Links 7/13/18

What if we have to work until we’re 100? BBC

Croatia-England: beyond football, how can we rekindle hope? Guardian

The Evils of Cultural Appropriation Tablet

Capitalism Is Ruining Science Jacobin

The Sinister Underbelly of Climate Change Denial Counterpunch

Crop marks reveal ancient sites in Wales due to heatwave BBC


Police State Watch

Why I Stand With Julian Assange American Conservative

You Could Be Denied a Passport if You Have Unpaid Taxes Afar

HMRC seeks new access to taxpayers’ bank accounts FT

Feds reopen investigation into 1955 slaying of Emmett Till — black youth from Chicago whose brutal killing shocked the world Chicago Tribune

Guillotine Watch

Exclusive: Jeff Bezos plans to charge at least $200,000 for space rides – sources Reuters

Class Warfare

Nevis: how the world’s most secretive offshore haven refuses to clean up Guardian

‘White and Wealthy’ Colleagues Called Out in Letter to DCCC Demanding Intern Pay Roll Call

License to Clip Marshall Project

7 Fast-Food Chains to End ‘No Poach’ Deals That Lock Down Low-Wage Workers NYT

Ajit Pai finalizes vote to limit FCC reviews of customer complaints Ads Technica. The deck: “Real change or not, the FCC won’t rule on complaints unless you pay $225.” Outrageous.

Americans aren’t using up their vacation days Treehugger

Major Shareholder Wants Tesla To ‘Concentrate’ On Performance After Elon Musk Twitter Rants International Business Times

I’ve spoken to hundreds of voters in “flyover country.” Socialism is an easy sell. Vox

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Debt to Me Baffler

Silicon Valley’s cautionary tale shows what can go wrong when charities get obsessed with growth The Conversation


China’s silky charming of Arabia Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.


India has more billionaires today, but also more inequality. Is there a connection?

India supersedes France to become world’s sixth-largest economy: Nation’s milestone explained in four charts FirstPost

Indian Universities Shouldn’t Fall for the Allure of the Yale Model of Financing The Wire

‘Either we will shut down Taj Mahal or you demolish or restore it,’ Supreme Court tells Centre

North Korea

Trump releases ‘nice note’ from Kim Jong Un praising progress despite setbacks in denuclearization talks WaPo

Puerto Rico

This Hurricane Season, Puerto Ricans Are Imagining a Sustainable Future Foreign Policy in Focus


Syria Sitrep – Army Liberates Daraa City Moon of Alabama

Iraq unrest: Chaos reigns in the country even Saddam Hussein ‘found difficult to rule’ Independent. Patrick Cockburn. Fourth in a series.


Brexit: porcine aviation

Kill Me Now

Poll: Obama tops list ranking best president in Americans’ lifetime The Hill

Yes, he can: Obama debuts as Sherlock Holmesian detective Guardian

Health Care

Kentucky Governor Retaliates Against Poor After Court Rejects Medicaid Changes TruthOut


Will Obama Ever ’Fess Up to His Merrick Garland Mess? Daily Beast


New Cold War

FBI agent Strzok defiant in face of Republican interrogation Politico

7 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing WaPo

Trump Transition

Here Are Five Ways the Trump Administration Could Be the Death of FDR’s New Deal AlterNet. Is it churlish to point out that the gutting of many of these programs long predated Trump– and had bipartisan support?

Wilbur Ross says he’ll sell equity investments after ‘inadvertent errors’ MarketWatch. Uh huh.

‘Very stable’ Trump? European leaders beg to differ Politico


TRUMP’S BREXIT BLAST I told May how to do Brexit but she wrecked it — the US trade deal is off, says Donald Trump The Sun. The deck: “In a world-exclusive interview with The Sun, the US President said Theresa May had ignored his advice by opting for a soft Brexit strategy.” Moi: Must be read to be believed.

British MPs outraged at ‘repulsive’ Trump broadside against May Guardian

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Bit of a detour, that! Seriously, just fixed it– try the link now. And thanks for drawing the error to my attention.

  1. zagonostra


    “Sharing the burden of my debt with my spouse instead of my parents was a small, depressing victory, a milestone perhaps unique to members of my generation, one that must have carried a similar significance that purchasing a home and having a mortgage had to my parents.”

    So here is an adumbration of the dystopic future that awaits millions in the U.S. Instead of entering a productive life of building a future by working to buy a house and raise a family, young folk will by yoked to a never ending debt treadmill. Rather than stimulating the economy with purchases of washers, furniture, etc..they will paying off their interest.

    You add this to healthcare insurance cost and it’s easy to predicate where all this is heading…this article is detailed look,a personal POV, of what is really happening out there and not shadows dancing on the wall broadcast by MSM.

    1. Wyoming

      Good read. As hard as it is for my kids and their spouses with their college debt the troubles detailed in that article make theirs pale in comparison. It looks like they and their spouses are going to be finished paying the debt off in the next year – the couples are 34/35 and 37/38. I believe that this issue is going to eat up a substantial part of the economy eventually.

    2. Bulfinch

      What is really happening out there? is it really any different? The halves and the have knots navigating the same old maze with mostly the same outcomes. Hope springs eternal until the youth dew gradually dries out and congeals into a nice weighty concretion you get to carry around with you in your gut. If you’re lucky you figure out how to hustle your way out of enough corners and out from enough pits in order to enjoy even a tenuous footing somewhere shy of the ragged edge.

      The rhetoric of diminishing returns has been dependably stocked with the same ol’ hackneyed metaphors for probably the last 100 years; sheep, treadmills, rats in a race, moving goal posts, etc. Nothing changes. The first will be first and the last will be last.

    3. Musicismath

      I’m currently reading Nancy Fraser and Rahel Jaeggi, Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory (Verso, 2018). Fraser calls this a crisis of social reproduction. As capitalism expands it increasingly endangers the social systems it relies on to sustain itself, in this case the basic family unit. Declining fertility rates and increased mortality are symptoms of this. We’re running out of social carrying capacity—eating our seed corn, if you will.

    4. Democrita

      Couldn’t help but notice the writer is an editor at the NYT, and the absence in the story of any political analysis.

      Do you suppose he is, with the paper itself, a huge fan of the Obanton wing of the party? And in particular, where does he stand on Biden, the good Senator from MBNA, who did so much to make student debt a lifetime albatross?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe he is doing his best to get his mate Boris get the top job in the UK. Wouldn’t put it past him.

      1. todde

        Boris once said there are certain places I wont go in NYC to avoid Trump.

        the feeling isn’t mutual

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        A couple of thoughts:

        -May is a woman. I’ve long thought Obama didn’t like women, and Trump is Trump. Her position was more a by product of the fall of Cameron and New Labour holding onto its power for too long. Trump can push her around because he believes he can.
        -Trump is pretty venal. He doesn’t like the protests and is simply blaming May.

    2. rd

      This morning’s BBC Newshour was particularly fun as they were simultaneously covering yesterday’s Sun interview, the live press conference with Trump & May, The Mayor of London, and the protests:

      The reporters particularly had fun with Trump portraying the interview as “fake news” as they played audio clips from it.

      Between Trump’s “negotiating strategy” on NATO and the UK and UK’s “negotiating strategy” on Brexit, I am utterly baffled on how anybody expects to have anything coherent and rational come out of the next 12 to 24 months. The reporters on the newshour sounded more like Alice wandering around in Wonderland or going through the looking glass than people covering serious politicians addressing major economic and military issues.

      1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

        Flake News:

        Yesterday for no particular reason I goobered “let it all hang out” and realised that that the buffoon-in-chief is just a kind of alternative hippy; instead of “free-love” it is “imposed-hate”. He could be the one of the Fabulous Furry Freak brothers, but everyone would have told Gilbert Shelton that he’d gone far, far to far-out man.

        How long is will Sam Eagle stand for the hippy-ocrat? If he starts to pull-back from the non-empire by closing down bases in Germany* how’s it going to play out in the Pentagon? Suddenly the career paths are going to become much more constrained. Where’s it gonna end – some base in hicksville-cum-fly-over?


        *Great cheap beer and excellent bread too.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Would the American media play alternating clips of Trump calling it fake news alternating with clips of Trump in his own voice saying the things he says he didn’t say? Do the American media have that minimal level of honesty and intelligence?

        How about different website proprietors put up such pairings of videos/audios? They could call it Dueling Trumps or He Said- He Said.

    3. gordon

      Brits don’t vote in US elections. Nor do Germans, Frenchmen or any other Europeans. The Donald can go over there, grab some headlines with the sort of comments which go down well in a Rust Belt bar-room and boost his chances of re-election. He’s not doing diplomacy or economics. He’s doing domestic US politicking. Anybody who tries to decipher his statements as part of some kind of diplomatic, economic or even military strategy is doomed to failure. It’s just electoral arithmetic from go to whoa.

      1. Aumua

        I suspect this hits closer to the truth than many other analyses. Trump may have been taken by surprise when he actually won the election, but now that he is the president, you can bet that he’s going to damn well be a TWO term president, cause one term would be seen as a failure, and Donald Trump will not be seen as a failure, not if he can help it. So he probably is focused on 2020, and in many cases his actions are probably a reflection of that more than anything else.

  2. Carla

    Re: “Here Are Five Ways the Trump Administration Could Be the Death of FDR’s New Deal” AlterNet. Is it churlish to point out that the gutting of many of these programs long predated Trump– and had bipartisan support?

    No, it is not churlish. It is essential. It’s our responsibility to cite every instance of this, and it’s almost a full-time job.

    1. Roger Boyd

      Trump is a natural progression from the start of neoliberalism in the 1970’s, sooner or later the destruction of the middle/working class requires a right-wing populist/fascist to point the finger at the usual scapegoats. The Clinton years was when the US safety net was gutted, finance fully deregulated and the three strikes and your out law. Then “bad” Bush, followed by “good” Obama (a smoother war mongering servant of the elites) and now “bad” Trump. As long as there is no true left progressive alternative, the “masses” are open to co-option by right wing populism/fascism – like Weimar Germany.

      Trump is a symptom, the true solution is neither the current Dems nor Republicans, but a truly progressive force. Same sad truth in Canada (we are at the Obama stage with a pretty white boy elite servant), lets hope at least Corbyn succeeds.

    2. Dunning Kroger

      Plus FDR the 4 term president is supposed to be a high standard? The idea that anyone would think it was okay to even run for president 4 times is nauseating . How corrupt was the democratic party back then compared to the shit soup they are now ?

      1. vegasmike

        FDR ran and won in 1944, because many voters felt that he was more qualified to direct the war effort. I think the 1940s ruling class was more competent and maybe more civic minded than our current leaders both Republicans and Democrats.

  3. fresno dan

    TRUMP’S BREXIT BLAST I told May how to do Brexit but she wrecked it — the US trade deal is off, says Donald Trump The Sun. The deck: “In a world-exclusive interview with The Sun, the US President said Theresa May had ignored his advice by opting for a soft Brexit strategy.” Moi: Must be read to be believed.

    Mr Trump added: “You know, a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party — 92 per cent. Beating Lincoln. I beat our Honest Abe.
    Well, the problem is that with the “unpleasantness” back than, and a peculiar American institution, and the location of the polling place, whether blacks were accounted properly in the poll makes all the difference. Some polls did not count them at all, some counted them as 3/5 of a response, and some polls did not account for the fact that blacks were not evenly distributed between urban, rural districts or slaveholders. And of course there is the question of being registered versus actually voting. As well as the fact that polling back than was a difficult, dirty, and arduous task – well, it still is, but at least you don’t have to ride a unairconditioned horse in July in Mississippi.
    Yup, until 538 does a meta analysis of the polls, we are gonna have to wait to answer the question of whether Trump polls higher than Lincoln. My gut says that contemporary repubs would give overwhelming approval to Trump……


    1. Jim Haygood

      We’re more popular than Jesus,” quipped John Lennon in a 1966 interview.

