2:00PM Water Cooler 12/4/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Under China’s New Rules, U.S. Recycling Suffers” [Governing]. “Until this past January, China took 40 percent of America’s gently used paper, metals and plastic. Now, it accepts hardly any of it. China won’t take recycled material from this country, or others, unless it’s 99.5 percent free of contaminants. Some of the material is currently being processed domestically or is getting sent to other countries, but the loss of the biggest market has led some domestic recycling plants to shut down and some cities to end curbside pickup of recyclables. Cities could once count on processors to pay them for material, but now they’re being presented with hefty bills instead.”


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


Neera the Enforcer:

Remarkable ithat unpleasant facts = attacks. Even more remarkable that Tanden wants a Senator to disavow what a journalist wrote. For anyone less well-balanced than Neera, I’d suspect a level of paranoia: Thinking people are working closely together when they aren’t.

And speaking of “attacks”:

Beto copies AOC?

(Podsave America = Obama speechwriter John Favreau + black spokesperson Deray.)

“How Early Voting Could Turn the Democratic 2020 Race on Its Head” [New York Magazine]. “[W]hen next year’s Democratic primary process gets started, it sure looks like the voting, and the all-important delegate counting, won’t actually, technically start in Iowa. Instead, because of early-voting rules, the increasing popularity of early voting, and a reshuffled primary calendar, a handful of huge, diverse states could see troves of ballots returned even before some of the traditional small and largely white early-voting states do — a shift that just might herald real changes to the way Democrats nominate their presidential pick, and quite possibly the nominee’s identity.”

“Fate of New Hampshire official raises question about primary” [Associated Press]. ” Hampshire might celebrate 100 years of holding the nation’s earliest presidential primary in 2020 without the man long credited with protecting the state’s coveted position. If Bill Gardner is ousted this week after 42 years on the job, some worry the state’s ability to retain its place will be threatened in the future…. Though there are no current challengers, California last year approved scheduling its primary in early March to coincide with “Super Tuesday” — the day when the largest number of states conduct primaries — and thus give the nation’s most populous state more sway. That would still fall after the four early states, but California’s recent expansion of early voting and voting by mail raises questions not just about where candidates will focus their energies but the calendar as well.”

“House 2020: The new crossover districts” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “Following the 2018 election, it appears as though Republicans will only hold three districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Democrats are on track to hold 31 districts won by Donald Trump in 2016. As Republicans plot a House comeback in 2020, most of their obvious targets are in those Trump-won districts now represented by Democrats, many of whom just got elected.” • I can hear the Blue Dogs whimpering already…


“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the progressive Trump” [The Week]. “Just like Trump’s, AOC’s appeal is a matter of rhetoric and personality, not of policy acumen or relevant experience.” Oh. More: “She struggles every bit as much as the president does with facts. Basic norms about American civic life appear to have eluded her. She struggled — twice — to name the three branches of government in a recent conversation. She is, to put it kindly, not good with numbers.” • And on and on and on. “Norms” is, I think, the key word here.

ME-02: “Poliquin’s election challenge faces long odds” [Portland Press-Herald]. “For U.S. Rep.-elect Jared Golden and supporters of ranked-choice voting, the election ended two weeks ago after the Democrat emerged from an instant runoff leading Poliquin by 3,509 votes. Yet Poliquin and his team are aiming for more than just a reversal of the election results as they push to make Maine the national, legal test case for ranked-choice voting in any federal election.” • Poliquin is carrying water for the entire Maine political establishment, which hates ranked choice voting. Note there are no quotes from Democrat figures favoring ranked choice voting in this article, or the next.

ME-02: “Recount in Maine’s 2nd District to begin Thursday” [Bangor Daily News]. “The recount in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District requested by outgoing U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin after losing a November ranked-choice race to Rep.-elect Jared Golden will begin Thursday and is expected to last into the new year.” • As with the above link, you’ve gotta admire the Republicans for being tenacious, and not rolling over and giving up, because norms. As here–

NC: “Unusual pattern of signatures emerges as North Carolina probes allegations in House race” [CNN]. “As North Carolina officials investigate allegations that absentee ballots were tampered with in a tight congressional race, a review of some of those ballots revealed many were signed by the same small group of people — some of whom are connected to a longtime operative working for the Republican candidate’s campaign.” • If the Democrats were as tenacious at voter registration and base expansion as the Republicans are at suppressing votes, they’d probably control all three branches of government again.

WI: “Wisconsin GOP uses rare session to weaken incoming governor” [Associated Press]. “A Republican-controlled legislative committee held a hearing for nine hours, before voting just before midnight along party lines to pass the bills, setting up final approval in the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday…. The lame-duck maneuvering in Wisconsin is similar to action taken by Republicans in North Carolina two years ago and is being discussed in Michigan before a Democratic governor takes over there. The protests, coming at the end of Walker’s eight years in office, were reminiscent of tumult that came shortly after he took office in 2011, when he moved to end collective bargaining powers for public sector unions.”

2018 Midterms Post-Mortem

“The 2018 Midterms as the Buffet Election” [Inside Elections]. “[W]hat happened in the elections is less important than what the parties think happened in the elections because the latter will drive future behavior.”” Beauty contest! More: “For example, it’s clear that Trump believes his immigration message and tone was the reason Republicans “won,” and he publicly blamed the House losses on a failure to embrace him. Even though Republicans suffered heavy House losses because of the president’s unpopularity, Trump will continue to act, talk and tweet in the way that he thinks has proved successful. It’s still unclear how Democrats will react to the election results, particularly losses by some higher-profile progressive candidates. They could interpret them as reasons to moderate, or they could double down on a shift to the left as a contrast to the Republicans. Listen for the clues in the coming weeks to understand where Democrats are headed.” • IMNSHO, the Congressional Democrat center of gravity has shifted conservative, not left (despite strong individual left voices like AOC). That is a consequence of an appeal to wealthy suburban professionals, and also of grooming and electing MILO candidates.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“SNL’s Homophobic Trump-Putin Jokes Need to Stop” [Daily Beast]. “We’ve forgotten the intrinsic harm of using gayness as pejorative, excusing it because it’s being weaponized against someone we agree should be attacked.” • I’m so old I remember when SNL was funny.

Stats Watch

Motor Vehicle Sales, November 2018: “Despite only a marginal rise in unit sales during October, the motor vehicle component in the month’s retail sales report proved very strong” [Econoday].

Commodities: “Several [U.S. liquefied natural gas exporters] will soon decide whether to move ahead with multibillion-dollar shipping terminal projects to handle LNG shipments for foreign markets…. and their choices could reshape the seaborne market for the energy resource” [Wall Street Journal]. “There are about 25 proposed U.S. LNG export projects, 13 of which could have regulatory approval within the next year. The business needs a big share of that capacity as the supply of natural gas for export is forecast to nearly double next year. American LNG exporters are competing with suppliers in Canada, Qatar, Russia, Australia and elsewhere. But the country has some of the largest reserves in the world, helping keep prices low. Analysts say that with some infrastructure improvement, the U.S. could ultimately account for 20% to 30% of global LNG supply.” • Not in Searsport, ME, though, fortunately. I can be argued out of this, but based on the precautionary principle, I’m of the opinion that all fossil fuel projects should be opposed (and the answer to unsafe projects is not repair but shutdown).

