The Common Inheritance, The Common Defense

A bit of self promotion here, but I’ve got a piece in today’s Boston Globe that might be of interest to some here.

It’s a look at what the idea of the commons — not just the abstract, model commons of Garrett Hardin’s famous essay, but the historical commons as actually lived and used — can tell us about current problems.  The TL:DR is that commons are not inherently prone to tragedy, but that the preservation of communal goods requires…wait for it…communal action: regulation, self-regulation.

This is, of course, exactly what the Republican Party denies — more, loathes and condemns.  With Trump, they’re getting their way, but its vital to remember that the consequences that will flow from these decisions are not down to him, or simply so: the entire Republican power structure is eager to do this, and when we pay the price, we must remember who ran up the bill.

Anyway, here’s a taste from my piece.  Head on over to the Globe’s site if you want more.

The idea of the commons is deeply woven through the history of the English countryside. Shakespeare captured this idyllic approach to nature’s wealth in “As You Like It,” when the shepherd Corin explains to the cynic Touchstone the joys of his life. “I earn that I eat, get that I wear,” he says, adding that “the greatest of my pride is to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck” — in the unowned, readily shared Forest of Arden.

There can be trouble in such an Eden, as Hardin pointed out in an influential 1968 paper. Hardin asked what would happen if access to a commons were truly unfettered — if Corin and every other villager ran as many sheep as they could there. In such cases, Hardin argued, the endgame is obvious: Too many animals would eat too much fodder, leaving the ground bare, unable to support any livestock at all.

The evolution of resistance to antibiotics fits that story perfectly. The first modern bacteria-killing drug, penicillin, came into widespread use in 1944, as American laboratories raced to produce millions of doses in time for D-Day. The next year, its discoverer, Alexander Fleming, used his Nobel Prize lecture to describe precisely how this wonder drug could lose its power, telling the sad tale of a man who came down with a strep infection. In his tale, Mr. X didn’t finish his course of penicillin, and his surviving microbes, now “educated” (Fleming’s term), infected his wife. When her course of penicillin failed to eradicate these now-resistant microbes, Mrs. X died — killed, Fleming said, by her husband’s carelessness. It took just one more year for this fable to turn into fact: In 1946, four American soldiers came down with drug-resistant gonorrhea, the first such resistance on record.

 

Go on — check it out.  You want to hear about the great Charnwood Forest rabbit riot.  You know you do…

Image: Jacopo da Ponte, Sheep and Lambc. 1650.

119 replies
  1. 1
    Davis X. Machina says:

    The law locks up the man or woman.
    Who steals the goose from off the common.
    But leaves the greater villain loose.
    Who steals the common from off the goose.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    You write good.

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: He writes purdy.

  4. 4
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Hard hitting article and scary as hell.

    the evolution of resistance in microbes kills at least 700,000 people worldwide each year.

    And we have a scientifically illiterate President which doesn’t help.

  5. 5
    lgerard says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Not just illiterate, but one who has been anti vax curious for a long, long time

  6. 6
    Jeffro says:

    Hey, have to love anything with “As You Like It”, in it!

    Speaking of Arden, I had forgotten that Delaware has it’s very own Arden up near its far northern border, founded very much with the idea of the commons in mind.

  7. 7
    wvng says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He writes purdy good.

    Tom, that was a fine article, with a perfect framing. Not sure I have ever seen the “tragedy of the commons” written about so expansively.

    Also, as a guy who is going to the doctor tomorrow to see if he has pneumonia ….

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    The Globe article was excellent and I passed it on. Overuse of antibiotics for animals is a subject that I had previously written to my former representative in Congress. You might of heard of my former rep. He’s now head of Health and Human Services.

    This subject doesn’t get the media coverage it deserves.

  9. 9
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He’s the spiciest memelord.

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    “we need to get rid of the ILLEGAL CRIMINALS in this country.”

    Those of us who didn’t believe them, and thought that this was bull have been proven right.

    Stories of ICE agents showing up at churches and shelters.

    Exclusive: Trump admin. plans expanded immigrant detention
    03/03/17 08:13 PM—Updated 03/03/17 08:48 PM
    By Chris Hayes and Brian Montopoli

    The Trump administration is planning to radically expand the program and facilities for the detention of immigrant families seeking asylum in the United States, according to documents obtained exclusively by All In.

    In a town hall with Department of Homeland Security staffers last month, Asylum Division Chief John Lafferty said DHS had already located 20,000 beds for the indefinite detention of those seeking asylum, according to notes from the meeting obtained by All In. This would represent a nearly 500% increase from current capacity.