      Trump, being a modest man, refrains from revealing that he in fact IS the Second Coming. :-0

  4. Eureka Springs

    Disclaimer, I only use Amazon when I cannot buy an item within an hours driving distance from my country home. I’ve noticed a couple of dramatic increases on Amazon this week. A new music CD would have cost 9 dollars for just the domestic shipping, rather than the already exorbitant 3 to 4 dollars. And they are denying sales of items at all unless your total purchase exceeds 25.00.

    Expect a dramatic migration of buyers and sellers to ebay?

    1. fresno dan

      Eureka Springs
      July 13, 2018 at 8:22 am

      So I was looking to buy a new outdoor temperature monitor for my La Crosse weather station. Now, it is often the situation that you can only get certain small part of a product through Amazon because the product manufacturer doesn’t sell to the public, doesn’t sell small parts, or doesn’t ship.
      But La Crosse sells the outdoor sensor by itself, but at a higher price than Amazon. La Crosse has a variety of shipping options, with the cheapest being priority mail for 2$.
      Amazon sells the sensor for less, but its cheapest shipping is 5.95$, but Amazon’s total cost is still 2$ less than La Crosse.
      I think Amazon has subsidized shipping for a while, but at some point that cost has to be dealt with.
      I have also bought pants through department stores web sites, because the stores NEVER have my size on premises (and it is not some bizarre size – 33 waist, 29 inseam). Anyway, shipping is either FREE or a nominal sum and delivered by US mail.
      I really think a lot of the shipping by UPS and FedEx done by Amazon was a marketing ploy and the giant boxes with AMAZON emblazoned on the box that held a small bottle of oat bran was just to let the neighbors see that you were getting AMAZON, and that AMAZON was ubiquitous.
      I think Amazon is going to start using US mail more and more for deliveries….

      1. Eureka Springs

        Using U.S. mail exclusively would be a good thing, imo. I wish I could select/demand U.S. mail on both ebay and amazon. It’s crazy, sometimes seeing more shipping brand trucks come miles down my country road a day than there are houses.

        1. Jay Treaty III

          My occasional FedEx home delivery arrives on a truck dispatched from a town 80 miles away in another state, a town that is smaller than the town I live in, and my home is two blocks from our business district. Crazy.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The gods must be crazy to create a world where we ship a small bottle of oat bran in a giant box.

        From cross the country.

        That’s worse than that single use plastic trash bag in the kitchen.

        A green USP would price the externalities, and encourage people to shop local.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          The giant box is filled with plastic air packets that keep what ever tiny item you ordered from rattling around.

          1. ambrit

            I have always advocated for filling those plastic ‘air’ filled packing sheets with Nitrous Oxide. Win Win Laugh!

      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        Because Amazon is so ubiquitous online, I do sometimes look at their results in my search, but then when I find a product there, I invariably go to the manufacturer’s website to purchase.

        Even if costs more, I am paying for the privilege (while we still have it) of boycotting Amazon, well worth it.

        1. Lord Koos

          When shopping online I buy nearly everything off of ebay. Among other things, I’ve had really good luck buying clothes on ebay, scoring new Merino wool sweaters for under $10, etc. I also like supporting the smaller individual sellers on ebay.

          Occasionally Amazon’s prices are better, but mainly I only use them when I have built up points on my AMEX card, as I can redeem them on Amazon.

        2. JBird

          Amazon is known for its books, but it is not quite the all encompassing monstrosity that it pretends to be. I find that the old, the unusual, or the academic, are not always available, or it is cheaper elsewhere.

          As a financially challenged, college going bibliophile, I buy almost all my books used, but go to sites like Alibris and the Strand rather than use Amazon, or if it is a brand new book that I just have to get now, I go to the printer’s website, even if the books are usually academic printings. Unfortunately, some of the printings are small and very expensive, so I have been having to wait anyways for the rare used copies.

          It also helps to buy some of my college texts from places other than Amazon for slightly less than from the regularly sources. The prices then merely become obscenely exorbitant instead of exorbitant theft. Most of the subjects taught really having changed in fifty years, but somehow the California legislature passed a law saying that a textbook edition can’t be for than a few years old, which means that every three years expensive completely new texts replace all the cheap old used ones.

          1. Zachary Smith

            I still buy books from Amazon, but they’re my place of last resort. First stop for me is the local library. Next:

            If eBay doesn’t have a deal, I reluctantly migrate to Amazon.

            1. JBird

              I use the library at lot too, it is just that I am a bibliophile who really prefers owning his books. I am going to give that suggested website a whirl too.

      4. Elizabeth Burton

        Has anyone else noticed that the Amazon logo greatly resembles an erect male genital organ? Or am I just a dirty old lady?

        1. ambrit

          We won’t try to answer your second question, but, the supposed smiley face logo of Amazon does have a somewhat suggestive nature. I wouldn’t put it past the design team at Amazon to have designed it that way.
          You remember the old advertising adage: “Sex sells.”

            1. ambrit

              Then why only one arrow end on the swoosh?
              Does the directed nature of the ‘movement’ shown imply “our way or no way?”

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            It is trying to look as close to the Nike Swoosh as it can without getting sued by Nike.
            Grab the huge public familiarity with the Swoosh and gently redirect it to being a huge public familiarity with the Smile.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The original Chait tweet still was the gold standard of this thread. He had a boo boo and didn’t know what to do. I can’t recall Chait prior to his becoming Obama’s go to foreign policy stenograhper, but was he always so insulated?

    2. UserFriendly

      The $25 limit is a long standing policy for small items labeled as “ad-ons.” It only applies to items shipped by amazon.

      A new music CD would have cost 9 dollars for just the domestic shipping

      This item is most likely for sale by someone other than Amazon and they are actually doing you a favor, sort of. It probably isn’t part of the $25 minimum. You can always see a list of who is selling what and the price they are selling it for plus the shipping by looking for X items sold/new used and click on it. The reason they are doing you a favor is that there was a recent SCOTUS decision mandating that sales tax be applied to all online sales. You will now be charged sales tax on this list price, but not the shipping price of the item. So they maximised the cost of one and minimized the cost of the other. I doubt that you will find a lower total price elsewhere. Even if your state doesn’t charge sales tax they have to do this everywhere so that it isn’t obvious.

      1. cnchal

        > . . . there was a recent SCOTUS decision mandating that sales tax be applied to all online sales.

        Actually, no. The devil is in the details. What the Supreme court ruled was that South Dakota’s law imposing a state sales tax on individual firms that did more than $100,000 annually in sales or greater than 200 transactions in the state is valid. Apparently there will be a new trial hashing out the details going forward, and it could take months or even a couple of years before it takes effect.

        There were fourteen other states aligned with South Dakota in the Supreme Court ruling, and five states have no sales tax.

        The figures conjured up by the states was that somewhere between $8 to $33 billion would be raised annually, with the probability closer to the $8 billion number, so essentially chump change for all the states combined, or a few weeks of Bezo’s and Zuck’s stawk market winnings.

        There are good odds the burden of collecting and remitting will exceed the tax amount collected, there are over ten thousand sales tax zones and some zip codes are split into two or more zones, so a supreme nightmare going forward that Justice Kennedy acknowledged would kill almost every speck of capitalism in existence, or force them into the loving arms of Amazon, so they can be snuffed out there.

        As for what Amazon’s prices actually are, who knows. Each price is custom designed to screw a customer for whatever Amazon can get, and Amazon changes prices millions of times per day.

        What you are describing, which is the game of low item price and high shipping to disguise true costs is know as a scam.

  5. Watt4Bob

    I find the following snippet from the Tablet article on cultural appropriation sort of bizarre.

    Victimhood culture departs from dignity culture in several important ways. Moral worth is in large part defined by the color of one’s skin, or at least one’s membership in a fixed identity group: i.e., women, people of color, LGBTIQ, Muslims, or indigenous peoples. Such groups are sacred, and a lack of deference to them is seen as a sign of deviance. The reverse is true for those who belong to groups that are considered historical oppressors: whites, males, straight people, Zionists. Anyone belonging to an “oppressor” group is stained by their privilege, or “whiteness,” and is cast onto the moral scrapheap.

    Whites, males, and straight people, are descriptions of classes that are in no way based on personal choice.

    Skin color, gender, and sexual orientation denote classes one is born to, Zionism is not.

    It seems to me that a person can justifiably argue against personally owning any of the collective guilt associated with belonging to a class that one is born to, as opposed to a class that constitutes a political movement, which on its face involves personal choice.

    I have no choice but to be a straight, white male, and so, while it is prudent for me to be mindful of the abuse of privilege historically associated with those classes, and to act accordingly, I think it can be reasonably argued that it is unfair to hold me personably responsible for the sins of those classes.

    OTOH, I think it obvious that involvement with, and acceptance of the ideology of any political movement involves choices, and choices are the sorts of things a person is responsible for.

    1. Carolinian

      Indeed the author’s choice of “Zionists” instead of “Israeli” is a bit of a give away. The former is a choice, the latter something you are born to. It’s little hard to know what the article is really getting at but it does seem to slide a colonialist ideology into the category of an ethnic group. One doesn’t want to put words in the author’s mouth but this view of Zionism is the basis for claims that opponents of Israeli policy are somehow anti-Semitic.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps one could use the following word-cluster for this sort of thing.

        anti-Zionism, anti-Zionitic, anti-Zionite.

    2. DJG

      Watt4Bob: I commented similarly below. Yep, typical Israeli propaganda: Somehow, the colonialist project is immutable. Hey, ask the people of Gaza.

      My only question is whether or not the editors of the Tablet slipped that into the article to “help her out.”

    3. Lord Koos

      Odds are that the man who was so incensed about the white girl wearing the Chinese dress was wearing western clothing when he posted his complaint.

      1. funemployed

        Yes. You will be hard pressed to find any actual Chinese people that are deeply upset by the notion of cultural appropriation (let alone an actual working-class Mexican who wouldn’t look at you as completely insane if you acted like you were doing her a big favor by denouncing a cinco de mayo sombrero). Indeed, my Chinese international undergraduate students, with very few exceptions, struggle to understand the basic idea of “racism” and why we Americans think it’s bad thing, let alone things like “microaggressions” or “cultural appropriation.”

        That said, I do think articles like this tend to miss the mark in more than a few ways (though I always enjoy reading them as a good intellectual exercise).

        1) They tend to overstate the problem. Anecdote is not the plural of data. Do really dumb things happen in the name of social justice – of course, but the overwhelming majority of campus (and I assume, literary conference) discussions regarding issues of privilege and cultural appropriation are pretty civil in my experience. Indeed, most actual critical theorists and researchers are among the most interpersonally civil, and the most staunch defenders of nonviolent persuasion, academic freedom, and free and rigorous discourse, for what should be obvious reasons.

        2) With the exception of a few small, second-rate colleges, critical faculty in the humanities and social sciences have less job-security and institutional power than virtually any other group on campus (including, often, student groups). If you’re going to understand how certain ideas have been misused to establish an anti-intellectual, censorious culture in some ways in some places, you have to explain how that happened while the originators of those ideas (who are mostly opposed to such behavior), have been increasingly marginalized within universities.

        3) The managerial mindset of most campus administrators makes them risk averse in ways that lead to stupid decisions that impede realization of the stated values of the academy (in a great many ways), and often empower the worst actors (students are customers these days, and anyone whose ever worked in customer service knows that the most resources are always focused on a small subset of the most difficult customers, who also have an outsized influence on brand perception), but the self-evidently stupid decisions rarely reflect the opinions of most faculty and students, which are usually much more nuanced. IMO, if you want to critique 21st century campus culture, but leave out the structural piece, you’re bound to confuse cause and effect.

        4) The general inability to listen and engage in reasonable discussion seems to me to be a cultural shift that cuts across the ideological spectrum (I’ve heard both radical leftists and staunch conservatives called “snowflakes” rather a lot lately – I think that’s a new thing).

        5) If you actually read the literature, the basics of concepts like microaggressions, hegemony, Orientalism, cultural appropriation, etc. aren’t things anyone who actually studies them can just outright reject in an intellectually honest way (though, of course, they can and should be critiqued). But they’re not easy concepts. If you think you understand and can effectively utilize them in your discourse after reading a huffpost article, you don’t and can’t, and you are severely lacking in intellectual humility, which will make you stupid and annoying regardless of how good you are at taking tests or writing A papers or figuring out what your prof wants to hear. Furthermore, none of those ideas lead to straightforward, easy, simple solutions, and anyone who says otherwise (e.g. don’t wear sombreros unless you are somehow entitled to), doesn’t probably understand the ideas or the priorities of their authors in the first place (or is just a cynical awful person).

