Links 3/8/18

Trump administration quietly OKs elephant trophy imports — again USA Today. Lambert: On a case-by-case basis (ka-ching). There shouldn’t be any cases.

‘History in the making’: California aims for world’s highest farm animal welfare law Guardian

These Spiders Hunt Their Own Kind NYT

Banks Want a Bigger Piece of Your Student Loan Wall Street Journal

How Americans Took Down a Latvian Laundromat Re:Baltica (Richard Smith).

See the shout out in Parliamentary testimony to our Richard Smith: “the researcher and expert in this field, Richard Smith….”. Well done!

The Oxfam scandal is just one aspect of the aid industry’s ugly power problem DW. Important.

Suu Kyi award revoked, UN wants Rohingya war crimes probe Bangkok Post (furzy)

Nota bene: Holding Yale accountable Felix Salmon

North Korea

Kim’s initiative: The breakthrough the world has been waiting for? Asia Times

Moon’s quiet diplomacy propels progress in Korean peninsula FT

North Korea: Setting the Stage Lens Culture


Xi Jinping and China’s ‘good emperor, bad emperor’ problem FT

US tariffs? Chinese steelmakers say they have other things to worry about South China Morning Post

The Left-Handed Kid LRB. The history of the Chinese typewriter.


Brexit is already raising tough questions about the unity of the United Kingdom itself – and we need answers Independent

New Cold War

For NYT, a Trillion Dollars’ Worth of A-Bombs Is ‘Little’ Response to Russia FAIR (UserFriendly)

Trump donor in Ukraine criminal probe Al Jazeera (Reify99).

Presidential candidate Sobchak faces backlash after ‘asking Ukraine’s permission to visit Crimea’ RT. Kevin W: “Aaaand candidates like this are why Putin wins every election.”

Adviser to Emirates With Ties to Trump Aides Is Cooperating With Special Counsel New York Times. MA: “I get that Russia is SO much sexier, but countries in the Middle East – notably Israel, the Gulf States – have been actively colluding with the Americans and perverting our democracy for years.”

Nunberg Says He Enjoyed Defiance But Will Comply With Mueller Bloomberg (furzy).

Trump Transition

Sessions to California: ‘There is no secession’ The Hill. Re: “Sanctuary cities.” Sessions: “There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land. I would invite any doubters to go to Gettysburg, to the tombstones of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln. This matter has been settled.”

Trump Lawyer Obtained Restraining Order to Silence Stormy Daniels New York Times

Interior Secretary gets strong GOP resistance to drilling plan, starts backing off McClatchy

Donald Trump is Toronto’s Rob Ford on Steroids Counterpunch

This is what helps stop big corporations from bribing politicians WaPo

European Court of Justice Deals Heavy Blow to “Corporate Sovereignty Clause” Wolf Street

Tariff Tantrum

US will temporarily exempt Canada and Mexico from tariffs: reports DW

Trump’s tariff plan blows up party divisions in critical Pennsylvania special election CNBC. Lambert: Conor Lamb supports steel tariffs too. But a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…

Democrats in Disarray

The CIA Democrats WSWS (HopeLB). And part two. “There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call ‘spy vs. spy.'” Lambert: See NC here. I guess the Ellison v. Perez fight, and the subsequent purge of Sanders supporters from the DNC, was even more important than we thought at the time.

Reboot the Democratic Party Ryan Grim, The Week

Senate Democrats Caving, May Roll Back Dodd-Frank Regulations emptywheel. Lambert: If you believe the Manafort/Gates indictments for bank fraud, rolling back Dodd-Frank regulations is absurd. A foolish consistency…

Illinois Democratic Party Chair Funds Mailers Attacking Progressive Candidates The Intercept (DG).

Health Care

The President’s Budget Proposal Would Hurt Medicare Beneficiaries In The Part D “Donut Hole” Health Affairs

Keith Ellison takes over the Democrats’ universal health-care bill WaPo. Lambert: Note that the reporter, Dave Weigel, adopts the tendentious “universal heatlh care” framing that @USofCare (see NC here and here) and CAP’s “Medicare Extra for Some” bait-and-switch efforts adopt. Ellison has taken over HR676, a single payer, “Medicare for All” bill. Vox does better (Furzy Mouse).

Hundreds of Canadian doctors demand lower salaries WaPo

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

UnitedHealthcare adds the Apple Watch to its fitness-tracking reward program The Verge (E. Mayer). E. Mayer: “All part of the preconditioning intended to pave the way to no-longer-optional-ness.”

EFF: Geek Squad has been working with the FBI for a decade Engadget. Furzy: “The Geeks stole our UBS card # when we used them in CA, charged tickets to Italy….”

Italy’s political earthquake will shake the old European hegemony to its foundations Telegraph

Fake News

Forget flu, it’s time for your fake-news jab Financial Times (furzy). Oh, so skepticism and critical thinking skills are to be applied only when dealing with non-MSM news sources on political topics….

Sports Desk

Gregg Popovich Berates Spurs For Missing Nation’s Descent Into Oligarchy The Onion (RH). They are who we thought they were.

War of the Sexes

Climate change ‘impacts women more than men’ BBC. No wonder no one is getting serious about fixing it.

Millennial women in finance still face harassment Financial Times

Class Warfare

The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized Scientific American

Can America fix its prison crisis? FT. Lambert: Send more CEOs to jail, and I bet the situation will get cleaned up in a jiffy!

Fukushima ‘must do more’ to reduce radioactive water Bangkok Post (furzy)

Yes, Amazon’s Alexa Is Laughing At You Vanity Fair. And with good reason.

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Maurice Hebert

    And the emphasis on exclusively universal programs yields the spectacle of a black president who opposes the most dramatic black-specific program of all—reparations for African Americans. This opposition ultimately seems to amount to a matter of political expediency. In his conversation with Coates, the president appears to acknowledge that there is a sound moral and philosophical case for reparations, particularly if—as Coates presses him to concede—incremental changes in existing social programs will not close the gaps, especially the racial wealth gap. The president ultimately takes the position that it is politically untenable to enact a reparations program. If so—and if nothing comparable can be realized—then I contend that it is impossible to close the racial wealth gap.

    Perhaps this is a feature, not a bug?

    1. Darius

      The ruling class, so effectively represented by Obama, needs to keep black people down at the bottom. How else are you going to depress wages for everyone else?

    2. Darthbobber

      There is no need for others to take reparations any more seriously than the “leaders” of the campaign do. Conyers, for example, after introducing his bill for two decades, obligingly put it back in his desk from 07-10 when he held a chairmanship and actually had the ability to hold hearings and try to advance it.

