Meticulously.

      And I can’t say that Cockburn’s credibility is burnished with statements like this:

      Fabricating a scandal is not difficult: an example of this is Hillary Clinton, who was cumulatively damaged by a series of fake scandals: the Whitewater real estate scandal in the 1990s from which she made no money; her use of a private email account that revealed no secrets; and the absurd attempt to hold her responsible for the murder of the US ambassador in Benghazi in 2012.

      1. Jim Haygood

        In 1985 [the Clintons’ Whitewater partner] Jim McDougal invested in Castle Grande. Its 1,000 acres were priced at $1.75 million. McDougal could borrow only $600,000 from his own savings and loan, Madison Guaranty. Therefore, McDougal involved others to raise the additional funds.

        To avoid potential investigations, the money was “moved back and forth” [i.e., laundered] among several other investors and intermediaries. Hillary Clinton at Rose Law Firm provided legal services to Castle Grande [and Madison Guaranty, which later failed].

        Literally everything she touches leaves a distinctive odor of sulphur in the air.

        Got cattle futures?

    2. ted

      Ah yes, charity colonialism … must defend that (as we have been since the Jesuits were burning heathens wherever the could find them to death starting the 16th century … you know God’s work and all that). Using Oxfam’s own publicity documents to celebrate its own accomplishments is a particularly risable form of argument (how many actual potable water stations did those “strategies” deliver and for how long?). Question for Cockburn, just why is Haiti in such a perpetual state of immiseration in the first place, and what role does the United States, England, and France play in ensuring that the immiseration continues?

      As for illargi and automatic earth (Below) … geez for a dutchman, I suppose using democratic institutions to force the Netherlands out of NATO and to divest from all Saudi and US businesses citing the US and its wahabist vassals as a great empire of evil and immiseration isn’t worth much time. Sending a few Euroes to his pals in Athens so they can pursue a decent middle class living helping these refugees who for some strange reason suddenly decided to pick up and leave the countries of origin all of a sudden is the most sensible plan.

  12. Jim Haygood

    In partnership with the New Orleans Times-Picayune the NYT has published a sprawling, profusely-illustrated article on south Louisiana, focusing on the town of Jean Lafitte just outside the levees. The brooding late-afternoon, long-telephoto, slowly-drowning landscapes are dramatic and heartbreaking, if you ever lived in Cajun country. Excerpt:

    Lafitte’s lifers, for the most part, seem resigned to wait things out. The centuries spent fishing and trapping have built a resilient and self-reliant culture. More than 250 years since the Acadians were expelled from Nova Scotia, there remains a deep resistance to another forced exile.

    “People that don’t understand it say, ‘Why don’t you just move away?’” said Ms. Kuhns, the Louisiana Bayoukeeper president, who refuses to join her daughter, Ms. Mancuso, on the other side of the levee.

    “The people who are connected to these communities don’t think that way. It’s a whole culture that’s connected to the earth and the water. You can’t replicate it.”

    Strangely, on Street View, every house I ever lived in since birth is still there, including the one near Bayou Manchac where residents were boating the street in 2016. Drowning land erodes our illusion of permanence, but swamp rats soldier on.

    NWS alert: Forecast … the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge is expected to rise above flood stage by Thursday March 1st and then continue rising until cresting at or near 40.0 feet by Friday March 16th.

    1. Craig H.

      In the starkest illustration, a $48 million federal grant is being used to relocate the nearly 100 residents of Isle de Jean Charles, a narrow spit in lower Terrebonne Parish that has lost 98 percent of its land over 60 years. In a national experiment, the money will be used to buy land and build homes for those willing to move to higher ground on a sugar farm near Houma, about 40 miles north.

        1. Craig H.

          The Island Road on satellite view looks like a temporary pontoon bridge like a big Roman or French army might have thrown up in a couple days to get across a river. I cannot imagine an eighteen wheeler driving across it.

      1. John k

        So if it works we can expect to spend a half million per to relocate how many millions from low land in the southeast?
        MMT better work…

    2. ambrit

      Our middle girl and her family still live south of Walker. They had flooding during the ‘rain flood’ two years ago. This flooding is the new normal most living there agree. Daughters family is saving up to buy a few acres at higher elevation.
      Since this is an economics blog, what about all of the ‘adversely affected’ value of those soon to be besogged properties? Talk about ‘creative destruction!’

  13. RenoDino


    I like this fanciful article because it uses the term “extreme caprice.” It proposes that Trump could make peace by resorting to a Monty-Python like strategy of bold silliness. In essence, it would involve giving Kim trillions of dollars and the entire Korean Penninsula. South Park kids KIm and Donald both win a trophy.

    1. Doug Hillman

      Following Trump’s juvenile “my button is bigger than yours” taunt to NK with new sanctions; his increased military/nuclear spending; his escalations in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, etc; and his renewed expansion of NATO at Russia’s border, It would be entirely fitting for him to join Obama and Kissinger as igNobel prize-winner. The igNobel prize has become an Orwellian farce, but Orwell clearly “misunderestimated” the madness of our elite overlords.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Forget about Trump. Neither China or Japan will allow the unification of the Korean peninsula. Especially when that unified Korea will possess nuclear weapons. Although that doesn’t mean that reunification is impossible. Koreans have always been stubborn like that.

