2:00PM Water Cooler 11/19/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“Maersk planning for tariffs to hit hard in 2019” [Supply Chain Dive]. “A.P. Moller – Maersk expects tariffs to take a bite out of the ocean shipping industry in 2019, according to executives on a recent earnings call. The carrier will meet this contraction by ‘rightsizing’ its capacity on the Pacific routes out of the U.S. — a process that has already begun, according to Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Clerc, since West Coast ports are already forecasting a slowdown in the new year.”

“How the Midterm Election Affects the Fate of NAFTA Renegotiations” [Lori Wallach, Public Citizen]. “A lot of corporate lobbyists and congressional Republicans were downright scornful of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s efforts to engage on NAFTA renegotiation with the congressional Democrats and unions that have opposed past trade deals. Now his approach appears prescient: After this election, only trade deals that can earn Democratic support will get through Congress. Regardless of the change in control of the House, there is a path to creating a final NAFTA package that could achieve broad support. In response to publication of the NAFTA 2.0 text, congressional Democrats that have opposed past pacts did not launch a campaign against it, but rather identified where progress was made and where more work is essential….”

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

2020

“It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map” [Inside Elections]. Yes, it is. “The next class of senators was last elected in 2014 — a great midterm year for Republicans in which they gained nine seats. But the consequence of having a good year in the Senate is having to defend those seats six years later. Republicans will be playing more defense next cycle, defending at least 21 Senate seats while Democrats will be defending 12 — the opposite dynamic from this cycle.”

“Former Vice President Joe Biden adopts adorable shelter dog” [ABC30]. • He’s running. Or he wants a friend in Washington…

Trump is genuinely unpopular:

Which doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a formidable opponent for the sort of candidate the Democrat establishment woud prefer…

Please Kill Me Now

“Beto O’Rourke blows up the 2020 Democratic primary” [Politico]. “‘All the guy would have to do is send out an email to his fundraising base … and he raises $30 million,’ the bundler said. ‘That has totally changed the landscape for the Tier 1 guys, because now Bernie and Warren, now they have competition. It completely changes the game if Beto runs. And he should run … He’s Barack Obama, but white.'” • So we’re not going to prosecute any bankers again?

2018

FL: “Brenda Snipes submits resignation as Broward elections supervisor” [Orlando Sun-Sentinel]. “Just hours after finishing a tumultuous election recount, Broward Supervisor of Elections [Democrat] Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation, ending a 15-year tenure full of botched elections, legal disputes and blistering criticism… Most serious was a circuit judge’s ruling earlier this year that her office violated state and federal law by destroying ballots from the 2016 primary election too early. She authorized the ballot destruction 12 months after the primary, instead of waiting 22 months as required. The ballot destruction took place while the ballots were the subject of a public records lawsuit from a losing candidate seeking to inspect the documents.”

GA Secretary of State: “Most Important Race in Georgia May Not Be the Governor’s Race” [Courthouse News]. Candidates are Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow. “The candidate who takes over Kemp’s post as secretary of state will immediately step into a position of enormous power over the state’s electoral systems. The new secretary of state will control Georgia’s voter registration database, oversee any voter purges that take place, and assume responsibility for replacing the state’s outdated voting machines.”

2018 Post Mortems

FL: “In year of Democratic hopes, GOP comes out on top in Florida” [Associated Press]. “”Although nobody wanted to be governor more than me, this was not just about an election cycle,’ said [Andrew Gillum,] the 39-year-old Tallahassee mayor. This was about creating the type of change in this state that really allows for the voices of everyday people to show up again in our government, in our state, and in our communities. We know that this fight continues.'” • Hmm… “Every day people”… sounds like “everyday Americans.” Floridians, am I being unfair when I think that the more I hear Gillum, the mushier he gets?

GA Governor: “Why Democrats Should Not Call the Georgia Governor’s Race “Stolen”” [Slate]. “[F]or three reasons, Democrats should stop with the rhetoric that the race was ‘stolen,’ as Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, has said, and they should not follow the lead of Kemp’s Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams, who repeatedly refused to acknowledge Kemp as the ‘legitimate’ winner of the election when questioned Sunday by CNN’s Jake Tapper. First, rhetoric about stolen elections feeds a growing cycle of mistrust and delegitimization of the election process… Second, the rhetoric about a stolen election is unproven… Saying Kemp tried to suppress Democratic votes and saying the election was stolen are two different things… This ties in with the third and final problem I see with ‘stolen election’ rhetoric: It focuses attention on the wrong question: whether there was enough suppression to change election outcomes…. Rather than questioning the election’s legitimacy or making uprovable claims of stolen elections, Democrats should focus their efforts into doing whatever is possible to prevent voter suppression and incompetence in the upcoming 2020 elections.” • The problem here is that Democrats have a proven history of rolling over when there’s a prima facie case for election theft (see Florida 2000). That feeds public mistrust too, and has for years. Next, I think the case that Kemp stole Georgia 2018 can be proved (see here). Finally, without a narrative of actual voter suppression, how do “efforts” to prevent voter suppression build up a head of steam?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Backs Effort to Unseat Fellow Democrats” [Daily Beast]. “‘The problem of money in politics is bipartisan,’ she continued, calling in from her Bronx apartment. ‘It is systemic. It is not personal. It’s not about an individual being a bad leader. It’s about how we allow a corrupting system to really influence the most powerful positions of policymaking.'” • Stop making sense.

Another brilliancy prize for AOC:

Concrete material benefits:

“Calling Out Racist Voters Is Satisfying. But It Comes at a Political Cost’ [Briahna Gray, The Intercept]. Well worth a read. I’ll pull out the Sanders quote that got liberal knickers in a twist: “There are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist, who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their life about, you know, whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American.” IMNSHO, Sanders was talking about implicit bias, and was 100% correct to say that’s not the same as racism. And Gray points out the political reality: “At 72 percent of the country, white Americans are still a necessary part of any political coalition.” Maybe weaponizing racist smears isn’t the best move for liberals? (See Adolph Reed for the class interests at play in “race reductionism.”

“Electoral Competition under Best-Worst Voting Rules” (PDF) [Dodge Cahan and Arkadii Slinko (TF)]. “Describing the equilibrium properties of different voting systems is an important

task for several reasons.” • That’s all I can tell ya. TF summarizes: “Link to a technical paper but which has readable sections and conclusions showing how most-minus-least voting could help eliminate extremist candidates whilst not necessarily electing middle-ground nobodies. (NB although I have never worked on such voting, I co-authored many key papers in the more general area of ‘best-worst scaling’; personally I and collaborators disagree with the article authors in giving ‘lower weight’ to a voter’s ‘least liked’ choice…it is less intuitive to voters to do that and IMHO would worry them that populists were being favoured via “higher weights” on “most preferred” choices).”

Stats Watch

Housing Market Index, November 2018: “This is no misprint. The housing market index has suddenly buckled lower, falling… in November for the lowest score since August 2016. Rising mortgage rates are a major factor behind the unexpected plunge” [Econoday]. “This is no misprint. The housing market index has suddenly buckled lower, falling 8 points to 60 in November for the lowest score since August 2016. Rising mortgage rates are a major factor behind the unexpected plunge.” And: “The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 60 in November, down from 68 in October. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor” [Calculated Risk]. “This was well below the consensus forecast, but still a decent reading.” • Mr. Market seems not to agree.

E-Commerce Retail Sales, Q3 2018: “Despite the slowing, e-commerce sales are far outpacing total retail sales” [Econoday]. “As a percentage of total retail sales, third-quarter e-commerce rose 2 tenths to 9.8 percent.”

Debt: “Households remain far less in debt than they were during the recession” [MarketWatch]. “The New York Fed on Friday released its third-quarter household and credit report, and comparing the aggregate household debt balance to the Commerce Department’s disposable personal income shows that the ratio rose slightly, to 86.54% from 86% at the end of the second quarter. Those numbers are well below the peak of 116.3%, reached just as the U.S. had entered a recession in the first quarter of 2008.”

Public Utilities: “PG&E Shares Stumble Again on Report of Second Incident Prior to Camp Fire” [247 Wall Street]. “In a press release describing the company’s efforts at restoring electrical power to customers, PG&E subsidiary Pacific Gas & Electric Company referred to ‘an additional initial electric incident report’ filed with the CPUC… Friday’s share price recovery followed comments by CPUC president Michael Picker who said the commission ‘doesn’t want PG&E to go into bankruptcy.’ Picker’s comments were interpreted to mean the commission would figure out a way to allow PG&E to issue state-authorized bonds to meet potential claims from the Camp Fire.”

Transportation: “Volkswagen AG will put nearly a third of the $150 billion it is investing over the next five years toward the development of electric cars, self-driving vehicles and digital services” [Wall Street Journal]. “Volkswagen’s budget underscores the challenge posed by technology, as electric vehicles are set to go mainstream and self-driving cars get closer hitting the streets. That’s triggering upheaval in automotive supply chains as tech companies move into the sector and the cost of new technologies pushes conventional auto makers to cooperate with competitors. Volkswagen plans to build 16 electric-vehicle factories world-wide, largely by converting existing plants, and acquire battery capacity to build millions of electric vehicles. That will push expansion of the charging infrastructure that could spur moves toward electric trucks.”