Real Estate: “Rental-Home Manager Preps for Next Wave of Landlords” [Bloomberg]. “Single-family rentals were largely a mom-and-pop affair until the U.S. foreclosure crisis a decade ago, when Wall Street firms such as Blackstone Group LP and Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital Inc. amassed unprecedented pools of homes. After an early rush, institutional interest cooled as mega-landlords like Invitation Homes Inc., which owns 80,000 houses, and American Homes 4 Rent, which owns 50,000, focused on improving their operations…. There are 22 million single-family rentals in the U.S., according to Attom Data Solutions. While the vast majority are owned by landlords with fewer than 100 properties, the business is seeing fresh interest from large institutions.”

Transportation: “Railroads should have seat at the autonomous vehicle table, AAR says” [Freight Waves]. “In comments filed in response to the DOTs request for the input on the agency’s latest examination of the outlook for AVs, the [Association of American Railroads (AAR)] said that ‘unlocking the potential of automated technology by reducing or eliminating human error is just as important for railroads’ as for other transport modes.” • The only errors will be in the algorithms which, if they are generated by machine learning, will be impossible to understand or maintain.

Transportation: “A national project to replace millions of gasoline-fueled vehicles with electric models is boosting China’s ambitions to lead the global shift to battery-powered transportation…., and the impact is already showing up on roads around the world” [Wall Street Journal]. “Beijing has put electric vehicles at the heart of its Made in China 2025 industrial strategy, and aggressive efforts to bring electric buses to its cities are helping forge an expanding supply chain for the vehicles. That’s helping drive more foreign orders that give Chinese electric vehicle makers a foothold in international markets and a boost in growing areas such as package delivery vans.”

Tech: “The Friendship That Made Google Huge” [The New Yorker]. An entire article on Google that doesn’t use the word “monopoly.” Peak liberalism.

Tech: “Google personalizes search results even when you’re logged out, new study finds” [The Verge]. “According to a new study conducted by Google competitor DuckDuckGo, it does not seem possible to avoid personalization when using Google search, even by logging out of your Google account and using the private browsing “incognito” mode…. [T]here doesn’t seem to be any way to get a single, objective search result from Google that can be easily replicable across users or locations.” Holy moley:

There’s gotta be a way to spoof this. In fact, there should be an app. Readers?

Tech: “Microsoft is building a Chromium-powered web browser that will replace Edge on Windows 10” [Windows Central]. • So, browsing approaches monoculture status?

Tech: “Mastercard, Microsoft Join Forces to Advance Digital Identity Innovations” (press release) [Mastercard]. “‘Today’s digital identity landscape is patchy, inconsistent and what works in one country often won’t work in another. We have an opportunity to establish a system that puts people first, giving them control of their identity data and where it is used,’ says Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence solutions, Mastercard. ‘Working with Microsoft brings us one step closer to making a globally interoperable digital identity service a reality, and we look forward to sharing more very soon.’ Access to a universally-recognized digital identity could unlock new and enhanced experiences for people as they interact with businesses, service providers and their community online…” • What could go wrong?


“U.S. clean coal program fails to deliver on promised smog cuts” [Reuters (CO)]. “Champions of coal say the superabundant fossil fuel can be made environmentally friendlier by refining it with chemicals – a “clean coal” technology backed by a billion dollars in U.S. government tax subsidies annually. But refined coal has a dirty secret. It regularly fails to deliver on its environmental promises, as electric giant Duke Energy Corp found…. The utility also discovered that one of the chemicals used to refine the coal, calcium bromide, had reached a nearby river and lakes – raising levels of carcinogens in the water supply for more than a million people in greater Charlotte…. Investors in plants that failed to show substantial NOx emission cuts collected the tax credit anyway because the Internal Revenue Service allows them to prove emissions reductions with laboratory tests

The 420

“Utah’s New Medical Marijuana Law Not the One Approved by Voters” [Governing]. “On Monday, the first business day after Utah’s medical cannabis initiative became law, state legislators supplanted it with a more tightly controlled plan for providing marijuana-based treatment. The Utah Medical Cannabis Act, designed as a replacement for voter-approved Proposition 2, breezed through the Utah House of Representatives and Senate during Monday’s special session. The one-day gathering of state lawmakers has been in the works since October, when Gov. Gary Herbert announced that supporters and opponents of Prop 2 had reached consensus around a legislative solution to their disagreements.” • The same thing happened in Maine, where voters had to tell the legislature that, yes, they wanted Medicaid expansion, and yes, they wanted Ranked Choice voting, multiple times. I can understand the need to correct legislative flaws, but the legislators should really be giving more deference to the clearly expressed intent of the voters.

Class Warfare

“Embattled Women’s March Finally Releases Financial Records” [Daily Beast]. “The documents and the accompanying annual report—provided by the group after a process that can only be described as bizarre—show it spent $1.6 million of those funds on a range of projects. Those include the original March on Washington; the Women’s Convention that took place later that year in Detroit, Michigan; and the 10 Actions 100 Days program aimed at maintaining the march’s momentum and engaging new activists in the nascent movement. The bulk of the money haul came from merchandise sales—More than $1.1 million from the T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and tote bags.”

News of the Wired

“The Era of Cheap and Easy STD Treatment Is Over. What Went Wrong?” [Wired]. “Gonorrhea is surging back, along with its equally forgotten partner, syphilis. In August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that cases of all STDs have risen for four straight years, to the highest levels in a decade. A sizable portion of that spike is due to gonorrhea, which has become resistant to all the generations of antibiotics that have been used to treat it…. STD control is founded on a health care structure that is otherwise unusual in the United States: freestanding clinics, often publicly funded, that allowed patients to avoid stigma by seeking care from doctors who may not know them. The ability to treat infections quickly, ideally with a single antibiotic dose, was crucial to that structure, since there was no guarantee patients would return for followup. STDs were so common that inexpensive drugs were paramount.”

“Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial” [British Medical Journal]. n = 164. “We compared the effects of diets varying in carbohydrate to fat ratio on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance through 20 weeks.” • If I understand the results, fewer carbohydrates, more fat. Yay!

Thank you:

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

TH writes: We purchased a tiny potted Silk Floss Tree that was a couple of feet tall, which we’d purchased from a plant sale at the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes, about 4 years ago. It’s struggled to put out leaves and hold onto them, but each year by fall it looks a few feet taller. It’s about 7 feet tall now, still spindly, and recently lost all it’s leaves (I’ve seen some that don’t, but I’ve seen some that do, so we don’t get too alarmed when it does). But a few weeks ago, I spotted three tiny little balls at the end of one branch. I wasn’t sure if that was the precursor to blooms or to the pods these trees produce, nor was I sure it was strong enough to follow through on whatever it was working on. The poor dear doesn’t get a lot of attention, and it’s been rather hot and dry all Summer and what we’ve had of Fall, so I don’t blame it for trying only three it’s first time out. I’m close to amazed, and totally thrilled that the little tiny balls actually became blooms!” Gorgeous!

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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. nick

    I have a stupid question. Why can’t democrats just undo whatever laws republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan and where ever else put in during the lame duck?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      There is a difference between what the legislature and the executive can do. We went through this in NC after a Democratic governor was elected in 2016. Some of it the legislature away with, some was shot down by the courts, some was shot down by the people in referenda this year.

    2. MK

      Short answer – not likely. At least in WI, republicans will still control the legislature after January. It can be undone only once they retake the legislature.

  2. ChiGal in Carolina

    I have not yet complimented you on your choice of an epigraph for the Politics section, but appreciate it every time I see it–thanks!