      He got back to introducing it in 11, when he was safely back in the minority and could count on nothing happening.

      Reparations is a ritual thing to be gestured towards, not something whose proponents have any plan (or desire, as far as I can see) for making it happen. In practical terms, they see it as as much of a non-starter as everybody else does.

      It’s also the bourgeois solution par excellence. Black America as a big individual hit by another big individual, White America, in an incident where White America was at fault. Black America to be somehow be made whole through the law of torts. Unlikely.

    1. Clive

      And in other news, Clive asks for a pony, tea with scones and jam on top plus an ABBA reunion. He comes away, trying not to show his inevitable bitter disappointment and claiming later that he never really wanted any of those things anyway.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well Clive, I told you that you should have settled for the date with two super-models! Asking for jam on top of the scones was always going to be a deal-breaker here.

      2. ebbflows

        No wonder… jam is an abomination on top of scones.

        Fresh cream only, obviously denied due to lower class taste identifier.

        1. Synoia

          Sorry its a national food: Scones with Double Cream (not available in the US) and Jam.

          English Muffins sold in the US defy logic. I’d never seen nor eaten one until I came to the US.

          1. Mike

            Indeed, English muffins were an American invention. The English creator wanted something like a crumpet, probably thinking the name would sell better.

  2. Montanamaven

    Another great “Tucker Carlson Tonight” knockdown. This time he sets up Former Ambassador to the UN and genuine nutter John Bolton. Bolton’s arrogance is on full display. Tucker lets the first “your analysis is, quite frankly, simple minded” go by but then zings him at the end. I hope that the rest of Tucker’s colleagues over at Fox who hang on Bolton’s every bomb loving word watches this along with the Dems who agree with Bolton about Syria Ambassador Bolton on Iran on Tucker Carlson Tonight

    1. hunkerdown

      “Life is complicated” is the predictable refrain of those whose authority and distinction depends on those complications, from the Democrat Party to orthodox economists to parents.

    2. integer

      Bolton claims that “North Korea [is] selling chemical weapons, precursor chemicals, and equipment to manufacture chemical weapons, to Syria”. This is total bs and highly ironic coming from Bolton, as he was instrumental in derailing UN efforts at prohibiting the development, production, and stockpiling of chemical weapons. See Moon of Alabama for a comprehensive debunking of this claim. The short version is that North Korea only sold Syria acid-proof tiles, thermometers, and valves, all of which have many uses. Bolton also asserts that Iran is “the world’s central banker of international terrorism”, which is nothing but zionist propaganda. People like Bolton (i.e. anyone who is, or has been, involved with the Council on Foreign Relations or Chatham House) belong in psychiatric hospitals.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you and well said, Integer.

        Chatham House, or the Royal United Services Institute, is funded by Qatar and has an outpost in that emirate.

        Abu Dhabi and Qatar have funded renovations at British military academies.

        1. integer

          Thanks Colonel.

          The other name Chatham House goes by is the Royal Institute of International Affairs, though having just had a brief look into the Royal United Services Institute, of which I was previously unaware, I can certainly see how one could be mistaken for the other. Out of curiousity, is Qatar funding the Royal Institute of International Affairs, or the Royal United Services Institute? I have been looking into the Council on Foreign Relations in more depth recently and found it interesting that both it and Chatham House are directly linked to Cecil Rhodes and his De Beers diamond fortune.

          1. integer

            To answer my own question, Qatar is providing funding to the Royal United Services Institute rather than Chatham House.

  3. Loneprotester

    I must say, I am completely gobsmacked by the pieces from (of all sources) the World Socialist Website on the magnitude of the CIA/Mil Intelligences infiltration of the Democratic Party. Everything about this story stinks to high heaven. Why are there SO MANY of them? Who hatched this plan (it cannot possibly be an accident)? What does it portend for the Party, for our democracy (what is left of it)? And why on earth is the news being broken by a Socialist Party reporter working for an outlet that I have NEVER heard of? Where is the MSM? Missing in action again, reporting on the mission critical porn star blow hole sighting.

    I am now rethinking all the shameless partisan grandstanding of John Brennan over the past few years and seeing something much darker in it. The Swamp. The Swamp. The Swamp. It approaches.

    1. Olga

      I guess there are different ways of implementing a military/intelligence coup d’etat. Anything like the Sept. 11, 1973 government overthrow (i.e., Chile) would be just too obvious and provoke too much opposition. But a quiet coup d’etat has a much greater chance of success.

    2. leftover

      Back in October, WaPo characterized the move by some former intelligence community members as proof the “Deep State” was out to get Donald trump. The Daily Kos as well.
      Why this would come as a surprise to anyone living in a militaristic culture that affords demigod status to all of its spooks and spies is what’s beyond me.
      Besides…isn’t this what everyone wants? To get rid of Trump?

      And while considering what amount of credibility should be assigned to the ICFI/WSWS, keep in mind that those folks describe the #MeToo movement as a “McCarthyite witch hunt.”
      The WSWS isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda: information of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

      1. Eureka Springs

        propaganda: information of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view

        So are you saying their reported facts (candidates with said intel/mic background) are false or even misleading? I’m only reading today’s link to part two, but I see no opinion stated in that post, just facts and bio info of the candidates. I’m sure wsws must have opinion, but you sure picked an odd time to declare propaganda. Unless you consider this intro to be propaganda.

        Thin gruel, amigo.

        This it the second part of a three-part article. The first part was posted on March 7.

        There are 57 candidates for the Democratic nomination in 44 congressional districts who boast as their major credential their years of service in intelligence, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, at the State Department, or some combination of all three. They make up the largest single occupational group running in the Democratic primaries that began March 6 in Texas and extend through mid-September, selecting the candidates who will appear on the general election ballot on November 6.

        Aside from their sheer number, and the fact that more than 40 percent, 24 of the 57, are women, there are other aspects worth considering.
        Agents, but no longer secret

        First: The number of candidates who openly proclaim their role in the CIA or military intelligence. In years past, such activities would be considered confidential, if not scandalous for a figure seeking public office. Not only would the candidates want to disguise their connections to the spy apparatus, the CIA itself would insist on it, particularly for those who worked in operations rather than analysis, since exposure, even long after leaving the agency, could be portrayed as compromising “sources and methods.”

        This is no longer the case. The 2018 candidates drawn from this shadow world of espionage, drone murders and other forms of assassination positively glory in their records. And the CIA and Pentagon have clearly placed no obstacles in the way.

