2:00PM Water Cooler 10/25/2018

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



“What Is Tulsi Gabbard Fighting For?” [New York Magazine]. “But a steady drumbeat of criticism from progressives claims that Gabbard also has sympathies with Steve Bannon–style nationalists on the hard right, whose foreign-policy view is also fundamentally anti-interventionist. Her detractors argue that her policy overlap with the hard right is consistent and substantive enough that it ought to undermine her credibility as someone who could represent consensus progressive values in the White House. If “Gabbardism” is a foreign-policy school of thought, it is perhaps best captured by her own words. ‘In short, when it comes to the war against terrorists, I’m a hawk,’ Gabbard told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in 2016. ‘When it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I’m a dove.’ It’s a sentiment that wouldn’t be out of place in Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign — or in Pat Buchanan’s in 1992.”• Hmm.


11 days until Election Day. 11 days. That’s less than two weels, still is a long time in politics, as the “package devices” show.

“What a Green Wave Can’t Hide — It’s Still the Economy, Stupid” [Roll Call]. “Money is a resource, not an outcome.” • Snappy. I tend to agree, but I think Thomas Ferguson would have a thing or two to say.

“A dozen days to go: Ratings changes in gubernatorial, House races” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. • See Table 2; Sabato is getting results similar to mine. The ratings changes show shrinking Republican margins, but they’re not shrinking enough to move the district from the R column to the D column. Sabato says: “The battle for the House is uncertain in the sense that many of the districts that have seemed like they would be very competitive many months ago remain so. At the same time, more and more seats seem to be coming into play, with Republican and/or Democratic outside groups expanding their ad buys to districts where the GOP has seemed favored.” • I had the whole notion of a “Blue Wave” misconconceived. I thought of it as a great small-d democratic uprising, organic to voters, spontaneous-like. But I wasn’t cynical enough. As things seem to be playing out, the wave is a giant wave of cash, presumably ending up in the hands of our famously free press, with the usual strategists and consultants taking their usual cut. I wish I were a clever illustrator; I’d construct a version of Hokusai’s “Great [bluie] Wave off Kanagawa” in green dollar bills. Ka-ching.

“Ten Rating Changes as Democrats’ Enthusiasm Edge Narrows and Fundraising Advantage Widens” [Cook Political Report]. “Democrats now have a clear advantage in 17 GOP-held seats and Republicans have an advantage in two Democratic-held seats. If the 30 Toss Ups were to break evenly between the parties (15 seats apiece), Democrats would score a net gain of 29 seats, six more than the 23 they need to retake the majority. We continue to believe anywhere from a 20 to 40 seat Democratic gain is possible, but right now the likeliest outcome is a Democratic gain of between 25 and 35 seats.”

“The 15 Races That Will Determine How Democrats Approach 2020” [Politico]. “to really celebrate, socialists and populists would like to able to say that single-payer helped Democrats win in districts previously won by Donald Trump, to show the issue’s potency on red turf. The three Democrats running forthrightly on a single-payer platform, in Trump-won districts rated “Toss-up” or “Lean Republican” by POLITICO, are Kara Eastman (NE-02 [M], Randy Bryce (WI-01 [M]) and Joe Radinovich (MN-08 [M]*)…. And a big blue wave could buoy other single-payer backers running on even deeper red turf. Keep an eye on: Diane Mitsch Bush (CO-03), Leslie Cockburn (VA-05 [M]), Nate McMurray (NY-27) and Sri Preston Kulkarni (TX-22).” • I’ve double-checked my worksheet, and the candidates I’m tracking are indeed real Medicare for All (“[M]”) supporters, not faux ones. I have to update Joe Radinovich, whose website wasn’t up when I first built the database. All I can say is maybe. I continue to believe that preventing #MedicareForAll is the #1 policy goal of the Democrat leadership, though they may try some rebranding of markets-first proposals like the public option.

CA-49: “Once-Red Southern California District May Lead Blue Wave” [Courthouse News]. “In a phone interview, Flip the 49th campaign manager Johnny Papagiannis said volunteers have reached out to 127,000 voters since the June primary through calls, text messages and going door-to-door. Of those contacts, they’ve talked to 45,000 people…. between 1,200 and 1,500 people have volunteered with Flip the 49th since the group upped their efforts starting in late August…. Flip the 49th is targeting low-frequency voters and voters who have registered since 2016 and as far back as 2014, Papagiannis said. The group has since abandoned its strategy of targeting some Republicans as it did during the primary, with Papagiannis finding ‘people entrench themselves with the party that has won.’ He noted Republicans continue to ‘vote along party lines’ and support Trump. ‘The non-voter handed Trump the election in 2016 and we did not want that to be the case here,” Papagiannis said.” • Wotta concept, appealing to non-voters. (CA-49 is on my worksheet, and the candidate, Mike Levin, is a Medicare for All supporter — explicitly supporting HR676 — despite being supported by the DCCC (along with DFA and the PCCC). They must be desperate.

ME-02: “A new kind of voting faces Election Day test in Maine” [Associated Press]. “The ranked-choice voting system will be used for the first time in history in U.S. House and Senate races in Maine on Election Day….. [I]t was used without any major problems in June’s primary…. Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s Democratic challenger, Jared Golden, could be aided by second-choice votes from two independents under a similar scenario in the more conservative 2nd Congressional District.”

MT Senate: “Jon Tester Bets the Farm” [The Atlantic]. “For Tester, who at this moment has one hand on the steering wheel of the combine, victory in November depends on convincing a base of mostly Republican voters that he can offer something that transcends party: an up-close understanding of life in rural America…. [His opponent State Auditor Matt Rosendale], who made his career in real estate on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before moving to Montana in 2002, called himself a rancher throughout his primary campaign—until Talking Points Memo reported that the state Department of Revenue was unable to find records of Rosendale having ever owned a cow.” • Ooopsie. Stories like that are one of the many reasons I love the human pageant that is American politics. (“[W]hat is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison)

PA-11: “A bellwether in farm country” [New Food Economy]. “[S]ome farmers are reconsidering their long-standing support for the GOP and its policies and politics that contributed to the current farm crisis—the tariffs, the delay on a new farm bill, the cozy relationships with Big Ag. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a major dairy-producing community, a tight congressional race is stirring this debate among farmers about whether and how their Republican representatives are standing up for small-scale agriculture… Her campaign is built on a small army of volunteers who knock on doors, make calls, and engage with voters in person—an old-school effort in an age of PACs and polls. [Democrat Jess] King’s supporters all say the same thing about the candidate: She listens to what people say they need, and builds those needs into her policy priorities. That level of attention is particularly meaningful to local farmers, who feel forgotten by federal policy and neglected by local officials. King is proud that her average campaign donation is $35, and claims that her campaign has mobilized more people than any other Democratic campaign in the district’s history.”

Handy map on turnout:

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Suspicious packages sent to Robert De Niro and Joe Biden” [News.com]. “The bombs were each about six inches long with a small battery and packed with powder and broken glass, said a law enforcement official who viewed X-ray images. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape. CNN reported the package sent to De Niro had similar markings to the pipe bomb sent to the network yesterday. A law enforcement source said a similar package addressed to Mr Biden was intercepted at a Delaware mail facility.” • I suppose when we find the string diagram connected De Niro and George Soros, we’ll have found the perp. Meanwhile, unless I’ve missed something, the story hasn’t otherwise advanced since yesterday (see my comment here). Readers? Anything non-speculative?

