2:00PM Water Cooler 12/20/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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


“A New Survey Finds Kamala Harris Has Big Support For A Presidential Run From Top Democratic Women Of Color” [Buzzfeed]. “Nearly a third of the 222 women from She the People’s survey who responded to a question asking who they would not consider for president named Sanders in their top three because they don’t think he’d be able to reach women of color, a problem he faced in the 2016 election.” • So, n = 222. There are not very many of the Shing.

“Beto O’Rourke frequently voted for Republican legislation, analysis reveals” [David Sirota, Guardian (DJG)]. “[A] new analysis of congressional votes from the non-profit news organisation Capital & Main shows that even as O’Rourke represented one of the most solidly Democratic congressional districts in the United States, he has frequently voted against the majority of House Democrats in support of Republican bills and Trump administration priorities…. O’Rourke has voted for GOP bills that his fellow Democratic lawmakers said reinforced Republicans’ anti-tax ideology, chipped away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), weakened Wall Street regulations, boosted the fossil fuel industry and bolstered Donald Trump’s immigration policy.” • I don’t see what the issue is. Liberal Democrats want to appeal to wealthy suburban Republicans, especially women, so why shouldn’t Beto vote for Republican bills?

“How Sherrod Brown Turned His Rumpled Authenticity Into A Brand — And Gave Himself A Good Story To Tell In 2020” [Buzzfeed]. “Sherrod Brown is indeed authentic — but like any other successful figure in 2018, he makes sure you see certain parts of himself first. He cares a great deal about reminding you that he doesn’t care about his appearance. His perpetually wrinkled suits and shaggy hair are such trademarks that, in his recent campaign, Brown aired an ad tying together the style and substance of his political identity: workers from an Ohio washing machine factory saying Brown looks just fine to them.” • Oh good. Another trial balloon. Do any Ohio readers have views?

“The 2040 plan for unexciting Democrats” [Matt Bai, Yahoo News]. “As I explained in some detail here, a combination of factors in our politics — an infatuation with celebrity, the rise of super-PACs, the weakness of incumbents, the declining value of both expertise and TV advertising — has created an environment where more candidates will get in and stay in than ever before…. And as we saw in 2016, that means that a candidate who can get his or her hooks into 25 percent of the electorate, and hold onto it no matter what, might have just enough support in a fractured field to win the nomination…. Which means we know something else, too — that the energy in the Democratic Party will be on the reactionary left, as it has been for a few years now. The loudest applause will be reserved for orators who call the social and economic order “rigged” (as Warren does), and who demonize capital in the society, and who make all kinds of expansive promises they can’t really keep. You can see how this works for a candidate like Warren or Bernie Sanders, who champion social justice and can whip up a crowd, and who won’t feel the need to say anything that challenges the orthodoxy of the baby-boomer left…. What the country needs is a long-term strategic plan. And if you’re a drab Democrat with designs on the presidency, so do you.” • Hence “2040.” I don’t know about Warren, but Sanders popularity is inversely proportional to age. He is in no sense a candidate of the “baby-boomer left.”


“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She’s Taking a Week Off for Self-Care” [Elle]. “Ocasio-Cortez explained that before the campaign, she would do yoga multiple times a week, eat nutritiously, and take time to read and write for leisure. Then, once her campaign began, she says all that went out the window and instead, she found herself eating fast food for dinner and falling asleep in her jeans and makeup…. ‘We live in a culture where that kind of lifestyle is subtly celebrated as ‘working hard,” she wrote. ‘But I will be the first to tell you it’s NOT CUTE and makes your life harder on the other end (you wake up worse, energy all over the place, etc).'” • Thread here. AOC is correct; activists burn out all the time; there are no Beltway think tanks to support them. On the other hand… Well, when I was young, I thought things would get easier as I grew older; that there was some sort of plateau that one reaches. There isn’t.

New Cold War

“How the Russians attacked America’s democracy” [Editorial Board, USA Today] (December 19, 2018). “Two new reports for the Senate Intelligence Committee describe how the Russians heavily targeted Americans with deceitful messages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms… It is not unreasonable to see the Russian attack as a sort of digital version of 9/11. No one was killed, of course, but a foreign adversary sought to strike at one of the nation’s most cherished freedoms: the right to vote in a secure election for president. And while no one will ever know for certain, the Russian efforts in a close election might have changed the course of history.” • One of the reports was produced by a small firm named “New Knowledge,” so I cannot forbear from juxtaposing with the following–

“Secret Experiment in Alabama Senate Race Imitated Russian Tactics” [New York Times] (December 19, 2018). “As Russia’s online election machinations came to light last year, a group of Democratic tech experts decided to try out similarly deceptive tactics in the fiercely contested Alabama Senate race, according to people familiar with the effort and a report on its results. The secret project, carried out on Facebook and Twitter, was likely too small to have a significant effect on the race, in which the Democratic candidate it was designed to help, Doug Jones, edged out the Republican, Roy S. Moore.” • And the beauty part? “One participant in the Alabama project, Jonathon Morgan, is the chief executive of New Knowledge, a small cyber security firm that wrote a scathing account of Russia’s social media operations in the 2016 election that was released this week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.” • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!! A few points: First, “likely too small to have a significant effect” also applies to the Russian online election “machinations.” Second, the Times seems to believe that the Russians originated such tactics. That seems to me to be an extremely dubious assumption; Hillary Clinton’s insistence, during the occupation of Tahrir Square and the overthrow of Mubarak, that Egypt not shut down the Internet seems a good deal more sinister in retrospect than it did at the time, given what we now know about the intelligence community’s digital operations. Why is the Times so sure the Russians aren’t imiitating us? Third, the murky world of the press, the parties, the intelligence community, oppo, and ratfucking is deeply intertwingled, and clearly permeated by actors who will, well, do anything for a buck. I mean, I always figured New Knowledge was talking their book, just like CrowdStrike. But I didn’t figure they were talking their book as much as they turned out to be! Finally, if election 2016 was like 9/11, there were a lot of airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers, many of them piloted by Americans. The images of the Russian memes have been published, and they’re all ludicrous; I can’t imagine who would be persuaded by them. I live on the Twitter and followed campaign 2016 obsessively; I can testify I never saw one. However, the million-dollar trolls Clinton hired from Brock… Those, I think I encountered, or at least trolls inspired by them. So who did more damage to democracy? Outside agitators? Or our political class, all on its own? Oh, and are we now going to see any liberal Democrats yammering that Doug Jones’s victory was illegitimate? Fat chance!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Imagined Threat of a Woman Who Governs Like a Man” [Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine]. “Ocasio-Cortez’s eagerness to flex her muscles, without demurring or waiting for her turn — without even waiting to be sworn in — is undergirding nightmarish fears about her as an agent of chaos and destruction. … What’s scary to so many about Ocasio-Cortez is that she’s acting like a politician with power. And apparently, that provokes an almost primal fear.” • Oddly, since she’s writing about AOC, Traister’s — allow me a moment to break out my word count function, here — 1428-word article does not include one word: Socialism.

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, November 2018: Rose higher than expected, but October was revised down [Econoday]. “Stock prices have been dragging down the LEI but positives for November are led by gains in building permits and ISM manufacturing orders. A rise in initial jobless claims was a major negative in November as well as October but so far this month, claims have been moving lower. According to the report, recent results point to solid 2.8 percent GDP growth in the beginning of 2019 followed by moderation in the second half of the year.” • Real economy a bit bumpy, but ticking along…

Jobless Claims, week of December 15, 2018: “Initial claims appear to have settled back near historic lows after turning higher during November” [Econoday]. “The best and most important news in today’s report is the second straight headline decline for initial claims, one that hints perhaps at greater payroll growth for the December employment report and should at least ease concern that demand for labor may have begun to ease back.” • Ticking along…

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, December 2018: “The general business conditions index for December slipped… well below Econoday’s consensus range” [Econoday]. “Yet new orders rose…. Employment is very strong…. Monday’s Empire State report did show cracks in its December report but less so for today’s Philly data which, given the strength in orders and selling prices, point to opening-year strength for this report this time next month.” • Or not…

Commodities: “China steel raw materials drop on demand woes” [Reuters]. “Chinese coking coal and coke futures dropped on Wednesday, but closed off the day’s lows, as steel producers continued to seek lower prices for the steelmaking raw materials due to shrinking profit margins…. Profit margins at Chinese steel mills narrowed sharply in November amid plentiful supply as the government scrapped blanket production restrictions for winter aimed at tackling smog. Beijing instead allowed cities and provinces to set their own output curbs based on emissions.”

Shipping: “Port Houston has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to accommodate the larger container ships now prevalent in seaborne trade. Houston is also the largest U.S. gateway for energy exports, and those producers want the port to limit the longer box ships to one vessel a week. Houston’s 50-mile channel now handles two-way traffic, but it may not be big enough for two upsized maritime sectors” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “A huge lawsuit accuses nearly 20 big drug companies, a billionaire, and 2 brothers-in-law of cozying up to hike drug prices. Here’s the inside story.” [Business Insider]. “Attorneys general for most US states are bringing a large federal antitrust lawsuit against nearly 20 generic-drug makers, alleging they illegally collaborated to jack up drug prices…. Common drugs had their prices doubled, tripled, or even increased by 1,000% or more, costing taxpayers and patients and violating federal and state competition and consumer-protection laws, the federal antitrust suit alleges.” • Hoo boy. Generics are supposed to be cheap!