        1. leftover

          The only reason to fear these candidates is their previous occupation? We are to judge them a threat based solely on association? And the WSWS calls the #MeToo movement McCarthyite?
          Did the WSWS report on what these candidates’ positions are on various issues? Most of them are Democrats, I assume, but what brand? Doesn’t that matter to a journalist?
          It appears most of them are women. Maybe that’s the problem? Women seeking respect and empowerment are entering the political sphere in astounding numbers. And the WSWS wants us to fear them because of their occupation?

          As for thin gruel: Any publication that demands the reader accept their reportage as factwithout verification from the public record…as is standard practice at the WSWS…cannot be considered journalism. The exaggerated politicalization in every article they publish cannot be reasonably defined as anything other than propaganda.

          This coming from a Socialist. A former member of the SEP, as a matter of fact.

          1. Rojo

            “It appears most of them are women. Maybe that’s the problem?”

            Aaaand there it is — the side-mouth accusation.

            I’m sure if the Duma was a collection of spies, we’d have no problem with it.

            1. leftover

              That comment was a reference to the continuous attacks on the #MeToo movement…and the #TimesUp movement…as McCarthyite.
              Why would any organization purporting to be Socialist constantly deride and disparage women organizing to demand equity and justice from the Capitalist society that has treated them essentially like chattel for a couple hundred years?
              Think about it.
              On today…International Women’s Day…and the 100th anniversary of the (Gregorian calendar) February Revolution in (then) Petrograd that toppled the Czar and empowered the Bolsheviks… a movement in which women played a significant role…
              “The February Revolution toppled the tsarist regime and established a provisional government. Women were highly visible in this revolution, gathering in a mass protest on International Women’s Day to call for political rights. They gained rights under the provisional government, including the right to vote, to serve as attorneys, and equal rights in civil service. Women advocating for these kinds of political rights generally came from upper and middle-class background, while poorer women protested for “bread and peace.”[8] Record numbers of women joined the Russian army. All women’s combat units were put into place, the first of these forming in May 1917.[9]” (more Wiki)
              …the WSWS chooses to ignore all that. Is it seeking to exploit that movement to further the cause? Is it promoting solidarity with the women’s movement in an effort to effect substantive change in our society?
              That’s why I believe they have a problem with women. Because they are squandering a rare opportunity to advance anti-capitalist Leftism in this country on a large scale. Regardless of one’s political agenda, is right now really a good time to tell women to sit down and shut up?

              1. integer

                The following paragraph contains the only reference to McCarthyism in the article you linked to:

                The spectacle of performers and others being pressured to confess, and their friends and former co-workers pressed to turn them in, should alert anyone with a trace of historical memory to parallels with the McCarthyite purge of left-wing figures in Hollywood in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

                So this is what you are basing your assertion that WSWS has a problem with women on?

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                Help me. This is nonsense. You’ve completely made up shit, a violation of our written Site Policies.

                WSWS is absolutely correct in calling #MeToo McCarthyite. Its members have viciously, and I mean viciously, attacked those who dare question its methods and priorities. And I’ve read some of those criticisms. They are reasoned, well argued, and have merit.

                And I have not seem women who say they represent #MeToo (whatever “representing” #MeToo means) tell these harpies that they are out of line and hurting the credibility of the movement and alienating potential allies among men.

                In addition, you promote the bogus notion that #MeToo represents women broadly. It doesn’t. It represents elite women. #MeToo has expressed the functional equivalent of no interest of the abuses lower class women face, particularly women who work in restaurants, where harassment is pervasive. It’s also become obsessed with penny-ante issues like men doing dumb male stuff like looking at their boobs before their faces on a date. Getting men not to demand sex at the workplace or grope women or expose themselves or send dick pix or engage in a whole host of overt sexual behavior at work is important and long overdue. But to complain about them being crappy dates? And I’m not joking, this is a strong current in the #MeToo movement.

                There are plenty of women who’ve expressed doubts about #MeToo, including yours truly.

                Moreover the Democratic party has been using identity politics to do what Jay Gould advocated long ago: “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” There are huge swathes of the US where you effectively can’t get an abortion because free and low cost clinics have been closed. The women’s movement, such as it is these days, which is dominated by rich women on the coasts who have no problem getting abortions if they need them, clearly don’t give a rat’s ass about ordinary women. So I as a woman say they damned well ought to shut up about tertiary issues like dating etiquette (and I don’t mean date rape, so don’t even dream of straw manning me here) when there are literally life and death matters they are ignoring.

          2. visitor

            The only reason to fear these candidates is their previous occupation? We are to judge them a threat based solely on association?

            Whenever there is something fishy that might, even if requiring bending backwards or stretching to the rupture point (cyberattacks! fake news! hacking! poisoning! special ops!), be ascribed to the Russians, the mainstream press never fails to insist on the fact that Putin is a former KGB officer.

            What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander…

            1. The Rev Kev

              Yeah, funny how that they keep mentioning the fact that Putin was once a KGB spook. It’s not like the US has ever had a President that was a spook except like Jack Ryan in the Tom Clancy novels. Oh, wait a minute! There was that time that the 41st President – George H. W. Bush – was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Does that count?

          3. Oregoncharles

            “The only reason to fear these candidates is their previous occupation?”

            That, and the odd coincidence that there are so many of them at a time when the “Intelligence” agencies are so prominent in attempts to overthrow an (admittedly bad) elected President.

            Their gender seems a grand irrelevance, except that the women are more tempting as candidates, because they’re lacking in politics.

            There’s a running meme that there’s no such thing as a former CIA agent. Ray McGovern has an organization of them, but they do tend to remain entangled – and given the secrecy, we can;t really be sure they ARE separated. That, and attitudes they may be bringing with them, are the chief concerns.

            #MeToo was McCarthyite in the sense that it was a barrage of unsubstantiated accusations, on the basis of which a number of people were fired. Personally, I think it was a mixed bag; it was designed to bring out as many stories as possible, to establish that we had a big problem, and it did that well. But they were ALL unsubstantiated, and therefore not a good basis for action. I gather Yves thought it was questionable, too. I don’t know why anyone would object to TimesUp: it’s a fund with a decisionmaking process, which is what MeToo lacked.

      2. Carolinian

        It’s called the World Socialist Website. Of course they are promoting a point of view and are quite open about it unlike, say, the New York Times.

        I’ve found many of their articles to be meaty and well reported, others more in the realm of editorializing. As with any journalism, printed or pixeled, one has to make one’s own judgement about credibility. The CIA series seems to merely be reporting the facts. This new CIA love from the Dems is quite at odds with much of the Dem party history. Even Truman said he was sorry he ever created the thing.

