2:00PM Water Cooler 2/13/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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


Holder: “Former Attorney General Eric Holder Close To 2020 Decision As He Heads To Iowa” [NPR]. “Holder, who served for six years under former President Barack Obama, will make a decision on a White House run in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the speech he plans to give at Drake University Law School in Des Moines certainly sounds like the building blocks of a possible campaign with a heavy condemnation of President Trump. “‘Together, we must call out — and throw out — public officials who seek power by bringing out the worst in us. Now in that effort we must seek civility — but not at the expense of truth telling or the protection of treasured principles,’ Holder will say.” • I think I threw up a little in my mouth. Foreclosure victims should picket the guy.

Harris (1): “Sens. Lee and Harris Introduce Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act” [Mike Lee]. “Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act Wednesday, a bill that would remove per-country caps for employment-based green cards… The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act also increases the per-country caps for family-sponsored green cards from 7 percent to 15 percent… The bill has also been endorsed by Immigration Voice, Compete America Coalition, the Information Technology Industry Council, Google, Microsoft, The Heritage Foundation, La Raza, and many others.” • Anybody who thinks there’s no connection between immigration and labor arbitrage should talk to some U.S. tech workers about H1B.

Harris (2): “Kamala Harris supported 2008 San Francisco policy that reported arrested undocumented juveniles to ICE” [CNN]. “As district attorney of San Francisco, Kamala Harris supported a city policy that required law enforcement to turn over undocumented juvenile immigrants to federal immigration authorities if they were arrested and suspected of committing a felony, regardless of whether they were actually convicted of a crime…. In a statement to CNN, Harris campaign spokesman Ian Sams said that the ‘policy was intended to protect the sanctuary status of San Francisco and to ensure local police, who needed to have strong relationships with the communities they serve regardless of immigration status, were not forced to operate as immigration agents, which is the responsibility of the federal government. Looking back, this policy could have been applied more fairly.'” • I think that “Looking back, this policy could have been applied more fairly” is a keeper…

Harris (3):

Harris (4), more pointedly:

I’m not sure I could remember everything I did in college, and then there’s the familiar effect of time dilation. But I’m highlighting this because (as we saw yesterday) “It’s all about the Benjamins baby ?” is also a hip-hip reference. So perhaps 2020 will be our first hip-hop election? So, musical interlude:

Holy moley, the rhythm guitar!

“Michael Bloomberg’s $500 million anti-Trump moonshot” [Politico]. “Billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is preparing to spend at least $500 million from his own pocket to deny President Donald Trump a second term, according to Democratic operatives briefed on his plans.” • Grifters gotta grift. I wish squillionaires would stop meddling with our elections, though.

New Cold War

“Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia” [NBC News]. “WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.” • Of course, we don’t know what the Mueller report will say.

Maddow reacts to the pending loss of her meal ticket:

Subtweeting NBC with a Mother Jones link? That’s weak.


“Democratic leaders not looking to punish Ilhan Omar after her apology for anti-Semitic remarks” [Roll Call]. “”I don’t think she’s anti-Semitic,’ [Steny Hoyer said]. ‘She did apologize. The key will be that when we make a mistake like that, conscious or unconscious, that we don’t repeat it. That will be the proof of the pudding.’ Asked if Democratic leaders would consider stripping Omar of her committee assignments like Republican leaders did when Rep. Steve King made remarks questioning when white supremacy became offensive, Hoyer said, ‘Of course not.'” • Well, that’s what Hoyer says now.

Given that, as Hoyer makes clear, committee assignments are at stake, what follows understandable. But:

There have been two instances I can think of recently where liberal Democrats really played smash-mouth politics. One was at the DNC, when Obama stood up Perez, defenestrated Ellison*, and Perez and company then purged all Sanders supporters from the Rules and Bylaws Commmittee, where any complaints about 2020 election rigging would end up. And the second is when both Democrats and Republicans co-operated to beat down Ilhan Omar for her Kinsley gaffe** on AIPAC, forced her to grovel, and then forced her to make a hostage-style apology video. Both incidents were all and only about the institutional power of liberal Democrats. Note that liberal Democrats do not play smash-mouth politics on, say, #MedicareForAll. At least not for it. All in all, a wonderfully clarifying episode. NOTE * Ellison, like Omar, is Muslim. So much for 2020 Michigan turnout. ** Kinsley Gaffe: “The term comes from journalist Michael Kinsley, who said, ‘A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.'” One quiet proof of liberal Democrat dominance of the commanding heights of the media is that none of the political junkies saw fit to throw Omar’s (true) statement into this very well-known conceptual bucket; normally, this is the kind of insider jargon reveal that pundits love.