  3. openandshut

    By Sirota’s logic, Bernie Sanders was the biggest recipient of Military Industrial Complex cash in the Senate in 2016.

    1. scarn

      Actually, Ted Cruz had him beat on defense contributions that cycle. Sanders was 2nd. And yes, this matters. Nothing to do with purity.

      1. Darthbobber

        It’s the only year Sanders seems to make the list, and part of the reason is the presidential cycle. If you do all recipients, rather than all members, for 2016, the figure for Sanders remains the same, and a few more people, including Mrs Clinton, pass him on the list. OpenSecrets is useful, but within limits. All contributions over 200 from people working in a given industry are counted as contributions from the industry, but at the 200 to a thousand dollar level, it may not be part of any industry influence campaign as such.

        (and I’d expect O’Rourke’s numbers to be inflated by where his district is, plus the massive fundraising for his Senatorial bid.)

        1. Sparkling

          Thank you! I guarantee that the “military” donations by and large came from veterans who saw the consequences of war themselves and decided it was not worth it.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          (and I’d expect O’Rourke’s numbers to be inflated by where his district is, plus the massive fundraising for his Senatorial bid.)

          This is Texas, where fossil fuel rules. It’s hardly surprising the industry chooses to hedge its bets by owning both candidates. This is, after all, the Beto who walked back his position on Palestine by roundly declaring he would vote for a law to prohibit BDS.

          The thing to remember is that just because a candidate says they don’t accept PAC money doesn’t mean they don’t have PAC support. That’s the biggest problem with PACs—they can spend as much as they want directly, as long as they aren’t set up as a “social service” organization. They need neither the candidate’s permission nor approval. It’s like that perennial favorite “Every person should have access to health care”, in that it sounds progressive but is essentially meaningless, and an excellent way to hide a Blue Dog.

          In Beto’s case, the alarms should go off for one simple reason, which is that he’s being compared to Obama, as if that’s all one needs to know. Ironically, for those not deep into the DNC Cult mind control, it is.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            beto’s current congressional district is just to the west of the Permian, too…the latest “We’re the New Saudi Arabia!”.
            and Ft Bliss is there, as well.
            as leery as I am of Beto having the gall to run for Prez(I voted for him for Senate), these two facts can go towards explaing some of the MIC and Oil $ in his “portfolio”.
            normal bribery.
            running for senate in Texas would just accelerate such normal bribery.
            of course, none of this excuses him for sidling up to aipac, or whatever.
            we’ll not be allowed nice things until the current, exhausted Dominant Minority is seen by just about everyone as hollow and ossified. I had expected that Herself losing to Emperor Caught the Car might have accomplished that,lol…but the Machine and it’s Mindf&ck are tenacious.
            My prophet’s beard itched when I wandered by a TV yesterday and saw Neil Bush yammering. That guy’s gonna run…the Bush Crimen Familia feels left out.
            I envision Herself and the scion Neil running against each other…and then “coming together”….and losing miserably to trump….and being mystified and unable to accept their dotage, as well as that of their paradigm.
            the Republic died a long time ago, so I see no need to defend it at this juncture.
            any wound to the Empire is a plus.
            “Downal wyth bluddy beg hid.”

        3. scarn

          Ah, I didn’t realize it reflected individual workers’ contributions. I assumed it was PAC/corp money. The data means something very different from what I thought. Thanks for the info, friend!

      2. Fiery Hunt

        Presidential campaign in 2016 so there’s going to be national contributors…Sanders wasn’t even in the top 20 in the midterms.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Do you have a link to your logic? The linked website indicates Timmy Kaine is the number one recipient in the Senate. I don’t see Sanders on any option for “defense” contributions. Is there a different site?

      Did you confuse Tim Kaine and Sanders because they are both balding men?

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Ummm…you linked to presidential campaigns and he (Sanders) was less than 1/3 of Her Majesty, that ol’ Warmonger, Hillary. And according to the website…

          ” The numbers on this page are based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more.” So individuals counted…

          Sanders isn’t even in the Top 20 Senators in 2018 (see Jo6pac’s link).

          Beto=Obama=Clinton=neoliberal corporatists.

          1. openandshut

            I linked to the page that proves my claim: Sanders was largest recipient of oil industry donations in 2016 among anyone in the Senate. HRC was not a Senator in 2016 (nor was she a Majesty but wevs, enjoy your misogyny, I guess).

            The same measurement that Sirota uses two years later to slam Beto. You can have a controlled experiment or you can mislead with data. It’s clear which Sirota is doing.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Bernie Sanders was the biggest recipient of Military Industrial Complex cash in the Senate in 2016.

              I linked to the page that proves my claim: Sanders was largest recipient of oil industry donations in 2016 among anyone in the Senate.


              1. openandshut

                Hee hee. I guess you haven’t heard our friend, David, has gotten us started on 2020?

                She’s running.

            2. FluffytheObeseCat

              “I linked to the page that proves my claim”

              And more than one commenter debunked your ‘reasoning’ based on that page, noting that you equated contributions from individual veterans to Sanders’ Presidential race…… with MIC mega cash poured into the coffers of senate candidates.

              Oranges are oranges. Apples are apples. And Hillary Clinton is an imperious warmonger. Sarcasm used to highlight and deplore this fact does not amount to misogyny.

              1. Fiery Hunt

                I think I owe you a drink, Fluffy!

                Was just gonna let the “misogyny” thing go but your response was perfect.

                Love this place and the commentariat!

    3. Sparkling

      Sirota is full of shit. Cruz and Beto got a bunch of donations from people who work in the oil industry because the oil industry IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST EMPLOYERS IN TEXAS. I guess all the inhabitants of Midland should be barred from donating to any Democrats from now on…

      1. Yves Smith

        BLS data disagrees with you.


        85% of the people in Texas employed in services, including government. Only 15% in manufacturing. And that includes 6.1% in construction. Austin is a tech hub. Tons of corporations have located operations in Dallas. Etc.

        Now a disproportionate number of the high paid and executive jobs are no doubt in energy related industries, but that was not your claim.

        1. Sparkling

          Petroleum involves both service and manufacturing jobs. It doesn’t fall neatly into the categories on that table. However, you are correct that my statement was too broad.

          What I should have said is that the oil industry is one of the largest employers of people who would make an individual donation in the triple digits. I can see someone working at a desk in a lovely office building in Houston/Midland/etc being inspired to donate hundreds of dollars and even someone who works on an oil rig making a $200 donation while they’re onshore.

          These are not people participating in some secret company-wide plot to rig the election. These are individuals who are choosing to donate a lot of their own money to a man that they think can help save the country. Beto supporters are incredibly devoted and loyal– perhaps more than Obama’s.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    Twitter really was the worst thing to happen to the DC elites. Now Beto looks like a beta male, weak and in need of defense of his record, and America will never elect a beta male as President. Did “no drama, Obama” go over every DC twit’s head?

    Sirota is a blogger in Colorado. If Beta is ready for primetime, he will have a response if it catches on. Whining about it now, tells me its time to mock his name.

    Is it really that hard to come up with an adequate response other than “don’t be mean.”? I didn’t much of Beta before, but now I see him as a weenie. The Presidency is a position to be seized not handed (one of HRC’s problems. She could easily be the former President today). Obviously Neera is terrible at politics, but god, I mean she understands why people like HRC would work on deep voices.