The Bezzle: “How Elon Musk might make $920 million in Tesla debt go away” [Los Angeles Times]. In a midget sub? More: “The debt is in the form of convertible bonds, a kind of instrument that can be converted into shares of Tesla stock under certain conditions. If conditions are met, and all bondholders convert, Tesla would suddenly gain $920 million worth of much-needed financial flexibility. To spark a conversion, Tesla needs to boost its stock price to $359.87 or higher at some point in the three-month period between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28. The higher the price goes, the more likely holders will convert. A successful conversion would go a long way toward helping Tesla meet Chief Executive Elon Musk’s bold financial goals.”

The Bezzle: “Battery and design woes continue to torment e-scooter startup Lime” [Freight Waves]. “E-scooter startup Lime is having problems with vehicles catching fire – a problem it attributes to the batteries produced by Ninebot. It also is hearing complaints of bikes breaking down, which it figures is a design flaw of all Okai-manufactured vehicles, leading to a mass recalls on the said bikes.” • Picking up Elon’s mad manfacturing skillz?

The Bezzle: “Carlos Ghosn arrested and faces ousting at Nissan” [Financial Times]. “Carlos Ghosn has been arrested and is set to be ousted as chairman of Nissan…. Marking an abrupt downfall for one of the most powerful executives in the global motor industry, Nissan issued a statement on Monday saying an internal investigation had revealed that Mr Ghosn had understated his income over many years…. It also accused Mr Ghosn and another director, Greg Kelly, of misdirecting the company’s investment and using company expenses for personal use.” • Arrested? For what?!

Tech: “Apple CEO Tim Cook calls new regulations ‘inevitable'” [Axios]. Cook: “Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation. I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation. I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.” • Silly me, I thought this was an article instead of a teaser for Axios’ HBO interview with Cook. What’s to be regulated? What “something” will be passed?

Rapture Index: Closes down 1 on earthquakes. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 180. Testing whether 180 is a floor.

Gaia

“Wealth cannot save you from climate change” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “The bedrock reality here is that wealth is a claim on the material resources that are still socially developed. Money gives you power over other people — the ability to buy goods and services that others work to create. If those other people are harmed badly enough, that wealth could easily evaporate into nothing.”

“The Damaging Myth of Individual Culpability” [Data for Progress]. “The magnitude of change necessary to halt global warming in the next decade demands nothing short of a revolution in how countries consume resources, especially the United States. The US finds itself at or near the top of any list calculating contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions: cumulative, current, per capita, or consumption-based. The suggestion that the US tops these lists as a result of individual failures to make sustainable choices reveals a willful ignorance of the policies and power interests pushing carbon-intensive lifestyles. Focusing on the role of individual choices distracts from the true potential for change, which lies in policies that allow for, incentivize, or require lower-carbon behaviors. tPresently in the United States, a large proportion of CO2 emissions comes from electricity production and transportation. Lists of ways to fight climate change miss the critical fact that individuals cannot, on their own, build wind turbines, close coal power plants, protect carbon-absorbing forests, or expand subway systems. These actions require government policy and investment. • No duh!

“Italy’s olive crisis intensifies as deadly tree disease spreads” [Nature]. “The original containment plan required infected trees to be uprooted and destroyed, as well as the destruction of apparently healthy trees surrounding them. It also mandated the spraying of insecticides to control spittlebugs, which transfer the bacteria between trees. But environmentalists and some farmers have objected to these practices, and some have claimed that the containment measures were based on false science, inflaming tensions with researchers trying to understand and track the disease. Politicians have wavered over whom to please, and the activities have often been stopped by protests and court cases. Some trees identified as infected through monitoring activities earlier this year have remained standing.”

Health Care

“Medicare for All Turned Out to Be a Winning Issue in the Midterms” [Slate]. “So how did those Medicare for all–touting congressional hopefuls fare in the midterms? It depends a bit on how you crunch the numbers, but the short answer is: pretty darn good! As of Thursday, these progressives appear to have flipped nine congressional seats from red to blue and were still hanging on in another such race, Texas’ 23rd, where Gina Ortiz Jones trails Rep. Will Hurd by a fraction of a percentage point in an election that remains too close to call. When all the votes are counted, then, they should account for either nine or 10 of the 36 to 42 seats Democrats will have picked up in the midterms.”

“How Did Medicare for All Candidates Fare in the Midterms?” [Splinter News]. “This year, a majority of House Democratic candidates endorsed Medicare for All, according to the union National Nurses United. If you had told me in 2014, or even 2016, that this would happen, I would have frowned at you, walked away, and possibly tried to contact someone who cares about you out of concern for your mental health. This was pretty damn huge. There are plenty of caveats to that astounding figure. Saying you’ll support Medicare for All is a different thing than actually doing so at a time when Democrats control Congress and could feasibly pursue that policy agenda…. This year, a majority of House Democratic candidates endorsed Medicare for All, according to the union National Nurses United. If you had told me in 2014, or even 2016, that this would happen, I would have frowned at you, walked away, and possibly tried to contact someone who cares about you out of concern for your mental health. This was pretty damn huge. There are plenty of caveats to that astounding figure. Saying you’ll support Medicare for All is a different thing than actually doing so at a time when Democrats control Congress and could feasibly pursue that policy agenda.”

Net Neutrality

“Editorial: Internet Bill of Rights deserves tech industry support” [San Jose Mercury-News]. “The tech industry should throw its full support behind Bay Area Congressman Ro Khanna’s Internet Bill of Rights proposal, which would end the United States’ distinction as the only major developed nation without fundamental online user protections…. 6) To access and use the internet without internet service providers blocking, throttling, engaging in paid prioritization, or otherwise unfairly favoring content, applications, services, or devices.” • And nine other points. Worth a look.

Militia Watch

“39 suspected gang members charged in major drug, gun trafficking investigation in Pasco” [WFTA (Tampa Bay)]. “We’re learning about the nearly 40 gang members cuffed and jailed in a big investigation unfolding in the Tampa Bay area… They say the suspects are part of the Unforgiven and United Aryan Brotherhood prison gangs working mostly out of Pasco County. But most stunning of all is the amount of guns authorities confiscated including a rocket launcher and pipe bombs.” • Actually, I’m not sure that, despite the name. Aryan Brotherhood is a militia. But let’s hope they don’t get any ideas…

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Closing the Racial Wealth Gap: A Conversation” [Belt Magazine]. “The real estate business as a whole has explicitly kept Black and brown families down. Even though we are repairing credit and finding employment and getting families prepared, we have way too many homes vacant in our community. The value of our homes is almost flat, while in other areas of the city the value of the home increases. The whole appraisal and valuation of the homes in our community are impediments and stacked against us. Additionally, some seniors have beautiful brick bungalows, two-flats and three-flats. We’re having to take out a second mortgage or refinance, and it’s not to invest in something else. Our money often is used to hire a lawyer to address our son’s or grandson’s issue with the criminal justice system. Or it can be something as simple as a parking ticket or a red light violation. (Note: A ProPublic Illinois investigation this year showed how motorist ticket debt is disproportionately driving Black Chicagoans into bankruptcy.)” • Class experienced through race.

Class Warfare

“Constitutional Law 101: A Primer for the Law and Political Economy blog” [Law & Political Economy]. “First, constitutional law is fundamentally a project of state-building, a battle over the core question of who governs. Call this ‘the structural constitution’…. A second key theme is the battle for inclusion, the contestation over the scope and meaning of ‘We the People’, in whose name the Constitution functions. Call this ‘the substantive constitution.’…. one abiding lesson is that structural holdings are shaped by and emerge from concrete historical and political conflicts with immediate stakes. For example, a preference for state over federal power could in some contexts be a proxy for reallocating power away from constituencies pushing for more egalitarian and inclusionary policies. But at the same time, structural holdings are reversible: those inferences are historically contingent.” • Part one of a series; more to come.

“Can Paying for the Poor to Have Lawyers Actually Save a City Money?” [Governing]. “[T]he city could save $45.2 million each year with an annual investment of $3.5 million in services for low-income renters, according to a recent report commissioned by the Philadelphia Bar Association. Right now the city spends $800,000 to pay for legal services for people facing eviction as well as financial counseling for low-income tenants. That money also funds tenants’ rights education and outreach, plus a legal center that helps resolve landlord-tenant disputes. It’s a pilot program in its second year. Ramping up the program to $3.5 million would allow Philadelphia to assist more than 14,000 residents, compared to 4,400 now.” • I don’t know what’s come over Philly. First Larry Krasner. Now this.

