2:00PM Water Cooler 9/18/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, a travel debacle has prevented me from returning to Water Cooler in full form today. –lambert

However, in my absence, we reached peak liberalism:

“Never, ever….”

Talk amongst yourselves!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (junkelly):

Nice color combination!

* * *

Readers, I’m running a bit short on plants. Probably a little soon for fall foliage, or wrapping up the garden, but I’m sure you can find something! How about a project you completed over the summer?

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!

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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. roxy

    Took me a second to figure out what HFA was. It’s okay, she’s just promoting the paperback release of her book.

      1. pretzelattack

        well she could have if she had won, but the contributions seemed to have dried up. odd that.
        she’s only got a couple hundred million, now, that she can count on.

    1. Carey

      My take is that Mrs. Clinton, or whoever wrote and approved that tweet, knew very well
      what they were doing. Not tone-deaf at all: it’s pure conditioning of the proles.
      See AOC’s recent, early endorsement of Cuomo for another example.

      1. perpetualWAR

        No!!! That didn’t take long at all, did it.
        And here I thought she’d hold out for a little longer. Good thing I do not place wagers.

    1. John Merryman.

      I’m of the opinion Israel is right on this. The Russians really should have upgraded the Syrian air defences, if they are going to be flying in the airspace. I suspect this will be Putin’s take, given his slight back pedaling.
      Then Israel can take credit for bringing it to their attention.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      My attitudes and expectations are fundamentally positive, which is possibly why I am able to process so much crapola!

      I think we are in a volatile, fluid situation and will be for the forseeable future. I think that is good, because imagine if the present situation were static! In other words, I’m a volatility voter: Playing in a rigged game, the only thing to do is kick over the table. This has been done, and the results are unpredictable, but unpredictable results include good results by definition, and that’s better than predictable bad results!

  2. Code Name D

    Berny Sander’s revolution collapses in a wave of neo-liberal endorsements
    At best, Sander’s candidates can only re-empower the corporate Dems back into the congressional leadership. But it looks like now we are NOT looking at a best-case scenario. That Sanders has, perhaps witlessly (I am not so sure any more) empowered stealth candidates who will flip-flop should they be elected. The blue wave is looking a lot less likely now.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        WTF? Why would she do that? Cuomo is her polar opposite in terms of policy. She’s not in power yet and has already been coopted.

        1. jsn

          Crowley is still on the ballot and the New York Democratic Party is more capable of voter fraud than possibly anything else.

          I’ll be interested to read in the future what AOCs campaign is going through right now.

          1. johnnygl

            Cuomo got a couple of WFP funders to yank their funding. And openly cheered them for doing so.

            Getting some voters purged from the rolls might have been an attempt to send a message that dissenters will be purged. His margin was too big to have been swung by purges, alone.

            Cuomo really is a kind of ‘game of thrones’ type of character, and he’s still firmly in control of New York State. He seems strengthened, if anything.

      1. Carey

        “We’re taking it all the way to the Convention!”

        Sanders seems to fill the role now that Bubba did in the 90s: “where else are they gonna go?”


      2. johnnygl

        Endorsing Clinton was what he promised to do, from the start. He kept his word, instead of looking like a sore loser.

        If she won, he needed to continue to have influence within the party, and to pressure from within.

        If she lost, he needed to avoid blame for trump. Yes, he still got blamed, but it is clear the claims have no merit.

        He probably boosted his stock for 2020

        1. edmondo

          He probably boosted his stock for 2020

          I’ll take that bet. The only way Bernie sees the inside of the White House in 2021 is if Kamala Harris invites him in for a quick look.

            1. Jean

              Possibly, Trump’s treasury Mnuchin donated money to the Mocha Diva’s campaign for senator after she failed to prosecute his bank in California after it wrote 36,000 bad mortgages.

              Some Democrats really like her, after all, she picked the right parents and checks off the boxes.

          1. JohnnyGL

            Kamala Harris is a pretty unproven force. She was anointed into a Senate seat in a California landscape so thoroughly dominated by the Democratic Party that it looks set to flip a number of House seats that are R held over to team D.

            I say this while inhabiting MA, another true-blue citadel. In fact, I’m realizing that since Dems have become so thoroughly dominant in these states that they’d love to remake the rest of the country just the same way…..waves of immigrants providing cheap labor, often displacing pesky disloyal swing voters, rising rents and rising homelessness further pushing up nose-bleed property prices, collapsing infrastructure and public schools, expensive, sub-standard public transport, and lovely cafes and over-priced restaurants that are ‘accessible’ to everyone!!!

            1. JBird

              About the only time I am tempted to vote Republican, and there are few good ones, is when I see the political wasteland that is the California Democratic Party. There is a handful of Democrats and a much smaller handful of Republicans scattered about. Feh. Both parties here need some serious cleaning. When people like Kamala Harris and Gavin “Good Hair” Newsom are leading California politicians we have some real problems.

              1. JohnnyGL

                Victor Davis Hanson, a conservative prof at one of the U Cals once gave a pretty solid lecture on California as a kind of laboratory for Democrat Party ideas and I found his description very interesting and persuasive.

                Like most conservatives, he doesn’t really have any ideas (at least none that will work) for how to solve any of the problems he outlines so well, but he still did a nice job describing them.