“The Caravan Is a Challenge to the Integrity of U.S. Borders” [David Frum, The Atlantic]. Frum’s conclusion: “If liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals will not do. I’ve been pounding the drum for this warning since the European migration crisis accelerated in 2013. The warning holds as true as ever—and now it’s coming home.” • Frum, as one of the warmongers responsible for Iraq, should be in the dock at The Hague, not sitting behind the editor’s desk at The Atlantic. So it’s richly ironic that Frum doesn’t recognize American military “meddling” as a driver for both European and Central American migrations, in Syria and Honduras, respectively. But as for the Democrats: The day I hear one of the OccupyICE people say the words “labor arbitrage” willl be the day I believe they don’t support open borders too, along with the Koch Brothers. What a mess.

“White Nationalists Accused of Violence Appear in Court” [Courthouse News]. “Three members of a California white nationalist group appeared in Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday after the FBI arrested them for organizing and participating in riots across the state…. According to the criminal complaint, Rundo, Boman, Laube and other members of RAM attacked counter-protesters at multiple rallies in 2017 and encouraged combat training at a park in San Clemente in Orange County…. At a March 2017 “Make America Great Again” rally in Huntington Beach, California, members of RAM confronted and attacked a small group of counter-protesters, according to the complaint.”d

Stats Watch

Durable Goods Orders, September 2018: “A doubling in orders for defense aircraft headlines a better-than-expected… rise in September durable goods orders” [Econoday]. “Yet when excluding transportation equipment and with it the gain for defense aircraft, orders managed only a 0.1 percent increase.” And: “Orders placed with U.S. factories for business equipment declined in September for a second month, a sign momentum in capital investment has paused as global trade concerns persist” [Industry Week]. • Not something you like to see in a capitalist economy. But: “Defence aircraft was the main tailwinds this month in the adjusted data. This series has wide swings monthly so our primary metric is the unadjusted three month rolling average – which improved and is still growing faster than GDP” [Econintersect].

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, October 2018: “Improving delivery times and easing price pressures point to easing capacity constraints” [Econoday]. “Orders have been solid to very strong in this month’s regional reports but the new theme has been an easing in capacity stress. This suggests that manufacturers are successfully ramping up output and clearing the way for a new spurt in orders.” • Hopefully. “Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts and their index is now below the range of values seen in the last 12 months. Note that the key internals remained in expansion – but new orders declined” [Econintersect]. And: “This is the lowest level for this index since 2016. The regional surveys for October have mostly indicated slower growth in October as compared to September, and these surveys suggest the ISM index will still be solid, but could be close to the lowest level this year” [Calculated Risk].

International Trade in Goods, September 2018: “Whatever the early effects of tariffs may be, the nation’s trade picture deteriorated noticeably in the third quarter” [Econoday]. “Goods imports surged…. The gain in imports overshadows a very strong… jump in exports where strength includes industrial supplies, capital goods, vehicles and also consumer goods. But showing yet another heavy decline are exports of foods, feeds & beverages….”

Wholesale Inventories [Advance], September 2018: Lower than expected [Econoday]. “Despite the strong build underway, inventories relative to sales at the wholesale level have been lean.”

Retail Inventories [Advance], September 2018: Subdued rise [Econoday]. “Putting the three months together, retail inventories should contribute to third-quarter inventory growth in tomorrow’s GDP report.”

Pending Home Sales Index, September 2018: “There’s finally some good news coming out of the housing sector. Pending sales of existing homes rose” [Econoday]. ” Overall pending sales are down” on the year. And: “This was above expectations for this index” [Calculated Risk]. “The National Association of Realtors (NAR) seasonally adjusted pending home sales index remains in contraction year-over-year. Our analysis shows continued worsening of growth” [Econintersect].

Jobless Claims, week of October 20, 2018: “Hurricane Michael apparently had very limited effect on the labor market” [Econoday]. “This is a very favorable report that not only should ease concerns of hurricane effects in tomorrow’s employment report but, fundamentally, offers some of the strongest evidence of any data set on the enormous demand that labor is enjoying.” This report has been dull so long I hope I notice when it changes.

Shipping: “The International Maritime Organization sessions on antipollution efforts are starting in London with pressure rising from the U.S. and other nations to soften the rollout of new sulfur-emissions restrictions” [Wall Street Journal]. “[T]he IMO so far has been looking at a brief grace period for the rule slated to take effect at the beginning of 2020, one aimed only at allowing vessels to empty their tanks of heavy oil. But the U.S., Greece and other maritime say many ship operators simply won’t be ready and that cleaner fuels need to be tested in a longer ‘experience-building’ phase-in. The bigger concern is the higher costs likely to hit the larger economy.”

Supply Chain: “Toy sellers are discovering just how simple their supply chains were when most of the shipments flowed to one retailer. Hasbro Inc. says the disappearance of Toys “R” Us from the retail landscape dampened demand in the third quarter…., while significantly complicating distribution and inventory management” [Wall Street Journal]. “.Hasbro says its supply chain has grown more fragmented, with 10,000 new places for its products and order patterns that are far different from those of the former toy superstore.” • 10,000!

The Bezzle: “The Destruction of Central Edinburgh Communities” [Craig Murray (Timotheus)]. “One Edinburgh website alone boasts that over 2,000 Edinburgh apartment owners use its short term letting service – and presumably a significant percentage of those 2,000 own multiple apartments. The authorities simply cannot know how many Edinburgh flats are holiday lets. It is a huge black market, avoiding income tax, fire, safety and other regulations and very often involving illegal sub-letting…. here must be a minimum of 3,000 housing units not designed as holiday accommodation, taken out of Edinburgh’s housing stock and put to that purpose. Of these, I know from direct observation most are simply empty for the vast majority of the year, but from just Hogmanay and the Festival an owner can make more money than a working family could pay for rent in the year. The result is, of course, to force rents up across the city for ordinary people. The impact on the city centre community has been devastating, and the process is by no means ended, with estate agents I have spoken with saying that most city centre properties now sold are still going to investors for this purpose.” • Thank you Silicon Valley. When you hear “disruption,” think “extraction.”

Health Care

“Trump enacts anti-opioid abuse package in rare bipartisan step” [Reuters]. “The legislation expands access to substance abuse treatment in Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled; cracks down on mailed shipments of illicit drugs such as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid far more powerful than heroin; and provides a host of new federal grants to address the crisis.” • So now we’ve medicalized deaths of despair….


“A Climate Catastrophe Paved the Way for the Dinosaurs’ Reign” [The Atlantic]. “[A] primeval washout, known as the Carnian Pluvial Episode… was one of the oddest climate events, and most severe biotic crises, in the history of life…. This earthly belch of CO2 drove intense bouts of global warming, ocean acidification, mass extinction, and, most notably, a barrage of extreme rainfall and mountain-flattening mega-monsoons still visible in rocks around the world…. Oxygen isotopes from the fossil teeth of tiny sea creatures reveal that the entire episode was kicked off by warming of only about 4–7 degrees Celsius—roughly the same magnitude predicted for our own world under a business-as-usual carbon-emissions scenario.” Hoo boy.

Class Warfare

Unite Here making an international connection:

(Marriott owns the Ritz Carlton luxury hotel chain.)

Stoller on the FTC, a clear case where the FTC had the power to stop a noxious consolidation, and didn’t:

News of the Wired

“The future of photography is code” [TechCrunch]. “While the physical components are still improving bit by bit, Google, Samsung and Apple are increasingly investing in (and showcasing) improvements wrought entirely from code. Computational photography is the only real battleground now…. Access to the stream [of photons] allows the camera to do all kinds of things. It adds context. A simple example of context is what is commonly referred to as HDR, or high dynamic range imagery. This technique uses multiple images taken in a row with different exposures to more accurately capture areas of the image that might have been underexposed or overexposed in a single exposure.” • I understand the logic here, but I wish so many HDR photos didn’t look like fake CGI. Am I being harsh?