UPDATE Then again:

Hard to think of anybody giving more insight into the very telling details of how America is governed than AOC.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democrats willing to pay for 55 miles of new barrier. Trump ‘not happy.'” [McClatchy]. “Despite promising there would be no new wall, the Democrats have agreed to pay for 55 miles of new construction along the southern border, according to Republican negotiators…. The Democrats are pushing back on the Republicans’ descriptions, arguing that it’s not a ‘wall’ that will be constructed but physical barriers. They also argue that it’s not new wall since the new construction is restricted to existing designs of fencing.” • After all the hysteria…

“A Speech on Socialism at Andover” [Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs]. “I’m beginning here, with a basic example of an unjustified inequality, because I think it’s important to see what I might call “the socialistic instinct” starts. Jack London, of Call of the Wild fame, was a socialist, and he explains in his essay “How I Became A Socialist” that it was not because he had read Karl Marx and accepted the dialectical materialist conception of history. It was because he went out into the world, and he realized that not everyone was like himself, and that the things he told himself about why some people deserved more than others simply broke down once he actually got to know people. He says that when he was young, at first.” • London, in other words, did #fieldwork..

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, January 2019: “The consumer price report has been easy for forecasters to predict: consistently flat. Overall prices, for a third straight month, were unchanged” [Econoday]. “The U.S. economy is strong and demand in the labor market appears to be well exceeding available capacity yet prices at the consumer level, now held down by low oil prices, remain very tame in what is the theme of this economic expansion and is giving the Federal Reserve the luxury to step back from further rate hikes.” And: “Using these measures, inflation was lower in January than in December on a year-over-year basis. Overall, these measures are at or above the Fed’s 2% target (Core PCE is below 2%)” [Calculated Risk].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, February 2019: “Soft inflation data are the day’s theme, led by no change for the consumer price index earlier this morning and now followed by a … in year-ahead inflation expectations at the business level” [Econoday]. “Whether at the business or the consumer level, inflation pressures are incremental at most having been pulled down by weakness in energy prices.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of February 8, 2018: “The purchase index fell for a fourth straight week and down steeply” [Econoday]. ” But citing strength in the labor market, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association expects purchase activity to pick up in the coming months.”

Commodities: “Saudi tanker company: Venezuelan cargo within sanctions exemption period” [Tanker Shipping & Trade]. “Saudi Arabia’s national tanker shipping company Bahri has hit back at an unnamed media outlet that apparently questioned one of its vessel’s activity. ‘Venezuela is a frequent loading destination for Bahri’s oil tankers, delivering cargoes ‎to ports in India and China,’ Bahri’s statement read. ‘Hence, the recent voyage to the Port of Jose is not an‎ exceptional or peculiar one, as lately stated by a media outlet.’ Bahri offered clarification on the voyage of its Abqaiq VLCC, saying the vessel is in ballast condition with no cargo on board, on a voyage from the Red Sea to load cargo at the Port of Jose Terminal in Venezuela. AIS information recorded by Genscape’s VesselTracker software confirms the vessel is at an anchorage off the Venezuelan coast near Puerto La Cruz.” • Hmm.

Marketing: “Sunday Strategist: Yes, Podcast Ads Are Working for MeUndies” [Bloomberg]. “You’re probably familiar with the format—the podcast host takes a quick break to pitch a product with a wink of self-awareness balanced alongside a believable anecdote. The listener is led to assume that Conan O’Brien organizes his own email campaigns and everyone is in constant need of a mattress-in-a-box. It’s advertising theater in a very awkward, off-off Broadway kind of way, but it also kind of works. The price of admission is paid; everyone’s happy. ‘For us, it resembled the same characteristics as a friend referral,’ MeUndies founder and CEO Jonathan Shokrian says.” • Everybody’s gotta eat, I guess…

Retail (JB):

More like this please.

Retail: “Amazon Recorded Video Of A Seller’s Face For Identification Purposes” [Buzzfeed]. “An Amazon seller based in Vietnam told BuzzFeed News that he was prompted to take a five-second video of his face using his computer’s webcam in January as he signed up for a seller profile. Amazon seller consultants told BuzzFeed News they believe the company may be testing video to verify seller identities to prevent the creation of multiple seller profiles, a major issue for Amazon and its ongoing battle with fake sellers and counterfeit goods…. The company, however, refused to explain its collection of sellers’ faces. ‘Amazon is always innovating to improve the seller experience,’ a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.” • What could go wrong?

Retail: “Hotel booking sites were misleading users. They’ve agreed to change” [CNN]. “Major travel websites including Trivago (TRVG), Expedia (EXPE), Agoda and Booking.com have agreed to change the way they do business after a UK investigation found some of them were deceiving users about hotel room prices and search results…. The regulator said that some buyers were warned that other users were looking at the same hotel, giving them a “false impression” of a room’s popularity. In other cases, the full cost of the room was not displayed.” • I always assumed all that stuff was just lies and puffery, but yes, it does show that whenever you have a digital intermediary, trust is an issue. It’s not just electronic voting machines. It’s everything!

Supply Chain: “The Post-Brexit Food Chain: ‘This Is Really, Really Scary'” [New York Times]. From January 30, still germne. “Retailers typically store no more than two weeks’ inventory.” • [gulp].

The Bezzle: “To almost no one’s surprise, Mars One is done [Updated]” [Ars Technica]. “This project, founded in 2013, said it would raise funds from fees and marketing rights in order to send humans on a one-way mission to settle the Red Planet. Now, thanks to a user on Reddit, we know that the effort has come to an apparent end. Mars One consists of two entities: the Dutch not-for-profit Mars One Foundation and the publicly traded, Swiss-based Mars One Ventures. A civil court based in Basel, Switzerland, opened bankruptcy proceedings on the latter company in mid-January. Efforts on Monday to contact officials with Mars One were not successful.” • What a shame. Perhaps Elon will be able to create a tin-can dystopia on the Red Planet all on his own.