        2. Procopius

          Yes, and he had a problem from not being a long-time member (officially) of the party. Also, the DNC really hates candidates who have not raised lots and lots of money for them, so this endorsement only slightly offset their antagonism.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, this is really problematic. I hope her fans and voters pressure her to back off on the endorsement. It worked with Ro Khanna.

      I’m not convinced she’s some kind of sell-out, but clearly there’s pressure being applied and she’s yielding to it. Look at what Cuomo’s doing to WFP in NY by pushing their funders to pull support. These are the kind of pain points that a powerful politician like Cuomo can leverage.

      It’s worth taking stock at what Cuomo’s big win last week means. Incumbent, centrist dems do have a strong base (Lambert’s 10%ers, though I’d broaden it to 20%ish). Especially in solid blue states like NY (also, MA, MD, and CA). They reliably show up to the polls for their awful, centrist candidates. Cuomo got over 1M votes in the primary and turnout was up quite a bit from 2014. From NC links on Sunday: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2018/09/14/new-york-primary-turnout/1302438002/
      24% turnout is, still, abysmal, along with the additional voter purges that Cuomo just can’t seem to help himself on. This, of course, speaks to why the Zephyr Teachout loss stings even more. AG Schneiderman launched a fake prosecution at the NYC Board of Elections, with a consent decree and all. It would have been really hopeful to have a non-Cuomo aligned AG in place. Teachout could have done some damage.

      The IDC clear out is really positive and points to how lefties are paying more attention down ballot at more local levels and that will pay dividends over the next few years.

      I think it’s worth taking stock of where the left is at electorally (still weak, and in pockets, but growing and getting better at organizing and able to swing elections sometimes) and where it’s not (it’s not ready to overturn things in blue states and really make big changes)

      Code Name D, I think you’re being a bit hyperbolic, but you’re not wrong to contemplate a real nightmare scenario. I think the celebrated winners on the left end of the Democrat Party have an innate sense of their current state of weakness and realize that they’re going to have to play ball with the current party establishment, as awful as they are, at least for now.

      1. Big River Bandido

        It’s worth taking stock at what Cuomo’s big win last week means. Incumbent, centrist dems do have a strong base

        24% turnout is, still, abysmal, along with the additional voter purges that Cuomo just can’t seem to help himself on.

        These sentences seem to be in stark contradiction.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I don’t really think so. Turnout supposedly doubled from 2014’s primary. Cuomo also doubled his vote totals. Being able to pull in over 1M votes is an impressive showing from him, whether we like it or not. For an outsider like me, I can’t understand why on earth anyone would vote for someone so hopelessly and obviously corrupt, but I don’t have a good grasp of local NY politics.

          The 24% turnout figure is both an abject statement of Jim Crow-style election rigging and an opportunity for the left to broaden its voting base. Nixon doubled up on Teachout’s vote totals from 2014. That’s good, but there’s a long road ahead towards victory.

          AOC, to her credit, seems to get this, and her campaign team is actively working on boosting voter registrations in her district. We’re going to need a lot more of this. To echo Lambert, full-time, year round, voter registration has to be at the core of what the left does, if it wants to win in the medium to long term. Getting turnout up to, say, 40ish%, would make the composition of the electorate very different than it looks like today (which has to look different than 2014, I’d imagine).

      2. Code Name D

        Then what is the point of voting for AOC, or any Bernie-crat for that matter. If we send a Republican, we know they will “play ball.” Send a corporate Democrat, they will play ball. By your reasoning, a Bernie-crat that must “play ball” is functionally indistinguishable from the alternatives.

        And just how long are we to wait for them to not play ball? Years? Decades? Will they need a majority? If they get a majority, will they then need a super majority? A filibuster proof majority?

        You need to understand that Bernie’s idea of reforming the Democratic Party is not new, and has been tried before. And we got exactly the same excuses then as to why we need to “play ball.”

        And yes, the Bernie-crats are in an extremely weak position. The DNC holds all the cards. They control the VAN data, they control the media, to social media, they control the narrative, they control the money, they rig the primaries, the voting schedule, they purge likely Bernie-crat voters from the roles. Hell, you need to be a Democrat “of good standing” to even call yourself a Democrat. The playing field is not just uneven – that’s a friggen wall designed to keep you out.

        The only way around this wall is to start building your own resources. You need your own VAN database, you need your own media channels, you need your own narrative and the means to communicate it. The only reason we are even able to talk about this is Sanders already created his own funding model to raise money. Of course, if you keep going and building on this, you will have functionally built a third political party. But instead of doing this, Bernie Sanders has chosen to be the loyalist, keeping his movement weak and neutered. So now they have to play ball.

        I like Bernie Sanders, had he has forced some changes. He gave us a platform to run on and a funding model. But it becoming inescapable that he is tactically incompetent. I know he has been challenged on this. Hell, half of his staff resigned when he came up with our revolution because of this very thing. Instead of building the necessary infrastructure needed to power a revolution, he chose to build a standard been-done-before fund-and-forget 5OC3 org. And he did this right after he “played ball” with the Clinton campaign.

    2. judytwoshoes

      I watched this segment this morning. I was alerted to Jimmy Dore’s show by some NC posters months ago and my thanks go out to all here who mentioned him.

      Did anyone else watching this segment notice how much Andrew Gillum’s campaign speech (a different clip from the Booker/Gillum clip) sounded like BHO’s speeches on the campaign trail? Gave me the creeps.

      Also, Jimmy Dore is clearly disheartened, and he keeps rubbing his stomach as if it is in turmoil.