News You Can Use:

Word of the Day:

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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:

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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. Wukchumni

    The CVBB (Central Valley Bible Belt) is a funny place politically-being the red state bastion, in that all you really need is to conflate your opponent with having “San Francisco Values” and half the battle is won.

    This tv commercial is typical of the high jinks here, by Cambodian-American candidate Republican Elizabeth Heng, trying to pin the tale on the donkey in office: Jim Costa


    {bonus clip}


      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Obama: yes. Biden: no. Rumsfeld: well, he doesn’t deny it. Though he doesn’t seem very concerned with the fate of humanity.
        If you watch MSNBC, they are all over.

        Also, who pressured TBS to cancel the 3rd season of People of Earth?

  2. Lee

    “What Is Tulsi Gabbard Fighting For?” [New York Magazine].

    Is it just me, or is the paragraph quoted under the headline real up is down, left is right gobbledygook? Since when has opposition to wars for regime change been a hard right position?

    1. a different chris

      Did you notice the quiet juxtaposition of two stories – clever Lambert! (if it was an accident take credit anyway) – whereas Tulsi is getting hammered because she has a policy which happens to match Bannon’s, but nary a word is said about OccupyICEs policy matching the Koch’s.

      Funny that. Hey, maybe people have stances because of actual reasons, not because they are secret sympathizers with somebody else.

      1. jsn

        Ever since the German Greens started the war in Yugoslavia by hiving off Slovenia and Croatia illegally and then blaming the Serbs for war crimes when they protested, R2P and the “regime change” it so frequently implies has been identified with “the Left”.

        For Tulsi to question the regime change catechism is to be an apostate of the Blob, making her “just like Bannon.”

        It’s hunky dory for “Liberals” to consort with the Right, never with the Left. That would present the Left as a real alternative space to that of the Right, an entire territory Liberals will kill Leftists to defend.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      That was my thought as well.. anything that puts the skids on the MIC has to be labeled “extreme” at this point. It’s bizzarro land.

    3. pjay

      On the Gabbard “article”:

      I had long quit paying attention to Daily Kos by the time Gabbard resigned from the DNC in support of Bernie, but I would check it from time to time because there were still a few good posts and posters. I remember a piece of s**t hit piece on Kos soon after she made that decision that was much like this one. I deleted Kos from my bookmarks and never read it again.

      My comments sometimes get tanked when I get a little too carried away, so let me say something positive about this article. Even though the author claims her foreign policy views “are raising questions on the left,” he also, strangely, says this:

      “The combination of her anti-interventionist stance with her progressive domestic record has earned her support in some corners of the left, particularly the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party.

      “She’s a terrific package,” said Our Revolution Labor Chair Larry Cohen. Whether it’s health care for all, financial regulation, or workers’ rights, Cohen said he believes that Gabbard is on the right side of the issues — including foreign policy. “She’s clear on non-intervention — what’s wrong with U.S. foreign policy since World War II.”

      Right on! I hope Bernie agrees. The rest of the article is…. well, you know.

    4. Richard

      Didn’t read the article because the excerpt looked like the rankest kind of dem strawmanning. I am so tired of trying to follow the consciously tortured reasoning of a party member. Sorry for commenting without reading, but Tulsi is one of the few bright spots in our political landscape, and her contributions on foreign policy are pretty much beyond reproach. Which “progressives” is the author referencing?

    5. DonCoyote

      The generous interpretation of their writing is that Tulsi is to the left of the party by not being completely pro-war but to the right of true progrssives by not being completely anti-war? In any case, being disliked by Neera Tanden is a pretty solid progressive bona fide. I would certainly prefer Gabbard over Merkley for presidential candidate.

      This just in–the Russians have single payer, and Steve Bannon likes single payer. So single payer is obviously a divisive right-wing commie plot! Never ever!! Resist!!!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that’s a hack job.
        to my knowledge, Steve Bannon also wants legalised weed…does that mean that Team Blue must be against it?
        I like Tulsi, and I’d likely vote for her.
        and I know we’re not supposed to notice any more, but she’s rather cute, too.
        and her voice doesn’t grate, either..
        when this has come up before, in dem circles,in discussions about things like Nato, WTO, etc.. I’ve felt compelled to ask, “is global imperialism now in the demparty platform?”
        I get either silence, or called Vlad.
        …which I take as a tacit Yes.

    6. ewmayer

      I’m sure Steve Bannon believes in being an obligate aerobe, too – so should those of us with progressive leanings stop breathing? Imagine how many valuable and pleasurable things one would have to exorcize from one’s life if one applied such inane ‘reasoning’ based on e.g. “Hitler enjoyed —“.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Nice one. Isn’t it infantile? So much commentary, from so many ostensibly educated and credentialed people, amounts to clever ways of saying, “I hate you more!”

        Content-free politics, brought to you in part by the best and brightest* PR strategists money can buy.

        *Not to be confused with competent.

    7. Tom Denman

      > Since when has opposition to wars for regime change been a hard right position?

      Since never. I joined the Party of George McGovern and the New Deal. Seems like there’s no place for some of us in the “progressive” Democratic Party of Victoria Nuland and Robert Rubin.

      1. clarky90

        IMO, it is very difficult for honest people to realize that just because the label, or Logo, or Brand name, or container (The outward appearance), is exactly what they were shopping for….,

        that the contents may be (very, or vastly, or humongously) different from what they had “bought”.

        For instance; I bought Vitamin D3, liquid drops on EBay. It was a trusted brand that I often had used before. The bottle, box and labeling were correct. But

        the contents were fake and made me ill.

        So, Don’t judge a political party by it’s name/brand/logo. You may end up with a product that you had not bargained for. (a deadly counterfeit).

        Impermanence, aka, Anicca, Anicca, Anicca….

    8. JTMcPhee

      Is the American Conservative hard right? I believe folks over there might offer that they are no longer in love with muscular foreign policy, aka “War is nothing but a racket.” Hardly a unanimous position, of course, but still, any move in the CORRECT direction is welcome…

      And why does the reactionary revanchist sect get to call themselves “the RIGHT,” when clearly they are the WRONG? On the other hand, “left” is associated with “sinister” and “awkward,” and a permanent minority: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/09/22/the-surprising-geography-of-american-left-handedness/

      I started life as a lefty/southpaw, but my parents were urged by “educators” to “fix” me, so there we go — but my lousy penmanship (archaic concept) still slants “backwards,” despite years of Palmer Method drill and a grandfather who was an engineer and could not bear that his offspring should scrawl like that. But hey, that defect almost led to a career choice! I figured, given the memes, that I had a lay down chat at becoming a physician… And now I am stuck as that other kind of “lefty” too.

      Speaking of The American Conservative, I urge everyone to at least look at the front page of the current issue: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/. How weird can this political entrepôt here get, anyway?

      1. Carolinian

        And why does the reactionary revanchist sect get to call themselves “the RIGHT,” when clearly they are the WRONG?

        It all goes back to seating charts during the French revolution.

        And maybe the real reason for an article hit jobbing Tulsi is that she met with the hated Assad and opposes our Syria policy. Meanwhile the Dems are the party that nominated intervention enthusiast Hillary Clinton.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        That’s a really tight front page. Previously I’ve read a lot of articles, checked the directory for a few authors, but hadn’t navigated to the front. I reloaded with ad-block off to double check. Only 11 items blocked anyway. Each headline gives me good idea what the article is about. Not one headline includes the word “this.” Punchy pics. Clear flow. Sigh. I’m a journalism nerd and I miss not noticing competence.