The Bezzle: More snark on Elon’s submarine tunnel:

I believe tunnels are supposed to have parallel escape tunnels in case of fire. So it’s a good thing battery fires never happen with Tesla. Oh, wait…

The Bezzle: “China bike-sharing firm Ofo faces ‘immense’ cash crunch, CEO vows to battle on” [Reuters]. “Ofo, which started in university campuses in Beijing and expanded to countries around the world, has become something of a cautionary tale about the rapid debt-fueled boom and bust of new technology enterprises in the country. China’s bike-sharing industry has seen firms burn through hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight to dominate key cities, with several going under or taken over.”

The Bezzle: “Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…” [The Register]. The deck: “No one likes a lying assh*le.” • This is an excellent article!

Governance: “Nissan Is a Corporate Governance Nightmare” [Josh Barro, New York Magazine]. “The context of the charges made clear that [former Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn] had kept not just the Japanese government (and the public) in the dark about the size of his compensation package, but also much of Nissan’s board. How was this possible? How could a company be unaware of how much it was paying its own CEO?” • Everything is like CalPERS…


“Against Human Extinction” [Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs (nycTerrierist)]. “In the New York Times, philosopher Todd May considers a question that has never really entered my mind: ‘Would human extinction be a tragedy?’.. [May] thinks that the harm human beings inflict on the world cannot be stopped…. This is a little weird to me: To think that ‘stopping human beings from existing at all’ is somehow more of a plausible option than ‘stopping factory farming and human-made climate change’ means an extreme form of pessimism about the possibilities for changing our actions. As he says, the elimination of these wrongs ‘would likely require the elimination of the species.’ Respectfully, what the f*ck? May says this as if it’s a given—there’s not a shred of argumentation offered. He thinks we’ll just nod and agree that it’s impossible to stop climate change, factory farming, and the destruction of ecosystems, that they will only come to an end if we commit civilizational suicide. I’m sorry, but that’s not the sort of proposition you can just state as an uncontroversial fact. Especially because these are all extremely recent phenomena—modern-day industrial animal farming began within the lifetimes of presently-living people… It is the job of socialists, and really anyone who cares about their “fellow creatures,” not to fall into despair or conclude that “extinction is the only option.” Hopelessness is what conservatives want, and pessimism means death. Todd May’s thinking is dangerous, suicidal, wrong. Reject it.”

“Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor” [Bloomberg]. “Parts of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor route, which carries 12 million people each year between Boston and Washington, face “continual inundation.” Flooding, rising seas, and storm surge threaten to erode the track bed and knock out the signals that direct train traffic. The poles that provide electricity for trains are at risk of collapse, even as power substations succumb to floodwaters. “If one of the segments of track shuts down, it will shut down this segment of the NEC,” warned members of Amtrak’s planning staff. “There is not an alternate route that can be used as a detour.'” • Taken from a (redacted) report obtained by Bloomberg from a public records request.

“De-Growth vs a Green New Deal.” [New Left Review]. “Returning to climate change, it is in fact absolutely imperative that some categories of economic activity should now grow massively—those associated with the production and distribution of clean energy. Concurrently, the global fossil-fuel industry needs to contract massively—that is, to ‘de-grow’ relentlessly over the next forty or fifty years until it has virtually shut down. In my view, addressing these matters in terms of their specifics is more constructive in addressing climate change than presenting broad generalities about the nature of economic growth, positive or negative….

Guillotine Watch

“‘Five Deeps’ mission to explore mysterious ocean trenches” [Nature]. “He scaled Mount Everest and the highest peaks on the six other continents. He skied to the North and South poles. Now, Victor Vescovo, the multimillionaire co-founder of a private equity company in Dallas, Texas, wants to be the first person to visit the deepest point in each of the five oceans. This week, Vescovo was set to complete the first dive in the yearlong Five Deeps Expedition, piloting a titanium-alloy, 12.5-ton submersible down 8408 meters to the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Puerto Rico Trench. Five Deeps may look like a vanity project, but for scientists, it is a rare opportunity to study inaccessible, mysterious places. ‘If there wasn’t this rich guy, there is not any funding agency that would be willing to spend so much money to visit all those areas,’ says Ann Vanreusel, a deep-sea biologist at Ghent University in Belgium.” • Well, who knows. But even I’ve shocked by the lead. Puffery about a squillionare? In Nature? Which editor thought that was a good idea?

UPDATE “Anand Giridharadas on elite do-gooding: ‘Many of my friends are drunk on dangerous BS'” [Guardian].
“Giridharadas was bothered by [the Aspen program], and particularly by how the program seemed to encourage elite participants from tech giants and hedge funds to start philanthropic side-hustles doubling as vanity projects, rather than find ways to do less harm in their day jobs. (At a Goldman Sachs-sponsored lunch put on at a fellowship reunion, for instance, the corporate giant’s role in the 2008 financial crisis went unmentioned as its do-gooding was praised.)” • As we see above.

Class Warfare

“NYC Subway Chief Warns of ‘Death Spiral’ Without $40 Billion Fix” [Bloomberg]. • Tunnels and robot cars! That’s the answer!

News of the Wired

They write parody poems:

The first is a pastiche of William Butler Yeats and William Carlos Williams; the second of Williams and Henry Reed.

“Can Hot Peppers Make Me Happy?” [New York Magazine} • Yes, obviously. More: “Recently I’ve been experimenting with mood-modification through temperature extremes (like hot and cold bathing). The heat of a sauna, for instance, supposedly triggers a rush of pleasurable hormones — and so, apparently, does the heat of a chili pepper. I like hot sauce, and this seemed like a good enough excuse to experiment.” • I dunno. The American approach to spicy food seems to approach it as a sort of endurance contest, a sport: Sweating, enduring pain, bonding through shared discomfort, etc. But one sees countless Southeast Asians devouring extremely spicy food on a daily basis without turning a hair. So perhaps this article is more about Americans than hot peppers?

“So I still use Facebook ’cause I’m an immigrant and have to because family – but if you’re in the same situation, there’s one way to make it less sh*t'” [Dan FIxes Coin-Ops, Mastodon]. “YOU CAN TURN THAT WHOLE EMOTIONALLY-ABUSIVE SURVEILLANCE ECOSYSTEM OFF. You can go back to FB just being a fun way to keep in touch with distant friends and family.” • I thought this was the best tip: “[Block] EVERY SINGLE THIRD-PARTY LINK. Even, and especially, this is *crucial,* the things that you agree with or that get an emotional rise out of you. Block it all. ESPECIALLY the stuff you like, ’cause if it’s putting up stuff you like, then the algorithm is working, it has its hooks in.” • Horrible but true!

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PM: “Everything is still blooming here in sunny Tucson, AZ.” [lambert snarls].

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. WJ

    Re: “Can Hot Peppers Make Me Happy?” [New York Magazine} •

    For a more radical (and substantive) sense of the health and mood benefits of moderated extreme temperature exposure training, see Wim Hoff. Dude can exercise intentional control over his autonomic immune system. Something doctors thought impossible until he did it.

    1. Craig H.

      Hot peppers require acclimation. If you are not used to it it’s a big deal and if you are used to it it’s no big deal. You have to set aside project schedule time for acclimation. Like exercise. Record keeping helps.

      You can’t do it on a whim but anybody can do it. No mysterious oriental oddities are involved.

      As for swimming in ice water I vote no. It’s fine for penguins.

    2. Enquiring Mind

      One of my gauges for Mexican food is whether it makes my head sweat. There is a pleasurable feeling to complement the happy tastebuds and tummy, accompanied by mas una cerveza, por favor!

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Bring on the extreme cold!!!

      At Buffalo Wild Wings I once impressed my Army buddies by eating 24 Atomic Wings in 4 minutes. This after eating 12 in 1min 11secs.

      An Army record im very proud of.

      But my eye burned like hell cuz Atomic Sauce Sweat.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Dude can exercise intentional control over his autonomic immune system

      See e.g. Science Explains How the Iceman Resists Extreme Cold Smithsonian

      I think saying Hof exerts control over his “autonomic immune system,” as opposed to his autonomic nervous system, is overstating the case. Still, it’s fascinating stuff. I wonder if an old codger can learn it. And it looks like Frank Herbert was right:

      “Pain,” she sniffed. “A human can override any nerve in the body.”

      (Not to minimize people’s suffering; clearly these skills need to be taught.) Every so often, I’m confronted by the fact that we really know very little. True for the body, true for the mind, true for the biosphere.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Some humans and groups of humans know more about the body, or mind, or biosphere; than other humans or groups of humans.

        We can not afford to be too proud to learn from persons or peoples who clearly know more than we do, or apparently knew more in the past than we know now.

  2. zagonostra

    >How the Russians attacked America’s democracy” [Editorial Board, USA Today]

    What a classical re-direct job the corporate media is waging: Russia, Immigrants, the Wall, Trumpolina, outrage-of-the-day: Meanwhile the MIC, Pharma, and the rest of the Oligarch class accelerate their depredations as more and more people continue to fall into a deeper cycle of debt and despair.