      He did a 4-part interview with Tulsi Gabbard from HI, who clearly walks her talk. Here is the link to part 3:


      1. Isotope_C14

        Jimmy is great, met him at the Peoples summit a year ago, and told him of my encounter with corporate mouthpiece Dave Weigel. There are some other good lefties on the YouTube including Tim Black and Jamarl Thomas. Both have excellent shows and both have been demonetized as well, so you know they are speaking truth to power.

        Katie Halper has a great podcast, and @eshalegal on twitter, featured here in previous watercooler tweets has a new podcast called Historic.ly and is well worth a patron. Very historical, and in+depth,

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Man, I effing hate unsummarized YouTube links dropped into the comments section as if they were authoritative; you don’t even say who the YouTube is by!

      I don’t have time to watch the damn thing, and having done that, I don’t have time to create an effing transcript so others can comment.

      All this does is subtract value from the comments section. Summarize it, at the very least.

  3. dcblogger

    lambert, I trust all will be well soon.

    as for me, I went out to buy a good pair of walking shoes today. nothing in my size, prices off the charts. I have no idea how waitresses, janitors, chamber maids, hospital workers, and all others who spend the day on their feet afford shoes.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      My mom had to buy me shoes last year because i was broke. Normally all Bars/Restaurants in New Orleans require black nonslip shoes, but noooooooooo not Redfish Grill on Bourbon. They wanted Brown. And they had to be nonslip.

      Have yall tried to find a size 13 brown non slip shoe at a Shoe Store? F the internet, my first day is Tomm!

      Payless. Nope
      Stein Mart. Zilch

      Finally we found a 100$+ pair of Rockports? Rockfords?.

      Thanks, Mom!!!!

    2. Oregoncharles

      We buy shoes ONLY at thrift stores, or once in a while on deep sale ( a specialized item for walking in water, that.)

      You’re in especially good shape if female: there are so many women’s shoes available that the local consignment shop will rarely take them. And we have a lot of them to consign, because of always shopping at thrift stores.

      Food is another matter unless you grow it, but it’s possible to live at half price.

      1. polecat

        Speaking of food :

        5 gal . blueberries – frozen
        3 ” raspberries ”
        3 ” loganberries ”
        Mucho grapes on the vine – future raisins
        Dried tomatoes – to add to this fall’s canned pasta sauce – 1 gal.
        Huckleberries to pick – estimate about 1-2 gal. total
        Sweet Cherries (dried) 1 gal.
        Sour cherries (frozen) 5 gal.
        Batch o Beer – in progress
        Batch o Raspberry/Ginger mead – in progress
        Honey – to be taken off next Spring after the bees are done with Their share (Winter Is Coming !)
        Medlars – estimating 4-5 gal. .. Will try for jelly. Last year’s batch didn’t jell

        All from the polecat family surbana .. We use what we can, while giving away the excess to friends, acqaintances, and extended family.
        It’s a hella work ! .. but I’m just a lowly ‘uncredentialed/unpaid through grift’ deplorable, or whatever new descriptor Uncle Joe deemed repellent ..

          1. polecat

            Thanks johnnygl. We like the end results, but it’s not without continual effort, thoughout 9 months of the year, to achieve these results .. all on a single city/sub-urban residential lot !
            I believe that, frankly, most folks wouldn’t be able to, or bother towards utilizing a plot of land in like manner .. either through lack of time, of which is needed for, at least partial success, or out of a sense that such effort is below them .. I mean, why bother to toiling in the dirt while the store several blocks away has EVERYTHING 24/7, or better yet .. why even cook, when you can dine out, right ?!
            But some day .. be it tomorrow, next week, next year, or the following decade .. some day will come where there will be a ‘disruption’ .. or a series thereof, that will leave folks pining for things no longer available as before. I buy food from the ‘store’, like everyone else, I even dine out, though it is a rarity .. but I know how fragile things are, and how hinky things could get .. fastly like !
            Sorry if it seems that I’m ranting .. but, well, I guess I am ..
            Here’s to grow some good, flavorful sustainance ! ‘:]

        1. Oregoncharles

          My son and I have been drying pears, prunes, and grapes (Interlaken, the best!, but we have others, too, like Glenora). As you say, it’s a lot of work – my back hurts, the good way. I use them as a candy substitute all year.

          We alsoi make cider and grape juice – drinking some of that right now, and usually apple sauce. Seckel pear sauce is especially good; they’re too small to be worth drying, I don’t recommend pear butter; cooking down concentrates the grit. Sauce is excellent, though.

        1. Oregoncharles

          That’s just shoes, and the lasts on women’s shoes are a different shape. Might not be comfortable. There’s a British movie about that – “(something) Boots.” A shoe factory discovers an overlooked (but probably not any more) market.

          In general, women’s clothes are more expensive, even when they obviously shouldn’t be. Not so true used, because women buy, and discard, more clothes.

          It is a way to avoid “fast fashion,” if you know what to look for. Of course, most of it is schlock, like the new stuff.

          1. Yves Smith

            I bought very expensive fashion when I was working on Wall Street. You can get the stuff at 50% off at the end of season, and usually 40% or more off on shoes. And she could even have gotten them at a sample sale, which would be even cheaper.

    3. JBird

      Yes, without good shoes in such work, well you get to find out what your pain tolerance is. But they can really be expensive and people in those jobs have such fabulous wages. I have also noticed over the decades that the quality has gone to Hell whereas the prices stay the same even for “good” shoes.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      I find that shoes have greatly deteriorated (and I don’t require good shoes for work).