“Labor’s Real Innovators Will Come from the Ranks, Not the Corporate World” [Labor Notes]. “”Put your faith in the rank and file” was the advice that famed longshore union organizer Harry Bridges used to give. But instead of turning to union members for the bold ideas we need, some labor leaders are taking cues from the corporate world. Take the Service Employees (SEIU), which recently posted a job for an ‘Innovation Specialist.’ What would such a specialist do? It’s impossible to tell from the posting, a garble of buzzwords that reads like a Silicon Valley venture capitalist’s TED talk. For instance: ‘The Innovation Specialist will train and guide teams in the use of innovation methods, tools, and practices to enable staff in SEIU’s locals and in its International Union to innovate systematically with method and rigor.’ No labor-movement experience is required. Instead applicants must have a ‘working knowledge of innovation methodologies,’ including the tech world’s version of lean production.” • Yikes…

News of the Wired

“What the heck is going on with measures of programming language popularity?” [TechCrunch]. “According to GitHub’s 2016 and 2017 reports, the world’s most popular programming language, by a considerable distance, is Javascript. Python is second. Java is third, and Ruby a close fourth…. These statistics do actually matter, beyond being an entertaining curiosity and/or snapshot of the industry. Languages aren’t all-important, but they’re not irrelevant either. People determine what languages to study, and sometimes even what jobs to seek and accept, based on their popularity and their (related) projected future value. So it’s a little upsetting that these three measures are so starkly, radically different. Sadly, though, we seem to still be stuck with tea leaves rather than hard numbers.” • Where’s SNOBOL?

“Post-REST” [Tim Bray]. “But I bet that for the fore­see­able fu­ture, a high pro­por­tion of all re­quests to ser­vices are go­ing to have (ap­prox­i­mate­ly) HTTP se­man­tic­s, and that for most con­trol planes and quite a few da­ta planes, REST still pro­vides a good clean way to de­com­pose com­pli­cat­ed prob­lem­s, and its ex­treme sim­plic­i­ty and re­silience will mean that if you want to de­sign net­worked app­s, you’re still go­ing to have to learn that way of think­ing about things.”

“Brainwaves Encode the Grammar of Human Language” [Nautilus]. “In this exciting age of the brain, where we know more about our brains than ever before, being able to link basic experiences like speaking and understanding language directly to brain function is especially important. Linking our brains to our behaviors holds the key to understanding not only what it means to be human, but also to understanding how the (arguably) most complex computing device in the universe, the human brain, gives rise to our daily experiences.” • Yes, and just think what the Marketing Department can do when it gets its hands on this. Also, Human Resources.

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “Sorry, can’t think of anything to say about this picture that isn’t obvious.”

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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.

124 comments

  1. ChiGal in Carolina

    May be obvious, but lovely yellow roses.

    This has been on my mind for a while now, but I always forget to mention it at a time when I think people will see it:

    It’s been a while since I saw a comment from FresnoDan.

    Did I miss something?

    Reply
  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    He’s Barack Obama, but white.

    Ah…pointless then. I imagine this comes from the Democratic strategists who created the Bernie Bro narrative as a means of preventing people from hearing it and then started to believe it.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        The only time that it was ever a good idea to take political advice from a comedian was during medieval times with the official Court Fool.

        Reply
    1. Annotherone

      Agreed.
      “He’s Barack Obama, but white.”
      The same could be said about some others whose names are being thrown around as potential 2020 candidates – leaving out the colour reference – which ought to have been left out anyway! At this stage of the 2007/8 game Obama must have seemed like a wonderful potential candidate – said all the right things, looked good, exhibited charisma. We can’t know whether O’Rourke, or any other potential candidate who is sounding good now, would turn out in the same hugely disappointing way. But, we’ve got to have hope, otherwise, what is there?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        At this stage of the 2007/8 game Obama must have seemed like a wonderful potential candidate

        He had more potential than HRC, but at this point, lets see:

        -sought out Joe Lieberman to be his Senate mentor.
        -campaigned for Holy Joe.
        -spouted banality. I’m sorry “soaring rhetoric” that no one ever seems to recall. It was just so lofty!
        -despite increasing problems with wealth inequality, Obama’s main claim to fame was a speech which inverted a message by John Edwards about Two Americas and the dangers of our rapidly declining system.

        We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. How about that stupid war in Iraq?

        I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

        I’m sorry, but he was just so damn dull and pointless.

        Reply
    2. kurtismayfield

      So he has a center right economic policy, never saw a Mid East war that he didn’t like, and has a sprinkling of identity politics tossed in. Sign up all the suburban soccer moms!

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        to be fair, if decidedly not apologetic…his congressional district includes Fort Bliss…which is a huge economic engine for the El Paso area, and everything trailing off out into the desert.
        so all his votes relating to MIC come with enormous pressure.
        on the other hand…down in San Antone(another big military town), Gina Ortiz Jones(running against the odious will hurd) has been catching flack from the get go(in horribly produced ads) for being open to another round of BRAC(scary music:” she wants to destroy the san antonio economy and hates your children!!!!!”[images of worried children with running(presumably) Mexican Immigrants chironed over])
        as near as I can tell, she’s stuck to her guns on this.
        As someone who would like to see a…ahem…somewhat smaller US military footprint on this old world, I think maybe replacing those jobs with the Green New Deal might make a little bit of differences…if the dems can overcome the scary goptea ads.
        (the ads I’ve seen look like cheap twilight zone imitations…all noir and melodramatic..at least until Hurd appears…then it’s color film and flowers and children frolicking and sweet angelic music.
        Target audience appears to be retired military or military contractor. there’s a great many of this demographic out my way, too(especially Kerrville)

        Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            lol. I no longer frequent bars.
            but i can identify them by their manner and carriage(and haircuts, generally)
            It’s weird going to Kerrville…30+ years ago, it was still a hippy kind of place, now it’s full of ex mil…Korea and Nam, mostly…washing their rv’s and boats next to perfectly manicured lawns. giant flags at half staff when appropriate…and burned with great ceremony when they become bleached and frayed.
            I don’t generally wade into politics, there.

            Reply
    3. Richard

      I knew there was a reason I mistrusted him! Thanks, Politico!
      That is not as appealing as they think it is, as they will find out.
      I dunno, I’ve heard this guy speak only a couple times, but nothing ever seems to come out totally straight. At least policywise, and that’s all I care about. Beto seems to evoke this “mood” in people who are not very awake, which 100% leads to pointless drivel. Give them no encouragement whatsoever.

      Reply
    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > this comes from the Democratic strategists who created the Bernie Bro narrative

      Different factions. This dude is a bundler, not a strategist. IIRC, the “Bernie Bro” narrative originated at Slate (?), and was then opportunistically seized on and amplified by the Amanda Marcotte axis over at Salon. From there, the smear metastasized all over the entire Clinton campaign. The original author repudiated it when he (it was a he) saw what had been done with it.

      So, different factions of the same horrid “blob.”

      Reply
  3. Pat

    I may change my mind after actually reading the article, but I think said bundler and Politico are being overly optimistic about O’Rourke. A lot of folks jumped on the Beto band wagon because “he could beat Ted Cruz!”
    Only he couldn’t.

    This leaves the question of how many really were enchanted with him? Or with the idea of no more Ted? I’m putting my money that the majority of his donors were actually only interested in him as Senator of Texas. I know the intelligentsia and Democratic regulars desperately want a controllable popular candidate, but they still haven’t found what they are looking for. Beto would have to be Mission Impossible Tom Cruise level popular to make it past the early primaries with his sketchy and less than spectacular record and pitch. The only thing that cheers me about this is that apparently not everyone is sold on Kamala yet.

    We’re going to get a lot of those pitches in the next year or so, as they try and try and try to find their front candidate.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Too bad they stifled the 2016 field in their rush to anoint the chosen one otherwise maybe they’d have a few other options with national name recognition beyond Biden, the one whose name must not be mentioned because “he’s not even a democrat”, and some 2018 hopefuls like Beto who lost their state elections.

      The Democrats have about as much long term vision as the stereotypical meth addict. They just care about their next fix (corporate bribe) and have no ability to build a long term strategy. I’m sure that demographic shift will come to the rescue along with all those disaffected moderate Republicans they’ve been betting on for the last few decades to rescue them from their own political incompetence.

      Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      When you articles like that in Politico, it’s the consultant class that runs the DNC pushing the idea. They don’t want to win elections, they just want to fundraise. That’s why you saw the “Beto 2020” theme being pushed before the election was even decided in the midterms. He’s ALREADY a winner for them.

      This one of the lessons that came out of 2016, that I didn’t know: The power of the Dem Party consultants in the DNC and the media. It’s huge. They absolutely boss the party at the top levels, not so much at the lower levels, because there’s not much money there.

      Nomiki Konst, formerly of TYT, did a lot of very good reporting on how the sausage is made.