    The plan is part of a new set of policies for those apprehended at the border that would make good on President Trump’s campaign promise to end the practice critics call “catch and release.”

    “If implemented, this expansion in immigration detention would be the fastest and largest in our country’s history,” says Andrew Free, an immigration lawyer in Nashville who represents clients applying for asylum. “And my worry is it’ll be permanent. Once those beds are in place they’ll never go away.”

    Reached by phone, Lafferty said he was not authorized to speak on the matter. The Department of Homeland Security has not responded to a request for comment.

    The plans for the expansion reflect the Trump administration’s planned overhaul of U.S. policy for dealing women and children seeking asylum, thousands of whom continue to show up at the southern border fleeing violence, vengeance and sexual assault in Central America.

    Under the plan under consideration, DHS would break from the current policy keeping families together. Instead, it would separate women and children after they’ve been detained – leaving mothers to choose between returning to their country of origin with their children, or being separated from their children while staying in detention to pursue their asylum claim.

    “How many human beings can look into the eyes of a mother or child seeking refuge and intentionally create this Sophie’s choice?” asks Free.

    BARBARIANS.

    EVIL ASS BARBARIANS.

    That’s who they are.

  11. 11

    @rikyrah: Sounds like they would be camps, in small areas, concentrated so to speak.

  12. 12
    rikyrah says:

    UH HUH
    UH HUH

    Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws

    Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were forced to work for $1 day, or for nothing at all — a violation of federal anti-slavery laws — a lawsuit claims.

    The lawsuit, filed in 2014 against one of the largest private prison companies in the country, reached class-action status this week after a federal judge’s ruling. That means the case could involve as many as 60,000 immigrants who have been detained.

    It’s the first time a class-action lawsuit accusing a private U.S. prison company of forced labor has been allowed to move forward.

    “That’s obviously a big deal; it’s recognizing the possibility that a government contractor could be engaging in forced labor,” said Nina DiSalvo, executive director of Towards Justice, a Colorado-based nonprofit group that represents low-wage workers, including undocumented immigrants. “Certification of the class is perhaps the only mechanism by which these vulnerable individuals who were dispersed across the country and across the world would ever be able to vindicate their rights.”

    At the heart of the dispute is the Denver Contract Detention Facility, a 1,500-bed center in Aurora, Colo., owned and operated by GEO Group under a contract with ICE. The Florida-based corporation runs facilities to house undocumented immigrants who are awaiting their turn in court.

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    My MiL was among the cohort last year. Hospital went through their entire antibiotic protocol fighting a GI infection, then discharged her when the last try failed to have a lasting effect. That was Friday, she died Monday.

  14. 14
    jackie says:

    excellent. if I were still teaching econ / game theory it would be on my syllabus.

  15. 15
    Mike J says:

    I saw that K. pneumoniae picture retweeted a thousand times this morning and just skipped over it, never even knew it was you. I would have read it sooner if I had.

  16. 16
    trollhattan says:

    @rikyrah:
    Say WHAT now? Need to find a calendar to check the century.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    Somewhat OT. Amateur math nerds, I just discovered PBS Infinite series on YouTube. Freaking awesome.

  18. 18
    chris says:

    “Winds blow wherever they will.”

    Thanks, Tom, I’ll pass this around.

  19. 19
    lgerard says:

    @rikyrah:

    Why do I think Joe Arpaio is going to be involved running the new trump “hotels” for detainees?

  20. 20
    Boussinesque says:

    Excellent (although chilling) article, Professor Levenson. Will definitely be sharing it around, although I doubt the people who most need to hear it will be willing or able to understand it.

    Also love how you schooled the troll in the comment section for the article.

  21. 21
    liberal says:

    @Jeffro: no, IIRC it was founded with a Henry George’s ideas in mind. Not the same.

  22. 22
    albertZ says:

    A good, commons sense article

  23. 23
    Это курам на смех says:

    Pedantically, Tom, sheep grazing on the common eat forage, not fodder.

  24. 24
    scav says:

    @rikyrah: Ahh, sounds about like their plan. They don’t so much object to the brown folks’ labor (in fact they know they rely on it) they just object to the price and, moreover, the lack of private industry taking a majority slice of that cash first. Round up a bunch of them, starve the courts of funds and that backlog should provide quite a cash-flow to the chosen few. Plus a tidy little sum collected from the govt for housing and managing the detainees.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @Boussinesque: ooh.. must go back and read the comments

    When my now adult son was in middle school, he was battling an infection and his pediatrician wanted to try an antibiotic of last resort at that time. His ENT took a different approach and removed all food of color. He wanted a prescription baby food, but the son said no thanks. Anyway, he was on a diet of rice and chicken for a month, along with medication and it worked. Sounds odd, but he just cleansed his environment. After 9/11 he was prescribed cipro. Since he was still living at home, the bank called my house to question the charge. hmmm Fortunately, he’s pretty healthy and hasn’t had to receive an antibiotic since.