      This is a topic that was covered on Naked Capitalism waaaay back in 2013. I find Heron’s comment on the topic to be as relevant now as ever.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I wonder if China prefers a divided Vietnam as well.

        As for Japan, how much say do they have here, comparing to that of the US, China or even Russia?

        1. Andrew Watts

          Vietnam is less of a geographic threat to Chinese ambition compared to the Koreans.

          As for Japan, how much say do they have here, comparing to that of the US, China or even Russia?

          It depends on how quickly a Sino-Japanese alliance is formed which I think is wholly dependent on how fast American influence collapses in the region. The Japanese are probably more focused on the Kuril Islands and economic expansion to areas in the far south. It’s probably one of the reasons why they’re working so hard to keep the TPP alive.

      2. JTMcPhee

        I read somewhere that Vietnam has been secretly working with Oakistan and NK on developing its own nuclear weapons and delivery systems… (sorry, just trying to start another Net hare…)

        1. Andrew Watts

          I don’t think the Vietnamese government would attempt to procure nukes. Vietnam has historically been a country in search of a benefactor or benevolent overlord. I doubt most Americans are aware that the Vietnamese have been begging for American patronage since Lincoln was president.

          This would’ve probably gotten lost during the Vietnam War but it makes for an interesting alt-history moment. What if America used it’s influence to dismantle the remains of the French colonial regime and allocated land plus development funding for Vietnamese peasants?

      3. Yves Smith

        South Korea does not want unification. GDP per capita in SK IIRC is $37,000. In NK, under $2,000. The gap between West and East Germany at the time of unification was vastly lower and it still was very detrimental to Germany and arguably all of the Eurozone, since it led to Germany imposing the Haartz reforms, which were deflationary in impact and promoted labor-squeezing policies elsewhere (“if we Germans took this medicine, why can’t you?”).

        1. Andrew Watts

          I don’t suspect that the Koreans would proceed as quickly as the Germans did. The re-unification process would probably last a decade or more. It’s not like North Korea is as resource poor as East Germany either. They might be sitting on the richest vein of rare earth metals on the planet. It was also the industrial heartland of Korea and had a higher standard of living than the South before the War. Energy shortages, mobilization of it’s manpower, and sanctions has crippled it’s industrial production. All of which could drastically change the picture in the North and the willingness of the South for unity if the situation was different.

        2. Andrew Watts

          Okay, I’m a few years out of date on my thinking on a united Korea. I had no idea that the South Koreans were already making contingency plans. Or that any timeline for reunification would be even longer than I suspected.

          North Korea is sitting on trillions of dollars of untapped wealth, and its neighbors want in

          But South Korea has its own plans for the mineral resources. It sees them as a way to help pay for reunification (should it finally come to pass), which is expected to take decades and cost hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars. (Germany knows a few things about that.) Overhauling the North’s decrepit infrastructure, including the aging railway line, will be part of the enormous bill.

          In May, South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport invited companies to submit bids on possible infrastructure projects in North Korea, especially ones regarding the mining sector. It argued that the underground resources could “cover the expense of repairing the North’s poor infrastructure.”

          I choose to blame the Syrian Civil War.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Truthout/William Rivers Pitt./Fla. massacre–While the US certainly does have a “culture of violence” we should be clear that this is an entirely bipartisan project. After all it was the previous Democratic president who said “turns out I’m really good at killing people” (referring to drones). To pretend this is only about gun manufacturers or the NRA ignores the glorification of the military and the pleas of people like Madeleine Albright or Hillary Clinton that our vast array of state weaponry be put to use, otherwise why have it. Even the sainted Bernie Sanders seems ready to start something with Russia over a few internet trolls.

    Turns out the US is very good at killing people including hundreds of thousands overseas and even our own children using those same military weapons. While Rivers Pitt does bring out this point, the selective outrage of the mass media in general doesn’t exactly capture the high ground.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s never made any sense that a population that canonizes the likes of obama, clinton and albright, and casually tolerates endless foreign mass murder and mayhem, becomes benevolent pacifists domestically simply as the result of borders on a map.

      And it’s insane to suggest that such a thing is even possible. If the nra did not exist, something like it would have to be invented on which this collective national sin could be dumped, and because of which the rest of the complicit population can claim purity and absolution.

  15. ex-PFC Chuck

    My daughter lives near the Bedford stop on the “L” train, which is the first one on the Brooklyn side of the East river. She’s been dreading the forthcoming shutdown since her place of work is just a block or two away from one of the west side Manhattan stops on that line. I haven’t got her opinion on the matter yet but if the Brooklyn terminal of the proposed ferry docks at the terminal Google maps shows at the foot of Sixth Street, her walk to there is at most a block more than to the Bedford “L” train stop. This seems to me a far better alternative than the circuitous multi-line subway route she’d been dreading.