      Reply
    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Down the page, Joe Kennedy III was mentioned. I forgot that particular Kennedy spawn was all the rage. O’Rourke is just the latest desperate trial balloon. In better economic times, a vapid candidate might slink by, but the absence of substance will be too startling if there isn’t a shield of celebrity. As the internet becomes a more important news source, the television Presidents of the last fifty years will be supplanted by more of a Sanders style candidacy.

      Reply
      1. Phil in KC

        Joe Kennedy III? Isn’t he the red-haired congress lad who said that he kinda likes Medicare For All but that he just doesn’t know how we get to there from our present system? Weak!

        Its called a bill, you arouse support for it, and vote for it. And I might add that it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump would sign such a bill if it could pass in the Senate, Trump being the opportunist that he is.

        Reply
      1. Pat

        Yes, it did. But Obama is double edged sword. In that more than a few people know they got burned when they supported him. Along with tweets like that, there are others that noticed that his ‘positions’ got adjusted depending on the audience. This is now a huge red flag for people who voted for ‘hope and change’ and got neither. You know the people who voted for Obama but in 2016 went for Trump or stayed home.

        While the consultant class and the Democratic elite want the Republican voters, the reason for all the trial balloons is that they have to get past the Democratic voters first. And to do that they really do have to get the selected saviors past the first caucuses and primaries. Sure once those are out of the way, the machine has more options, especially by the convention, but the start has very big stumbling blocks. Blocks I don’t see being amenable to Obama v. 2, Harris, Gillibrand, or the tired Biden or probably every other choice they latch onto.

        Reply
  4. Glen

    SNOBAL! Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in forever!

    Try checking the polls for the least liked programming languages. Last I checked it was VB. I get to wrestle with that mess. I think I’ll convert these to C# if I get the chance.

    Reply
      1. Angie Neer

        Ha-ha! At my college in the mid-80’s, one of the introductory programming courses was taught in APL! Those poor freshman English majors never knew what hit ’em!

        Reply
          1. John

            Forth! I used to write a lot of applications in Forth in the 80s. I implemented a version on DEC RT-11 SJ from a printed description of the language. It was great for its time. This was when you had about 40 kilobytes for your program and 512kB of storage on floppy disks. It was a huge step forward from the Computer Associates minicomputer I used to program in hexadecimal using a hex keypad. Now I use Swift.

            Reply
          2. Procopius

            I remember that I copied a Forth interpreter from a hobbyist magazine (you could do stuff like that in those days — the heart of the interpreter was in assembly language and not very large). I don’t know what I wanted it for, but after playing with it for a few days I realized I had no problems that it would be useful in solving. Interesting language, though. “Computer power to the people!”

            Reply
    1. Howard Beale IV

      I’m one of the greybeards who still has to dive into Assembler (in my case, the latest-n-greatest z/Architecture mainframe) which looks nothing at all like the last generation’s Green-Card assembler.

      SNOBOL has been replaced by ICON by one of the original authors of SNOBOL.

      Reply
  5. Clive

    If Renault-Nissan’s Ghosn got nobbled in Japan for some kind of salary reporting violation (tax evasion is usually behind such scheming) — later coverage firmed up the detail — chances are he almost certainly got too big for his boots and annoyed someone senior in government (possibly even Abe himself, or he annoyed Trump and Donald made a call to Abe).

    The Japanese themselves usually figure out how far they can step out of line and don’t forget which side their bread is buttered.

    I suspect lurking behind all this is the tariff spat. The Japanese will want to make conciliatory noises to the US and most Japanese CEOs will be happy to demonstrate that most delightful of Japan’s cultural heritage — a Kabuki performance of being seen to be Taking The US’ Concerns Very Seriously. Ghost being both French and also probably believing the EU line in how to respond wouldn’t have read the tea leaves properly. Junior samurai in training second grade mistake.

    Reply
    1. Naked Turtle

      He’s not exactly French, but seems to have quite an interesting background. From what I’ve gathered from some brief searches, apparently his grandparents were from Lebanon (on both sides?), but his parents were Brazilian and Nigerian, and he was born in Brazil, then moved to Lebanon as a child, and at some point later to France. So it sounds like he may be a naturalized French citizen, as well as a native Brazilian citizen.

      Reply
  6. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

    FL here. We’re sorry. Snipes bungled the election here, and seems to have had her hand on the scale for the last go-round, when Canova was fighting DWS in the Dem primary. We still can’t get it right.

    As for the current fiasco…

    As awful as DeSantis is, I’m far more worried about the new Senator we managed to elect, straight out of Return of the Living Dead. Scott is pure evil, and views every endeavor as a way to make more money for himself. It’s all good, though, since it’s all in a blind trust, controlled by his wife. Nothing to see here. He should have been put away for the Columbia/HCA Medicare scandal, but we weren’t that lucky. Watch him like a hawk.

    As for Gillum, I was excited at first, but started smelling a rat the instant the establishment folk didn’t proclaim the sky was falling, but instead hailed it as a win for identity politics; this screams of some back-room discussions where he calms them all down and insists he can play ball. By the time cHilldawg came around to stump for him, my enthusiasm was thoroughly soured.

    Welcome to Florida.

    Reply
      1. Fred

        You mean there are going to be more 7 candidate primaries that allow politicians like Gilum to beat politicians like Gwen Graham, daughter of the former governor and seantor who won his 7 way primary when he ran for governor the first time?

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          By ‘If so,’ I meant private positions, secret deals and calming people down in backroom discussions.

          Reply
          1. Jen

            Followed by losing.

            Perhaps we can add “identity politics” to that old saying that almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.

            Reply
    1. Phil in KC

      My understanding is that Snipes was originally appointed to her position in 2003 by Jeb Low Energy Bush and then was elected and re-elected over the course of the last 15 years. However, she could have been removed from her position at any time for misconduct by the governor. So I wonder why her destruction of the 2016 ballots 10 months too early (per state statute) was not enough cause for Scott to remove her? Or was she considered too useful?

      Reply
  7. BoyDownTheLane

    In this latest book Joseph P Farrell examines the subject of mind control, but from a very unusual perspective, showing that its basic underlying philosophy, and goal, is not only cosmological in nature, but that the cosmology in view is very ancient, and that mind control of any sort, from the arts to hypnosis, remote electromagnetic technologies and “electroencephalographic dictionaries” has cosmological implications.

    http://www.lulu.com/shop/joseph-p-farrell/microcosm-and-medium/paperback/product-23733965.html

    https://phibetaiota.net/2018/10/ed-jewett-book-review-microcosm-and-medium-by-joseph-farrell-a-mind-control-prophylactic/

    https://gizadeathstar.com/2018/11/the-ca-fires-strangeness-squared/

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      From the 3rd link: “You may be thinking, OK, what is this old guy smoking here?”

      Yes, that is indeed what I am thinking after plowing through a couple screens’ worth of this X-Files woo-woo. For example, he asks:

      “The question everyone is asking (including myself), is how fires hot enough to burn and melt houses and metal rims in automobiles, can leave nearby trees untouched. One gentleman kindly wrote me and offered the pictures from the fires from Chicago and San Francisco over a hundred years ago as proof that such things can happen naturally, no exotic energy technologies needed. I asked him to post his comment under last week’s blog on the fires, and I don’t know whether he did or not, but I’m grateful nonetheless, for any input on these freakish fires and any data is helpful. Nature is full of surprises, to be sure, and I’ve no doubt there are any number of scientists willing to step forward and offer naturalistic explanations. The trouble is, I’m still not buying; these types of explanations seem to me to have the same gritty feel and malodorous smell that the 9/11 twin towers collapse-by-burning-airplane-fuel have.”

      The LA Times article on the firestorm in today’s Links alas gives an unsatisfactorily mundane physics-based explanation which is clearly an official cover-up of the REAL SCARY WEIRD TRUTH:

      “Wind gusting at 72 mph blew the flames sideways, propelling them house to house so quickly that heat did not have time to bake the leaf canopy of the trees above. Houses incinerated while the trees around them remained unscorched.”

      But hey, my PhD is in fluid dynamics, not “patristics” like that of the strong-stuff-smoking author, so what do I know?

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I once went with a group of people to watch Kirtland’s warblers in the Jack Pine forests of northern Lower Michigan. Parts of them are burned every so often on a rough schedule so the K warblers will always have blocks of 5-15 year old trees with ground scraping lower branches under which the birds can build their hidden unseen nests.

        Here and there among the even-age stands of young Jack pine will be seen a few much taller much older Jack pine trees. How? And why? We were told that if/when the burning fire is arranged just right, it can suck out/ consume all the oxygen from some air just adjacent to the flame front. If any trees happen to be within that temporary no-oxygen-zone, they can’t burn because there is no oxygen to burn them with. So they live on unless/until a different fire later can kill them in place.

        Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Thank you for the kind words.

            I am not a scientist, to be sure. I am just an amateur science buff. This is my best memory of my understanding of what we were told by the tour guide.