        6) I recognize that it’s hard to sympathize with privileged university students (I struggle mightily with this myself), but they are a hot mess these days. Anxiety, apathy, insecurity, depression, all manner of other mental health difficulties, profound and often shocking emotional and intellectual insecurity, very well-founded fears about the future and the world, etc. make reasoned discussion and deep inquiry terrifying for far too many. All of this, and its consequences for society, are an entirely predictable result of an increasingly authoritarian educational and parenting culture.

        1. MC

          Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. As one of those marginalized social scientists who does critical theory and not big money stats, I can tell you your observations are spot on.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        And more than that, the man who was supposedly incensed wasn’t really incensed to begin with. He was just faking incensedness as a kind of moral privilege psychic-extortion racket. As do so many Social Justice Warriors.

        If one is fake-accused by a Social Justice Warrior of “Culturelative Appropriationizationism”, the proper response might well be . . . Cry Little Snowflake.

  6. PlutoniumKun


    Nice article in some ways, but unfortunately it has what I think are quite a few errors*. It overlooks that steel manufacture was brought to a high point by the Celts of central and northern Europe who produced steel swords and ploughs to a far higher quality than the Roman products made using Indian sourced steel – they used the same techniques attributed in the article to the later Medieval period. The Romans favoured this steel because it was cheaper and a more consistent product and needed less specialist working. The article also buys into the hype about samurai swords, which have always relied more on a sort of mythical worship of Japanese craftsmanship, rather than the reality, which is that while they are beautiful, the steel working is rarely the match of the best Iron Age European swords which used similar techniques.

    *Its been a while since I did my reading on the history of metallurgy and I don’t have time to look up the references, so others may be able to correct me on this.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Yes, very sloppy and disappointing article.

      My Dad was a steel guy, and I consider my self to be a steel guy.

      My father was a tool maker and a sword collector, he had a small, but quality collection that included some fine swords of both European and Japanese manufacture.

      After my father’s passing I was privileged to meet a very knowledgeable collector of Japanese swords for the purpose of putting a value on his collection.

      My wife is a metal caster, and a sculptor, and between my Dad and her, (and her teachers) I’ve absorbed a lot of steel lore.

      When my wife was in grad school, she had the opportunity to participate in firing a traditional Japanese furnace, called a tatara, by one the two living steel-making masters, Akira Kihara.

      Mr. Kihara is one of only two persons authorized to make tamahagane, the steel used by Japanese sword smiths.

      Being a participant/witness to traditional steel-making is a fascinating experience, and an incredible honor.

      Being of Irish descent, I’m both proud and mystified by the fact that iron-work and the making of steel seems to have developed almost simultaneously in Ireland, Africa, and India, and over two thousand years ago.

      Such a rich topic, and such a disappointing treatment.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And before that, earlier than 2,000 years ago, iron tools were made from metal found in meteorites.

        Those would be great to collect. But I haven’t come cross one yet.

        1. Watt4Bob

          David Bowie is said to have given the smith that forged his famous Bowie Knife a piece of meteorite to add to the steel.

          Meteorites are known to contain nickel and cobalt, both make for a higher quality steel.

              1. ewmayer

                Ziggy hammered steel,
                pounding good with Wierd and Gilly,
                And The Metalsmiths from Mars.
                He pounded it left hand,
                but made it too far,
                Became the special man,
                Then we were Ziggy’s Band.

                Ziggy really hammered,
                screwed-up eyes and screwed-down hairdo
                Like some cat from Japan,
                he could lick ’em by smiling
                He could leave ’em to hang
                He came on so loaded man,
                well-hung and snow white tan.

                So where were the spiders
                while the fly tried to break our swords?
                Just the forge light to guide us.
                So we bitched about his fans
                and should we crush his sweet hands?

      2. Plenue

        So my understanding of tamahagane is that the Japanese take a certain pride in it because they think it’s unique. It really isn’t; iron sand occurs all over the world. The only thing unique about Japan is that it lacks other significant sources of iron, at least outside Hokkaido. Tamahagane seems to have entered the popular imagination as some sort of super-metal, but in reality iron sand is an extremely poor resource that is only used when better types of iron aren’t available.

        This leads into the myth of the katana, ‘folded over one thousand times’. The reality is that the katana forging process folds often (not anywhere near a thousand times; that’s physically impossible) because of the poor quality of the raw materials. The goal is to try and spread the numerous impurities as evenly as possible so that no one part of the blade is weaker than the rest. The visual cliche of the samurai outside practicing his strike for hours on end is because if the blow didn’t land in exactly the right way, katanas had a tendency to just outright snap.

        Which wasn’t necessarily that big a deal, since the actual main weapons of the samurai were the bow (yumi) and spear (yari). If you were forced to use your katana it’s likely because things were already going badly for you.

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          Mythic status of steel swords (katana) in Japan:

          This reminds me of the staus of obsidian in Maori culture.

          I’ve got a nice big chunk of obsidian which I believe came from the building of the Wappa dam.


        2. Chris

          I suspect that the “folded over one thousand times” is a bit like millfeuille pastry – one thousand layers, not one thousand folds. Each fold doubles the number of layers, so ten folds gives 1,024 laminar.

          1. hidflect

            Bingo. And the secret sauce lies in the timing of the folding and the embedding of carbon from the hay that’s used to brush the iron. Then there’s the whole business of different composites as you move from the edge to the core. The katana’s mythic status is well deserved.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Silicon Valley’s cautionary tale shows what can go wrong when charities get obsessed with growth The Conversation

    Years ago a friend of mine who worked as first a fundraiser, and then a director of a small charity said the moment she became disenchanted with the sector was when she was at a conference talk given by the newly appointed Chief Executive of a charity who said his primary aim was ‘to make it the biggest single charity in the sector by turnover’. She said the worst thing was that few people at the talk seemed purturbed by his statement.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems a few churches and Buddhist temples are run that way too.

      “We’re saving more souls…or, we have to…it’s our sacred duty.”

    2. oh

      I would like to the non profit status revoked for all organizations. Seems like a tax break for the 9.9 ners. Most of these non profits misuse the funds or lop off a hefty amount and little is left for the cause.

      1. HotFlash

        Indeed. After all, income taxes are only paid on profits, so if they truly don’t make a profit, no tax. Charities do use local services (fire, police, garbage, clean streets, caught dogs) there is no logical reason for churches, etc, to be exempt from local property taxes and rates.

  8. Old Ari

    The Taj Mahal, looks very like an admission of guilt, did he kill his wife? Tamarlane was his grandfather, is that why his son seized power and put out his eyes?

  9. Carolinian

    Re The Tablet and “victimhood culture”–there seems to be a bit of confusion here.

    Victimhood culture departs from dignity culture in several important ways. Moral worth is in large part defined by the color of one’s skin, or at least one’s membership in a fixed identity group: i.e., women, people of color, LGBTIQ, Muslims, or indigenous peoples. Such groups are sacred, and a lack of deference to them is seen as a sign of deviance. The reverse is true for those who belong to groups that are considered historical oppressors: whites, males, straight people, Zionists. Anyone belonging to an “oppressor” group is stained by their privilege, or “whiteness,” and is cast onto the moral scrapheap.

    But surely Zionism is the ultimate victimhood culture–an ideology that defends all its actions by appealing to tradtitional Jewish victimhood at the hands of religious majorities. If the article can’t state this forthrightly then it’s a little hard to see what its point is.

    M.L. King got it right: it’s the “content of your character” that matters. Culture is for museums.

    1. John Zelnicker

      July 13, 2018 at 9:08 am

      I agree that Zionism is indeed a culture of victimhood, but I don’t think that is the point of the article. In fact, I was so put off by this paragraph that I had to go read the article to make sure that author was not actually promoting victimhood culture as something positive or desirable. She is not. This paragraph is in the nature of a definition and while including Zionism seems to be a category error as explained in Watt4Bob’s comment above, to take this as representative of the author’s thesis is a mistake.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Agreed. I also read the comments before reading the article, and the article was not at all what I expected.

        How can you really argue with paragraphs / conclusions such as these:

        As the drama of social-justice activism unfolds, one of the biggest mistakes we could make is to think that the loudest and most dogmatic voices of minority groups speak for these groups as a whole. Minority groups are not homogenous, and are full of people who are conservative, liberal, apolitical, and dissenting. Just because a progressive activist claims to speak on behalf of a marginalized group does not mean we have to indulge their delusions of grandeur.
        When activists draw attention to differences between cultures, and attempt to draw boundaries around them, punishing those who step out of line, this sets the stage for escalating intolerance and division. We must not let them succeed.

        Seems like another way of explaining “misleadership” class.

        1. Geof

          I read a great article on a similar topic yesterday:

          “The ongoing ferment on campus reveals the university as the site where the paradox of bourgeois society is most acute. As gatekeeper to the upper middle class, the elite university has as its primary social function the sorting of the population. (And it seeks rents commensurate with occupying such a choice position.) It detects existing inequalities, exacerbates them, and certifies them. And whatever else it does, it serves as a finishing school where the select learn to recognize one another, forging a class consciousness that has lately hardened into a de facto caste system. But for that very reason . . . it is also the place where the sentiment that every inequality is illegitimate must be performed most strenuously. . . . The institutional desideratum—the political antipode to hated “privilege”—is no longer equality, but diversity. This greatly eases the contradiction Furet identified, shielding the system from democratic pressure. It also protects the self-conception of our meritocrats as agents of historical progress.”

          It seems to me that the vast majority of accusations of cultural appropriation are implicated in this.

          1. Carey

            Thanks for this link. I thought the author’s ‘Shop Class as Soulcraft’
            was good cant-puncturing, and look forward to reading this essay,
            based on the part you quoted.

      2. Jeff W

        I had to go read the article to make sure that author was not actually promoting victimhood culture as something positive or desirable. She is not. This paragraph is in the nature of a definition and while including Zionism seems to be a category error…

        The way I read it is that the author is ascribing those categories, those groups and the attributes about them to those who talk about “victim culture”—she might be right or wrong in those ascriptions but the category error isn’t hers—if her ascription is right, the error is that of those who talk about “victim culture” in the way she is critiquing. She herself is not promoting or endorsing those ascriptions.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Yes, he can: Obama debuts as Sherlock Holmesian detective”

    So the campaign continues to redeem the Presidency of Obama. Good luck polishing that turd. If they really want Obama and Biden to seem warm and fuzzy in people’s memories, then perhaps role-playing as detectives is not the way to go even though Obama can use his eleventy-eleven dimensional thinking here. Besides, for Obama it would never be that the butler that did it but that it was the Russians that did it – always.
    I see that team in a more fitting role as like old-time comedian teams instead. Like Laurel and Hardy or maybe Abbott and Costello. Yeah, that should work. Have their Presidency done as a comedy. We could all do with a laugh. Of course if they insist on more serious work, they could always reboot that old 1960s TV series “I Spy” for them. Oh wait. Bill Crosby was in one of the roles. Hmm, no. Better scratch that idea.

    1. Sutter Cane

      Unfortunately, for the vast majority of liberals, there is no need to “redeem” the presidency of Obama, as they already look back on it wistfully as some golden age. If you try to say anything negative about him, you get looked at like you are crazy. Or a Trump supporter. The idea that both Trump AND Obama are bad is apparently incomprehensible.

      Equally unfortunate is that conservatives hate Obama, but for all the wrong reasons. When I saw that clip of the young woman being talked over by Piers Morgan and responding “I’m a communist, you idiot!” I found myself thinking “Now there’s an actual communist Muslim, and I wish Obama had half of her moxie.”

      As for the poll, for me, none of the presidents during my lifetime have been any good – Carter, Reagan, two Bushes and a Clinton. Obama winning “best of a bad lot” is pretty faint praise.

