2:00PM Water Cooler 6/22/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


My view: “Loss of national sovereignty” is another way of saying “a change in the Constitutional order.” That’s what ISDS looks like to me, and my view is reinforced with the material from Jeff Sessions (!) on the TPP as a “living agreement” and the “Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission.” (Sessions is horrible on policy, but on the sovereignty issues, I think he’s got it right.) So, for major areas of what used to be called “public policy,” the people of the United States would suffer a “democratic deficit” similar to that undergone by the people in the EU; and we can see how well that’s worked out for them since the crash. A corollary to this view is that the TPA cloture vote Tuesday is just one skirmish in a very long war. After all, since the TPP reduces the advantages of the nation-state, as indeed it does — and be careful what you wish for, libertarians! — then why should the state not, as it were, display adaptability to the new environment? California, for example, is the world’s seventh-largest economy, and the eastern core of the United States is no piker, so that’s two potential non-signatories, given further changes to the Constitutional order. Great historical tides like this take awhile to play out, and it’s foolish for our elites to think they can manage a change like this without crisis; but then, our elites are foolish. So the arc of history can still, and will be, bent.

Senate cloture vote Tuesday [The Hill]. “Obama and congressional Republicans have fired back by decoupling the two bills. They hope to earn a victory by convincing pro-trade Senate Democrats to back fast-track on Tuesday, with a promise to move the workers assistance program separately.” Yeah, sheesh. Who wouldn’t trust John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. What’s wrong with you people?

“For everything to go according to plan, a dozen or so pro-trade Democrats will have to trust that a vote for TPA will be followed by the approval of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers displaced by trade, an African trade-preferences bill and a customs-enforcement bill” [Roll Call]. Then again, these Blue Dogs and New Dems are Republicans, so why wouldn’t they trust Republican leadership? Especially since they’re destined for K Street after the next election anyhow, when the voters throw them out?

Clinton on TPP, the full transcript with video [Economic Populist]. Kudos to them for putting this together:

Jon: Last question and hopefully it’s a simple yes or no, but I’m not that optimistic. If you were in the Senate still, would you vote for TPA when it gets there?

Hillary: At this point, probably not because it’s a process vote and I don’t want to say it’s the same as TPP. Right now I’m focused on making sure we get trade adjustment assistance and I certainly would not vote for it unless I were absolutely confident we would get trade adjustment assistance.

Jon: Almost a yes or no, I’m impressed.

So it all depends on what the meaning of “absolute confidence” is. So Clinton gives Democratic Senators a free pass to vote No (“probably not”) or Yes (since a promise of trade adjustment assistance later is a sufficient fig leaf). Clinton has been at this a long time, hasn’t she?

“Corporations under ISDS can bring cases without their national government’s permission, while unions and environmental groups in order to enforce the labor rights and environmental rights in these agreement have to get their government to bring the case” [International Business Times].

Boehner disciplines some, but not all, Republicans who bucked the leadership on TPP [The Hill].

Nice framing: “Why the TPP Is Worse Than Mystery Meat” [HuffPo]. “I don’t know about you, but I like knowing whether my meat comes from Iowa or Uzbekistan, Montana or Mexico, Kentucky or Kenya. So do 93 percent of Americans.” And country-of-origin labeling is a restraint on trade, by definition, so of course the (well-greased) ISDS system would impose massive fines on countries that tried to protect their citizens and farms with it.

U.S. Business & Industry Council, domestic manufacturers: “If the past 20 years of “free trade” deals offer any preview, TPP won’t increase America’s sales to third world consumers, most of whom exist on a few dollars a day and can’t afford U.S. wares. However, they can flood our already import-saturated market with more goods produced at slave-labor wages” [Daily Item]. Or, in the case of Malayia, actual slave labor.


“In the 2014 elections, 31,976 donors — equal to roughly one percent of one percent of the total population of the United States — accounted for an astounding $1.18 billion in disclosed political contributions at the federal level. Those big givers — what we have termed the “Political One Percent of the One Percent” — have a massively outsized impact on federal campaigns” [Sunlight Foundation]. When Occupy successfully introduced the 1% meme, a lot of us started thinking, “Wait a minute, it’s really the 0.01% that runs the show.” So it’s nice to see some data validating these intuitions.


Sanders cancelled Charleston visit [WaPo]. I think that’s a missed opportunity a long shot can’t afford.

