2:00PM Water Cooler 1/7/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I’m finishing up a post on AOC’s Green New Deal (GND) proposal, considered as policy, so this Water Cooler will be a little bit light. If I’m not utterly consumed by the GND effort, I’ll circle back and add more material here. –lambert UPDATE Nope. I have RL stuff to do. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow, I swear!


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


“‘The new straw poll’: 2020 candidates race to build small-donor armies” [Politico]. “Online support is set to play a pivotal role in the Democratic primaries, after small-dollar donors using ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform, financed the Democratic House takeover — and, before that, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ underdog 2016 presidential campaign. Potential candidates have spent months building up grassroots digital supporters to fund their campaigns in 2019 and build relationships with voters before they get the chance to go to the polls in 2020.” • I’m used to thinking of small donor fundraising as a sign of insurgency, as in the Howard Dean campaign, where these techniques were first tried (“the Dean Bat”) or the Sanders campaign in the 2016 Democrat primary. But I’m not sure that’s so, and not only because consultants and strategists have mastered the technique. For example, as Thomas Frank shows, the Democrat base is the 10%, and they have the discretionary income to donate small amounts regularly. If ActBlue is simply the expression of the class interests of the 10%, is that necessarily insurgent? I don’t think so.


Please forgive me for failing to break out of squeeing AOC fan-boy mode. But she’s a really interesting politician!

AOC continues to be lucky in her enemies. Gateway Pundit is, as I understand, the crème de la crème of conservative Twitter:

So, “Sandy”? Like Hurricane Sandy? That’s the scandal? The scandal they ginned up after losing their minds about a young lady doing a happy dance? Fine.

2016 Post-Mortem

“Democrats Faked Online Push to Outlaw Alcohol in Alabama Race” [New York Times]. “the Facebook page appeared to be the work of Baptist teetotalers who supported the Republican, Roy S. Moore, in the 2017 Alabama Senate race. “Pray for Roy Moore,” one tweet exhorted. In fact, the Dry Alabama campaign, not previously reported, was the stealth creation of progressive Democrats who were out to defeat Mr. Moore — the second such secret effort to be unmasked.” • The first false flag secret effort, you will recall, was the $100K effort by New Knowledge — also authors of a study for the Senate on RussiaRussiaRussia false flag secret efforts. If liberal Demorats want us to believe that everything they do is fake — most definitely including any current and future oppo efforts against Sanders — they are proceeding in exactly the right way.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Man in the middle: DNC chair prepares for tough primary” [Associated Press]. “‘I don’t want to cast any blame because they are both friends of mine,’ said Woody Kaplan, a prominent Democratic donor from Boston, referring to Wasserman Schultz and Perez. ‘But he just had such a mess to dig out of.'” • That’s about the most oblique criticism of Obama that I can imagine.

Normalization of the security state is now complete, for good or ill:

Stats Watch

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, December 2018: “Moderation in business activity and sharp improvement in delivery times pulled down ISM’s non-manufacturing composite in December, overshadowing one of the strongest months ever for new orders” [Econoday]. “The gain in export orders underscores that foreign demand for U.S. services is a major strength of U.S. trade, a fact often obscured by the nation’s very large deficit in goods. This report is mixed as the welcome slowing in activity looks to be temporary given the great pace of new orders that keep pouring into ISM’s sample.” And: “Both services surveys are in expansion – and their intensity of growth are different again this month. Markit shows this sector’s growth rate is basically unchanged whilst the ISM Services growth rate declined” [Econintersect]. And but: “This suggests slower expansion in December than in November” [Calculated Risk].

Factory Orders, November 2017: Delayed because of the government shutdown [Econoday].

Shipping: “Trucking Boom Ends, Next Phase in Cycle Starts” [Wolf Street]. “In December, orders for new Class-8 trucks — the heavy trucks that haul the products of the goods-based economy across the US — plunged by 43% from a year ago, to just 21,000 orders, the lowest since August 2017, and down by 60% from August 2018… Demand for transportation services continues to be strong, but just not as strong as it was. And trucking companies are adjusting. Their fear is overcapacity, which entails plunging freight rates, which is precisely what occurred during the transportation recession of 2015 and 2016.”

Tech: “Why My Chinese Dad Switched From an iPhone to a Huawei” [New York Times]. “China’s domestic brands have made huge strides in the years since 2012, creating new features and products that take into account what Chinese users want, for a small fraction of the price. Apple, meanwhile, has mostly failed to localize or reinvent itself, on the assumption that global cachet would be enough…. Apple also long resisted the rise of another important local feature: the dual SIM card system, a component that may sound boring but for Chinese people has become essential. In China, where many young people have never owned laptops, phones have become all-in-one devices — part television, part computer, part phone. Transitioning between two SIM cards on all other cell brands is a seamless process: one card for streaming and downloading at cheaper rates, the other one for making calls. Growing international tourism has also raised demand for phones that can accommodate a second, foreign SIM — and yet for years, Apple didn’t budge. The company finally gave in to the dual SIM card in the form of special models for China.” • People who still mourn for headphone jacks and the MagSafe connector and ports and non-soldered RAM will recognize this tendency in Apple.

Rapture Index: Closes down 2 on Interest Rates (“The interest rates drop on 10-year bonds”) and Israel (“Israel remains strangely peaceful”). [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Testing the 180 floor again. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.


“Florida health officials delayed notifying residents about tainted water, emails show” [Miami Herald (MR)]. “He gave them a couple of cases of water and told them to drink only bottled for the foreseeable future before he disappeared back into the night.” • And it’s all like that. A very ugly story. Another one—

“‘Is this really happening?’ Chemicals that tainted water on military bases spreading to other towns in Bucks, Montco” [The Inquirer (MR)]. “At meetings this month, residents learned new details about community health testing that revealed above-average levels of chemicals in their blood and were told that the Navy has not finalized its plan to treat the contaminated soil and water that could still threaten drinking water.” • Have any readers seen any national aggregation of incidents like this?


“The Fight Against Climate Change Could Heat Up in Colorado” [Westworld]. “In conversations with more than a dozen scientists, activists, lawmakers, state regulators and others, a clear picture emerges: Despite encouraging developments on several fronts, there remains a significant gap between the policy agenda that Democrats have put forward in this state and the scale and urgency of action that the climate crisis requires. Like much of the rest of the world, Colorado is nowhere near on track to achieve the overall emissions cuts that scientists say are necessary over the next decade and beyond. And every day that passes without action only makes the task ahead that much more difficult….. Colorado’s multibillion-dollar oil and gas industry, the fourth-largest source of greenhouse emissions, packs a one-two climate-warming punch. Its drill sites, wells, tanks and pipelines are themselves major, direct emitters of hydrocarbons like methane. And the extracted fossil fuels, of course, are sent downstream in the supply chain to be burned in Colorado or elsewhere and released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.”

“The spellbinding power of reading nature’s “lost” words aloud” [Quartz]. • This is a very beautiful book.


“Child walks home after being shot at north Houston park” [ABC]. •… •… •….

The Jackpot

I received the following in email over the transom, which I’ve lightly edited. Soeaking of parallel structures:

In the event of real collapse, like in Eastern Europe, what should people do? Has anyone in the NC community lived in Easter Europe in the 90’s? Or Lebanon in the 1980’s? I was thinking today what I would do if my Social Security stopped coming. What if the entire federal government ceased to function? I decided that I would organize a Committee for Community Preservation and seize control of the apartment complex in the name of the tenants.