Transportation: “Self-driving cars could actually make congestion much worse” [Business Insider]. “[A]utonomous vehicles have three choices when it comes to what to do between rides: park, go home, or circle aimlessly to kill time. ‘In practice, the decisions by AVs regarding parking location and where to park or cruise are likely to be economically driven,’ the paper says. And the cheapest option is likely to be cruising for more than 40% of trips, [said Adam Millard-Ball, University of California, Santa Cruz environmental studies professor].’

Concentration: “How to Stop Facebook’s Dangerous App Integration Ploy” [Sally Hubbard, New York Times]. From February 5, still germane. “In response to calls that Facebook be forced to divest itself of WhatsApp and Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg has instead made a strategic power grab: He intends to put Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger onto a unified technical infrastructure…. The integration Mr. Zuckerberg plans would immunize Facebook’s monopoly power from attack. It would make breaking Instagram and WhatsApp off as independent and viable competitors much harder, and thus demands speedy action by the government before it’s too late to take the pieces apart.” • Hubbard suggests the existing FTC consent degree as a workaround for the fact that technical time is faster than regulatory time. But honestly, why aren’t we treating Facebook as the criminal enterprise it is? Facebook is not, as it were, compliant-capable.

Honey for the Bears: “A record 7 million Americans are 3 months behind on their car payments, a red flag for the economy” [WaPo] (original). “A record 7 million Americans are 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Tuesday, even more than during the wake of the financial crisis….. A car loan is typically the first payment people make because a vehicle is critical to getting to work, and someone can live in a car if all else fails. When car loan delinquencies rise, it is usually a sign of significant duress among low-income and working-class Americans.” • Let them ride scooters! And maybe our wonderful labor market isn’t all that wonderful?

The Biosphere

“How the Left Embraced Elitism” [David Brooks, New York Times]. “the Green New Deal, which is becoming the litmus test of progressive seriousness. I don’t know if it is socialism or not socialism — that’s a semantic game — but it would definitely represent the greatest centralization of power in the hands of the Washington elite in our history… The authors liken their plan to the New Deal, but the real parallel is to World War II. It is the state mobilizing as many of society’s resources as possible to wage a war on global warming and other ills…. In an alienated America, efforts to decentralize power are more effective and realistic than efforts to concentrate it in the Washington elite. ” • Remarkably, or not, Brooks provides no solution to climate change using his decentralized approach. To be fair, a hellscape of bunkers for the rich, serviced by mercenaries and robots — the default setting, if present trends continue — would be highly decentralized. But that’s not what Brooks has in mind. Or is it?

“Not all energy storage is clean – it might even increase emissions” [Environmental Defense Fund]. “Not all energy storage is clean. In fact, a growing body of research [PDF] suggests the battery boom could actually increase greenhouse emissions if not done carefully – undermining the very promise of this new technology.” • But “Market incentives can fix the problem.” Well, maybe.

The 420

“Harvard scientists found a link between smoking weed and higher sperm count” [Quartz]. “The finding, published in the journal Human Reproduction on Feb. 5, contradicts all conventional knowledge on how weed affects sperm. Analysis of 1,143 semen samples from 662 men collected between 2000 and 2017 at the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that those who had smoked weed at some point in their life had a mean sperm concentration of 62.7 million sperm per milliliter (mL) of ejaculate, while men who’d avoided marijuana entirely had mean concentrations of 45.4 million/mL.” • Charles Darwin is trying to tell us something….

“Publishers weigh in on Apple’s terms in new subscription service: ‘a shitty deal'” [AdAge]. “Apple’s upcoming Spotify-style magazine subscription service, an offering with all-you-can eat access to dozens of publishers, will only pay the media partners 50 percent of the revenue, according to two senior publishing executives from different companies with knowledge of the deal. Apple plans to take half of the proceeds from $10 monthly subscriptions to the magazine service, leaving publishers to split the rest based on how many people read their stories.” • I’m sure that 19th Century farmers and railroads would both understand the nature of this deal (and it’s almost like the relations of production contradict the forces of prodution, isn’t it? I mean, how is it that the computer revolution is ending up gutting publishers and turing creators into digital sharecroppers? That certainly wasn’t the deal back when NCSA Mosaic was the browser of choice!


Maybe I should have filed this under Guillotine Watch:

Class Warfare

“Degeneration and Regeneration in Worker Cooperatives” [Grass Roots Economic Organizing] (parts two and three). “Since the 1990s, the Mondragon cooperatives have significantly degenerated away from their founding worker-ownership model in at least one key respect. In the 1990s, to compete with multinational corporations, the Mondragon cooperatives adopted a strategy of ‘internationalization’ and started acquiring subsidiary businesses both in Spain and around the world. This could have been an opportunity to spread the Mondragon model of worker-ownership globally, but critically, the Mondragon cooperatives decided not to convert their new subsidiaries into sister cooperatives, but rather, they continued to administer their subsidiaries as capitalist businesses. The employees of the subsidiaries in essence became employees of the Mondragon cooperatives, rather than worker-owners in their own right. By 2007, this degeneration had progressed so far that only 29.5% of the Mondragon cooperatives’ total workforce remained members-owners. (Storey et al. 2014, cited in Bretos & Errasti 2016, 2). • Yikes! Very important!