    Tis why I think this is such an important topic.

  26. 26
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Tom, I have a question about a painting you posted a couple of years ago. A young noble, dressed in red, with a bird in a cage and I think a cat. Do you remember what that was and what demon from hell painted it?

  27. 27
    Yarrow says:

    The climate changing interacts with the microbes changing as well. As the climate warms and human bodies have to adapt to the warmer climate, we have yet to learn how that will affect the bacteria, fungi, viruses and so forth that interact with us. What happens when freezes are rare? What happens when days reach 110 or 120 degrees F for weeks on end? How does everything respond?

  28. 28
    rikyrah says:

    Andy Slavitt‏Verified account @ASlavitt

    Uninsured rate cut in half. Delivered 1/3 under projections.

    In the real world, that would rate the #ACA a home run.

  29. 29
    eclare says:

    Good (and scary) article.

  30. 30

    @rikyrah:

    In the real world…

    Regrettably, we don’t live there anymore.

  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    Eric Lipton‏Verified account @EricLiptonNYT

    World’s largest automakers don’t want to comply with MilesPerGallon standard. Complain to EPA boss Pruitt. Status:Reversal coming this week

  32. 32
    rikyrah says:

    Patience Gone, Koch-Backed Groups Will Pressure G.O.P. on Health Repeal
    MARCH 5, 2017

    WASHINGTON — Saying their patience is at an end, conservative activist groups backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and other powerful interests on the right are mobilizing to pressure Republicans to fulfill their promise to swiftly repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    Their message is blunt and unforgiving, with the goal of reawakening some of the most extensive conservative grass-roots networks in the country. It is a reminder that even as Republicans control both the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, the party’s activist wing remains restless and will not go along passively for the sake of party unity.

    With angry constituents storming town hall-style meetings across the country and demanding that Congress not repeal the law, these new campaigns are a sign of a growing concern on the right that lawmakers might buckle to the pressure.

    “We’ve been patient this year, but it is past time to act and to act decisively,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, which is coordinating the push with other groups across the Kochs’ political network. “Our network has spent more money, more time and more years fighting Obamacare than anything else. And now with the finish line in sight, we cannot allow some folks to pull up and give up.”

  33. 33
    hovercraft says:

    Nice article Tom.
    The word communal is very close to the word communism/communist, it’s almost as if the words are related. Everyone knows that communism is bad and should never have anything to do with us here in gloriously free egalitarian America, we have everything we need, the Free Market is wondrous, and has enriched all our lives.

  34. 34
    rikyrah says:

    Kat Capps ❄️‏ @KatCapps

    This is a good question. If DHS employees work from home, does that give government right to inspect their homes and personal devices?

  35. 35
    Lizzy L says:

    Totally off-topic, but I thought you all would appreciate it. From The Hill:

    FBI Director James Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election. Senior American officials told The New York Times on Sunday that Comey has said the president’s wiretapping allegations are not true and asked the Justice Department on Saturday to publicly correct the record. The report comes after President Trump, in a series of early Saturday tweets, claimed President Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower. The FBI and the DOJ declined to comment to the Times. Comey wants the Justice Department to deflate Trump’s claim because there is no evidence to support it, the Times reported, and it insinuates that Comey’s FBI broke the law, the officials told the paper.

    (Bolding is mine.)

    Karma’s a bitch.

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jeffro:

    Hey, have to love anything with “As You Like It”, in it!

    One of my most favourite theatre memories is from a Stratford (ON) Festival production (late 1970s, at a guess) with Maggie Smith as Rosalind and Brian Bedford as the Melancholy Jacques.

  37. 37
    opiejeanne says:

    @trollhattan: My dad was the same, in 2013. The hospital discharged him to a skilled care facility because he was still too sick to go home, the facility stopped giving him the antibiotics. My sister caught on after 3 days but C-diff is not something you play around with. My sis moved him to a better facility but after 4 weeks he had to be hospitalized again for a perforated colon (intestine? can’t remember); he was 94, not expected to survive the surgery but he did.

    He died about 8 days later. I’m still angry and convinced that he’d still be with us if the skilled care place had followed through with the rest of his meds.