The Committee would issue its own currency, which would be good for rent. We would pay the staff in the currency. We would form coalition with similar groups across the city and seize control of the local municipal power plant. We would then accept payment for electric bills in either USD or Committee Script, thus giving the currency real value. With control of the power plant it should not be too difficult to reach an arrangement with the local hospitals. We would also seize control of the local clinics and institute a single payer healthcare system. We would also need to organize Liberty Gardens on every balcony and garden we could recruit to manage the inevitable food shortages. The crucial thing is to set up some system of order before looting sets in. And it is not difficult to see how the looters would morph into “security” forces running check points at every major intersection.

The real point is that if I am having these thoughts, so are other people. I hope you will put out a call to anyone who has lived thru a collapse or failed state. It would be useful to have on the ground expertise.

I think “I am having these thoughts, so are other people” makes a lot of sense. Readers?

Class Warfare

“The government has no idea how many gig workers there are, and that’s a problem” [MarketWatch]. “[S]o-called “side hustlers” or “gig workers” [are] essentially invisible in the eyes of the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. Though the agency is a key source of information about the labor market, it doesn’t keep tabs on how much people make in what the government calls ‘non-primary work.’… The BLS does not have an explicit definition for a gig worker, or a formal way of tracking them. It comes closest in a survey called the Contingent Worker Supplement, which studies “contingent workers” in temporary working arrangements that they don’t expect to last more than a year. But prior to last month, the BLS had not released the Contingent Worker Supplement since 2005 due in large part to a lack of funding. The most recent report found that 5.9 million people or 3.8% of all workers are contingent workers.”

And speaking again of parallel structures:

More fun with forklifts:

Fun, of course, is not the same as effective.

News of the Wired

“Must Writers Be Moral? Their Contracts May Require It” [New York Times]. “Over the past few years, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House have added [morality] clauses to their standard book contracts. I’ve heard that Hachette Book Group is debating putting one in its trade book contracts, though the publisher wouldn’t confirm it. These clauses release a company from the obligation to publish a book if, in the words of Penguin Random House, ‘past or future conduct of the author inconsistent with the author’s reputation at the time this agreement is executed comes to light and results in sustained, widespread public condemnation of the author that materially diminishes the sales potential of the work.'” • And I would bet that “sustained, widespread public condemnation” includes a moral panic on twitter along with the ensuing dogpile. Welcome to the Vampire’s Castle!

“Road trip through post-apocalyptic California with a robot and a runaway in Simon Stålenhag’s ‘The Electric State'” [Los Angeles Times]. “Where his earlier art was steeped in his native Sweden, though, Stålenhag looked to the U.S. for “The Electric State.” The book is dystopian ’90s at its most bleak. It’s the gloom of “Twin Peaks” and the detached alienation of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” with a plot that reads like “The X-Files”-meets-“The Lawnmower Man.” It’s also a travel tale, taking readers from the Mojave Desert and up through the Sierra Nevada mountains before heading toward the Northern California coast.” • Another beautiful book, and the article contains many images.

Peak tech meta?

* * *

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 (RT):

RT: “Attached is a photo of a Mexican Elderberry in full bloom. Just up the street from me in Albuquerque, NM.” I can practically feel the sun beating down…

* * *
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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. taunger

    Real collapse.

    Thoughts of taking over power plants seem optimistic. These are hard infrastructure assets, and the points that folks with guns and prior organization will control if they have their wits. I’m not in that camp. Certainly thinking about this, and hoping that I can negotiate with whoever has the guns and our local hydro plant to stay on the grid. I think E.Europe is not a good analog for our issues due to the number of guns in society. Maybe Lebanon. But that is my biggest concern – I can probably make it on the 8+acres I have and being friendly with other local farmers, but if military or other combat forces come in to seize assets, I am in trouble

    1. ambrit

      Welcome to the ‘Warring States Period – American Edition!’
      The first half of Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” show the vicissitudes of the peasantry under just such conditions.

    2. dcblogger

      It seems to be that seizing the power plant would have to be an inside job. If the men and women of IBEW were not being paid and the local revolutionaries offered them a plausible plan to get paid they might very well cast their lots with the revolutionaries.

      1. Wukchumni

        One of the many reasons we live where we do, is proximity to one of the state’s oldest hydroelectric generating stations, built circa 1905. It’s owned and run by Southern California Gas Co. and all the power ends up in the grid elsewhere and used in the Central Valley, but through some clever rerouting, it could possibly serve the place where it emanates out of, no?

        A flume about 20 miles long brings water from around 10,000 to 1,000 feet all in a day’s work with a mighty head, over & over again, a perpetual motion machine of sorts.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > local revolutionaries offered them a plausible plan to get paid

        More like, “local revolutionaries offered them a chance to be the currency issuer.” That might be a more attractive offer to somebody with a sense of power dynamics…

      3. ObjectiveFunction

        If you have Venezuelan friends, no need to guess what collapse in the utilities sector looks like, just ask!

        I searched carefully to avoid offending los Commentantes with blanco reactionario sources, but I honestly can’t tell if this site is real or parody….


        Like Gas Comunitario or Gas PDV, electricity is provided by the government’s Corpoelec company. These are either examples of either government inefficiency or individuals working for the “fifth column” operating inside public institutions, paid to disrupt basic services in efforts to turn the people against the government. We are convinced of the latter case, based upon our experience with these two agencies

        Enemies without and within! Vigilantly denounce bourgeois wreckers, saboteurs and spies!

        I can just picture this being ranted by John Candy in a Mao suit….


    3. a different chris

      And it’s a good reason, that nobody will admit to, about TPTB not supporting rooftop solar/local windmills.

      Fossil fuels are a great populace control device. They are never given enough credit!

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I’m curious why would “folks with guns and prior organization” would seize power plants? In the past they have deliberately knocked out the transmission of power by attacking transformers.

      1. ambrit

        Usually, attacking critical infrastructure is a tactic employed when your group wants to bring on a collapse. After any collapse happens, someone has to get things up and running again. Only Death Addict Nihilists would desire a permanent state of chaos.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I read an interesting theory about those transformer-shootings. Someone suggested that because the transformers were shot once to leave a small hole out of which the fluid could leak slowly, that they were in fact perpetrated to send a “performance message” about how vulnerable the transformers and the whole grid is to violent disruption. Since no more transformers were shot and no blackmail demands were issued, the “someone” speculated that the transformer shootings were designed to scare the authorities INTO hardening and securing the grids.

        1. JBird4049

          Since it takes upwards of two years to get a new transformer, most of which we do not build ourselves anymore,(Hi China!) it’s a worry.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      If “people” are already thinking about these things, then the “anti-people” have also been thinking about them, and thinking about how to stop and prevent the “people” from being able to act on these thoughts.

      So if “people” want to take things over to keep them alive at some minimal level, those “people” will also have to think about how to defeat and dis-empower the “anti-people” who will try to pre-emptively pre-install themselves into all these worth-taking-over assets. And those “anti-people” will probably be ready and set to destroy all those assets in order to deprive the “people” from having anything worth taking over to be able to survive with.

      So the “people” would have to be able to conquer and exterminate-if-necessary the “anti-people” before the “anti-people” could destroy all the Jackpot-mitigation assets.

  2. cocomaan

    AOC risks being burnt out. The liberal hippy punches are coming out in force now to shut her up. Maybe she can overcome but it’s going to be an enormous uphill battle:


    The problem with that thinking is that it says that the underlying facts don’t matter as long as the bigger-picture argument still coheres. Which is a very dangerous, slippery slope to tread at any time but especially in an age in which the President of the United States is actively seeking to undermine the idea that objective facts actually exist.