News of the Wired

“How seeing snakes in the grass helped primates to evolve” [Aeon]. “[W]hat separates primates from other mammals most is their much greater reliance on vision as the main sensory interface with the environment. …. What were those selective pressures for primates, our lineage, that led to their having visual systems more expansive and more complex than those of other mammals? In 2006, I published a new idea that could answer that question and more: the ‘snake detection theory’. I hypothesised that when large-gaped constricting snakes appeared about 100 million years ago and began eating mammals, their predatory behaviour favoured the evolution of changes in the vision of one kind of prey, the lineage that was to become primates. In other words, the ability to see immobile predatory snakes before getting too close became a highly beneficial trait for them to have and pass on to their descendants…. Since I proposed the snake detection theory, several studies have shown that nonhuman and human primates, including young children and snake-naive infants, have a visual bias toward snakes compared with other animate objects, such as lizards, spiders, worms, birds and flowers. Psychologists have discovered that we pick out images of snakes faster or more accurately than other objects, ” • Pattern recognition!

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“Words of the day: ‘February Fair-Maids’ – regional folk-name for snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis); also ‘Eve’s Tear’, ‘dewdrops’, ‘Mary’s Tapers.'”

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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. Carl

    “Snakes in the grass” seems to be the proper name of the corporate wing of the Democrat party these days.

      1. jsn

        It’s a testament to the degeneration of our species that so few can see it!

        Any self respecting gorilla would know to run away.

        1. RMO

          I’ve known many snakes in my day. Garter to rattlesnake. I am appalled that you would speak of them as if they were equivalent to the corporate Democrats. If all the snakes in the world disappeared tomorrow it would be an ecological catastrophe. If all the corporate Democrats disappeared tomorrow it would be the dawning of a bright new world.

      1. jo6pac

        WOW and I agree she does keep the war criminal in check. He is just another privilege old white guy trying to intimidate one your really smart Congress person. Two thumbs Up.

        1. Darius

          I imagine Abrams has never experienced such a forceful yet disciplined takedown in a public forum. She’s dangerous! I’m shaking. Nice recovery from the AIPAC punishment. Not missing a beat. What a welcome surprise.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Yes! Great performance. Try watching it with the sound off – there were subtitles. Their faces are a study.

              I was especially thrilled to see her insist that the accusation of anti-Semitism, in this case, is itself anti-semitic – because it paints all Jews with the same brush, AND implies that all are responsible for Israel’s crimes. I’ve been saying it for years, and it’s good to see it confirmed. A little stronger coming from someone who is Jewish. I think the concept shocked them.

      2. Martin Finnucane

        Cripple her to keep her from doing things like running down a notorious war criminal and perjurer. Astounding.

      3. Matt

        That is not controlling a witness. That was asking a bunch of bad questions for no good reason while talking over her witness. She looks like an inexperienced kid who is not ready to wield the enormous power at her disposal. And was she smiling during her questioning?

        She didn’t ask or say anything that wasn’t in Abrams Wikipedia page. If she wanted to ask substantive questions and engage Abrams on his deplorable, ends justify the means philosophy on foreign policy, that would be positive, but she essentially asked him, “when did you stop beating your wife?” Completely inappropriate, a waste of time, and a wasted opportunity.

        Sorry for the harsh tone, but I am frustrated at the laudations piled on these freshman for what are, at absolute best, pedestrian accomplishments or, at worst, acts of legislative malpractice. They need to do better, and we should be holding them to a higher standard of behavior.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > That is not controlling a witness. That was asking a bunch of bad questions for no good reason while talking over her witness. She looks like an inexperienced kid who is not ready to wield the enormous power at her disposal. And was she smiling during her questioning?

          If this were an Olympic ice-skating contest, I don’t know if I’d give Omar 6.0s across the board, and I might deduct a few points for artistic impression, as you suggest. Personally, I thought “thank you for your participation” was great.

          Fortunately, that’s not the context. I suggest you consider the power relations: We’re looking at a confrontation between a first-year Representative who just had the entire political establishment come down on her for a Kinsley Gaffe vs. a pillar of the national security state who happens to be — by which I mean necessarily is *** cough *** Gina Haspel ***cough*** — a war criminal. She successfully called him to account, and that’s what matters; I don’t care if she used text from Wikipedia or The Child’s Book of Slaughtering Faraway Brown People (First Grade Edition) to do it.

          If that’s “pedestrian,” then so be it, because the two party establishments seem to be riding in limos.

          As for her smiling, take your pick: Nailing, at long last, a war criminal (which would certainly make me smile) or nervousness (first time on the national stage). Or perhaps, shark-like, that’s her attack pattern. Who can tell? Why does it matter?

        2. Yves Smith

          This is the best you can do? Seriously?