  3. foghorn longhorn

    Shout out to amfortas
    The kids played a hell of a game today
    Hope you and the wife enjoyed it
    Congrats to your kid

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’m a bit of toast. drove about 600 miles this week, when “normal” was under 20 not too long ago..
      I loathe football(and I loathe DFW!), but it was neat being there.
      de-accessed wife’s port in the back parking lot o a pizza place across the street from frelling Cowboy Stadium,lol. Parked in the VIP basement, and wife gave the medals on the field after the game. I was allowed out for a cig and back a few times, hip, etc setting of the metal detectors each time.
      I’m listening to the scanner, now….cops and fire and ems all coordinating the Triumph(see: Gibbon). 2 mile long line of cars behind the buses, just now rolling out of the American Night.
      it’s been a strange day for me.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I can safely assume that, out of the perhaps 4000 ordinary humans I saw today, I was the only one who is even aware of such problems on a conscious level.
          Panem et Circusem.
          Fat ‘N’ Happy.
          it was a minor scandal that Cowboy Stadium(ahem…”AT&T Stadium”) didn’t serve beer, today.
          was it a diss to all us Provencals? An oversight?
          Who can say.
          one of the two(out of what, 50?) “concession stands) were open that I saw…on “our” side…and only one of them took cash,lol.
          again…oversight? Engineering?
          and again…I was almost definitely the only one who thought of these things in that manner.
          the average human in America(Texas, at least) is rather dim, when you get right down to it.
          Automata abounds.
          What’s the average IQ among the Commentariat, here, I wonder?
          (I refuse to be shamed for it. Mines 180, last I heard)
          Perhaps they experience/see a very different world than we do.
          (Leo Strauss mutters in the shadows…)

          1. ambrit

            Leo Strauss may mutter in the shadows but it was Levi Strauss who made the fortune.
            Several people I have known from Texas all averred that ‘Football’ is a major Cult there. Thank’s for the affirmation of my ethnographic theory.
            As for IQ measures, well, mine’s supposedly up there, for all the good it has done me in life. The application of all those “little grey cells” seems to be of equal weight to their functionality.
            I’ve met one or two legitimate genius level thinkers during my life and the takeaway for me is that it is not a matter of quantity, as in score number, as it is a matter of quality, as in, thinking so far ‘outside the box’ that one no longer recognizes the box as such.
            Jack Kerouac wrote an autobiographical novel several years before his “beat” generation works. “The Town and the City.” The protagonist starts out as a college football hero, which Kerouac was in his real life. The rest is history.
            Now let your boy’s football halo transform into a scholarship to UofT or Baylor, or wherever he wants.

  4. shinola

    “…It is not unreasonable to see the Russian attack as a sort of digital version of 9/11”

    I see yellow journalism is alive & well at USA Today.

    I’ll admit that I did not read that article since I don’t want to encourage that type of thing with my click count. So, it may be a parody & I missed it (although I doubt it).

    1. WJ

      I love the sheer absurdity of that opening phrase “It is not unreasonable…” given that the sentence which completes it is totally batshit crazy.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and :”….but a foreign adversary sought to strike at one of the nation’s most cherished freedoms: the right to vote in a secure election for president. …”

        when, pray tell, has that ever been the case?
        it’s almost like nobody(the AI in the basement?) told them that they are currently experiencing a Legitimacy Crisis.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Germany as well.

      I think there is a story today about CNN’s Journalist of the Year who is German who made up fake news for years.

      1. The Rev Kev

        With the reputation that the German press has among the Germans themselves, this comes as no surprise.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “not unreasonable”

      You see absurd qualifications like this wherever you look on RussiaRussiaRussia.

      USA Today was quite sane in its 2016 coverage, especially compared to the Times and WaPo and the rest of the pack. So I don’t like seeing that editorial slapped down in from of every hotel room door in America.

  5. Not From Here

    Hoo boy. Generics are supposed to be cheap!
    Back on Oct 22 posted comment about price fixing of Generics in Canada


    We need that pot in Canada, it’s not all free medicine here. Drugs are not covered for most Canadians, and we actually pay higher prices for Generics than in the USA.
    Costco and other chain store companies take kickbacks, legal and illegal, to 60%, which they use to subsidize killing off local small competitors.

  6. Adam1

    “Mark Zuckerberg did everything…”

    WOW. Awesome story. I think the key, at least for the location tracking, is Facebook is saying it doesn’t track people. Legally that is probably correct (although only lawyers appreciate splitting linguistic language into legalese – the rest of us call it a con or an outright intended lie). All Facebook needs is a deal where the tracking data is provided TO them. Facebook doesn’t need to know your location. Only the phone manufacturer or the wireless provider needs to know. Then Facebook needs to just buy or arrange for them to provide Facebook with the data. Each company has valuable data that both can gain from sharing. Facebook promises NEVER to track you (wink wink), but it probably never promises to acquire your location or home address from a 3rd party! And at the simplest level all they’d need is for the addresses of the 2 houses and they’d be able to geo-code the data in under 10 minutes and realize they are just meters away from each other without specifically “tracking” either person (again wink wink).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you for this comment. The Zuckerberg story was story was excellent; I was pressed for time and so didn’t provide excerpts. From the business perspective I think these passages are key. Facebook’s existential position:

      Before we dig into the lies, though, it’s worth asking the question: why? Why has the corporation got itself into this position, and why does it have to be dragged kicking and screaming, time and again, to confront what it already knows to be true?

      And the answer to that is at the very heart of Facebook, it goes to the core of Mark Zuckerberg’s personality, and it defines the company’s corporate culture: it is insecure. And it has good reason to be.

      The truth is that Facebook is nothing special. It is a website. A very big and clever website but a website that is completely reliant on its users to post their own content. Those users don’t need Facebook and they could, in a matter of seconds, decide to tap on a different app and post their thoughts and updates there, instead. If enough people make that decision, the company collapses. All 340 billion dollars of it.

      Mark Zuckerberg knows that all too well, and as internal emails handed over to the British Parliament and then published make clear, the top tier of Facebook was highly focused on that question of existential dread: how do we avoid becoming the next MySpace, Geocities, Google Plus, or Friendster?

      And the solution:

      Facebook cut data deals with all sorts of companies based on this premise: give them what they want, and in return they would be hauled onto Zuckerberg’s internet reservation….

      Plugging large companies into users’ profiles, and their friends’ profiles, became a running theme, and for the antisocial network, it all worked: the data flowed.

      But then things took a darker turn. The users and privacy groups started asking questions. Facebook’s entire strategy started looking shaky as people decided they should have control over what is done with their private data.

      Facebook started cutting shadier and shadier deals to protect its bottom line. Its policy people started developing language that carefully skirted around reality; and its lawyers began working on semantic workarounds so that the Silicon Valley titan could make what looked like firm and unequivocal statements on privacy and data control, but in fact allowed things to continue on exactly as they had. What was being shared was not always completely clear.

      The line was crossed when Facebook got in bed with smartphone manufacturers: it secretly gave the device makers access to each phone user’s Facebook friends’ profiles, when the handheld was linked to its owner’s account, bypassing protections.

      That is how Sandberg and Zuckerberg are able to rationalize their lies: because they believe the future of the entire company is dependent on maintaining the careful fiction that users have control over their data when they don’t.

      Now go read “Meet Stan” on page 2...

  7. rd

    Re: AOC self-care

    If she had just said she was going to be just golfing, sipping scotch, watching football, and having some good cigars, nobody would have blinked.

    It was terming it self-care with yoga that drove everybody off the cliff, because power-brokers just don’t do that.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Not really. Neoliberalism and conservatism are such vile philosophies they can’t compete in an environment with anything sensible. Much like the Bernie Bro myth in the primary, AOC would be accused of every insane thing possible to discredit her prior to her speaking. If she went to a college football game and sat with Condi Rice, AOC would be knocked for skipping work and her detractors would ask if she was looking for a new job or seeking advice.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          He took the leadership of a party, making him a bigger target, but I’ll note its appears ole Claire McCaskill took time out of her busy schedule of doing nothing to complain about AOC’s style of politics not being good enough to win, ignoring that McCaskill lost while Democrats won state wide and Missouri voters chose to embrace weed and a minimum wage increase.

      1. JBird4049

        That poisonous mutilated ideology known as American “Conservatism,” and its demon Hellspawn Neoliberalism, are not conservative or liberal, but really massive multi decades long cons that were created to destroy not only leftism, but also such things as the rule of law, especially equality under it, and the idea of the commonwealth, with authoritarian, even totalitarian, rule by a very small corrupt oligarchic kakistocracy. One can disagree with conservatism or liberalism as ideologies but only the labels are followed in the United States, not the actual ideology by the ruling class.

    2. ewmayer

      “It was terming it self-care with yoga…” — Ah, I had misread that as “self-care with yoda”. “Mmmm … Care for the self, one must.” :)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If AOC ignores them, the follow up would be ‘first she ignores us…’

      On the other hand, it would be like a staring contest with the abyss. And we know all about ‘staring into the abyss.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        takes enormous stones to stare into the Abyss.Thing is, she’s exactly right, and every single person knows it…and a bunch of them hate that they know it, because it makes their job harder.
        since wife’s diagnosis 9-12, I’ve eaten out a lot.
        more than since I worked in a kitchen, 12 years ago.
        when in the big city, i strive for sit down, non-corporate.
        but on the road, it’s usually fast food.
        It takes it’s toll.

        And I know that I’m not in any way representative with the next part of it….(I rarely leave the farm, except for cancer and football…last several months have been a big change for me)….but Hecticity…the Mode of Being of Being Hectic….is bad for you!
        People shouldn’t live thataway.
        it’s insane to live that way…and yet I am in a tiny minority of Slowness.
        everybody is rushing around…and perhaps y’all can’t see it…fish blind to water and all.
        my brother knows it on an almost unconscious level…accessed only by means of an induced trance state when he comes up here…
        on all these jaunts to the big city, I observe it with most people i meet, see it all around.
        it would probably be a good thing to have this conversation she’s maybe trying to have.
        but we must expect the usual shaming and recrimination and “look! a Shiny Object!”
        and frelling resist it.
        what AOC is referring to is the condition of Life for a great many people…encouraged in subtle and gross ways…whispered and shouted into every orifice.
        The shamers and accusers should rightly be made to explain their defense of such an inhuman and deleterious lifeway….not allowed to continue to taboo it out of existence.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            fit my purpose.
            i’m firmly in the Language as Evolving camp…and how should it evolve, but from the bottom?
            Ergo, I reserve the right to make words up.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well . . . since ‘factuality’ is an officially recognized word, perhaps ‘hecticality’ can become an officially recognized word if enough people use it enough.