        Worst of all there are opinions there I heartily disagree with mixed in with the opinions I heartily agree with. Gasp!

        There’s no way I can avoid the article on Zeppelins.

      3. Procopius

        I’ve been surprised to find that every article from The American Conservative I’ve read I’ve agreed with. Kind of like how I was surprised that maybe 80% or more of The Fiscal Times, Peter G. Peterson’s rag, was good journalism and I agreed with it. There is very little propaganda against Social Security there. So I would have to classify TAC as center left, and I’m OK with that. I’ll have to check the front page out. I’ve never looked at it, either.

    9. ChrisPacific

      I thought the article was a great summary of why I like Gabbard on foreign policy. She doesn’t believe in regime change via military intervention as a policy tool, and she believes in holding dialogue with people even if they disagree with you. Fantastic. Both sorely needed. How soon can we get her in there?

      1. Unna

        Political power is laying in the streets. Gabbard’s foreign policy type of political power which both the deplorables who fight the wars, and the real left that supports Gabbard knows is the right policy. The MIC interventionist corporate Dems certainly won’t pick it up because of all the reasons we know. Trump won’t pick it up either because maybe he never had the “guts” to. Afraid of the establishment of his own party, afraid of who knows what, but the man sure looks like either a coward or a liar or both.

        Personally, I’d prefer to see a left populist pick it up as opposed to a right populist.

    10. Lambert Strether Post author

      > when has opposition to wars for regime change been a hard right position?

      Conservatives are split on this; see especially The American Conservative. Buchanan, that horrible lizard-brained reprobate, is IMNSHO far closer to being correct on the Empire than all of Obama’s “responsibility to protect” crowd (because the choice of when to be responsible is always strategic — Yes to Syria, No to Yemen — and hence R2P looks suspiciously like public relations cover, rather than the sort of deeply moral choice its advocates, assuming good faith, would like it to be).

      1. Procopius

        I never assume good faith from people who advocate intervening with military force. To this day I do not believe Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, or Richard Perle act(ed) in good faith. War was absolutely the wrong metaphor to use. Even Rumsfeld came close to realizing that when he sent his famous “snowflake” around the top level of the Pentagon asking if the Defense Department was even able to do anything useful in the GWOT.

      1. noonespecial

        On 12/7/2018, the plaintiff DeWayne Johnson and his legal team must tell the court whether, or not, to accept the 10/22/2018 decision. On the industry side, spokesman Daniel Childs already stated that the poison-peddlers plan to appeal the verdict.

        Not for nothing, but hopefully Mr. Johnson’s lawyers are prepping well for the next round where (correct me if I’m wrong) a 3-judge panel will take over, not a jury of commoners.

        For those interested, ABC Australia put this out recently: “The Monsanto Papers”. Monsanto’s spokespersons eerily reminded me of late 20th century tobacco company folks.

  3. toshiro_mifune

    I wish so many HDR photos didn’t look like fake CGI
    You aren’t. I’ve seen HDR done very very well where the before and after is a subtle increase in the details in the shadow/highlight areas. That isn’t how most people use it though. Instead what you get is the ham fisted application that cranks everything to “11” and causes eye bleed.
    Computational Photog could be very cool and I’ll follow the development but honestly I think photography reached its peak with 8×10 Kodachromes even if the stuff was ISO 12 and a pain to work with;

    1. Geo

      Agreed. While nothing will match the beauty of an 8×10 there are some fascinating things coming our way in the digital photo realm. Vector photos is one I’m curious to see develop along with multi-focal plane imaging.

      That said, unless I can shoot through my collection of vintage glass all those advances are just new ways to create sterile images. Of course, that’s just my personal aesthetic preference.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And then we have the onslaught of Fake Images, which will at least occasionally be funny and fun — Imagine Ronnie Reagan astride a sheep, for example, or Schumer flagrante delicto with both Pelosi and Feinstein.

        “Is it real, or is it Memorex?”

        Ooh, I have to go wash my third eye with bleach water… And then review my old Philosophy 101 texts on “what is reality?”

    2. Carolinian

      I think it was ISO 25…still pretty slow.

      And digital photography mostly uses very short focus lenses which therefore give very high depth of focus. This universal focus may have as much to do with the CGI look as HDR. After all everything in animation is in focus unless the programmers choose to make it otherwise.

      Ansel Adams performed a kind of HDR with his darkroom manipulations and his large format cameras also gave high corner to corner sharpness. Add in the black and white and you had nature abstracted, a description that might also apply to HDR. Of course Adams was an artist, a still further enhancement that isn’t very computer programmable.

      1. Carolinian

        Just to add that the linked Techcrunch article is pretty silly since its premise is not that the future of photography is code but that the future of photography is the smartphone. Therefore the code in question is merely being used to overcome the artificially limited form factor of a phone that is seeking to be a camera. Far better to spend that $600 on a nice DSLR. It can give real bokeh without having to strain the brains of SV programmers.

  4. dcblogger

    abolishing ICE and dismantling baby prisons does not mean the same thing as failing to enforce our border, it means ending repressive institutions which, trust me, will NOT be limited to immigrants, to say nothing of the small matter of crimes against humanity.

  5. Angie Neer

    “I suppose when we find the string diagram connected De Niro and George Soros, we’ll have found the perp.”

    I’m not sure whether this is an example of Lambert’s dry irony, but I’ll take it literally and point out that those two, and all the other intended victims, are prominently featured bugaboos on Breitbarf just about every day. I know, I don’t recommend going there, but I can’t resist sometimes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I meant it literally, but also as an example of our current, crazy world.

      I can’t read Breitbart. Perhaps I should, so that others don’t have to, but I don’t trust them not to fake evidence (in a way I don’t know how to discount for, as with e.g. WMDs, back in the day).

  6. DonCoyote

    The October surprise is packages?

    Chuck Schumer Relieved He’s Never Taken Stance Meaningful Enough To Have Someone Mail Him Explosive.

    Yes, the Onion.

    “Phew, this is where constantly equivocating and avoiding any issue that’s even remotely controversial really pays off,” said Schumer (D-NY), adding that he was thankful his persistent lack of political courage had all but guaranteed no one would ever be angry enough with him to “do something crazy or violent.” “I really dodged a bullet there! Hopefully if I just keep my head down and stay focused on tacitly supporting the status quo, I’ll keep out of the line of fire.” At press time, Schumer had issued a tepid statement urging Americans to consider all sides in the matter.

    1. Richard

      Funny, but also a gross understatement of Schu’s negative impact. His comically non-confrontational stance on the SC alone would rate a few explosives, if these were doled out fairly. Of course, a more lawful and vastly preferable course of action would be a public trial and hanging.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Oh My Dog. Thank you so much for that laugh. The Onion truly has gotten better since they unionized.

  7. Wukchumni

    Fee Fi Fo Frum,
    I smell the blood
    Of 4,486 Americans
    Who used to be alive
    Now they’re dead
    And the cheerleader
    Still makes his daily bread

  8. Pelham

    Re the caravan: While US meddling in Central America is certainly a big factor in the region’s misery, I question whether the American people at large and at the time were 1) well informed about US actions (probably not) and 2) supported our support of murderous thugs down there.

    I don’t buy the idea that we have anything approaching a functional representative democracy. That sort of thing certainly isn’t out of reach, but the US simply fails the laugh test with two unresponsive political parties serving mainly to block and bulldoze the popular will, aided and abetted by major media outlets.

    Therefore, I see no good reason to open the borders if the American people — for any reason whatsoever — wish to keep them secure. Our malefactors of governance who create these situations, however, should be literally (I do mean literally) tarred and feathered. And then confined.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is also the question of how to redress it.