      Bought my annual pair of boat shoes at the same local place I’ve been going to since I came to Maine twelve years ago. The shoes used to be made in Maine and had a broad range of sizes for my feet. The first pair I bought had leather tongues, made in China, that curled inward, making them impossible to slip on, vitiating the purpose of a boat shoe.

      Fortunately, I was able to go to a Sperry factory store in Brunswick, and buy the next model up in the line, with leather uppers, made in Indonesia, that did not curl inward, and so you can slip them on.

      We can’t even manufacture proper shoes? (Perhaps I should be wearing Nikes or something, like kids these days do, but they’re very expensive and I think the whole idea of technical shoes is just churn anyhow.)

      There is an online business of (supposedly) hand-made/well manufactured shoes, but the price point is $200 on up, and I’m reluctant to guess as my size…. But I wonder if there’s a similar busiess for e.g. nurses’ shoes.

    1. neighbor7

      Anyone who’s read Heinlein’s Puppet Masters knows that “all’s back to normal” is the first message the aliens broadcast after taking over.

      1. Wukchumni

        Thought I saw a couple of ‘spacebacks working an orchard as I was driving by.

        It’s not every day you see people climbing ladders only utilizing their elbows, and more shockingly, they were the only non Hispanics i’ve ever seen in the Central Valley doing field work.

    2. jsn

      Closure of the observatory was the was the driving plot device in Neal Stevenson’s “Anathem”, aliens from a parallel but slightly better universe are our only hope!

      1. Parker Dooley

        Anathem — a great read, with some interesting perspectives on how scientists are viewed by the general population.

        1. ChrisPacific

          It’s a polarizing book. He comes up with a whole model for the evolution of science, philosophy and language in a world of parallel (but occasionally intersecting) cognitive universes, which requires about 300-odd pages of exposition and exploration. It’s necessary because he then uses the structure to hang some important plot points on.

          People either love or hate this kind of thing. I was one that loved it. Others don’t see the point.

          1. polecat

            That’s because they’re taking the view from a different ‘verse’ … hence, what’s the quantum point ..

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > 300-odd pages of exposition and exploration

            Neal Stephenson is great. And he needs an editor with the strength to say: “Terrific manuscript. How do we take out 200 pages?”

            I still love Stephenson’s early work. But the later stuff strikes me as bloated and unreadable.

  4. RUKidding

    I’m not going to say too much about that specious HRC tweet begging the proles to step up and pay into GoFundMe for one of the “beloved members” of her team.

    My mother always said: if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.

    Duly noted that Clinton isn’t using this opportunity to point out how Medicare for All would solve a lot of Mr. Gayle’s current problems, not to mention that Clinton, herself, could probably pay for most/all of his treatment, herself.

    But I hear my mother’s voice getting louder in my head, so… I’ll just stop there.

      1. polecat

        Man, that’s a tuff decision to make .. My sincere condolences to you. We had to make a similar choice with our dog some years ago. He was an SPCA ‘veteran’ that we adopted, and give he the best life we could that was within our means ..
        Still miss him .. and his/our cat buddie too.

      2. dcblogger

        Wow, very sorry to hear this. Lost my rough collie last January after 14 years. Dogs are friends like no other.

      3. JerryDenim

        Condolences – all might not be lost though. My Boxer received a double terminal diagnosis back in May. He was given weeks to live by two different specialists and he did seem very much like a dog at death’s door. A very aggressive cancer and a serious heart condition we were told. He’s still with us today and doing great. The supposed aggressive cancer turned out to be a really rare one that’s not so aggressive after all, and he responded well to the heart meds. We removed his spleen and despite professional recommendations, we opted not to do chemo for multiple reasons, but primarily his age (11, Boxers average life expectancy is 10) and his heart condition.

        I really hope it’s not as serious as the vet believes, but if so best of luck to you and your dear friend. I love Airedales. Great dogs. It’s a real shame how short dog lives are compared to humans.

  5. foghorn longhorn

    Got a pair of Rockport deck shoes bought in 2000.
    They have survived severe farm abuse and are still in great shape right now.
    Hope yours last as long.
    Good luck my fellow NCer.

    1. Wukchumni

      Crazy as it sounds, synthetic cannabis* was sold over the counter in New Zealand from 2011 to 2014, and I remember thinking to myself, nothing good will come of this, and the Kiwis being early adapters, are paying a big price.

      *NZ laws regarding good old fashioned cannabis were rather draconian compared to here, at the time.

      He developed and sold legal highs as an alternative to black market drugs like ecstasy and MDMA, before moving into the production of synthetic cannabis in 2011. The drug was sold over the counter at dairies and other stores across the country, some people got extremely high off it, the media freaked out, and in May 2014 it was banned when the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act came into effect.


      1. Wukchumni

        A month ago, over 70 lower-income & homeless people in New Haven overdosed on K2 that was spiked.

        “The danger lies in the drug’s unpredictability and its tendency to be cut with potent opioids or in some cases an anticoagulant used in rat poison.

        Most of the people who overdosed Wednesday in New Haven were lower-income or homeless, Hartman told WTNH. The demographics led officials to say they believed “somebody was giving these drugs out.”