            A professional outdoor forest-and-brushland combustionologist could tell us all for sure if my understanding is correct for the Jackpine forests. If it is, it might contain some useful insights for the “open-air blast furnace fires” of California.

            Reply
  8. Oregoncharles

    “Actually, I’m not sure that, despite the name. Aryan Brotherhood is a militia. But let’s hope they don’t get any ideas…”

    The Drug War in Mexico looks an awfully lot like an insurrection, with militias contesting control of whole provinces. So it may not matter whether it “is” a militia; drug gangs can act like one, once they reach a critical mass. Which they were pretty close, from the sound of that bust.

    OTOH, we have to be suspicious of police hype in the drug war.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      How are we defining the word “militia” anyway?
      Does a ‘militia’ have to favour the overthrow of some regional or national government?
      As revolutions down the years have shown, any well armed group of like minded individuals can coalesce to become a militia.
      On a snarky note, it can be argued that the CIA evolved into a state organization with a drug gang attached.

      Reply
  9. allan

    Neel Kashkari and the Minneapolic Fed reporting for duty:

    The Fed’s bank deregulation plan has an opponent: the Minneapolis Fed [Marketwatch]

    A Federal Reserve plan to relax rules on big banks has run into an opponent: one of its own regional banks.

    In a letter, the Minneapolis Fed warns that a new rule meant to bring capital and liquidity rules in line with legislation passed in Congress is “alarming.”

    The regional central bank says that it’s not even a case of a future generation forgetting the mistakes of its parents or grandparents, but “the same generation that made the terrible mistakes in the first place.”

    What the Minneapolis Fed most objects to is the relaxation of liquidity rules, an issue Fed. Gov Lael Brainard has also raised. The Minneapolis Fed cites approvingly Brainard’s contention that the core resiliency of banks with assets between $250 billion and $700 billion — lenders including PNC Financial and Capital One — would be reduced. …

    banks with assets between $250 billion and $700 billion.
    Enough with the left-wing propaganda, Marketwatch.
    On the Senate floor those are fondly referred to as community banks.

    Reply
  10. MM

    China emits 30% of world’s CO2.
    US emits 14%.
    EU emits 10%.
    Why isn’t China the primary focus of plans to reduce emission?

    Reply
    1. XFR

      Because the less oil, coal, and gas China ships in from abroad, the less leverage the U.S.’s control over reserves and shipping lanes gives it over China.

      No sense spending $10,000,000,000,000+ on wars for “veto power” over the industrial world just to toss it all away.

      Reply
        1. XFR

          Not really, the U.S. has pretty considerable clout even in China. China’s push into photovoltaics brought cries of “unfair competition”. And the the U.S. attitude to the country’s high-speed rail expansion was cool-to-hostile until very recently. (And even at that the reaction to the new extension to Hong Kong was downright frosty.)

          Reply
    2. JW

      30%/1.40 billion
      14%/0.33 billion
      10%/0.50 billion

      Which of those three numbers is highest?

      And I’d bet much of that 30% figure can be attributed to US consumption.

      Reply
  11. XFR

    Adolph Reed:

    This refrain is also consistent in two important ways with the reigning ideology of neoliberal equality. First, the insistence that disparities of racial access to power are the most meaningful forms of inequality strongly reinforces the neoliberal view that inequalities generated by capitalist market forces are natural and lie beyond the scope of intervention. And second, if American racism is an intractable, transhistorical force—indeed, an ontological one, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has characterized it—then it lies beyond structural political intervention. In other words, Coates and other race-firsters diminish the significance of the legislative and other institutional victories won since Emancipation, leaving us with only exhortations to individual conversion and repentance as a program.

    [emphasis mine]

    In fact, I’d argue that this sort of categorically defeatist “anti-racism” is really just straight-up white supremacism drenched in crocodile tears. It’s like a woman lamenting “It ought to be a CRIME to be as beautiful as I am!”

    But basically all things “awoke” that came along in the last decade are pretty much the same sort of passive-aggressive ethnocentrism. Whites taking after any predominantly non-white culture is “appropriation” while the reverse is “aspiration”. And Asians ought to be ashamed for competing so successfully against whites and thereby removing themselves from the general struggle of “people of color” against white supremacy–rather than congratulated for striking a blow against it.

    Apparently, you can only be “on the team” so long as you’re losing, start winning and one way or another, you’re “betraying the cause”… gee, why does that sound familiar?

    Reply
    1. knowbuddhau

      Glad you highlighted Reed, I really need to catch up. That Keen link, about energy in production, is another must read I haven’t read.

      Reed’s second argument is also Theodore W. Allen’s conclusion, from 20 years of researching primary sources it says here, on the invention of the white race.

      If it’s natural, then we’re helpless. If it’s invented, as he shows it was, then there’s plenty we can do about it.

      People raised on the mayhem of American Saturday morning TV cartoons: for example, Tom & Jerry; think it’s natural for cats & mice to hate each other. and are thus surprised by photos of two being cuddle buddies.

      People who don’t see an atomized world see four eyes shining from all one being. And you know what? Thou art that. And guess what? That loves that.

      Reply
      1. knowbuddhau

        In case I’m being too obtuse: we’re talking about identity and equality. Astute readers, heads up: that’s an identity equation at the end. One kids I’ve tested it on have no problem getting, without needing a clue how.

        Is it Lambert’s idea, or was he quoting, that identity politics is divide & conquer? Couldn’t agree more. The longer we go on with it, the finer the distinctions, and steeper the divides, between us become.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Apparently, you can only be “on the team” so long as you’re losing, start winning and one way or another, you’re “betraying the cause”… gee, why does that sound familiar?

      Except the people saying that — the “voices” — are themselves winning. Get the logic now? More from that absolutely essential Reed article — which you could read as a summing up or meditation on what was done to Sanders in 2016 — here:

      The freelance black leader—and its more recent, superficially more pluralist incarnation, the black “voice”—is a legacy harking back to the era of massive black disfranchisement at the end of the nineteenth century. It also has drawn considerable staying power from the amorphous concept of “race relations,” according to which, in the judgment of historian Michael R. West in his 2006 study The Education of Booker T. Washington, “blacks and whites—or ‘black America’ and ‘white America’—are basic, indivisible units of political interest. . . . The race relations framework appealed to white elites because it sidestepped the troublesome fact of blacks’ constitutional claims to full and equal citizenship by proposing a focus on the evanescent issue of how the ‘races’ relate as an alternative to matters like denial of rights and equal protection under the law.” West also notes that “interests and aspirations of politicians and ministers, workers and businessmen, parents and teachers would no longer be expressed by way of the normal, if potentially messy, institutional channels through which Americans settled their conflicts and competition. Instead, they would be mediated through the good offices of ‘Negro leaders,’ ever mindful of where their mandate comes from and the requirement placed on them as a first principle ‘to cement the friendship of the two races.’” The warrant to cement the friendship of the races, of course, meant framing racial comity on terms acceptable to the dominant white elites who ratified claims to black leadership and decided which of those claims were “responsible” or “right-thinking.”

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Not sure what the OC was in reference to, but my mind got snagged on your “class experienced through race”. I wanted another formulation, like determined/mediated through

        But is this again insistence on the primary of identity over class and ultimately regressive? As an admirer of the Black socialists and Adolph Reed, who have given me much to think about, my difficulty may show how deep the conditioning runs.

        Or not…

        Reply
  12. Summer

    Re: Climate change and wealth…Ryan Cooper

    Bascially it all winds down to no one left to con or lord over. The belief system that sustains wealth crumbles in these scenarios.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      > “The bedrock reality here is that wealth is a claim on the material resources that are still socially developed.

      socially developed = division of labor

      Basically it all winds down to no one left to hire to do your ‘dirty work’. At that point wealth is represented by the stuff that sustains you instead of ones and zeros on a hard drive.

      Reply
  13. dcblogger

    The phrase Green New Deal is one that Jill Stein and the Green Party has been using for at least 6 years, so those of us who voted for her in 2012 and 2016, this is what we achieved. Medicare for All and the Green New Deal are now mainstream.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For others, we need (also) thse:

      Less (consumption) New Deal…or Less New Deal.

      No (excess consumption) New Deal or No New Deal.

      For recently, every time Global Warming is discussed, I read more and more people mentioning ‘less consumption’ as a way to go.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If enough millions of people in close proximity to eachother help eachother to do all the “less consuming” they can, they will slowly evolve into a behavioral-culture community which may become strong enough and organized enough to support an agenda-driven strike-force movement.

        If all the millions of people in the Consume Less culture-movement see that all their Less Consumption will not solve the problem by itself, they may well find themselves pre-organized enough to be able to use that movment-grade organization as a base from which to launch political-conquest raids on various winnable jurisdictions. They can then use the formal and official powers residing in these various jurisdictional-level government bodies to engineer jurisdiction-wide conservationism throughout that piece of society.