      1. Jason Boxman

        So it appears the Obama administration policy of governing as an exercise in producing better optics is proven a success! Mission Accomplished!

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        Thanks to ten years of the MSM hammering on the “he saved the economy” theme, it’s hardly surprising people who aren’t affected by the awfulness of said economy, who didn’t lose their homes to foreclosure and/or their retirement funds while he bailed out the plutocrats, are enamored of his mythology. It’s the price paid for ensuring generations had no idea just exactly how that economy worked, including mine.

      3. pretzelattack

        carter was better than obama, tho kneecapped by both the republicans and the democrats. johnson and kennedy worse. truman dropped the bomb and started our engagement in vietnam.

      1. Dugh

        “Yes, we could have!” Indeed!
        As far as I’m concerned, the uncuous big “0” pied piper sold us all out and squandered a potential civilization saving opportunity.

        1. Watt4Bob

          …squandered a potential civilization saving opportunity.

          Great summation, should be his epitaph.

  11. DJG

    The Evils of Appropriation: As someone of Italian descent, I can tell you that listening to the American pizza-purity goyim (set the oven at 700 degrees!) and the pizza idiots (pineapple as a topping!) does remind me that appropriation can be annoying. And yet this paragraph sticks out as the author’s gravamen. And it isn’t pretty:

    Victimhood culture departs from dignity culture in several important ways. Moral worth is in large part defined by the color of one’s skin, or at least one’s membership in a fixed identity group: i.e., women, people of color, LGBTIQ, Muslims, or indigenous peoples. Such groups are sacred, and a lack of deference to them is seen as a sign of deviance. The reverse is true for those who belong to groups that are considered historical oppressors: whites, males, straight people, Zionists.

    Sacred? Deference? Deviance? I believe that the “dignity culture” defined in the article is what these groups aspire to: You know, that all black women aren’t prostitutes. That Muslims aren’t terrorists. That gayfolk aren’t inherently evil and spreaders of disease. That Native Americans aren’t inferior and worthy of death.

    And yet that last list of historical oppressors has one group that is pretty much voluntary and political: Which could it be? And how does Zionism somehow equate with heterosexuality?

    The perils of analysis.

    1. Plenue

      ‘Cultural appropriation’ happens all the time. Cultures are constantly sharing things and modifying them. It’s impossible to study things like art history or archaeology without very quickly discovering this. Something as mundane as the spread of pottery styles is an important tool for tracing the spread of material cultures in archaeology.

      The cuneiform script of the Sumerians was ‘appropriated’ to write nearly a half-dozen other languages. The Romans ‘appropriated’ words, deities, and probably a whole lot more from Etruscans (just as Etruscans likely ‘appropriated’ certain things from the Greeks before), and ‘appropriated’ the Legions, first from the Greeks and later from the Samnites. Japanese ‘appropriated’ writing and city planning from the Chinese. The very script I’m using to write this was ‘appropriated’ from Latin, which was taken from Greek, which was taken from Phoenician, which was taken from Egyptian hieroglyphs.

      The only way I could see the modern obsession with ‘cultural appropriate’ as having any merit would be in terms of if something is respectful or not. For example the difference between respectfully emulating some aspect of indigenous culture, vs a crass ‘sexy Pocahontas’ costume. And even there, how is that different from the Shanghai cheongsam/qipao, the sexified, westernized garment made in the 1920s? Is that okay because actual Chinese came up with it?

      And what exactly is the point of whinging about ‘appropriation’? Unless you’re proposing to ban ‘appropriation’, how is constantly going on about it anything other than virtue signaling?

      And on the subject of pizza specifically, the Italian and American styles have diverged sufficiently as to be considered separate things. Considering American pizzas originated with Italian immigrants, would that even count as ‘appropriation’? How is an Italian coming up with a different style of pizza in North America less valid than a Sicilly having a different style from Naples? Also I don’t at all like pineapple as a topping, but I wouldn’t call anyone who likes it an idiot. Are they idiots for doing pizza ‘wrong’? Who gets to judge what is and isn’t ‘proper’ pizza?

      1. witters

        “Who gets to judge what is and isn’t ‘proper’ pizza?”

        Connoisseurs. Pizza is an art-form.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      “As someone of Italian descent, I can tell you that listening to the American pizza-purity goyim (set the oven at 700 degrees!)”

      Picking this out, if the “!” was for how high 700F (presumably) is, temperatures even into the 800sF are perfectly normal in Italy for pizza ovens.

      La cottura deve avvenire all’interno del forno a legna che deve aver raggiunto la temperatura di circa 430-480 C° tra platea e volta. Con queste temperature è sufficiente inserire la pizza per 60-90 secondi, in cui la pizza si cuocerà in maniera uniforme su tutta la circonferenza.

      Of course, every pizzaiolx* will have their own way.


  12. s.n.

    odd that i’ve seen no mention of this highly explosive situation in the western media sources i frequent

    Palestinians on high alert as Israel prepares to hand over East Jerusalem nature reserve and Muslim cemetery to settlers

    Just outside the walls of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem, a years long demographic battle between the Israeli state and Palestinian residents of the city has found new life in recent weeks.
    Right-wing settler NGO Elad, also known as the City of David Foundation, celebrated a win last week when the Interior and Environment Committee of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, advanced a bill that would allow for the construction of Jewish settlement housing to be built inside areas zoned for national parks within municipal boundaries. …
    The Bab al-Rahma, or “Gate of Mercy,” cemetery is the final resting place to generations of Palestinians and others from the Arab world, its origins dating back more than 1,000 years. As one of the most important Muslim cemeteries in Jerusalem, Palestinians from Silwan and other parts of East Jerusalem have long buried their dead there.
    Locals told Mondoweiss that INPA staff began digging up graves and empty land in the cemetery, and that in May, authorities placed metal fences around the parts of the cemetery that it intends on confiscating in order to create a trail for tourists in the City of David national park. …
    Abu Zahra, who sees himself as one of the most vital protectors of the cemetery, says that the cemetery acts as a barrier that “protects” Al-Aqsa. He fears its confiscation would highly endanger Muslim claims to the holy site.
    “This cemetery sits right under the wall of Al-Aqsa. So if they take this cemetery, the whole area surrounding Al-Aqsa will be under Israeli control,” he told Mondoweiss.
    “Bab al-Rahma is one of the most important parts of Jerusalem history,” Abu Zahra said, “Israel is trying to kill any part of Muslim or Palestinian culture in Jerusalem.”

      1. Lord Koos

        I recall reading that Donald Rumsfeld’s house in D.C. was built on top of a Native American burial ground, although I can’t find a link to verify that.

    1. Lord Koos

      Israel seems to be playing the classic role of the conqueror, bent on erasing Palestinian culture. What’s next — salting their fields, killing all men over the age of 16, and taking the women for concubines?

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Will Obama Ever ’Fess Up to His Merrick Garland Mess? Daily Beast

    A liberal lion like FDR might have pursued appointment to the bench by executive order,” says Alexander Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS.

    And an elitist, corporatist, globalist, house Negro, progressive poseur expecting a payoff…..wouldn’t.

  14. DJG

    Will Obama Ever ‘Fess Up? Wowsers. When you lose Eleanor Clift…

    But “fooled by Orrin Hatch” doesn’t quite describe what may have happened to Obama (passive voice). What happened to Obama is tha Obama happened to Obama. Clift should pretend at least to know better.

    And she gives the motivation in a quote from her daughter-in-law: The Democrats are busy capitulating (for the money). In a neoliberal system, where money is all, one must not deter oneself from joining in the looting and pillaging.

    1. oh

      Agree. Lord O was just doing what his donors wanted. Orrin and he both work for the same 1%. That’s why he was able to cut in line ahead of Hilly when the DIms usually go by pecking order with “No Entry” signs for newbies.

    2. Roger Boyd

      Obama and Clinton made the Presidency into a test of how deserving the incumbent is of post-Presidential largesse by the elites, and hagiographies from the “free” (to be owned by the elites) press.

  15. Lehmann Oh Brother

    Really fascinated by the inclusion of that Tablet article, written by the founder of a libertarian publication that’s been praised by Jordan B. Peterson.
    I mean the entire article is just “Why are the coloureds telling me I can’t do what I want???” It’s drivel, written by someone that Bari fucking Weiss regards as one of the leaders of the “Intellectual Dark Web.”
    It’s an article full of blatant lies and false correlations (she literally implies that the decline in literary sales is because of the callout culture that comes with the anti-cultural appropriation movement when actual literary organizations, like the UK’s Arts Council England, are blaming sluggish economic growth and the rise of smartphones). While I agree that the callout culture associated with the anti-cultural appropriation movement can be lacking a lot of the time, Lehmann levies criticisms that are undue, even claiming that things the movement does, it actually doesn’t do:

    What also seems odd is that activists like Abdel-Magied rarely appear to attempt to persuade others to engage with the foreign cultures they are purportedly defending in more sensitive or better-informed ways.

    This is blatantly untrue.
    On the whole. I really like NakedCapitalism because I come here expecting reasoned articles and discussions, and this site satisfies that desire almost always. Disappointing to see this article slip in though.

    1. Yves Smith

      In our experience of reading well over a million comments, Lambert and I have found that concern trolling is never done in good faith. You seem to miss that the inclusion of an article is not necessarily an endorsement. For instance, Lambert regularly includes tweets in Water Cooler that represent orthodox views he regards as self evidently appalling, often without further comment because the problems with the viewpoint are self evident.

    2. Partyless Poster

      I thought it was a good piece, cultural appropriation is one of the stupidest new objections from SJWs. And the author did point out there are times where it is horrible
      (like wearing native american headdresses).
      Besides the absurdity of the idea that being influenced by other cultures is bad, my main objection to it is it makes the left look ridiculous and limits the appeal to people less ideological of other more important leftist concerns like universal healthcare, i.e: no ones going to listen to someone who they think has crazy ideas like that.
      I think the left in general needs to keep the focus on bread and butter issues and leave all the identity BS behind, we need to be able to convince moderates and even some conservatives about economic issues that we can find common ground with instead of turning people off with silly academic garbage.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Second world … makes sense, now that we’ve taken over the Soviet role of bullying our Warsaw pact NATO satellites.

      See you at the military parade, comrade.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Better news would be that it was highly toxic, lasted forever, and covered 100% of D.C.
      Or you could just use a neutron bomb. Leave all of the nice buildings so representatives of the people can use them to administer the republic. Republic, from the Latin res, a thing, and publica, of the people.

    3. Matt

      Grrr I had low pressure last night and wondered why…and just had a big glass of water before I saw this.

  16. Lost in OR

    Re: The sinister underbelly of climate change.

    The author’s disgust with Trump and his cohort of white male oligarchs is obviously justified. Their denial of climate change is driven by the advantages they derive from causes of climate change.

    What the author doesn’t call out is the duplicity of previous administrations and their cohorts. Yes, Obama signed the Paris Accord. But then what? He banked any political capital he gained from that act.

    Al Gore wrote the book on climate change before he became V.P. Anybody remember ANY concrete action on climate change in the eight years of that administration?

    The agenda of the Trump administration is hideous. But at least it’s not hidden. The agenda of the Obama and Clinton administrations were equally hideous. But they hid behind clever deceits.

    I’m calling virtue signaling on this one.

    1. Zachary Smith

      Al Gore wrote the book on climate change before he became V.P. Anybody remember ANY concrete action on climate change in the eight years of that administration?

      Gore was VP during that time, and the remark by VP John Nance Garner would apply to his importance with Monica’s Boyfriend.

      He famously described the vice presidency as being “not worth a bucket of warm piss”

      Despite voting for the man, at the time I knew little about him besides his reported concerns about climate change. Looking back, I now believe Gore would either have attacked Iraq when given his marching orders, or he’d have been killed and Lieberman would have done the job.

      1. Aumua

        For real, I mean who is Trump’s vice president again? In all honesty, I cannot recall the guy’s name right now. That’s how much he has been mentioned over the past year.

  17. abynormal

    Good Morning. NC has been great at covering our everlasting Opioid crisis.
    The continuation of this crisis is astounding…call a doctor for help and he/she suggests a higher dose. Beg for help and a worse cocktail is offered.