        The mass overdose began Tuesday night and forced police to continue monitoring the Green late into Wednesday night. Local officials said it was unlike anything they had seen before. “This is the highest number of victims in the shortest amount of time,” New Haven Fire Chief John Alston told News 12”.


    2. RUKidding

      I’m very late to watching The Wire, which aired in the early 2000s. Part of it, as some know, is about the drug trade in Baltimore at that time. One episode features numerous people dying from heroin spiked with too much rat poison. Another character on the show discusses how dealers cut drugs for various reasons – mostly having to do with making more money by selling smaller quantities of drugs cut with something else. The character on the show, though, claims that rat poison is used bc it can also help make the high “better.” however, there’s always the chance of dying if there’s too much.

      Sounds like that’s what’s happening in these instances.

      1. Wukchumni

        NEW YORK — The newest tool in the fight against opioid overdoses is an inexpensive test strip that can help heroin users detect a potentially deadly contaminant in their drugs.

        Sales of fentanyl test strips have exploded as a growing number of overdose-prevention programs hand them out to people who use illicit drugs.

        Though they weren’t designed for it, the test strips can signal the presence of fentanyl in illicit drugs. Some health officials question their accuracy, but they have proved to be so popular that some programs can’t get enough to satisfy demand.


      2. Plenue

        Ah, The Wire. Novel in television form; one of the very few television or film productions that actually grasps the concept of deep structure in insitutions. You could literally replace everyone from the patrol cops to the mayor and nothing would change, because of the network of pressures and restrictions at every level.

        And then I look at David Simon’s Twitter page and he’s become another Hillary hack. Oh well.

      3. pretzelattack

        i remember reading and hearing that there was sometimes strychnine in lsd. i don’t know if that is true.

  6. Wukchumni

    Was listening to the radio and along comes a campaign ad for Devin Nunes, the highlight of which was the Congressman getting a WW2 veteran he’d met in DC, who’d been a POW @ Auschwitz, some army award medal he’d been denied for almost 75 years, and the crafty politician was able to accomplish it in less than 2 weeks!

    The only little issue with it being that no GI Joes were held there by the Nazis, whoops.

      1. JBird

        Some Jewish American POWs and maybe a few other undesirables were sent to a separate “work” camp. They were separated from other prisoners. Don’t think it was Auschwitz, but it did happen at one of those places.

    1. RUKidding

      With all of the negatives that have come out of this “job interview” process, it seems to me that the GOP would be better served to move onto someone else on the list. It’s not just about Dr. Ford’s allegations. Not by a long shot. There’s been worse, imo, that’s arisen in this process.

      After all, that’s what this process essentially boils down to: vetting someone for a super important job.

      If I interviewed someone for a position where I work, and if they had half the negatives that Kavanaugh did, I’d move on ASAP. We’ve definitely done so, even when we haven’t had another credible candidate on tap and were forced into re-advertising the position.

      I get it that it’s a huge power struggle right now, but still…

      Some solutions appear self-evident at this stage. JMO, of course.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Who is this hypothetical better Republican? Its simply a vile lot, especially those “moderate suburban” types. My guess is the ones with passable backgrounds probably can’t be coached on how to not answer questions on Roe V Wade and would probably just do say something crazy complaining how the movie “Spotlight” casts Cardinal Law in a bad light.

        My belief is the elite pipeline has grown so rotten the only really way out is a lottery of random citizens to fill these roles.

        1. neighbor7

          Anyone who’s read Heinlein’s Puppet Masters knows that “all’s back to normal” is the first message the aliens broadcast after taking over.

        2. RUKidding

          I don’t think that there’s a “better” person in the pipeline for this job. I do believe that there are other names on the list. They’re probably all pretty bad, which is unfortunate, but possibly there’s one or two who won’t lie constantly and have (almost or totally) raped someone somewhere along the line (whether they can “remember” it or not).

          But seems to me that Kavanaugh is a waste of time at this point. Of course, Congress’ ability to waste your tax dollars and mine on absolute b.s. is legendary and not news.

      2. voteforno6

        Dumping Kavanaugh would lengthen the confirmation process quite a bit. They might be trying to ram him through before the midterms, while they have the ability to do so.

        1. Procopius

          They’ll still have the ability to do so between the mid-terms and January. There’s lots of ways to offer incentives to keep the ones who lose their seats from wandering off, mostly from K Street or people like Sheldon Adelson.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the GOP would be better served to move onto someone else on the list.

        The administration’s judge selection/nomination/approval process has, hitherto, proceeded with assembly line-like precision (after all, Schumer just approved seven more judges so the Senate could recess). I don’t know what went so wrong with Kavanaugh. There was certainly enough reason for Democrats to oppose him on tribal grounds in any case, for the work he did with Kenneth Starr, of blessed memory[1]. I’d speculate that nothing went wrong. As so often, “owning the libs” is the reasoning; if Kavanaugh goes down, the next judge on the Federalist Society’s list — maybe a reactionary woman instead of a reactionary man, hurrah hurrah — gets chosen, goes through slick as a whistle, and Democrats get to claim an empty victory (“for women everywhere”[2]) while Republicans get the policies they want. If Kavanaugh wins, it’s a blow against #MeToo (see also note [2]), and they also get the policies they want. And we wonder why Republicans remain in power.