    1. nippersdad

      The first thing I thought when I saw those tweets: If Neera is that easy to troll then we all need to get twitter accounts just for the fun of watching her melt down. Sirota is going to have a field day with her.

      I have always liked him. I like him even more now.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Jimmy Carter and W weren’t really beta males, were they? For that matter, was Nixon?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They were all alphas. They ran for President and took it. They didn’t whine about unfair attacks. W. played one at least, but he played it well enough on tv for enough. Maybe Beta is an alpha male, and he should shut down this kind of defense. Wearing a sweater might not have worked, but it was an example of leadership and owning an issue. Nixon had his plumbing joke with Kruschev. The appearance of the “buck stops here” is important. The don’t bring to light facts because they are attacks argument of Neera is not a leadership position. America will never elect beta male, and I never once even let this cross my mind until I read this Neera tweet.

        This Neera tweet stands in contract to the “Hillary has been attacked and tested etc” which is sort of true. The GOP went crazy on her. They were unfair attacks for the most part. Now, little Beta can’t offer even look at his recent record as short as it is. I don’t see Republicans demanding to know who went to his sleep over when he was 10.

        Both Sirotas are great. I don’t want to be dismissive, but once, a person claims the right to run for President. They need to act like they are the President, and if one person who isn’t the President or very close to the President can hurt their chances, they weren’t ready for leadership.

        1. RMO

          Even for Neera that is impressively unhinged. Providing a link to a site that lists and ranks politicians by donation source is an “attack.” This must not be allowed because Trump is President. Sanders must “repudiate” this destructive, malicious stating of a fact by a journalist. Somehow this all makes sense to her.

          Is Neera actually an early production Electric Monk? (TM Douglas Adams)

  5. a different chris

    So I googled and googled Matthew Walther – and came up with a lot of hits. Yet not one told me that he had a degree in, well anything. I have to assume journalism.

    Again, I am not enamored of degrees. However something beats nothing every time, and AOC has a degree in economics.* Maybe she should make a copy of said parchment and ask Mr. Walther to return the favor, so we all can compare.

    *Larry Summers does als, he’s a fool but I would not look forward to debating him over it.

  6. Steve H.

    > “Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial”

    While the lede focused on total energy expenditure, the hormonal effects popped out for me:

    “Ghrelin, produced primarily in the stomach, was significantly lower in participants assigned to the low carbohydrate diet, a novel finding.”

    This is a deeper level of finding. As Iberall says, “the biological system – including man – is not run by the central nervous system but by the endocrine system.” Ghrelin and leptin drive the behaviors that ultimately impact insulin resistance. Focus on glycemic index and reaction to sugars then becomes framed as more symptom than cause.

    A couple side notes: an incomplete but valuable formula is carbohydrates = sugar (bad) + fiber (good). The fiber provides a substrate for gut bacteria, leads to structured water at the point of need, and about a tenth is digested as fat.

    Also, John Kiefer made an argument for a high-carb feast about once a week, to offset poor effects of continuous low hormones from a ketogenic diet. He’s a single source, but we implemented it as a protocol for both safety and sanity. As Pippin would say, “The horchata is particularly good.”

    1. In the Land of Farmers

      In no time ever in animal history has a species be able to think about, or even had the luxury to think about, and measure the food they eat.

      If we find the “perfect diet”, can anyone claim to know the effect that will have on the evolution of our species? I can. It will make us dependent on that diet, and any variation will cause a collapse in the population.

      We are all in our heads, 100% of the time, which is why the internet is a cesspool of divisiness.

    2. Yves Smith

      I dont’t like the focus on macronutrients.

      Vegetables and fruits are carbs. You don’t have to go ketogenic to avoid simple sugars and processed grains. I can’t imagine that not eating veggies and fruit is healthy for anything other than a short-term weight loss strategy.

      By contrast. humans do not need to eat grains. Modern agriculture means they are a cheaper source of calories than meats or fruits/veg, but I am very skeptical regarding them, particularly now that hardly anyone does hard physical work (Ie, if you needed to eat 4000 calories a day, you could get your protein and micronutrients and still eat a ton of grains for fuel for your work, but does that make sense now from a health, as opposed to food cost, perspective?)

  7. Utah

    Re: medical marijuana in Utah. It is all about the Mormon church getting their way. Voters went against the will of the church- who told their members via email and inside church buildings to vote no.
    It is Sharia law in Mormon form, imo. (also jokingly called the Utaliban in my house)

    1. Garrett Pace

      Not to split hairs, but “told their members…to vote no” isn’t what happened. Rather than saying it’s a commandment to vote no, the church conducted studies and offered reasons to persuade members how they should vote.

      In LDS that is a very big difference (though some members were certainly affected by the argument). If they’d said it was a commandment the proposition IMO would have lost. But (in my adult lifetime) I can’t think of a time when the church leadership said my vote would imperil my soul if I didn’t cast it the way they wanted.

      I think the church agreed to the compromise because they thought the legislators would be more amenable than they found church members to be. Members voting against leadership interests is an interesting dynamic at work, but it isn’t the first time that it’s happened.


      1. scarn

        I can’t think of a time when the church leadership said my vote would imperil my soul if I didn’t cast it the way they wanted

        Prop 8 in California. From the pulpit in tons of instances and in many, many private and semi-private meetings between bish/stake prez and members, especially affluent ones. Perhaps you were not an adult then, though, brother pace?

        1. Garrett Pace

          That’s why I qualified the statement to my own experience. I wasn’t in California then and don’t want to offer secondhand experience.

          IMO, I think the aftereffects of the Prop 8 battle was a lesson learned by Church leadership. I doubt they will go about it that way again.

  8. Carolinian

    I’m so old I remember when SNL was funny.

    Fellow geezer here. Of course those were the days before David Letterman came along and made everything so darned ironic. Concept comedy is all the rage.

    And Neera’s “for us or against us” defense of the Dems also provokes geezer flashbacks. She’ll be talking about precious bodily fluids next.

    1. RMO

      General Ripper would probably have both parties fighting over who gets to claim him as their next Presidential candidate if he were real and alive today.

      I remember SNL being funny too, though even at it’s height it was still wildly uneven. The more relaxed recorded format and being filmed up here in the cold barren wastes of Canada made SCTV the more consistent and funnier of the Second City offspring.

  9. makedoanmend

    The continuous “observations” about AOC’s abilities are SOPs* written on page 1 of the neo-liberal handbook. That is, hold your opponents to higher standards than to which you would hold yourself and your representatives. Given that the MSM is saturated with the neo-liberal perspective, we can expect the treatment to be ubiquitous and continue until the subject of the observations is either silenced or tarnished.

    The more effective she is at exposing how the system has been adulterated to work against ordinary folk the shriller and more frequent the observations will become.

    But if she and others like her can expose the rot to the light of day, they will have done a good job of work.

    *Standard Operating Procedures

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “SNL’s Homophobic Trump-Putin Jokes Need to Stop” [Daily Beast]. “We’ve forgotten the intrinsic harm of using gayness as pejorative, excusing it because it’s being weaponized against someone we agree should be attacked.” • I’m so old I remember when SNL was funny.

      When or if SNL treats AOC with the same standards, it would just be business as usual for the neo-liberals.

      She has made head-scratching mistakes…3 branches of government, handling math, etc. None of us is perfect.

      And we should give her room to adjust to the SOPs. She will know (or already knows…so who are we to chime in) how to handle SNL’s self-insecurity jokes.

      1. makedoanmend

        Are you equating SNL with the 24/7 reach of the MSM media?