        For example, if a determined community of Consume Less people emerges in Greater Nashville and they can figure out how to drown out and overwhelm the Koch Brothers family of Front Movements; they can try again to get an All Nashville system of user-friendly mass transit like what the Koch Brothers defeated last time. And maybe they can defeat the Koch Brothers next time.

        Reply
  14. Knifecatcher

    Re: Carlos Ghosn, it’s worth noting that he was arrested in Japan. Maybe he spent too much time in the US where we wouldn’t do anything as gauche as jailing important executives, but apparently the Japanese haven’t yet gotten that memo.

    At least when the executive in question is a gaijin…

    Reply
  15. Ernie

    “Lists of ways to fight climate change miss the critical fact that individuals cannot, on their own, build wind turbines, close coal power plants, protect carbon-absorbing forests, or expand subway systems. These actions require government policy and investment.”

    There is one important, inexpensive, and effective greenhouse gas reduction effort that is immediately available to each individual worldwide — eat less meat, especially red meat. Information on this can be found many places, but is rarely mentioned. (Perhaps because it’s too low tech? /s)

    “In total, meat production alone accounts for 15 percent to 24 percent of the global greenhouse gasses emitted by humans, which is greater than the global transportation sector. These figures include the CO2 produced from the running of equipment and the facilities as well as the CH4 produced from manure decomposition, which is 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide in greenhouse potential.” source

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-11-14/a-fixed-meat-ration-is-not-the-path-to-sustainable-food-systems/

      I have no problem with ”eating less meat” as such. But it is the wrong entry point for an intelligent analysis of our food system. Increase in meat consumption is primarily caused by a massive overproduction of staple crops driven by the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Those cheap staple crops form the basis for the industrialization of meat production and a production model where animals have been separated from the land and the land has been put into monocultures. That kind of livestock system is wasteful and unethical, and “we” should not eat its products – at all. But livestock which is properly integrated into an ecologically sound agriculture system is not wasteful. It can clearly increase productivity of the whole system, it can vitalize the soil and sequester carbon at the same time. Even the last IPCC report concludes that: “Overall, there is high agreement that farm strategies that integrate mixed crop – livestock systems can improve farm productivity and have positive sustainability outcomes.”

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        excellent rebuttal.
        you can either have chemical ag. or ag that requires manure.
        the problem, as you indicate, is that industrial ag is an intertwined system. big machines plant and harvest monocropped fields of enormous size(few imported humans needed for this phase…machines do it all. a tiny tractor with a loader and a disc costs tens of thousands, easy. a big one, hundreds of thousands)), that require abundant…mostly oil and gas based… fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides and fungicides. they’re subsidized heavily…because cargill et alia have friends in high places.
        so there’s too much grain and soya and cotton offal. in comes CAFO, where the critters are housed cheek by jowl in their own waste, and fed all that grain and soya and cotton residue…along with prophylactic antibiotics, of course(main driver of antibiotic resistance)
        I’ve seen all this first hand, for most of my life.
        what grain isn’t used for this, is used as a weapon against intransigent third world places that mysteriously believe that they can make their own decisions, re: farming economy..destroying the livelihood of campesinos, who then head north to butcher the CAFO livestock, in horrible conditions, and also fuel politically useful hysteria.
        if you consider the whole enterprise…”farmer”, to seed company to CBT to wall street….i wonder if the “efficiency of scale” that initially sold these methods still holds…
        I’d like to see a little TR Trust Busting in Big Ag. a thousand tiny pieces.

        Reply
        1. redleg

          And the ultimate small ag uses animal labor. How does that fit into the equation?

          The main problem isn’t meat consumption- it’s modern agriculture practices that essentially convert oil into foodstuffs.

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think we need to remember to put the “political” back in “political economy.” This will become increasingly evident as (climate) events (dear boy, events) expose the fragility and brittleness of supply chains.

        For example, I agree with JohnnyGL’s point on meat-eating. But I would also like the Brazilian beef barons who want to destroy the Amazon rain forest targeted directly. (They are the ones with the power to do this; Bolsonaro can only facilitate.)

        It is good and essential to think systemically. But there are also cogs or nodes in the same that should be named and disempowered directly (and doing that without losing track of the systemic view is a neat trick).

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          You’re quite right….which is why Trump’s bringing back the tariff weapon may yet prove useful.

          Carbon tariffs on beef imports from Brazil, or an outright ban would be a wonderful weapon to deploy. After all, if we can bend the world to our will on Iranian oil exports, surely we can do it on less essential commodities like beef exports.

          The dirty little secret of soy, the vegan food of choice a lot of the time, is that soy is so cheap because Brazil’s state agricultural agency was able to develop a breed of soy that produced well in the tropics, not just temperate regions. This is a major export of Brazil and a driver of more deforestation and, hence, more climate change.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If America disavowed, rejected and withdrew from each and every Free Trade Agreement there is, going all the way back to GATT Round One if necessary; then America would be free to impose all the Carbon Tariffs it likes.
            The Alien Enemyconomies could scream ” Non-Tariff Barriers!” all they like. We could just laugh and say “we have rejected your System and we are no longer under your jurisdiction.”

            If America could thereby Protectionise itself against Foreign Economy carbon dumping, America could then de-carbonize its own political-economy and culture-society behind the Great Wall of Utter Rejection. Any foreign economic enemy which wished to sell anything at all whatsoever into our country would have to adopt OUR methods of Hard De-Carbonization, down to the very last jot and tittle.

            We will need a Progressive PopuLeftist anti-Globalist anti-Internationalist movement to make Deep Greenism and Hard Decarbonization socially, mentally and psychologically possible and tolerable to a country and its public who will get more and more committed to National Sovereignty and Utter Rejectionism of the International Free Trade Conspiracy over the years and decades to come.

            That’s the challenge for the self-identified Left. National Greenism. Deep Greenism in One Country. Hard De-Carbonization in One Country. How to become comfortable with becoming a Hard National Greenist Left.

            Reply
  16. Carolinian

    The problem here is that Democrats have a proven history of rolling over when there’s a prima facie case for election theft

    Or alternately Democrats keep finishing in squeakers that could go either way against lame Republican candidates. Example: Bush v Gore. Of course Bush took the squeaker and then acted as though it was a landslide.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Rolling over…especially when they were doing it themselves (see 2016, many if not all the primaries that year*).

      *They were so good, so professionally done, you have to ask ‘You must have done it many times before.’

      Reply
    2. Carey

      Interesting that the “squeakers” (Sanders being the last one) always, and I mean always, go against the People.

      Funny about that. Pulling heads out of smart™phones might become a necessary if not
      sufficient first step, since they induce the siloing that is a big part of the problem…

      Reply
  17. knowbuddhau

    “Brainwaves Encode the Grammar of Human Language” [Nautilus]…• Yes, and just think what the Marketing Department can do when it gets its hands on this. Also, Human Resources.

    Thank you.

    Somehow, that led me to thinking of anamorphisms: scenes apparently bizarrely contorted and convoluted that look “right” when viewed from the “correct,” and usually very narrow, angle.

    Now you, too, can see the world right!* Get your Polyanamorphic Google Glass, while supplies last.

    *Lifetime subscription required. Substantial early cancellation fee applies. You will submit.

    Reply
  18. Martin J Cohen

    I liked SNOBOL (the correct spelling)! Used it (in the 70’s) in an class to create third-order poetry from a number of samples.

    My current favorite language is GAWK. Used it in my last two jobs (now retired and unwilling to discuss cause and effect) for string and numeric processing – programs over 5,000 lines long.

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      GAWK is interesting. There was once a book/pamphlet on how to create AI with GAWK. I saw a reference to it, but have never been able to find it, and would dearly love to. Trouble is, with the advent of What You See Is What You Get, pure text is not used as much as it used to be, so many of these marvellous Unix/GNU/Linux tools are less useful than they used to be. Now you’ve got me trying to remember who ‘W’ was. I remember Aho, and Khernigan (absolutely wonderful teacher; his “The ‘C’ Language” is a masterpiece).

      Reply
  19. George Phillies

    “…could help eliminate extremist candidates …”

    Rigging election laws to bar candidates you happen to dislike, for any value of “you”, is an incredibly bad idea that works to delegitimize the entire political system. Working example: The one-Party California Senate election, in which you could Vote Democrat! or Vote Democrat! At some point, enough bits of ‘delegitimize’ succeed, and people start adopting non-political solutions to their problems.

    Non-political solutions? For example, ones that leave bodies on the ground, social structures that cease to function*,…

    *For example, the large urban district in which Federal prosecution of drug crimes stopped because juries would never convict.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Vote Democrat! or Vote Democrat!

      Compared to the Chinese state, there are more choices and options (see Wikipedia, Chinese Political Parties*)

      *One of them, for example, is the Chinese Zhi Gong Party. From Wikipedia,

      In April 2007, Wan Gang, Deputy Chair of the Zhi Gong Party Central Committee, was appointed Technology Minister of China. This was the first non-Communist Party ministerial appointment in China since the 1950s.