        [1] For those who came in late: Ken Starr was the prosecutor for WhiteWater, where the story I’d tell is that Republicans impeached Bill Clinton for his sexual behavior — the famous b****** in the White House with Monica Lewinsky, which had the happy effect of saving Social Security, so we owe Monica a lot — although ostensibly for lying about his sexual behavior. (The Starr Report was a dumpster-full of salacious material, which Kavanaugh pressed for and had a hand in compiling.) My view, which is neither the Democrat or the Republican view, is that the Lewinsky matter was a case of workplace abuse; Lewinsky was an intern, and Clinton was her boss; bosses shouldn’t be receiving sexual services from their subordinates, period, case closed, because the power imbalance is so great that consent is not obtainable, by definition (cf. droit du seigneur). Of course, that theory of the case would end up empowering interns on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, and who wants that?

        [2] Except, of course, for working class women, since the moral panic about Kavanaugh is sucking all the oxygen away from the McDonald’s strike.

  7. verifyfirst

    So Kavanaugh…I have not been following, but was surprised to learn he is the prodigy of the now disgraced deposed former chief judge of the 9th circuit (for sexual harrasment).

    So knowing that, Feinstein chose to sit on the “me too” allegations she received from the professor, and also to ignore the offers from other Court employees to testify against Kavanaugh?

    How is that going to play to her base this fall?

    1. John

      The woman who wrote to Senator Feinstein asked to be anonymous and the Senator respected her request. She did pass the letter on to the FBI.

        1. Unna

          I read this article at Col. Lang’s and yes, this will not end well for her. So far the facts of her case are bad for her. If other unrelated cases of K abusing women come out, he’s finished. If not, then the Deplorable, small town, traditional morality 50% plus of America will hear only the following: Teen girl drinking beer, wearing bathing suit, goes into bed room with two wildly drunk teen boys at party. That’s why this is not a “he said she said” issue. They’ll just stop and say, “a bunch of drunk teenagers, and where the hell were their parents?” The rest of it they won’t care about. That may be unfair. But that’s the way I see this playing out. How the politicians – who probably don’t care what happened one way or the other – will play it politically is another matter.

          1. pretzelattack

            i really didn’t like the tone of the comments or the article, for a couple of reasons. the posters seemed to be giving her the anita hill treatment (she was “boy crazy”), and elevating kavanaugh–he was trustworthy because he was well respected by the country club set. i have no idea what happened, i’ll wait for it to play out.

            1. allan

              x2. I had not been to Lang’s site for a while and was shocked at both the tone and
              “factual” basis of the article. It smelled of the lobbyist class circling the wagons.

  8. Carey

    “How is that going to play to her base this fall?”

    My impression, which could be wrong, is that we are entering or are already in a
    post-electoral era.

  9. andrwf

    Anyone read the Counter Punch article about Neil deGrasse Tyson? I’ve always been a fan of his, but after reading this essay and learning he has a book coming out soon about how military and war are good for science, I’m starting to wonder if he really is PR for the MIC. Would love to hear some NC opinions on this.

    1. Phemfrog

      i just heard an interview with him on this subject on Fresh Air (NPR). his position is more nuanced than what you wrote. he is essentially saying that all of his liberal, peace loving physicist academics, paradoxically, dont complain when the military comes up with technologies (developed for war) that they find super userful for physics. he talks about this contradiction. he is not really advocating for the MIC. give it a listen: http://www.kcur.org/post/neil-degrasse-tyson-examines-unspoken-alliance-between-science-and-war#stream/0

    2. Duke of Prunes

      I got suspicious after attempting to watch one of his “Cosmos” reboots (it was horrible). Then, there was a lot of NDT worship going on at Reddit (and NDT memes I kept getting from “smart” friends on Facebook). All warning signs. I did some research and came to the conclusion that he’s mostly a “media product” (talking head), and not much of a scientist. Bill Nye with more advanced degrees.

      1. Plenue

        He’s not a scientist at all, basically. Having a degree just means you have a degree. Being a scientist is an ongoing process; the true measure is in how many papers you contribute to, and how often other scientists cite and reference you in their own papers. NDT has an abysmal publishing record, it consists of about a dozen papers.

    3. Carey

      Yes, I read it, and had a similar response. The list of who has not been compromised is
      probably much shorter than that of those who have, I’m thinking.

    4. g

      I’ve soured on Tyson over the years. In the early 10s he seemed like a strong advocate for the scientific community, but over time he’s become more and more of simply a pro-centrist-technocracy voice. Many of his works are tinged with the same smugness that I feel when I tried watching Bill Nye’s new show.

      As a short heuristic, anyone who greenwald and nassim nicholas taleb both dislike is probably not a great figure.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t have an opinion one way or another about Neil deGrasse Tyson other than to say he has an excellent announcers voice and presence before a camera.

      Who do you think paid for much of the research done during the Space Race and after? MIC support continued until some point in the 1980s as support for Science transitioned to Corporate hands. The MIC established a technique for directing and funding Science toward discoveries and technologies they felt were needed. Now the Neoliberal Market directs and funds our Science and runs our Higher Education Industrial Complex.

      I have no idea what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say but the notion that “military and war are good for science” is hardly novel. Consider how Leonardo DaVinci earned his living. It wasn’t all from painting. Bletchley park didn’t fund the complicated machinery they built for peaceful purposes any more than the Germans invented their jet aircraft and missiles for peaceful purposes. Consider the advances in medicine that are directly related to discoveries made as a consequence of warfare.

      1. polecat

        Well, that eases my mind immensely, knowing that scientific military creations such as Plutonium and Cesium are really double plus positive for us humons ..