    Fudging the facts in pursuit of “being morally right” — as Ocasio-Cortez puts it — assumes that moral righteousness is an agreed-upon thing. As Trump’s decision to institute a travel ban or build a wall around the country show, it’s not.
    Ocasio-Cortez is new to all of this, yes. But the high profile she already enjoys caries with it some responsibility. Namely, to get the facts right. And when you get them wrong, to correct it as quickly as possible rather than trying to justify the error.

    1. JohnnyGL

      How rich coming from the network that has blindly pushed a number of russia-gate junk stories. At least one of which was so bad that they had to fire several staffers.

      Libruls seem awfully determined to hang her with her one genuinely poorly thought out tweet.

      It seems a curious thing establishment libruls do, find something they think is either wrong, or a mistake and just relentlessly beat you over the head with it. Neera Tanden did this to Bernie Sanders a ton, constantly trying to hold him to account and police anyone who invoked his name and did/said something bad. We’re seeing this now with the recent attempt to give him a #metoo problem with his 2016 campaign.

      I think further to the very good tweet above, AOC’s best talent is just being a bright, articulate, straightforward person who’s unconcerned with poll-testing ideas or reviewing with party leaders to see if they approve of every statement, reviewing and refining answers with lobbyists and consultants, focusing on technocratic fixes and making sure it’s carefully hedged to defend against the inevitable opposition coming from the right.

      She sees genuine value in getting people to think about big about big ideas.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        We need a meme to encapsulate rejection of politically-weaponised #metoo attacks.
        Something easy to read and which self-makes its own point.
        I would suggest . . . #TheMeTooCard or . . . #TheMeTooCardStrikesAgain . . . or #StrutThatMeTooStuff or something like that.

          1. Carey

            I like that- very clever, in fact- but not distinctive enough, IMO, in these coarse times. Could be wrong.

    2. notabanker

      She is smoking the whole facts checking establishment on twitter right now. They are already conceding not having staff or discretion on who to check.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the whole facts checking establishment

        My favorite factoid about the fact-checking grift establishment is that Google News used The Weekly Standard (now defunct). But they still use WaPo (!) and Polygraph.info, the latter a gen-u-wine US government propaganda outfit!

        1. notabanker

          Politifact said they have a staff of 12 whole people and about a dozen “publishing partners”. NY is run by The Buffalo News and they “decide who and what to check”.

          The Buffalo News is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

          1. polecat

            The Buffalo New is owned by ….

            Ah ! .. I think the chief of that particular tribe is known as Tatanka Swimming Naked … and his second in command, I believe, is Dances with Suckupmunger.

        2. JohnnyGL

          In any case, are they the ‘facts checking establishment’ or are they the ‘reality-based community’?

          “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality”

          Perhaps the quote from (maybe?) Rove is aging better than anyone thought?

          More than ever, it seems certain people are trying to seize the narrative and make things happen and the rest are attempting to keep up.

          1. JBird4049

            Hey, we can create our own reality, if we are stupid enough to want to, but sooner or later Reality itself will create us the way it wants to.

    3. pjay

      Remember everyone. A high profile “caries with it some responsibility. Namely, to get the facts right. And when you get them wrong, to correct it as quickly as possible rather than trying to justify the error.”

      Says Chris Cillizza — at CNN!

      Ironic liberal hippy-punching!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I can’t find the link at the level of effort I’m willing to perform, so I can’t pat myself on the back here, but AOC getting details wrong is one of the first things I dinged her for. You can’t get the details wrong on policy; as a legislator, it’s your job to get them right, and “my heart is in the right place” is not an answer. (Her real answer is more nuanced, something like “If I get something wrong, I correct it,” but that’s such an own-goal.) Now, AOC is obviously very bright, so I do think this is a staffing matter, but there’s no reason to give her Democrat enemies — far more dangerous than the Repbublicans — a handle against her.

        1. Carey

          “…AOC getting details wrong is one of the first things I dinged her for. You can’t get the details wrong on policy; as a legislator, it’s your job to get them right, and “my heart is in the right place” is not an answer.”

          Not really my business, but I’m glad you said that.

        2. makedonamend

          That said, how many of her compatriots in the US Congress are conversant with the details she is supposed to know – especially novice Congress people? Will they get the same grilling?

          Concise answer: No. (But they should.)

          Having said that, she needs to come up to speed very quickly. She needs to be better than her compatriots because she is pushing forward an agenda that is despised by the power-money people. They will never stop. They may take a breather now and again but they will never relent. Never. She must be as relentless as they are.

          She will be held to a higher standard and that isn’t easy.

          Having, having said that, if she starts the old fudge two-step by sliding around and evading answers to tough or detailed questions, then I shall become fairly disheartened.*

          The beauty of capital is that it works from the premise that our basest abilities are our best assets as a species. In order to oppose such a premise, it appears one has to accept the base realities and work with them in order to be better than them or elevate them to a new level.

          ‘US Congress Rep. Ocasio-Ortiz, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Good luck.’

          *One thing I don’t understand is why people such as Congress Rep Ocasio-Ortiz don’t have electronic databases of specific data filed on their phones and so on. Is it a faux pas to stop an interviewer and say: “let me check the facts”? (Though I do admire people who can pull a huge range of data out of their grey matter instantaneously.)

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can more work be done quietly in the backroom, I wonder?

      For example, Sanders proposed, in 2016, a top margin rate of 54.2%.

      Was that becuase it was more realistic or because he was too timid to propose 70%? Would it be better to have a group of congresspersons and senator(s) join together to announce a new top marginal rate or a whole new tax plan?

      1. JohnnyGL

        AOC’s side gig: Making Bernie Sanders look like a staid centrist by running a Sherman’s march through the Overton Window.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s harder to struggle alone. Better to group with Sanders and others, I think.

          1. kurtismayfield37

            If you want 55% you ask for 70%.. most of the Democrat establishment is thinking that she didn’t get the memo on how things are done.

            #1. Propose some Centrist compromise first..
            #2. Say that the real leftist proposal is “unrealistic”
            #3. Eventually cave and get what they really wanted, which is the Republican proposal with some milquetoast additional “training” and “tax credits” added.

            See: NAFTA, ACA, etc.

            1. johnnygl

              You forgot #4. Ensure the teachable narrative that emerges concludes that “we barely got policy xyz done after protracted arm-twisting, and polls show americans aren’t happy. You’d be crazy to try anything more than that.”
              #5. Fundraise!!!
              #6. Fundraise more!!!

                1. Carey

                  “We can’t *afford*nice things! We need to spend that money
                  on dissembling and propagandizing the citizenry, so we can
                  buy more super-awesome weapons we don’t need, so we can
                  then not afford society-building (quaint!) things like healthcare/
                  art centers/ take your pick…


            2. Procopius

              You forgot to include means testing. Have to include means testing. After all, we can claim we’re trying to prevent rich people from getting a benefit meant for poor people (us), while the real point is to discourage people from claiming the benefit by making it harder so only rich people can afford to hire the experts to jump through the hoops for them.

          2. johnnygl

            Undoubtedly good. Any voice out there advocating good policy, unabashedly, is a good thing. The public is open to different ideas. Trump convinced the public that China was eating our lunch (at least partially true). He also opened up space to be against immigration (like it or not).

            What’s damaging is when someone does what Gillum or Beto did…say they are for medicare for all and retreat from it when attacked.

            Being wishy-washy on policy looks bad for the candidate and the policy in question.

    5. Darthbobber

      1. She should indeed make a bit more effort at literal accuracy, but
      2. That won’t stop this sort of thing at all. Because
      3. They’re highly selective about this fact-checking stuff, depending on the desired narrative. I’ve seen the wapo, for example, evaluate as false a Sanders statement that they conceded as literally true, because it was used to illustrate an argument whose implications for economic policy they found horrifying. They also managed to evaluate a Clinton statement conceded (by them) to be literally false because it was used in developing a point that was arguably sensible to them.
      4. The “fact checkers” have already done enough of this sort of thing to have already forfeited a huge fraction of the credibility the enterprise possessed at launch. To the extent that
      5. If they’re your biggest problem as a politician you don’t have much of a problem. And certainly not a central problem.