The S.S. Clinton

Clinton to stop in Florissant, next door to Ferguson, Tuesday [Guardian].

Clinton’s Roosevelt Island rollout, and the Wall Street skyline [Bill Moyers].

“Republican Presidential Candidates Distance Themselves From Donations Linked to White Nationalist” [Bloomberg].

“Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio Solidify Front-Runner Status” [Wall Street Journal]. The dynasty vs. a guy with a bio, who bought a boat.

Republican Establishment

Kasich to throw competence into the ring: “It’s experience and record. Amateur hour is over” [Christian Broadcasting Network].

“Evangelical voters have a big presence in states that fall early on the nomination calendar. Mr. Bush doesn’t need to dominate among evangelicals, since he appeals to a wide set of GOP voters. But he does need a solid share of evangelical votes to build a winning coalition” [Wall Street Journal, ” Can Jeb Bush Win the Christian Right?”].

Republican Clown Car

Ted Cruz: “You know the great thing about the state of Iowa is, I’m pretty sure you all define gun control the same way we do in Texas — hitting what you aim at” [HuffPo]. Stay classy, Ted. I wonder if the definition in South Carolina is the same?

“Right angered by AP photo of gun pointing at Cruz” [The Hill]. Yeah, check the photo. Boy howdy, the gun’s pointed right at his head! Imagine how ticked off they’d be if the that gun were pointed at a vital organ!

Green Party’s Jill Stein declares [Democracy Now].

Confederate flag wrapup [WaPo].

“Faith and Freedom” Republcan candidate cattle call roundup [Politico].

GIGO: “Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense” [The Atlantic]. That’s because millenials, as such, do not have political agency. So one would expect the putative views projected on to a category error would yield a GIGO result.

“How America became radicalized” [Corrente]. Crane Brinton’s framework.
The Hill

Supreme Court decisions for this session live blog [SCOTUSblog]. The Court may draw out the suspense on King v. Burwell ’til Thursday.

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, May 2015: “The big bounce, according to today’s report, that was expected following the transitory factors of a very soft first quarter has yet to appear” [Bloomberg]. Fittingly, “the big bounce” sounds like the title of an Elmore Leonard novel. And it does because it is!

Existing home sales, May 2015: “The housing sector is lifting off, as existing home sales jumped 5.1 percent in May to a 5.35 million annual rate that hits the top end of the Econoday consensus.” [Bloomberg]. “Housing is emerging as a leader for the economy, helping to offset what has been disappointment from the export hit manufacturing sector.” 

Philly Fed coincident indexes, May 2015:  “[Most coincident indices are showing slower growth”  if current trends continue; the economy is expanding at the Main Street level [Econintersect]. But these stats are subject to backward revision.

New monthly publication from the New York Fed:  U.S. Economy in a Snapshot [Federal Reserve Bank of New York].

Black Injustice Tipping Point



Remember the “London Whale” scandal? Where Jippy Mo dropped a few billion playing the ponies, by gambling customer’s money on exotic derivatives? [Wall Street On Parade].

[Neither the head of [the commercial bank], Ina Drew, nor the company’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, were charged. Only two low-level traders, Javier Martín-Artajo and Julien Grout, were charged in the matter for hiding losses on the trades. Both of these individuals live abroad and efforts to extradite them for trial in the U.S. have thus far failed, conveniently leaving the public in the dark about how much their bosses knew.

Indeed, how con-v-e-e-e-e-e-e-n-i-e-n-t. It’s possible that all the 1% are crooks. But the 1% has a Dollar Bill-Green Wall of Silence, exactly like the police have a Blue Wall of Silence.

News of the Wired

How to be the anti-Scalzi [Whatever].

Apple bricked Atrios’s in-law’s iPad with the latest upgrade [Eschaton]. In my experience, Apple software is getting worse and worse, and the more iOS features infest OS X, the worse OS X gets. People are starting to notice.

“Silicon Valley is a Lie” [GQ].


Shark tracking site [OCearch].

“It’s the future” [Medium]. Must read for techies, especially after “What Is Code.”

Rest in Peace, Regnad Kcin” [Firesign Theatre]. Phil Austin dead [Variety].

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Anne):


Bee balm. I think bee balm is great, even if, or rather because, it’s invasive. Humming birds love it, those fantastically aggressive little dive bombers!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And pay the plumber…. And the family…


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Vatch

    It’s possible that all the 1% are crooks.