      1. Should we allow 10,000 in? 1,000,000? Unlimited people? Just this caravan?
      2. Should those who overcome US border agents, and enter the US, be given money, to compensate for our meddling in their home countries?
      3. If the government resists giving them money, similar to the government blocking their entrance into the US, should they go straight to government offices, like social security administration offices, or city halls, and take money that is due the victimized newcomers for, again, US meddling in their home countries?


      Or do we say to them, we owe you, but you must do it legally, and not try to storm our school buildings, our post offices, etc, and just take things, however justified, without going through the legal process?

      1. ChrisAtRU

        US should un-install the dictators they installed. It’s a slightly modified version of nation building – we can call it nation rebooting. #OSUpgrade

          1. jashley

            So, according to the article , Clinton did not do enough to force Honduran to keep Zelaya in office ?
            Maybe the U.S. should have sent in the Marines to keep the peace.

            Just more of the same old same old.

            Obviously the U.S. should have forced the previous regime back to power.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I agree that’s an overdue idea and a good one.

          The other one is to un-install neoliberalism at home and in those countries, and else in the world as well.

          The way it works out in practice, the things we are seeing with our current progressive leaders like Sanders, AOC, et al, is that we face the domestic issues first. Medicare-for-all and then, after that, we take on the Deep State/Blob.

          That is, un-install domestic neoliberalism, and international dictators later.

    2. knowbuddhau

      “Meddling” hardly describes the horrors we’ve inflicted on Central America for centuries.

      Advocating tortuous, cruel, and unusual punishment, compounded by confinement, solves what problem, exactly? Do you see the connection between inflicting horrors there, and inflicting horrors here?

      I take it you really, really hate the malefactors. Bully for you.

  9. John D.

    I really can’t imagine these mailed bombs are a false flag operation sent by Democratic operatives to discredit the GOP – as claimed by Limbaugh and other right wing scumbags – if only because the Dems are far too chickensh*t to ever adopt such tactics. And because the Rethug base have shown themselves only too willing to sink to these levels before. Republican politicians fear their voting base for a reason.

    Note, also, how official statements from the Dem “leaders” so far have equated this actual terrorism with people mouthing off to political figures in public, as if the two are comparable. All with the by-now usual calls for ‘civility.’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Issue-wise, they are Democrats and Republicans.

      Personality-wise, they can be labeled Demoncrats or some other cute names, and Rethugs or some other also cute names.

      As for whether the Democrats are willing to do that, we remind ourselves that they (or any group) can not be stereotyped (not all will act the same, think the same, etc), and going by the 2016 primary rigging, it is quite possible and they (or anyone else) can not be ruled out…at this time.

    2. jsn

      I’d be interested to see links to “Dem “leaders” so far have equated this actual terrorism with people mouthing off to political figures in public” as this would solidify my belief the pipe bombs were a Deep State Dem get out the vote campaign.

      It’s a two-fer! “Look what the Rethugs did” (minus any evidence), and “forget about that pureed Saudi journalist”, the latter is really wreaking havoc on the one thing the Deep State Dems agree with the President on, the intended war on Iran!

      1. jsn

        Really its a three-fer: “Look what the Rethugs did” (minus any evidence); “forget about that pureed Saudi journalist”, the latter is really wreaking havoc on the one thing the Deep State Dems agree with the President on, the intended war on Iran; “you doubt the evil Rethugs did this?!? That’s so uncivil, silence your hateful voice!”

    3. Fiery Hunt

      Remember, in the 1970’s, it was the Left throwing/planting bombs to the tune of some 1000+ incidents.
      IIRC, “Days of Rage” is the book that was mentioned here some time ago…

      I’m still stuck on why none have gone off.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’m still stuck on why none have gone off.

        Yep. Latest AP: “Investigators search for person who sent mail bombs, motive“:

        Investigators have been searching coast-to-coast for the culprit and motives behind the bizarre mail-bomb plot aimed at critics of the president, analyzing the innards of the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear two weeks before Election Day.

        We don’t know if they were intended to detonate? Why don’t we know that?

        Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged like booby-trapped package bombs that would explode upon opening*. But they were still uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.

        (As [lambert preens] I pointed out two days ago.) Previous AP:

        two law enforcement officials who said the devices were not rigged like a traditional booby trap package bomb that would explode upon opening.

        The officials said they didn’t appear to have a trip wire or ignition.

        The whole thing is creepy and I hope they get the perp. But it’s not the same as (say) whacking doctors who perform abortion services; the right has the operational capability to do things far worse than this (as do the organs of state security, for that matter, though typically they arrest perps, having entrapped them, before anything really bad happens). So the whole episode is weird.

        1. paddlingwithoutboats

          Anybody else read the book; The Deportations Delirium of Nineteen Twenty by Louis Post? Used to have a copy but the precariousness of the last thirty years means I’ve disposed of many interesting books, (all the copies probably by now have been burned /s). It was a contemporaneous account by the then department of the interior secretary (memory fuzzy, forgive me), and recounts how boat loads of Russians were force evicted from the U.S. in a political move using mailed bombs.

          Worth a read for the machinery of the game, rinse and repeat. Sorry for the fuzzy recall, however the end game appeared to be to stall the move of the U.S. to the Left and handicap the unions, labour and popular issues gaining traction.

          Doing a (gagged) Google search, of course, yielded references and proprietary Google copies which were on archive.com but were “checked out”.

          I found one! Here is a copy/paste link for a paper copy at Indigo Books;

          If immigration and politics are interesting this is an interesting read, if only because of the long lens and rhythm of the dance.

    4. Summer

      I’m trying to figure why they thought delivering non-detonating bombs as a threat is supposed to frighten a group of people used to death threats.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Because the national media don’t care about those kinds of details. I’m going to bet that a lot of potential copycats are noticing that.

        Those labels are laser printed, why isn’t this already wrapped up?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Plus plenty of biological evidence on the black tape used to wrap the PVC pipe. Plus video everywhere, especially for the CNN package that IIRC was dropped off. We are not looking at a Unabomber-level commitment to evasion, here.

  10. marym

    Re labor arbitrage

    Has Trump ever mentioned anything about jobs or wages in his anti-immigrant rage?

    The day fascists stop promoting bigotry and fear of violent criminals as the reason to defend the borders will be the day I assume, or at least entertain the possibility, that their voters care about US workers as workers.

    1. lambert strether

      I expect both liberals and the putative left to know better. I don’t expect that of Trump.

    2. ewmayer

      “Has Trump ever mentioned anything about jobs or wages in his anti-immigrant rage?”

      Good question, albeit one trivially easy to answer. I did a DuckDuckGo search using keywords “donald trump speech text jobs wages immigration” and the top hit was this NYT piece from early September 2016, i.e. 2 months prior to the election:

      Transcript of Donald Trump’s Immigration Speech – The New York Times

      Read the whole thing for yourself, but your question is answered in the affirmative very early on:

      Today, on a very complicated and very difficult subject, you will get the truth. The fundamental problem with the immigration system in our country is that it serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists and powerful, powerful politicians. It’s all you can do. Thank you. Thank you.


      Let me tell you who it does not serve. It does not serve you the American people. Doesn’t serve you. When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean the following: amnesty, open borders, lower wages. Immigration reform should mean something else entirely. It should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens.


      Thank you. But if we’re going to make our immigration system work, then we have to be prepared to talk honestly and without fear about these important and very sensitive issues. For instance, we have to listen to the concerns that working people, our forgotten working people, have over the record pace of immigration and it’s impact on their jobs, wages, housing, schools, tax bills and general living conditions.