        I rather think that one so-called comedy show compared to the entire MSM monolith are not on the same scale, have the same reach, and are watched by the same numbers of people on a daily basis.

        That said, as both AOC and Trump are “outsiders”, I’m sure they both get their share opprobrium from the cool kids in the school yard, but I suspect they are ridiculed for very different reasons. Trump may offend their sensibilities but AOC is an existential threat. Trump is tolerated but AOC won’t be.

        She wants to redistribute the resources in the school yard away from the cool kids to the rest of the tribe. Trump only redistributes upwards.

        The site cited is run by a former member of the the Sunday Telegraph (commonly called the Torygraph) and known for the standard rightward/neo-liberal lense through which it views the entire world. It mentions she struggles with naming the 3 branches of the USA government but implies she still knows them. I’m sure, as she has a proven track record in mastering biological science in high school, that she’ll master the numbers involved concerning US military spending. (Hell, the USA budget numbers are getting so high that one could be forgiven for missing several billions here and few trillion there.) That said, she had better get up to speed very quickly. She may never be involved in budgetary measures, but she will be grilled about them going forward.

        I really don’t mind that she is coupled with Trump. Hardly political bed fellows but certainly not liked by the barely indistinguishable liberals and conservatives that dominate discourse these days.

        1. Carolinian

          SNL made fun of Bernie too when he was running against Hillary. To the extent that the show has any politics it seems to be squarely in line with the Dem establishment/MSM frame

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think so far, the main stream media has not gone after her personally, from little or nothing, as much as they have on Trump.

          There was the news about government branches. That was not little nor nothing.

          But nothing, thankfully, about embracing another person that can be used as a joke.

          Let’s see if she will get her Russiagate equivalent from the media.

    2. Sastun

      The Week’s piece on her was particularly telling, picking out slips of the tongue as examples of ignorance or pretending that her commentary on the spending of another congressional race was referring to her own, which can only be read as either sloppy journalism (bug) or intentional gas-lighting (feature!)

      All nicely summed up with their ‘cutting’ take down of her supporters:

      She speaks to an entire generation of young Americans whose legitimate political grievances — the sham post-2010 economic recovery, the college debt epidemic, the sneering cluelessness of those who squandered our patrimony — are as numerous as their personal shortcomings — laziness, inability to think critically, lack of empathy or curiosity about people who are less woke than them, a tendency to confuse performative outrage with moral clarity.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Walther also used links to “support” arguments against AOC that……. are one-sided to put it kindly. As if he knew that most readers would take any link as ultimate evidence of accuracy and fail to read down into the heart of the linked article.

        Walther’s first link is encapsulated in the words “lost track”, within the phrase “[AOC] believes it is possible for the Pentagon to have lost track of $21 trillion in the past seven years”. It sends you to this article: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/sorry-ocasio-cortez-pentagon-waste-could-not-even-remotely-pay-for-medicare-for-all.

        The author of the Examiner article opened with a true AOC blooper: an innumerate comparison between historic military bookkeeping gibberish and projected Medicare-for-All costs. However, her source for “accurate” M4A cost estimates is a “study of the economics of Bernie Sanders-style “Medicare for all,” published by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center”. After the dumb-tweet reveal, the linked Examiner article goes on at length about the fiscal impossibility of M4A……….based on the Mercatus think tank numbers.

        To recap, the Examiner article used a dumb tweet from the most junior Congresswoman in the House to puff up a propaganda piece from one of the most notoriously partisan lie-factories in the Beltway.

        The Walther article is quite accurate about AOC’s errors. The link displays them well. And yet, his piece is graveyard-quiet about the equally bullshit numbers pushed out by her Beltway opposites. Those worthy Mercatus numbers are swaddled in the appropriate sort of hedging and obfuscatory drivel. Theirs are the right sort of lies, hers and Trump’s are not.

        It almost makes one sympathize with the fact-challenged politicians.

  10. Mattski

    This piece in the Socialist Worker–very interesting where progressive Dems’ real prospects for 2020 lie–is not kind to AOC, either:


    I’m going to back Bernie because death lurks around the corner, so I am not necessarily in accord with this author. But a very nuanced treatment of the pitfalls awaiting both the left and Bernie’s supporters–at least all those who aren’t utterly naive. (The Sirota mishigas above shows how hard corporate Dems will be coming after everyone, starting now.)

    1. mle detroit

      I’m going to back Bernie because his November 21 WaPo essay is the most organized and coherent litmus test for progress I’ve yet seen. Note the order of priorities: the most concrete good for the most people first. These legislative items should get drafted in 2019 and be ready to go for the 2020 campaign. If he decides to run, he should name his cabinet members as soon as he declares.

      1. DonCoyote

        Jimmy Dore keeps ragging on Bernie because 1990’s Bernie said “we need a 3rd party” and 2016+ Bernie says “work within the Democratic party”. I think Dore’s criticisms are well-founded, but I wonder if Bernie is remembering what they did to Ralph Nader in 2000/2004 (and indeed what they did to Bernie in the 2016 primary).

        I’m going to back Bernie, too, but I would still vote for Nader over Bernie. For the non “old fogey” demographic, here’s the link to a An Unreasonable Man, a two-hour biography of Nader. I am reminded me of something Nader tried in 2004 with Kerry (~1hr 44:45) in 2004:

        The meeting with John Kerry was very constructive. He had been saying just the right thing: “I’m going to appeal to everybody in this race, and make it unnecessary, in the end, for an alternative, and I look forward to that.” Fine. Just the exact kind of competition I relish. Here, take all the issues. Here they are, 25 pages. I sent ’em to you in December. Take ’em all, no proprietership here. And then I said to him, look, let’s try to do something counterintuitive. Let’s pick three major issues that we both believe in, and run with them. That will make a real contrast with Bush. Corporate Welfare…Corporate Crime…Labor Law Reform. He wouldn’t buy it. Instead, May 2004 was when the massive coordinated attack by the Democratic party, to harass us, to intimidate us, petitioning drives, to file more and more lawsuits against us. Hiring Ken Starr’s old law firm, Kirkland Ellis, and other corporate Republicans law firms. That was the fork in the road.

        There is so much more, including Democrats saying (in 2004) “The goal is to defeat Bush. Anyone but Bush.” Sound familiar?

    2. JohnnyGL

      I’ve actually got some criticisms against the ‘our candidate or nothing’ approach.

      1) It’s a turn off to some voters who, at least somewhat, believe in the Democratic Party and don’t like such an extreme approach. A lot of Clinton voters might have liked Bernie’s policies better than HRC’s, but voted for HRC because she was seen as more practical. That point of view may seem ridiculous to NC commenters (and it is). But it was ‘true’ in a sense since the 1990s. People’s minds and their understanding of politics doesn’t change that quickly. A willingness to sacrifice the Democratic Party because you can’t get your way will turn off many as egotistical, childish, and self-defeating. That’s when nefarious centrist elites will happily pounce on the open endorsement of ‘divisiveness’.

      I think Bernie understands this, as does AOC, which is why they tread carefully instead of engaging in open warfare with Democratic Party hacks.

      2) Tactically, you’ve got to understand when you have a weak hand and make sure you don’t overplay it. There’s like 5 lefties in Congress. They simply do NOT have the numbers to dominate the legislative branch. The left is also fighting against a Democratic Party leadership that has spent years turning the party into one for comfortable, educated suburbanites. (The recent Jacobin article outlines this transformation adroitly. I was still astonished at how far reaching the change really is). The party’s also been shedding legions of working class former supporters in the process, while calling them racist deplorables as they file out the door. It’s not easy to turn that around in an election cycle or two.