        1. leftover

          I’m familiar with the style employed by the WSWS…and the issues it promotes. I’ve been Socialist for fifty years. Most of that aligned with the ICFI.

          The New York Times hides their agenda? That’s news to me. (“We are pro-capitalism!”)

          But at least the NYT employs professional standards and practices…more often than not…that have evolved over a couple hundred years in this country. As a matter of routine…as is common in most contemporary digital media…It practices verification. The WSWS does not. Doesn’t even try.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            You do remember Judy Miller, right? We’re still dealing with the fallout of her deliberately false reporting. Turning the Middle east into a hellhole isn’t exactly small potatoes. I guess that was a case of the NYT employing professional standards less often.

            And now they’re out to take down a sitting president, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they’re trying to do it using all kinds of false reporting, rumor mongering and innuendo, and for all the wrong reasons.

            Why should anyone believe anything they read in that rag when they’ve shown time and time again their willingness to play fast and loose with the facts on issues that affect the entire planet.

            1. leftover

              I’m not saying anyone should “believe anything they read in that rag.”
              I am saying that, at the very least, it makes the effort to employ accepted progressional standards and practices that allow their readers to make up their own minds as to the NYT’s credibility.
              The WSWS does not.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            I’ve never heard of the ICFI so I looked it up in a WIKI reference:[]
            “The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) is the name of two Trotskyist internationals; one with sections named Socialist Equality Party which publishes the World Socialist Web Site, and another linked to the Workers Revolutionary Party in Britain.”

            So … I am confused by tone and direction of your comments.

            1. leftover

              What’s confusing? The ICFI claims ownership of the WSWS as their media representatives in the United States. What does Britain’s section have to do with anything at the WSWS?
              I am no longer a supporter of the ICFI. I am not a fan of the WSWS. If that is reflected in my “tone,” and you find that offensive…I apologize.

              1. Eureka Springs

                I have also read wsws on and off for many years.

                I still see no credible reason from you to not believe the linked article.

                You don’t like wsws… fair enough and thanks for the word of caution.

                Without a link/specific reference you claim wsws cried foul on metoo/ McCarthyism which made you uncomfortable. Again, fair enough, though a link seems to be in order. On the surface I too thought of McCarthyism (definitive) at the time when mere metoo accusations seemed to be enough to destroy a man’s life. Scary stuff.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  I saw that WSWS article on MeToo – maybe it was posted here. A bit carried away, but the McCarthyite objection has substance.

              2. Jeremy Grimm

                “I’ve been Socialist for fifty years. Most of that aligned with the ICFI.”

                Perhaps I’m confused by what you write apparently contrary to what you mean.

          3. Homina

            The New York Times hides their agenda? That’s news to me. (“We are pro-capitalism!”)

            That quote was from a closed-door meeting, not a public statement. AKA “hiding”. So yeah, it’s only news to you because it was leaked. Are you putting on a performance piece in this thread?

            As for your respect for the NYT’s standards and practices…I’m just going to slowly walk away from that one while shaking my head…

  4. Ed

    “The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized Scientific American”

    I have often considered legally changing my family name so that it starts earlier in the alphabet, to increase of success in life for myself and then my daughter, but am brought short by the chaos that would be caused if everyone did this.

    I thought that Taleb had dealt with the luck issue with some finality in “Fooled by Randomness”. In short, a series of random outcomes, unless designed otherwise such as with dice, will follow a normal or bell curve distribution, meaning that random chance will always produce outcomes in the tails that are much more “successes” or much more “failures” compared to the bulk of the outcomes in the middle. There will always be highly successful people, even if they do nothing differently in life than most people, simply because of the pattern formed by a random distribution of outcomes.

    1. Livius Drusus

      If I could change one thing about American culture it would be to convince people that luck is much more important than we realize in determining life outcomes. I think we would have a much healthier, kinder and happier society. Much of our misery comes from the belief that people deserve to suffer because they made mistakes in their life or did something else that causes them to deserve to be miserable.

      On the flip side we tend to see successful people as wholly self-made and deserving of everything they get. Even when Americans complain about the rich they often take the position that the problem with the rich is that they are not sufficiently meritocratic. I am always dismayed when I see liberals and even some leftists make this argument because it is very much a right-wing frame.

      We would be much better off if more people took the phrase “but for the grace of God go i” or some secular equivalent seriously. Sadly, I think it would likely require some huge disaster on the scale of the Great Depression to convince Americans to abandon their obsession with meritocracy. During the Great Recession I noticed an increase in sympathy for the poor among some people but that seems to be gone now that the economy is better and we have returned to “I’ve got mine, Jack” attitudes.

      1. Wukchumni

        A really important part to me being lucky occasionally, was simply showing up and allowing circumstances to happen in my favor-being there.

        A highly underrated determinant.

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm… Knowing where to show up ‘at the right time’ can get complicated.
          I’d go full Cynico Snarkist and call that “Mystical Materialism.” As Larry Niven posited it in his novel “Ringworld,” Teela Brown was the scion of a breeding program aimed at developing a “lucky” person.
          Teela Brown:

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            The fridge logic of the Earth Birthright Lottery has always baffled me. Granted that luck could actually be open for selection, how would a few generations of the Lottery outweigh billions of years of evolutionary selection for the ‘lucky’?

            Not that I don’t understand how life sciences were just an available tool for rationalizing Niven’s icky beliefs.

        2. nycTerrierist

          Combined, much wisdom in these two comments (above)

          “Eighty per cent of success is showing up.” — Woody Allen

        3. The Rev Kev

          Fully agree with you there. I would also add simply doing the stuff that has to be done is also vital.

    2. rd

      I tried to have my children born into a wealthier family to take advantage of that lucky break, but couldn’t quite figure out how to accomplish that.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do we realize the role of luck in life success?

      A. Some are lucky enough to be born with the ability to comprehend that.

      B. Some are not lucky enough. They have learning disabilities.

      (A = A1 + A2; A1, those of A who realize that and care; A2, those of A who realize but don’t care)

      1. ambrit

        Eventually, with proper practice and a little luck, the formula becomes:
        A = (A1 + A2) X (A3 + A4) where, as above A1 realizes and cares, and A2 realizes and doesn’t care, A3 doesn’t realize and doesn’t care and A4 doesn’t realize and does care. [A4 is not a logical contradiction. The state of not knowing and yet caring is unfocused anxiety.]
        A = (A1 + A2) / (A3 + A4) X (A3 + A4) / (A3 + A4)
        A = (A1 + A2) / (A3 + A4) X 0
        A = 0

        We won’t get into the “B” side of this record today.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s good, though they say, with every additional equation, you lose 25% of your readers, or something exponential like that.