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    ”I’m not Nostradamus here’: Man behind Trump’s wiretap claim says he can’t prove Obama did it

    Source: RawStory

    DAVID EDWARDS
    05 MAR 2017 AT 12:38 ET

    Radio host Mark Levin, who sent President Donald Trump into a rage on Twitter after floating a conspiracy theory about wiretaps ordered by President Barack Obama, admitted on Sunday that he had no concrete proof that the former president was involved.

    On his radio show and in a column for Breitbart, Levin called for an investigation into Obamas so-called silent coup against the new president. Without presenting any proof, Levin alleged that Obama personally ordered wiretaps of Trump associates. The evidence is overwhelming, Levin told Fox News host Pete Hegseth on Sunday. This is about the Obama administrations spying.

    Levijn repeating the list of sources offered in his as proof that Obama allegedly ordered the wiretapping of Trumps team. A careful reading of those reports, however, do not back up Levins conspiracy theory.

    Donald Trump is being attacked for (the accusations) he tweeted, Levin said. Donald Trump is the victim, his campaign is the victim, his transition team is the victim, his surrogates are the victim. These are police state tactics. When pressed for details on President Obamas personal involvement, Levin replied, Im not Nostradamus here.

  39. 39
    hovercraft says:

    @rikyrah:
    As you say evil monsters, ugh!!
    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    Hitler just took it a bit too far, but initially he was on the right track.
    FDR on the other hand also had the right idea, but in his case he didn’t go far enough, he should have deported all those Japs.

    I am shamed that these people share the same nationality as me. They are barbarians, and they had the excuse of not knowing any better, these monsters relish the idea of causing needless suffering to people.

  40. 40
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    @Baud: I’m a big fan of Donald Duck in Mathematics Land (video)

  41. 41
    rikyrah says:

    He has Russian business partners with ties to PUTIN.

    Kyle Griffin

    @kylegriffin1

    House Intel Chmn Devin Nunes says Cmte will investigate whether gov’t was conducting surveillance activities “if the evidence warrants it”.
    12:19 PM – 5 Mar 2017

  42. 42
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So it’s Bengazi Forever now.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....ing-claims

    House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said on Sunday that his committee will “make inquiries” into whether President Barack Obama’s administration eavesdropped on campaign officials before the 2016 election, as President Donald Trump has baselessly claimed it did.

    Yep, just ’cause there is no evidence doesn’t mean Nunes can’t spend the rest of the time he’s chairman investigating it, over and over again.

  43. 43

    I linked to your piece on Facebook. Everybody should read it.

  44. 44
    Yarrow says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Nunes better watch his back. He’s in with the Russian stuff himself and if he pursues this line of investigation he’s going to be made an example of. I get the impression he’s not bright enough to understand that. He’ll understand it soon enough.

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    Sarah Kendzior‏Verified account @sarahkendzior

    Sarah Kendzior Retweeted KristjanThorsteinson

    Thread on Oronov, latest man in Trump/Russia scandal to have abruptly died

    JΞSŦΞR ✪ ΔCŦUAL³³º¹‏ @th3j35t3r

    ^^ UPDATE for those who don’t know the connection. Oronov was Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law. Bryan Cohen is brother of Trumps personal lawyer.

  46. 46
    germy says:

    @hovercraft:

    The word communal is very close to the word communism/communist, it’s almost as if the words are related.

    I never hear them use the word “commonwealth” (I think it makes them nervous).

  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Polluters and More
    MARCH 5, 2017

    WASHINGTON — Telecommunications giants like Verizon and AT&T will not have to take “reasonable measures” to ensure that their customers’ Social Security numbers, web browsing history and other personal information are not stolen or accidentally released.

    Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will not be punished, at least for now, for not collecting extra money from customers to cover potential losses from certain kinds of high-risk trades that helped unleash the 2008 financial crisis.

    And Social Security Administration data will no longer be used to try to block individuals with disabling mental health issues from buying handguns, nor will hunters be banned from using lead-based bullets, which can accidentally poison wildlife, on 150 million acres of federal lands.

    These are just a few of the more than 90 regulations that federal agencies and the Republican-controlled Congress have delayed, suspended or reversed in the month and a half since President Trump took office, according to a tally by The New York Times.

  48. 48
    germy says:

    @rikyrah: turning into an Agatha Christie novel.

  49. 49
    Doug R says:

    There may be hope in fecal transplantation.

  50. 50
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Obama: “Come at me, bro.”

  51. 51
    amygdala says:

    @Yarrow:

    The climate changing interacts with the microbes changing as well. As the climate warms and human bodies have to adapt to the warmer climate, we have yet to learn how that will affect the bacteria, fungi, viruses and so forth that interact with us. What happens when freezes are rare? What happens when days reach 110 or 120 degrees F for weeks on end? How does everything respond?