    No, I don’t think so. There are some decent people at the lower end of the top 1%. However, if you had said that it is possible that all the top 0.01% are crooks, well, I would respond that it is very probable indeed.

    1. Vatch

      Oh, good. I see that you provide some support for this concern about the 0.01% in your paragraph about the 31,976 donors.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hoping to propagate “Dollar Bill-Green Wall of Silence.”

        The good cops should out the bad cops, because otherwise they’re complicit. Same with the 1%.

        1. Synoia

          The good cops should out the bad cops, because otherwise they’re complicit. Same with the 1%.

          Assumption: There are good among the 1%.

          Needs proof.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I’m just going to make the assumption, based on my experience that there’s no human population without some good people in them. Oskar Schindler, for example. Unsaintly human, still did good things.

            1. Cugel

              Since corruption and greed of the 1% is SYSTEMIC, not subject to individual “goodness” or “badness” talking about “good people” among the 1% is silly. It’s like talking about “good slaveholders.”

              Some slaveholders really were “good” and “kind” to their slaves for all the difference that made to the institution of slavery.

    2. RanDomino

      The 1% is not just corporate executives and Wall Street, but the one out of every hundred or so people who’s a landlord, boss, or politician. Yes, sorry, but every single one of those occupations is pure exploitation.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Category error. You’re confusing a class of people (“occupation”) with the members of the class (“people”).

        Of course, we do that all the time in analysis, but when we’re talking about and evil, I prefer to focus on individuals and not classes for reasons I would imagine are obvious.

        1. RanDomino

          Both are important. To destroy the class you can’t just destroy every member (see: the Bolsheviks); you have to destroy the systems that give rise to the class. But part of that may entail focusing on individuals, since a class is defined by the real activity of its members.

          My point in making the comment, though, was that I think it’s telling about a person whether they understand the real significance of the 1% (i.e. the definition I gave; the literal 1%) or want to point at the .01% or fewer. Yes, the .01% has the national government by the balls. But the real difficulties the 99% face in our daily lives are caused most directly by the 1%- the bosses who yell at us; the landlords who threaten us; the politicians who lie to us; the businessmen who gouge us. They might not be ‘in charge’ but they’re the middle-management of oppression and misery.

          Facing the 1% requires a radically different analysis of power in society and a different idea about how to organize compared to worrying about the .01%. I feel that reorienting to the .01% is a misdirection, and neglects the stressors that matter most in favor of a, frankly, fanciful idea about society being created or strongly influenced by Washington politics.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I think the middlemen go all the way down to the top 20% and to imagine that’s not the case is, well, “fanciful.” (If I were doing more formal analysis, instead of throwing out a one-liner, I wouldn’t say “runs the show,” since of course the central committee of the 0.01% — did you know that wealth differential increases the further up you go? — don’t pick up the telephone and set the agenda of the 1% or the 20%.) So to me this is a simple rectification of names, and so I’m not sure how you convert that into “worrying about” any one thing, let alone “re-orienting.” It’s even more “fanciful” to set up a false dichotomy between analyzing the 0.01%, analyzing the 1%, and analyzing the 20%. There is no “radically different analysis,” because there needs to be one single analysis; or, to put this in the vernacular, the left needs to walk and chew gum at the same time.

            I also find it rather remarkable that you omit the 80% of wage workers from your comments, and this after talking about systems. Talk about misdirection! Perhaps you need to take a break, and do a little quiet rethinking before your next lecture?

            1. RanDomino

              Look, what I’m trying to say is that nobody gives a damn about the .01% because they’re just trying to not get fired. Everything above that level is war in the heavens.

              1. jrs

                I interpreted it as at the level that can be fought. I understand, and it’s hopeful.

                Of course fighting your boss all the time without a union to fight for you will just get you fired But that’s obvious, we don’t need to make it idiot proof.

                Few of us would even know a .01% if we bumped into one on the street really, and this isn’t to deny they ultimately run the show of course.

      2. Yves Smith

        No the top 1% overwhelmingly are CEOs. Lots of data on this. The top 0.1% are overwhelmingly top PE and hedge fund partners. The bottom of the top 1% by income is $380,000, but that’s AGI (after various deductions). Any landlord is going to show much lower income because he’ll run expenses through his business. By contrast, CEOs get lots of perks, most of which don’t count as income.