    4. Yves Smith

      Huh? Power brokers most certainly do do that, it’s a blue cities affluenza “I have the money and can make the time” status marker.

      The liberals are huge into yoga. A given it it popular with the Pantsuit Nation crowd.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        New Orleans City Council recently gave an award to this lady from Los Angeles for opening up a black owned Yoga Studio on Basin n Canal.

        Cuz Jobs and P-P-Ps and Downtown Economic Development.

        Thanks, Latoya Cantrell, for ur utter uselessness as mayor…

  8. rd

    RE: Houston Ship Channel

    Rising seas and increased flooding due to increased impermeable surfaces will soon allow them to use their interstate highway corridors for shipping.

    1. chuck roast

      So, the authorities enlarged the port to handle probably neo-panamax vessels and…surprise…the ship channel no longer meets its most basic requirement. The chutzpah of the thing is astonishing.
      I trust someone is following the money.

  9. urdsama

    The “Against Human Extinction” item is an interesting one in that we have finally reached a point, much like Brexit, in which governments may have waited too long and now there are no good options. And no good bad options either. So we start to see pieces seriously discussing this idea.

    While I’m afraid the only way homo sapiens would go extinct is when almost all other life on Earth is gone as well, I have no issues accepting that 1 – it is too late to stop the warming process, and 2 – we have no right to take the whole planet down with us. While the vast majority of humans did not choose the path that led to our current crisis, that does not change the fact vast numbers of species are going extinct.

    I have no idea how humanity would “off itself”; I do know it is increasingly difficult to not be massively affected by what we are doing to our fellow creatures.

    1. Carey

      I see the NYT Op-ed as softening up the Many by making the unthinkable thinkable,
      and expect to see more tripe like this. I say to its author: “you first, no?”

      1. Lee

        If the last human died alone in the forest would there be anyone left to notice?

        There must be an ice floe out there with this guys name on it…..for the time being at least.

      2. a different chris

        May says this as if it’s a given—there’s not a shred of argumentation offered.

        I am not on May’s side but… does he have to offer “argumentation”, whatever that is? Anybody who has ever seen an exponential curve doesn’t need May to support his statement, they need Robinson to support his belief that we won’t do the ultimate family blog. Because from “cleaning the air” – which turned out to be offshoring our smoke-and-coke it to poorer people, to “recycling” – which, hey turns out to be offshoring our garbage to poorer people, maybe the “argumentation” is that we haven’t done much. Seen a bee lately?

        Meanwhile in my lifetime the population has more than doubled. And I still gotta go to work everyday, so I’m hardly ancient.

        why would we conclude that it’s totally impossible for us to live sustainably ever again, even with greater knowledge about how to do so than any previous generation of humans ever had?

        Yea technology. Seems to lead to bigger wars, if that’s how you want to “address our environmental concerns”.

        We are down to a decade, according to people Robinson believes in, to “save the planet”. A decade ago Obama was president. He wasn’t so good. Now we have Trump, with the alternate choice Ms Public/Private herself.

        Again, all I’m saying is that May is not the one that has to make the case. His case is the sound one, we have to do the work to prove him wrong. Whining in Current Affairs isn’t even useful, let alone right.

        1. KPC

          Each and every one of us needs to make fundamental changes in our behavior and, as a concequence our belief systems.

          First, we need to profoundly understand that “growth” (whether GDP or any other issue) is not the goal.

          Second or maybe first, we need to relearn limitations with respect to first our individual behavior and then collective behavior. We need, my gods and goddesses forgive me, to conservatize (limitations as in “to conserve”) recognizing we do not individually or collectively get everything we want without limitation (liberal and extreme).

          1. Geo

            Each and every one of us could do that and yet fossil fuel companies, the MIC, and other major polluters must do so as well. Until we’re able to control these out-of-control entities no amount of sustainable living on our parts will do any good.

            Pushing people to make severe personal sacrifices when those most responsible are reaping all the benefits only creates apathy and resentment among the masses – resentment for the sacrifices they are making while the most destructive continue making ridiculous fortunes and living lavish lives, and apathy because they realize their sacrifices aren’t causing even a ripple.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Perhaps sacrifices is the wrong method. Perhaps upgrades, re-engineerings and improvements is a better set of methods for conservation lifestyling.

              Keeping your house at 60 degrees in the winter is a sacrifice. Keeping your house at 72 degrees in the winter for HALF the normal amount of energy that anyone else would use . . . is an upgrade, the practice of uptelligent smartenization, as it were.

              The Facebook article noted that if all the Facebook users happened to individually drop Facebook all it once, Facebook would go extinct.

              If a hundred-and-fifty-million Blue Team Americans all cut their fossil carbon consumption in half all at once ( which realistically means over the five years or so that it would take a hundred fifty million Blue Team Americans to uptelligently smartenize their fossil carbon usage), would that reduce revenue streaming to the Fossil Carbon Class Enemy enough to make them feel it? Enough to weaken their political power-resistance to exterminationist head-shots?

        2. Yves Smith

          We are already well into a mass species dieoff, in case you didn’t notice. Humans are destroying the biosphere. We are doing squat to change that trajectory. This goes beyond global warming, although that is a component.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “…I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
            I do not think that they will sing to me….”

            I’ve felt that for a long time.
            peak oil…then peak everything else…
            peak potash, ferdogssake.
            at some level, maybe I’ve always felt it…I never felt comfortable with the ordinary reality that we were expected to believe/live in.
            Stages of Grief, baby.
            the New Politics…organic, yet cold and barren as an iced moon.

            in between Brownwood/Early and Stephenville, Texas are a great many giant windmills.
            There are also a great many signs educating passerby about the evils of wind power…billboards to handmade signs on barbed wire.
            same propaganda effort happened (successfully, I might add) around here a few years ago.
            I think they’re pretty….and peta should prove their case regarding bird death…damned things turn slowly, even in a high wind…and are almost silent, even when standing right underneath(I did)
            My point is that we have an enormous problem with fulfilling the Current Affairs Guy’s dream…big money, with a bunch of big, contradictory megaphones.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              2 years before we can’t grow food at all? Are you sure about that?
              I think corn will grow in my garden 3 years from now, or even 4 years from now, even WITH the low level of my corn-growing skillset.

          2. gepay

            Smithsonian paleontologist Doug Erwin – Erwin is one of the world’s experts on the End-Permian mass extinction, an unthinkable volcanic nightmare that nearly ended life on earth 252 million years ago.

            \ “So you can ask, ‘Okay, well, how many geographically widespread, abundant, durably skeletonized marine taxa have gone extinct thus far?’ And the answer is, pretty close to zero,” Erwin pointed out. ..the best-assessed groups of modern animals—like stony corals, amphibians, birds and mammals—somewhere between 0 and 1 percent of species have gone extinct in recent human history. By comparison, the hellscape of End-Permian mass extinction claimed upwards of 90 percent of all species on earth…

            it is true that the number of individuals of many species have been greatly diminished due mainly to habitat decline – others like the Polar Bear were greatly diminished due to hunting and trapping (The Hudson Bay Company was responsible for a formidable number of polar bear deaths – since the regulation of polar bear hunting – their numbers have stopped declining – bearing in mind it is incredibly hard to count polar bears – the American buffalo suffered a similar decline in numbers but have not gone extinct – at this time climate change is not responsible for any extinction event – there has been an incredible increase in the number of individual animals that we eat – excepting fish and shellfish – overfishing is a real man made disaster that needs to be dealt with.

        3. bstamerjon

          May says this as if it’s a given—there’s not a shred of argumentation offered.

          So, consider the inverse. Humans and humanity will continue infinitely.

          This is the unspoken assumption that our culture whispers in our ear from birth.

          What evidence is there of it’s truth?

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Whining in Current Affairs isn’t even useful, let alone right.

          I think categorizing the Current Affairs piece as “whining” is Part of the Problem:

          Hopelessness is what conservatives want, and pessimism means death. Todd May’s thinking is dangerous, suicidal, wrong.

          Liberals, too, which is why the Times published it; see my above comment. Elites, I think, want to save as few as possible (“hence,” if you will, both declining life expectancy and a declining birth date).

          (As of right now I’m not even sure that Climate Change is the best way to think about the problem, let alone frame it. I don’t trust the models to model the biosphere any more than I trust economic models to model the economy, even if their results are “correct.” I think there are enormous side effects the models don’t take into account because they are unknown unknowns. For example, insect die-offs must surely affect an enormous number of variables, even if you just weighed them up and measured their carbon, never mind systematic effects on birds, pollination, etc.

          It may be that it’s better to think of the biosphere as a single organism undergoing a process of sepsis. We don’t know what successful treatment might look like, but we might want to think about what an organism that is much larger, older, and smarter than we are (even if “aneurally“) will do whenever its equivalent of our immune system kicks in, and figure out how to get out of the way. My intuitive answer — which I freely admit I have not done the math on — would be to think permaculturally, and amplify what healthy natural systems already do. Hence, reforestation etc., think twice, three, four times about technological add-ons like BECCS, geo-engineering, etc.)