      Not aimed at you personally, but I see this sort of historical blindness a lot from the still-deeply-in-denial Clintonite Dems: that in addition to the bombast, BS and ugly stuff, candidate Trump also actually had a coherent *message* which resonated with those tens of millions of victims of neoliberalism in flyover country and the Rust Belt, the Deplorables.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We don’t know his motive or motives, but as you show, it is not hard to find examples where he said or did something for the workers.

        For another example, asking $16/hr for Mexican auto workers. That was not just something he said. He asked it when negotiating.

      2. marym

        Thank you for the link and quote. It isn’t clear from my comment, but I’m interested in what he says and does as president, and the response of his supporters.

        I tried the same search adding 2018 and found a reference to his 2018 state of the union address. According to the transcript, he did mention that “open borders” (which we don’t have) “allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans,” along with a lot of references to drugs and MS-13 and a somewhat subdued version of his more typical misrepresentation of the visa lottery and family migration processes.

        I don’t claim follow everything he’s said, but I check some of the live-tweeting and reporting by Daniel Dale, and occasional other commentary and don’t see him in other speeches and interviews relating immigration to concerns about jobs and wages.

        He holds frequent rallies where he tells them the wall is being built (it isn’t) and people cheer “Build the Wall.” If his supporters were expecting changes to immigration policy to have a positive impact on their lives, what impact are they expecting now, and do they think that policy delivering the expected impact?

  11. DonCoyote

    Apotropaic magic in architecture: Architecture designed to ward off ghosts. Which doesn’t even include gargoyles on gothic churches to ward off evil spirits (too obvious?).

    And horseshoes are supposed to be good luck. But did they start off as apotropaic, that is, iron horseshoes nailed over your door to repel fairies?

    Nice word, Lambert. Apotheosis is another good apo- word.

    1. DJG

      DonCoyote: Some of my favorite apotropaic business involves the mysteries of beans. The Japanese have a bean-throwing ritual. So did the Romans. The Greeks had a special relationship with beans, and Pythagoras didn’t allow his followers to eat beans.

      Lemuria, the day of the dead, in ancient Rome:

      They would then clean themselves with fresh water and throw black beans (or spit black beans from their mouth). Looking away, they would say, “These I cast; with these beans, I redeem me and mine.”

      According to Ovid, the spirits would follow the beans and let the living be.

      1. DJG

        And one still should eat chickpeas on Saint Joseph’s day, which is the “opposite” of a day of the dead, I suppose.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          My MIL slept on sidewalks in Mexico City a few years ago to meet the Pope. Even got on Telemundo.
          Brought back little Madonna key chain things that were purportedly blessed by himself.
          I was finishing the house at the time and placed one in the wall over each outside door.
          Made wife and MIL happy,…and happy with me, too..and every little bit helps, I guess.
          and the first thing we did when we moved in was collect a bunch of broken glass and rusty nails in a mason jar…everybody peed in it…and we buried it under the front gate.(i learned this from my grandma)
          On the more mundane side…”strategic planting” falls under architecture, no?
          Prickly Pears, Rosa Rugosa, Turkey Pears, Algerita and some kind of horrible thorny vine that grows here…all defend our roadside flank…backed by a Mesquite thicket(and rattlesnakes and such)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Tibetans value dzi beads, which often have been passed down over hundreds of years in the family. These can sell for a lot of money, and as usual, you hear tragic stories, as Tibetan Buddhism, first introduced into China by the Mongols and later practiced by Ming and Qing imperial families, is quite popular these days in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and many other places where anything imperial is always treasured and expensive.

            Also very expensive are those dzi beads blessed by the Dalai Lama.

            Many rich people buy them, hoping to get even richer (or to reach Nirvana sooner, I suppose).

            *Dzi bead – see Wikipedia such that.

          2. tegnost

            nothing mundane about strategic planting. The more objects you have to arrest the eye between your window, say, and the street, makes it that much less likely someone will be looking at your window. Plus you get to look at them all the time, and it keeps you from looking at the street! Peace to your’s and to the seldom sighted ambrit’s also

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              aside from the ancient cowboy(think P.I Parker at 85) at the end of the dirt road, we don’t get passer-by except during hunting season.
              it is then, when the faux rednecks come idling by, staring at the hippie with the hand cannon, that I am glad I built/allowed the hedgerow to flourish.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Mongols, if I recall correctly from some reading years ago, buried magic squares, for good luck (I think), under building columns.

    3. knowbuddhau

      Yes, it is, and apotheosis hardly made sense to me until just now, tyvm. Have always heard and said it as”apoth’ eosis.”

  12. DJG

    Lambert: I see your Federalist No 51, and I raise you:

    Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves;

    –The esteemed James Madison

    Of course, right now, in the U S of A, things look more like the Blues and Greens rioting during horse races in Byzantium.

    1. human

      In these 100th year anniversaries of Lawrence’s adventures in Arabia, allow me quote from near the end of his “Revolt” where he demonstrates his deep understanding of politics:

      We passed to work. Our aim was an Arab Government, with foundations large and native enough to employ the enthusiasm and self-sacrifice of the rebellion, translated into terms of peace. We had to save some of the old prophetic personality, upon a substructure to carry that ninety per cent. of the population who had been too solid to rebel, and on whose solidarity the new State must rest.

      Rebels, especially successful rebels, were of necessity bad subjects and worse governors. Feisal’s sorry duty would be to rid himself of his war-friends, and replace them by those elements which had been most useful to the Turkish Government. Nasir was too little a political philosopher to feel this. Nuri Said knew, and Nuri Shaalan.

  13. PKMKII

    The border issue is fascinating, as I see a lot of division there between people genuinely on the left. There’s the sort of stance taken here, but then I also see people who accuse anyone on the left of mentioning labor arbitrage or lump of labor as aiding and abetting the fascists.

    I think there’s a lot of mistaking the symptoms for the disease. Fascist ethno-national xenophobia and labor exploitation via imported labor are not, at root, about the border itself, but rather the results of a system that puts defense of capital and markets above all else. Closed border, open border, neither address the core problem.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I agree with the disease diagnosis.

      The cure, unfortunately, is not immediately in sight.

      The question before us at the moment is still this: closed or open border.

      So, we are back to confronting the symptoms, for now.

      1. paulmeli

        We have defacto open borders now and have had for at least 30 years. All the angst is over how to close them.

        After 30 years of can-kicking either the problem is intractable or they don’t really want a solution. For us the immigration issue has mainly been a way to mine the rubes to votes. Reminds me a lot of the “lets get money out of politics” or “lets have term limits” arguments. No one (in power) really wants either.

        Not saying that open borders isn’t a problem, but I don’t think TPTB want it fixed. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for Republicans, and makes Democrats look like hypocrites.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They don’t want it fixed…

          Looking at it, it is or could get worse.

          More caravans in the future after this one?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Caravans? Hey, stuff like this, on large scales, has happened multiple times before. Like in Eurasia and Europe and of course the Middle Kingdom: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migration_Period And let us not forget the purported history of God’s Chosen People, as they tricked and slaughtered their way across much of the Middle East, and give the Muslims their due also.

            Helps to have a corrupted and degraded populace in the position of “occupants.”

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The fall of the Roman empire, according to the latest speculation (or theory), if I remember correctly, was duo to climate change, creating Goth migrants in the process (in addition to pressure from the Huns, perhaps).

              Can we not expect more caravans?

              1. Unna

                Something about a dry spell in the steppes requiring the horse peoples to find new grazing lands. The Huns moving west pressured the Goths and the Goths petitioned the emperor for permission to enter the empire so they wouldn’t be slaughtered by the Huns. It was a good opportunity for the Romans to acquire population to occupy sparsely populated lands. It was a time when they needed population. The entry of the Goths into the empire should have been a win.