  2. James Levy

    Yes, the Housing Sector is going to lead us out of the doldrums, and the 1st quarter meltdown was just an aberration. Exports and manufacturing are down, but we’re going to build a whole load of new houses. To sell to whom? 5+ million new homes means maybe 10 million sellers, since I would guess that very few of those people are first-time buyers. You’ve got to sell the old house before you buy the new one. All of which implies lots of steady jobs with above-average incomes. Or are we just throwing out hands in the air and bringing back sub-prime mortgages? I guess that would entail invoking the new “ah, screw it” school of Economics. When do you think Wells Fargo or Bank of America will endow the first chairs in “Ah, Screw It” Economics at Stanford and MIT?

      1. Synoia

        When I look at the world economy I see three property bubbles, England, Canada and Australia, and possibly the North America West Coast fueled by Chinese money seeking safe haven, a commodities bust due to slowing Chinese growth, an Oil bust driven by the Saudi last chance grasp for influence because of their declining oil fields, the possibility of war in Ukraine, civil or worse, and the biggest kicker of all Climate Change.

        Climate Change is also demonstrably exacerbated by Republicans. We might have done something under Al Gore, but Bush II and Obama are useless. Obama’s legacy is a health insurance fiasco, Trade Treaties which will drive all major US corporations offshore, suing for fun and profit against any and every law designed to control their proven bad behavior, and beautiful, but empty, rhetoric over climate change.

        Saudi Arabia and Turkey’s imperial ambitions through their ISIS support, and the probable excuse for Turkey to invade Syria and Iraq “to bring peace” after ISIS has done its work will result in their rule over an empire of desolate sand, heated further by Climate Change.

        A complete mess in Europe, typified by Greece. Nothing good will come from the Greek fiasco, the errors were made in 2007/8 and what was done is both haunting us and cannot be fixed.

        Now is the time to be liquid.

        What Government will do when mitigating climate change will be both extreme, because it will be a late reaction, and very, very harsh. Martial Law, instant imprisonment for infractions, and shooting harsh.

        I’m moderately optimistic (and caustic) most of the time. Personally I see no light at the end of the tunnel for these events.

        1. jo6pac

          Synoia there’s light at the end of the tunnel but sadly it train with the .01% on their way out of town. I’m hoping for derailment myself;)

        2. davidgmills

          Agreed but for the climate change. I am the lone progressive when it comes to this and it gets old speaking up.

          No warming for 18 years but still we hear it is a threat. Meanwhile population keeps booming and fauna of all kinds keep dying out but all we can talk about is climate change that hasn’t happened as the models and scientists predicted.

          And progressives pride themselves on being scientific. That is what kills me. We now have good data that is well recognized in the medical field that most research findings are probably false.


          Why on earth should climate scientific published research findings be immune to the same problems since they primarily use the same or similar methodologies? And we call this consensus.

  3. Kokuanani

    There’s an editorial cartoon out there that’s just drawing itself: Lucy, Charlie Brown & football reflecting these personalities:

    “They hope to earn a victory by convincing pro-trade Senate Democrats to back fast-track on Tuesday, with a promise to move the workers assistance program separately. “

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      I’ve used that one before meself. Hillary is holding the football.

      She won’t sell us out like her husband and Obama have! TRUST HILLARY!

        1. MikeNY

          Well, a weathervane always tells you which way the wind is blowing. You can trust it at least that much.

  4. Carolinian

    Nikki Haley to shortly give a news conference calling for removal of Confederate flag from SC State House grounds. Lindsey “finger in the wind” Graham to also call for removal after first defending it.


    Apparently among the thousands crowding across Charleston’s Ravenel bridge last night was Charleston native Steve Colbert and his wife.

  5. Praedor

    I do not see how it will possibly end up with ISDS becoming accepted and all the results of ISDS gone wild accepted. The President and Congress have no power, no authority to change the Constitution by mere “agreement” and as soon as an outrageous ISDS ruling is challenged in a valid court (an uncorrupted one) the unconstitutional nature of it will be declared and it will die.

    Or the country will.

    I, for one, would be quite happy to help take it down rather than submit my liberty to international corporations. Of course, nation-wide disruption, social and economic, is much preferable as people start being told they have no right to know what they’re eating, how the food was produced, have no right to clean water, clean air, all because corporations declared all such to be “harmful to trade” or “harmful to profits”. No way.