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What happens if the 90% decide that the only way the 90% can save the 90% is by carefully and systematically rounding up and exterminating ( physically killing) every individual member of the 1% and the 10%?

          It is an unthinkable thought, and unspeakable to speak of. But if the 1% and the 10% drive the 90% into a corner out of which “exterminate the 1 and the 10” appears to be the only hope of escape and survival for the 90, then what will the 90 do? And who will the 1 and the 10 decide to blame?

          I think the 1% and the 10% have been thinking about this for quite a while. I think that is why they are so very interested in gun control for the 90% while supporting total gun rights for the police and the secret police and all the private and public armed forces.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m glad there’s a mirror site for the Archdruid, but I’m still ticked off that he broke the many links that we gave him.

        Also, the next intelligent civilization will not be racoons, but cats. I mean, obviously.

    2. In the Land of Farmers

      Biological systems tend toward equilibrium. There is nothing more to say. Humans have the capacity to recognize this, and some of us do. However, that knowledge is in constant battle for our innate drive for survival and reproduction.

      That is why I keep saying that it is a spiritual issue, not technological.

      The environment will balance itself out no matter what we think, certainly leading to mass deaths, but probably not extinction.

      From a human perspective it would be worse if we went extinct, but the universe does not care either way, because there is ultimately no birth or death.

      1. urdsama

        “Biological systems tend toward equilibrium” – but only if they are allowed to progress naturally. I would argue that is not what humanity is doing. We have altered natural systems to suit ourselves with little concern about long term impacts.

        Perhaps it is a spiritual issue, but in that regard, homo sapiens is doing worse on that front than on the technological one.

        “Probably not extinction” – estimates of climate change, habitat destruction and extinction numbers have been found to be massively optimistic. I think such a view misses the true scope of the damage humans are causing and will cause. The current mass die may exceed ones in the past, being far worse than the events that led to the dinosaurs dying off (among other species).

        Personally, I’m not comforted by knowing the universe won’t care either way. What bothers me is that our species is supposedly among the most intelligent on the planet, yet we continue to knowingly destroy our only home. While I have no desire to be dead, I would gladly die if I knew it would lead to other species being able to recover from the brink.

        Yes, I would be willing to go first.

        1. In the Land of Farmers

          “but only if they are allowed to progress naturally.”

          There is no such thing as unnatural progress. It will happen no matter how much technology we throw at it. all we are doing is prolonging the nightmare.

          And the universe does not care if you are comforted either. As the Daoists say, the universe treats all things as straw dogs.

          1. Yves Smith

            No, systems do not have a propensity to equilibrium. There are both positive (self-reinforcing, as in destabilizing) and negative (self dampening) feedback loops.

            For instance: global warming warms up permafrost. That leads to huge releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which accelerates the warming.

            Making stuff up is against our written site Policies. If you don’t cut it out, there will be consequences.

            1. Oregoncharles

              He may mean that overrunning your carrying capacity tends to be self-correcting – unpleasantly so.

              1. Yves Smith

                We’ve had periods on earth where there was virtually no biological system. After one of the mass species die-offs, there was close to zilch life for IIRC 300 million years. So I don’t see how you can refer to an equilibrium, which means the system stabilizes, when you in fact have no system at all.

                1. JBird4049

                  In a functional ecosystem that is not being devoured by something like modern civilization or poisoned by the Siberian Traps which probably caused the Great Dying of around 250 mya there is a tendency to equilbrium; however, since there have been at least several mass extinction events in Earth’s history, you’re right that we should not be blasé about the possibility of ecological collapse. Heck, the society on Easter Island, and the Mayan and Classical Civilizations’ collapses happened at least partly due to environmental damage.

                2. In the Land of Farmers

                  I am not trying to be argumentative, I am just thinking out loud, and this made me think; Doesn’t the Law of thermodynamics also imply systems equilibrium?

                  By “stabilize” I am not implying that anything benefits, just that the motion, from say hot to cold, ends.

                  Like how a high pressure system can create wind, that imbalance between high and low pressure is an imbalance that creates instability.

                  Biological systems are fundamentally physical also so maybe there is some deeper connection.

                    1. In the Land of Farmers

                      I think you are mistaken:


                      The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases. Such systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium, the state with maximum entropy.

                      Your misunderstanding stems from a poor textbook explanation that has invaded mainstream thought, that increases in entropy are increases in disorder:


                      In recent years, in chemistry textbooks there has been a shift away from using the terms “order” and “disorder” to that of the concept of energy dispersion to describe entropy, among other theories. In the 2002 encyclopedia Encarta, for example, entropy is defined as a thermodynamic property which serves as a measure of how close a system is to equilibrium, as well as a measure of the disorder in the system.

                      So as you can see, maximum entropy is equilibrium. The universe therefore has a propensity for maximizing balance.

                    2. Yves Smith

                      The equilibrium is an end state, and not returning to a state, which is what you meant in your earlier use of equilibrium. The end state for a system is maximum disorder. So you have shifted your position.

            2. In the Land of Farmers

              When I said initially is that biological systems have a propensity to equilibrium, in that I meant living organisms. Like how a wolf population will die back when there is less food.


              That is the equilibrium I was expressing. I do not know why you read into what I said that this balance operates on the physical level as well. I am not the best writer so all I can say at this point is I agree with you.

      2. KPC

        Thank you. Yes and with grace in this season of renewal, the issues are spiritual.

        In the Karma Sutra and to paraphrase from memory, pura vida or the pure life arises from pure air, pure water and pure food. This then allows us… .

        The Ministerio de Tourismo co-opted the phrase “pura vida”. There is a bit of a spiritual evolution in this barrio in this republic in this moment… .

      3. Ari

        WWII is a good example of a self-inflicted “correction” that we weren’t even cognizant of at the time. It wasn’t enough. (Side note: The Germans recognized this, they at least had the fortitude to take serious steps to address the problem, however insanely evil it was).

        Everyone recognizes population size is the key to the problem – and solution.

        WWIII will get those population numbers drastically down.

        Hardly anyone one will even be around to experience the catastrophe that the planet has store for us.

        And if you think that won’t happen before we slaughter each other in the billions, I’ve got a bridge to sell you…will it be tall enough in 2040?

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Biological systems tend toward equilibrium.

        True until it isn’t, and it isn’t.

        Once, inspired by the naturalist and Nobelist Konrad Lorenz, who I read when young and who I did not then know was a member of the Nazi Party, I filled up a glass aquarium with water I found in a pond in the woods. For awhile, everything was lovely, with green weeds, and snails floating up and crawling down. In a few weeks, however, I imagine due to eutrophication, the water grew murky, and ultimately there was nothing left but black mud, with some multilegged insect that had just hatched. So I tossed it out.

        Now, you can say that I should have maintained the equilibrium, but an equilibrium that requires a deus ex machina is hardly an equilibrium worthy of the name. Or you could argue that a small natural system that is bounded by glass is not the same as a large natural system bounded by space. Or you might argue that the black mud was the equilibrium, and everything else was just a blip.

        Indeed, I’m not sure that equilibrium as a concept is all that useful or interesting. Here’s a fun quote from Joan Robinson:

        A model applicable to actual history has to be capable of getting out of equilibrium; indeed, it must normally not be in it.

        Readers who are more familiar with economics and economists than I am may wish to expand on this…

        1. JBird4049

          I am not as knowledgeably of economics as I aught to be, but I am fairly cognizant of the political economic history of the results of the ruling classes using eugenics, or at least ideas that are akin to it like Social Darwinism, to facilitate their brutalizing and pillaging of the everyone.

          That libertarian hell know as the Victorian Age where the great slums full of the impoverish or destitute, malnourished, uneducated, sickly masses that were held in fearful contempt by class of people whose ancestors created those masses through such actions as the enclosures, the destruction of the guilds, the apprentice system, and the various local systems for manufacturing clothes and other items.

          Or the destruction of the Irish, which ended in the Potato Famine, or of India which had a better iron/steel and clothes making industries than the Europeans, or the various times and places where blacks in America, or the the Iroquois Confederacy, or the Mexican societies in California (along with the massive genocide of the native Californians in the the 1850s) and the Southwest had their farms and businesses stolen, if not just destroyed, often with lynchings and mass murder done at the same time. Hell, the Nazi’s push for Lebensraum can also be labeled as a kind of Hellish neoliberalism in which a group of people are labeled inferior and in need of civilizing or removal and extermination after which (Surprise!) land, farms, serfs, and sometimes even whole industries have new owners.

          Keep in mind that often the actions are illegal at the time but that money and connections, bribery and contemptible comfortable ignorance allowed it. I am also aware that some of this might seem hyperbolic, but it is only a continuum from labeling an area as urban “blight” and therefore should have a highway put through it or a shopping mall on it to labeling Poland as such too. One incremental step to another, one increasingly encompassing group of Deplorables to dispossess of everything including their existence or at best to just be ignored and refused everything they need to survive.

          1. In the Land of Farmers

            Social Darwinism is an attempt to control nature, not embrace it. That is why I disavow it. Plus it is an Appeal to Nature fallacy so…

        2. In the Land of Farmers

          There are several issues with the “glass aquarium”, but the biggest being it is highly probable that you did not replicate the complete biological system (the complete container that constrains the fish pond’s entropy). For if equilibrium did not exist at all then why do fish ponds continue in a much longer healthy state than your aquarium? The deus ex machina is the complexity you do not yet understand.

          And there is a common misunderstanding about equilibrium, that it somehow looks beneficial to all parties. This is not the case at all. That fish tank, being it’s own closed system, reached its very own perfect equilibrium. That it did not look like what you wanted it to look like is irrelevant. It reached a NEW equilibrium because you gave it new CONTRAINTS.