    This is a great point, and we’re probably starting to see the effects already, in things like West Nile and Zika. Because so much of the US is temperate, when these mosquito-borne viruses make landfall in the US, they tend to be seasonal–summer, mostly–and at least for the first few years, affect the southern US the most.

    Around the equator, some of these mosquito-borne infections are seen year-round, because it’s hot enough for the bugs to survive year-round. Hard not to wonder if we’ll start seeing that in Florida, other southern states, and perhaps Hawaii.

    As for the effects on humans, there has been speculation that parts of the Middle East may become uninhabitable as temperatures climb.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    Sent link by PM to a few friends who know and admire TL’s work. About to do a general link on FB.

  53. 53
    rikyrah says:

    Here’s another cASE….YEAH…cause, this Grandmother was a threat to the community.

    Deportation of grandmother leaves a San Diego military family reeling
    March 4, 2017

    A grandmother known as the “backbone” of a San Diego military veteran’s family was sent back to Mexico on Friday, more than two weeks after she was picked up by immigration agents outside her house in unmarked SUVs on Valentine’s Day.

    Clarissa Arredondo, 43, is the mother of Adriana Aparicio, whose husband is a Navy veteran working as a contractor in Afghanistan. The couple has two daughters, 2 and 3, and Arredondo, who came to the U.S. more than 25 years ago, helped take care of them.

  54. 54
    germy says:

    The Law of Unintended Consequences:

    Trump’s tweets may have been an effort to distract from revelations that his aides and associates had contact with Russian officials during the election and transition, as well as to deflect criticism onto Obama.

    But instead, the president has invited more scrutiny to the larger controversy over Russian interference. The issue shows no signs of fading.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-charge-that-he-was-wiretapped-takes-presidency-into-new-territory/2017/03/05/7ce64578-01bd-11e7-ad5b-d22680e18d10_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trumpdebrief-530pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.e99181333bfe

  55. 55
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @opiejeanne: my wife had C-diff last year, which she contracted while in the hospital for unrelated surgery. She is several decades shy of her 90’s, but it was still a bitch to treat. She was in quarantine for several days. Even a year later, she still doesn’t have her full strength back.

    If this is the future for us, it’s bleak indeed. Unless, of course, Trump or Pence or Bannon causes armageddon.

  56. 56
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @rikyrah:

    Okay, this has gone well beyond mere “coincidence” now.

  57. 57
    Yarrow says:

    @Doug R: Fecal transplant is used exclusively to treat stubborn cases of C-diff right now. But people have used it “off label” to treat other issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, that hasn’t responded to other forms of treatment. These cases are anecdotal and not necessarily done under the supervision of a doctor (because honestly, you can do it yourself at home) but some people have had good results with it.

  58. 58
    Yarrow says:

    @amygdala: Yes, the human body can’t really stand temperatures above a certain point. We don’t really know how that’s going to work for large populations when it’s that hot day after day after day.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Yes, we do need to get ILLEGAL CRIMINALS out of our country.

    Let’s start with Donald and his vile spawn.

  60. 60
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @germy:

    Trump’s tweetstorm early Saturday made his disciplined, well-received speech to Congress four days before seem less a turning point than an aberration.

    We did call that one.

    But one can see how this will go, they will just turn over one stone after another about Republican malfeasance and the Republicans will scream “Well so what, the Democrats are WORSE!” and it will just go on the next far right conspiracy and so on. This is stupid, old white guy territory now and rule number one to a stupid old white guy is he is NEVER wrong.

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @germy:

    Trump’s tweets may have been an effort to distract from revelations that his aides and associates had contact with Russian officials during the election and transition, as well as to deflect criticism onto Obama.

    The leopard cannot change his stripes.

  62. 62
    Yarrow says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I don’t think so. The IC can’t do their job right now because of Trump and and all the Russian agents and assets and stooges he’s installed in his administration. They want to clean that house so they can do their jobs. The Republicans can stall as long as they want and scream and point fingers at Democrats but it isn’t going to work.

    A lot of the Republicans have ties to Russia too and the longer they drag their feet and make dumb attempts to stop the investigations into Trump and his cronies, the worse it will go for them. At some point something will leak about a fairly highly placed Republican Member of Congress and their ties to Russia. And then all hell will break loose for them.

    The noose tightens. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

  63. 63
    amygdala says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I’m so sorry your wife had such severe Cdiff. When I was an intern, it was fairly uncommon, especially outside the hospital, and easily treated with oral antibiotics. Now it’s a major consideration in not just the hospital or nursing home, but even in the community, and often severe, as it was for your wife.