    No WAY I quietly accept that shit, and I would hope many many citizens would be equally unaccepting and equally angered.

    1. hunkerdown

      The basic principles of astrology — that the broad course and timetable of an enterprise are set by its moment of inception — also demand taking it down.

      1. ian

        It’s almost a done deal. I expect the usual kabuki – there will end up being number of necessary democrat votes + 1 (all from safe seats) so the others can go back and say how hard they fought.

        I emailed my representative to tell her that I don’t care which way she personally votes. If it passes, I will support whoever runs against her in the next election.

        And BTW – whatever happened to the ‘poison pill’?

    2. jrs

      If a court declared it unconstitutional it could be appealed all the way up to the supreme court I believe. Who might very well decide not to even take it. You might want to look up Hedges vs obama. A clear violation of Constitutional rights, ruled correctly on by Judge Forrest, overturned on appeal, and the supreme court refused to even hear it. Have no faith in the clowns in those big black robes at the supreme court. They don’t care about violations of the Constitution, unless it affects corporations.

      As for the rest of the sentiment expressed, I don’t disagree. It’s screwed up beyond all measure. We can save our money for when we lose our jobs (a stop gap measure for sure) but what can we do when they start poisoning our food and water, when killing us, which is what this will do, is considered their right? In fact clean air and water should be our right as human beings, but don’t ask me what it will take to get there.

    1. hunkerdown

      Closed-captioned for the photo-textually impaired: “Openly defying and brazenly disrespecting your president, while hoping that he fails, is not called patriotism… it’s called TREASON.” (Emphasis theirs.)

      The old saying was, “Scratch a liberal, find a Fascist underneath.” Well, yes, once you scratch a hole in the market-state, you see the corporate-state underneath. Seems it may also be true that if you “Scratch a Democrat, find a neo-reactionary underneath.”

  6. John G.

    Trade adjustment assistance; that sounds like training for jobs that in all likelihood wouldn’t be available for the workers displaced by job loss. What a deal !

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Point well taken, John G. I agree. Trade Adjustment Assistance is a red herring that the Obama administration is providing Congress to give them political cover to vote in favor of these agreements which have been kept classified as “Secret” by the administration. As Lambert and many others here have observed, these agreements are not really about trade. Instead, this about ceding sovereign powers and our Constitutional rights to large transnational corporations and banks through the corporate-appointed investor-state dispute panels (ISDS) and other hidden mechanisms. In fact, the “trade” moniker attached to these agreements is itself designed to mislead us.

      I am tired of seeing these large corporations and banks privatize their gains and socialize their losses by transferring them to the American public. These TPP, TTIP and TISA agreements are just more mechanisms that formally enable them to do so. The question we should be asking is what we can do about those who control these entities and corrupt our legislators.

  7. Kurt Sperry

    “And country-of-origin labeling is a restraint on trade, by definition”

    I don’t understand this logic at all–that accurate labeling of products is in any way, shape or form a constraint on trade. Will we no longer be able to buy French AOC cheeses or Italian DOC wines that are integral to the place they are produced because their names betray their origins? Is wild caught local shrimp then supposed to be thrown together unlabeled with Vietnamese farm raised shrimp? Will sellers at the roadside fruit stand be barred from telling customers the fruit offered is from the orchard across the road because that’s presumably unfair to Chinese fruit farmers?

    1. weakling

      Restraint on trade? I thought all us little people are assumed to have perfect information, such that we can make our expected perfectly rational decisions??

    2. Vatch

      I think the idea is that mandatory country of origin labeling is a violation of “free trade”. If a country is known for high quality products, then it’s okay to tell people the origin of what’s being sold. But if a country is known for cruddy products, such as poisonous Chinese pet food, then people aren’t allowed to know when something originates in such a country.

      Yet another reason to vigorously oppose TPA, TPP, TTIP, and TiSA. Also a reason to repudiate existing treaties such as NAFTA, WTO, and KFTA!

      1. tegnost

        I wonder how this will impact the guitar industry, for instance g+l has factories all over, while rickenbacker is still usa, and fender has it’s high end shops in us, sort of mid range but good quality from japan and the bulk from mexico…curious if anyone has thoughts on that…

  8. Winston Smith

    The country of origin labeling will be an interesting challenge in Japan where it’s ingrained in consumers there.