        1. liam

          Plutonium: heat generation and electricity for unmaned spacecraft

          Cesium: atomic clocks in satellites. If you’ve used GPS or pretty much any satellite service, cesium is involved.

          They say science advances one funeral at a time, but one ever said the deceased died peacefully. Sad but true.

    6. Mark Pontin

      he has a book coming out soon about how military and war are good for science … I’m starting to wonder if he really is PR for the MIC.

      Reality is what it is. It’s an unfortunate truth that in most cases only the MIC has both the deep pockets and the capability to sell a rationale of national existential risk to the pols so as to fund the really big projects. Off the top of my head just from the 1950s-60s —

      [1] NASA and the space program.
      Though NASA’s a civilian body, the rockets used in its initial Redstone program and then, IIRC, much of the Mercury program were Atlas and Minuteman designs straight from USAF General Bernard Schriever’s gen-1 ICBM development program.

      [2] The computer microprocessor, IT and Silicon Valley.
      In 1960, 100 per cent of all computer chips manufactured in the U.S. — which meant all the chips then manufactured worldwide — were bought by the Pentagon for the above-mentioned ICBMs’ guidance systems and for early-warning radar systems. Repeat: 100 percent of all chips went to the DoD. Even as late as 1967, the Pentagon was still buying 75 percent of Silicon Valley’s product. This isn’t even to get a little thing called the DARPAnet.

      [3] The U.S. interstate freeway system.
      Eisenhower had seen the autobahn in Germany and during the 1950s used the rationale of being able to move US troops around in the event of war with the USSR to underwrite the US freeway system.

      There are dozens of other examples and not just in the US. The USSR ran a Manhattan Project-sized bioweapons program called Biopreparat that employed close on 100,000 workers. It did nightmarish things, but it also probably developed biotech like monoclonal antibodies 10-15 years before anybody else.

    7. andrwf

      I appreciate everyone’s response. This is why I only read the NC comment section.
      I guess I was thinking (day dreaming) how the advances of science and math COULD emerge from the need of energy use, seeing as how it’s the most important aspect of our society today, rather than discovering new technologies through war. I understand many technological benefits were created through the MIC, but could the same technologies be discovered outside the realm of violence? Sustainable technologies are obviously the solutions to our societal dilemmas, so why wouldn’t Tyson be an advocate for those sciences rather than succumbing to the technologies of war. Mark has a point, the MIC has the funds, but does Tyson have any decency?

  10. Wukchumni

    O Canada!
    My hopefully dual native land!
    True ex-patriot love in all of thy command.
    With glowing threats we see thee rise,
    The true worth emanating from DC!
    From far and wide,
    O Canada, save a place for me.
    In the meantime, keep your land glorious and free!
    O Canada, save a place for me.
    O Canada, save a place for me.

    So, if you’re gonna be one, you gotta look the part, and i’ve ordered a Guelph University t-shirt, and a couple of toques from Hudson’s Bay Co., as a starter kit.

      1. Wukchumni

        I knew it wasn’t all muskeg on top of endless permafrost, as we were told in the Cold War, but thanks for verifying.

        Now, about those stories we’ve all heard of hapless nationalized health care, where people waiting to be helped have perished whilst in line, like so much politely stacked cords of wood.

        Any rumor to this truth?

        1. Paleobotanist

          If you are acutely ill you are moved immediately to the head of the queue. This is not a good thing as it means that you are in very bad shape indeed. This May I was moved 3 times to the head of the line in Montreal (known for slow ERs) with a possible retinal tear. This was no fun at all with vivid fireworks going off uncontrollably in my right eye. If you are not so ill, you may have to wait. If you are mis-diagnosed and can’t wait, you figure out how to see another doctor for a better reassessment. I have lived in the US and Canada and medical care is far better here.

        2. HotFlash

          None. A homeless, er, a friend who homesteads supra-legally on a vacant industrial lot which is awaiting sufficient ‘remediation’ to allow a condo to be built on it someday, started bleeding from a wrong place last Tues evening. On Wed am it was still happening so he called an ambulance. He went to one of our big General Hosps, was admitted, got to see his own GI specialist with a couple of hours, tests etc. to rule out ulcer and a bunch of other likely stuff. Next day they had a camera down his throat to see what might be wrong. He’s still there, not getting out ‘anytime soon’, per his medical team, while they find out what’s going on and fix it, if they can. When he does get out, he will owe not one cent. Not one. Not for ambulance, not for tests, not for care, not for anything. We don’t have health insurance premiums here, either. Nada. We just show our OHIP card and it all happens.

          Never heard of anyone who couldn’t get care they needed in time.

          1. Wukchumni

            My relatives experiences with nationalized healthcare have all been top notch, I was going for dramatic effect, trying to lure out stories such as yours and the one above.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, Canada is a rich country and we are a poor one, so it stands to reason we can’t deliver health care of Canadian quality. Choose a different time and place to be born. There’s your solution.

  11. Summer

    Anybody else think the higher prices will remain after the “trade war”?

    Or think the higher prices will cover up falling consumer spending to not disturb the “confidence fairy” via statistics?

          1. Wukchumni

            A basic home in L.A. was $100k in 1980, now closer to $700k thanks to 3 housing bubbles since.

            If it went down to $200k, you’d probably be afraid to buy it.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Which would make it fall further, if enough people fear sufficiently.