        2. Ed Miller

          This is silly. (A3 + A4)/(A3 + A4) = 0 is false. (A3 + A4)/(A3 + A4) = 1

          I only replied because the claim (A3 + A4)/(A3 + A4) = 0 is an insult.

          1. ambrit

            Agreed that my “math” skills are risible, but, “insult?”
            Let this also be an object lesson in communications methodology.
            ‘Fake News’ seems to be everywhere, and difficult to rebut. ‘Fake Math,’ on the other hand….

    4. Buttinsky

      I have often considered legally changing my family name so that it starts earlier in the alphabet, to increase of success in life for myself and then my daughter, but am brought short by the chaos that would be caused if everyone did this.

      A little sequence immediately played out in my head, with people rushing to change their surnames to Aaron — only to have their neighbors resort to Aanderson, then Aackerman, then Aaaston, then Aaaa…

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      The bell curve is one thing but how much of ‘luck-in-life” is based on random variables with normal distributions?

      1. blennylips

        “Probability is not a mere computation of odds on the dice or more complicated variants; it is the acceptance of the lack of certainty in our knowledge and the development of methods for dealing with our ignorance.”
        ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Accepting that luck plays in determining one’s ‘luck-in-life” is one thing. I’m suggesting “everybody knows the dice are loaded” and the deck is marked.

  5. The Rev Kev

    Illinois Democratic Party Chair Funds Mailers Attacking Progressive Candidates

    Perhaps Elizabeth Lindquist and Art Bardsley should think about how much they want to win on behalf of the progressive wing of the Democrats here. Since this is Illinois, they must surely have heard of the Chicago Way. Just saying.

    1. willf

      Illinois Democratic Party Chair Funds Mailers Attacking Progressive Candidates

      Interesting that Madigan (the Party Chair in the story) is smearing the two progressive candidates as Trump supporters and right wingers, not as being too far-left.

  6. Jim Haygood

    We’re not trying to blow up the world. There’s no intention of that,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box. He used cans of Campbell’s Soup and Coca-Cola to stress his point about what he called insignificant price increases from Trump’s tariffs.

    Okay. Ol’ Jim gonna use stock prices to reply instead of launching cans of soup with his trebuchet. The S&P 500 index last reached a record high of 2,873 on Jan 26th, six weeks ago as of tomorrow. Since then it’s been blundering through the weeds like a lost hiker with a dead phone battery.

    Tomorrow was slated to be the ninth anniversary of Bubble III. In the wreckage of the financial crisis, the S&P closed at a low of 676 on Mar 9, 2009 in the early weeks of the Obama administration. Its to-date record high in January was a precise 4.25 times multiple of its crisis low.

    But things have changed. A month ago a budget deal opened the taps on a gratuitous, crackpot fiscal stimulus amounting to 5% of GDP, which Lord Japewell at the Fed is aggressively countering with rate hikes and a quack-doctor balance sheet shrinkage. Now an equally gratuitous trade war tariff to apply a bit of funeral-director makeup to the pallid mugs of smokestack primary metal industries is on deck.

    Bottom line, the orange charlatan has comprehensively screwed the pooch. Until facts (in the form of fresh record highs) prove otherwise, we can provisionally assume that the sunset splendour of Bubble III expired six weeks before its ninth birthday. It was a perfectly nice bubble until the horrid Republicans killed it. :-(

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Jim Haygood writes:

      A month ago a budget deal opened the taps on a gratuitous, crackpot fiscal stimulus amounting to 5% of GDP, which Lord Japewell at the Fed is aggressively countering with rate hikes and a quack-doctor balance sheet shrinkage.

      I remain old and confused. Isn’t the Fed response very similar to a similar MMT response? That is, the tax cut (“crackpot fiscal stimulus”) puts money into the economy at a time in the business cycle when it isn’t needed. Certainly, it is anti-Keynesian on the surface; no hint of counter-cyclical behavior to be found in this WH, no sir.

      I think the MMT response would be to reduce the money in the economy by raising taxes, to undo the tax cut. But, the Fed canna do that, but it can attempt to reduce the impact of the excess money with rate hikes (making treasury bonds more attractive, which when sold reduce the money in circulation thus reducing the threat of inflation) and selling “inventory”, which when sold ALSO reduces the money in circulation.

      What have I got wrong (this time)?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Nothing really. Raising taxes or [heaven forfend] cutting spending would be a direct fix. But the budget deal put paid to all that.

        Rate hikes are not necessarily wrong. But the Fed’s sad history is to carry on hiking rates (17 times in the last go-round of 2004-6) until something breaks. They don’t know when to stop, nor do I.

        Drastically shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet is whole different kettle of fish. Absolutely no theory supports or guides this process, and it will end in bitter tears.

        1. John k

          They should stop now. Raising rates directly slows what is a very weak economy, and to lesser degree reduces the incentive for risk assets.
          Just as Qe boosted risk assets, Reversing Qe is a direct assault on risk assets.
          Equities are holding up economy and weak economy holding up equities.
          Fed is attacking both with both barrels. Hikes won’t reach double digits, much less 17.
          Tax cuts help, but not much, not much going to those that will spend.

          Market dangerous if we recover to Jan high and then stall.

        2. Synoia

          Absolutely no theory supports or guides this process, and it will end in bitter tears.

          Have you read Randell Wray’s work? Especially the part (was in Chapter 1 of the book I read) about spending, and the sum of Trade defect or surplus, Private and Government = 0?

          Or the part where from an accounting perspective the Fed and US Treasury can be considered one entity?

          1. jsn

            I believe Jim’s a hard money guy, wants it to be valuable in and of itself.

            MMT sees money as a distributive tool for the state, preferably a popular, representative state: different values.

            I agree with enough of Jim’s other values and I appreciate his taste in music, so I gave up arguing with him on this one.

    2. cnchal

      Absurd, Ol’ Jim, just like the 85% increase in Amazon’s stawk price in the past year. When you have central bank’s propping up the stawk market, that’s a sign of dementia.

    3. Carolinian

      Your sometimes fave Stockman

      At the same time, its massive interest rate repression and price-keeping operations in the stock market have turned the C-suites of corporate America into financial engineering joints. So doing, they have slashed real net business investment by nearly 3o% since the turn of the century, by 20% from the 2007 pre-crisis peak and, actually, to a level in 2016 that barely exceeded real net investment two decades earlier in 1997.

      Meanwhile, the C-suites shuttled upwards of $15 trillion of cash flow and debt capacity during the last decade alone into stock buybacks, vanity M&A deals and excess dividends and recaps. As we said in today’s Fox interview, America’s business leaders will not stop strip-mining their companies in order to juice Wall Street and goose their own stock options until they are taken to the woodshed by a stern task-master at the Fed.