    When i was there, Japanese beef of course, was on the high end, while American beef was considered low end. Even Australian and New Zealand beef are regarded as superior to American beef.

    IWhat if Prime Minister Abe’s wife or staff couldn’t tell him where the beef they bought came from!?What if he was eating Australian beef over Ohmi beef, or shock,horrors, American beef?!

    I have lost a lot of faith in the US process, I still have faith in Japan and if Japan walks away, then I think most of the other Asian nations will. Japan has a lot more influence than American in many of these other Asian nations.

    One can only hope!

    1. vidimi

      Even Australian and New Zealand beef are regarded as superior to American beef.

      this surprises you?

      personally, the list of countries i would rather my beef come from is longer than the list of countries i would rather not.

      1. Winston Smith

        No it doesn’t surprise me, I was being sarcastic! :-D

        While I lived in Japan the family regularly bought Japanese or New Zealand beef. Avoided American and Australian beef.

  9. Oregoncharles

    Unfortunately, bee balm never survives the winter in my garden (Willamette valley_ – nor does echinacea. It’s odd, because the stuff is supposed to be very water loving.

    I think maybe it’s the slugs. Anybody else know?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Wow! If Bee Balm can survive a Maine winter, it can certainly survive an Oregon winter. Then again, slugs don’t go for my Bee Balm, they go for my marigolds. So I use Sluggo.

      1. Laughingsong

        I am fortunate enough to have a dirty great lot of garter snakes in my garden, so only the very smallest slugs and snails are found in it. But also in the Willamette Valley, I am puzzled as my echinacea doesn’t weather either. But I don’t think it’s slugs, for the reason given above. Maybe we should call OSU master gardeners.

          1. ambrit

            Easy! First you catch one. (It can be done, it just takes some patience and a knack for anticipating the snakes twists and turns.) Then hold the critter very gently behind the head and encourage it to wrap itself around your wrist. Walk home with it, slowly seems to work best. (Your calm attitude transmits to El Serpiente.) Finally, find a cozy bush or structure the snake can slither under, so it can feel safer after it’s ride. Do it two or three times and you’ll have a breeding colony going. I have done just this twice; first when I was a teenager on the Beach,[Hint: Do not proudly show off your latest ‘catch’ to your Mother in her kitchen!] second, when we lived ‘in the woods’ south of Bogalusa Louisiana. The second time I caught and bought back some Black Kingsnakes. See:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lampropeltis_nigra
            These little wonders, (little is relative, our dominant Kingsnake was over three feet long the last time I remember seeing her,) will not only eat pests and varmints, but they’ll drive off any venomous reptiles you may have lurking about. Just remember to be watchful, and give them fair warning when you approach.

      2. Jay M

        use posters as a garden ammendment, shades of soylent green!
        (apologies to sluggeux, hope i got it right)

    2. tegnost

      They’l mow down your echinacea when it’s about an inch tall, so putting in big ones every year or poison them, beer doesn’t really work in the northwest, slugs around here just drink it all and keep going. Strips of copper sheet metal say 2″ wide and make rings around plants is a deterrent …salt works but its kind o gnarly, they melt, garter snakes! 2 weeks ago I saw pretty large garter snake, 3/4″ diameter or so eating a pretty big slug, i was surprised, i think the snake was surprised too…quite a mouthful. They also eat ants i hear…here in the eastern san juans the deer are impossible, but they stay away from smelly plants like daisies(echinacea, shasta, those tall varieties) lithodora, lavender sage oregano mint and that sort of oily mediterrannean herbs, and euphorbia is a good sheild plant, burns their eyes (yours too be careful). Also astilbe and heuchera and lilacs. You can hide more susceptible plants in amonst ones they don’t like and sometimes they make it. The bee balm here we had high hopes, supposedly deer don’t like it but it’s swiss cheese from slugs right now… so anyway echinacea and bee balm both do well in the northwest but but you have to get them through spring and the slugs are the malefactor that must be stymied or destroyed.

  10. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Firesign Theater: dating myself, but “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” bears re-listening even today. They foresaw it all, through the eyes of the students at Communist Martyrs High School..

  11. Jay M

    summer has opened in the northern hemisphere it is a race to the bottom
    interesting what the common opinion will be Sept 20
    very well

Comments are closed.