    I have access to Roku and thought I’d bore myself with something while cleaning…found Ted Talks concerning Opioids.
    Did y’all know librarians spend 60% of their time monitoring users or reviving them?

    Anywho, there’s a dozen updated TED TALKS on the subject… including doc’s supplying opioids due to car/bike accidents, etc. Beause let’s face it…at any moment we could find ourselves or loved ones at the mercy of today’s Pusherman!


    1. Lobsterman

      My experience is very much the opposite; it’s nearly impossible for patients with serious problems to get care in many places.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Offer SOME docs $300 and they’ll speed-write a script.” My experience as a nurse with doctors who care for people with chronic serious problems, from spinal cord injuries to post-stroke pain to brain injuries and many other problems is that opioid scripts have been difficult to get, not just from my docs but from the primary care people who these patients must also see for things not within my docs’ practice. And then they have to find a pharmacy that will negotiate the script and dispense the meds, and there are bad guys and gals in white coats in pharmacies too (Walgreens and other chains have been slapped on the wrist for running easy-access opioid emporiums because markets,, but any more I wish all the chronic pain sufferers good luck finding either a caring doc or a pharmacy that will cover their very much needed meds.

          And now here in FL, over the objections of many docs and patient groups, the state legislature (between passing ever-laxer gun laws and corporate tax takeoffs and other F-U-people legislation) and the slimeball Governator Rick Scott, the law is that opiod scripts can only be for 3 (three) days, so better get over your hip, knee, shoulder, back or abdominal or open-heart surgery pain real quick. Or learn to suck it up and live with it, or do that other thing that neoliberal principles mandate – go die, or kill yourself. Or in very special circumstances, a doc who is listed as an opiod prescriber and for patients who meet very onerous requirements can write a script for a whole 7 days. Here’s an explanation of the new requirements:

          So every 7 days, a chronic-pain patient has to get a new script from a doctor who already is overloaded with BS paperwork sh!t from the “UNsurance” so-called system we mopes have to suffer under.

    2. Lord Koos

      I suffered a bicycle accident 3 weeks ago and was automatically given a small scrip for Oxycodone, even though my pain wasn’t all that bad; it always surprises me how easily they hand it out.

      1. Zachary Smith

        Same thing happened to me a few years ago. And I didn’t even ask for any pain medication.

        1. ambrit

          Yeah that. However, not having the $300 USD in the first place sort of leaves you at the mercy of a bunch of scared doctors. The story of Surgeon General Koop having to write hinself a scrip for morphine, when that was the usual treatment for what he had is cautionary to say the least. My experience in Catch 22 dentistry is closer to my home. the dentist didn’t offer anything better than over the counter meds for a tooth extraction. When I asked for it I must have triggered the “if he asks for it, he must not deserve to have it” circular logic loop.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      Rummaging around in an antique shop in New Hope, Pa., I came across an issue of Life from May 1970 with an epic dose of hand-wringing at the bottom of another nasty market break.

      Housing collapse, unemployment, fear — the litany of calamities went on for pages.

      But topping it all off were the blood-red caricatures of voracious, snarling bears running along the bottom of the pages.

      Backing up the truck and shoveling in stocks till your hands bled in May 1970 would have been the best media fade evahhhhhh …

      1. abynormal

        Hey there JimmyJoeRedCloud… question: why is the S&P still climbing… didn’t Buffet announce a Hathaway pullout? And altho he’s not holding all insurance…how will this effect that particular industry? Wouldn’t contagion begin at some point… insurance is one of our largest shadow banks.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Howdy aby. Rule #1: “it don’t have to make sense.”

          Biggest share buybacks EVER in 2018 could have something to do with it.

          Also, spectators of the global bubble rightly expect a grand finale fireworks show for their money.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Why would anything change? Money Merlins conjour money in the basement. They give this so-called “money” to corporate titans, who use it to buy back their stock. With less stock in stock, their flat “earnings” appear to actually be growing, when viewed as “earnings per share”. Banker gets a fat bonus check, corporate titan gets a private island, and 85% of stock market “gains” go to 15% of people. Those people control the media and government, so having discovered TIM (The Insta-Wealth Machine) of course they will keep it operating. In the end the only thing Charles Ponzi did not have was a magic spigot that gushed free money, now through the application of modern science they have solved that fatal flaw.

    3. Wukchumni

      My dad started in the stock biz in Denver in the 50’s, which was the penny stock capitol of the world, and later in LA & NYC on the PSE & NYSE.

      He told me once how hot ‘space’ stocks were in the early 60’s, and one IPO was for some concern named “XYZ Space Co,” or something like that, and it nearly doubled in price after the first day of trading, and then everybody figured out that they rented space, and down it went the following day.

      A great book on the 60’s stock market is John Brooks:

      “The Go-Go Years: The Drama & Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60’s”

      When things came a cropper in 1970, a good many large firms of the time went BK and nobody bailed em’ out.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Crop marks reveal ancient sites in Wales due to heatwave”

    Interesting one this. Read a history of archaeology a very long time ago and it talked of how Royal Air Force pilots flying over Britain after World War One would see these markings below them on the ground. I did not take long to work out what these lines were all about and since then aerial archaeology has made long strides in identifying old buildings, medieval crop borders, ancient roads and the like. You can see the same results when there is a light cover of snow on the ground as well. What I find exciting is that they are now using drones to do the same work at a fraction of the price and are getting excellent results. Looks like because of this drought that the archaeologists are going to be busy redrawing their maps and assessing new digs to be prioritized.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There have been similar discoveries the past few weeks in Ireland, including this impressive henge.

      The ubiquity of aerial photography now has been a major boon to archaeology. One researcher I was reading about even did a study of mysterious neolithic features known as cursus – parallel ditches, often running up hills, using google earth, and he found several new examples.

      Even dew can highlight features like this, I used to regularly use the train to commute to Oxford and on a winters morning at dawn old medieval ridge and furrows would be clearly delineated for a few minutes when the sun was at the right angle – otherwise you’d never know they were there.

  19. John Beech

    Read the article in the link to the Baffler. The one where M.H. Miller complains about $100k of student debt for her BA and MA in English Lit, with a side regarding her family tragedy. Thing is, basically she wants me, a tax payer, to give her relief for her bad decisions. But what especially bites is when she writes . . . “My debt was the result, in equal measure, of a chain of rotten luck and a system that is an abject failure by design.” Why do I feel this bites? It’s because she accepts no responsibility whatsoever for undertaking a mountain of debt for a largely worthless degree.

    Does my saying her degrees are worthless strike you as harsh? Here are the facts in her own words; “I got a freelance contract with a newspaper that within a year would hire me full-time—paying me, after taxes, roughly $900 every two weeks.” all the while lamenting . . . “the payments for my debt—which had been borrowed from a variety of federal and private lenders, most prominently Citibank—totaled about $1,100 a month.”

    Would a 100 grand of debt be as much of a problem if she had undertaken a degree in chemistry, mathematics, engineering, medicine . . . or pretty much ‘anything’ that pays more than the McWages of journalism? After all, journalism is an area where thanks to the internet, if you have a flair with words and the tenacity to dig in and do the research, you don’t even need a degree! It’s a field where $10/month or free with WordPress it means you don’t require a publisher to pass judgement on your credentials and hire you.

    Anyway, I work a lot of hours to put bread on our table – usually 55-60/week. And I undertake risk. Llike when last week I ordered $8000 of bar stock aluminum and $4000 of plastic pellets (the raw materials to feed the machines we use to make a product). I also undertake a risk when I design a new product, e.g. not knowing if the market will reward me with enough buyers to remunerate me enough to cover R&D costs, overhead, profit, and taxes. Speaking of taxes, each quarter the checkbook balance looks pretty good ‘until’ I pay the taxes. And make no mistake, I am not lamenting the fact I pay taxes. I’m actually proud to pay my taxes because they go toward our defense, our space program, helping the poor, etc.

    The point is, however, I don’t want my taxes going to people like her. Ones who made stupid decisions. So she can pay off her own debt – without my help as a taxpayer – because I already did my part. I too put my daughter through school. Sadly, she also possesses a worthless English Lit degree . . . but at least I didn’t put the onus of expecting you, my fellow citizens, to pay for my daughter’s degree. I ate that expense on my own.

    Anyway, Ms. Miller made her bed and she should lay it in and not agitate for me to bail her out and pay for her worthless degree. Yes, essentially, I am saying . . . not my circus, not my monkeys. That, and for ‘Naked Capitalism’ of all places to promote such an idea of such a bailout strikes me as distinctly odd.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The point is, however, I don’t want my taxes going to people like her. Ones who made stupid decisions.

      Pretty much all of the “decisions” made by fresh-out-of-high-school 18-year-olds are “stupid.” I’d argue that that’s the reason they’re targeted in this high dollar, massively profitable, unforgivably exploitative scheme.

      And let’s face facts. Without the “law” that protects lenders from being stiffed in bankruptcy on these loans, THEY’D be the ones who’d be making “stupid decisions” in writing them. And they’d quit doing it.

      It’s a nothing more than a predatory “law” that makes these shameless bloodsuckers look like inspired “capitalists,” their victims look like ignorant dolts, and some among us look like insufferably superior jerks.

      If that’s unacceptable ad hominem, I humbly accept my punishment.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Eighteen year olds…

        Socrates’ crime was corruption of the youth.

        That was more than 2,000 years old.

        Today, it’s still the same…Opera Nazionale Balila, the USSR’s Pioneers, the Yuppies, etc.

        Of course, going after young voters – 18, 19, 20, 21 or more years old – is not corrupting, when done by the ‘right’ people.

        And for once, why don’t they corrupt the old? Seniors can use more corruption by the charming saviors too.

      2. kareninca

        Yes, it is a system that predates on young people who do not yet have good judgment. But their parents are often complicit. I have a second cousin. She is divorced, and broke. Her three kids are all going (or planning to go) to wildly expensive, fifth tier private colleges that I have either never heard of or barely heard of. That would be okay if they were getting gobs of financial aid, but they’re not. They’re getting loans; massive loans. At least the author of the article cited went to a renowned university, but my relatives are not. They could have gone to the local community college, or a branch of the state university, for cheap. They would get a better education at those state schools than at the private colleges they’re choosing.

        So this is all still going on. I can’t say a word, since if I did I would be the evil relative who doesn’t want her poorer relatives to have the status object of a private college education (which, by the way, I didn’t get; I went to Berkeley partly because of cost). I agree that the system is designed to asset strip, but the parents are no help at all in a lot of cases; they see a shiny status object for their kid and want their kid to have it, even though it is poisonous.

        1. JTMcPhee

          So the parents, it would seem to me, are the targets and victims of the same glorious scam that has made us mopes into idiot consumers. Once again the notion that “we are all rational actors with choice in the marketplace” gets put up as a nice karate blow sideways and flying kick downward, to lay blame on the mopes who fall for the shiny objects over and over and over. Parents who never got any exposure to critical thinking and are subjected to commercial messages from birth to death and from every flat surface in sight, THEY and their mope children who gro up with corporate TVs in the classrooms and “curricula” from corporate-captured “educators,” is it the parents’ and kids’”fault” that they behave as they do, with all the billions that are spent to trap them into these behaviors?

          “What kind of people are we, anyway?”

          Oh, and I worked my way through college (starting at an Ivy League schools, then a state school, then one of those snotty lower-order “we take Ivy League rejects” private schools), and finally law school (the last two with the ‘generous help’ of a GI bill stipend ov a couple of hundred bucks a month that would not have covered tuition at a local college back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.) And I strongly favor a Jubilee for all the student ripoff “debt” that even economists ™ acknowledge is “placing a huge drain on the sacred economy for the benefit of the ripoff artists in the lending institutions, schools of all types, and the collection agencies.”

          But we mopes have been taught to be mean, haven’t we? “I can pay half the working class to kill the other half.” How stupid is that?

          Hence the mantra, “#juststoppaying.”

    2. Isotope_C14

      What gives you the right to dictate the worth of a degree?

      Americans should be learning much more English, considering the kids I meet in Berlin speak it more properly. They text me all the time, in perfect English.