    6. bob

      The first paragraph of that quote is horrible. It’s a good thing Mr. Coolatta only has to read to get his multi-million dollar paycheck.

    7. Montanamaven

      I like her. But for our sakes, I would like her to do more homework. She can go to Physicians for a National Health Care Plan for facts, so she can answer “How ya gonna pay for it?” Or listen to Jimmy Dore. And read David Graeber’s “Bullshit Jobs”. Anybody here can answer how to pay for it. Right now it costs a person $10,000 a year for health insurance. What if I had to pay $5000 more in taxes but had health care paid for with no deductibles? I’m saving $5,000. How about the money saved by the overhead of a health insurance company versus Medicare overhead? We can also say “You printed money for banks. You can print money for our health care.” Wow, would that make Anderson Cooper’s head spin! I get a little queasy about bringing “morality” into it. I don’t like the idea that some people are righteous and others aren’t. This is what divides us.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. And she is flushing out many “Vichy Dems.”
        HuffPo has a hit piece on AOC featured prominently on the Yahoo “news” feed this morning where putative Liberal Whoopie Goldberg tells AOC to sit down and shut up and let the “experienced” Democrat Party operatives show her how to do politics. Hah! From what I’ve seen so far, AOC is a natural politica.
        Loath as I am to link to Ye Eville Yahoo, here it be: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/whoopi-goldberg-tells-alexandria-ocasio-222938171.html
        If AOC is not ‘neutralized’ in some fashion, I foresee many broken rice bowls in drear Demland.
        Marcelus had it right: “Something is rotten in the state of Demland.”

  3. Samuel Conner

    I haven’t given serious thought to “what to do in the event of sudden collapse” since the late ’90s when dystopian Y2K bug theories were in view. I still have unopened gallons of corn oil (1 gallon ~ 30,000 calories) from that time.

    Local “where-ever possible” gardening as a significant source of fresh vegetables seems inevitable to me in view of climate forecasts and reasonable slow-collapse scenarios. I’ve read that one can self-sustain even in terms of calories by growing potatoes; my one experiment with that was overwhelmed by Colorado beetles. I need more predator bugs in my yard.

    Given the difficulties of moving stored food to where it is needed, I am not optimistic about the possibilities for “not awful” outcomes in sudden collapse scenarios.

    1. Geo

      Years ago I had a job working alongside a number of ex-convicts. Some pretty tough dudes as you’d imagine. They’d often discuss what they’d do in a societal collapse.

      The most memorable take went like this: he said he’d take his guns, round up some men and gather as much ammo gasoline as he could. He’d also kidnap a few women. His reasoning: guns were authority, gas was power, and women would be currency.

      The other guys agreed with him and said they’d do the same.

      It was then I realized I would humbly bow out if that truly happened. Despite the numerous issues with modern society, we’ve come a long way and I’ve no interest in living like that.

      As comedian Bill Burr says: if you stock up on supplies and have a sustainable garden, but don’t have a private army, you’d just be stockpiling supplies for the first gun-toting lunatic to come along.

      I’d like to believe in humanity’s better angels but both historical events and our numerous (American aided) failed states prove otherwise.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Kurt Saxon suggested arranging your entire pre-collapse life around post-collapse survival. I assume he felt it went without saying that your pre-post-collapse life should be enjoyably worth living in its own terms.

        One of his pieces of advice was to live as far beyond full-tank-of-gas range beyond the nearest urbanised concentration of inferior losers as you could, so that most of them would never reach you to begin with. He believed in viable survival of enough organized groups of living-in-place people that they could preserve some worthwhile knowledge and culture along with their own physical selves through the Long Collapse Dark Age. He disdained the “preppers” of his own time. He wrote an article on that theme called “The Idiocy of Space Capsule Survivalism”.

        I believe he also supported the concept of deservingly worthy society being prepared, armed and ready to exterminate the sort of sub-human convict scum you describe in your comment if they should survive to reach your Survival Town. Here is a “kinder and gentler” article he wrote in almost-that-vein. It is called ” The Killer Caravans”.

      2. aletheia33

        maybe the way people frame the ”societal collapse” (what does that exactly mean, anyway?) scenario reveals more about them, and their perceptions and assumptions about the world as they think they know it, than about any scenario that is likely to occur.

        it would be surprising for a bunch of ex-cons to come up with any vision different from the only universe they’re likely well-acquainted with. plus they may have been still feeling the need post-prison to maintain dangerous status and long-honed ruthlessness in one anothers’ eyes.

        revealing my own limited perspective, i like to think that a few of them didn’t know that they themselves would stop to help an injured, starving child, mother, or old person they encountered on their way.

      3. JBird4049

        In disaster our better angels do appear and are usually the vast majority. The News business usually usually greatly exaggerates the problem; there is almost always a small subset that shows their darker angels however.

        During and after Katrina, the New Orleans Police Department covered itself in shame and at one of the bridges leading out of New Orleans, the police of the town on the other side block the bridge and shot a number of refugees. Also, some other refugees were told to go to another evacuation point were ambushed and killed by people who lived just off that road. Strangely all the dead were black and all the shooters were white who used the justification that “those” people were dangerous. Never mind that those people were usually unarmed, all were hungry, dehydrated, often sick and/or the very old or the very young. Fortunately the police and the residents of that neighborhood were eventually prosecuted.

        The good side is that New Orleans was flooded by volunteer rescuers on boats or whatever to rescue thousands of people and even some of the NOPD risked their own lives to help others. Most of the “looting” was the refugees seeking water, food, medicine, and such things like diapers as there were plenty of closed stocked stores. The damage was usually only a busted door.

        If you read beyond the scary headlines, most disasters are full of selflessness, sometimes heroic, even saintly behavior with the evil just lightly sprinkled here and there. Of course some of that evil is just awful.

      1. aletheia33

        thanks for the link, i’ve started reading it.

        i recommend the short novel “compartment no. 6” by rosa liksom: a train journey across the soviet union of the 1980s. brings that time and place vividly to life. unforgettable people, especially the 2 main characters who reluctantly travel together, a young woman and an old soviet soldier who is expert at obtaining what they need in the breaking-down economy.

      2. windsock

        I’ve just read the Orlov article and am seriously wondering how this applies to a no deal Brexit.

      3. Mike Mc

        This chap survived Argentina’s collapse a few years back:


        His blog is mostly prepperville but… these folks only have to be a little bit right, or right once, for much of this to be incredibly useful.


  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: Mexican town–

    Viva el comunismo libertario!

    That was the cry of the CNT and the Spanish anarchists on the many occasions when they would throw off their oppressors–for at least a few days or weeks–in some Spanish village. Murray Bookchin chronicled it nicely in The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years.

    It gave them practice at administering things so that when a larger revolution succeeded in 1936, things ran well enough that Orwell was mightily impressed. Unfortunately, nothing could give them practice at defending against the combined efforts of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin.

  5. "Mamaluk"

    A Girl Named Sandy

    In the burras, where I’m from, Queens, NY — everyone in the neighborhood had a moniker: Peewee, Sam the Hat, Gary the Head, Underwears, Rooster, Prov (provolone), and some that can’t be mentioned in a family setting.
    Whether you’re Alexandria, or Sandy, or Alex you’re part of the neighborhood.