      Reply
  20. chuck roast

    Does anybody do their homework anymore?

    I read this article on Slate. “Medicare for All Turned Out to Be a Winning Issue in the Midterms” [Slate].  It says that Jared Golden (D), the winner of Maine (02) is a fan of Medicare for All. Here is what his website says:
    We can start by improving the Affordable Care Act. From there, we need to move towards a universal healthcare system, like Medicare-for-All. Too many people in America are without adequate healthcare coverage, resulting in higher premiums for those who are insured.”

    You will note that “Medicare for All” is low-lighted.

    I saw a few of this guy’s campaign ads, and “Medicare for All” was so low-lighted as to not even make an appearance. From what I saw, he was an heroic ex-Marine who liked playing with guns.

    Just another pretty face.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That reads like not so much a problem with having different private and public positions, but taking a public position most reluctantly, looking to ignore it ASAP.

      Reply
  21. John Beech

    Florida voter here – considered Andrew Gillum. but he talked himself out of my vote despite good positions on a few issues.

    For example, he’s Pro pot. I’m a non-smoker so I don’t really have a dog in the hunt I support this measure because I don’t feel it’s government’s business to tell others what they can and can’t do in the privacy of their own homes. Moreover, the issue gained the support of 70% of voters and the opposition by the Republican-controlled state legislature raises the Irish in my blood (as my mother would say to me). Basically, it just ticks me off for them to take the position the vote only meant cookies, brownies, and gummies . . . but not smoking.

    But then he yakked up the raising of taxes, specifically, introducing a state income tax. This is the 3rd-rail of FL-politics because property taxes are high enough to support schools and other service in lieu of state income tax. But you know if he adds a whole new revenue stream on top of that, it’s just the nose of the camel under the tent and the taxes will go up. For the children, don’t you know? Anyway, there’s no question in my mind he intended to raise taxes on a par with north eastern states. Total non-starter with me, so I voted for DeSantis, a lightweight in my opinion.

    As for the senate race, Scott’s advertisements portraying nelson as an empty suit and for being a no show to 40% of the vote affected me. I go to work every day. So does almost everybody else. The adverts were, in my judgement, effective.

    Finally, DeSantis made much of an FBI investigation, which Gillum brushes aside as being related to an aid, but in a word, the whole thing smells. The sense I get is Gillum has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and there’s going to be a scandal. If true we won’t hear much more of him going forward. Too bad because hes a pretty good speaker who could have done some good thing if only he hadn’t wanted to raise my taxes without spelling out what we’d get. He tried to claim it would to put Floridians first with health care but that ship has sailed and everybody knows it’s in the hands of the Feds going forward.

    All that said, Gillum came within a whisker of winning. Of course he’d have never gotten his tax increase through the Republican controlled legislature, but intent counts. His was a candidacy that puts me in mind of what RAH once wrote, and I am paraphrasing, but the point was extending the franchise to those who can fog a mirror meant they would vote themselves bread and circuses. It’s my opinion once the Democrats take control this will be the end result – my humble opinion.

    It’s one thing to put, for example, the raising our property taxes to the vote. Like in favor of free pre-K 30 days post birth because day care is a back breaking expense for young couple. Me? I’d vote in favor to raise our property taxes (I’m a tax payer because I won real property) expressly for this purpose. But it’s a horse of another color for them (the Democrats) to create a state income tax and do themselves willy-nilly this without having a vote specifically to fund it. There’s a difference and thus, I’m glad Gillum lost. A guy I was initially attracted to.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Brownies wit pot.

      If meat eating is a problem, smoking anything (pot or tobacco) should be added to that list (if banning is being considered).

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      Ok so you don’t like property taxes, Gillum says he will replace them with a better tax system, but you don’t believe him so you vote DeSantis. But you also say Gillum will never get his increase so….so what the hell are you actually saying? Or voting on?

      You never say why you voted for DeSantis. Never a single word.

      Nor Scott. All your positions is “I hate the Democrats so I’ll watch them closely for anything that offends me and then vote for the people that make me feel all happy inside”.

      Again, you sell toys. Nobody cares about your business acumen. To make us care about your political acumen, you need to show us (concisely) why you voted for who you voted for, not that Democrats are icky in some way.

      When DeSantis drives the Florida budget into the, well sea (should be easy as it creeps closer and closer to Tallahassee) let us know about how smart you were to vote for him.

      Oh, and BTW:

      >they would vote themselves bread and circuses.

      That’s exactly what the Republicans do. That’s our trillion dollar military budget in three words.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think John Beech could very well be a high-level performance-art satire troll. If so, one engages at one’s own risk.

        Reply
      2. Kurt Sperry

        “That’s exactly what the Republicans do. That’s our trillion dollar military budget in three words.”

        Correction: Republicans and Democrats.

        Second Correction: Trillion dollar military budget is just the part they want you to see.

        Reply
  22. Tom Stone

    The inflection point for the housing Market took place in June and July on the West Coast, June for NorCal and July for the Seattle MSA and SoCal.
    Prices are sticky on the way down and while the numbers are clear prices will likely take a few years to reach bottom, absent a financial crisis.

    Reply
  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    1.

    Nate Silver

    @NateSilver538
    · Nov 18, 2018
    Replying to @NateSilver538
    Trump got 63m votes, Romney 61m, McCain 60m. Dem votes for the House this year should be very close to that range.

    Nate Silver

    @NateSilver538
    There’s not any precedent for an opposition party coming this close to matching the president’s vote total from 2 years earlier. The closest to an exception was when Democratic House candidates in 1970 got 92% of Nixon’s vote total from 1968. pic.twitter.com/NOTLQnYI9z

    2.

    The Republicans did not lose as many House and Senate seats as a few presidents in the past mid-term elections.

    Given 1 and 2, the question to ask is, is 2 the result because the governing party also kept not-any-precedent number of votes, even as the opposition came this close to matching the president’s vote total from 2 years ago?

    Or is gerrymandeing the answer?

    Reply
    1. allan

      In the Tea Party year of 2010, the total GOP House popular vote topped the Dems by 6%,
      which earning the GOP 49 more seats than the Dems.

      In 2018, the total Dem House vote is looking to top the GOP by about 8%,
      earning them (probably) 39 more seats than the GOP.

      It’s not just the sh*tty candidates with wishy-washy policy positions pushed by the DCCC.
      Gerrymandering is a structural advantage which is very difficult to overcome.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Leaving aside the 49 more seats, and looking at the 6% more popular vote for the GOP House, did the R’s come close matching Obama’s 2008 vote total as well?

        Or that time (2010), the victory (6% more popular vote) was due to Dem voters not coming out (so, both Rs and Ds dropped in 2010 from 2008, but the Ds dropped off more)?

        If that’s case, the 8% more vote in 2018, plus the fact that D’s voters came out at not-previous level, seems imply the R voters also came strongly (and did not drop off, compared to the D’s who voted in fewer numbers in 2010 than in 2008)?

        Reply
        1. allan

          No, they didn’t. Another of Nate Silver’s tweets in that same series has a complete table,
          and in 2010 the GOP got 64% of Obama’s 2008 tally, vs. the 96% of Trump’s 2016 vote
          that the Dems got this year. It’s hard to come up with an explanation other than that the maps,
          which in a number of states got even more gerrymandered after the 2010 census and redistricting,
          are to blame. And SCOTUS is most likely going to let it stay that way.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Rs turned this year at 96% of the 2016 total?

            That was what I wanted to know.

            Many Ds came out and many Rs too this year….both high …not any precedent or near that

            Reply
            1. allan

              No … Silver’s table shows how, in the midterms 2 years after a presidential election,
              the total House vote of the party opposing the sitting president compared to
              the total vote the president got 2 years earlier.
              Midterm turnouts are usually much lower than presidential years,
              so you would expect it to be a lot less than 100%.

              This year, the Dems received 96% of the number of votes Trump got in 2016.

              In 2010, the GOP received only 64% of the number of votes Obama got in 2008.

              And the GOP had 10 more reps elected to Congress in 2010 than the Dems will this year, despite the Dems receiving 8% more of the total national vote
              than the GOP this year, vs. the GOP win by 6% in 2010
              (which is huge difference, statistically).

              The game is rigged, and there is a 0% chance of it being unrigged anytime soon.

              Reply
              1. Katniss Everdeen

                So, I get what you’re saying but….

                California is the most populous state with 40 million people. In 2018, the main event was the election for senator and, as noted above, was between two democrats.

                I know you are talking about the house, but you are also talking about raw numbers and it would seem that that situation would tend to increase the number of dem votes in an already overwhelmingly dem state. Presumably these voters cast votes for house members as well, and in numbers significant enough to impact national totals.

                If I recall, clinton’s much touted popular vote “win” in 2016 could be accounted for by the California vote alone.

                Far be it from me to doubt nate silver, but with California in the mix, with its huge population and unique candidate selection system, I’d think one has to be cautious drawing conclusions from simple national vote totals. I’ve no idea whether this matters, but it kinda seems like it should.

