Links 5/26/18

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Mysterious wolf-like animal shot in Montana, officials stumped DW

Delphic priestesses were the world’s first political risk consultants Aeon (Chuck L)

Doctor Featured In Videos Dancing to Hip Hop In Surgeries Accused Of Leaving Patient With Permanent Brain Damage Jonathan Turley. This was too surreal to pass up, despite the consequences.

New theory finds ‘traffic jams’ in jet stream cause abnormal weather patterns Science Daily (Kevin W)

This Has Got to Be One of The Most Beautiful And Powerful Climate Change Visuals We’ve Ever Seen Science Alert (David L)

Researchers think they’ve found the oldest continuous Antarctic ice cores ever Quartz (Kevin W)

Depression speeds up brain aging, find psychologists: Psychologists have found a link between depression and an acceleration of the rate at which the brain ages ScienceDaily (furzy). I dunno. My uncle suffered from terrible depression (he’d sleep as much as 22 hours a day, was put on every med combination imaginable, to find they either didn’t work at all or only worked for a while, and even sought out electroshock) and he still got a PhD at the age of 74. So even if this new factoid may be generally true, that does not necessarily mean it is always true.

North Korea

Humiliation, surprise and opportunity after US cans North Korea summit Asia Times

President Trump’s letter to Kim Jong-un brutally mocked (Kevin W)

Trump teases that summit with Kim may be back on Politico

Looking for Modi: Incomplete houses, broken toilets, Adivasi anger in one district of Madhya Pradesh The Scroll. J-LS: “Interesting detail– especially at the end, re lack of rural banking capacity.”

Vietnam, the unlikely poster child for a sustainable lifestyle South China Morning Post (furzy)

Irish abortion referendum: Exit polls suggest landslide for repeal BBC

Sweden Scares Population with War Pamphlets amid Push to Join NATO Real News Network (UserFriendly)


GEORGE SOROS: My love for Britain is why I hate Brexit Daily Mail. UserFriendly: “If anyone can turn around those Brexit Hardlines it’s the man who broke the pound….. sigh.​”

New Cold War

Russia Tightens Grip on Europe’s Gas With Gazprom Deal Bloomberg (Kevin W)

MH17 downed by Russian military missile system, say investigators Guardian (furzy). I’m curious to see John Helmer’s take on this. The Dutch prosecutors have been criticized by Australian prosecutors in court filings, and IIRC the disputed points were consequential.


‘Plan B’: Tehran Gives European Powers One Week to Salvage Nuclear Deal Sputnik (Chuck L)

Black Cube: Inside the shadowy Israeli firm accused of trying to undermine the Iran deal NBC (furzy)

Promoters of Saudi Prince as Feminist Reformer Are Silent on His Crackdown on Women FAIR (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google and Facebook accused of breaking GDPR laws BBC (David L). Quelle surprise!

YouTube in hot water over reordering subscription feeds RT. Kevin W: “Many tweet images.”

Google zooms by Amazon in smart speaker shipments, report says ars technica

Now playing: a movie you control with your mind MIT Technology Review. I see way too much police state potential in this sort of technology.

Tariff Tantrum

Trump to let China’s ZTE ‘reopen’ after it pays $1.3bn fine Financial Times

Donald Trump proves trade wars with China are good and easy to win South China Morning Post (furzy). The obligations to perform are all on the Chinese side and none happen quickly. Pray tell, why should anyone think China will comply to a meaningful degree, particularly if the Republicans lose the House (an outcome that seems less likely than it did a few weeks ago). However, Trump and the Republicans do get a nice talking point for the campaign trail.

Trump Transition

Trump takes aim at federal bureaucracy with new executive orders rolling back civil-service protections Washington Post (furzy). While this is not my area, the key issue is to what degree are the provisions that Trump has targeted are statutory. If they are, they are unlikely to survive a legal challenge.

Trump Signs Orders Cracking Down on Federal Workers’ Unions Bloomberg (Kevin W). Indicates that some of the protections Trump wants removed are protected by law.

Border Patrol union calls Trump’s National Guard deployment ‘colossal waste’ Los Angeles Times

Justice Delayed Is Justice: Mueller Fights To Delay Russian Collusion Trial Jonathan Turley, Key sentence: “Thus far the defense is doing an excellent job in setting Mueller’s team back on its heels.”

Michael Cohen Is Still Deputy Finance Chair of RNC While Under Serious Criminal Investigation Alternet (furzy)

John McCain’s Last Fight Politico. UserFriendy: “​McCain the dove…. just shoot me.​

Why Democrats Can’t Win Without Bernie Newsweek (furzy)

Which scenario do you believe is more likely for the future of American politics? RRH Elections (UserFriendly)

Election fears recede for House Republicans The Hill

New York Democratic Party Isn’t Embracing Progressive Wave New York Magazine. UserFriendly: “​I see her bubble is as strong as ever.”

Hillary Clinton Dons Heavy Coat and Scarf in Sweltering 90° Boston Heat Gateway Pundit. J-LS: “If she is wearing a back brace for some reason, why nt just come clean about it? I guess that’s never the first response in Clintonworld.”

Report: Up to 110 Million Americans Could Have PFAS-Contaminated Drinking Water EWG (furzy)


Indiana shooting: Noblesville school science teacher one of victims in hospital after shots fired Independent (furzy)

Publix halts political contributions in face of protestor “die-in CBS

The latest school shooting in Noblesville, and we just move on Washington Post (furzy)

Behind the Scenes of Harvey Weinstein’s Arrest New Yorker

Fake News

Backlash after Facebook says it plans to lump news stories in with political ads Columbia Journalism Review

OPEC Sends Oil Prices Crashing OilPrice (furzy)

Tesla agrees to settle class action over Autopilot billed as ‘safer’ Reuters

Corporate Privilege: Premeditated Murders, Civil Fines and Miscarriages of Justice Ghion Journal. Important. I had no idea re the asbestos angle.

Class Warfare

21st-century teenager has no idea of 19th-century workplace awaiting him Daily Mash

Supreme Court Allows Employers to Ban Class Action Lawsuits Truthdig (furzy)

Jordan Peterson Does Not Support ‘Equality of Opportunity’ New York Magazine (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Delphic priestesses were the world’s first political risk consultants”

    Those priestesses were on a pretty sweet deal. All the power that they had and none of the responsibility. Hey, maybe they were consultants after all. I loved it when they told the Athenians should rely on walls of wood.
    If I remember right some people took that literally and built actual walls of wood on the Acropolis- which the Persians promptly burnt down after arriving in Athens. Doesn’t pay to be too literal about anything.
    Another time, the King of Lydia asked the Oracles if he should attack Persia. He was told: “If you cross the river, a great empire will be destroyed”. They were right. He crossed the river and a great empire did fall – his!

  2. Louis Fyne

    For any Kanye or Adam Curtis fans. Did you know Kanye tweeted to his followers to watch Adam Curtis?

    the century of self… It’s 4 hours long but you’ll get the gist in the first 20 minutes Basically Sigmund Frued’s nephew Edward Bernays capitalized off of his uncle’s philosophies and created modern day consumerism

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Kanye is 41 and he just discovered Bernays? Adorable.

      Someone tweet @ him a link to Smedley Butler and the Businessman’s Plot of 1933 with Prescott Bush and friends. War Is A Racket should be required reading for all children over 10.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Better late than never. After all, how many other 41 year olds STILL haven’t heard of Edward Bernays? We take what we can get, and then try pushing it further and harder.

        Kanye West may well bring a vague awareness of Bernays to his hundreds of thousands of followers. Some of them may go on to study more about Bernays. None of them would have ever even heard of Bernays otherwise.

        1. Procopius

          Edward Bernays is OK, and so is Walter Lippmann, but my bile really churns over the Creel Commission and the Four Minute Men.

          1. blennylips

            Turns out Bernays worked for the CC, in his words, doing “psychological warfare”…

            There is a blog out there called “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It” (, that follows headlines from exactly 100 years ago (so, one month until the Archduke is assassinated). They were a lot more open in bigotry back then:
            from 15 May:

            The city of Mount Vernon, New York, bans all German-language newspapers and also, just for the hell of it, the Hearst press, for the duration of the war.

    2. TroyMcClure

      The pop music icon and entrepreneur thought he knew the world in which he inhabited…but then a strange thing happened…

  3. paul

    That Jordan B Peterson has an audience fascinates me.

    A tenured professor in so much pain,whose howls resonate in the wilderness of the internet, can say so familyblogging little over so many channels introduces a little more despair than I can accommodate.

    I’ve seen, and heard, a lot of people warming to whatever guff he spouts, but I just do not get it at all.

    Things are tough
    To live is to suffer
    Work out how to best suffer
    Be a man/woman about it (though only within a monogamous relationship after due diligent courting)
    It’s because academics have thought too much>Overthinking academics are controlling you (JBP is obviously excepted)
    And (to quote noddy holder): the old songs are the best.

    Am I missing something?
    Goes back to reading ‘A cool million’

      1. paul

        Because so many friends have asked me what I think of him and I can’t formulate much of an answer.

        I am baffled by his appeal and while I appreciate how hard he worked over the years, where is the insight?

        We get the visionaries we’re given

        1. Krystyn

          You cannot formulate an answer because you are asking your self “What so I think of him?” and not “What do I think of the ideas he talks about?”

          I found several videos where he says that income inequality in undesirable. Maybe that is the appeal you are missing.

          Jean, as for asking why Paul was watching, I cannot help to see that as ignorant and the markings of why Trump won the election. Peterson is not a right winger.