  16. marym

    Based on following some twitter accounts of activists in the successful resistance to Boston’s hosting the 2024 Olympics, and on reading some of David Zirin’s work, the reason for popular resistance to the Olympics and other one-time sports events is that it’s a grift event – displace the poor and working class, tie up traffic and normal local life, gentrify.

    Though sold as some sort of boon to the local economy, the reason the 1984 Olympics was the only one that turned a profit is that it’s the only one where the city would not agree to guarantee the costs.

    No Boston Olympics: How and Why Smart Cities Are Passing on the Torch by Andrew Zimbalist and Chris Dempsey

    Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy by David Zirins

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, I recall seeing the local opposition spring up early and vocally to bury the idea of hosting the Olympics in Boston. Polls were strongly against from the get go. Montreal had recently finished paying for ’76 and the Brazilian train-wreck from the Olympics and World Cup were plain for all to see. We also still have memories from the Big Dig still in the far reaches of our brains.

      Boston was never one of the stronger candidates, but local opposition killed the campaign in its infancy. Local pols were stopped in their tracks before they got any real momentum.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Avoid paper cups as well.

    Will you take plastic with your tea? Treehugger. Yet another unnecessary use of plastics. I drink an enormous amount of tea– several cups each day–and always brew loose leaf tea in a pot.

    Then, Tree-huggers can have more trees to hug.

    One more tip: Carry a handkerchief with you all the time. Save more trees.

    1. Yves Smith

      The use of paper isn’t all that pernicious compared to a lot of things humans do. Trees have to be farmed to make paper. Less paper means fewer farmed trees means more CO2. The lands now dedicated to tree farming would probably be turned over to other uses.

      1. funemployed

        Thank you. I’ve been getting dirty looks for saying this for years (as I always prefer to work with paper, rather than screen, when practical). I also get dirty looks for not caring terribly much about recycling plastic (though I do try to use, and therefore discard, as little as possible). I get the dirtiest looks of all when I say that focusing on individual consumption choices rather than systemic change is a misuse of activist time and energy.

        Took me a long time to realize that a lot of what passes for “environmentalism” is really just virtue signaling.

        1. beth

          Question for Yves & funemployed:
          Most paper cups used for coffee have plastic lining the inside of the cup. IDo your comments above account for this?

          1. beth

            If we are to eliminate plastic, how much is the plastic lining in paper cups a problem? I have wondered this for a long time, but never asked anyone who has an opinion.

            Perhaps I am too late in the day to get an answer.

        2. heresy101

          Recycling does work and in El Cerrito, CA we recycle damn near everything from books, plastics, metals, green waste, electronics to medicines (to avoid dumping down the drain).

          There is one plastic recycle product that I will be using to make my wife happy with her raised vegetable bins. There are probably other producers but this recycled plastic lumber will work great for raised beds – no rotting or problems with water or gophers. I’m starting preliminary design to make a greenhouse from these materials to hold the 10mm polycarbonate window materials.


          As far as green waste goes, I’m hoping to buy anaerobic gas from yard trimmings, cattle manure, and other organics. It qualifies as renewable and gives a dispatchable electricity source for the municipal utility that I work for.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks, Yves. I didn’t know about that aspect, that if we used less paper, there’d be fewer trees planted to be farmed to make paper, and less oxygen (or more CO2).

        Can we use those trees to make something not single-use?

        Maybe wooden Miso soup bowls or more solid wood furniture.

        I recent purchased some Huanghuali ‘Official’s-Hat’ chairs (not expensive, surprisingly enough, each for, $300, before commission and shipping and to me, they date to at least the Qing dynasty, if not Ming). It is said that they do not rot, even after being buried for hundreds of years.

        How many of today’s chairs will last that long?

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China will scrap limit on presidential term, meaning Xi Jinping can stay on SCMP

    That should be big news.

    What’s next? For life?

    1. Edward E

      There will be plenty of eyes on it over here. Hope what’s next is not the repeal of the 22nd amendment, it gets proposals yearly or less.

  19. Richard

    I read the article about Pinker’s new book. I have always enjoyed Pinker, associated him with Chomsky over language theory, and never really thought of him as someone who’s trying to make liberals feel better about themselves, give a boost to laissez faire capitalism, etc. Anyway, the argument in the review seemed to be centered largelyaround the meaning of the Enlightenment. My background in that area is very “everyman”. Anyone want to chip in and help provide actual enlightenment?

    1. Self Affine

      Discussing the Enlightenment would be a bit too much for a blog. But I tend to side with with the article’s author. Steven Pinker appears like a modern Professor Pangloss who (instead of extolling the best of all possible worlds), professes that “reason is non-negotiable” and mis-interprets Hume’s observation that reason has its limits.

      Apparently he is unaware of Goedel’s or Turing’s work on logic as well and the inherent limits to decidability.

      I find him to be a rather insidious neo-liberal apologist cloaked in academic finery, basking in the warmth of his posse. He should stick to his scientific research an stop writing books that are obviously political in nature by generalizing his special view of human nature.