      Your taxes are to control inflation, harp about that instead of complaining about someone’s life choices.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        Paying taxes is being connected to the right to vote.

        Is paying them only to control inflation? Is it more than that?

    3. Arizona Slim

      One of my best friends earned a BA and MA in, you guessed it, English. And the guy can flat-out write. Count me as one of the many people who’s urging him to write a memoir.

      So, what did my friend do with these two degrees while being the husband of a wonderful wife and the father of a son and a daughter? He joined the Air Force. Where he went through officer and pilot training.

      My friend served for a total of 24 years and flew fighters for 20 of them. He also was an instructor pilot.

      During his military career, he found that his “worthless” degrees opened a lot of doors. As mentioned above, he’s a good writer. A lot of his superiors weren’t, so guess who got to do the writing for them. He also had the gift of gab, so that resulted in a lot of presentations to very senior officers, who were very impressed with his work.

      This is but one example. Here’s another:

      One of my high school teachers had a grandson who majored in English, and then he went into the Marines’ officer corps. At one point during his career, he became a speechwriter for one of his superiors. This guy’s still in the service, and, the last I heard, he was way up there in logistics at Parris Island. He’ll probably retire as a full-bird colonel.

    4. Todde

      Are you incorporated?

      I don’t like the government providing liability insurance for corporation’s shareholders

    5. Olga

      Something tells me your taxes are in no danger of being redirected to this struggling person. What is in danger, however, is any semblance of a reasonable future for a country that puts its young into debt for most of their lives. On a purely pragmatic level, what will (and does) this do to the US consumer-spending-based economy? On a more human level, what future awaits a country whose young people are beaten down by agonies over debt, instead of looking for, and finding, ways to make productive/creative/innovative contributions to its society?
      Not to mention that in the 1980s, one semester of studies at a state university cost around $500 (books were always more expensive). What is it now? Many thousands of dollars…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Can we mention what the nation does see fit to borrow endless sums for? We don’t seem to believe the education of our children is nearly as important a priority as new electromagnetic laser warfare systems in outer space, multi-trillion $ fighter jets that do not work, multi-billion $ aircraft carriers that can be sunk with one cheap missile, or financial crime and excess that cost $15 *trillion* in bailouts and investor losses (according to the WSJ anyway).

        So I’m glad the OP’s view of humanity and his fellow man has him arrive, indignant, at the conclusion that it’s ridiculous that we should pay to educate our children. I can only hope he applies similar outrage to some of the other things our great nation sees fit to fund with wild abandon and no debate. If not (ad hominem warning) I would not think he qualifies to consider himself to be a part of the collective community project we have undertaken that is known as America.

    6. Roger Boyd

      In the 1980’s in England my first degree (BSc in Information Systems) was free, and I got a grant to live on. The UK economy was a lot smaller in those days but could somehow afford to subsidize my education. Universities serve a social function to educate the next generation of leaders and professionals, not just to train them in specific skills. The Arts and Humanities teach critical thinking and other skills central to having a properly critical view of society. Restrict those subjects just to the elites (through making them cost-inhibitory to all others) and our societal discourse becomes severely limited.

      I have been very lucky in life and have paid a lot of taxes, but would never bemoan some of those going to help young people make choices without the hammer of huge debts hanging over their heads. I consider this as being a “citizen” rather than identifying simply as a “tax payer”.

    7. whine country

      Well John, apparently you missed the part about the squeaky wheel getting the grease. We must infer that you are A-OK with the fine folks on Wall Street squeaking successfully when life dealt them a bad hand. Not sure what you make with aluminum and plastic pellets but my (not so common) sense is that were that young lady to have more in her pocket to spend, she might very well buy more of your stuff than the gluttons we bailed out who just bid up the price of stuff that most of the rest of us can’t afford. So, it’s OK for a young person to make some foolish choices and suffer the consequences but that does not apply to Wall Street shitheads who make criminally foolish choices, threaten to destroy our economy and then demand that we pull out all the stops to let them rebuild it for us. BTW, bet me that they didn’t just kick the can down the road so they could live high and survive the next destruction they manufacture for us. Not my circus, not my monkeys but….how’d that work out for you in the Walll Street Bailout?

        1. Massinissa

          ‘Productive literacy’ that is not taught in any schools or colleges, yet is apparently economically required (at an incredibly young age no less) in order to not live lives of destitution…

      1. Olga

        Good point – for some reason, he is not complaining about monies going to bail out GM or Wall Street (or, for that matter, when out taxes subsidize Walmart’s low salaries).

      2. Dunning Kroger

        Ah nope , the correct answer is not to bail her out because the bankers got bailed out. The correct answer is no bailouts for anybody with my money.

        Obviously its probably not ideal for an 18 year old to decide on 100k in loans , where were the parents at ? The schools and the loan companies are quite ok with negotiating directly with kids without mom and dad present. There is a weird thing going on here where if the kid is 18 the parent can be walled off from the decision. The bankers like that . It reminds me of these HIPPA laws where your kid has a drug problem and you the parent are not allowed to hear about the treatment they are about to get. Been through that one , kid goes in alone to consult , he is 18 we are not allowed in , kid lies about using drugs (only a little he tells them) to the people that run the joint and they recommend outpatient care because he really doesn’t have a problem , according to him. If I was in the room I would have wised them up to the line of bullshit he was spouting which would have been helpful as he continued to use all through the outpatient program. He doesn’t get cured of course and they feign surprise but maybe there is something else they can do after all.

        Which doesn’t make any sense until you twig to the concept that curing him was not the plan , the plan was to soak dad’s insurance to the maximum they thought they could get away with the first time around then really hit the jackpot on a later run through as an inpatient , in light of his past history of failing as an outpatient.

        Of course while they are maximizing profits and not curing the addict then tend to lose a few along the way but there is some allowable percentage of dead human beings that doesn’t affect their operation and they try to stay just a hair under it

        1. Massinissa

          Not everyone has parents, or for those that do, have parents that are financially literate. I also have a small number of friends who have parents with decent money yet who basically kick them out at 18 and are not interested in much contact at all, much less on something tedious like financial decisions.

        2. HotFlash

          Sorry about your son, DK, but you know, it doesn’t apply to everyone, everywhere, and doing college is not the same as doing drugs. Oh, and insufficient oversight is a really good way to undermine govt. So there may have been a (deliberate?) double-bind there.

    8. Jon S

      I’d probably be happier if she shared some of the pain with the idiots who lent her $100k to get an English Lit degree. Everybody involved should feel some pain.

      Actually the pain should be felt by age. She was a 20 year old knucklehead making a stupid decision. The 50 year old idiot banker lending her the money should probably get proportionately more pain.

    9. Oh

      You are being harsh and judgemental about here degree. I could say “I don’t want my taxes going to subsidise any business.” You lucked out and she didn’t, that’s all.

    10. Elizabeth Burton

      Well, hey, I’ll go that English lit degree one better—I have a degree in theater. It prepared me for nothing, right?

      Except it did, because in the process of earning it I studied a broad range of stuff I’d never have taken up on my own. All of which has provided the basis for what’s been an interesting, if not terribly lucrative life.

      The problem I see with the young lady’s “stupid choices” is that someone convinced her she needed that graduate degree, which I gather is standard procedure these days. One wonders if that person had the loan applications all ready and waiting.

      All I see is a young person who was lied to and misled by a public education system co-opted by neoliberals who decided it was a great way to make money until they managed to phase it out, as is required by their economic beliefs.

    11. Charles Leseau

      The way I think about this is twofold:

      1. I can’t think of anyone I know who likes where their taxes go (MMT stuff aside). We don’t get to choose. Maybe you condone something I don’t and vice versa. Government can help people. It’s a matter of will.

      2. I went to school for a “useless” degree. I’m a classical pianist in a country where 9/10 people can say “Mozart” but can’t name, or wouldn’t recognize as his, a single piece he wrote. I didn’t use the degree; my official job is about the smallest defining factor of anything describing me. I have zero ambition to capitalize on my talents, and wouldn’t even if they were absolutely world class. I didn’t just take courses in my major and the required electives either. I took all manner of extra courses in things I wanted to learn about. I went to school for learning about all sorts of things – not as a training course for a job. I don’t regret it at all. I’m paid up on my college bill because it was a quarter century ago and I came from fairly well off parents, so don’t worry about your taxes going to waste on me. The point is: Hell yes I would support that kind of thing for the whole country with taxes. A truly classical education is one of the greatest gifts in the world and should be considered the same as outright spelling literacy, IMO. It’s shocking (and in my opinion outright trashy) that we don’t promote full secondary education because of this “useless degree” stuff.

        1. Charles Leseau

          If you like Clara Haskil, you’re on my team. I’m actually not a huge Mozart fan though. I’m more trapped like an insect in amber in all the post-Beethoven piano world, especially the Debussy-Ravel-Mompou-Griffes stuff (and of course, Chopin).

          1. Carey

            Yes, I do like Clara Haskil’s playing, very much. Do you have a suggestion for a start into the French piano music mentioned,
            of which I know close to nothing? Maybe Ravel?

            1. Charles Leseau

              I’d say that youtube will at least provide a glimpse of what it’s all about before you spend money on it, and the whole output of all those composers is there. Here are some links to the music by excellent world class pianists:

              Ravel, performed by Pascal Rogé:
              Part 1:
              Part 2:

              Two hours of Debussy, performed by Claudio Arrau:

              Four hours Mompou, performed by Mompou himself:

              Griffes, performed by Denver Oldham. The whole album is on his youtube site here, but it’s broken into individual selections.

              For specific versions of all of this, I have enjoyed:

              -Samson François in both Debussy and Ravel
              -Michelangeli too in both (even more, but he only recorded selections)
              -Horowitz in his few instances of Debussy playing showed incredible color layers and effects. What a loss that he didn’t record it all.
              -Martha Argerich played the Ravel concertos very well.
              -Vlado Perlemuter and Robert Casadesus both played Ravel’s music gracefully and were on intimate terms with the composer.
              -Above mentioned Oldham for the Griffes
              -Alicia de Larrocha for Mompou and anything Spanish (incomplete Mompou tho)
              -Stephen Hough did a nice recording of Mompou stuff too (also incomplete)
              -For complete Mompou, I liked Anita Pontremoli’s recordings a ton, but she’s almost completely unknown and I’m not sure if they’re even around anymore.

              1. Carey

                What a generous reply. Thanks very much. I think I’ll start with checking out Robert Casadesus’s Ravel.

            2. HotFlash

              A good start into French keyboard music might be the Couperins, esp Louis. On the harpsichord, *not* the piano.

              1. Carey

                Thanks very much, HF. I love French Baroque music on
                harpsichord, and that’s where I’ve stopped chronologically
                in French music. I recently got a Jovanka Marville disc
                of primarily L. Couperin that I’m coming to grips
                with at the moment.

      1. HotFlash

        A truly classical education is one of the greatest gifts in the world

        Totally, introduction to complicated thinking! OMG, Mozart, Die Zauberflöte. Yeah (short, DuckDuckGo for more). OMG, “Tamino is somewhat naive…” I mean, the Three Ladies had to save him from the dragon after he familyblogging fainted!

        1. Charles Leseau

          I love Die Zauberflöte. Mozart may not be my man (I’m hopelessly into more complex harmonies), but one hell of a composer for sure!

          The picture we get of him from Amadeus must be in some way far off though. I doubt he was anywhere near the partier that movie seemed to indicate. His complete works by the age of death at 36 are staggering in scope, and fit onto a Phillips collection of 45 boxed sets that will play continuously for over a month, most of it scored for multiple instruments. I wonder how he had the time to do anything at all in addition to conducting, teaching, performing, writing rather voluminous letters, etc.

    12. Lord Koos

      If a college education was free, as some are proposing, you wouldn’t have to complain about it.

    13. OIFVet

      Well John, I make things too, take risks and work insane hours. And I am thankful for English Lit majors, because I value having something else to do in my limited spare time rather than worry about work and answer inane emails from customers. As far as your taxes, there are so many truly objectionable things that they “pay” for, that it boggles the mind you would single out English Lit majors for you self-righteous scorn.