    Keeping my fingers crossed she’ll continue to improve.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    I’ve been out and about today and can no longer keep up with the Trump saga and the storm of insane Twitter messages.

    I’m looking forward to reading the essay in the Boston Globe. Need a little respite from Trump madness.

  65. 65
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Yarrow:

    Nunes better watch his back. He’s in with the Russian stuff himself and if he pursues this line of investigation he’s going to be made an example of. I get the impression he’s not bright enough to understand that. He’ll understand it soon enough.

    This off in Conspiracy Theory land now. With people like that absence of evidence is merely proof of a bigger conspiracy in their mind. This is like with UFOs believers were they are so invested in little green men from Acturious that they refuse to accept it when they are shown the CIA made it all up to cover up US airspace programs . Conservatives have told themselves that liberals are the evilest people in the world for so long they believe it.

  66. 66
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom Levenson, O/P:

    Went back and looked at your thread title. It makes me think of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States (I am quite sure that was deliberate on your part), and how far we as a country have strayed — sometimes inadvertently, sometimes deliberately and with malice — from the aspirations set forth so eloquently by the founders of this flawed but great, in spite of everything, country.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    ETA: I love that painting. Any relationship, do you know, between Jacopo da Ponte and Mozart’s librettist of a century+ later, Lorenzo da Ponte?

  67. 67
    Nelle says:

    As the permafrost melts, due to climate change, other sorts of gunk may be released. For example, the 1918 flu virus, was found in six villagers buried in the Norwegian far north and discovered in 1999, I think it was.

  68. 68
    M31 says:

    Great article, Tom.

    I love how in addition to violence, rioting, and rabbit warren destruction, the rebellion wrote an opera (information in the linked paper from the article).

    “Our squires live on rabbit that’s roasted so rarely;
    We eat water-porridge, and bread made of barley.
    But in faith before night, boys, we’ll better our board.
    For I can eat rabbit as well as a lord.”

    and a nice call to arms:

    “Now, now, one and all, to the work let us fall.
    Huzzah!
    Hundreds today, and thousands tomorrow!
    Huzzah!”

    Now I want to perform it, lol.

  69. 69
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Yarrow:

    A lot of the Republicans have ties to Russia too and the longer they drag their feet and make dumb attempts to stop the investigations into Trump and his cronies, the worse it will go for them. At some point something will leak about a fairly highly placed Republican Member of Congress and their ties to Russia. And then all hell will break loose for them.

    That’s likely and the silly thing is the core crime is likely no big deal, just Trump had loans he was embarrassed to talk about it. But then they are stupid, old white men who can never be wrong so they have to do even stupider shit until it got them in real trouble, as you are predicting.

    But my point it the Conservatives who aren’t implicate it will simply use these scandals are proof as how evil the Democrats are, since in the fantasy land a liberal is the most evilest thing ever. “Trump sold out to the Russians, well Obama MUST have been selling white children as a sex slave to ISIS, OMG, it was a coverup!” kind of thinking.

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    Aleta says:

    @Lizzy L: Adding to that, same story with a few more details now:

    The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.

    Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said.

    A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department, also declined to comment.

    Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration. The White House showed no indication that it would back down from Mr. Trump’s claims.

    Showdown ! (I hope)

  72. 72
    Yarrow says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Well, those kinds of people will always be with us. I’m not expecting to reach them. There are those who will understand how bad this is, though. Maybe not yet. But they will.

  73. 73
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Это курам на смех: Arrrgh. Will correct in the online version (assuming my editor lets me).
    @Steve in the ATL: I’ll poke around, but I don’t keep the art I use in any folder, so I’m guessing that’s long since lost to the ether. You remember what the post was about?@SiubhanDuinne: Yup — was calling and responding to the Preamble. Don’t know about any connection between the da Pontes.
    @M31: Oh! You must perform. Send me an MP3 if and when you do and I’ll post!

    And with that — thanks to everyone for the kind words and the discussion. We’re deep into the tall grass here, and it’g going to get worse before it gets better. But I think — if we hang every f**k up around every Republican’s head — and there are already failures with more and more grotesque to come — we can take our country back. And I use that phrase unironically.

  74. 74
    Yarrow says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    the silly thing is the core crime is likely no big deal, just Trump had loans he was embarrassed to talk about it.

    Disagree here. Although I do think he does have loans he’s embarrassed to talk about, I also think he’s in deep with the Russian mob and has been laundering money for various shady Russians for years now. Decades even. Those things are crimes.