          First, you are clearly no judge of what interrogation looks like. How many depositions, cross examinations, government hearings have you seen or alternatively, read? Your grading scale appears to be based on Tom Hanks in “A Few Good Men,” not reality. Even Elizabeth Warren has witnesses sometimes run out the clock on her or get slippery and evasive. Omar didn’t let Abrams bully her or take control of the conversation. She put him in his place while not losing her cool.

          And as to her effectiveness, the barrage of press coverage proved she landed quite a punch, as also attested to by the fact that someone new to this site felt compelled to show up here and try to defend a war criminal:

          Venezuela special envoy, Rep. Omar have contentious exchange over human rights CNN

          Omar, Trump envoy Elliott Abrams clash in fiery exchange The Hill

          Watch Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Tense Exchange with Elliott Abrams Over U.S.-Supported War Crimes in Latin America Slate

          Confronted by Rep. Ilhan Omar On El Salvador, Elliott Abrams Melts Down Shadowproof

          “Why Should we believe anything You Say?” How Ilhan Omar Nailed Elliot Abrams for Iran-Contra Lies Juan Cole

          Ilhan Omar Smacks Down Elliott Abrams In Front Of Everybody Caitlin Johnstone

          Abrams clearly lost it. Screaming in a Congressional hearing, and merely because his history was recounted? That’s loserdom, particularly from someone who has been around the block a few times.

          Two, your “Wikipedia page” comment is silly. If this was such a nothingburger, why did Abrams depict it as an attack? The fact that he pleaded guilty to two counts of lying to Congress is pertinent. As Juan Cole pointed out:

          When George W. Bush brought Abrams back into government I was shocked. I asked a congressman I knew how Congress had ever allowed such a thing, since everyone on the Hill in the late ’80s had sworn they’d never allow Abrams to hold high office ever again. The congressman said ruefully that there had been so much turnover that many on the Hill by 2004 didn’t any longer know who Abrams was or that he had pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. We are governed in a fit of absent-mindedness.

          So if people in DC had literally forgotten Abrams’ 1980s history as of 2004, you can imagine how much memories have faded as of now (even charitably assuming you are dealing with people who were adults back then).

          Third, Abrams had engaged in the political equivalent of beating his wife, so what’s wrong with asking if he’s still doing it?

          Better trolls, please.

      4. Lynne

        Agreed. I’m more impressed than ever that she got elected in the first place. It was disheartening to see the blatant disrespect on the part of Abrams, but very inspiring to see how she handled it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What was the story behind it?

        Did Pelosi fail to get her off?

        Was this Pelosi’s intention all along?

    1. shinola

      Thanks for the link bob.

      Excellent take down of a truly execrable human being (or reasonable facsimile of a human).

      I wish I could vote for Ms. Omar or someone like her.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Same Here.

        She mispronounced a few words but overall im jumping for joy to finally hear some sane foreign policy from our congress critters.

        1. Solar Hero

          English may not be her first language. If you’re uncomfortable hearing mispronounced English you need to get out of your bubble!

          1. makedoanmend

            I don’t think it’s inappropriate for the electorate to expect a Congressional Rep’s English to be top notch when they are elected to an English speaking assembly. If they were elected to a duel language assembly, we would expect the Reps to be efficient in both languages.

            I found her delivery a wee bit annoying but that annoyance was minimal in comparison to her larger message that highlighted the results and damage caused by Abram’s actions and policies.

            If I were a constituent of Omar, I would be highly insulted by the pure arrogance that Abrams showed to my elected Rep. He seemed like a jumped-up, self-important wee @@@@@.

            Overall, she did a damned good job and nothing she did or said would stop me from voting for her if I was in her constituency.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > I don’t think it’s inappropriate for the electorate to expect a Congressional Rep’s English to be top notch when they are elected to an English speaking assembly. I

              Well, perhaps you should fire the voters in her district and replace them with more demanding ones?

              1. makedoanmend

                As I said:

                “Overall, she did a damned good job and nothing she did or said would stop me from voting for her if I was in her constituency.”

                Seems at odds with your retort.

                But it’s all to the good. Shall not be rubbing the sensibilities the wrong way again. Over and out.

            2. philnc

              I’d much prefer that all Congress members be compelled to complete courses on the fundamentals of computer networking, so they don’t approach the subject with their current and past smugnerance. As for languages, I would think it quite useful for at least one member of the FRC to be fluent in Arabic and an East African language. Then one of them could actually listen to the Koshoggi recording and explain to Bolton (and the rest of us) just what was going on in the American journalists last seconds of life. If you’re going to f* up a part of the world you owe it to its inhabitants to at least learn their languages so you can go out and assess local witness testimony on your own. Or is the problem that most US legislators aren’t intelligent enough to be bi-lingual? Besides, Rep. Omar’s grammar and pronunciation, the clarity of her speech, is at least as good as Boris Johnson’s. On her style of cross-examination, after spending over a decade of my wayward youth as a trial lawyer, I think there’s a huge difference between questioning a witness before a jury and before a congressional committee. From where I sit both Reps Omar and Ocasio-Cortez seem to get that as well, even if critics in the credentialed class choose not to.

    2. Alex V

      She has a powerful personality and made Abrams delightfully uncomfortable.