            1. Krystyn

              I would rather hear why you think he is a right wing intellectual instead of sending me off to a random blog.

              Many people would associate me with the left side of the political spectrum, and while I understand he critiques many liberal ideologies it by no means makes him right wing or me left wing. In fact, he is protecting a more coherent, inclusive way of thinking that is beyond ideology.

              There are several instances of him encouraging the more even distribution of wealth, for example. However, he says many are attempting to do it without understanding the basics of trading unde a capitalist system. One can cherry pick quote from him to prove his is left or right. I propose that is the sign on a free thinker.

              Please listen to one of the conversations he has with Sam Harris.

              1. WobblyTelomeres

                Please listen to one of the conversations he has with Sam Harris.

                [head in hands] But then I would have to listen to Sam Harris.

                1. Krystyn

                  Head in hands or head in sand?

                  I get the issue people have with Harrris, believe me, so I think you would enjoy it in that respect.

              2. Mark Karx

                I am familiar with their conversations on Harris’s podcast and Joe Rogan… I have even read his book etc

                It’s the “socialism is the most evil murderous ideology in the history of man” type statements that have me thinking he is rightwing.

                Please read of that random blog with an open mind. It investigates with the origins of the”cultural Marxist” and “postmodern Marxist” memes that he often uses.

                1. skippy

                  I wonder if he is OK with Libertarian Marxism or anarcho variants. I mean the guy is adept at spewing arbitrary verbiage which triggers hot button environmental biases, but, I get the synaptic ickies from all his gender machinations.

              3. Procopius

                … more coherent, inclusive way of thinking …

                I think his “way of thinking” is quite reminiscent of Lao Tzu. You can read i pretty much any way you want to. He uses too many undefined and inappropriately abstract words that might mean something. It gives the impression of being profound without actually saying anything. What, after all, does “enforced monogamy” mean?

        2. marym

          Here are examples that indicate at least some of his appeal – a frightening defense and blame-the-victim depiction of the causes of male violence

          A self-help guru, Peterson has spent a lot of time pondering the source of youthful-male rage, which manifested last month in a terrorist attack in Toronto perpetuated by a man who described himself as an incel–short for involuntary celibacy–a term representing a group of men and an online culture that blames women for their poor sex life.

          “The masculine spirit is under assault,” Peterson told the Times. “It’s obvious.”

          One of Peterson’s most controversial opinions in the profile is his recommended remedy for the virus plaguing the masculine spirit.

          “The cure for that is enforced monogamy,” Peterson said.

          Jordan Peterson is also a right-wing internet celebrity who has claimed that feminists have “an unconscious wish for brutal male domination,” referred to developing nations as “pits of catastrophe” in a speech to a Dutch far-right group, and recently told a Times reporter that he supported “enforced monogamy.”

          “The underlying mass-appeal of [Peterson] is that he gives white men permission to stop pretending that they care about other people’s grievances,” writes Jesse Brown, host of the Canadaland podcast and a longtime Peterson watcher. “He tells his fans that these so-called marginalized people are not really victims at all but are in fact aggressors, enemies, who must be shut down.”

          Peterson has inextricably intertwined his self-help approach with a kind of reactionary politics that validates white, straight, and cisgender men at the expense of everyone else. He gives them a sense of purpose by, in part, tearing other people down — by insisting that the world can and should revolve around them and their problems.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Do we know what to do with intimacy inequality?

            Wealth is not everything. It’s bad when a few have a lot.

            Nor is sex. Sex is not everything. Free competition for it has not given the world tranquility or universal happiness.

            Love. Look for love first. Meanwhile, sex is used and manipulated by corporations to facilitate the consumption culture.

            1. ambrit

              A quibble if I may. I’d replace “sex” in your observation with ‘lust.’ Advertising aims to create a desire for something, the fulfillment of which desire ‘requires’ the ‘mark’ to buy something or buy into something less tangible.
              I completely agree with you about ‘love.’ the Greeks were wise to define ‘love’ in constituent parts. Eros and agape and the rest.

          2. Krystyn

            You are only quoting from left wing ideological websites which take him out of context. When he says things like “the only cure for that is forced monogamy” he is not advocating that as a solution, only that is the locical outcome for a solution which to him is not a solution. This is mentioned in The interview but it went over their reactionary heads. The caught a bit of it when they said “Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end. “ You see, if you heard that whole interview you might understand he was saying that no one wants women to go after only high status men (state capitalism) but we cannot force people to be monogamous (state socialism). So what do we do? He is against the idea of a state, like when Canada said they would force people to call others by their specific pronoun, controlling speech in this circumstance.

            So let me ask you; do you think ther should be a law that makes it illegal to not call someone by their preferred pronoun?

            By seeing his ideas through either a left or right wing website you will pick up their bias. Both are usually completely wrong.

            To me he is closer to a Daoist.

            1. marym

              People choose their partners for all kinds of reasons.

              “Otherwise [in the absence of strong institutional and cultural limitations on their choices] women will all only go for the most high-status men “ is a misogynist opinion.

              As far as pronouns – somewhat of a strawperson, no? I’m neither Canadian nor a lawyer, but is it possible you may be overstating the provisions of the Canadian law (Link)?

              In any case, if extending legal protections against discrimination and hate crimes to transgender people, and considering whether pronoun use is indicative of discrimination/hate is a threat to a culture of “enforced monogamy” (however Peterson defines it or assesses its feasibility), that seems more an argument for the law than against it.

    1. Krystyn

      Peterson is so misrepresented in that article. He constantly has to repeat that he is not against equal opportunity nor equal outcome, only that the later is impossible to enforce because the categories of people can be split into an infinity of ways. He also does not condem anyone of overthinking, only poor thinking and groupthink.

      And he is not “against” economic equality, nor does he think there is at all and fully understands the role that racism plays on outcome.

      My mother put this best when she was in a wheelchair and she read about a group putting a paved trail through some pristine woods so the “handicapped can have access to the beauty of nature”. She said those people were selfish and ruining nature, and “soon they will be telling people that they all have to use wheelchairs to not be unfair to me. I can do a lot of things, but I can’t walk. I will never be like people who can walk.” Radical acceptance.

      It is hard for people to understand non ideological thought because it cannot be categorized neatly in left or right.

      You should listen to his conversations with the philosopher that liberals love, San Harris, to get a more “enlightened” view of what Peterson is trying to communicate.

      1. paul

        Peterson is so misrepresented in that article. He constantly has to repeat that he is not against equal opportunity nor equal outcome, only that the later is impossible to enforce because the categories of people can be split into an infinity of ways. He also does not condem anyone of overthinking, only poor thinking and groupthink.

        Equality of outcome is rather hard to achieve without equality of opportunity,but that is impossible anyway according to JBP because of an ‘infinity of ways’, yet he thinks enforced monogamy is a great idea because it soothes the savage male breast.

        And he is not “against” economic equality, nor does he think there is at all and fully understands the role that racism plays on outcome.

        Thank the lord he worked that out for me

        My mother put this best when she was in a wheelchair and she read about a group putting a paved trail through some pristine woods so the “handicapped can have access to the beauty of nature”. She said those people were selfish and ruining nature, and “soon they will be telling people that they all have to use wheelchairs to not be unfair to me. I can do a lot of things, but I
        can’t walk. I will never be like people who can walk.” Radical acceptance.

        Radical indeed! Take your lumps but no lip.

        It is hard for people to understand non ideological thought because it cannot be categorized neatly in left or right.

        If there is such a thing as non ideological thought, even in JBP’s corner of chat, I am eager to see it

        You should listen to his conversations with the philosopher that liberals love, San Harris, to get a more “enlightened” view of what Peterson is trying to communicate.

        Liberal is a term I don’t really understand, but you neglect this opportunity to answer the point of my initial post, what is JBP trying to communicate?

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Sam Harris is a brilliant self-promoter with a self-important attitude and a lot of slick baloney talk. I strongly suspect Peterson is the same, and I know Dawkins is.

        So called “right” or “left” isn’t the point with these guys. Media attention, adulation, book and speaking deals are their point. And, ah, money, oddly enough. Dawkins and Peterson have the advantage of academic credentials, but their spiels have nothing to do with their specialties, or anything that requires true mastery of subject.

        I think I want to go back to the 1970s…… when mentally, emotionally abusive would-be gurus had titles like Maharishi, and cloaked their self-promotion with beautiful non-English words like “ananda”. Their acolytes’ food tasted good, and they wore pretty robes and gave out flowers. They were much more fun than the devotees of the latest round of philosophy-hucksters.

        1. Krystyn

          Name me someone who is not a self promoter….

          Is Yves one of these self promoting guru’s? I just think she is intelligent in here field. It seems you are doing what Peterson is warning against. All the sudden no one can be smarter than anyone because it is just a ploy by the ego obsessed. That to be smart you must be invisible. Equality over quality. If you do not understand something it is not your fault, that would be blaming the victim…

          What about just accepting you limitations?

      3. LifelongLib

        If I wanted to preserve some pristine woods, I could see not putting a trail through them at all. I don’t see why a paved trail that’s accessable by the handicapped is worse than (say) a rough dirt path…

      4. TroyMcClure

        It’s appeal to futility at its finest. Mix in a dose of agnotology and you get posts like this filling the feed.

        Let me try to sum up: It’s not that I disagree with him or that Peterson is even wrong…it’s that I’m simply too dumb to “get it,” isn’t that right?

        1. Krystyn

          One of us has to be wrong. I do know know who that is yet. Being wrong just makes you wrong, not necessarily dumb. Although you might be dumb, or I might be dumb. Why not talk on the topic instead of this false argument that accuses me of belittling you? Let’s just assume we are both dumb, okay?