    1. J

      I’m confused even more by that being a common abbreviation, like Mike for Michael. Is it not ethnic enough?

    2. Geo

      Odd how they are tweaked out by friend-given nicknames but are OK with aliases like “John Barron” and “David Dennison”.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      My son had a childhood friend named Alexander and everyone called him Xander, the X pronounced as a Z.

  6. noonespecial

    Re: Water


    My apologies if this appeared here at NC already, but Lambert’s question tripped a wire.

    The Military Times notes that:

    The water at or around at least 126 military installations contains potentially harmful levels of perfluorinated compounds, which have been linked to cancers and developmental delays for fetuses and infants, the Pentagon has found…[The Dept. of Def.] has also released the full list of installations, reported in a lengthy chart attached toward the end of the congressional report, and will be working with the Centers for Disease Control next year on a study of the potential long-term effects of exposure…DoD has already spent $200 million studying and testing its water supply, and also providing either filters, alternate wells or bottled water to address contamination.” (bold section is my emphasis; link is embedded in the article)

    Combined with years of DuPont’s contributions to this disaster in the Rust Belt/North East, little wonder Nestle is keen on purchasing (or is stealing?) water rights form places like the Great Lakes.

  7. Enquiring Mind

    Alexa isn’t the only one with gadgetry in the bathroom. Have you experienced the Toto toilet, from those resourceful Japanese? I test-drove one at a sushi restaurant.

    Open the restroom door and the toilet lid raises.
    Select the seat-warmer temperature, via the handy control panel
    select the post-event undercarriage water jet
    select the appropriate jet target location, water pressure and temperature
    select the drying option

    Maybe there are more advanced models, too. And to think I’d been missing out all those years. But does that control panel have a WiFi or data storage link? With customizable user settings that is a possibility.

    1. NIx

      We just bought a Toto-type toilet seat from Brookpad. It has all of the crapification attributes you would expect. When you sit down on it, it emits an extremely loud beep, thus announcing to the whole household (and loud enough to wake the sleeping) that you have just sat down on the crapper. Push on one of the function buttons to wash your delicates and the same happens; a loud beep, sometimes two.

      What design team was it that thought that this might be a good idea?

      I was just thinking how lucky that they haven’t yet come up with internet-connected toilets. Oh, well!

      1. Rajesh K

        Are you sure you have your settings right? I’ve been to Japan many times and I have never experienced those things you mentioned. Same thing with the Toto toilet bowls in LA Japantown. Brookpad sounds like a reseller, no doubt they’ve set the thing to some “Western” mode or something.

        The Japanese highly value privacy in the bathroom. They have settings for that in their toilet electronics. I’ve met a ton of people who have visited Japan, and they’ve always been impressed by the Toto toilet bowls and the public transport among other things.

        1. Carey

          Maybe just a cultural difference, but is it really wise to be reliant on IoT “settings”? I notice that my smart!phone, for instance, changes my
          chosen settings willy-nilly, without my knowledge or consent, which is
          why I keep it in a Faraday Cage as much as possible.
          Surely an isolated incident, though, and mere paranoia on my part.

          1. Carey

            Edit: “my” phone changes settings, by itself, to enable more data extraction, *never* toward more user privacy; so not willy-nilly at all.


          2. Rajesh K

            Ok, first of all advanced Japanese toilet bowls predate IoT. I trust the Japanese not to do all sort of shenanigans when it comes to these kinds of things. They know it’s embarassing business and from experience there’s all sorts of privacy settings that’s enabled when these bowls are deployed in the public (the ones in the old Tsukiji market, mall, etc).

            Conan (yeah TBS Conan) recently visited Japan and he had a number of hilarious episodes on:
            1. Renting a family in Japan.
            2. Toto toilet bowls.
            3. etc.

    2. Craig H.

      > The literal internet connected shitter has arrived.

      In theory analysis of the micro critters living in our feces could make life much healthier. In practice I’m thinking that is around 200 years out. The Jetsons definitely need a computer in their toilet. This might be better than a flying car.

  8. toshiro_mifune

    The Electric State is great. Got a copy a few months ago after having seen Stålenhag’s work on line for the past 2 or 3 years

  9. ACF

    The parallel structure video about the Mexican town has bizarre framing. The town didn’t ban elections. It functionally seceded from Mexico, and reverted to a very small d- democratic governance structure in part based on their indigenous tradition. So there’s no political parties or participation in Mexican elections. But there are elections around campfires to go to general assembly, and there’s also a reference to neighborhood councils.

    In short, the frame shouldn’t be about banning elections, it should be about successful secession at the scale of 20k people (more proof of Mexico as a failed state?)

    Not sure secession could be pulled off at a similar scale here

    1. aletheia33

      informal secession of whole and large communities will certainly happen as the empire collapses (assuming the planet doesn’t become too toxic to support human life at all), wherever people come to find it more cost-effective for them than remaining subject to the center. depending on the variables of local resources and vulnerabilities.

      at some point some communities will see the breakdown coming and will begin to think ahead. others will not know what hit them.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Velvet “stealth secession” and parallel sovereignty in waiting.

        Transition Towns all powering down.

      2. Carey

        I think that you’re right, and also that the PTB will be working with real diligence to
        prevent local, autonomous enclaves from appearing, as an alternative to their
        TINA despair-by-design.

        1. polecat

          The may depend on how close, or far away, said enclaves are from the reach of a colIapsing Imperial ‘Rome’ ….

            1. Carey

              I wonder if, at some point, those who are working so diligently
              to get the citizenry on the run, will be on the run themselves?

              crazy talk


  10. ambrit

    “If I’m having these thoughts…”
    I’ve been ‘there’ for some time and can observe that the best groups for preparing for when the SHTF are the religious ‘clusters.’ Being associated with a ‘cult,’ or cult like object, programs one to adopt an insular and ‘us versus them’ mind set. Entering into group think makes for easy co-ordination of effort and uniformity of processes. A little mentioned “strength” of such groups in general is the ease of decision as to whether or not “outsiders” are to be tolerated, or killed off.
    As for the idea of organizing an apartment building, well, J. G. Ballard beat us to it, and shows a distinctly unoptimistic scenario in his 1975 novel “High Rise.”
    The wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Rise_(novel)
    It has been suggested that a lot of Ballards underlying attitudes towards humans in stressful situations derive from his childhood spent in a Japanese internment camp outside Shanghai during World War Phase Two. A practice run for the Jackpot?

    1. clarky90

      I am a member of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. We fast often and for extended periods. Learning to enthusiastically, go without food is key, imo. In the fasted state, we live off of our (usually) extensive fat (adipose tissue) stores.

      Features of a successful therapeutic fast of 382 days’ duration


      This man was morbidly obese. However, most healthy people can happily manage 6 or 7 weeks without any food. Just stay warm, hydrated and replenish your electrolytes (salt). I have often gone on long, water only fasts.

      Many people will die of fear, at the prospect of missing meals. Remember, our ancestors survived thousands of years of Ice Ages.

  11. Carolinian

    If liberal Democrats want us to believe that everything they do is fake

    Too late. We already believe that.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And typically, it’s harder to forget something* than it is to know the same thing.

      *For example, to forget differential calculs is much harder than to learn it.

  12. ChiGal in Carolina

    Fer chrissake, her friends and family doubtless still call her Sandy, just like O’s call him Barry. In her professional capacity she is using her legal name.

    Please tell me that unlike with Trump we’re not going to waste a lot of ink or pixels on nada. Hopefully not, since she seems to want to talk policy.