      The Better Angels of our Nature: a history of violence and humanity (2011)is another example of the Panglossian approach. Pinker argues that the “artifices of civilization have moved us in a noble direction,” with the result not only that “violence has been in decline for long stretches of time,” but also that “we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species’ existence.”

      I think either that’s obviously wrong, or Pinker and I are living on different planets.

      Finally, his comment “opposing reason is, by definition, unreasonable” is content free from the outset (unfortunately its the basis of his approach) and rather stupid actually because the issue is not whether or something is reasonable or not. The issue is whether or not its true.

      There are endless example of “unreasonable” results in science when they are first discovered; just think of quantum mechanics as an example. Reason follows later.

      1. georgieboy

        “”Pinker argues that the “artifices of civilization have moved us in a noble direction,” with the result not only that “violence has been in decline for long stretches of time,” but also that “we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species’ existence.”

        I think either that’s obviously wrong, or Pinker and I are living on different planets.””

        Just curious: what is obviously wrong?

        1. Self Affine

          When Pinker writes that “moved us in a noble direction ,,,,” he is not taking into account the magnitude of the current violence around us; which includes poverty, racism, deaths due to our health system, killing and torture at unimagined levels around the world (take a look at what’s happening in Yemen), an economy based on militarization and exploitation, person to person as well as police violence, drug deaths, ecosystem violence ….

          I could extend that list for quite a while and it obtains world-wide since institutional violence against human beings is never really discussed.

          Moving in a noble direction? Really? When we have 60% of the US population not being able to meet an emergency $1000.- expense.

          So forgive me if I view his public writings as political cover for elite interests and consider his point of view obviously wrong.

        2. Richard

          Pinker notes how rates of things like rape, murder, assault have been on a steady downward decline, for millenia now. The genocides of the 20th century do not fit into any pattern of reduced violence, however. And neither, come to think of it, do the more impersonal and remote everyday violences, denial of care and extraction of debt services, that have largely replaced violences like “bludgeon on the head” but are a scant improvement.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Pinker’s ‘peace’ sounds like the Pax Romana kind which Tacitus mentioned critically back in the day – “They create a desolation and call it peace”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am only able to talk, rather imprecisely, about Zen enlightenment, or satori in Japanese (wu, I think, in Chinese).

      Zen enlightenment is a continuous process…after one such experience, one can continue to get many more. One satori does not a Buddha, or saint make.

      And one has to keep up the training, that experiential awareness, to see the world as it is, and to remember to put in practice what one has knowledge of.

    3. David

      Just to say that Gray, who is a respected philosopher and often has interesting things to say, nonetheless has serious form in dissing the Enlightenment, the French Revolution etc, and putting forward an essentially gloomy, reactionary view of the world, in which good intentions inevitably end in disaster. Human nature is cyclical, he argues, so there is no progress and the world can never be improved. It’s obvious, therefore why he would react so badly to Pinker’s book. For what it’s worth, this kind of reactionary, anti-enlightenment thinking, which largely came from European historians like Nolte and Furet, has been handily demolished by Domenico Losurdo in “War and Revolution.”

      1. Self Affine

        Interesting take on Gray’s review.

        I kind of interpreted it differently. I.e. it appears that Gray is criticizing Pinker’s lack of understanding of the Enlightenment as well as misrepresenting philosophers like Hume with respect to the question of “reason”, what is reasonable and so on.

        It’s the mis-application of reason and the failure to understand its limits, thereby allowing justification of horrors that, I believe. Gray refers to. That’s not reactionary.

        For example: was it reasonable to drop atomic bombs and firebomb Tokyo at the end of WWII. We’ll from a certain perspective, sure; it falls into the domain of situational logic and power and can be construed as reasonable.

        Pinker seems oblivious to the subjective and context dependent nature of reason and decision making. Which I find rather weird given than he spends a lot of time thinking about Cognitive Neuroscience and is generally considered quite brilliant.

        I wish he would spend a little time thinking about ethics instead.

        1. David

          Yes, I sort of agree with your first point. I was simply trying to add some background. It does look as if Pinker misunderstands (or greatly oversimplifies) the Enlightenment, but it’s also true that Gray (in “Black Mass”, I think) ascribes pretty much all of the evils of the twentieth century to the Enlightenment, which he argues was a secularization of medieval teleological ideas, turning them into programmes for secular utopias which always went wrong. But then Gray is also known for having frequently changed his position on various issues.

      2. Oregoncharles

        My problem with Gray’s review is that both “Enlightenment” and “liberal” remain undefined throughout, except by haphazard example, so we literally don’t know what he’s talking about.

        In case it isn’t obvious, I’m more of a logical positivist.

        1. c_heale

          Although Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is full of flaws (there are many basic errors in the book, not least on some of his economic and scientific theories – his understanding of chemistry is laughably bad), I think he has a point when he says, communism, liberalism and fascism are religions where humans have taken the place of God (I hope I have quoted him correctly here). Therefore the ardent defenders of ‘liberal’ values are not the disinterested, scientific, honest observers of the world, but actually religious fanatics.
          As an aside, Descartes theory of the mind and the body is completely ridiculous imo, and has damaged science immeasurably.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I agree about the mind-body “problem.” It’s actually trivial; can be seen as a big issue only if you conflate “mind” with “soul.”