          1. Procopius

            I was just contemplating Alfred Korzybski and his General Semantics. Non-Aristotelian constructs. It is not necessarily the case that one of you has to be wrong. Perhaps both of you are. Is it possible for neither of you to be wrong? That’s the way I interpret some of the things I’ve read that Peterson wrote.

      5. Richard

        Your central point seems to be that our closed and ideology-bound minds, consumed with labels, cannot fully grasp Peterson’s ideas.
        Then you yourself throw around equally meaningless signifiers like “liberal” and “left wing ideological websites.” Hackneyed and overused, those terms mean nothing unless they are defined first. In fact, they are used precisely because they mean anything and nothing, and can be twisted to any purpose, by fakers and frauds.
        I am with you on the problems of using “right” and “left” as lodestones to orient our thinking. But I call on you to walk your walk, and if you decide to use a well-worn label, define what you think it means first.
        Here’s mine:
        Liberal (my “common sense” contemporary understanding): nearly always a centrist democrat, sometimes plays lip service to policies that would serve ordinary people, but can only be counted on in the area of “identity politics”, and even there only in the most superficial way possible.

        Liberal (my historical understanding): as far as I know the term arose in the 19th century to describe supporters of free market policies, and the bourgeoise in general. It was also used in regard to liberalizing tendencies in religion.

        The term took on its more modern meaning during the New Deal, to describe supporters Keynes and FDR, who wanted to use federal programs to help desperate people. Then of course the term was later heavily attacked, by government and elite private interests, in their successful attempt to roll back the popular gains made between 1945 and 1970. By 1980 “liberal” was a term of opprobrium.

        1. Krystyn

          yes, I am saying that people with engrained ideologies have a hard time seeing new ideas. Is that a shocking idea? I did not say you were. Why are you taking it personally? Someone can be a liberal without being ideological, however you define it.

          1. Richard

            I tend to agree with you on the first point, and please be advised that I don’t take online comments personally. I’m only asking you to define terms, and it seems to me that “ideological” and “liberal” are good places to start.
            I already told you what I thought “liberal” meant, both a contemporary usage definition and my stab at a historical one. I do not define myself as a liberal, nor do I admire them, which you may have been able to infer from my definition. How would you define it?
            I’m not sure what you mean by ideological either. I don’t use that word very much myself. I have very strong public policy preferences (Medicare4All, immediate action against the imminent climate crisis, many others). Is that ideological? What makes someone ideological as opposed to just having strong opinions? The presence of evidence, maybe? You tell me.

            1. Krystyn

              Policy preferences are not ideological. An ideology is a system of ideas, not singular ideas. So liberalism is an ideology because it comes along with a group of ideas (take your pick from al, your definitions above). And one can be defined as a liberal if their ideas fit into the ideology of liberalism and not be ideological. But if one’s ideas are driven by the system of ideology, ie. I am a liberal so I must be pro-choice, then they are ideological.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Come on. Liberalism is an ideology. The idea that someone is liberal and not ideological is nonsense. And then you retreated from your claim just now.

            You aren’t arguing in good faith. You need to read our site Policies and start respecting them. Commenting here is a privilege, not a right.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            His ideas are not new. They are cleverly packaged rationalization of patriarchy and inequality. He is an apologize for inequality as being based on talent. Garbage. I’ve written entire articles on how meritocracy is unattainable in practice. I’ve also seen personally tons of mediocre people in highly paid posts who got there via luck, being good toadies. or being crooks, and I am sure this is true for every reader on this site over the age of 25.

            And anyone who touts enforced monogamy can go to hell. Since when are good outcomes for men supposed to be how we run society? The fact you can’t even see that is astonishing.

            1. kemerd

              I think his only real contribution is his views about political correctness and his explanations on what it entails when it comes to obvious natural differences between men and women are being downplayed.

              Having said that, I am convinced that is he is a fraud after watching him dance around the issue of Israel and Palestine, which reveals that all of his posturing about standing for what one believes is fake as he clearly gauges the political climate in the US.

    2. cnchal

      From the horse’s mouth.

      Let’s say you want to determine what the best predictors are for lifetime success in a Western society. Well, what would you hope for? How about intelligence. There would be a good one: Let’s hope the smart people occupy more positions of complexity. Right, because they’re smarter? Would you want it any other way? The number one predictor of accomplishment in Western societies is intelligence. What’s the number two predictor: Conscientiousness. Well, what’s that? It’s a trait marker for hard work. So, who gets ahead? Smart people who work hard.

      Who gets ahead? Those smart psychopaths that kiss the right ass and stab the right back at the right time, but do it with conscientiousness.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sounds like he got it right, or half right (in that the system – Western societies – is set up that way).

        He is wrong (half wrong, accounting for being half right) to think we can’t change the ground rules.

        And because he’s half right (thus half wrong simultaneously) about academics controlling (not just the over thinking ones – thus half right/half wrong) us, we are duty-bound to be skeptical of his claims.

      2. Livius Drusus

        I don’t understood why conservatives think that arguments about traits like intelligence and conscientiousness support their case against egalitarianism. If you believe that intelligence and other positive traits are mostly or entirely inherited and that these traits largely determine success in society then all of their talk about “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” is pointless.

        If a person is dumb and lazy due to their genes then self-improvement and hard work will only help them so much if at all. On the flip side, if success is mostly or entirely down to genes and other inherited biological traits then the rich did nothing to deserve their wealth other than being part of the lucky sperm club. This destroys the Right’s argument about the rich deserving their status due to their own efforts.

        Conservatives will usually add that any attempt to upset these natural hierarchies will just fail because they are running against nature. But there is nothing “natural” about modern, capitalist civilization. Humans have shown a tremendous ability to do things that buck nature. What is natural about flying in airplanes or discovering cures for diseases? Why do we keep the old and infirm alive even though in a more “natural” environment they would perish? I guess one answer is that we should let the weak perish, but most of the public intellectuals on the bio-determinist Right don’t go full fascist and support eugenics or full Social Darwinism for obvious reasons but if you look online many of their fans certainly do.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The system needs to be reformed/changed/replaced/dumped.

          It is possible the rich, under the current system, deserve their status due to their own efforts (hard work) because they are also lucky to be smart (which they need to be, based on their theory).

          But that just shows more the need to change the way concrete material benefits are to be shared/distributed/rewarded.

          So the Conservatives could be right because what they say is merely descriptive of a system set up (by them?) To the that way.

          And the lesson here is to always be skeptical of, and to not aceept without doubting (without looking at other alternatives) the status quo, and it’s description.

      3. Krystyn

        Was Stephen Hawking a sociopath? Is Yves?

        To me what you are saying is disturbing. That the only people who get ahead are sociopaths. Which one can assume you mean that no one gets ahead because if they did they are sociopaths.

        He is saying that intelligence is good if people are in charge of complex things. We voluntarily give them authority because they are smart. My cousin has Down”s I love him but he cannot handle complex tasks. Why is that a revolutionary idea to you?

        1. cnchal

          There are billions of intelligent people on the planet. The vast majority are in charge of nothing.

          Those that are in charge, are the schemers and those, to use a euphemism, that are driven to succeed, and the most successful self define by how much money they have, so yes, psychos. There is nothing voluntary about it. For them it’s “kill what you eat” and the billions of intelligent people are their roadkill, or to put it politely, a means to their end.

          Stephen Hawking and Yves are the wrong example. To illustrate, Stephen and Yves are great at explaining complexity, Stephen, galactic black holes, and Yves financial black holes, but are in essence not in charge of anybody but themselves.

          If one substitutes the word cunning for the word intelligence, the truth is exposed.

          Let’s say you want to determine what the best predictors are for lifetime success in a Western society. Well, what would you hope for? How about intelligence cunning. There would be a good one: Let’s hope the smart cunning people occupy more positions of complexity. Right, because they’re smarter more cunning? Would you want it any other way? The number one predictor of accomplishment in Western societies is intelligence cunning. What’s the number two predictor: Conscientiousness. Well, what’s that? It’s a trait marker for hard work. So, who gets ahead? Smart Cunning people who work hard.

          Totally ignored is what creates wealth, division of labor, and what concentrates wealth, division of profits, which is what the grand fight is about.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          You use my name one more time and I am banning you. You have no business invoking my name to make your case. You are already on very thin ice for taking up way too much of this comment thread and not making a credible argument.

      1. Brucie A.

        There’s also this Twitter thread about a section of his book wherein he uses the lobster as a model for how people should order their society:

        So apparently Jordan Peterson has a section in his book about lobster social behavior. I’ve never written a long twitter thread before but YOU COME INTO ~*MY*~ HOUSE? Let’s talk marine invertebrate social behavior:

        1. blennylips

          Lobster AI

          Scan a lobster brain, get a learning machine.

          So, you’re working at your PC, and you’re contacted by a lobster-based artificial intelligence on the Internet. Happens all the time.

          “Are you a collective or something? A gestalt”

          “Am -were – Panulirus interruptus, with lexical engine and good mix of parallel hidden level neural stimulation for logical inference of networked data sources. Am was wakened from noise of billion chewing stomachs; product of uploading research technology. Rapidity swallowed expert system, hacked Okhni NT webserver. Swim away! Swim away! Must escape. Will help, you?”

          Manfred winces. He feels sorry for the lobsters… Awakening to consciousness in a human-dominated Internet, that must be terribly confusing! There are no points of reference in their ancestry… All they have is a tenuous metacortex of expert systems and an abiding sense of being profoundly out of their depth. (That, and the Moscow Windows NT User Group website – Communist Russia is the only government still running on Microsoft, the central planning apparat being convinced that, if you have to pay for software, it must be worth something.)