      I did however notice she skipped a few words while speaking/reading. I’m assuming this is due to her not being a native English speaker. Praying that this is not used against her in some way…

      1. Yikes

        Maybe she took English Lessons from Trump?
        Not that Trump ever stopped throwing rocks inside his own glass house.

      1. Darius

        The Twitter comment is full of condescending mansplaining and whitesplaining. She has touched a nerve.

      1. ChrisPacific

        We should tee up ‘Girl I’m Gonna Miss You’ for use in the event that she is eliminated from the race.

        I actually quite liked Milli Vanilli (I am comfortable with having no street cred, so I can say that). I liked Public Enemy as well. In hindsight they were ahead of their time in some of their topics. They would probably argue it’s because I wasn’t paying attention.

    1. cocomaan

      I really love that Kamala Harris’s idiotic story about listening to certain artists is melting down. As someone whose litmus test for politicians is their stance on cannabis, her story and record are so incongruous that I’m personally insulted by her stupidity.

      Having smoked plenty of things in my time, you don’t forget what songs you were listening to in your college years. I have great memories of listening to Biggie’s album Ready to Die around my junior year, tracks like Everyday Struggle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbY_EystCuk

      One of my favorite lyrics: See who got smoked, what rumors was spread/Last I heard I was dead, with six to the head

      Incidentally, that song has a sample by Five Stairsteps, written by Curtis Mayfield, “Don’t Change Your Love” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzLfR2Cn56s

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        My first “high” song is “High Plains Drifter” by the Beastie Boys in 2003 back in the University of Dallas. I remember driving around Irving and Las Colinas and feeling like im in a music video.




        High high
        Plains plains
        Drifter drifter

        1. Solar Hero

          Not that you are implying it, but Paul’s Boutique came out in ’89, my sophomor year. Check Your Head great too

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Great lyric btw

        A particularly awesome lyric can be found in a song by Three-Six Mafia:

        “There aint no b*tch in my blood, N*****,im nothin but thug.”
        “Ill knock the Black off your a**, Ill knock the Black off a**”

        Ive never felt so personally invigorated as when i listened to rap.

        1. cocomaan

          See? You can’t mess up the years when you actually are a human being with genuine feelings and emotions toward certain pieces of music. Not a weirdo political machine like Harris.

      3. ChrisPacific

        One of my tricks for dating a song accurately (before search engines on mobile devices) was to remember where I was when I listened to it. I moved around a lot, so I could usually get it accurate to within a year or two this way.

        My brain seems to store songs in context, so if I hear one for the first time in a long while it will bring back details and memories that I thought I had forgotten.

        1. cocomaan

          That’s why I think this little gaffe is important. Normal human beings remember the fun times they had. I’m not nearly as attached to music as my wife but she can remember tons of lyrics. Humans do have attachment to music and it’s nothing to just scoff at or say “Hey, just a mistake”.

          She’s either making up nonsense or she was prosecuting drug offenders as she smoked pot. And being all giggly about marijuana is so dumb when there’s so much on the line in the way of criminal justice, a subject she’s questionable on in the first place.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Not to be that guy, but Tupac and Snoop…well its not 1993 anymore…oh no the rap music…I can’t help but feel this was a line cooked up by former HRC alums who know nothing and can’t be bothered to do research. That mindless reference to “love.” Marijuana is in the news. She needs to have an answer.

            I would love to hear Kamala Harris’ thoughts on the triumvirate of HRC, Tipper Gore, and Joe Lieberman’s efforts to make sure we knew which music was explicit which is putting a positive spin on their efforts to silence black voices which is what it was.

            1. Wukchumni

              The timing is interesting, as Douglas Ginsburg got the heave-ho from being considered for the Supreme Court in 1987, as he admitted to having used marijuana a few times in the 60’s & 70’s.

              No word on whether Country Joe & The Fish were an influence though.

            2. Hamford

              From the same lab that brought the 2016 HRC hits:

              “Hot sauce in my bag”


              “CP Time” (conscientious politician time)

              1. RopeADope

                It is possible Harris is lying about her parents to give herself leftist cred.

                Students from India at Berkeley during those years were mostly Brahmin. They considered themselves the highest caste and were quite the India supremacist. Some of the lighter brown students like her father found it very important to consider themselves better than darker students in the late 50 and early 60s at Berkeley.

                Berkeley actually did not have the reputation at the time her parents were there Harris is trying to give to it. That left culture was over in San Francisco and much later in the town around Berkeley and not the Uni.

                If you grew up in a home of arrogant parents you might also become a prosecutor.

        1. Big Tap

          JohnnyGL: Well “you know it’s true” what they say about Kamala Harris.

          She jokes in the video that Jamaica is the place where people partake in inhaling substances? Isn’t this the stereotype of Jamaicans all smoking Ganga and doing little else. She thinks that is funny? Also her smoking pot is a joke too except for the people that she arrested for drug sales and possession. To paraphrase Art Linkletter “Kamala Harris laughs at the darndest things”.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            Lester Grinspoon addressed the Jamaican work ethic while blazed…found that it was nonsense.
            I find a half a splif in the early AM helps me be more productive…not demotivational, at all.
            perhaps the penchant for couch taterhood is independent of cannabis consumption.
            Just sayin’…

    2. shinola

      Speaking of Kamala, my local newspaper (KC Star) carried an op-ed this a.m. attributed to Clive Crook of Bloomberg containing this blurb:

      “[Bernie Sanders] and other actual presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have made hard-left policies their signature positions.”