    1. ambrit

      Yes she does. But does anyone in Washington want to listen? This is going to have to be run as an insurgency. The committee assignments AOC and her ‘Fellow Travelers’ are offered by the Democrat nomenklatura will tell the tale.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Representative Marcy Kaptur of the Greater Toledo area once described in an interview how she was assigned bad assignments by Pelosi as punishment for raising not enough money to give to the Pelosi machine. She explained to the interviewer that Greater Toledo was too poor an area to have enough Rich Democrats to give Pelosi the amount of money Pelosi craved.

        Since Pelosi kept her off every “powerful” committee and post, she learned to accept seemingly unrelated “powerless” committees and posts and then merge these posts into an effective power platform the way a bunch of separate slime-mold cells come together into a unified slime mold which can go places and do things. ( Kaptur didn’t offer the slime-mold metaphor, though).

        So, anyway, perhaps AOC and the other Young Insurgents can meet with Marcy Kaptur and get mentored by her in the fine art of infiltrating themselves into a seemingly random scattering of seemingly unrelated committees and posts of no seeming importance in the eyes of the Demoklatura.

        1. Carey

          I like your middle paragraph, and once offered the analogy of weeds, as
          to how change to benefit the many might occur:

          “How did *those* get here? They’re everywhere, now!”


        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Representative Marcy Kaptur of the Greater Toledo area once described in an interview how she was assigned bad assignments by Pelosi as punishment for raising not enough money to give to the Pelosi machine. She explained to the interviewer that Greater Toledo was too poor an area to have enough Rich Democrats to give Pelosi the amount of money Pelosi craved.

          I believe it. Got a link?

          1. Big Tap

            Lambert maybe it was about the House Appropriations Committee ranking member race in 2012 for the Democrats. Kaptur had more seniority but lost the race to a member 6 years her junior. Seniority usually but not always is a deciding factor in who wins. Pelosi may have had a hand in that since she was the minority leader but that’s speculation on my part.


  13. ChiGal in Carolina

    Spring Texan recommended a Citations Needed podcast in links today which I belatedly seconded.

    He mentioned the episode on Neoliberal Optimism was the only one he had listened to. In general, the must-listen percentage is higher for Intercepted and On the Media (YMMV). But I wanted to flag a few more of the Citations Needed episodes as indispensable:

    Episode 11: The Deficits Racket Part I — Single Payer Propaganda War
    (Stephanie Kelton is their guest on this one)

    Episode 56: How The Media Learned to Worry About War Without Ever Opposing It

    Their brief is to call bs on the media’s role in perpetuating the status quo.

  14. barrisj

    Dept. of Unintended Consequences: the undisputed fact of “liberal interventionists” and other denizens of the – you know – “deep state©️“ whining and bleating about “stupid Trump’s precipitous military pullout decision” for both Syria and the long-suffering Afghanistan now find themselves cheek-by-jowl with former bête noir neocon John Bolton, who is the point-man for the US Imperium and permanent war/occupation. John extends a warm welcome to all those “libruls” who have finally come around to his view of Murkan “responsibilities” in the ME and So. Asia…booyah!

  15. shinola

    “The Lost Words” book looks wonderful.

    Now I gotta figure out a way rationalize the purchase of a “children’s book” to wifey.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I deliberately didn’t write “children’s book,” but “beautiful book.” Not a book for children as we concieve them today, but more along the lines of Alice in Wonderland or Wind in the Willows… Perhaps you could donate a copy to your local public library and then check it out often?

      1. Carla

        Little known fact: anyone in our community with a library card can request that the public library purchase a book, and the request is almost always granted. I don’t know if all public library systems work that way, but ours does. (The library director told me that if the purchasing committee believes the requester is the only person who will read the book, they will probably decline to buy it — but she said she could only recall two instances of the library not purchasing a book that was requested — in the last 15 years or so.)

          1. Richard

            Ours does too (or used to) in metropolitan seattle. I love your “army for the people” phrase, but I want my librarian to be in that army too! :)

            1. aletheia33

              not sure what you mean, but certainly i meant that they are IN the army of the people, because they are OF the people also and they do not put themselves above us. they serve alongside us, fulfilling any of our requests for reading materials that they can provide. of course, since our taxes pay their salaries, they would be in some trouble if they did otherwise. but they seem to really like doing it. and to understand how important their service is in maintaining the strength of the community to face whatever may come.

    2. Judith

      The book does look lovely to read aloud.

      I enjoy Robert MacFarlane’s nature writing. “The Old Ways” is probably my favorite. He doesn’t challenge the dominant paradigm in the way Roger Deakin or Nan Shepherd (both writing heroes of hIs) do, but he does have thoughtful things to say about the natural world and does love digging up strange and wonderful old words to describe what he experiences.

  16. whoamolly

    Re: small donors may come from 10%

    I buy firewood from local guy. He cuts, dries, and delivers to his regulars every year. When he shows up I help unload. We occasionally talk afterward about the firewood business and the local economy.

    I suspect if he were to donate $26 to a political campaign it would mean not feeding his family for a couple days.

    I dont think he is alone.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are those reports real, and not fake – reports about Americans not having $500 in an emergency?

      Typically, in an election, there are many government positions on the ballot. To support those candidates, from school district members, sheriff, judges, coucil members, supervisors, state assembly members, state senators, state governor/treasurer/secretary of state/etc, it could be $26×20, or over $500 pretty soon.

      The qeustion then, how scalable? Can $26 per donor work only for a few candidates? I read some people donote $26 a few times to Sanders in 2016, just one candidate.

        1. ambrit

          The same here in Forrest County, Mississippi. And not the most obvious candidates for penury either.

      1. aletheia33

        let’s remember how many people are currently IN an emergency. the situation they didn’t have $500 for has come and gone, and they are paying for it with their lives every day now, with no hope of improvement.

        there are plenty of them where i live. barely getting through each day. or not even. children homeless. and my community and state, though not exceptionally wealthy, provide more support to them than many.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps the repeat small-donor wannabe has to pick herm’s battles and pick herm’s candidate.

        And perhaps one’s very local very small scale neighbhorhood-level candidates might find a productively-spent time-donation as useful as a money donation.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Could this be about ‘draining the swamp’ – but from an elite view? What I mean is that the big parties might reckon that for every small donation that they get for a Kamala Harris, that that is one less that would go for a Bernie Sanders. Wouldn’t matter if they used those small donations to set on fire for fun, the point is to keep those small donations out of the hands of the new progressive politicians.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        A limnology professor once taught us about that very process in the world of competing algae species in certain lakes.

        The Kamala algae soaked up more iron from out of the lake water than what they needed for their own metabolism. They did this in order to keep that iron away from the Bernie algae, who died from lack of iron. That approach is called “competitive exclusion.”

  17. clarky90

    I am a member of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. We fast often and for extended periods. Learning to enthusiastically, go without food is key, imo. In the fasted state, we live off of our (usually) extensive fat (adipose tissue) stores.

    Features of a successful therapeutic fast of 382 days’ duration


    This man was morbidly obese. However, most healthy people can happily manage 6 or 7 weeks without any food. Just stay warm, hydrated and replenish your electrolytes (salt). I have often gone on long, water only fasts.

    Many people will die of fear, at the prospect of missing meals. Remember, our ancestors survived thousands of years of Ice Ages.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s soemthing one doesn’t forget to see all the babushkas standing in front of the Kievsky station in Moscow trying to sell their bread or anyting they could or had, circa 1992-1993.

    2. Montanamaven

      I have most of Dimitry Orlov’s books. I subscribe to his essays on Patreon. Also read “How Harvard Lost Russia” online which is more detailed about the looting, but still what Naomi Klein got right in “The Shock Doctrine” . People were selling anything they could to survive in Russia in the 1990’s. Adoptions of Russian children were big. The Russians have been thru it all. We haven’t. So don’t poke the bear.