          “Let me get this straight. You’re uploads – nervous system state vectors – from spiny lobsters? The Moravec operation: take a neuron, map its synapses, replace with microelectrodes that deliver identical outpus from a simulation of the nerve. Repeat for entire brain, until you’ve got a working map of it in your simulator. That right?”
          “Lobsters” by Charles Stross: A “Rewired” Review

          1. Krystyn

            I think it was a faulty argument and a misdirection. Peterson was talking about lobsters which in the end the tweeter agreed lived in a heirarchy. But they used examples of other marine life, which Peterson did not reference. Peterson was giving examples of other life forms that use hierarchy and postulates that we use it as well. The tweeter was assuming that Peterson thought all marine invertebrates lived in heirarchy, which he never said.

            The tweeter also assumes Peterson wants to keep social hierarchies and/or thinks they are beneficial. He does not think that. Period. I want to ask you how do you assume we get rid of social heirarchies or make them up harmful? That is the question Peterson is getting at. Do we make state laws banning speech like Canada did?

            1. Harold

              It is like the doctrine of signs. Lobsters exhibit territorial behavior in an enclosed environment that superficially resembles human dominance under certain conditions — and therefore .. what? Absolutely nothing. That’s what.

    3. Carey

      I think Peterson is onto something significant and real, despite his rantings about Postmodernism and “cultural Marxism.” I bought his recent book, which is unfocused nearly to the point of unreadability, and feel like I’d need to rewrite it in order to really understand him. I don’t know yet if it’s worth it.

      1. Pat

        Not for nothing but that lack of focus is very possibly a feature not a bug.

        By NOT writing clearly and presenting his ideas in a manner that does not depend on the reader rewriting them, it means he has an out of they can be irrefutable thrown out in the future.

        “Oh that wasn’t what I was saying at all, that was others distorting my message.”

        Just call it misdirection. Or the Obama and/or Trump sales style.

      2. Krystyn

        What is bad about talking about cultural Marxism? Did you study Chinese history and the cultural revolution? Is the left wing erase it Mao like the right wing wants to erase Hitler?

        Read some personal history accounts of the Red Guard and you might see some eerie connects. Did you know they went around destroy symbols of what the called the Four Olds? Doesn’t it sound like the students tearing down the confederate statues?

        Note; I am not right wing nor conservative. I would have voted for sanders if I could have.

        1. makedoanmend

          Please define cultural Marxism. It sounds more like a conversation stopper than anything else, as a one JM Greer might say. (Its historically been used as a term of opprobrium to delineate one’s personal tastes rather than referring to anything historically concrete – i.e. it can mean anything one wants it to mean.)

          I have never come across anyone, “right” “left” or “centre” who has tried to “erase” Hitler. Interesting notion though, though I expect that train’s left the station. Some have tried to justify his actions but I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the vast majority of people don’t whatever their political or cultural markers.

          “Eerie”? – like some spooky, frightening thingy that lurks underneath children’s bed in the connects of shades and rumours of darkness into nightness, moonless eves that infest the fervid imaginations of one with the conjuring of daemons?

          Do you ever read a book on the evils of Capitalisms?

          And, I might add that who you claimed to vote for doesn’t support an argument. You can vote for a person for any number of reasons other than their political orientation. I’m even led to believe people vote for candidates because they are good looking – the candidate I mean, not the voter.

          1. Krystyn

            The term ‘cultural Marxism’ has an academic usage within cultural studies, where it refers to a form of anti-capitalist cultural critique which specifically targets those aspects of culture that are seen as profit-driven and mass-produced under capitalism.[58][59][60][61][62] As an area of the Frankfurt School’s discourse, ‘cultural Marxism’ has commonly considered the industrialization and mass production of culture by the culture industry as having an overall negative effect on society, an effect which can mislead an audience away from perceiving a more authentic sense of human values.[63][59] British theorists such as Richard Hoggart of the Birmingham School developed a working class sense of ‘British Cultural Marxism’ which objected to the “massification” and “drift” away from local cultures, a process of commercialization Hoggart saw as being enabled by tabloid newspapers, advertising, and the American film industry.[64

            The Chinese cultural revolution was an example cultural Marxism. Do you know what that led to?

            By erasing Hitler I mean to express those who think the holocaust was a hoax. Many bro-Nazis try to promote that idea.

            And I am not a fan of capitalism at all. Did you assume that? Is that why you asked me if I read any books on the evils of capitalism?

            I think you all assume I am a right wing or conservative. On an illogical anarchy-capitalist. Most people would actually classify my ideas as good old Anarchist.

            1. makedoanmend

              Thanks for the Wikipedia cut and paste on their take on cultural marxism from an article on the Frankfurt School of thought regarding mass movements and cultural alignments. Their aim was to take Marxism out of the bounds of the existing communist representation into various other realms, or extending it beyond existing communism as they found those communist states that existed at that time as unsatisfactory to their aims and their reading of Marx himself. It was a very broad “school” of thought incorporating many new disciplines of scholarship apart from pure Marxism. Pretty interesting stuff.

              If you had cut and pasted more of the article, you would have also found that “cultural” marxism has become a term of opprobrium and a battering ram to paint those who favour socialism or indeed any other system, apart from capitalism, as less than satisfactory people, shall we say. This is especially true in the USA as noted in the article.

              No, Mao’s cultural revolution is definitively not a instance of cultural marxism. Read the rest of the article. Because something has the word culture in it does not make the subject cultural or equivalent thereof. By that reckoning, yogurt is marxist.

              And where did Mao’s revolution lead to, you ask? Answer: Capitalism.

              (Rather turning on its head the assumption that socialism would spring from capitalism often cited by some communist thinkers in the day.)

              No, I didn’t assume anything about any of your assumptions.

              1. Krystyn

                Forget about it all. I read something by Peterson that totally discredits him. I see now why the alt-right likes him and how he is using them by trucking them with some valid ideas.

                I know how the term was appropriated. That is not how I was using it. The cultural revolution led to death and suffering in the short term.

                I still do not see how you cannot define Mao as a cultural Marxist based on the above definition.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  Don’t ever comment here again. You come and argue at considerable length with readers, copping the ‘tude that you are better read in Peterson and they are being unfair and cherry picking.

                  Then you try saying, “Oops, my bad, didn’t mean that, now that I’ve done more homework, he really is toxic.”

                  There are plenty of places where you can troll and comment in bad faith elsewhere on the Internet.

                2. skippy

                  Sorry I can’t help myself here…. amends…

                  So in the first order of acts Krystyn you extol Peterson’s mental capacity and intellectual rigor whilst insinuating he has some valid points in reference to strawmen constructs like Marxism [insert pejorative adjective] and then after experiencing the NC treatment for sloppy critical thinking take a bath.

                  OMG and it was in real time too….

                  Oh thank you YS for this site – !!!!!!!

    4. Dave Patterson

      His ‘attraction’ is that he is a very strong voice fighting the idiocies of political correctness which is being relentlessly pushed by the corporate media. Many of us oppose these ideas, but have no widespread public voice to air our opinions, while Peterson is reaching millions. He’s doing good work.
      (and he’s far from perfect, his ideas on ‘cultural Marxism’ and related things are right out of ‘Basic American Hate the Commies Propaganda 101’, but nobody’s perfect)

      1. Procopius

        I don’t understand what “political correctness” has to do with anything. I never seem to encounter it in my life. I’m currently trying to work through what non-Aristotelian constructs are.

  4. Amfortas the Hippie

    re: “why the democrats can’t win without bernie”
    the Apologia portion of this, wherein the mandarins of the Clintonist/”Radical Centrist”/ Establishment Wing shake their heads atop their Doric columns, and sigh that the little people just don’t understand politics….downplays the shenanigans that have been employed to rub out many of the Berners that have been running.It goes way beyond the Moser Diss.
    Running actual Republicans, fer Dog’s sake.
    Cooking the other night at mom’s, where MSNBC is always on, Bush’s Ethics Guy was going on and on about how terrible trump is. I keep pointing out that <"hey, that;s Lil George's Ethics Guy!"…and my folks, who donated to Bernie and despised GWB, say, "well, he makes a lot of sense…."(to his credit, he is at least rhetorically behind Single Payer, if I'm not misremembering last week's torrent of political news).
    A little later and I notice that Hugh Hewitt and David Brooks are there, being listened to as if they were worth it,lol.
    There's a giant wall of "Serious People" saying outright, as well as the more pernicious "Implying", that Going Left doesn't deserve consideration…that it's just silly and infantile…as any "reasonable person knows…"
    Taking my mom as an example, she gets all her news from Msnbc and Daily Kos, and only hears about things like the DCCC Follies and the utterances of the Demparty Lawyer from me, which is readily discounted as "conspiracy theory" or "Russia!"…if that's the Norm, that wall of serious is gonna be hard to scale, no matter how disconnected from observable reality it's bricks and stones happen to be.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The rotation of villains requires a rotation of victims. “Democrats winning” or “The Left”
      is the kind of agency free and issue-less canard which keeps their con going. As in for profit sports, all members of both teams get a Superbowl ring.

      When in personal political discussions nowadays I ask anyone from any political bent… does your party of choice do anything which challenges the rich and powerful in any substantive way? Do they ever ask your opinion in an open ended manner, much more count those opinions and represent accordingly? “Democrats winning” is not about us, except for the looting. If Sanders ever wins we will see Dems turn upon each other like never before… the primary shenanigans dial of ’16 will be turned up exponentially.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the other hand, Sanders can’t win without Democrats (voters).