      I can let the Liz Warren reference slide but Kamala Harris “hard-left”? WTF has this Crook person been smoking (& where can I get some)?

      I haven’t checked for the on-line version but the print article is titled “Trump is rooting for Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic Party”.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s probably a result of the fictional leftist California and Hollywood perception. Harris must be a communist because…the Oscars made jokes about Bush that one time. Heck, we pretend the Clintons are somewhat liberal.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        Hard left to conservatives is any political philosophy that gives any importance, in general, to society as whole or worse believes any of the non-rich population should be of any worth other than as serfs.

      3. Adam Eran

        This is part of the gaslighting that is a regular feature of U.S. politics. I got a query from a “liberal” lawyer environmentalist asking if I thought Kirsten Gillibrand was “too progressive.”

        Then there was that Kenyan socialist, Obama…a guy who governed to the right of Richard Nixon.

        Next: candidates even gentler than Atilla the Hun.

      1. Carey

        The world would be a much better place with more of the Bo Diddley beat.
        How did we get from there to dismally here in such little time?

  2. diptherio

    Mondragon’s long slide into using all the same methods as their capitalist competitors is something of an open secret in the co-op world. Mostly, people don’t mention it, so as not to kill the hype around worker co-ops generally by criticizing the biggest one on the planet, but a number of more radical people have spoken about it from time to time.

    As the author points out, however, there are dynamics within Mondragon pushing for a regeneration of worker-ownership and cooperative culture within the company.

    The Fagor Ederlan Group is an automotive supplier in the Mondragon Corporation comprised of eight factories located in the Basque country and six subsidiaries located in Spain, in Brazil, in Slovakia and in Kunshan, China. In 2003, the Mondragon Cooperative Congress approved a new strategy of ‘social expansion’ to try to reverse the trend toward degeneration in the Corporation as a whole, and shortly thereafter, the Fagor Ederlan Group began work on extending worker-ownership to its subsidiaries.

    To date, Fagor Ederlan has had its greatest success with its Tafalla subsidiary in the neighbouring region of Navarre, Spain. By 2014, 485 of Tafalla’s total workforce of 688 had become member-owners. (Bretos & Errasti 2016, 9) Fagor Ederlan also had some success with two other subsidiaries in Spain, to the extent that worker-ownership in the Fagor Ederlan Group as a whole has risen from 36% in 2007 to 65% in 2015.

    1. mle detroit

      “Degeneration” in some form or another would seem to be a predictable development in producer co-ops. I remember People Express Airlines in the 1980s which raised a lot of its start-up capital from its first employees so was almost a co-op. As the company aged (for all of six years), hirelings had to be found and those non-shareholder employees were known as “not People people.”

      Perhaps co-ops have something to learn from regenerative agriculture.

      And I’ve often wondered why today’s union organizers don’t turn their talents to training and enabling workers to hire their own damn managers.

    2. Grebo

      I wonder if Mondragon tries to recoup the purchase price of its subsidiaries before handing them over to the workers. How else might it work?

      1. Oregoncharles

        You make it into a loan – or bonds, the same thing. The the workers have ownership (equity); the only way they lose control is if they can’t pay the loan.

        I don’t know how the various enterprises are connected – that would seem to dilute worker control all by itself. Maybe they came up with a solution to that, but didn’t extend it beyond the original area.

    1. a different chris

      It’s comical when we are told there is something quintessentially “American” about Silicon Valley, isn’t it? OTOH, the parts of it that led to the SillyCon Valley nickname maybe are.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hopefully, they don’t ‘Americanize.’

        Is it true that newer foreigners are preferred in that valley over more stale foreigners?

        “They have become contamina…sorry, Americanized.”

    2. Knifecatcher

      As it happens I had a sales meeting at a tech firm in Sillycon Valley today. At one point I realized that out of 10 people in the room 8 of them – including my boss – were born on the Indian subcontinent. Only myself and the account exec – both from out of town – were US born.

        1. nycTerrierist

          Yes — not much detail re: reception, but noted.

          fun fact: my first teaching job ever was at the P. A. Summer Session (Andover) in the ’80s.
          some fantastic people taught there – incl Alfie Kohn, who was already
          a radical pedagogue, now well-known for his work advocating cooperation over competition —
          precursor to Robinson’s lecture.

            1. nycTerrierist

              Different dept – I was in Art! but I remember him vividly,
              was already teaching radical sharing. Very much against the grain
              of the over-achiever set.

              1. richard

                I know him best for the “punishing with praise” idea, and that has been very influential in my teaching, to (try to) warmly observe and notice rather than praise. The idea, as you probably already know, is to allow intrinsic desires for learning to develop, outside the neural punishment/reward pathways that are activated by praise from a teacher, tutor or parent. It’s been very difficult for me to do, but I am getting better:) Anyway, as this practice is now part of the literacy program we use at my school, you can say that here, best practice has caught up with Kohn!
                Of course for Kohn this would go hand-in-hand with no traditional “punishment” either. It’s been a while since I’ve read Kohn, but I’m guessing we’re farther away from his vision there. We do have a class meeting structure the staff’s all agreed to that should help, and we’re doing a lot of professional development around less “reactive” ways to run our classrooms, about watching for shame based language and dynamics, and using restorative justice with the older kids. I think we’re farther away in that regard. But things are shifting his way.