    Some conservatives will use those things as proof of how terrible the Democrats are. As ever. Butt not all of the Republican voters will believe it. Not when the truth comes out.

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    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The leopard cannot change his stripes.

    Heh, SWYDT.

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    Kathleen says:

    @JPL: One of my African American co-workers was deathly ill and kept having to go to ER for vomiting and exhaustion. After 1 to 2 months she finally went to an allergy doctor and went through all of the testing for food and environmental allergies. Her doctor went a step further and researched the prescription meds she was on, one of which was for high blood pressure. He discovered that other African Americans suffered the same reactions she had while they were on the drug, and that his research showed only African Americans seemed to have those side effects. She quit taking the prescription (over the objections of her PCP, whom she fired) and no longer has those debilitating symptoms. It doesn’t surprise me that your son’s regimen was effective.

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    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    @Aleta:

    Source?

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    Another Scott says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Goya, perhaps?

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

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    Baud says:

    @Aleta:

    Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.

    Need to be cautious before making a precipitous public statement.

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    Groucho48 says:

    Excellent article!

    There’s a game theory experiment. $100 on the table. Two people. Person 1 can offer Person 2 any amount between $1 and $100. If Person 2 agrees, they split the $100 accordingly. Most people, as Person 1, offer somewhere in the range of $35-$50. It turns out that the more folks have been exposed to economic theory, the less they tend to offer. Libertarians….surprise, surprise…feel that offering $1 is the only rational thing for Person 1 to do.

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    Another Scott says:

    @rikyrah: Usually, if government employees are working from home they have to do it on “government furnished equipment” (GFE). The DHS Telework Memo (8 page .pdf) gives lots of details about their implementation of Telework, etc.

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

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    JPL says:

    @Kathleen: That’s also why Tom’s topic is so important. We now have a president who ignores science and research.

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    HeleninEire says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Baud:

    Youse Guys.

  85. 85
    JPL says:

    @Baud: Yesterday Bruce Bartlett tweeted this

    If FBI director Comey torpedoed Hillary knowing that it would benefit someone potentially involved in treason, I don’t know what to say.

    Maybe Comey is feeling a tad of regret..
    hahahahhahaha.. not

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    JPL says:

    If someone had told me a year ago, that I’d be reading the twitter feeds of Bartlett, Max Boot and Rick Wilson, I’d laugh. Is there an overton window or is that a farce?

  87. 87
    amk says:

    comey: donnie, you lie.

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    humboldtblue says:

    A tale of two reactions. In one … no, two parts, is it two parts or just one?

    Random uneducated but willingly curious guy reading a front page post on notorious lefty blog written by renowned other guy who is quite renowned and sucheth

    Huh, that makes sense and sorta corroborates with the information I have gleaned from a few other sources and looks like a reasonable, if transitory explanation of the phenomena of our world. I am now armed with yet another arrow for my quiver of internet-comment-argument-cite-this-motherfucker-stash.

    Breitbart

    HAH! Lefty blogger says sheep farts and camp fires cause global warming!!

  89. 89
    Jeffro says:

    @liberal: um ok… not seeing a whole lot of difference there but all right

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    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @JPL: And the anti-vax doesn’t help. To me it’s a form of privilege that endangers those who are immunosuppressed and who also have a hard time paying their medical bills. Those who refused vaccination used to live in hippie enclaves where at least they never mingled all that much with the general public. Now affluent suburbanites, terrified of having imperfect children (all kids are to some degree-all humans are) refuse to vaccinate their kids because they might because autistic (and perhaps not be perfectly able to compete for top-tier schools and such).

    Is autism so terrible, so guilt-wrenching that their and other children must suffer from preventable disease? And possibly they and others must die because of their guilt about having an autistic child in a world where people must deal with ever-stronger drugs with all of their effects due to antibiotic resistance? Has measles, mumps, and other diseases that used to kill thousands of kids, and in many places still do, a better outcome for these kids than the rare side effects from vaccination?

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    Patricia Kayden says:

    @rikyrah:

    Under the plan under consideration, DHS would break from the current policy keeping families together. Instead, it would separate women and children after they’ve been detained – leaving mothers to choose between returning to their country of origin with their children, or being separated from their children while staying in detention to pursue their asylum claim.

    And yet the Evil Minds behind this policy would swear up and down that this is a Christian country based on “Judeo-Christian” principles. Separating children from their mothers is nothing short of evil. And there is no choice under such circumstances.

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    JPL says:

    @CarolDuhart2: That is the best rant ever, and it’s really hard to add to it.

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    Aleta says:

    @JPL: I find I’m automatically suspicious (overcomplicating without enough actual understanding), as in: Is Comey doing this to prevent Trump’s Congressional investigation which could call people who would testify that he ….