              That would suggest it is wise to be afraid…something like ‘cowardice is the better part of valor…when it comes to real estate.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think prices are the issue.

      tariff wall + industrial policy = industrial base

      Having a national economy that isn’t solely devoted to the FIRE sector and fraud — sorry for the redundancy — is a good thing, for the nation and the citizens.

      Unfortunately, the administration has addressed the first term only, creating volatility, but not the second, which will lead to suboptimal outcomes (from the perspective of the 90%) if persisted in.

  12. Carey

    Do any of the SF readers here remember a short story where a guy is collecting a bunch
    of seemingly random measurements of the state of the world, which suggest to him
    that the end is nigh? I’d love to read it again, given the times, but can’t remember
    the author or story’s name.

    I’m thinking that after this year’s “election” (should that be in scare quotes, or not?),
    we’re going to find ourselves in quite a novel place, what with the MILO Dems
    and more. Hope I’m wrong.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That is a very bizarre solution (which doesn’t mean it won’t work).

      suggest_recycled_tweet_inline looks like a variable (that should be internal to Twitter and not exposed to users).

      Suggesting that there are many more variable in Twitter data that are not displayed to users but are accessible to them. If so, there are a lot of aspects of Twitter that could be hacked, a good thing (IMNSHO).

  13. Craig H.

    Peak Liberalism

    The Economist at 175
    Reinventing liberalism for the 21st century

    (This link works from my ISP if I open a private browsing window.)

    Here is what I underlined in my copy:

    Henry George’s call for a land tax, “Poverty or Progress” sold more copies in America in the 1890’s than any other book save the Bible.

    (Author implies a Georgist tax can solve the problem that nobody can afford to rent near the choice jobs in NY and SF except for muckymucks.)

    Several American universities have declared the phrase “America is a melting pot” to be a “microaggression” (a term in pervasive use and taken by the majority to be innocuous but which communicates a hostile message to minorities.)

    It makes no sense for rich workers to begin drawing a state pension in their 60’s.

    In America a UBI of $10000 a year would require a tax take of at least 33% of GDP–less than the level in many countries, but some $1.5trn more than the current 26%.

    On a measure of democracy made by the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister organisation, more than half of the 167 countries surveyed in 2017 were slipping backwards.

    The failure of the League of Nations between the world wars showed that liberal ideals are worthless unless backed by the military power of determined nation states.

    But as autocrats gain clout, the room for free speech is shrinking. Only 13% of the people live in a country with a truly free press, according to Freedom House. In America, Donald Trump’s pathological lying and constant attacks on the media as “enemies of the people” and “fake news” are taking their toll. But the fact-free world of paranoid fantasy that right-wing media provide for his followers is a bigger problem.

    I am free to write what I think of the Economist, but I would prefer that my mom not read it.

  14. a different chris

    So I hate to take a small issue with one of my favorite internet voices and an economist to boot, and I know Atrios is correct but only technically:

    At the White House, Trump wrongly said that “China is now paying us billions of dollars in tariffs”

    Despite what economists think (maybe that’s his problem), nobody sketches out a supply/demand curve to come up with what the exactly correct price of a Pinto *is*. They take a swag, and the market fusses around — and this is a car, which is negotiable. Chinese electronic parts are sold via salesmen, and they sit in a room with one customer at a time. One group may pay this, one may pay another.

    So widget A is selling for Price X. We impose a 20% tariff. Two fixed things can happen, but there is also a gradient.

    The first is that everybody just pays 20% more. The second is that the supplier eats the 20%, price doesn’t change. The third and most likely is the price changes, but the supplier takes some of the hit and the customer takes some. That’s generally what happens because neither side wants to go out of business.

    If the customer pays more, whether it’s 0.01% or the full 20%, it means “China” was quite likely accidentally under pricing their widget. Which means the transaction was costing China money – not in the sense of a loss, but in the sense of missed profit. Don’t tell me that isn’t a meaningful concept, I was there when Westinghouse got dismantled because their industrial arms were “only” making 2-3% while they were sure they could turn 8% on golf courses.

    So before said tariff, much of that missed profit was likely going to the US reseller (cough Walmart cough), but now it’s getting spread among us all. Seems like a win.

  15. Synoia

    If we were to pick one topic for a campaign, to nail our collective needs to a cross, what would it be?

    Medicare for All?
    Housing for all?
    Debt Jubilee?

    The reason I ask is I have come across an internet campaign web site, which is designed for campaigns, and am willing to pay the initial small sum needed to launch. I’m tired on complaining, and want to do something.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Real estate definitely needs to be brought down a peg, or 6…and the natural materials like timber, coal, oil, WATER…. the “lesser” minerals like cobalt, diamonds, copper….that’ll slice most corporations down to size.

        Well, yeah…if we’re shooting the moon, why the H, E, double-toothpicks not?

        I second Grebo’s motion.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Medicare for All?
      Housing for all?
      Debt Jubilee?

      All of these reinforce each other and I would add:

      Jobs Guarantee

      which reinforces #MedicareForAll.

      I think it depends on whether the goals of the site are this year, or the next ten years, or the next generation.

      If this year, I would say #MedicareForAll, because if we can’t win that, we can’t win anything, and amazingly enough it’s the lowest hanging fruit. Also, it will f*** the current Democrat leadership completely, and that’s important.

  16. Wukchumni

    Then: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”


    Now: “Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word, fear.”

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