      Again, Bernie and AOC seem to get this and they’re constantly, diligently trying to build consensus around the issues they want to put front and center. However, centrist dems are doing this too. You can go see little Adam Schiff (Schitt) on Meet the Press practically each week, pledging alliegance to Robert Mueller and the intelligence community and Mark Warner yelling about Russians jumping out of his breakfast cereal and demanding Facebook cleanse them from social media.

      I’m going to give the ‘new lefties’ in the media, in activist circles, and in congress a lot of room to maneuver because it’s a rough neighborhood in DC and they’ve done a pretty solid job navigating it. They’ve moved public opinion in their favor and they’re looking to try to weaponize that public opinion.

      Please, let’s not underestimate the challenge in front of us.

      1. Elizabeth Burton


        I would, however, also include that far too many of those who truly want change also seem to suffer from an appalling level of ignorance about how the world works, and who seem incapable of grasping the concept of long-range planning. As a result, they refuse to accept anything other than immediate gratification, and are condemning people like Bernie and AOC who are using the tools they have available while, hopefully, forging new and better ones.

        The fact Nancy Pelosi will likely be elected Speaker, and that the avengers they wanted to fix everything for them overnight are likely going to vote for her, has them foaming at the chops.

      2. John k

        So given there’s just the five…
        And certainly some of those that say they support m4a aren’t really supporters…
        If not Bernie, who? AOC is too young (and inexperience’d.)
        Remember the pres is incredibly powerful. Don’t need new laws to prosecute bankers, would be wildly pop and build support.
        Don’t need new laws to withdraw from foreign wars, would be wildly pop.
        Pres could allow people to import Canada drugs, wildly pop.
        Not prosecute mj, etc.
        Change dnc, and have doj go after vote suppression.
        Maybe force gov contractors to pay 15/hr.

        A wildly pop pres could then pass some new laws, like m4a. And, dreaming now, infra spending.
        And imagine how effective a wildly pop pres would be campaigning for progressives in 2022.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Pres could allow people to import Canada drugs, wildly pop.

          Ugh, not disagreeing with anything you said, but perhaps presented as something more like ‘Control Drug Costs the Way Canada Does.’ ‘Importing Drugs from Canada’ has been a dumb meme since I first heard it. And now that I think about it it’s darned neoliberal. Is popular.

  11. The other Jean

    Re: DuckDuckGo’s study of Google search results

    Something to keep in mind is that the Google search engine database is not a monolithic ocean of links. There are multiple databases in regional data centers, and I suspect that they don’t even sync. Your search will hit one of these regional data centers, and that regional center will return results that are different from another region’s (Los Angeles vs Baton Rouge vs London vs Seoul, for instance). For those who have access to a terminal window, type “traceroute http://www.google.com” at the prompt to see your regional center (it will probably be in the Google-owned 1e100.net domain). It wasn’t clear how distributed/clumped the DuckDuckGo’s testers were. I got the impression that they were widely distributed and that they didn’t have, say, 10 people in the same office building conducting the same search at the same time. That would be a useful experiment.

    A fun test of Google vs DuckDuckGo search results is to run an image search on the word “idiot” in both engines. It’s enlightening. YMMV though :-)

    1. The other Jean

      hrm, the commenting feature replaced the Google domain that I gave above with an URL. To run the traceroute command, remove “http://” from the command.

      1. Carolinian

        In windows that would be tracert after the cmd command at the run box. However seems to me I’ve tried this before and it always goes to Mountain View. Also here’s what the Verge story says

        It’s important to note that any kind of personalization, even based on just location, isn’t a new feature or something Google has been doing behind the scenes without anyone’s knowledge. The company began personalizing search results for every user, even those without a Google account, way back in 2009 using an anonymous cookie that would take into account information like your location, language, search history, and other factors.

        Which is to say that Google–or anyone else–roughly knows where you are using that same traceroute technology regardless of whether you are signed in. And then there’s that cookie. I don’t see anything very sinister about this unless you think the whole web setup is sinister. That said I do mostly use DuckDuckGo these days since for routine searches it’s just as good.

    2. dcrane

      Interesting. For me, “idiot” returned a zillion pics of Trump (and a few of Don, Jr. and the Hogg kid, and Curly, but mostly Trump and mainly recognizable people). That’s unsurprising, but I then tried “narcissist” and received an entire scroll’s worth of results containing not one image of a known person, mostly text-images instead. Complicated algorithms here.

  12. Summer

    Now if duckduckgo would only bring back advanced search features.

    Date ranges, excluding key words, chronological order settings for searches, etc.

    1. Search not confirm

      For work google is better than ddg i look for emails and phone numbers ddg more often than not turns up empty
      However google has gone through a radical crappification here too you used to be able to search and find email addresses without typing it exactly – you could actually search for it, not only confirm it.
      When i think about it – that is google nowadays a search bubble where only confirm what you already know you cannot search for anything.

      1. Chopspoon

        How about a search provider funded on a fee-for-service basis? Sure there’s a steep “moral tax” involved with taking the trouble to arrange for payment but what we have now is a system where people are continually selling out their privacy, dignity and independence of thought basically because paying with money like in the olden days is just too much of a bother.

        I think the lion’s share of blame for this debacle falls on the prevailing legal-political regime and PayPal as the former gave the latter what was effectively an enforced monopoly on digital micropayment, but one way or another this has got to stop. Left unchecked it will corrode away and ultimately destroy modernity just as surely as slavery did antiquity.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Or a monthly-subscription for a monthly-price? How much would people pay for a month of search engining without any advertisements?

  13. Darthbobber

    Neera’s March in line shtick is pretty one-sided. You can be a democrat and attack Sanders-allied democrats all day and all night and provoke no response from Neera Tanden. And apparently even noting facts is now beyond the pale?

    I guess we really are trying to “tilt authoritarian. “

  14. nooneespecial

    Re: The Verge tech article

    “…there doesn’t seem to be any way to get a single, objective search result from Google that can be easily replicable across users or locations…there’s no easy way to use Google search without the software seemingly trying to determine who you are and whether it can better serve your needs.

    The impact on upper elementary students’ research and knowledge acquisition skills is demonstrable. Part of my strategy as a language arts teacher was to alternate between take-home assignments (with few hints on search terms), to limiting student research to the sets of printed encyclopedias in the school library and supervised computer time during the school day.

    In both instances, I would ask students about their success rate in finding useful information. Not surprisingly, students would express increased confidence with school-based research, rather than being on their own. It was not surprising to hear students, who researched similar topics, speak about different search results and getting lost in a labyrinth.

    A colleague would remind me: Teach them the rules before you hand out the tools.

  15. GlobalMisanthrope

    Everyone in Austin, Texas has apparently been waterboarded using Beto-flavored kool-aid. Three people I’ve been friends with for decades are no longer speaking to me because I keep insisting that he is not on the left and that they should look at his voting record.

    One of them responded to my texting her the article Sirota mentions regarding banking reform roll-backs by asking that I remove her from my contacts since I “obviously can no longer see the forest for the trees.”

    One now-former friend got up and left during a group dinner because I was asking what the point was in electing a Dem to the Senate as long as the GOP had control when with the same money and recruitment, they could have put a Dem in the Governor’s Office—a move that would have had coattails.