    14. cnchal

      >. . . The point is, however, I don’t want my taxes going to people like her.

      My guess is that you are good with Amazon hoovering up the peasant’s tax dollars, yours included?

      The way I look at it, Ms Miller and your daughter are victims of education fraud, and an avenue of redress, bankruptcy, has been cut off. The only avenues remaining are to “work it off” or suicide.

      In your business, a couple of decisions where things don’t go your way, such as sales don’t meet expectations, customers not paying or unable to pay, a bigger company stealing your product or customers, a molding machine breaking at the wrong time so you can’t meet deliveries, there are literally thousands of things that can go wrong at the most inopportune time that can bankrupt you. Now, imagine you had to pay off that debt with future earnings, no if and or buts.

      As for your last point

      >. . . That, and for ‘Naked Capitalism’ of all places to promote such an idea of such a bailout strikes me as distinctly odd.

      I want to direct you to Yves comment above.

    15. Jay Treaty III

      I feel sorry for your daughter, the one with the “worthless” degree. And yes, she already knows what you think of her choice, even if you’ve never verbalized it.

      1. Shane Mage

        The degree is worthless. True, but a truism applicable to virtually all such “degrees.” However, that worthless degree symbolizes, more indeed than most others, an education worth more to a civilized human being than all the degrees ever awarded. The writer of that effusion clearly is someone who claims to know the price of everything but manifestly knows the value of nothing.

        1. Massinissa

          I find it depressing how people like John Beech confuse market value with actual value, as if nothing is valuable except what the faceless market decides it is.

    16. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment is bizarre. Paraphrasing: ” I don’t want my taxes going to people like her.” But on the other hand you’re fine with quarterly payments of taxes supporting “… our defense, our space program, helping the poor, etc.” You work 55-60 hours per week and “undertake risk” and drop $10K on raw materials to feed your machines while worrying about profits sufficient to “to cover R&D costs, overhead, profit, and taxes.” You put your daughter through school, for a “worthless English Lit degree” but you “ate that expense” on your own.
      — Is this a target rich environment or what? And strange, I don’t recall seeing you around here much.

      For that matter the article in the Baffler seemed more than a little bizarre: “I completed school at New York University, where I received a B.A. and an M.A. in English literature, with more than $100,000 of debt.” Why NYU and not CUNY or SUNY or Michigan State for that matter?

      1. kareninca

        “Why NYU and not CUNY or SUNY or Michigan State for that matter?”

        Yes. I value the humanities as much as anyone else here, maybe more. I majored in the least utilitarian field there is. But the reality principle applies when choosing a school. I have a neighbor who is a professor at a top-two university. One of his kids is going to Berkeley; he is hoping the other will get into UCLA (I am sure he will; both kids are very smart). It is what he and his wife can afford. His employer will pay for half of the kids’ college tuition, but he still can’t afford to send them to a private college. He can do the math. He doesn’t want them burdened, and doesn’t want himself burdened. A very costly private college is fine if you can afford it readily, or if you get adequate grants. Otherwise, there is NO DOWNSIDE to going to a state school. There have been studies; it does not affect your prospects one bit except in a very few fields; state schools are just as good.

        Talking about the value of humanities studies doesn’t get to this, but it is crucial for present day survival, since there is no immediate prospect of a debt jubilee or free college. My relatives’ choices of private colleges (which they can’t afford) are going to impact me, since I send money to their mother and grandmother. I am unhappy that they will be hugely burdened with debt, and that it will make their lives much harder, when they could have gone to great state schools – and majored in English lit, with no harm to them coming of it.

      1. kareninca

        I am starting to wonder how carefully most people here have read the article in question. I have not gotten though all the comments so far (I am reading them carefully a second time), but so far the the author is being referred to as female. Actually the author is MALE. He says: “I will reiterate that I am a thirty-year-old married man . .” It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

    17. Katniss Everdeen

      If these degrees are so “worthless,” no lender has any business expecting to be made whole on loans made for their purchase, and the federal government has no right to commit the taxpayer to guaranteeing those loans.

      If you’re looking for something to gripe about, gripe about an “economy” that advertises an item of “zero value” as “essential,” countenances the selling of that item for $100,000, privately finances it at interest and guarantees that financing publicly, and binds the purchaser in perpetuity.

      An don’t forget, you bought one. Probably the most grating gripe of all.

      1. JBird

        The need for a degree to get a job that might pay a living wage has increased, while the cost of getting it has more. The ability to get hired for any job, many of which can be done with a good high education, is becoming more dependent on a degree, not just any degree, but increasingly a master’s degree.

    18. Inode_buddha

      Comments like this are the reason I support bacteria; — it’s the only culture some people have.

    19. Oregoncharles

      OTOH, if you screw up in business you can declare bankruptcy (or your company can – is is a corp or LLC, is it not?) and get out from under the debt. Given time, you can then repair your credit.

      She can’t. Student loans are forever, thanks partly to Joe Biden. That’s a bad idea, in general: people make mistakes, and there have to be ways to repair them. As Katniss points out, very young people are especially prone to mistakes. I remember making quite a few. Or bad things happen to them through no fault of their own.

      The other factor you’re ignoring is the public policy element: student debt is now a massive drain on the economy. Remember, payments to the government suck money out of the economy; debt in general inhibits productive risk-taking. At this point, the only way out is to cut the Gordian knot.

      There is a more fundamental moral consideration: students are “producing” a critical social resource – educated people. We could actually use more and better journalists, for one example. We just haven’t figured out how to support them. Then there are the technical and professional fields. It doesn’t make sense, it isn’t moral, to put a ball and chain on people producing a social good. It isn’t even good for the economy.

    20. Mo's Bike Shop

      What do taxes have to do with writing down non-performing loans? Are you suggesting that the USG should compensate the incompetent lenders who created loans that won’t be paid? That would strike me as woolly thinking.

      English Major here, first worked as a desktop publisher, because an English Major drilled me in all the necessary skills for going from manuscript to camera-ready-copy. Then evolved to to web developer, because I’d been doing Markup for a decade already. Framework, shmamework, it’s all about rendering the htMl.

    21. David May

      Well John, I am glad to come from a country that pays its young people to go to university to study English literature. Before the Euro, we used to put our writers on our banknotes. In that spirit here are the first six lines from September 1913 by William Butler Yeats:

      What need you, being come to sense,
      But fumble in a greasy till
      And add the halfpence to the pence
      And prayer to shivering prayer, until
      You have dried the marrow from the bone;
      For men were born to pray and save

  20. PlutoniumKun

    Syria Sitrep – Army Liberates Daraa City Moon of Alabama

    Compare and contrast with the article in the ‘liberal’ Guardian today.

    Syrians stranded in ‘dire’ desert conditions after the fall of Dera’a.

    The victory over rebels in the cradle of the uprising, and the reclaiming of the entire city for the first time in seven years, is a powerful symbol heralding the military defeat of a rebellion that aimed to unseat the Assad dynasty but was waylaid by violent government repression, the rise of Islamist extremists, the unwavering support of the regime’s allies Russia and Iran and the dithering of western powers.

    “People have accepted the reality that the entire world is fighting against the revolution, and therefore it cannot continue,” said one aid worker from Deraa who requested anonymity in order to avoid retribution from government forces that now control the province.

    The ‘dithering’ of western powers? Really?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did you check out the photo at the top of that article too? I don’t think that I can count more than 30 odd people in it. Where are the other 249,970 supposed to be hiding that that article claims are in the desert? In that part of the world the UN is definitely on the side of the rebels and are helping them when they can as shown here with such statements.
      Won’t make any difference. The Syrians are rolling up the Jihadist groups which is leaving ISIS controlled territory bordering Israeli-controlled Syria exposed to army attacks. I can see it happening that ISIS leaders will be airlifted out of there for use elsewhere but probably those ISIS members not willing to be transported east will die in place.
      Agree with your comment about ‘dithering’. The amount of US, French, British and Israeli weapons and munitions being found in Darra province is getting embarrassing now. The Syrian army is re-equipping themselves with all that they are finding. It is a virtual cornucopia of goods.

  21. djrichard

    India supersedes France to become world’s sixth-largest economy: Nation’s milestone explained in four charts FirstPost

    Looks like India has been on a buying binge of US treasuries: If the bulk of that is by the central bank of India, then that would be currency manipulation. Which would make India attractive for outsourcing in the global supply chain.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What does that mean – be overtake another economy?

      Is the average Indian now better off than the average French? But averages can be misleading.

      Maybe this is a better gauge: Do you prefer to live in India or France, both before and after the former passed the latter to have the sixth largest economy?

      But this we know – the leader of India has a big GDP back his/her power.

      And more resources to support an army, if both countries spend the same percentage.

      The top down perspective is that it’s better to have a bigger overall number (GDP here)…perhaps more money for the national soccer or rugby team.

      From the bottom looking up, you would prefer it to be an average (GDP per person, for example). If you’re struggling to survive, you don’t care that just because your country is more populous, your national basketball team of 12 players can be funded with more money than a much smaller country fielding the same number of players, with less money, even though people there make more money, on average, per person than most people in your country.

      1. oh

        Overtake in this case should be interpreted as the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor..

  22. UserFriendly

    Poll: Obama tops list ranking best president in Americans’ lifetime The Hill

    My snarky comment that I added when I sent it in:
    ​Slim pickings since I was born in the 80’s but I’d have to go with Bush Sr.​ Not that I was even close to politically conscious at that age.

    1. Terry Humphrey

      There’s the rub, few respondents remember FDR or HST or even IKE who I would put ahead of Obama.

      1. UserFriendly

        The question was ‘In your lifetime.’
        If I got to go back that far
        1. FDR
        2. Ike
        3. JFK
        4. Truman
        5. Carter
        6. LBJ
        7. Ford
        8. Bush Sr
        9. Nixon
        10. Trump
        11. Obama
        12. Bush JR
        13. Clinton.
        14. Reagan

        If I could I’d tie the last 10-13 for 2nd to last.

        If we are talking of all time there is no way anyone below 7 makes the top 30.

  23. Stratos

    The Evils of Cultural Appropriation in the Tablet is filled with weak, weak, weak arguments. Finding Chinese who agree with the author is a lame move. It seems to be just another level of appropriation in a article defending appropriation.


    1. witters

      “Cultural appropriation..” I find the phrase meaningless, and those who get wound up about how wrong it is, incomprehensible. And what on earth do you have against Chinese talking – when asked – about their own views? Is this emptiness what is meant by “virtue-signalling”?

  24. Jason Boxman

    I’m hoarding my vacation days because eventually they pay out in cash, which I could use, probably towards student loans.

  25. Olga

    The borg ascendant?
    Russians indicted for DNC hack… a few days before the P/T meeting.
    One could not make this up in wildest dreams.

    1. flora

      Gotta have a story for the MSM to rant about (and Maddow wept) that distracts from real news; a red herring to present side-by-side with real news. The timing is just a coincidence…. ;)

  26. Jim Haygood

    Mueller nails Putin’s twelve disciples:

    Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted Friday for hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s server, as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating alleged election interference by Russia into the 2016 presidential election. The indictment says that all 12 defendants are members of the GRU, one of Russia’s intelligence agencies, according to the Justice Department.

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you’re always afraid
    Step out of line, the GRU come and shoot you down

    — Crosby Stills & Nash, For What It’s Worth

    1. Roger Boyd

      Mueller should start taking his anti-psychotics again, he is in a full-on schizophrenic paranoia episode (or would that be the whole US “liberal” elite?) buttressed with a bucket full of denial and a sprinkling of self-righteousness.

    2. whine country

      They say that a good prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich. Is that the same as indicting people over whom you have no jurisdiction. When a foreign national breaks a US law while not in the US, what exactly can our laws do to prosecute them? I think the answer is nothing but I’m not a lawyer and have never worked for anyone who would pay me to work tirelessly and accomplish nothing.

      1. oh

        From what I know the grand jury only gets to hear the prosecution’s story and hence they return indictments are a matter of course.