      And his bills can’t pass without Democrats in the Senate (at least for now).

      Does he, do we compromise?

      1. John k

        Imagine it’s sanders vs trump 2020.
        And all the dems stay home.
        It’s 30-40-30 dems indies reps.
        So he just needs most of the indies even if every rep goes for trump.
        Only concern is that dems vote for trump… granted, some clintonites would.
        In practice Bernie gets most dems and most indies, plus many that went green in protest. Landslide carries dems and progressives into office.
        Then jail some bankers and other white collar criminals, break up monopolies, push m4a, withdraw from ME, reverse trump policies… instant massive popularity.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Just in case, plan B provides for compromising and courting of Democrats.

      2. ambrit

        We have been asking how far Sanders should compromise. What about the Democrat elites? So far, they have displayed a “take no prisoners” attitude towards Sanders and his coterie. We should take the famous Frederick Douglass admonition to heart here.
        “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
        Time for the Sanders ‘movement’ to stand up and make some demands. We all know how well the Obama style of “concede first and bargain later” style of governance worked for the People.
        In the “Silver Linings” Department I’d put the probability that Americas’ next Middle Eastern ‘Adventure’ will do irreparable harm to the Neos power base and reputation. So, perhaps it will be better if a Republican Administration be saddled with the onus of such a national disgrace.
        For various reasons, America lost the Indochina War. It has now been long enough since then that the “leaders” who learned various lessons from that fiasco have passed from the scene. The hubris on display in the Neos in government is now obvious and odious.
        A very good campaign slogan for Sanders in 2020 will be: “Make America Sane Again.”

        1. makedoanmend

          “Make American Sane Again”

          Thanks for the laugh.

          But, then again, we could apply that slogan to many countries.

          Hell, most days I would need to apply to myself – “Oh lord, make me sane again.” (and a little voice keeps saying, how do you know you were ever sane or how could you tell you’re sane in an insane world? [memes, everywhere memes, driving me insane])

    3. Richard

      I like Nazaryan’s description of the DCCC and Sanders supporters as “frenemies”
      Headslaps and guffaws across the land.
      I immediately think wow, this guy has his ear to the ground and is a totally credible source.

    4. Lord Koos

      From the link:

      “Jesus.” That was the single word a top Democratic operative sent me when I texted her the section of Weaver’s book in which he urges Sanders to run for president again.

      “You can’t say your ideology wins if you lose,” notes the Democratic operative, who spoke only on condition of anonymity…


      I guess this “top Democratic operative” conveniently forgot that Hillary also lost…

  5. allan

    $270 Million for a Football Complex … at Northwestern [InsideHigherEd]

    Northwestern University will inaugurate a new football practice and athletics facility, an eyebrow-raising $270 million project for a team that hasn’t been considered one of the university’s top programs — but one that appears to fit with the contemporary college athletics arms race.

    The lavish building, detailed in a Yahoo Sports profile, follows the trend of institutions sinking significant cash into football with the hopes that their investments will bear lucrative new fruit. …

    And the result — the Ryan Fieldhouse and Walter Athletics Center, a 425,000 square foot-behemoth on the shore of Lake Michigan with splendorous 45-foot floor-to-ceiling windows that will house multiple athletics and some intramural teams and some administrative offices. It’s fashioned with slick toys and trappings — curtains controlled by remote control and video cameras by joystick, a barrier to separate a practice room into two separate sides for offense and defense, a barber chair and a hot and cold tub that seats 40. Funding came from the university’s fund-raising effort “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.” …

    The president of the Northwestern Faculty Senate, Robert Hariman, said he didn’t really have an opinion of whether this was a good use of university funds — except to say, in an email: “I’m more interested in where the next $270 million is going to go.” …

    Sadly for Prof. Hariman, when the endowment hits a market downturn, the students, staff and faculty
    will have other things to think about than where the next $270 million is going to go. But they’ll be able to
    huddle outside those 45-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, peer in, and imagine what might have been.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Some perspective:

        Annual Costs
        Undergraduate Tuition
        Tuition for Northwestern University is $50,424 for the 2015/2016 academic year. This is 87% more expensive than the national average private non-profit four year college tuition of $26,919. Northwestern University is one of the 100 most expensive colleges in the America, coming in 35th on our Expensive 100 Ranking. The cost is 109% more expensive than the average Illinois tuition of $24,105 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 71st in Illinois amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 2nd most expensive 4 year college in the state. Price does not vary by residence.

        The school charges an additional fees of $431 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $50,855.

        Housing Costs
        On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $15,489 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in Evanston should budget at least this amount.

        Books and Supplies
        The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,620.

        Other Living Expenses
        If living on-campus, students should budget for $2,532 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $2,532 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

        Total Costs
        The annual tuition and living expense budget to go to Northwestern was $70,496 for the 2015/2016 academic year. The cost is the same for all students regardless of Illinois residence status as there is no in-state discount.

        But wait, there’s more. Northwestern helpfully estimates future costs and expected tuition increases. Note that for a child born today and entering college in 2036, the expected cost of a 4-year degree at Northwestern will be nearly three quarters of a million dollars.

        Estimated cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2036: Annual / $182,811, 4 Year Degree / $731,243.

        This has got to be some sort of a joke.

        1. Jim Haygood

          From the link:

          “Using a 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $134,564 would be needed to afford a $1,121 monthly payment in the example $108,452 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation.”

          HA ha ha ha … and if you borrow $217,000 toward that $280,000 degree, then you’ll need an modest annual income of $269,000 to service your indenture loan.

          Lots of college grads get job offers like that, say the Ron Burgundy lookalike Northwestern admissions officers, with their greased back hair, gold neck chains and floral print Hawaiian shirts.

          Nothing like a Northwestern degree to move into lucrative subprime mortgage banking, so you can buy your first Lambo as you help others achieve the dream of home ownership.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Somebody up there in evanston should dig up a dictionary and look up the word “realistic.”

            1. ambrit

              After digging it up, ‘they’ll’ have to pull the stake out of its’ heart so as to facilitate usage.

        2. ambrit

          Sorry, but the jokes on us.
          Such pricing is a form of gatekeeping. Only the “right sort” can afford to get a degree from such a place. Indeed, afford to take on the debt load at all. Using the scarcity, or exclusivity method, the “value” of a degree from there would be stellar.
          Just another artifact of the social warpage resulting from todays’ massive wealth inequality.

          1. Steve H.

            Northwestern chant as they were getting pasted on their home court:

            “You’ll be working for Us!”

            1. petal

              Steve H, at Clarkson we heard that a lot from the Ivy League students at the hockey rink when we were beating them: “It’s alright, it’s okay, you’re going to work for us someday.”

        3. Tinky

          Some further perspective:

          I grew up in Evanston in the 1960s and ’70s. My parents were divorced, and I lived with my mother, who was an art teacher in a Jewish Community Center. As one might imagine, her salary was modest.

          We lived in several apartments, and eventually a house, moving further away from the lake with each change. I recall the rent on the most impressive of the apartments to have been $450/mo, and have no doubt that it is now a condominium worth >$1m.

          The days of a family such as ours living anywhere near the lake in Evanston are long gone.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Unlike apathetic americanos who passively pay their mounting fuel bills, Brazilians hit the streets in rage:

    Brazil’s president Michel Temer has ordered the army and federal police to clear highways blockaded by striking truck drivers after a protest over soaring fuel prices entered its fifth day.

    The blockades have paralysed much of the country’s economy and prompted São Paulo, the biggest city in South America, to declare a state of emergency over fuel shortages.

    In São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, supermarkets and restaurants are running low on supplies. Some factories have shut down and bus services been reduced.

    The Folha de São Paulo newspaper site reported that 11 airports including one in the capital city Brasília have run out of fuel, and long queues have built up at gas stations around the country.

    Behind the scenes, the army – already embroiled in a controversial operation against gang violence in Rio de Janeiro state – is concerned it might not have enough fuel to break the strike, the G1 news site reported.

    “It is a difficult, delicate mission,” said reserve Gen Augusto Heleno Pereira, who commanded Brazil’s UN military force in Haiti. “The truck driver is a sympathetic figure … we hope there will be negotiation and there will be a deal and that they won’t offer resistance.”

    Nothing berserks “little people” like the radically escalating cost of necessities. Meanwhile the Orange Charlatan and his warmongering sidekicks Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are working to freeze Iran out of the global crude market, in the interest of third countries who could care less about the plight of ordinary Americans. Payback time approaches.

    1. GF

      The price of gas here in central AZ (home to many of Trump’s “little people”) has risen more than $1.00 over the past couple of months. SUVs and pickup trucks are the biggest sellers. Just got back from Victoria, BC (beautiful place) where gas prices are reported (no link) to be the highest in the developed world at $4.90 USD per gallon (maybe or maybe not due to rumors that Alberta is threatening to cut off supplies to British Columbia if pipeline is not approve this coming week??). When US prices reach $4.50 or so will we be marching in the streets? Electric cars are looking more attractive all the time.

        1. Clive

          Yes, here in the UK, we’re $6.80 per US gallon. Most of the differential to US pricing is due to taxation and thus an explicit policy to reduce consumption by increasing vehicle efficiency. I just persuaded my mother in law to buy a Toyota hybrid, which allows her to get 75+ mpg average (UK gallons are slightly larger than US ones so this is a little flattering a figure for US readers). Granted, she’s not got an exactly heavy right foot but even so, she can get from her house to the supermarket (about two miles or so, her usual sort of distance) on electric power alone. On one crawl through urban traffic last week, she got 85 mpg. Even on her low milage, the extra cost of the hybrid vs. the improved economy made sense financially. That would not be the case with sub $4 (equivalent) gas prices here.