                But the intense corruption of the empire at that time led Roman officials to exploit the Goths: their children as slaves in exchange for food. Within a few years the Goths revolted, collected their children, faced off against a poorly led and unfit Roman army at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 destroyed the Roman army and killed the emperor. The internal politics of the empire during that time were beyond pathetic and disgusting. It was time for the Roman Empire to exit the stage of history. And it did. Thirty-two years later the very same Goths sacked Rome.

                The environment, the Huns, the Goths: it all should have been just another problem to be solved by a competent imperial administration, but this time the empire was so “decadent” and corrupt, both morally, politically, economically, and socially, that it couldn’t handle it. Sorry for the long story…

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I always presumed the “open borders” accusation was a rightwing slur. So a few weeks back, I started quizzing my SJ liberal friends as to whether there was anyone fleeing violence in CA who should not be let in. No response. And I think I might have lost one as a friend. Though anecdote is not data.

        1. ambrit

          I like the CA as ‘foreign land’ meme. It highlights and exposes the cultural divides within the country.

      1. marym

        The people from Central America are coming to apply for asylum. For asylum seekers and refugees there are specific procedures under US and international law to enter and potentially stay in the US. It’s possible to argue those procedures and laws are too strict or too lenient, but it’s not “open borders.”

        Trump’s plan, on the other hand, is for completely closed borders and ending the asylum program. His answer to the question you posed to your friend would be that no one is allowed in. The current caravan, despite being thousands of miles away, and likely to dissipate as other caravans have, may be hyped as an excuse, but closing the borders to asylum seekers and refugees is the plan. Theoretically in would require changes to domestic law, including withdrawal from international agreements, though according to today’s news, Trump may think he can just send the army.

        This twitter thread provides an overview of the first point. This one of the second.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The people from Central America are coming to apply for asylum

          I don’t see how we know. Those are two great Twitter threads, but holy moley. What an insanely complicated mess! If I understand correctly, if you’re fleeing your own government in fear, you have the right under US and international law to cross the border and apply for asylum (and ultimately I assume U.S. citizenship. If you are an “economic migrant,” you do not. What strikes me as odd is that not being able to feed your family puts you in fear also — and such a complex system screams out to be gamed.

          I’m not sure what the answer is. It’s clear the situation will get worse as climate change accelerates.

          I’m thinking back to the privatized dorms built in my university town. The local powers that be made it much harder for small landlords to take in students, in order to maximize the market for the privatized dorms. These dorms are, of course, owned by private equity, so all the profits go out of state, and don’t stay in the town. During the construction, all the trades work was done by contractors brought in for the purpose who lived in trailers on site and didn’t go out much. That screams undocumented immigrants, to me. (So far as I can tell, the only money that stayed local was the asphalt work for the parking lots and the ingress and egress.) And our local plumbers and electricians and carpenters could sure have used the work, especially since the small landlords now have less money to pay them. So, successful labor arbitrage performed by private equity to the detriment of my own town. (The privatized dorms are also hell-holes, but that’s another story.)

          So when I hear “open borders” — and I don’t see a way in the general case to separate “asylum” from “economic migration,” because people’s families come first, rightly, and migrants are going to say what they need to say — without any discussion of labor arbitrage, it feels to me like the same scam that the neoliberals ran when they deindustrialized my state and sent the work overseas: “The economy” will do better, on the average. Plus, think of all the Chinese peasants who will have better lives! And f*ck never mind the cities and towns and the working people where the impact was hidden in the averages and whose communities were destroyed (leading to tens of thousands of deaths of despair, I might add).

          Now, if I was hearing “open borders” combined with some acknowledgement of labor arbitrage combined some kind of compensation for U.S. citizens impacted — something economists, 40 years later, are now dimly aware might have been a good thing when we deindustrialized, because a lot of U.S. citizens wouldn’t have died — I might be much more willing to listen to the open borders crowd. But I don’t hear any of that. So far as I can tell, it’s an effort to guilt-trip me into, er, voting against my own economic interests (and my interests include the people who are my own hostages to fortune). Why would anybody do that?

          1. marym

            I can’t dispute much of your perspective, but I just don’t see closing the borders as a path to stopping the ravages of capitalism any more than opening them to capital and labor is a path to whatever the neolibs claim about averages and Chinese workers and markets.

            To put it in similar terms: Now, if I was hearing “closed (or at least “further restrictions at the) borders” combined with some acknowledgement of work that needs to be done to benefit our communities, fair labor practices like a living wage and safe working conditions, combined with some kind of compensation for U.S. predations in other countries…

            All that is the opposite of what the closed borders, and the neoliberal side of the open borders contingent want, and their virulent or polite versions of racism make it all worse and more dangerous. We need to fight the whole package. I don’t know how to do it or even to talk about it.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think the premises about justice and morality used by the AbolishICE people culminate in advocating open borders if you follow the logic through to the end. If you don’t accept that the avowed purpose of a nation-state is, however imperfectly, to, er, privilege its citizens, then I don’t see what a nation-state is for, and you might as well have free movement of labor as well as free movement of capital.* Snow Crash is an excellent example of an open borders world, BTW.

        The administration’s immigration and enforcement policies are openly, evenly gleefully, repellent. Which contrasts to the previous administration’s, which laid the groundwork for the current administration’s policies while being much more well-spoken about it. Part of the problem is that when we were in the world of “Give me your tired, your poor”, the United States was growing rapidly. Now things are much more a zero sum game. Should there be borders? Should there even be immigration enforcement?

        NOTE * I’ve actually heard the argument made that since the movement of capital is free, the movement of labor should also be free. From the putative left!

  14. marym

    Voter applications said to be missing in Georgia

    Fears of voter suppression were again ignited in Georgia on Thursday after state Democratic officials said that more than 4,700 vote-by-mail applications were missing in DeKalb County, one of Georgia’s most populous and liberal-leaning regions.

    County officials acknowledged the missing applications in a phone conversation this week with Democratic voter protection officials, and pledged to call the thousands of voters to inform them of the error, according to multiple people familiar with the conversation.

    Georgia Democrat @GeorgiaDemocrat

    UPDATE: Of the 4,700 ballot requests, the county board has only been able to find 48 of them. While this is unfortunate, our priority is that every eligible vote is cast and counted. If you have not received your ballot please call the voter protection hotline at 1-888-730-5816.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are like 6 Democrat county commissioners to one Republican, in this liberal-leaning region.

      Is it just due to simple errors, or some nefarious deeds (‘fears of voter suppression…ignited’) unknown to the county commissioners in charge?

      “…to inform them of the error.”

      1. Procopius

        Does not compute. If the applications are missing, how do they know who to call to tell them their application is missing?

  15. Phacops

    Re: . . . but I wish so many HDR photos didn’t look like fake CGI. Am I being harsh?

    No you aren’t. Of course the human eye perceives details, even in situations of high dynamic range, that are not captured in any single image, but using HDR processing to provide a simulacrum of sight comes out as forced and inauthentic; just like oversaturating color to a clowinsh degree by people unclear about the art of photography.

    Working with RAW files, one makes artistic decisions. But, I like to tweak things to a more naturalistic impression of the moment. But then, I still use film in my Stereo Realist and even in situations of high dynamic range I can usually compress the ev between highlights and the darkest tones quite well. (and, with any stereo camera one does not merely point and shoot).