            To be specific: the mind is the functioning of the brain, precisely as digestion is the functioning of the gut. Perhaps the confusion arises because the mind is experiencing itself. But that is not contradictory.

      3. Jim

        An important question which anti-enlightenment thinking raises is whether any society can actually do without the myths (religious thinking/traditions/customs) which have supposedly been exposed by the Enlightenment as largely pathologies, superstitions or illusions.

        Is it actually the case that society can do without mythological cultural assumptions embedded in its traditions and customs?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Good point. I think anthropologists would say no, and go looking for ours.

          EG, what really sustains foral democracy is tradition and expectations. Otherwise, why would a president step down when they lose an election or come to the end of their allotted term?

          Interestingly, none have lost an election in quite a while – the last was GHW Bush.

    4. Timothy Martell

      The exchange is reminiscent of a 20th century debate about the Enlightenment, one that took place over the course of a couple of generations of German philosophers, all of whom were better informed than Pinker. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno kicked it off with Dialectic of Enlightenment, to which Jurgen Habermas responded over the entire course of his career, culminating in The Theory of Communicative Action.

      I don’t find such debates helpful. When speaking of enlightenment in the narrow sense, the Enlightenment, we’re talking about lots of different figures, writing about lots of different things, over the course of a century. It is possible to identify patterns, if you go looking for them: widely shared presuppositions, interests, ideals, methods, and even conclusions. But “widely shared” must not be confused with “universal.” Ernst Cassirer’s The Philosophy of the Enlightenment remains a good source if you’re curious about what many (not all) of these people had in common. But, however learned histories such as Cassirer’s might be, they don’t result in something with which I’ve any interest in arguing. Whatever we might plausibly make “Enlightenment thought” out to have been, it’s simply too amorphous. I’d prefer to argue with a particular figure, like Kant. One voice rather than a cacophony.

      I will, though, say this much about the Enlightenment: it’s surely a source of present day scientism, which should not be confused with science. I’m not aware of any physics textbook, for instance, that ends with “And that’s all there is.” The claim that the whole of reality is identical with that to which physics textbooks will one day refer is not a claim of physics. It’s metaphysics. Also, I’m pretty sure that courses in the natural sciences, in teaching students how to inquire, never conclude instruction with “And there is no other way, in principle, to know about anything.” That’s the stuff of epistemology, not chemistry, biology, physics, etc.

      Gray is correct in saying that exponents of scientism invoke “the authority of science to legitimise the values of their time and place,” and so we dealing with ethics here too. But the ethics of scientism is indefensible by its own standards. Most exponents of scientism accept, without question, Hume’s distinction between is and ought, facts and values. Even if they’ve never read Hume, they should be able to see that physics, telling us like it is, tells us nothing about how things ought to be. Terms like ‘morally right’, ‘justice’, ‘generosity,’ and ‘solidarity’ do not occur in statements of physical law. Controlled observations aimed at identifying the causal factors for an event of some kind will not reveal that healthcare is a human right. The only proper conclusion about ethics to draw from scientism is nihilism: ethical claims, all of them, are false. If people like Pinker don’t draw that conclusion, it’s because of some sleight of hand, as when moving from some claim found in the literature on thermodynamics to claims about the meaning of life.

      1. Jim

        Timothy I agree with some of what you say in your first 2 paragraphs.

        Kantian enlightenment also insisted that reason has to be “autonomous” if it was to claim unconditional authority.

        A more modern critic of Kantian enlightenment, like that of Alasdair MacIntyre (in After Virtue) has questioned the very possibility of an autonomous rational perspective capable of complete critical independence from all prior sources.

        MacIntyre argued that only a “situated” status of reason within a context of a particular tradition can provide reason with a particular goal or value. Basically, people like MacIntyre concluded that reason cannot critically evaluate it own preconditions, and therefor lacks the autonomy to provide the basis of its own legitimacy.

        Thus the Kantian enlightenment legacy is left revealing the contingency of reason’s unconditional claims.

        1. Paul Cardan

          There’s another problem, then, with this debate: all parties accept the manner in which certain key terms are used. ‘Reason’, for instance, is used as a noun in manner suggestive of a substance (e.g., it is said or denied to be “situated”) or even an agent (as when reason is said to have claims, authority, goals, or values). I think we should be cautious about such peculiar use. It’s a good sign that we are about to be led into a coal pit (as Reid would put it). Another good indicator that something is amiss here is that the great work to which Kant puts ‘reason’ does not in fact need to be done. We don’t need a transcendental deduction of the categories in order to rest assured that our use of ’cause’ is sometimes justified. We only need compare public criteria for correct use with how we’ve talked about causes. We don’t need a distinction between phenomenal and noumenal realms in order to undermine the pretensions of rationalist metaphysics. Patient examination of the relevant claims and associated reasoning will suffice. Nor do we need that distinction in order to safeguard morality against science, since the idea that the latter is threat to the former is based on a misunderstanding of both. And, aside from partially clarifying the nature of what we call moral reasoning, what work does the Categorical Imperative, the first principle of self-legislating practical reason, actually do? So, great philosophy, but also mostly useless and often nonsense. Best not to fight such philosophers on ground of their choosing.