      By that we mean a central bank that is willing to get out of the financial asset price propping and pegging business, and to thereby permit the kind of stock market collapse that would finally expose the folly of corporate America’s endless financial engineering. Indeed, at this point nothing else will stop them except being run out of their jobs for massive dissipation of corporate resources and piling their balance sheets high with unproductive debt.

      1. Synoia

        By that we mean a central bank that is willing to get out of the financial asset price propping and pegging business,

        Umm, don’t congress have a larger role to play here?

    4. Goyo Marquez

      I wonder how all these entities that are swimming in dollars, e.g. Apple, would react to 4% or higher inflation. Maybe it would encourage them to spend those dollars rather than hording them. For people who hold dollars deflation is an investment strategy, inflation a time for divestment, otherwise known as spending. But again the one area of the economy where the rich are concerned with the well being of the poor is protecting the poor from the devestating effects of inflation.

      1. Ed Miller

        Oh, my! I can’t resist this one.

        “But again the one area of the economy where the rich are concerned with the well being of the poor is protecting the poor from the devestating effects of inflation.”

        Protecting the poor from the devastating effects of inflation IN THEIR PAYCHECKS! Fixed it!

    5. Oregoncharles

      ” Since then it’s been blundering through the weeds like a lost hiker with a dead phone battery.”

      Doesn’t that just mean it’s topped out? I mean, it’s all “irrational exuberance,” all the way down.

  7. Olga

    This may have been posted, but memory fails me – worth reading, though:
    “Advocates of pension “reform” — which really means cutting or eliminating traditional pension funds — will tell you that such funds are a big drain on state and local budgets, since, as defined-benefit programs, they are obligated to pay workers a defined amount in their retirement. But that’s largely a question of political priorities; underfunded pensions are the result of, well, decades of underfunding pensions. The real reason for the attack on pensions goes deeper, and exposes the great and growing rift between America’s economic elite and everyone else.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      That’s a pretty rambling essay, long on perfervid rhetoric and short on numbers in the inimitable NYT house style. But the author is a law professor, trained from birth to craft prose in convoluted hairballs.

      “Underfunded pensions are the result of, well, decades of underfunding pensions,” he asserts vacuously. An attorney should be able to ascertain that GASB pension accounting standards allow sponsors to “just make up” an assumed rate of return, currently averaging in the low 7 percent range.

      Sponsors know perfectly well that they haven’t a hope in hell of making 7 percent in the next decade, with ten-year Treasuries yielding less than 3 percent and stocks less than 2 percent. So why do they carry on their collective, consensual deceit?

      Simple: if public pensions used the 20-year municipal bond rate that’s required for troubled plans, contributions from municipal employers would instantly double or triple, bankrupting them by the dozens.

      This is going to happen anyway by the early 2020s after Bubble III goes down. Planning ahead might be more effective for the author than incoherently ranting against “hate,” “ALEC,” and Lucifer the Koch brothers.

      1. rd

        For my personal retirement situation, I am assuming a 0%-2% per annum real return over the next 7 years and 5-7% real return per year after that.

        I don’t have an issue with the pension funds using 7% returns for the very long-term (25 year+) time frames, but they need to factor in very low likely returns for the next decade. They could get away with that 10-20 years ago, but now the baby boomers are actually retiring and will start to draw down those pension fund resources. I think the pension fund industry is going to be a bloodbath 5 years from now once there has been an equity bear market with baby boomers getting paid out of dwindling funds. Many states and cities are going to be making hard choices between raising taxes or bailing on contractual obligations to retirees. The recent bull market has been putting that reckoning off, but the number of funds that cannot show 85%+ funding using their inflated return estimates is very disconcerting after a 9 year bull market.

        1. Synoia

          I am assuming a 0%-2% per annum real return over the next 7 years and 5-7% real return per year after that.

          You’ll better not having any debt. Debt principal repayments have to be paid with post tax income. The effective cost to you of repaying debts is a premium% on the debt of 30% to 40%, depending on your total (Fed, State, Sales, Property, etc) marginal Tax rate.

      2. Ed Miller

        But you haven’t addressed the issue that I see as a driving factor, and was especially true during the great stock runs up to 2000. I warn you that this is speculation on my part because I have no real data to back it up, but considering human behavior (self interest, especially gaming the system) I don’t believe one can ignore the obvious.

        What about the incentives for the pension fund managers? Gaming the system today for big bonuses today while the employee pension payments are way out there in time. Twisting a saying from a comic strip of my pre-school days: “Pay me today for a burger on Tuesday.”

  8. Jim Haygood

    Is Ku Klux Jeff’s florid invocation of Calhoun and Lincoln the first shot fired at Fort Sumter for the Left Coast?

    California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday fired back at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who called his actions on immigration policy “an embarrassment” to the state.

    “Jeff Sessions just called me an embarrassment. A man whose legacy is targeting immigrants, re-waging the failed War on Drugs, sucking up to private prison profiteers, and apologizing for white supremacists … I take that as a HUGE compliment,” Newsom tweeted.

    Meanwhile DACA expired on Monday, leaving 689,000 people who are culturally American without legal qualification for employment. They are not bloody amused. Looks like a combustible mix of unintended consequences.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A California draft might be in order soon.

      “We need anyone, female or male, older than 18, and younger than the oldest working at an Amazon distribution center.”

      1. Carolinian

        We’ll have a new Cold War and Civil War at the same time. What fun…

        To residents of CA: we’ll miss you. Just be sure to drop off our National Parks on the way out the door.

      2. polecat

        “female or male”
        Caliphonia could up it’s draft #s considerably if one takes into account All those other gender pronouns ..
        But what to use in place of “OMG .. GUUUUUUUUUUUUUNs ??”

        Therein lies the rub …

    2. Carolinian

      While I hate to go against homeboy John C. Calhoun, Sessions may be right about the Nullification question and settled law. After all George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door was another manifestation of “states rights.”

      1. Darius

        We are not the same nation we were 150 years ago. Their is precedent for imperial collapse. The late-stage Roman Empire split in half. The rise and fall of states is as old as civilization. There’s no reason to think the US is an exception.

        1. John k

          Course there is. We’re exceptional. Why would exceptional people live in a not exceptional country? Wouldn’t make any sense.

          I sometimes dream of Oz… but kids and grandkids…

        2. Synoia

          The late-stage Roman Empire split in half.

          Smart move by Constantine. The Eastern part continued merrily for either the next 1100 years, or 1600 if you consider the change in religion a non-event for Governance. The western part crumbled after 110 years.