          It is true that life systems are constantly trying to decrease entropy individually in order to stay alive. It is this competition for energy which enables decreases in entropy that leads to individual organisms to compete with each other for that energy. We need energy to decrease entropy to stay alive.

          It takes energy to bring the natural state of disorder (high entropy) into a state of order (low entropy). That is what we are doing with the earth right now. Look at all the order around you, that all takes energy.

  10. rd

    Re: the Boring Company

    They are going to have to speed up the elevators at the beginning and end to handle LA traffic volume. Maybe just attach a parachute to the top of the vehicle and shoot it up through the shaft with an electro-magnetic gun like they are developing for aircraft carriers and artillery.

    And yes, tunnels generally have escape doors on the sides to another space in case of fire. Also, trucks carrying hazardous and flammable materials are not allowed in tunnels so they have to be rerouted on surface routes.

    BTW – the airline industry has been going nuts over the “Smart bags” with the lithium batteries built into the carry-on bags. Whoever thought that one up, clearly doesn’t travel on regional carriers with gate checked bags. So electric cars are just going to be the ground version of that in a tunnel like this.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The tweet is appropriate. The whole point was to develop a mass transit system inaccessible to poor people so the “woke” crowd can both get to brunch but not necessarily have to ride with the bus crowd. Safety was never the concern so to speak, but “safety” was.

      1. sd

        Actually, the whole point of the tunnel was to allow Musk a way to build one for himself so he didn’t have to mingle with we mere peasants.

    2. ewmayer

      Elon Musk’s vision for transport is a 3D network of tunnels for autonomous electric vehicles – TechCrunch

      Note the sneaky wording, bolded:

      Tonight, Musk showed off a 1.14-mile test tunnel — that snakes its way underneath 120th Street in the city of Hawthorne — that his other business, The Boring Company, dug for about $10 million using a modified boring machine called Godot. (That $10 million figures includes the cost of building the tunnel, all internal infrastructure, lighting, communication and video, safety systems, ventilation and track, according to the company.) For Musk, this is merely a demonstration of what could be: a network of low-cost tunnels used for transportation, utilities or water and built for millions of dollars, or even billions, less than those constructed for subways or trains.

      IOW, Musk can make up whatever figure he wants to – and my money is on ‘he is lying his hucksterish little butt off.’ How about letting us see some audited financials, Elon?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Did he actually call his digging machine Godot? Seriously? As in when you are waiting for the bore to come through the other end to lay the foundations of a safe, profitable, much-needed tunnel that you are literally ‘Waiting for Godot’.

        1. ewmayer

          Maybe they had an internal naming competition, in which Godot just edged out dark-horse name candidate, ‘Drilldo’. :)

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          not to get too libertarian or anything…but there’s a case to be made that we’ll never get to Star Trek without a few rich fools willing to blow it all on Boring Machines…or Replicators.
          the paradigm that would make an exclusive rapid transit system being VIP only acceptable to the masses is what must be fought.

  11. Gareth MacLeod

    The brief mutual respect of Taleb and David Graeber seems to be at an end: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1075747919637164035

    It was gonna happen eventually. For all the good work Taleb does on thinking about risk (especially civilizational risk), he’s always been under the influence of the far right politically, it’s pretty gross seeing someone like that retweeting Mike Cernovich or excusing Flynn Jr. for only thinking pizzagate was a “valid hypothesis”.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I read a little way into this Graeber thread. It addresses ” this” and “that” and “the other” as it sort of wanders around.

      Here’s a disturbing little back and forth I found on it. . . .
      * * * * * * * * * * *
      ?Dick Bozeman ? ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

      17h17 hours ago
      Replying to @davidgraeber

      I love how you claim to want anarchy but then shill for a war that will lead to more government.

      David Graeber

      8h8 hours ago

      I have know idea what you’re talking about. If you’re talking about Syria, the last thing i posted on the subject was i’d be delighted to see the US go so long as they left the anti-state forces the means to defend themselves

      * * * * * * * * *

      So Mr. Graeber wants the ” anti-state” forces be supplied with the means to “defend themselves”? Does he realize that almost all the “anti-state” forces in Syria are the Jihadis? Or does he just strictly and only mean the Kurdish militias? If that is strictly and only who he means by “anti-state” forces, perhaps he should say so clearly enough that he can not possibly be misunderstood.

      Because there are a lot of decent people who do not want to see the Jihadis given any arms and supports. In fact, a lot of decent people would like to see the Jihadis exterminated from existence and killed in detail from off the face of the Earth. Including several million non-Jihadi Syrians.

  12. Stanley Dundee

    David Sirota:

    Beto O’Rourke frequently voted for Republican legislation, analysis reveals

    Truly an exemplary Macrony. How many times can we be fooled?

    1. Carey

      Sirota’s column on O’Rourke was thoroughly damning, especially considering it appeared
      in the Grauniad.

      Limited hangout, maybe, before pointedly shoving calf-cramping™ dude down/up our

    2. Joey

      Good lord, I find it abhorrent that our blue vs. red dichotomy is so ingrained that ‘republican legislation’ is accepted as a valid construct without discussion. Only vote the straight party line or face wrath? What independent leaders you have, Mrs Cleaver!

      1. Stanley Dundee

        Certainly every bill deserves individual consideration, but if you accept the basic framing that republicans usually represent extreme right-wing positions while democrats typically occupy center-right positions, then a putative “progressive” who often votes with the extreme right should receive careful scrutiny. Sirota does look into each case with some care, and the shorthand conclusion is well supported by the detail. Beto acts more like a blue dog than a genuine progressive, if there is such a thing. Calf-cramping aside.

      2. JBird4049

        “First came the Greycoats to eat all my swine, Next came the Bluecoats to make my sons fight, Next came the Greencoats to make my wife whore, Next came the Browncoats to burn down my home. I have not but my life, now come the Blackcoats to rob me of that.”

        I am starting to recall this cheerful ditty from the Thirty Years War when the Commentariat starts blathering about the reds and the blues. It’s like some game to these fools.

  13. Roy G

    The renewed attack on Teh Russianz is clearly a desperate attempt to deflect and reflect, guilt projection at its highest. The much more substantial attempts to influence our election via the British elites and their extremely orwellian government funded Integrity Initiative which were revealed by Anonymous last week have been greeted by silence in the media.

    Craig Murray and Bernhard at Moon of Alabama were all over it, and I highly encourage NC readers to investigate, as you can see the tendrils of this creepy disinformation operation reach out and tie together many shady dealings across the globe:

    Well-coordinated efforts of the Anonymous from all over the world have forced the UK politicians to react to the unacceptable and in fact illegal activity of the British government that uses public money to carry out misinformation campaigns not only in the EU, US and Canada but in the UK as well, in particular campaigns against the Labour party.


    In late 2017 Ben Nimmo and Guardian ‘journalist’ Carole Cadwalladr disseminated allegations that Russia used Facebook ads to influence the Brexit decision. Cadwalladr even received a prize for her work. Unfortunately the prize was not revoked when Facebook revealed that “Russia linked” accounts had spend a total of 97 cents on Brexit ads. It is unexplained how that was enough to achieve their alleged aim.

    Many more tendrils are exposed, including links to Skirpal, Steele and even Bernie Sanders:


      1. DJG

        tricia. Wowsers. The operative paragraph is so embarrassing that I amazed that Quartz published it:

        The accounts promoted merchandise, including merch sites run by the IRA itself. Some of the merch overlapped with Facebook, but, the researchers found some products unique to Instagram like “LGBT-positive sex toys and many variants of triptych and 5-panel artwork featuring traditionally conservative, patriotic themes,” the New Knowledge report said. The merchandise could have provided the IRA with some income, but more importantly, offered the operatives access to buyers’ personal data, including payment information, and help with ad targeting in the future.

        Sowing discord with sex toys indeed.

      2. anon in so cal

        Incredibly dangerous heights…..

        Whatever anyone opines of Tucker Carlson, he seems to be the only MSM voice of reason re: Russia and Syria. On December 18, he interviewed Prof Stephen Cohen who warned that anti-Russia propaganda could lead the US to war with Russia.


        Prof Cohen: Anti-Russia propaganda could lead to war with Russia. NeoCons cannot abide a multi-polar world.

        Interview Starts at 23:39


        Elsewhere, Prof Cohen warns of war with Russia:

        “NATO is continuing its military buildup and “exercises” on Russia’s border….US MSM is silent…”


      1. Carey

        In anything like a just world (how quaint!) you’d be right, but how many times now have we heard “this changes everything…” “game-changer…” yadda-yadda, while the Many are immiserated yet further, for the benefit of the very few?

  14. Carey

    I wonder just how many times we will be privileged to hear “Beto!” between now and
    the Democrat Convention? All salt-of-the-earth grassroots support, of course.

    1. Carey

      It occurred to me after making the comment above that the people once referred to
      as salt-of-the-earth; decent people who were less than perfect, have been thoroughly immiserated and rebranded (accepting that capitalist usage, for the moment) as rayciss/sexiss “deplorables”.

      Captain obvious stuff, I guess.

  15. DJG

    Why is Matt Bai so bitter? It’s the first Yule, and he should be jolly. Heck, we are smackdab in the middle of Saturnalia!

    And what is the “reactionary left”? Leftists who react to injustice? Leftists who long for those days of yesteryear when we had progressive taxation? Où sont les impôts d’antan?