    The implications of this new conformist-authoritarian derangement among liberals here are truly terrifying.

    1. MK

      TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) rots many liberal brains. Not that Trump is not a horrible human, but the level to which many on the left have abandoned any semblance of logic is scary. Russiagate will truly be either worse than Watergate, or the biggest misdirection nothingburger in modern times.

      Bottom line, dissent from accepted D thought under Trump = enemy.

      1. rd

        I was at the gym last night and got to see Cuomo on CNN going at it with some former Trump campaign person. The discussion was about the Mueller sentencing filings later this week. It was a deranged discussion on both sides as they were both grabbing stuff out of thin air given that Mueller hasn’t even produced the filings yet, so nobody has a clue what is in them.

        Most of the MSM on both sides is just dealing with speculation and BS as just talking about Trump builds ratings. Real issues with complexity are no longer an appropriate topic of conversation.

        I am looking forward to see what the filings actually have to say and then forming an opinion based on that.

      2. Monty

        I think the “I am a Tariff man” tweet might be peak Trump. Even the repubs hate him now. Don’t eff with suburban mom’s 401k. All downhill from here. Buckle up!

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Everyone in Austin, Texas has apparently been waterboarded using Beto-flavored kool-aid.

      Well, keep in mind that many in Austin belong to Frank’s Liberal Class, so as long as the candidates are like them they’ll embrace them blindly and for eternity. Their sources of information are the corporate media, and since they’re all card-carrying members of The Comfortable, they’re going to label anyone who dares to criticize the darlings they’ve been programmed to love a Trump supporter obviously ignorant of reality.

      I know because I get it every day.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Under China’s New Rules, U.S. Recycling Suffers” [Governing]. “Until this past January, China took 40 percent of America’s gently used paper, metals and plastic. Now, it accepts hardly any of it. China won’t take recycled material from this country, or others, unless it’s 99.5 percent free of contaminants. Some of the material is currently being processed domestically or is getting sent to other countries, but the loss of the biggest market has led some domestic recycling plants to shut down and some cities to end curbside pickup of recyclables. Cities could once count on processors to pay them for material, but now they’re being presented with hefty bills instead.”

    A lot of those are exported from China that now are not being able to return there.

    Perhaps an additional (refundable) tariff on paper, metals and plastic from thd Middle Kingdom is needed…to be refunded when they are returned to complete close the cycle.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “The Era of Cheap and Easy STD Treatment Is Over. What Went Wrong?” [Wired]. “Gonorrhea is surging back, along with its equally forgotten partner, syphilis. In August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that cases of all STDs have risen for four straight years, to the highest levels in a decade. A sizable portion of that spike is due to gonorrhea, which has become resistant to all the generations of antibiotics that have been used to treat it…. STD control is founded on a health care structure that is otherwise unusual in the United States: freestanding clinics, often publicly funded, that allowed patients to avoid stigma by seeking care from doctors who may not know them. The ability to treat infections quickly, ideally with a single antibiotic dose, was crucial to that structure, since there was no guarantee patients would return for followup. STDs were so common that inexpensive drugs were paramount.”


    When we can survive on plants alone, eating meat becomes possibly immoral.

    When we can suvive on eating dirt, it’s likely that eating vegetables that can think, feel and learn will likely be immoral as well.

    In these ways, we see morality can be technology dependent.

    When the above diseases can not be treated, what then is the moral way to act, given that new technological reality?

  18. DJG


    The baseline idea here is that guys in love is inherently funny. No other observation or “take” needs to exist to elicit a laugh; it’s simply funny because they’re dudes. Dudes in love. Dudes who have sex together. Ha! (?)

    From the article about SNL and Trump and Putin and Baldwin.

    The baseline idea is that homosexual activity is not acceptable, that same-sex desire is a threat to monotheism and the nuclear family (an invention of capitalism?). This is a deep-seated prejudice that isn’t going away: In my not so humble opinion, it also implicates much transgender theory. I keep running into evidence of gaypeople (including young gayfolk) transitioning to avoid it. Gender oppression and gender expression still seem very much tied up with “the biblical family” and the sexual scorched-earth policy of puritan Christians and the anxieties of being acceptably normal (those norms again) at the office. The body and the soul are somehow separable, when required, although not from the pocketbook.

    And if we throw in the idea from that controversial post in yesterday’s comments about authoritarians and Clintonians as authoritarians, written by Zaid Jilani for The American Conservative, we see that the tolerance of gay people may be directly correlated with the money that can be extracted from them in political campaigns. See Human Rights Campaign and its travails over the years.

  19. Darthbobber

    SNL used to be such a different thing. The current offering has only the name in common. (Though this has been the case for a long time. Even by the Franken era it had become much more formulaic and predictable.)

    One thing I loved in the Belushi/Akroyd/Radner, et Al days Was The unpredictable, freewheeling nature of the thing. One had no idea what might happen next. That, of course, didn’t last all that long.

    1. ambrit

      I too remember the original few years of SNL. Some serious ‘disappearing’ of content has happened though. Someone with power in the SNL hierarchy has been on a political correctness crusade for years.
      Real innovation doesn’t last very long. That’s why it’s called innovation.
      “Now for something completely different.”

      1. Wukchumni

        SNL was in it’s absolute prime during my high school years in the late 70’s, and it was really the only game in town in a field that had no competitors, not that it wasn’t consistently funny.

        My hardest thing was staying awake to see it in entirety, and sometimes i’d conk out early or miss the whole shebang, and when you went to school on Monday, everybody would talk about the skits in great detail, and occasionally i’d have to BS my way through, not having seen what everybody was yammering on about, ha!

        We watch it about every 6 months to confirm what a pile it’s become, in what should be the most comedy rich vein imaginable…

        1. Charlie

          About SNL competition, I would take the opposite view (looking at a mid 70s to mid 80s standpoint) in there was plenty of competition in the skit based comedy genre. There was SNL, SCTV, Friday’s even though on different days of the week. Then, after In Living Color went into oblivion, SNL became the only game in town. More PC and less true laughs.

          But then, noone will ever top the Olympia Diner. :)

      2. Carolinian

        That person is undoubtedly named Lorne Michaels. When you are a very rich pillar of the network tv establishment then someone like Sanders is doubtless considered fair and appropriate game. And more broadly the show has been played out for years so part of the reason for the Putin/Trump gay jokes stems from the struggle for a punch line. Shock jock sex jokes are a staple of the comedy club circuit. It’s far less defensible when the NY Times does it.

        Of course Lorne Michaels created the show and hired that great early cast. Things just get old.

        1. wilroncanada

          All the Canadians who made it great have all become USites now. Lost their senses of humour.

          1. ambrit

            A yeah! That made me think of South Park’s running gag; Terrance and Phillip. Then that movie. Oy vey!
            Of course, whenever I encounter the “I Can Change” joke cycle, I think of HRH HRC.

      1. ambrit

        And; “Friends of the late General Franco say he has been watching a lot of ‘Underground’ movies lately.”
        Remember Jim Henson’s Muppets during the first season? That wall of Muppets was their undoing.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Beto copies AOC?

    View image on Twitter
    View image on Twitter

    Michael Tracey

    Oh my god, it’s happening, and it must be stopped

    10:30 AM – Dec 3, 2018
    52 people are talking about this


    For some reason, I am not able to quote the part about him making German pancake,.

    Personally, I think pupusa and atole are tastier than German pancakes, and he’s not getting my vote with them (the latter).