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    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Lizzy L: How ironic that Trump is accusing Comey’s FBI of wrongdoing after so recently blowing him a kiss. Sad.

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    Lizzy L says:

    @CarolDuhart2:Vaccinations/vaccines DON’T cause autism — there is no evidence which supports the claim that they do.

  97. 97
    Jeffro says:

    Should be interesting to see what happens if Trump tries to get Comey to tow the line

    (Interesting kind of like a 30-car NASCAR pileup)

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    bemused says:

    @JPL:

    Same here to my amazement although I haven’t read Boot but now will. I noticed Rick Wilson first on msnbc and loved his snark. A conservative who is a realist, doesn’t play the wingnut games and is a pro at sarcasm. They actually exist but sadly, too few of them.

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    JPL says:

    @Aleta: I actually thought that also. In a way that would have stopped Congress from investigating to deeply.

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    HeleninEire says:

    Totally off topic, but when do you guys turn the clocks ahead? Here it is next week. March 12th. So it looks like Ireland is 3?? weeks ahead of the US on that? So we will be 6 hours ahead (and in the Fall 4). It’s usually 5 hours.

    New news to me. But glad of it. Damn it’s dark here in the winter early.

  101. 101
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Another Scott: yes–thank you!

    My great-grandmother had a reproduction of this in the always dark library of her house and I used to have nightmares about it as I stayed in the room next to it. Big version of that is creepy as hell, especially to a little kid trapped in a bog, old house in Mississippi.

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    Lizzy L says:

    @HeleninEire: Also March 12th, in the wee small hours.

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    Patricia Kayden says:

    @trollhattan: So sorry to hear this trollhattan. (( )). That’s awful. Condolences to your entire family.

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    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @trollhattan:

    Trollhattan, I am so sorry. Condolences to you and your MIL’s family.

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    HeleninEire says:

    @Lizzy L: Really? I thought for sure America was in April. My bad.

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    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @albertZ:

    A good, commons sense article

    Is there an emoji for “wry smile”?

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    @Patricia Kayden: See I don’t think Trump realized he was accusing Comey of wrongdoing. He probably figured Obama just sent over the guy who set up Clinton’s server to tap every phone in Trump Tower.

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    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @HeleninEire:

    Totally off topic, but when do you guys turn the clocks ahead? Here it is next week. March 12th

    Same here.

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    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @HeleninEire:

    Really? I thought for sure America was in April. My bad.

    It think it used to be. They changed it to earlier a few years ago. Second Saturday-Sunday in March for “spring forward,” and first full weekend in November for “fall back,” I believe.

  110. 110
    HeleninEire says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yeah that’s how I remember it. (The whole spring forward and fall back thing). But I thought there was a few weeks when Eire was behind the US.

    Once again, my bad.

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    liberal says:

    @JPL: Bartlett’s been ok for awhile now.

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    Another Scott says:

    @Steve in the ATL: You’d like Remedios Varo, then. E.g.Creation of the birds. ;-)

    We saw an exhibition of her work at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC several years ago. Neat stuff.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

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    Suzanne says:

    @trollhattan: Oh God. I’m so sorry. Keeping you and the whole family in my thoughts.

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    The Lodger says:

    @Kathleen: That’s scary as hell. A high blood pressure med with bad side effects that only appear in some African-Americans taking it, and no other ethnic groups? As I recall, high blood pressure is more common among African-Americans than Americans as a whole. This needs to get checked out and exposed.

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    M31 says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    I will keep you posted if there is any performance possibility — I need to hunt up the full text (there is some online but I haven’t found the whole thing yet). And it’s true “ballad opera” style (new texts written to popular songs) and which tunes are to used isn’t given in the original. Some are obvious (common refrains or nonsense words) but some are not so I’d have to find plausible ones.

    But I mentioned it to some musician friends and they love it, so we’ll see.

    But seriously, the freeloading rich appropriating the commons for their own use, changing rules to benefit themselves, not paying their fair share, and using violence to put down complaints? Now I want to work on a new version of this — not much will need to be changed. More overt upward redistribution of wealth and fewer rabbits is about it

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    Laura B says:

    Thank you Tom, what a great piece that was.

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    thedeadcanary says:

    Yes, thanks!

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    jj says:

    Enjoyed your article, Tom. Thank you!

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    RobNYNY1957 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: “Lorenzo da Ponte” was a pseudonym, adopted when he converted from Judaism to Catholicism. His birth name was Emanuele Conegliano. So probably no connection.

Comments are closed.