    Fellow groundlings, the Solstice is upon us. I plan to make Matt one of those corn-flake wreaths laden with corn syrup, green food coloring, and little red candies (as holly berries, and as a Symbol That I Am a Reactionary Leftist). The man needs something to lift himself up before he blurts out that Saint Lucy doesn’t exist and doesn’t deserve her own holiday on 13 December.

    And a grand Solstice to all. ‘Tis the reason for the season.

    1. Darius

      I once heard Matt Taibbi describe how establishment types mistake him for Matt Bai and treat him warmly. When they realize their mistake they get all awkward and unsure of how to react. Hilarious.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Isn’t “reactionary left” a contradictory statement?

      Definition from Merriam Webster

      Definition of reactionary
      : relating to, marked by, or favoring reaction
      especially : ultraconservative in politics

      Unless he is admitting that the “left” in this country is already center right…

    3. integer

      I’d say “reactionary left” refers to the those who are commonly known as liberals, as “reactionary” is often defined as resistance to social progress or political reform (e.g. liberals’ embracing neoliberalism and 0bamacare and opposing democratic socialism and Medicare for All).

      1. Carey

        I don’t think your definition of “reactionary left” is what Bai meant at all.
        We’ll see over time, I’m sure.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I think that this damned confusion of tongues regarding Left, Liberal, progressive, etc etc is one of our biggest problems, currently.
          I mean, hell…is hillary(for instance) a socialist, a liberal a moderate republican a Goldwater Girl a progressive?
          what do any of those words mean any more?
          I am certain that I could find internet conversations assuming each of them, and more, right now.
          hardly anyone can agree on these rather important definitions…and I think we should prolly think and talk about that.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Bai means people who would like to see Glass-Steagall restored, minimum wages raised to livability, union organizing and movements supported, etc.

    4. ChrisPacific

      Well, at least we know what’s to blame for the problem as far as he’s concerned. Not enough energy taxes, and too much entitlement spending. Yes that’s right, it’s all the fault of those darn poor people! 2040 is the earliest we might see any improvement, and that only if we start putting the boot in right away.

    5. chuck roast

      Maybe the guy is talking about the Thermidorian Reaction.
      But don’t you have to first have the actual revolution before you get the bloody reaction?
      He is indeed a farsighted individual. Perhaps he would be good enough to show us the coming firmament in his crystal ball.

  16. Summer

    “The Bezzle: More snark on Elon’s submarine tunnel…”

    All the rush is about getting to work. So much can be done from home and we don’t do it…we keep doing unnecessary mess.

    The quickest way to get to work is to already be there.

  17. John k

    Pay go silver lining…
    Should bring forward and deepen the recession. This will broaden the appeal of somebody promising change people can really believe in, boosting Bernie and suppressing the status quo neoliberals field and, in the general, trump. Are you better off now compared to 30 years ago?
    Did Pelosi promise to give up her death grip after 2020?

  18. Mattski

    Wealthy women of color are just wealthy women with brown skin. There is a huge split in the Black electorate that the media–and Black people themselves–mostly don’t care to remark on. Consider this:


    Agree that there is only mild enthusiasm for Sanders, oftimes, among the older liberal left. That’s because they have drifted right over time and are terrified of giving up their little houses, not to mention their investment in the idea that they have some actual role in the (neo)liberal order. (In fact, not many of them even now have much purchase on the meaning of that term.) There’s a reason why traditional left theory sees the middle class not as a key to social change but as ultimately reactionary. You can find plenty of confirmation of this fact if you travel to the outskirts of Third World cities like Santo Domingo or Bangalore. Tiny tiny houses with a few inches of grass that middle class people here might be inclined to call slums. Yet the people in them–desperately economically though they may themselves be–consider themselves far above the abjectly poor (see liberal attitudes toward the white poor) and will resist voting for socialist candidates until they too are washed by debt and joblessness into the ranks of the miserable unwashed.

    1. Mattski

      Sorry, my opening comment is cavalier. I guess what I am trying to say is that–as the child of a civil rights family who grew up among a good many Black families and watched many of them become wealthy (in that brief period of the Reagan 80s and Clinton 90s when lots of people did)–I am continually surprised–and maybe I am the one who’s naive–at how supportive a number of them are of the Clintons and the neoliberal thrust of corporate Dem politics, how scathing in their views of poorer Blacks they sometimes are. Such attitudes—like the actions of the Obamas–should remind us that skin color, while hugely complicated by our historical inheritance–often is a superficial matter. Again–it’s me who’s naive, like lots of other people–but assuming some great degree of progressivism on the part of the Black middle class is often a mistake.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Do they really think the SanderSocial Democrats want to take away their little houses? Is there really any reason why they should think such a thing?

  19. George Phillies

    “A New Survey Finds Kamala Harris Has Big Support” Readers hopefully noted that the survey was of female African-American campaign consultants, who have their legitimate interests, but are perhaps less than representative of larger populations.

    With respect to Amtrack Northeast, a reasonable and relatively cheap rerouting for 2080 would be Lansdale to Scranton to Binghamption to Albany and then due East to Massachusetts’ major 2080 city, Worcester, with perhaps tourist lines to view the former locations of submerged Boston, submerged New York, submerged Philadelphia, and submerged Baltimore.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That is interesting from MoA.

        Trump decided that to prevent Turkey from leaving NATO, and from joining a deeper alliance with Russia, China and Iran, was more important than to further fool around at the margins of the Middle East. It is the right decision.

        (This would connect in some way to the MBS affair, sparked by Turkish intelligence (“Turkish intelligence has learned….”) but I’m not sure how.

        And Mattis’ replacement would be even more interesting. Trump actually got the respectable* Barr to replace Sessions. Will he be able to do the same with Mattis? (My suggestion would be Lawrence Wilkerson. Kidding!)

        * For some definition of respectable

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It was as a regimental commander he earned his nickname and call sign, “CHAOS”, an acronym for “Colonel Has Another Outstanding Solution”, which was initially somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

        Numerous men were wounded in the incident, but Mattis repeatedly refused to dispatch helicopters from the nearby Camp Rhino to recover them, citing operational safety concerns. This prompted an Air Force helicopter to fly from Uzbekistan to ferry the men to the Marine Corps base where helicopters sat readily available but unauthorized to fly. Then-Captain Jason Amerine cited the delay caused by Mattis’s refusal to order a rescue operation as having resulted in the deaths of several men. -From the wiki

        My guess is Mattis is a legend among DC elites. He was on the board of Theranos.

      2. voteforno6

        What does that mean?

        Some people put too much stock in generals, and Mattis wasn’t even a general anymore.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          My oldest was an E5, in the Marines, in Afghanistan. Says they LOVE Maddog and would follow him anywhere. They aren’t gonna be happy with Trump.

          That is what that means.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Man, I didn’t think we should invade any where. I didn’t tell him to enlist. I’ve been dealing with the wreck that came back for years. I’m just stating what he has told me. They love Maddog. End of story.

              1. The Rev Kev

                No criticism meant at all on my part. Just thought to mention that image as I have never seen anything like that for any other general. Sorry to hear about your son as that would be rough. Hopefully he keeps in contact with his buddies from Afghanistan who know what it was like.

    1. VietnamVet

      It’s hitting the fan. “Thursday Night Massacre, The Sequel.” Except Robert Muller hasn’t been fired quite yet. Like Vietnam and Watergate, the withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan assures the Intelligence and Military Contractor Community will force a full-blown attempt at a resignation. But Michael Cohen shows that the President needs a full pardon before going. VP Mike Pence knows what happened to Jerry Ford. He was fifteen back then. If the wars end, Donald Trump can win a second term. Corporate media is going crazy. The global oligarchs are losing control. It is Looney Tunes time.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Limnal Spaces have always been places where Magic happens…hedges, sea shores, etc.
        those places between places.
        You can think of our current moment as a Limnal Moment…where all the Narratives have failed…and all is chaos.
        That represents an opportunity to write a new Narrative…but for the echo chamber cacophony.
        I see that as a big part of what we’re doing, here…and I’m sure there’s other places, as well.
        Neitzsche’s prophecy of 200 years of Nihilism still has a ways to run…ere we hopefully learn to manage our expectations and beliefs…but nobody promised that the lead up to that State of Being would be easy, or pretty….let alone painless or even successful,lol.

        1. Unna

          He predicted 200 years of the greatest wars ever fought. So we still have 80 years to go.

          “You can think of our current moment as a Limnal Moment…where all the Narratives have failed…and all is chaos.”

          Great comment.

    2. Unna

      Withdraw from Syria. Fires/Quits Mattis. Threatens government shutdown unless he gets his Wall. Is this the “New Trump”, chastised after losing the House, trying to fulfill some campaign promises? Is it a “New Trump” energized after getting a more secure Senate, and for him a “better” Atty Gen?

      The MoonofAla is a must read on this as well as the Am Con site article on this. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trumps-decision-to-leave-syria-was-no-surprise/

      Trump chose to keep Turkey in NATO rather than placate the Neocons and their 11 dimensional chess endless war playpen in the ME. My guess is that Turkey survived the coup and then the Trump economic squeeze because it got enough help from its friends. So it was either lose Turkey totally to those friends, or give up the Syria nonsense and bring the troops home, assuming they come home and just don’t go someplace else. Trump made a very tough decision here, but he’ll pay a price for it. Let’s see if the decision isn’t undermined and he gets his way. And who will replace Mattis?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Mattis came straight from the Theranos board to the Trump administration; clearly a true patriot (and no doubt shortly to be designated Hero of the Republic by liberals). But I don’t see why a person of that caliber wouldn’t stay the course….