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Dutch pancakes, crêpes, dosas, I know.

      German pancakes? Are they good?

      If he were making carrot-wheatberry scones I’d get worked up. With some homemade goji jam.

  21. Rosario

    Re: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the progressive Trump

    Jesus…squares in the USA really hate socialists. Equating AOC with Trump up front was a lazy tactic, but prolly effective with dullards.

    She is 29 for christssake, and from her previous accomplishments not an idiot. Nitpicking on character flaws and ignorance or brainfarts that could be pinned on nearly every US politician is a sure sign the socialist-eating media machine is operating balls-out. This is going to be miserable until election day 2020.

  22. allan

    I love the smell of oppo research in the afternoon. It smells like … like … 2020:

    Deval Patrick, Foreclosure Mogul [HuffPost]

    … When [Roland] Arnall came up for the ambassadorship [under Bush 43], Patrick wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to heap praise on Arnall. The billionaire was “a good man,” Patrick wrote, and Arnall’s Ameriquest was “a good company.” Arnall had “really stepped forward” after the settlement in the 1990s. “He used the experience to make a better company” and would make a “fine ambassador.”

    It wasn’t true. After signing Patrick’s slap-on-the-wrist settlement, Arnall developed his mortgage operation into Ameriquest, which became the world’s largest subprime lender during the housing bubble. It was notorious ― “the worst bottom-feeder of them all,” in the words of New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera, who later wrote a book with Bethany McLean documenting the company’s horrors and its relationship with Patrick. …

    1. johnnygl

      I can hear lambert in my head, saying, don’t just shoot down the trial balloon, “Kill it with FIRE!!!”

  23. Synoia

    Blackstone Group LP, Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital Inc, Invitation Homes Incand and American Homes 4 Rent

    Meet your new slumlords. Rent’s make the most profit with no maintenance to the properties.

  24. ncap-13Yb0Jvfq

    TrackMeNot is an extension for Chrome and Firefox that poisons your search history by issuing random searches in addition to your primary search. You can also use Google through a proxy at Startpage, or boycott search with trackers altogether by using DuckDuckGo.

    1. pricklyone

      I use Firefox set to ‘always use incognito mode’. Always turn off any option for location services. (Real? Or illusion?)
      I use Startpage for search. I don’t use the premade ‘add a search provider’ HTML tool for this, I have Startpage link, incorporating my preferences, as my browser startup page.
      Startpage claims to pay Google to use it’s search facility, so results should be Google results, only proxied thru Startpage.
      I also use startpage sometimes, using the built-in VPN in the Opera browser.
      This is truly a surreal experience.
      Google results via Startpage, are nothing like a straight Goog search, though. For one thing, I never see any “Google images” results. They are usually in the top few results of a regular Goog search.

    1. Ian1967

      > According to someone on Reddit that means Theresa May can theoretically be
      > locked up in Big Ben, though that procedure hasn’t been used since 1880.

      Oh, Reddit. Oh … all right, then.

      Actually, no-one has ever been ‘locked up’ in Big Ben. That would be a very good trick, indeed. It’s not unusual to see people mistakenly refer to the clock as Big Ben, but using that name for the tower is a new one on me.

      Big Ben is the bell. (Actually, the largest of the several bells atop the tower.)

      1. Yves Smith

        You’ve just made a fool of yourself.

        They may also be committed to the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, although this practice has not been used since Charles Bradlaugh was detained in 1880.



        At that point Bradlaugh was summoned back to the table to be told the outcome of the debate; having relayed it, the Speaker then ordered him to withdraw. Bradlaugh “respectfully refused” to obey an order of the House which was “against the law.” The Conservative leader Sir Stafford Northcote successfully moved a motion that Bradlaugh be required to withdraw (agreed on a division by 326 to 38, Liberal MPs being unwilling to challenge a motion which sustained the House’s legal authority) but Bradlaugh “positively refused to obey.” The Serjeant-at-arms was sent for and led Bradlaugh out to the Bar of the House, but Bradlaugh then immediately returned to the table claiming to take the Oath. At this Sir Stafford Northcote moved that Bradlaugh be taken into custody. The House agreed, on a division by 274 votes to 7 and Bradlaugh was taken to the small prison cell located under Big Ben in the Clock Tower.


        And my British contacts do refer to it as “locking them up in Big Ben”. Colloquially, anyone who has lived in England will tell you Big Ben is the clock tower, not just the bell. Wikipedia confirms that:

        Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London[1] and is usually extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower.


        Better trolls, please.

  25. Anon

    RE: Less Carbos more Fat

    Yes, Lambert, you read the results of that study correctly.

    There are numerous reasons to lower carbohydrates in ones diet. My cardiologist suggested it 8 years ago (to keep me off statins). This month I read the book “Wheat Belly” (written by a cardiologist) and in incredible detail explains why a high carbo diet is bad for most folks.

    Dropped most carbos in the diet and the small belly (I was already fit) is gone. Yeah, working on a six-pack. Google “wheat belly” to learn more. Amazing!

    1. ambrit

      “The specie must flow!” Bene Geithnerist saying.
      I’m not coining anything new here. This has been stamped out many times before. It falls from Heaven like the gentle reign. It doth twice blast. It blasteth him who giveth and him who taketh. The Dao it serves not. We are all in it’s debt.
      As J. M. Keynes said: Exeunt omnes.

  26. Wukchumni

    In what had to be inspired by Newman on Seinfeld…

    California authorities say they’ve broken up a smuggling ring that was hauling empty cans and bottles into the state so they could cash in the recycling refund.

    Three suspects were arrested in a case that resulted in fraudulent payouts totaling $16.1 million over three years, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery reported Monday.

    About 27,860 pounds of empty beverage containers were seized in a Phoenix collection yard that authorities said were bound for California recycling centers. The raid was conducted jointly by California and Arizona officers.

    The containers had an estimated redemption value of $41,836.

    The arrests are part of an ongoing battle against those who bring cans and bottles to California or other states that offer a 5- or 10-cent bounty to recycle them from states that don’t have a similar program.


  27. cm

    Interesting to listen to NPR’s adulation of Bush. I’m old enough to remember the lie of “No New Taxes” but NPR cannot bring it up. Instead, they present the facade of confusion as to his unpopularity.

  28. Carey

    Couple of more links, Caitlin Johnstone:

    “This time around things are less clear-cut. I do not subscribe to the belief that the shift in behavior of the media is due to an establishment hatred of Trump; despite the rhetoric and the narratives, Trump has been protecting establishment interests just as reliably as his predecessors, and everyone who knows anything about Russiagate knows that it will never lead to the removal of Trump from office. A much more logical explanation is the need to manufacture support for the geopolitical agenda of isolating Russia and shoving it off the world stage to stop it from protecting China’s rise to superpower status, and in cold war the use of propaganda becomes even more important than in hot war. But I also think there’s more to it than that. I think a large part of the frantic urgency that we are seeing from the establishment propaganda machine is nothing other than an attempt to regain control of the narrative.”


    and CJ Hopkins:

    “Look, I’m not trying to argue that it isn’t important to expose the fabrications of the corporate media and the ruling classes. It is terribly important. It is mostly what I do (albeit usually in a more satirical fashion). At the same time, it is important to realize that “the truth” is not going to “rouse the masses from their slumber” and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly “wake up,” “see the truth” and start “the revolution.” People already know the truth … the official truth, which is the only truth there is. Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.”


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