    3. Summer

      There are also millions of Californians with roots and family in the other 49 states.
      Something to consider before assuming a mad rush to seccession.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was just wondering earlier this morning about the people who had just moved to the South, or to the North, shortly before the Civil War broke out.

        Did they go back home? Were these Southerners considered Northerners in the north, and vice versa?

        Also I wondered about how many Union soldiers were stationed inside the Confederacy at the very start. Were they evacuated north, if their positions were not defensible? Did they expand their penetrated positions? Did they seize strategic sites, before the various states in the South could full mobilize?

        I could see the US Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton march on Beverly Hills immediately.

        1. Wukchumni

          That’s a good question about those stuck behind enemy lines shortly after war breaks out…

          Must’ve been quite the sideshow-the Civil War that is, here in California. So far away from the action and predominantly pro-Union, er blue that is.

        2. Louis Fyne

          if i remember correctly, loyal union troops were recalled back North and given safe passage by the South.

          Fort Sumter happened because Lincoln-the War Dept. didn’t want to turn the fort over to SC.

          The shelling of Fort Sumter happened months after SC’s secession.

      2. polecat

        Still gonna be a crack-up booooom .. I mean, I could easily count on ten fingers (more if I used my toes !) the many UNSTUSTAINABLE aspects of this complex, convoluted, and totally disfunctional culture we’re all part and parcel to !!!
        The cracks are becoming progressively wider, and longer, as time go on.

        The Larson Ice Shelf : You Are Here !

  9. Angry Panda

    Re: the whole Sobchak “backlash” thing.

    What people have to understand is that there are two types of opposition candidates in Russian elections. There is the actual opposition, a majority of which is split between the socialists (KPRF) and the nationalists (LDPR). When Putin leaves politics, as he will eventually, these will be the two “real” contenders viz. “One Russia” (whose popularity is far, far lower than that of Putin personally, and, incidentally Putin is running as an independent this time around for that reason). More broadly speaking, since both KPRF and LDPR advocate various degrees of economic socialization, these are the two political movements through which the electorate can or will likely oppose the current pro-free market oligarchy (whether successfully or not is another issue).

    To belabour the point, Putin is winning because of a consistently high personal approval rating, and that goes back to the fact that he came in right after the collapse of the 1990s and so gets credit for the recovery (whether rightly or wrongly is immaterial), and, more recently, for “standing up to” the US. No-one, arguably, could have beaten FDR in 1936, or 1940, or 1944. It takes at least a full generation for that sort of halo to fade away. But once it does (or once he leaves), the “first tier” parties will be there.

    Then there is the second tier of candidates, not unlike what Ron Paul used to be back in the day. These play to a very, very tiny slice of the electorate (~5%); these also happen to constitute the “opposition” supported by the US, and their main platform for decades has been to essentially become the fifty-something US state. In this round of elections, their stated platform basically boils down to, and I quote – do anything and everything the US asks to remove sanctions, and then the EU will grant Russia visa-free travel (one does not question this line of reasoning, one merely accepts it).

    But in any case, there are now three candidates in this tier, each fighting for a portion of that 5% (not to mention American support and, yes, money). What do you do if you are one such candidate? Correct – make as much noise as you can in the media – streaking through Red Square on live TV if necessary – while reiterating the slogans “your” fans have come to expect. Sobchak, being an old television hand, happens to be best at playing this particular game (in my opinion). That said, this is just so much noise that, at best, might culminate in another 15,000 word hagiographic profile in the New Yorker (a la Khodorkovsky a few years ago or Steele currently). [Which, obviously, most of the Russian electorate will not read nor care much about.] And this sort of noise actually tells us nothing about Russian politics going forward, except that Americans are terrible at picking the “opposition” to support (sort of if a foreign power had backed a US presidential candidate whose platform was that Americans ought to ask the Saudis “forgiveness” for 911).

    1. Olga

      Even in what attempts to be a positive documentary on her by BBC, she comes across looking like a bit of impermanent fluff.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump administration quietly OKs elephant trophy imports — again USA Today. Lambert: On a case-by-case basis (ka-ching). There shouldn’t be any cases.

    ‘History in the making’: California aims for world’s highest farm animal welfare law Guardian

    Psychological help for any California mountain lion, for example, that has killed? That’d be high animal welfare. Expensive, but a win for those against death penalty.

    Right now, that savage killer is hunted down and ‘terminated with extreme prejudice.’ That’s, if not official, at least an unwritten law.

    What about an elephant that has killed humans? (We’re special, exceptional…sarcasm)

    Would that be an exception?

  11. rd

    Re: Canadian doctors asking for lower pay

    Many of these doctors were likely educated in Canadian medical schools that are subsidized so the new doctors don’t come out of school with ginormous debt. Amazingly enough, that can lead to much lower stress and demand for future pay.

    Also they don’t need a massive bureaucracy to support them to manage numerous billing schemes and insurances. You swipe the patients insurance card and maybe take a small copay. Again, much less stress and cost.

    So that allows the doctors to focus on quality of life factors, including working conditions. Stressed out nurses and orderlies means a lower quality working environment as well as worse patient care. Balancing these things out benefits everybody, including the doctors.

      1. JEHR

        Well, Quebecers are an unusual lot anyway; they are far more socially aware than the rest of Canada, partly because they feel they have to maintain their own language and culture which they feel is under constant threat from the rest of the North American continent.

  12. nippersmom

    Trump administration quietly OKs elephant trophy imports- again
    I’m sure Trump’s elder sons, who are trophy hunters, will be among those getting the “case by case” approvals.

    1. Wukchumni

      Most in the white elephant party are trophy hunters, hidden away in a blind on the floor, sneaking in some last second pork on a must pass bill that might garner them the hallowed “My Congressman was Politician Of The Month” bumper sticker, to place on the rear echelon of their ride, as a token of esteem.

  13. rd

    The tariff article doesn’t mention it, but the steel tariffs are a two-fer in the SW Pennsylvania House special election. Most Appalachia coal is metallurgical coal used in steel production. So the coal workers would love increased steel production in Pennsylvania as well, since their coal would go in the blast furnaces.

    I think Trump is so focused on winning this special election, that he is willing to risk putting the USA into recession in order to win this seat.

    1. Oregoncharles

      A very narrow, rather small tariff (10% used to be the basic tariff) is going to crash the US economy? I don’t think so.

  14. Edward E

    US watching pro-Syrian regime forces amassing near US troops

    The Real Breaking news: Syrians in Syria where the US is occupying the north of the country illegally. Controlling much of their best agricultural land, water and half of Syria’s energy resources. Trying to keep them poor, starving and much less able to rebuild.