      1. Carey

        I’ve only bought Orlov’s ‘Shrinking the Technosphere’. He has a lot of
        good ideas, even if there are some disputable assertions. His stuff on
        how the USSR was better positioned than the US to survive a collapse
        is really well done, IMO.

  18. Glen

    The gig economy:

    My daughter is a typical twenty something struggling to get by in our economy. She told me that everybody she knows has a second or more “gig” job to supplement their income because even $15/hr is not enough income. She was not shocked to hear that I made more than $15/hr over thirty years ago. She does not have a high opinion of boomers complaining about her generation. She has it much harder than I did at her age.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Interesting subject for study: how many boomers complain about her generation? How many boomers do NOT complain about her generation?

      Does your daughter focus her non-high opinion on the boomers who complain about her generation? Or does she extend her non-high opinion to include all boomers?

    2. Carey

      I have a daughter of about the same age, and agree that it’s *vastly* harder now.
      In 1977 I was newly working for the Ventura County APCD, making just under
      $600/mo, renting a small mid-town apartment, flea-ridden but semi cool, for
      $115/mo; just over 20% of my income. “Rent your *own apartment?*, for one-
      fifth of what you made? No way!”
      Then Prop 13, Ronnie Ray-gun, and Los Angeles landlords came along..

  19. Anon

    Re: AOC dancing

    It seems weird that the video, which had floated around for weeks prior to this is only now becoming a big deal. Using Twitter, I’ve kept tabs on a number of conservative accounts and aside from articles claiming that conservatives are criticizing AOC for dancing, I’ve yet to see a prominent one actually criticize the dancing.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Here’s an example from Reason (now deleted, along with the original tweet). I’m too lazy to find the link, but the first coverage I did on the topic cited a conservative chastising another conservative for how dumb it was (it would make AOC more “bullet-proof”).

      I agree that the scandal arose from the nether regions of the conservative Mighty Wurlitzer, but it is all one Wurlitzer, after all.

  20. ChiGal in Carolina

    Child walks home

    Was the child 8 or 16? How is it that no assistance materialized as they walked 3 miles to get home after being shot in the foot? Were they trying to avoid (possibly hostile) people? Did the bullet graze their foot and going to the hospital was to get bandaged up rather than have surgery?

    Indeed Lambert, there is absolutely nothing to be said about such a contentless report. Its juxtaposition with the Lovely Book (yes, I want one too) suggests loss of innocence and the vulnerability of childhood but with absolutely no context it’s hard to know.

    Other than that, yes, a gun was involved.

  21. Hana M

    Two excellent and horrifying articles on water contamination. Thanks, Lambert. This struck me on the Pennsylvania situation:

    “The military has taken responsibility for contamination in Horsham, Warrington, and Warminster, where it has been working to address the problem. Those sites are among nearly 400 military bases being tested for contamination — an effort that will take years and will cost millions.”

    Why? *Why*? Why should it take YEARS? We have these things called airplanes and cars. We can hire more people. Is not the Pentagon budget endlessly elastic, fungible and audit-proof? On the cost side we all know about the cost overrun games and the gazillion dollar toilet seats….

  22. marku52

    “goes about its business of representing the people:”

    By suppressing the first amendment.

    Thanks a lot guys.

  23. TroyMcClure

    The scifi artwork by Stalenhag has enchanted me for a few years. Over Xmas I finally had a break from composing for reality tv to do some editing and as luck would have it, The Electric State by Stalenhag was my muse.

    For those interested the music and images are here: https://youtu.be/QYO6CjGTQ9M

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Must Writers Be Moral? Their Contracts”

    Can’t see the original article myself but I can guess the contents. I’m thinking about some of the authors I like and the personal history that they had and I can see how this plays out as I am seeing the same in sports contracts. Worse yet if there is a trend overall to make this retroactive. When you think about it, if you do not give contracts to authors who may be unstable, who are drunks, who use hard drugs, who are adulterers, who sire children wherever they go, who mouth off about things that they believe in to the general public, who suffer mental problems….Hmmm. When I think about it, what authors are left would tend to be a very boring bunch whose works I would probably not want to read.

    1. polecat

      Imagine Phillip K. Dick having to straighten up and fly right .. via signing one of these ‘moral publishing contracts’. He would’ve probably never gotten published, considering his , uh, unique ‘lifestyle’ …
      And we all would’ve been poorer for it !

    2. ambrit

      This is exactly how authoritarian regimes work. Frame the ruling elite’s agenda as a moral imperative. However, from the ruling elite’s point of view, boring is predictable and thus manageable. Over time, the very predictability of the “art” produced will influence the culture into similar paths. I will point out that most people want security and predictability in their lives. It’s a natural desire, a comfortable life. So, it is no wonder that people of unpredictable propensities, non-standard ways of looking at and living life would gain popularity, simply as surrogates for the ‘average’ readers desire to live ‘exciting’ lives themselves. The reader gets the thrills, second hand, without having to risk losing the security they think they have. Getting rid of the ‘renegades’ in the arts closes off a societal safety valve. Bad policy all around.

      1. Carey

        Thanks for this comment. We are in a new Dark Age, IMO, with some realizing it and some not. The enforced stupefaction is the “tell”.

  25. Rajesh K

    I’ve mentioned this last time about Apple i.e. the Chinese have so many possibly better alternatives.

    Also, even Google now understands this point: “Western stuff does not always translate well in Asia.” Dual sim is one example but another thing that Google pointed out when I attended one of their product sessions in San Francisco is that Asians like one super app that controls everything while Westerners like separate apps for different things.

    Yeah the tech crowd is supposedly liberal but it seems that even they don’t get the fact that “not everyone wants to live EXACTLY like Americans.” So much for A/B testing, etc.

    1. RMO

      I’ve found that the “tech crowd” can’t even understand the fact that not every American wants to live exactly the way they do.

      A small example: I still remember what I went through with my mum’s Mac when she wanted to stop Mail from putting attachments in the body of her sent emails (which can be rather annoying for the recipients when the attachment is a long .pdf document for example). The vast majority of what I found online was people saying that anyone who wanted to do things differently must be an idiot. The notion that anyone could have a different preference or set of requirements seemed to baffle and enrage them.

      Oh yeah, I found there was a 3rd party add-on for Mail (Attachment Tamer) that gave you control over this… but it didn’t work on the newer version that she owned. Eventually I found another 3rd party piece of code someone had written that toggled inline attachments off.

        1. Late Introvert

          I strongly suggest everyone use a mail client other than the bundled Apple Mail. Thunderbird works well, and lets you view HTML, PDF or inline images if you want. Or in my case no, thanks. You can also view simple HTML which strips all the trackers, or text only, god forbid.

          There are other advantages: moving your mail off of the cloud to store locally, extensions for encryption, etc. And it’s open source, part of Mozilla and Firefox.

  26. dcblogger

    Another Black Man Has Died in the Home of Democratic Donor Ed Buck
    Community activists like Jasmyne Cannick have accused Los Angeles officials of declining to prosecute Buck in 2017 thanks to his contributions to powerful politicians such as Hillary Clinton, California Gov. Jerry Brown, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, and numerous West Hollywood City Council members. Cannick is organizing a vigil and rally for tonight in front of Buck’s home, at 1234 Laurel Ave.

  27. Lee

    Remember, our ancestors survived thousands of years of Ice Ages.

    By dint of cultural evolution we have rendered the great majority of our species incapable of surviving what our ancestors did. Hardly any of us have the formidable array of knowledge and skills it would take to live more directly off the land. As for the kind of group solidarity and social cohesion that existed within human groupings at that time, I think the level of alienation that exists in modern societies is such that many would resort to cannibalism before they engaged in cooperation. No doubt some few would make it.