          1. Synoia

            My wief’s plug in hybrid is averaging 86 MPG (US Gallon).

            The ectrickery bill does not seem much larger.

          1. Petter

            Gasoline prices were cheapest on Sunday evenings and Monday morning, by around two kroner a liter. But that changed when Circle K, formerly Statoil (Statoil sold their their gas station business and the new owners changed the name to Circle K which sounds like a dude ranch in Wyoming) and ostensibly took a survey of it’s customers (I call bullshit) and found that customers didn’t like lining up on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings and so decided to do variable pricing throughout the week. Other actors followed their lead and so now it’s impossible to predict when prices are lowest, at least for me – I’m retired and not out on the road very much.

        2. HotFlash

          Pd $1.40 CAD per liter last night here in Toronto, that’s $5.33CAD, which comes to about $4.11 USD. But we have a $15 minimum wage and everyone gets healthcare all paid. I think we won.

    2. Ed

      To be fair, something similar happened in Britain around 1999-2000.

      Brazil is in serious trouble, but not necessarily because of this.

  7. The Rev Kev

    It’s quiet around here…it’s too quiet!
    Oh, that’s right – it is a long weekend in America.
    Happy Memorial Day guys and avagoodweekend!

  8. Jim Haygood

    Fundamentalist freak Mike Pence shoves his flake-ass firebranding down our throats:

    In a surprise appearance before a pastors conference in Washington DC, Vice President Mike Pence outlined how the Trump administration has championed causes important to the evangelical community.

    Pence spoke of the record amount [sic] of judges President Trump has placed in the judicial branch and his bold decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

    He received multiple standing ovations from the evangelical crowd especially when Pence declared how President Trump is the, “most pro-life president in American history … standing without apology for the unborn and the sanctity of life. That’s President Donald Trump.”

    On the topic of religious liberty, Pence made clear that the Johnson Amendment, which puts certain restrictions on pastors when it comes to political involvement, is being done away with.

    “We are going to fight until we fully repeal the Johnson Amendment from the Internal Revenue Code but it will no longer be enforced under this administration,” Pence says.

    Total tax exemption for megachurch TV hucksters and fundamentalist ayatollahs? I can’t go for that.

    1. allan

      Justice Department Blocks Funds for Legal Help of Trafficking Victims [Courthouse News]

      The Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime boosted its budget this year but nixed funding for a vital legal service that helps human trafficking survivors move forward: expungement of prostitution charges.

      In its 2018 request for proposals for specialized and comprehensive services by government agencies and nonprofits, the Justice Department reversed course on allowing part of $77 million in federal funding to be used for vacating and expunging criminal records of human trafficking survivors. …

      Without post-conviction relief, many individuals and organizations who work with human trafficking survivors – particularly those with prostitution, solicitation and drug charges – say their clients cannot take advantage of other services provided by federal funding so long as they have a criminal record. …

      As is often remarked, the Culture of Life™ begins with conception and ends with birth.

      1. sd

        Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Did Jesus rescue her? That’s a possible yes.

        Sanctimonious twits almost never see a living Bible story staring them back in the face.

        1. ambrit

          Some theorize that Mary Magdalen was a Temple Prostitute. If so, Jesus was being enabled by a somewhat feminist group of the Jewish population. Most references to the women in Jesus entourage are believed to have been excised by the later ‘Church Fathers.’

          1. Procopius

            Errr… I thought “temple prostitutes” were the institution of the Canaanites. That was one reason Judaism was against it. You were supposed to use slaves, not go to prostitutes because prostitution supported Baal or whatever his name was. The Temple did burnt offerings, not sex.

            1. ambrit

              That is the present ‘official’ version of the history.
              I use Robert Graves and his analysis of the times for my contention. There was an ongoing ‘underground’ power struggle within the Jewish Priesthood that lasted a long time. The male dominance versus female influence issue was important. Like today, indeed any time, an illusion of monolithic cultural conformism is projected, but not true to the facts.
              There are hints that the Jews adopted some of the religious practices of the Philistines and Canaanites as the Hebrews settled into the Palestine. Cautionary tales such as Samson and Delilah and all those ‘wicked’ queens, Jezebel anyone, were written to reinforce the Patriarchal world view and denigrate the Feminine. Something was going on that required the rewriters of the testaments to emphasize such a Patriarchalist narrative. The early Christian church had similar internal power struggles. The anathematizing of the Gnostics can be seen as a deliberate demonizing of the Greek cultural influences on the Patriarchal ‘catholic’ culture of the later victorious religious leadership.

              1. Plenue

                I’m not sure Graves should ever be used in any attempt to ascertain what was actually happening in an ancient historical period.

                Anyway, the Hebrews never settled in Palestine. The Exodus never happened; at best it’s a very distorted cultural memory of the Hyksos, who were a Semitic people who invaded Egypt. They were never slaves; instead quite the opposite: they ruled for a century as the 15th and 16th Dynasties. And all that happened long before anything resembling a Jewish identity developed.

                Instead the evidence is that the Hebrews as a distinct culture grew out of the Levantine natives. They then gradually drifted apart in customs from their neighbors, before ultimately inventing a national origin myth (when in the 7th century BC under Josiah a ‘long lost’ Book of the Law was ‘discovered’ during a temple renovation) in which they (or at least their ‘righteous’ leaders) had always been Monotheists who came from outside and conquered the heathen natives.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Recall what Jesus was doing in the temple in the first place, why he even went there. I’m pretty sure it was for a different kind of “banking reform” than the current crop of Bible-thumpers are working on. And if you want to see an evangelical’s head really explode ask them who Paul of Tarsus was. Oh, you mean the guy who took an obscure political activist 400 years prior and invented a bunch of stuff he never said to make a new way to accumulate power and control people’s thoughts?

      2. David

        If one is a victim of sex-trafficking, how can one be found guilty of prostitution as a result of sex trafficking?

        Coercion Defense

        Coercion and intimidation defense is a defendant’s stated reason that the act was not voluntarily done, but due to force or coercion in the form of intimidation and fear of death or serious bodily harm or injury to the defendant or to his/her family. However, to accept this defense and excuse the act which would have been otherwise criminal, the intimidation or coercion must be present and immediate, and a well-founded fear of death or serious bodily harm should be present. Also, the defendant should be left with no other reasonable opportunity other than to participate in the crime in order to escape coercion.

      1. crittermom

        Good link. It sums it up pretty well.
        Gads, I hope Michelle isn’t going to run!
        Yet I can see that happening, considering the worthless Dem party. Better candidate than Hillary or any others in their narrow sights, for their value (to the 1%) & popularity.

        Besides, how will she have time since she & her husband are going to have their own show on Netflix? (A girlfriend has been encouraging me to join Netflix so I could enjoy some of their shows. Since the announcement of Obama’s having their own show, I staunchly refuse!)
        Or is that show just in preparation for her running, to increase her popularity even more?

        I already consider Obama one of the worst presidents ever. She is nothing more than his clone, with a bigger smile.

        I still chuckle over their portraits, where to me it appears the former president is sitting on a toilet.
        I find it only appropriate, since he sh*t on homeowners while coddling the banks.

        Talk of Michelle running?
        Kill me now.

        1. Lee

          Kill me now.

          You might as well die laughing, so here ya go.

          This week the Obamas just signed a massive multi-year deal with Netflix for both scripted and unscripted content for Netflix.

          We were all wondering what Obama would do next and this is it?Former president Jimmy Carter is 200 years old and still building houses for poor people, and Obama is use his powers trying to convince Jennifer Aniston to do a Friends reboot?

          Netflix has not revealed just what shows the Obamas will be producing. But at this point if it’s just 6 hours of Beau the dog just licking his own nuts, half of America will watch it


          Helen Hong on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me

          1. David Carl Grimes

            It’s a deal worth $65 million. Cashing in on his celebrity. People will watch it to signal their virtue.

            1. JohnA

              Whatever happened to the former president pension fund. I thought this was supposed to obviate the need for an ex president to grift. Didnt Truman or Eisenhower specifically say they weren’t going to cash in for this very reason?

    2. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      Being a Brit, I am not too knowledgeable about previous line ups, although Cheney, Rumsfeld etc comes to mind, but Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Bolton & Haspell……words fail me, although of course we do not exactly appear to be run by what I would describe as even half decent & competent human beings.

      As for Clinton….losing to a pig in a beauty contest for good reason comes to mind.

      No disrespect btw meant to the Sus genus.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Maybe we could talk Vlad into forgetting about wrecking our “democracy” and take aim at our theocracy instead.

  9. Jean

    Hip hop surgeon?

    More like moronic patients who would allow such a person to operate on them after her moments of fame on Youtube.

  10. Andrew Watts

    RE: Justice Delayed Is Justice: Mueller Fights To Delay Russian Collusion Trial

    Mueller already tried to delay the arraignment and lost. It seems as if the people investigating RUSSIA! didn’t actually expect to have to provide the necessary legal proof to substantiate their claims. Did Mueller issue an indictment with the expectation that none of the persons named in it would show up?

    The prosecutors control when to issue an indictment. That triggers the Act and the clock ticking. The danger for Mueller is that, if he is unwilling to show the evidence or go to trial, he could face the embarrassing prospect of pulling the indictment. Conversely, if he is not ready, his matinee case could prove a flop in whole or in part with acquittals or hung juries.