    Notice how accurate reporting of killing wild animals sparks such outrage and fury. But inaccurate reporting when MIC/proxies kill multitudes of innocent women and children results in mostly silence and crickets. Researching like heck into sex coaches and porn stars might get levies imposed on them, but not the MIC, no way we can’t do that. Fairness Doctrine repealed, Smith Mundt Act nullified.

      1. Homina

        I had to stop midway through this trash Guardian article to count the “regimes”…

        One in the photo caption; One titling the map graphic, and two within that graphic; six in the article itself, including this other propaganda word-choice trick:

        “amid military advances by forces loyal to the regime of Al-Assad” Does he mean the Syrian military?

        Did he describe US combat in Raqqa as “military advances by forces loyal to the regime of Obama”?

  15. Darthbobber

    Interesting piece up on the baffler,

    Among other things, it reprises the presumed Chinese effort to influence the 1996 presidential and congressional elections on behalf of the democrats, and refreshes the memory about the financial irregularities and the large number of people who fled the country to avoid prosecution. Until Start turned up the stained dress, this one was the main Clinton scandal.

  16. Peter VE

    I heard on the BBC this morning that a police officer who was amongst the earliest responders to the “nerve gas” poisoning of the Russian spy is also being treated for symptoms. How was it that many “White Helmets” who were filmed where the sarin gas was dropped on Khan Sheikhoun last April suffered no symptoms?

    1. visitor

      The possibilities:

      1) The attack happened in another place as the one at which they were filmed.

      2) They were filmed at the right place, but the attack did not involve nerve gas.

      3) They were filmed at the place where an attack with nerve gas occurred, but long after it happened — so long that any trace of gas had already evaporated, or been decontaminated.

      (1) and (2) mean that the films were just blatant propaganda movies. (3) implies that the film is an odd deception maneuver.

  17. GF

    “Fukushima ‘must do more’ to reduce radioactive water Bangkok Post”

    Important that the cleanup continue and to increase the intensity of the cleanup activities as the radiation continues to spread.

    This post in Counterpunch looks at what is happening with regards to the sailors and military personnel who were exposed to the radiation immediately after the catastrophe took place and things aren’t going well:

  18. Musicismath

    A really interesting article on what we might term the prehistory of current anti-discrimination discourse has just gone up on Aeon:

    Treating racism as if it were a quantifiable and curable problem that should be addressed in psychological terms can mean ignoring objective factors that drive conflict between groups, the material advantages that accrue to those who benefit from unequal structures, or the practical steps that might improve public life.

    For Raimond, the founder of the modern concept of racial prejudice, this was indeed the goal…. Raimond intended his analysis of racial prejudice to attack racism without affecting inequality. He hoped that bias against people of African origin could be exposed and uprooted from French colonial society without altering its fundamental social and economic institution: slavery.

    Blake Smith, On Prejudice, Aeon (5 March 2018).

    An intriguing counterpart to Walter Benn Michaels’s essay, “The political economy of anti-racism,” that was posted here recently.

  19. Wukchumni

    Trump Lawyer Obtained Restraining Order to Silence Stormy Daniels New York Times

    It’s difficult to keep abreast of the action in this ongoing she said-he hid saga, but it’s titillating nonetheless.

  20. allan

    Let’s see what our 2016 primary candidates are up to today:

    Bernie Sanders To Hold Televised Town Hall On Economic Inequality [HuffPo]

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to hold a live, televised town hall on March 19 devoted to exploring the issue of economic inequality.

    The town hall, called “Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class,” will take place before a live audience in the auditorium of the U.S. Capitol. It will be broadcast online with the help of the event’s digital media partners, The Guardian, NowThis, The Young Turks and

    The 80-minute panel discussion is an attempt to capitalize on the success of Sanders’ January town hall on “Medicare for all” that drew 1.6 million live viewers. …

    Sanders elicited criticism from supporters of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign for his message on class and economic inequality that appeared to sidestep inequalities driven by race, gender and other identities or experiences. …

    Hillary Clinton to receive Harvard’s Radcliffe Award [The Hill]

    Former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton will receive an award in May for her impact on society from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, according to a press release.

    Clinton, a former secretary of State, will receive the Radcliffe Medal on May 25, an award that recognizes individuals who have had a “transformative impact” on society. …

    The event in May will feature a tribute to Clinton delivered by friend, former secretary of state and fellow Radcliffe medalist Madeleine Albright …

      1. John k

        Many past leaders who should not be named were similarly transformative.
        She certainly transformed Libya, worked diligently on transforming Ukraine and Syria, and certainly transformed my idea of just what a charitable foundation does.

    1. polecat

      Does the award come embossed with the likenesses of dead and bloodied Libyan, Syrian, Honduran, and, dare I mention even Russian, babies … ??

  21. ChrisAtRU


    … well, only if we’re installing a new #OperatingSystem


    “It’s time to start over.”

  22. Roger Smith

    When I said I wanted the Climate argument to be reframed in a way I thought it would be more successful and relevant to the average person, Identity Politics is not what I had in mind.

  23. allan

    New data shows opioid crisis is just getting worse [The Hill]

    The number of Americans turning up in emergency rooms suffering from opioid overdoses has risen sharply in recent years, according to new federal data, as the size and scope of a devastating public health crisis evolves in ways officials say is difficult to combat.

    Data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017.

    Rust Belt states have been hardest hit, with emergency room visits rising 108 percent in Wisconsin, 80 percent in Pennsylvania and 65 percent in Illinois. Indiana and Ohio also experienced substantial growth in overdose treatments. …

    The Trump administration has held several high-level meetings on the opioid epidemic, which the Department of Health and Human Services has called a public health emergency. …

    Several high-level meetings. Plus $57,000. This is like total war. Totally. If you have bone spurs.

  24. Wukchumni

    DAVID BENSCOTER IS AN APPLE detective. Once an investigator for the F.B.I. and the United States Treasury, he has moved from digging into the affairs of corrupt politicians and tax evaders to hunting down the United States’s lost apple trees, one variety at a time. Now, in the green expanses of the vast Palouse agricultural area, across parts of Idaho and Washington, Benscoter has found five apples previously believed to be lost, the AP reports.

    “It’s like a crime scene,” Benscoter told the New York Times last year. “You have to establish that the trees existed, and hope that there’s a paper trail to follow.” In this latest windfall is Shackleford, Saxon Priest, Kittageskee, Ewalt, and McAffee varietals, found peacefully growing in plain sight on trees scattered across the Palouse region.


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