    1. bob

      The way they found this out is very, very basic- a packet sniffer.

      Where have all the open-source security checkers gone? Are they all now writing apps using the facebook SDK?

      This is horrible, and shows exactly how few people are even remotely interested in – 1) what the code is doing, and 2)who the code is contacting and sending data to.

      There are also indications that apple and iphones do the exact same thing.

      1. Carey

        I’m not a tech person, but it seems to me that there is an alignment now between what the
        tech corps, advertisers, and State™ want, to the great detriment of the citizenry.

        Wasn’t there once a name for that condition

  28. Elizabeth Burton

    In fact, the Dry Alabama campaign, not previously reported, was the stealth creation of progressive Democrats…

    Call me paranoid, but claiming this was done by “progressive Democrats” strikes me as sowing the seed of later tying the progressive movement to Russia. It’s already being done on a small scale by telling the indoctrinated that the Russian campaign to steal the election for Trump focused on “issues intended to divide us” like, you know, growing poverty, racism, homelessness, unaffordable health care, police brutality—all those silly things nobody should be worrying their little heads about.

    Given how David Sirota, who like Thomas Frank and Aaron Maté is persona non grata in corporate media circles, was slammed for daring to publish the facts about Beto O’Rourke, it doesn’t seem a big stretch to me that, come the primaries, any criticism of the anointed will be immediately attributed to Russian influence, which will negate both the criticism and the progressive movement with one shot. And “they did it in Alabama” is an excellent starting point.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is there a way to brand people like the Dry Alabama campaigners as Clintonites, Brockazoids and so forth? If that can be successfully done, then it won’t be so easy to brand them as “progressives”.

    2. ambrit

      The lineaments of the disinformation campaign are now clear. Time for some creative counter agitprop. Say, establish a ‘fake’ account, link it to RussiaRussiaRussia and have it ‘support’ mainstream Democrat aparatchiks. Then cry out in the crowded *theatre; “Russian Stooges!”
      *Theatre = political agora

      1. polecat

        It’ time to Release the Cicadas ! Komrad ambrit

        …. however, Crickets will do in pinch if the Cicadas are ‘sleeping’ ..

        1. ambrit

          Da tovarisch! The Cicadas are the perfect ‘sleeper agents.’
          The Crickets remind me of the capitalist fable, “One Froggy Evening.” In it, downtrodden capitalist working class finds singing, dancing frog. Thinking to exploit the fellow downtrodden being, proto-capitalist exhibits frog in various ways. In true example of socialist justice, frog stops performing just as it is exposed to audience. Absence of action is demonstrated with sound of crickets chirping, obvious reference to pre-industrial agricultural people’s calm and solidarity. Frog is showing solution to downtrodden workers existential angst! Animation department at Warner Brothers, though the parent company was infamous as capitalist stooge, displayed admirable initiative and subtlety in promoting socialist values.
          Am still trying to contact Comrade Fresno Dan through Red Bunny Slippers. So far, no response.
          That is all, folks.

    3. Carey

      I think you are likely right. The few can play a longer game, in the short term; we have numbers, sentiment, goodwill, and the gentle force of Nature, on the side of the many.


  29. Duck1

    Admire an insect before it is gone:


    Updated 2 hours ago

    Biologists puzzled as monarch butterfly population plummets in California
    In some places, the western monarch butterfly population has dropped 86% compared to a year ago.
    CAMARILLO, Calif. – The number of monarch butterflies turning up at California’s overwintering sites has dropped by about 86 percent compared to only a year ago, according to the Xerces Society, which organizes a yearly count of the iconic creatures.

    That’s bad news for a species whose numbers have already declined an estimated 97 percent since the 1980s.

    Each year, monarchs in the western United States migrate from inland areas to California’s coastline to spend the winter, usually between September and February.

    “It’s been the worst year we’ve ever seen,” said Emma Pelton, a conservation biologist with the Xerces Society who helps lead the annual Thanksgiving count. “We already know we’re dealing with a really small population, and now we have a really bad year and all of a sudden, we’re kind of in crisis mode where we have very, very few butterflies left.

  30. VietnamVet

    WP reported that Democrats in Alabama copied Russian 2016 meddling in the Senate election. This is so contrary to reality. Democracy is impossible when there are no facts and the sole goal of politicians is to get rich. Brexit, the Government Shutdown and our President who “relates” to federal workers going without pay; all indicate that that the Reagan counter revolution has killed the western nation state. Voting against incumbents is a way for the people to regain sovereignty or a general strike. The alternative is chaos. This is where America, UK and France are headed. The problem is oligarchs who promote disruption to get rich. They need to be jailed. Stirring the ethnic cauldron to promote war is murder.

  31. JBird4049

    These clauses release a company from the obligation to publish a book if, in the words of Penguin Random House, ‘past or future conduct of the author inconsistent with the author’s reputation at the time this agreement is executed comes to light and results in sustained, widespread public condemnation of the author that materially diminishes the sales potential of the work.’” • And I would bet that “sustained, widespread public condemnation” includes a moral panic on twitter along with the ensuing dogpile. Welcome to the Vampire’s Castle!


    “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”

    One can wonder if HUAC and the Blacklist and then compare them to what too many people seem to want to do. Those blacklisted came from a lot of different backgrounds but committed the “crime” of either being a socialist or a communist. Sometimes decades early and sometimes not even that. Just being friends of theirs could be suspect. What was legal, even acceptable, became a crime later on.

    1. Carey

      “past or future conduct…” all rightey, then! Good to see the corporat[ist] publishers
      making their allegiances clear, to my mind. One will know what to think, therefore,
      about any safe-as-milk stuff they *do* see fit to print…

      “fully approved by your benevolent thought-police, for publication by your corporate masters…”

      so cool

      1. JBird4049

        What the safe-as-milk stuff will change as well. What was safe then, will be unsafe later, without warning, explanation, or trial, just doom.

  32. Aaron

    “The Jackpot”

    My only personal exposure so far to how other people think about social/economic collapse is within my family. Those individuals have a siege mentality which banks on creating isolated compounds and relying on some kind of self-sufficient family collective, lots of guns, and a somehow inexhaustible supply of ammunition. I guess they plan to raid other compounds for mates to avoid inbreeding or don’t expect to last beyond the first mercenary army that comes by in this fantasist apocalypse scenario.

    I’m personally on board with developing or strengthening institutions that are cooperative and embrace civic involvement and the localization of basic needs right now while never forgetting that we are now and always will be part of a greater community (not necessarily brotherly nor adversarial). In other words, I’d rather focus on de-industrializing basic needs or at least laying the framework for that and making sure that local government and county/city codes, ordinances, and zoning democratically serve everyone’s needs for food, housing, occupation, human health, and environmental health. All of those things would be nice. For every one achieved, that’s that much less conflict when people have to work against unjust laws and social paradigms to meet their formerly, conditionally purchased fundamental needs. Successfully addressing structural challenges to resilience now would also save some unfortunate mistakes later by building confidence in communal institutions and taking the wind out of the inevitable libertarian opportunist’s or coward’s knee-jerk reaction to every bump in the road.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      I.e. Mormons. They already stockpile canned food, blankets, and other critical supplies. They are terrifically organized, have some familiarity with guns, and share an intense self-help ethos.

      Come the apocalypse the LDS are going to leave everyone else in the dust. Especially the survivalist gun-humpers who think they’re going to go hog wild stealing others’ food and women. They are a bunch of dumbasses that have spent too much time in front of screens, dreaming of an exciting life.

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