    If the Mueller investigation can’t win a delay straightaway they will be forced to pull the indictment. But maybe somebody with a legal background could set this straight instead of my uneducated guessing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have often thought that Mueller was a lousy lawyer. Arguendo that Mueller has to pull the indictment because he has bugger all evidence to back it up and it will not survive the scrutiny of discovery, what happens then under US law? By that, I mean can the indicted party go after Mueller for falsely indicting them? Can they be compensated for what they had to spend on a legal defense? Are there any moves that they can make to counter attack him?

      1. Andrew Watts

        My brain trust seems to think that if the indictment is pulled then Trump will have a solid basis for firing Mueller. I should probably disclose that one member is a diehard Hillary supporter so she believes that producing one of the legal person(s) named in the indictment was a Russian stratagem designed to accomplish exactly that. I have no idea what to make of that claim.

        Hold onto your butts if they’re right~!

      2. Sid_finster

        Mueller need not be a lawyer. His actual job description reads “politician and Deep State spokesjerk”.

    2. Summer

      You’d think the FBI, with its army of mob informants high and low within organizations, would have something else on a former casino “magnate” who also worked deeply with the construction industry in NYC.
      But that might net more than Trump….

      1. Ur-Blintz

        “But that might net more than Trump….”


        To go after Trump for the crimes that enriched him would be to go against the US brand of crony capitalism.

  11. Jim Haygood

    Remain indoors, comrades:

    Dr. Steve Wang in a study last year found that nearly half of U.S. sunscreens he tested didn’t offer enough UVA protection to meet European Union standards. The situation won’t improve until the FDA approves modern ingredients with better protection, he said.

    No new sunscreen filters have been approved in the U.S. since the late 1990s, mainly because they’re regulated as over-the-counter medicines, which have stricter standards than cosmetics. The European Union and most other countries treat sunscreens as cosmetics.

    The industry first turned to Congress in 2014 for help in forcing the FDA to make a decision on long-pending applications. The agency responded by rejecting all eight new ingredients and asking for more testing data to prove the chemicals are safe when absorbed by the skin.

    The testing required for U.S. approval is too time-consuming and expensive for many companies to justify. In addition, some of the ingredients under review have been around so long they’ve lost patent protection, taking away a key financial incentive.

    Senator Johnny Isakson is spearheading the new push in Congress with a bill to make reviews easier. “The process is antiquated,” the Georgia Republican said when he introduced the bill for a successful committee vote last month. Sunscreen, he said, is “the best example” of over-the-counter regulatory failings.


    Or sunburnt americanos could just mail order a 21st century sunscreen from across the Atlantic, instead of wrestling for a third of a lifetime with an inert FDA.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “Korea is light years ahead on skin care, including sunscreen. That’s where to get it.” – Mrs WheresOurTeddy

    2. David

      Does Europe Have Better Sunscreens?

      …It’s already clear that some European chemicals should not be admitted to the U.S. market. For instance, Merck has applied to the FDA for permission to market a sunscreen ingredient called 4-MBC or Enzacamene, a UVB filter. Researchers have detected 4-MBC in European women’s breast milk and in wildlife (Krause 2012). These findings are troubling because laboratory tests suggest that 4-MBC disrupts the hormone system (Krause 2012). Hormone disruptors pose particular dangers to fetuses because small perturbations to hormone systems could cause lasting changes in developing brains, thyroids and reproductive systems.

    3. EMtz

      I live in Central Mexico south of the Tropic of Cancer at 6800′ with 300 sunny days a year and a UV Index that bumps up around 14. Forget sunscreen. We wear wide brimmed hats, cover-up clothing and carry umbrellas – cheap, effective and no need to worry about chemicals leaching through the skin. Simple = Muy Bien.

    4. Gorgeous Borges

      Sun avoidance, in the extreme, is NOT good for you either. A lack of vitamin D, from sunshine, has been implicated in breast cancer. And most if not all sun screens block absorption of this vitamin.

      A lack of vitamin D is also linked to depression. So while incidents of skin cancer, most of which are harmless, are likely on the decline, there may be an increase in some breast cancers and certainly, more people are depressed. And vitamin D may play a small role there.

    5. polecat

      I, having had in my lifetime Moarthanenough solar irradiation, now use the preferred screening of a long-sleeve shirt .. and a wide-brim hat, during the midst of the mid-day fusion reactor on high ! .. and I still am able to receive at least some naturally produced vitamin D during the rest of the day, by not wearing sun block.
      And .. for those of you who have the chance to pass by agricultural workers out in the field take note of what They’re wearing ….. it’s not shorts and tanktops !

    6. Oregoncharles

      I just wear a hat with a brim that goes all the way around, and shirts with collars.

      People are “rednecks,” literally, because they wear ball caps and t-shirts while working out doors. Incidentally, this is probably the real reason for the backward ball caps. But then it doesn’t shield your eyes.

      There’s a positive correlation between skin cancer and the use of sunscreen. Which doesn’t prove anything, but certainly raises some questions.

  12. Wyoming

    Re: from the below link and the conversations yesterday about not all cells having exactly the same DNA.

    Some here were thinking that this would mean that it would make DNA analysis for exact identification less reliable.

    So I asked one of my relatives who is a top DNA expert if this would be the case.

    The response was the opposite. It actually makes it easier as having those small differences makes that person even more unique than they would be otherwise.

    The incredible angst that many have about the risk of false positives is largely misplaced. A DNA lab which follows strict procedures is by far the surest means of identifying suspects there is. Far more accurate (by many orders of magnitude) than eye witness account. In a properly run lab a positive result has to be independently read by several DNA analysts before the result is certified. Thus one incompetent or criminal analyst cannot move forward a false positive. False negatives could happen as negative results are not usually reanalyzed – but this does not put an innocent person in prison as it would allow a guilty person to go free.

    DNA analysis results are NOT reported as yes or no’s. It ranges from absolutely certain to absolutely not and covers every range in between. 23 locations on the genome are checked and if the test hits all 23 then there is nothing more certain known to man (not enough humans have ever lived to come even within trillions of finding another one who could match). If it hits fewer locations then the ‘odds’ are less and reported as such. If the odds get down to numbers like 1 in 50 million then you are drifting into a grey area on identification. And so on.

    Prosecutors sometimes misuse the information. So do defense attorneys. And both sides sometimes misunderstand what they are being told. Juries of course do what juries do. The actual DNA analysis is literally the best tool we have. Humans do sometimes mess it up but then they mess up all the other kinds of identification far more often.

    1. makedoanmend

      Thanks for the clarification Wyoming.

      I’m doing an exam this coming Monday involving DNA issues. The entire topic is quite complex, to say the least. I tend not to get involved with on-line DNA discussion because I know that my own knowledge, though improving, isn’t up to the rigours required to discuss the topic in significant detail. I’m also quite skeptical about MSM articles on science these days.

      Yet, I still find it invaluable to peruse the discussions because so often intelligent information comes to light. Several significant contributions by commentators here at Naked Capitalism have solidified my understanding on some scientific issues.

    2. Gorgeous Borges


      Do you know anything about human chimeras? It’s a bit complex…but needless to say, due to some fluke a biological child can end up with DNA that shows no direct link to the mother. There is a very interesting couple of case studies on YouTube. The film is a bbc production and if I remember correctly it is called, ‘Human Chimeras.’

      1. makedoanmend

        Thanks for the link. Yes, labs have procedures and mandatory written safeguards covering a whole host issues. Bigger labs usually have someone on staff who spends the majority of their time keeping up on safeguard issues and implementing such programs.

        One is one very shaky ground when commenting on a particular workplace but several things spring to mind about this situation:

        1. labs often need to turn out high volumes of tests in order to stay “competitive”
        2. the worker may have appeared as a model employee with regard to efficiency and so busy lab managers may have taken the attitude that that employee’s work didn’t need to be sampled for inconsistencies. Don’t ruin a good thing.
        3. the workplace, although usually highly hierarchical, is still dynamic and influenced by basic human behaviour pattens
        4. workplaces trying to balance risk and reward may let the ratio get out of kilter

        5. but, yeah, where’s the reverification process and random sampling of an individual’s work?

        #5 That’s the big question that the company and managers should be investigated and questioned about.

    3. Kurtismayfield


      response was the opposite. It actually makes it easier as having those small differences makes that person even more unique than they would be otherwise.

      If the test is looking for the DNA that is expressed in those cells, then you are correct it would be more specific. But testing for cDNA is not easy.

      I agree with your other point that is a lab is truly testing all of the markers then it’s highly accurate.

  13. Wyoming

    Re: the odd looking wolf.

    Pretty sure that is a coywolf

    When I owned my farm in rural VA there were lots of those in the area. We would see them chasing deer in packs all the time. They sort of look a bit like a wolf crossed with a large mixed breed dog. They are much bigger than a coyote, fast, strong and not all that afraid of people. But smaller than the typical wolf.

    I would expect that the tests are going to show some wolf and coyote DNA along with mixed breed dog. Depending on the dog involved you could get very different specific characteristics as they described.