          1. ThoughtRinserPhilo

            Wonderful take down of yet another airport bestseller writer.
            I would highly recommend the book The Management Myth by Matthew Stewart. In the same vein he takes on the business literature: going through the actual data of the studies as well as the assumptions of the models. Both enlightening and hilarious book.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    Apologies if this has been mentioned already in the last few days, but while the Democrats are busy ginning up hysteria over supposed Russian interference in US elections casued by a handful of internet trolls, here’s some actual and extremely dangerous interference from the sitting US SecState and a sitting US senator, who have openly and quite publicly called for a military coup in Venezuela.

  21. Self Affine

    A cannabis startup that is valued at over 1 billion. Things sure are moving fast in this business.
    I checked out some of the links and was kind of amazed that craft products are already available (probably branded too) – check out:

    I don’t see how Sessions or anyone else can possibly stop this trend.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Imagine the only place to get it is online, through this one and only, giant, multinational, multi-planetary corporation that is in every industry.

        But I think it’s too early in the morning to think or worry..or get stressed out that far ahead.

  22. Summer

    RE: Med Men…billion dollar valuation

    Always full of customers in West Hollywood and plenty of workers to make sure they don’t feel neglected or overwhelmed by the choices.

    1. audrey jr

      Funny you mention Med Men, Summer. My son went to the “club,” as we call dispensaries here at my house, yesterday after work to get us our favorite spice and he came home with a free reusable plastic sleeve-type bag inscribed with the Med Men logo. First time I’ve seen or heard the term but as a former viewer of “Mad Men” I thoroughly enjoyed their skewing of that title.
      Corporate weed, ugh.

  23. Massinissa

    @Nobel Peace Price

    Are they just going to give out the peace prize to every US president now? I cant think of a better way to make the prize completely irrelevant in the eyes of the rest of the world.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At least this time, it appears they will wait, or hold off a little while more, and not rush into preemptively awarding the prize.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, they get pretty well badly burned with Obama. I remember him accepting his prize and then giving what amounted to a war speech. That took a lot of gall.

  24. marym

    Here’s a brief critique of CAP’s Medicare for All diversion from Adam Gaffney of PNHP.

    leaves some gaping holes

    “voodoo economics,” insufficient coverage, coverage worse than some employer plans

  25. Oregoncharles

    ” I drink an enormous amount of tea– several cups each day–and always brew loose leaf tea in a pot.”

    I think I’ve got you beat; I drink about a quart of tea daily, mostly in the morning, like now. Chief disadvantage is that it’s quite a diuretic. And like any serious tea drinker, I also use loose leaf tea in a pot; actually, I pour it off into yet another pot, to stop it getting it stronger – even I have my limits. Why pay for teabags, which can only contaminate your drink? And quality tea is only available loose leaf.

    One option is a metal or even ceramic tea ball, that enables you to, in effect, fill (and reuse!) your own tea bags. I don’t think it steeps as well that way, but it’s a handy method, say, at the office.

    As I’ve said before, I even grow the stuff; it’s a camellia, hardy to about Zone 7 (10 degrees F). Mine survived zero degrees, but were badly damaged. Blooms in the fall, fragrant white flowers, small for a camellia. I can’t yet grow as much as I drink, but I’m working on it. But I gather Jerri-Lynn is a bit of a nomad, so probably not gardening.

    1. Synoia

      Chief disadvantage is that it’s quite a diuretic

      Umm, I believe if you drank a quart of water you’d find it quite a diuretic.

      Consider the Human body as slightly elastic and tending toward a minimum volume. Whatever (non toxic) liquid you pour in one end, most will come out the other. Losses by evaporation are quite small.

    2. Ed Miller

      Oregoncharles: If you see this I would like to briefly discuss your experience with the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. If you don’t mind, of course. Away from NC is appropriate.

      I have one that’s young but it’s not vigorous. I am in Portland Metro area but not native Oregonian so I am still learning about plant adaptability here. Email me at monitor (dot) rat (at) gmail (dot) com. Just say Hi and I will reply with details.

      1. polecat

        We currently have four Camellia s. growing here on the polecat homefront. I’ve found that they don’t like strong, reflective sun (as in adjacent to a bright south wall or paving… too hot, potential for leaf scorch ! They prefer, like their ornamental brethren, an acidic soil environ, well mulched to moderate soil temperatures and retain moisture. They do not, however, tolerate soggy, poor draining sites !! Use an iron chelate if foliage shows signs of chlorosis. After 5 years only one of ours tea plants has grown large enough to harvest new tips.
        Hope that helps.

  26. fresno dan

    There are a lot of links regarding this confrontation and I would just advise, like most things in the media, you need to see/read several sources to approach reality.