                Reply
  24. Summer

    Cook: “Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation. I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here…”

    Generally speaking, it’s a bummer when things that don’t exist do not work.”

    Reply
  25. political economist

    >>Saying you’ll support Medicare for All is a different thing than actually doing so at a time when Democrats control Congress and could feasibly pursue that policy agenda.

    Reminder, the Dems did control the WH and both Houses of Congress, and this is what Obama said in 2003 would happen when they did that. See http://www.pnhp.org/news/2008/june/barack_obama_on_sing.php

    The full quote from Obama in 2003:

    “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.” (applause) “I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

    Obama speaking to the Illinois AFL-CIO, June 30, 2003.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Crap we need to find someway to get AOC to the White House fast because those slimeballs can corrupt people quick, can’t they? Can we forge a birth certificate for her, maybe then she could go with “Well I just tell people I’m 29 because I was embarrassed to be a waitress at 36″…

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think it’s less an issue of AOC in the White House — I think she could use a little more seasoning; we really need to know (to mix metaphors_ whether she can take a real punch, or has a glass jaw — than of having 10 AOCs all operating at once.

        Reply
  26. rowlf

    Probably evil.

    GA Secretary of State candidate Republican Brad Raffensperger:

    On Issues:

    Paper Ballot Verification.

    With technology constantly changing, Georgians need to ensure that we have the best and most secure way to tabulate votes. As our Secretary of State, Brad will update all voting machines with improved paper ballot verification for ballot security.

    bradforgeorgia.com/on-issues/

    Reply
  27. How is it legal

    (I think my comment got snagged up two hours ago, trying again)

    Re Editorial: Internet Bill of Rights deserves tech industry support … behind Bay Area Congressman Ro Khanna’s Internet Bill of Rights proposal

    ‘Interesting’ title the Mercury used. Early on, when Pelosi assigned her diehard supporter, Khanna, the ‘task’ of writing that Bill regarding the Valley Technocracy that keeps Nancy and Ro enormously wealthy, that same Mercury published an April 21, 2018 piece noting: Khanna said there is no set date when the Internet Bill of Rights would be drafted. But he plans to seek ideas from Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple, which are in his district. The freshman representative also said that despite the title that references the first ten amendments to the Constitution, he has no intention of adding these rights directly into the nation’s supreme law... No mention whatsoever of advisement from the public, or, so named in the piece, consumer groups™.

    Cutting to the chase, not expecting anything but toothlessness; either in its final version, or in the fact that Congress already doesn’t intend to support it at the end of the day (clever man, Khanna gets to look good though). And too bad the elite editorialists at the Mercury never bothered to analyse – and share with their readers – Khanna’s political donors; especially given that Alphabet, Wilson Sonsini, et al, and Blackstone were his Top Three Contributors (per Open Secrets . com) towards his November re-election. As to this Mercury blather:

    The beauty of Khanna’s proposal is that it walks the tightrope of protecting consumers’ basic rights without damaging the tech industry’s ability to innovate. Khanna sought input from dozens of consumer groups and tech companies before making his proposal public last month. The initial response offers reason for optimism. It’s generating widespread support from consumer advocates and such tech luminaries as Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

    not surprising that the Mercury’s Editorial Staff (which has been pushing our horrid Silicon Valley centered Technocracy for decades) doesn’t note a one of those proclaimed dozens of consumer groups they’re referring to. Khanna’s own website helps out on that end though, with a reprint of Politico Piece, Khanna offers Internet Bill of Rights update

    BILL OF RIGHTS UPDATE — A draft of Rep. Ro Khanna’s internet bill of rights — a set of consumer data privacy regulations — has been circulated among senior Silicon Valley executives and Washington advocacy groups. The California Democrat is now in the process of soliciting feedback and, he hopes, garnering support from the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple, as well as the Center for Democracy and Technology, Public Knowledge and Electronic Frontier Foundation. He’s also bouncing ideas off Obama administration tech officials like Todd Park, Nicole Wong and Alexander Macgillivray. “As important as getting the support of Congress is getting the support of some of the tech leaders who really understand this space,” Khanna told POLITICO.

    Note, that there are only three[ish] possible Consumer Groups™ there: the Center for Democracy and Technology (which is actually a prior offshoot of the Electronic Frontier Foundation); Public Knowledge; and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Yasha Levine exposes all three of those entities in a recent expose of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in this Baffler piece, All EFF’d Up – Silicon Valley’s astroturf privacy shakedown. This excerpt refers to Jerry Berman and his forming of the Center for Democracy and Technology:

    Leading EFF’s invasion of Washington, D.C., was Jerry Berman, who had been a top ACLU attorney and founder of ACLU Projects on Privacy and Information Technology—and someone, it seems safe to say, who has never in his life been mistaken for a Merry Prankster. If EFF honchos wanted to reverse-engineer political sleaze in the merely directional sense, they picked the right man. Berman was a Beltway insider who in the 1980s was at the center of a push to turn the ACLU into a big business lobby and an ally of intelligence agencies and right-wing political interests. Among other things, the Berman-era ACLU defended Big Tobacco from regulations on advertising and worked with the National Rifle Association to fight electronic collection of arrest data by the Department of Justice for background checks to deny firearms licenses. Among Berman’s personal achievements: working with the CIA on an early version of a bill that criminalized disclosing the names of CIA agents—a law that was later used to prosecute and jail CIA officer John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the Agency’s use of waterboarding as a torture and interrogation technique.

    Far from incidentally, Berman also helped craft the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a controversial law that gave the government power to grab electronic metadata from cellphone calls, email, and other digital communications without a warrant, which is now routinely used to collect user data from companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. “This is a very good bill,’’ Berman remarked at the time.

    Freedom to Surveil

    Berman brought his well-honed lobbying acumen to EFF. His signature achievement had been collaborating with the FBI to draft and rubber-stamp a law that expanded FBI surveillance into the digital telecommunications infrastructure. Known as the “Communications Law Enforcement Assistance Act”—or CALEA—the 1994 law required that telecommunications companies install specialized equipment and design their digital facilities in a way that made it easy to wiretap. The legislation gave law enforcement agencies the same level of access to new digital networks that they enjoyed in the era of the landline.

    When EFF’s role in crafting this surveillance law came out, outraged members of its cyber-libertarian base cried foul. EFF, they’d been led to believe, was created to push back against government control of the internet, and yet here it was working with the FBI to push through a law mandating government surveillance of all digital infrastructure. As Wired explained, “many of the group’s grassroots backers were disgusted by what they saw as spineless pandering. . . . Some of these people’s worst fears about the capital’s corrupting influence seemed to be confirmed.”

    In reality though, the outrage stemmed from a basic confusion about what EFF was created to do. EFF emerged as a lobby for the budding internet industry, and with the introduction of wiretap law, Berman and his colleagues performed their job perfectly: placating law enforcement and Congress while getting the best deals they could for telecoms and ISPs. In the argot of the industry, Berman’s work in massaging CALEA through the legislative process was a feature, not a bug.

    But because EFF had so successfully sold itself as a countercultural guardian of digital liberty, the group’s support for a surveillance bill triggered a crisis among its membership. To resolve it, Jerry Berman was given the boot, whereupon he immediately set up his own lobbying outfit, the Center for Democracy and Technology. In 1995, EFF moved its HQ again: this time to San Francisco, as far away from Washington D.C. as it could get in the continental United States, in the center of the then-raging dot-com boom.

    This excerpt references Public Knowledge (what a clever, near unsearchable – outside of basic data – name to choose for a public do gooder organ):

    But Google’s declared lobbying expenditures only paint a small part of the picture. The company has become a master of influence on multiple levels, hiring key political insiders from both the Republican and Democratic Parties, funding academics, economists, journalists, bloggers, privacy organizations, and a wide range of politically connected nonprofits. Electronic Frontier Foundation, New America Foundation, the Brookings Institution, Clinton Foundation, Public Knowledge, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and Reporters Without Borders are just a few of the dozens of groups that have taken money from Google. The company also hooked into the far-right libertarian influence networks set up by Charles Koch, petro-billionaire and co-owner of Koch Industries—including providing support to Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Koch propaganda outfit that has spent the past three decades waging war on climate change science and shilling for oil and tobacco.

    (So glad someone finally wrote a detailed Electronic Frontier Foundation [EFF] expose. By 2007, when I was considering starting a WordPress blog, and vetting entities I might feel safe linking to as resources for others, I realized that EFF wasn’t operating for the public. The whole Do Gooder for the Public Non Profit vetting experience traumatized me to the point I gave up on the whole blog thing, I did not have the resources and support to take on such powerful entities as I wanted to take on after realizing the extent of rot.)

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > damaging the tech industry’s ability to innovate.

      Since “innovation” = rental extraction, damaging the tech industry’s ability to innovate is exactly what we want to do.

      Thank you for this excellent comment.

      Reply

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