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Two more points on Mattis:

      1) “Mattis is out, and Blackwater is back: ‘We are coming’” [Military Times]. Speculation, but it would be irresponsible not to:

      The potential privatization of the Afghan War was previously dismissed by the White House, and roundly criticized by Mattis, who saw it as a risk to emplace the nation’s national security goals in the hands of contractors.

      “When Americans put their nation’s credibility on the line, privatizing it is probably not a wise idea,” Mattis told reporters in August.

      But Mattis is out now, one in a series of moves that has surprised most of the Pentagon.

      Drastic change would “be more likely” now, one DOD official said.

      2) “James Mattis to Depart as Defense Chief Over Troop Withdrawals from Syria, Afghanistan” [WSJ]. I can’t get through the paywall, but the Google snippet reads:

      James Mattis to Depart as Defense Chief Over Troop Withdrawals from …
      3 hours ago – WASHINGTON—Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he would resign at the end of February … “We are on the edge,” one Pentagon official said.

      Not “on edge.” “On the edge.” Can any readers with a subscription clarify?

  20. allan

    Before Criminal Justice Reformer Is Even Sworn In, St. Louis Prosecutors Have Joined a Police Union [Intercept]

    St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s 27-year tenure was marked most famously by his failure to win an indictment of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014. He didn’t know it at the time, but that moment, and his hostile press conference announcing the decision, inspired a nationwide effort to reform prosecutorial offices by running criminal justice reformers to serve as district attorneys, not just public defenders.

    In the summer of 2018, that movement eventually swallowed up McCulloch, when reformer Wesley Bell beat him in a primary.

    But winning the office and reforming the system are two different tasks, and now Bell is facing extraordinary resistance from dogmatic front-line prosecutors — even before he has been sworn in.

    This week, prosecutors in the office took the unusual step of voting in secret to join a police union. …

    The American Civil Liberties Union released a statement strongly condemning Monday’s vote, citing “serious ethical conflicts” and an “abdication of the responsibility” of prosecuting attorneys who choose to “place themselves under direct governing authority of the police union.” …

    These prosecutors have just made themselves useless due to conflict of interest for any matter having to do with the Thin Blue Line, and thus are no longer qualified for their jobs.
    Fire them all and let God employment lawyers sort them out.

    1. Unna

      This seems to me to be a big deal. Prosecutors are the ones who ultimately decide whether to/what to charge, and not the cops. And that places them often in an adversarial relationship with the cops because the prosecutor is the one who sometimes has to say “No”. Being in a union with cops is a very bad idea.

      And I’ll go further: Having prosecutors in a union is also potentially a bad idea. And I say this as a very big supporter of unions. The reason is that prosecutors at the county level are generally “deputies” of the elected prosecutor. They stand in his place. They are and should be employees at will who can be fired for any reason, or no reason, so long as it’s not an illegal reason, like race, religion, sex, etc. That’s because the voters, citizens, elect the prosecutor to carry out certain promises and policies and the deputy prosecutors should support those policies 100% or they need to go. Prosecutors are not office functionaries. They exercise charging descretion under the policies set by the boss. Any other result undermines the will of the people as expressed in the election. A prosecutor’s association for wages and benefits, maybe. But deputy prosecutors should always serve at the pleasure of the elected prosecutor. If they don’t like the policies of the elected prosecutor, they should have the personal integrity to resign.

      Seems as though these prosecutors in question ought to take a long look in the mirror. They ought to quit, make their opinions known, that’s OK, and let the elected prosecutor hire his own people.

    1. chuck roast

      I listened to a bit of the BBC program on The Poor Laws.
      So, this woman leads off by saying that, yes, the Industrial Revolution was going on but the people didn’t have enough food to eat. When asked if enclosures had anything to do with it, the woman said the effect of enclosures on the people (small farm folk) were in dispute.
      I saw a really trenchant analysis on nutrition coming so I began searching my belly-button for lint. I figured she must have gotten her degree off a smart phone

      1. c_heale

        When I was at secondary school (middle/junior high) in the UK, we studied the enclosures in depth in my history class. (This was the 1980’s.) Basically they were the same as the clearances etc. It’s quite obvious that stealing people’s shared (common) land had an effect on those people (small farmers). We also studied the Poor Laws and workhouses. They were inhuman. There was even a building in my town that was originally a workhouse and repurposed to be some kind of home for old people. Because people’s memories of the workhouses (I guess handed down), were so bad, apparently no-one wanted to use it.

        People in the UK think the BBC is leftwing. Imo it just follows the government line. Egregious lies like this are what I now expect from the BBC.

      2. Carolinian

        Yes I thought the professor guests on this topic were leaning rightwards but then this is a topic that very much impinges on the present day (they contend that the central government welfare system was also the beginning of the NHS). Someone on this space the other day said that there are no true lefties in US academe and perhaps there’s more than a bit of that in Britain as well.

        What she did say is that the enclosures were not new and that’s true as they started in the 17th century. And they did talk about the “new poor laws” as an outgrowth of an ideology based on Malthus and Bentham. In other words there’s nothing new under the sun including neoliberalism.

  21. anon in so cal

    RE: New Survey showing black women’s support for Kamala Harris:

    Believe this is the poll posted by Clara Jeffery (NeoCon editor of Mother Jones cf. Nina Illingworth)?

    Clara Jeffery’s poll has been pilloried on Twitter because she polled campaign operatives, not regular voters:

    “Those surveyed included campaign donors (48.5%), current and former elected officials (10.6%), campaign managers (5.7%), electoral campaign strategists (8.7%), and women who run (23.1%) or work (23.5%) at politically-minded organizations. ”


    Sample Tweet:


    1. Cal2

      Just as channel 469 on cable TV has an audience, there are people who love Kamala Harris.

      She was a dangerous mediocrity as San Francisco district attorney; Before Kamala became DA, the violent crime rate in SF was just 58% of the rate of Los Angeles. By the end of her disastrous reign as DA, SF violent crime was 26% HIGHER than LA.

      “But she was reelected”–after running unopposed. The office she was in charge of has been replete with brutal censorship of it from judges scolding it to sexual harassment convictions and even lunatics running a secret Masonic police force out of it.

      We know what she did to defend Californians defrauded by Mnuchin’s One West Bank—Nothing.
      Then he gave her a nice donation to run for senator.

      The problem with her brand of identity politics is that just as there are people who will vote for her because she is black, kind of anyway, there will be far more who will recognize the identity shifting creature she is, and vote against her, thus reassuring the election of Trump.

      Her behavior during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings was rude, classless and all one sided. She seems like a terrible listener. Wake up voters. She is bad for California and would be even worse for the U.S.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I am actually pretty impressed that Bernie managed to poll 12% in a sample population that depend for their livelihoods on a corrupt campaign finance system that he would do his very best to destroy if elected. It’s like 12% of turkeys voting for Christmas.

  22. Wukchumni

    It’s not for me to stay, you’ll ignore me
    It’s not for me to say, you even care
    Oh.. but here for the moment
    I can say at long last
    And compare your exodus to mine
    And dream that divorce will be fast

    As far as I can see, This is heaven
    And speaking just for me, I’ll be spared
    Perhaps the glow of leaving will grow
    With every passing day
    Or we may never meet again
    But then it’s not for me to stay


  23. JTMcPhee

    Anyone curious about what the Israel -ites are thinking and doing at the moment can look to the Times Of Israel from yesterday, https://www.timesofisrael.com/

    Our staunch ally Israel turning to new friends, like Russia. Ramping up their kinetic activities and all the pot stirring and sneakiness of their security state players. On and on.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Does Israel “turning to Russia” mean “turning against America” in a strict binary sense? Is there a case to be made for that concept?

      If the RussiaGov could impose some behavioral restraints on the IsraelGov, why would Israel’s turning to Russia be a problem for us? Or am I being invited to believe that Russia is America’s enemy and that therefor Israel’s “turning to Russia” means supporting an enemy? And if that is what I am being invited to believe, then why should I believe that Russia is America’s enemy?

      1. JTMcPheek

        Should have added /sarc tag to my comment? Far as I am concerned, the Zionists have sown the wind and are in line to reap the whirlwind, in the Great Eretz Israel Project. Only really big problem is that the Likudniks (Luke our own Imperial warlords) have LOTS of nuclear weapons and a predisposition to blow Sh!t up for idiotic reasons.

  24. JBird4049

    “A New Survey Finds Kamala Harris Has Big Support For A Presidential Run From Top Democratic Women Of Color”

    I have lived here for all my life and honest to God I have never heard anything from or about Ms. Harris that has ever suggested that she should be President. Nothing. It’s like she checks off all the boxes on The Checklist while not actually showing a honest principle on anything. It is not even whether I agree on whatever positions she supposedly holds, but that she doesn’t have any except for the Brass ring leading to her next elected office.

  25. Devamitta

    An Ohio voter who has met with Brown on single payer when he was a congressman, had him at a few events I helped organize, and lobbied his Senate office on a few issues in the past, Sherrod is one of the better liberals, but he is too cautious and tends to stay on safe issues, though to his credit they are typically ones important to working people. He doesn’t lead on anything that might be too controversial, and when as a congressman was a co-sponsor of H.R. 676 (Conyers Single Payer bill), he never really promoted it. His schtick is a little tiring to me, and if I have to hear him do his “canary in the coal mine” spiel in any future life, it will be too soon (If you see close up pictures, see his lapel pin to see what I am talking about). His wife teaches part-time at Kent State University, and she never responded to an email I sent when trying to organize part-time adjuncts. He’s a good guy, but in many ways is a consummate politician, though once again he is surely one of the better Senators by far.

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