    So, is this the start of a split between the “right” and law enforcement??? (FBI as well, both Russiagate and not so good job on checking on the school shooter as well). I can remember when only the “left” was critical of the cops…..

    I would say Loesch lands some good jabs, BUT wasn’t it the NRA and “good man with a gun” stops bad man with a gun and putting armed men at school was the solution? So the COPS aren’t good enough NOW, but the teachers will be? AND all these people with “concealed carry” – uh, how EXACTLY do you know who is a teacher, and who is a GOOD teacher?
    AND what happens when ACCUSED “screwy/dangerous” people are not UNIVERSALLY agreed by everyone as being screwy and or dangerous??? What happens when people are actually prevented from “exercising” their second amendment rights and prevented from getting a gun???
    IF CRUZ had been prevented from getting a gun (which meant no massacre)…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. Cops aren’t good enough.

      2. Can they enforce a gun ban, then? Should we all split with law enforcement? How would cops stand up to those with guns illegally?

      3. If cops can’t protect us, it’s every man and woman for him or herself.

      1. JTMcPhee

        So 3. is what you have been arguing your way around to, over the last couple of days, or so it seems? While claiming to favor some wider remedies, like taking firearms away from cops and mopes? And proposing “intermediate steps” like “giving teachers the choice to carry guns in class”? Or do I misread the direction of the deployed extensive argumentation?

        Not, of course, that in the wider insane world, it’s not the case that it’s all (politically almost correct) every man and woman for him or herself… after all, as proved in places like Afghanistan and parts of Mexico and such, “an armed society [sic] is a polite society…”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            (Sorry, ran out time when editing)

            Perhaps putting it all in one place would clarify some.

            1. We would prefer the police to work without guns (and they have some very powerful guns and armored personnel carriers).

            2. If guns are necessary, and the Wikipedia article, it mentions that in the UK, cops are allowed to carry guns when necessary), they have to be able to use them…not stay back, like they did in Florida.

            3. When possible, we should explore hi-tech solutions.

            4. Every man or woman for him//herself is not very desirable, downright scary. We do better with something like the UK and a few other nations mentioned in the Wikipedia article. It’s not too much to ask the police to protect us, without guns all the time.

            5. In the meantime, if students can bring guns, for me anyway, I think we offer teachers an option. It will be up to them.

              1. fresno dan

                February 25, 2018 at 5:41 pm

                Plus 1 zillion!!!!!!!!
                Why is it that the biggest political advocates of guns never allow them at their conventions???
                C’mon repubs – OPEN CARRY at the next repub convention!!! DEMONSTRATE how open carry at the convention will make for a BETTER convention! GUNS make everything better and SAFER!!! Don’t they want the President to be safe???? WITHOUT GUNS, POTUS WILL BE IN DANGER!!!!
                Was their open carry at the C-PAC? Indeed, shouldn’t admission be to ANY gun advocate as their viewpoints so exactly align???

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Also, if I may, I would like to add that I assumed #1 to be true.

          That is, if assuming that cops aren’t good enough, in general, then, #3 is the consequence.

          But I don’t think cops are not good enough, in general.

          I believe those cops in Florida could have done more.

          (My original comment at 2:54 PM was based on the above assumption and consideration. Sorry to not have made it clearer).

          1. cocomaan

            I think people forget that whole wide swathes of this country are effectively without law enforcement. I don’t have local cops where I live. State cops roll through occasionally, but the rural community relies on its own self defense.

            1. kareninca

              I live in Silicon Valley. Almost all of the police officers and firefighters who work here live far away, in the East Bay, due to housing costs. We have been told by our representatives not to expect them to show up in case of a severe earthquake or the like. The bridges will be out, so even if they wanted to leave their families to do their jobs – and it is not clear that they would want to – they couldn’t. And some will simply make their way back to their families in the East Bay, rather than sticking around here; it is human nature.

              So we will be on our own; DIY crime control and DIY firefighting. So it’s not just rural areas. Some people will have guns in this situation and many won’t; few of them will be police officers.

    2. Montanamaven

      Well, they definitely need smaller schools. Why was this such a big school? Is this the norm now? I know it doesn’t stop a disturbed kid with a gun necessarily. But it doesn’t also seem like a prison. Maybe a jail though.
      OKAY, never mind. I’m like MLTPB. All over the place. I wish this tragedy would bring about a discussion about the love of the military and its weapons. A discussion about our football games with military jets flying over and unwrapping a flag the size of the field. A discussion about why we let our young military kids get on the airplane first and not honoring teachers who are also underpaid and in the line of fire. How about we give every young person, not just upper middle class kids, a purpose in life, a life of meaning. This is an idea of the wonderful David Graeber in “Revolutions in Reverse” which you can get on line. In it he tells the factoid that kids Sign up because they want to build schools in third world countries. Why don’t we employ them here?

  27. Jim

    The essay by John Grey nicely and quickly demolishes Steven Pinker’s cardboard presentation of the Enlightenment.

    By reminding Pinker of the profound insight (prior to modern neuroscience) of Hume, when Hume states “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions and can never pretend to any other office then to serve and obey them,” Grey exposes the emotional imperative behind Pinker’s own reasoning.