  16. allan

    Just in time for Halloween: Karl Rove Verified account @KarlRove:

    Proud to launch my first-ever @masterclass in partnership with @davidaxelrod. Together, we’ll be sharing our experience on how to get involved in politics at any level and build successful campaigns.
    Join me: http://www.masterclass.com/axelrodrove

    I’m old enough to remember when some blogger referred to David Axelrod as Axelrove.
    Little did we know that Axelrodrove someday would be a thing.

    File under MasterClass Warfare.

  17. ewmayer

    o “International Trade in Goods, September 2018: “Whatever the early effects of tariffs may be, the nation’s trade picture deteriorated noticeably in the third quarter” [Econoday]. “Goods imports surged…” — could the surge be a wave of stocking up in advance of the next big set of tariffs kicking in? It would be really useful to see articles such as this do a sectorial breakdown to see whether the ‘surge’ is so correlated or not.

    o “Pending Home Sales Index, September 2018: “There’s finally some good news coming out of the housing sector. Pending sales of existing homes rose” [Econoday]” — Toss out the usual seasonally-adjusted MoM BS figures and the YoY decline remains, so this piece of NAR shillery falls into the “lies damned lies, and statistics” category.

    o Shipping: “The International Maritime Organization sessions on antipollution efforts are starting in London with pressure rising from the U.S. and other nations to soften the rollout of new sulfur-emissions restrictions” [Wall Street Journal] — I have a fabulous antipollution idea in this regard, it’s called “reshoring”.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have an idea about how Tester might be able to humiliate Rosendale in a debate if they have one.

    Tester could use his “introductory remarks” to say something like . . . before we get to the debate, I wonder if you could help me neighbor-to-neighbor with a problem I’ve been having.
    I know you’re a rancher so I figure you can help me with THIS . . . ( describe some disease or condition of livestock which any experienced rancher could help with) . . . . soooo . . . what have you done when YOU have that problem with YOUR livestock? By the way, I’ve got chinch bugs in my winter wheat. Can you give me some advice on that?”

    If Rosendale’s “ranching” experience is all hat and no cattle, Tester should be able to shut Rosendale right up and shut Rosendale right down with a lead-in like that.

  19. Olga

    The nifty “turn-out” map tells you exactly why Texas is not so much a red state, as it is a non-voter-turn-out state. Many people simply don’t vote – particularly Hispanics: notice the Valley!

  20. allan

    From Saipan Ravaged by Yutu: Photos and a First-Hand Account [Bob Henson @ Weather Underground]

    U.S. onslaught: Five Category 4 or 5 landfalls in just 14 months

    Yutu is the latest in a string of very powerful tropical cyclones that have struck the U.S. and its territories since August 2017. As catalogued by Chris Dolce at weather.com, these include:

    • Hurricane Harvey (August 2017), Category 4 at landfall, peak landfall winds 130 mph

    • Hurricane Irma (September 2017), Category 4 at landfall, peak landfall winds 130 mph

    • Hurricane Maria (September 2017), Category 4 at landfall, peak landfall winds 155 mph

    • Hurricane Michael (October 2018), Category 4 at landfall, peak landfall winds 155 mph

    • Super Typhoon Yutu (October 2018), Category 5 at landfall, peak landfall winds 180 mph

    It’s amazing to think that just a couple of years ago, there was much discussion about a U.S. “drought” in major hurricanes. There had been no Category 3 or stronger landfalls on any U.S. state or territory in the entire period of almost 12 years between Wilma (October 2005, Florida) and Harvey (August 2017, Texas). Experts stressed that the relative calm on the coastlines was mainly due to fortuitous steering currents, as the Atlantic was still producing plenty of major hurricanes that happened to be steered away from U.S. shores. A 2015 study in Geophysical Research Letters found that a nine-year “drought” in landfalling U.S. major hurricanes could be expected every 177 years—unusual but far from inconceivable. …

    Much discussion. Can’t imagine by whom.
    The first rule of Climate Denialism Fight Club is to cherry pick weather statistics and hope that by the time
    the Law of Large Numbers and the Central Limit Theorem kick in, IBG,YBG.

  21. emorej a hong kong

    Buried Orwellian curtain-slip:

    transportation equipment and with it the gain for defense aircraft

    … or is this justified because defense aircraft do transport things like: troops; bombs; destruction; death; and flag-draped bodies?

  22. The Rev Kev

    Would it be too late to mention with Warren and the DNA test that it should have been Nikki Haley that challenged him by saying that she could claim Indian ancestry and was willing to take a DNA test to prove it?

  23. Big Tap

    Nikki Haley was making jokes recently at Elizabeth Warren’s expense. That is her nature to be vulgar and base. Warren did prove albeit very minutely that she is an (American) Indian whatever that’s defined as these days. Don’t remember Warren stating what generation it was.


    1. Harold

      Warren proved that she had Indian ancestry in the person of her great-great grandfather (I think it was), using both the DNA test and family documentation, oral and paper. None of us shares a big percentage of DNA from our great-great grandfather (Indian, Irish, or whatever), or even our grandfathers, because there are so many intervening people contributing DNA in between. But they are still our great grandfathers. Warren is also related as 4th cousin (or whatever) of all her great-great grandfather’s other direct descendants. People should really try to understand this, and stop piling on. DNA tests are not pseudo-science as some are trying to maintain. They are based on probability, but so is all other science.

      My great grandfather and grandmother were Irish. The Irish government allows people to claim dual citizenship if a person’s grand parents but not great-grandparents, were Irish, so I have been told), so I am one generation away from being able to claim Irish citizenship. But my father could have. It is arbitrary, yes, in the sense that it is political decision, not a scientific one.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Warren proved that she had Indian ancestry in the person of her great-great grandfather

        You don’t get to me a Cherokee unless the Cherokee nation says you are. It hasn’t said that for Warren, so she isn’t a Cherokee. That’s what was so offensive about Warren’s “one drop of blood” DNA test; it reinforced a conception of tribal membership that the tribes reject. I grant that isn’t the case for the family documentation, but doing the DNA test was just wrong. Foolish, too, because you don’t mess with the tribes.

        1. blennylips

          > [not] Cherokee unless the Cherokee nation says you are

          Hooy boy, therein lays a tale of endless complications, especially when comparing and contrasting the USAian vs Canadian experience.

          Let Thomas King, who is of Cherokee descent, be your guide in this delightfully confounding book:

          The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America

          by Thomas King
          WINNER of the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize

          The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history—in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.

          (chapter 4)

          growing up in rural Alberta
          in a town with fewer Indians
          than ideas about Indians
          —Marilyn Dumont, A Really Good Brown Girl

          IF NORTH AMERICA doesn’t like Live Indians and it doesn’t like Legal Indians, why doesn’t the military-political-corporate complex just kill us off? I know this question sounds melodramatic and absurd, but I’ve been to rallies, marches, and protests where some clever wit has shouted out from the crowd, “We should have killed all you [expletives deleted] Indians, when we had the chance.” I’d like to believe that this kind of remark is just the huffing and puffing of bigoted buffoonery. But I’ve heard it too many times. Such sentiments may not be the rule, but neither are they the exception.

      2. ewmayer

        The DNA result mentioned an autochthonous (my personal “improve your vocabulary!” word of the day :) ancestor 6-10 generations back, which I believe translates to no more recently than a great-great-great-great-grandparent, and perhaps as distant as great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent. Translated into genetic admixture percentages, that’s roughly in the 0.1-1% range, IOW essentially negligible. By way of comparison, people of Eurasian descent have 1-2% Neanderthal DNA admixture, and hey, while I admit to ‘acting like a caveman’ on occasion…

        None of which would matter had she not used her alleged tribal affiliation as a career and resume-boosting device.

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