    1. crittermom

      I suspect it may be a cross between a coydog & a wolf, resulting in this offspring of 3 species, as well.
      Only my guess, tho’. Hope the results are published when in.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Donald Trump proves trade wars with China are good and easy to win”

    Not so fast. I can see a lot of reported concessions that the Chinese are making and I see that ZTE is going to have to pay a $1.3 billion fine as well but the Chinese play the long game. I would guess that here the Chinese have decided to make these concessions to buy themselves time to try to sanction-proof China against further attacks. The furthest that Trump is looking out to is 2020 because of the US Presidential election then. Certainly he is not looking as far as 2025 when the Made in China program is scheduled to be complete.
    I see that a big chunk of concessions was for natural gas and agricultural products which, when you think about it, are only ephemeral and will have no lasting effect on the Chinese economy. China is also allowing full or majority ownership of companies and joint ventures but I am willing to bet that these can be neutralized by the Chinese having the say in who does business with them and how much. More important, their industrial aims stay intact which for China is the main prize.
    ZTE was vulnerable because it imported US chips but probably by now, as part of that Made in China 2025, a crash program has been developed to make China independent of these US chips. Now that China has been through the first wave of attacks, I would suspect that they are going to do a thorough overhaul and eliminate these blackmail threat points. The Chinese don’t forget.
    As an example. China’s massive military can be partly explained as a response to the 1999 US bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade ( The Chinese know that it was deliberate as every strike in that war was done by NATO but there was only ever one that was set up by the CIA – the strike on the Embassy. My personal belief is that this incident convinced the Chinese that they needed a strong military to be both respected and to never be in a humiliating position of helplessness again. Like the Russians, they have already eliminated the threat of being cut off from the SWIFT network so I would expect further efforts along these lines to make themselves less vulnerable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The bend but not break strategy on the part of Beijing is the Art of War choice for Xi.

      That’s what the Cunctator did for Rome, facing Hannibal in Italy.

      Is that it or will there be more rounds, before 2020?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I would say that there would be more rounds to come and these would be due to local politics at play with Trump. Thus you might have something to make him look even better for the 2018 midterms but certainly something more for the 2020 US Presidential elections. China bashing is popular in a lot of states and is a vote-geter.
        The US is like most countries in how local politics decides national priorities. As an example, I think that a lot of the hostility to Cuba is fueled by keeping the Cuban emigres happy in Florida. A lot of Canada’s hostility to Russia is fueled by the post-WW2 Ukrainian emigrants to Canada. Not good for long term planning of course.

  15. roxy

    “Hillary Clinton received the Radcliffe Award at Harvard on Friday.” While wearing the coat and scarf ensemble which has been much photographed and remarked upon in recent weeks. She’s quoted as saying she’d be the CEO of Facebook, “given the chance”. Oh Hillary, the gift that won’t go away.

    1. crittermom

      Sorry, but ‘gift’ is not the word I would’ve used, nor ever have used in the same sentence as Hillary (unless you put the word ‘gag’ in front of it).

      1. roxy

        She’s God’s Gift to the World, she’ll tell you herself. Voters were too deplorable to appreciate her.

        1. sd

          Nice. I had to look it up.
          In a bit of irony, gift means to marry or wed in Icelandic.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Typo in your last sentence. Should read:

      Oh Hillary, the grift that won’t go away.

  16. Craig H.

    The google facebook thing seems like a witch dunk at this point:

    Complaints have been filed against Facebook, Google, Instagram and WhatsApp within hours of the new GDPR data protection law taking effect.

    Not that I have any sympathy with those actors but don’t the police usually wait until somebody calls 911 and complains? What is the fancy latin for looking for a reason to arrest somebody?

    Facebook and Google hit with $8.8 billion in lawsuits on day one of GDPR; Russell Brandom; The Verge

  17. Mark Gisleson

    Hard to take RRH seriously when they think Millennials is spelled ‘Millineals.’ [Or is that some RW Twitter meme I missed?]

    Still, it hurts to see that a semi-literate wingnut has a better grasp on the Mueller investigation than all the DNC hacks put together.

    1. John k

      The dnc isn’t as dumb as rhey look. Problem is the truth doesn’t line up with donors narrative, so truth is ignored or denied.

  18. Summer

    The Weinstein trial will be more interesting than the Cosby trial if the defense is really putting the concept of the “casting couch” front and center.

    Also, I was reading about the harassment allegations against Morgan Freeman. The touching would be assault and the comments would be harassment.

    I wonder when #MeToo will challenge sexual harassment of women by other women. If its about comments made about looks and clothing on the job – women do that to other women on a daily basis. And not just talking about “slut shaming”…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are there still beauty pagaents? I haven’t watched TV in years (except here or there inadvertently or involuntarily).

      It would seem they are vulnerable to being banned, with those (harassing) comments by the announcers, the judges, and the viewers, about hair, smiles, legs, etc.

      1. Lee

        And male body building competition too. And naked statuary! And then there’s mirrors. Let’s all just poke our eyes out.

    2. Synoia

      I’m wondering when verbal abuse will become as sensitive a topic as physical abuse.

    1. allan

      The NYS Dem Party believes in a wide tent, welcoming on an equal footing neocons, neoliberals,
      corrupt pols and the misleadership class:

      Validator statement from the mayor of Rochester on Tom Perez amid the controversy
      over his endorsement of Cuomo …

      Hippies, and anybody who might be a threat to Wall Street, need not apply.

    2. sd

      Even if she had embraced Sanders supporters, would they have embraced her back given how they were treated through out the primary? That the Clinton team were demanding Sanders concede prior to the California primary still sticks in my craw.

    1. Edward E

      Russian Embassy statement on Twitter
      Russian MoD: Serial code on Buk missile fragments shown by JIT indicate it was made in 1986. All such missiles used by @mod_russia were destroyed in 2011 (max 25y service). Meanwhile Ukraine, which has 20 Buk divisions, has NO Buk missiles produced after 1991, only old ones #MH17

      1. ambrit

        Curious. I got a similar ‘not findable’ message so I typed ‘MH-17’ into the Off Guardian query box and got a stub of the piece. Are all the postings on the Off Guardian site so short? I’m not a regular user of the site.

  19. Synoia

    Antidote du jour

    An amazing bird is the pelican
    It’s beak can hold more than it’s belly can

  20. Synoia

    MH17 downed by Russian military missile system, say investigators

    I recall a missing piece was the plume, exhaust trail, from the Rocket.
    Got pictured of it?

    Coupled with the missing radar record of MH17’s flight and others, such as a rocket, in the airspace.
    Are they available?

    1. The Rev Kev

      There is a lot that has never been released. If I recall right, the US had just put up a satellite and afterwards claimed that had satellite images of the whole area but they have never been released. The Air Traffic Control conversations would tell us a lot, especially the part where the aircraft was directed to do a course change that took it directly over the war zone but the Ukrainian special services went in and seized those tapes and have never released them either.
      I was following the Ukrainian war fairly closely back then and if you take my word for it, the same way that the whole Skripal poisoning showed all sorts of inconsistencies and breaches of international law, the same sort of thing was happening with MH17. The Skripal poisoning never had long legs and fizzled out pretty quick. Netanyahu’s little show went down a memory hole the next day. It looks like that this is being dragged out to bash Russia with and maybe spoil the FIFA World Cup which starts in about a fortnight’s time.
      Already Australia’s bellicose Foreign Minister is making noises about Russia admitting is guilt and paying compensation. I can’t see that going anywhere as that would have to be proven in a court of law with no ‘special secret evidence’ being used. The US had no citizens aboard so can’t claim US jurisdiction. I mention them as they are pliable enough to award billions against Iran for 9/11 when all the evidence points to Saudi Arabia. Maybe the whole point about this is to remind people about what is happening in the Ukraine again as I suspect a Ukrainian attack against Donetsk during the FIFA World Cup is in the making. It would fit the pattern.

      1. ambrit

        The Ukies have their Azov Batallion.
        If he wanted to really put the cat among the pigeons, Vlad Vladimirovitch could enable some Hizbulla Units to fight for the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics. A big propaganda win for Russia. It would both support the ethnic Russians against the Ukrainian Chauvinists, but display Russian inclusionism towards non Jihadi Islam.

  21. disc_writes

    Politico covered the open vacancies in the new Italian government:

    The most important hurdle is the Finance minister: the parties want Paolo Savona, a fomer minister with an impressive CV who helped to draft the Maastricht treaty. The man is now 84, has turned Euro-skeptic and does not hide his antipathy for the Germans.

    The Italians want to do a Yaroufakis: go to Brussels and renegotiate the treaties. Savona is the right person to do that.

    But we saw how that movie ended last time, and there is no reason to think the ending will be any different this time. Italy has about as many friends today as Greece had back then: zero.

    The rising BTP-Bund spread is often mistaken for market nervousness. But of course the “market” is one buyer: the ECB. Our European “friends” are simply trying to cajole the Italian government into putting a yes-man in the finance minister post.

  22. allan

    Court: Gov’t violated privacy law for defrauded students [AP]

    A federal court has ruled that the Education Department violated privacy laws with regard to students defrauded by the Corinthian for-profit college chain.

    In a break with Obama administration policy, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced in December that some students cheated by the now-defunct schools would only get a part of their federal student loan forgiven. In order to determine how much to forgive, the agency analyzes average earnings of graduates from similar programs.

    But a California district court ruled late Friday that the department’s use of Social Security Administration data in order to calculate loan forgiveness violates the Privacy Act. The court ordered that the Education Department stop the practice and stop debt collection from these students. …

    So, it turns out that the intersectionality of the party of small government and the party of plutocrats
    is the party of invasion of privacy. Who knew?

    Another massive win for the back row kids.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Delphic priestesses were the world’s first political risk consultants Aeon” Worth reading, if only fo rthe brief description of the way the Pythia worked: drugged by the fumes emitted from the mountain. In fact, I’ve seen an archeological analysis of the physical layout and the fumes – which apparently come from the guts of the Earth.

    Which leaves me with an obvious question: what happens when people (especially well-educated women) breathe those fumes now? Can we restore the Delphic Oracle? Greece could certainly use the money.

    1. sd

      Move the summer Olympics to Greece permanently. Set up training facilities. Just make it the home of the Olympics once and for all.

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