    3. flora

      Our story so far:

      The DNC lost the 2016 election because
      the electoral college
      fake news
      Cambridge Analytica

      *Russian Hackers!*
      Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  27. rd

    Re: Working until 100

    Starting about 10-15 years ago, I realized that increased longevity requires a different take on how we view our financial life. Over that time, I have viewed my working life as a period when I am converting my human capital into both current consumption and enjoyment and financial capital for a potential extended retirement period of 30+ years. As we get close to our 60s, that means we are entering a period when we will be able to choose to continue in the work force, engage with volunteering, or just spend time with family, friends etc. This is because we will have the financial capital to provide the financial freedom to make choices.

    I have been trying to instill that in our kids so that even the youngest has already started a retirement account in early 20s and they all have limited or no debt at this time. None are making anything close to 6 figures, but they are all on a path to become financially security over the next couple of decades so they will be able to have choices on what to do in that 60-100 age zone.

    I think too much of “retirement planning” today is just sales of financial products and portfolios instead of a holistic view of life and how money fits into it. Controlling lifestyle creep as income increases is the key to improving the conversion of human capital in to financial capital. Anybody making median income or above should be able to engage in this type of thought process with success. Below median income, the stagnation/decline of wages means that they have to address the day-to-day struggle first but hopefully move beyond that in the future.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When I read ‘working till 100,’ I think of a few things.

      1. Work. What is that? Is it housework? Is housework work?

      2. I haven’t taken a day off for vacation in at least 15 years, voluntarily and involuntarily…a bit of each. I have come to realize that the same routine everyday is not bad…which means, busying (the broader sense of work) everyday of the week…and I can see myself busying, in that sense, for many more decades, hopefully.

      3. So for example, I can see myself, when I am less demanded elsewhere, spend more time everyday researching so I am a better, or at least not as bad as I am now, commentator here. That’s still work.

    2. juliania

      “If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank
      Safe and sound
      Soon that tuppence safely invested in the bank
      Will compound

      And you’ll achieve that sense of conquest
      As your affluence expands
      In the hands of the directors
      Who invest as propriety demands

      You see, Michael, you’ll be part of railways through Africa
      Dams across the Nile!
      (The ships! Tell them about the ships!)” [Et Cetera – from “Mary Poppins” movie]

      Sorry, I could not resist.

    3. newcatty

      Rd: Re: Working until 100:

      Controlling lifestlye creep as income increases is the key to improving the conversion of human capital into financial capital.Anybody making median income or above should be able to engage in this type of thought process with success. Below medium income, the stagnation/ decline of wages means that they have to address the day-to-day struggle first but hopefully move beyond that in the future.

      I appreciate that you point out that avoiding “lifestyle creep” is a key to what euphemistically was called being a responsible citizen in the most exceptional country on earth by living within your means. Ah yes… don’t get suckered into keeping up with the current versions of “the Jones'”. IMO it is good advice. Where the rub is that the last bit of your admonishment to other young people that, of course it’s acceptable to postpone their “should be able to engage in this thought process with success ” is quite the judgement of what a young person’s thinking should be as their life unfolds. As has been covered in NC many times lately, a lot of young people are in debt. A lot of young people are not making a “median or above income “. The reality, at this time, is that they, and btw, not just kids in their early twenties, is that many Americans are not having the means to “move beyond that day-to-day struggle “. This is due to many factors. Perhaps your expert advice as a parent of children who are “not making anything close to six figures”is not relevant to the many young, and others, in this country who “struggle day-to-day “living on their well below liveable wages, still qualifying, for example, for food stamps while working many hours a week, are living on the streets due to homelessness, or are even younger or older than the twenty year olds (though many are included) as we know that are children and elder people who are living as “food insecure”. Why is this so and increasing in numbers FOR THIS COUNTRY?

    4. The Rev Kev

      A NC commentator mentioned that Napoleon once said that a person’s worldview was shaped by about 21 years from the era that they lived in. OK, lets accept that. If someone is a hundred now they were born in 1918 when WW1 ended. This means that they were 21 years old in 1939 and lived in and absorbed that worldview.Unless those 100 year olds kept themselves current continuously look at where we could go with this.
      Military 100 year-olds would have had their worldview shaped in the era of the Wehrmacht, battleships and propeller-driven aircraft. I am not even going to go with 100 year-old computer techs but back then is was mostly IBM and big giant rooms. Financial people were still picking up the pieces of the great depression and had to be responsible for the decisions that they made. Hmm. Maybe that last one may have something to be said for it.

  28. Wukchumni

    The reign of error will be able to claim that the crowd for his inaugural visit to the UK as President, was larger than any other President’s, and not lie for once about himself.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems to be bigger than the one protesting the way-too-expensive London housing, I think….wasn’t there one, or weren’t there a few housing affordability protests?

  29. Wukchumni

    Univision is looking for a buyer for the Onion, and seeing as irony isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit currently, definitely a buyer’s market.

    1. Lord Koos

      Since Facebook has began to censor the Onion out of its news feed (too much “fake news” is the excuse) their days could be numbered.

  30. Musicismath

    Re: Mueller, we’ve witnessed a bizarre evolution in liberal understandings of the nature of political opposition. Before 2012 or so, the opposition was something to, well, oppose. One didn’t like it, but one admitted on some basic level its right to exist and voted against it accordingly.

    From the 2015 Democratic primaries and Brexit campaign onwards, something weird happened. Liberals and centrists began more and more to explain political opposition to the basic liberal-centrist position as a character flaw. The belief grew that opposition to liberalism could not be expressed in good faith; rather it stemmed from some underlying *ism or phobia that merely masqueraded as opposition politics. This seemed especially to apply to anyone opposing liberalism from a left position. We all remember Clinton fans Clinton-splaining how social democratic or egalitarian positions were really symptoms of racism or sexism, and were therefore morally unacceptable.

    Maddening as that phase was, it’s only got worse since 2016. The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook ads freak out led to an evolution in the liberal position on where the opposition comes from. It was now, they believed, clearly imposed from the outside by Russia. People voted the way they did (not for Clinton; in favour of Brexit) because they’d been programmed to by Russian propaganda! Simples.

    But then the discourse moved beyond the new McCarthyism to what I’d call the Invasion of the Body Snatchers model. If you spend much time on Twitter, you’ll have noticed both conservatives and democratic socialists being called out increasingly as Russian trolls. They’re no longer being being dog piled so much as being accused of being actual foreign subsersives. And latterly there’s been a tendency to call them out as AI bots as well. Whereas in 2015, a Bernie supporter might have been earnestly told her viewpoint really stemmed from a commitment to white supremacy or internalised misogyny or some other mortal sin, and was therefore morally unacceptable, in 2017 she might be accused of being Igor, 32, and asked how the weather was in St Petersburg if she dared air her opinions online. But in 2018, she might be accused of being literally just a few lines of code on some Russian hard drive. Which is completely insane.

    In a few short years, we’ve moved from “we don’t like the opposition” to “there can be no sincerely held opposition to our views” to “the opposition literally doesn’t exist.” The level of solipsistic delusion here is just terrifying.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I agree. I’m not too shocked at this in particular–dumbfounded is separate from shock right?–the basic neoliberal approach is: our policies are based on reason and facts, your objections are frustrated emotional responses to hard reality.

      Boy I hate gaslighting.

    2. Charlie

      Well, far as twitter goes, I was called all of those, through every stage, and then reported and banned for calling out Hillary’s destruction of Libya through a gif I found on, you guessed it, Twitter. This after a tweet from an Albright follower calling for mass reporting of Bernie supporters.

      All twitter will be shortly besides blue checkers are Ukrainian Neo-Nazis, Donald Trump worshippers, and Hillary shareblue David Brock bots.

      Wonder how their stock is doing lately?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Looks like John Simm has a role just waiting for him…

      Sam Ervin would have had him skinned before proceeding.

      Did everything really collapse in ’06 and we’ve just been suffering with a bunch of dipwad bag-holders?

  31. Wukchumni

    The Sinister Underbelly of Climate Change Denial Counterpunch

    …an all-time record minimum temperature of 109 degrees was recorded amidst the baseline excessive heat of Oman.

    That’s stunning! or would that be ‘Sunning’?

    3 ways to beat the heat sans electricity when the grid crashes eventually in localized extreme heat scenarios:

    1.) Drive around in your car with the A/C on high. If you have a full tank of gas, you might be able to drive up to the mountains and much cooler air if you live nearby.

    2.) Hang out in a cave, most are around 50-55 degrees all the time.
    If you are a suburbanite, consider making your own cave in your backyard. You’d want it to be about 20 feet deep @ a minimum, with side channels out of the sun.

    3.) Go to higher altitude. for every 1,000 foot gain, it’s close to 4 degrees cooler in the summer.

    1. ewmayer

      Back in my grad school days in the late 80s I was driving my first car, a bright yellow $600 20-y.o. Volvo station wagon with a little 2L engine and a massive curb weight of 4500 lbs, westward from Michigan and the engine started overheating when I got caught in a major slowdown while circumnavigating Chicago on a hot afternoon – no A/C, this was simply the combination of engine and external heat and reduced radiator airflow from the crawling velocity of travel. I recalled some fellow Volvo-an mentioning that these cars, when the heater was turned on, would draw their heat first from the engine and only engage the elecrtric heating should that fail to suffice. So I opened all the windows and started blasting the heat – and it worked, knocked that engine temp right down from red to orange on the gauge.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Had a Bug, on cold days you had to warn passengers, ‘If you open the heat up now, the engine will knock” :)

  32. Shane Mage

    “Under Chairman Luján’s leadership, the DCCC has made incredible strides when it comes to diversity.” Quite true. Their claimed “strides,” like all their other claims, are literally *incredible.*

  33. kemerd

    space rides, and for for 200K? rocket science is certainly not like selling stuff on the internet. he’ll come to learn about that

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Haven’t read, but I like the idea if you put the ‘coach class’ at 5 million and first class in the definite 5% range. And put Musk in as director of manufacturing. /theresalwaysjourneystothecenteroftheearthaswell

  34. ewmayer

    “British MPs outraged at ‘repulsive’ Trump broadside against May | Guardian”

    I love the smell of Brit politician-twits getting their knickers in a twist in the morning.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “What happens when Assad wins the war in Syria?”

    Good question that. I suppose the first priority will be to get back the rest of occupied Syria. There might be trouble with the Turks as they are setting up schools for the locals in Turkish for the areas that they have occupied but Assad could arm the Kurds with all the weapon stocks that he has been capturing from the Jihadists. Turkey would be wise to make peace with Damascus. And then there is the question of rebuilding the country. Russia is taking over building the oil infrastructure so the Chinese will go for the general stuff. The west has already announced that they will only help when Assad and his government step down and make way for the people that they have lined up. Yeah, not gunna happen. Of course the Chinese might want to set up a military base in Syria in return which would give quite a few people the vapours. Maybe even a naval base or at the very least a trade port. That would change the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean.
    Security will be an ongoing thing due to sleeper cells and military gear buried all over Syria for future use. Still, Syria discharged about 10,000 men recently from the longest serving formations so must be feeling fairly confident. After that it is game on, bitch! Syria knows who tried to destroy it and turn it into a Takfiri paradise and will want payback. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states may want to watch their backs here. Maybe a few Syrian ‘technical advisors’ might make their way over to Yemen to give some help to the Houthis as an example. At the moment the Syrian Army, what is left of them, have transformed into one of the most combat experienced armies on the block. Israel may go for the occasional air strike but has not the wherewithal to actually invade. Syria may even build its air defenses up more to make it even more problematical to the Israeli Air force and the Israelis are not going to risk one of their F-35s too often. Too embarrassing if one got shot down.
    The problem may be even more acute for the US, British and French (and possibly other nations) who are illegally occupying parts of Syria. They are not large in numbers and may be vulnerable if they go outside the wires. From what I can see, most ‘aid’ money going in by these nations is going into ‘security’ but we have seen how well western-trained formations do in Iraq and Afghanistan. Worse is that the Kurds are drafting people for these formations who will never want to fight the Syrian Army. I would imagine that the Syrians are infiltrating these regions with their own people to isolate these units even more. The thing to watch for here is reports of casualties in these forces and there has been an odd two or three already. This could get interesting.

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