    Hume regarded the “non-rational” source of passions as providing the conditional basis of reason and determining the ends to which reason should be developed.
    According to Hume, reason itself is largely neutral in regard to normative ends and being unable to choose between them, it is therefore reliant on the passions.

    Using this assumption, Grey nicely turns Pinker’s reasoning on its head, pointing out that the main purpose of his new book to to provide relief from painful emotional doubt about the future of liberal democracy– because, after all, reason is only the slave of the passions.

    1. Andrew Watts

      I mostly ignored Grey’s criticism as I was primarily focused on the fact that Pinker accurately labeled romantic notions as an enemy of modern liberals. What makes this interesting is that any believer in romantic ideals wouldn’t ever agree with modern arguments surrounding the establishment of a meritocracy or the rule of a technocratic elite. These ideals would be contrary with their idealization of the ‘common man’ and the idea that ordinary people, and not some elite, should decide their own fate.

      Neither Pinker, or people like him, can entertain the idea that technocratic elites and/or enlightened despots don’t possess the capacity to solve our problems or lack the legitimacy to rule. He probably believes that people should just get in line to vote for some political dynasty that has the endorsement of lots of policy wonks.

      That totally worked out great didn’t it folks?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Hume’s point derives directly from the nature of logic. It merely draws connections between premises and conclusions – or more precisely, tests those connections. But the premises aren’t subject to test. To do that, you need a new set of premises.

      This means that reason doesn’t provide its own premises; they come from somewhere else – like the “passions.” Or feelings, at any rate.

      Incidentally, the way logic works, and presumably the brain, closely parallels evolution. It’s feedback regulated, a characteristic of life.

  28. epynonymous

    On Marijuana Tax.

    If the federal government (through the DOJ) can seize the assets of banks and growers, what about all this tax money being collected by the states?

    Not practical, but it would seem to be not only legal, but the law. Not an expert here, just a thinker.

  29. Synoia

    Former Freemason, 51, found drunk and naked inside a huge pipe organ with a toy gun and remote-controlled police car says he got lost while trying to hand out cheeseburgers to the homeless

    And he should pay for the damage to the Church Organ. I sincerely doubt he did not bend some of the pipes.

    1. Massinissa

      The damage to the organ is over a million dollars. I don’t think he can ever repay that amount, even if he was to sell off all his *internal* organs.

  30. djrichard

    To use Lambert’s phrase, “kill me now”.

    o Issues where companies are suddenly taking stands include immigration, harassment and #MeToo, and LGBT discrimination.
    o “Corporate social responsibility” (shorthanded as “CSR” within companies) is now one of the hottest topics in boardrooms.
    o Trump gets credit for speeding up, if not inspiring, this new era of corporate action. After all, it was his early “travel ban” that forced CEOs to start speaking out.
    o This new, more vocal form of corporate activism soon spread to global warming, immigration, the minimum wage and now gun control.
    o Why it matters: Top corporate officials tell us this phenomenon will become integrated into corporate culture and therefore have staying power.

    As expected by CJ Hopkins:

    The Mainstream (or “liberal”) Left is often thought of as “reformist.” It isn’t. The Mainstream Left is not interested in reforming Capitalism at all, as it doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with it. Which is, of course, correct. Capitalism is working perfectly. There is absolutely nothing faulty or dysfunctional about it. Capitalism is doing exactly what it is designed to do — eliminating despotic social structures and values and replacing them with markets and exchange value — and it is doing this extremely well. Modern Capitalism has never been interested in democracy, fairness, equality, saving the planet (or whatever), other than as a means of rendering everything a commodity and trading it all at a profit. The Mainstream Left’s historical and ongoing struggles for equality and justice within the capitalist system, while undeniably necessary, laudable and progressive, have never been, are not now, a threat or a challenge to the capitalist system; on the contrary, they are part and parcel of Capitalism’s efforts to eradicate any despotic values (including racism, sexism, homophobia, and so on) that interfere with its operations and progress. …

  31. knowbuddhau

    Completely Different Research report on experiments with embodiment.

    Peak experience replication in snowboarding mode confirmed. Plateau approach in progress.

    How’d I do it? “I” didn’t. It does Itself. Get It?

    You know what’s funny about poets? While it’s the privilege (and joy) of poets to remind the Beloved of Their Divine Aspects, the po schlub who’s just trying to keep up, just writing it as it comes, isn’t supposed to be noticing Their Divine Asspects. And it’s from that exquisite paradox that It arises of Itself.

    So if he betrays It, he loses It. It’s not his magic. He’s Its. Get It?

    Want to know how I did it? Watch this space!

    Not bad. Getting the hang of It? Good. Now, for those of you who didn’t get It, keep it up till I get back. When’s that? No saying.

    No one expects the Zen Inquisition! (lol omg i’m having so much fun!)

    1. knowbuddhau

      And while you’re watching this space, don’t forget to tip the Staff and House. None of us would be enjoying the good graces of this most gracious space without em, right?

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