                1. nycTerrierist

                  Wonderful if best practice has caught up with Kohn!

                  It was clear he was a visionary, a breath of fresh air — seemed like common sense for teachers to nurture rather than to punish/shame. I remember being blown away when he said ‘cheating’ (on tests) is in fact ‘sharing’ but taboo as seen thru the ideology of competition. I never forgot that — what a creative thinker and a mensh.

                  I understand with disciplinary issues – disruptive students etc. – it is v. hard not to be ‘reactive. All staff must be on the same page there.

  3. Lee

    The Bezzle: “To almost no one’s surprise, Mars One is done [Updated]” [Ars Technica]. “This project, founded in 2013, said it would raise funds from fees and marketing rights in order to send humans on a one-way mission to settle the Red Planet

    “A one-way trip to Mars” sounds like it should be a punch line to a joke. Maybe it is and I just haven’t heard it yet.

    As for Amazon requiring sellers to provide images of their faces for verification purposes: is this a case of “I’ve shown you mine now you must show me yours”?

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I was desperate enough recently to try to book a room in London via air bnb when my hotel reservation fell through at the last minute. They wanted me to take a selfie in addition to a photo of my passport and send them both before they would accept the booking, at which point I ran away screaming. I luckily found a decent room through a booking site with none of the Orwellian hoops. Plus, I found out they have no customer service employees available. None. Why isn’t a simple CC# good enough? Creepy. I should have expected creepy from air bnb I guess, the whole thing is.

      1. Lee

        The internet was supposed to facilitate contact. What has happened instead is the obtrusion of unnecessary, money-sucking, automated intermediaries between parties attempting to make contact.

      2. Solar Hero

        Not forgetting Almighty Wu-Tang Clang: “Cash rules everything around me CREAM get the money dolla dolla bill yo.”

      3. whoamolly

        Re: They wanted me to take a selfie…

        Given all the selfies in the news lately, this could be the opening scene of a hilarious movie…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I fear mars will become a penal planet.

      Like Australia was a penal colony once. But Australians are proud that they or their ancestors overcame that.

      So, maybe it won’t turn out too bad.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I heard someone joke, when someone found they had convict ancestry, that they called out “Australian Royalty!” Before the Bicentennial celebrations in 1988 having convict ancestry was something to be ashamed of. In one State – Tasmania – convict records were going missing as some of the local elites found that they were descended from convict whores and horse-thieves and did not want others to find out. Since then, having convict ancestry has become something to be proud of and of keen interest. I have three in mine.

        1. Wukchumni

          Although not one convict was forcibly sent to NZ, it was considered part of Australia (NSW) for a couple years in the late 1830’s, and a friend there has some convict blood in his family ancestry, as his great-great-great-great grandmother stole a loaf of bread in the UK, and was sent to Aussie, and made her way to NZ.

          1. Big Tap

            Here is an article from the BBC last year (Turnbull was still PM) about some tension between Australia and New Zealand. It mentioned deportations of New Zealanders who lived since childhood in Australia being deported back to New Zealand for crimes some petty. I’m suspect of the BBC in general so is any of this true?


            1. The Rev Kev

              Wouldn’t be surprised. Our (conservative) government is really going hard on stuff like this. I just learned a few days ago that our Customs are cooperating with the Saudis with any women trying to flee that place to Australia. Our Customs will actually contact the women’s custodians to make sure that they are not on the run and have their permission to be in Australia. WTF, man?

    3. Joel Well

      “A one-way trip to Mars” sounds like it should be a punch line to a joke. Maybe it is and I just haven’t heard it yet.

      It’s not the punchline.

      Here’s the joke:

      What do you call Elon Musk and ten other billionaires on a one-way rocket to Mars?

      A good start.

  4. laughingsong

    Holder: “we must call out — and throw out — public officials who seek power by bringing out the worst in us”

    Um, lad .. .. it’s been my observation that the very ACT of seeking power itself is what brings out the worst.

    And I’m stickin’ to it . . .

    1. Joe Well

      Holder 2020! Because the more crowded the clown car, the smoother the road for Bernie. (I’m sure someone here can improve upon that slogan.)

    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe we should take a leaf out of ancient Athens and bring back a machine to randomly select people for government offices and juries again. It was called a Kleroterion back then-


      But don’t let Silicon Valley anywhere near it or you would have the equivalent of a Diebold voting machine.

  5. anon y'mouse

    Hey, i wanted to start a campaign to send homeless people to represent me and protest their plight in front of the whitehouse. I envisioned thousands of the nation’s homeless, sponsored by us working and semi working stiffs, to show up outside the gates and make their problem highly visible until the people inside take steps to do something to get them housed. Meanwhile, other groups of us could go with mobile soupkitchens, services etc if we are able. Sounds cruel? More cruel than letting these people languish, as “out of sight” as the law and nimbyism forces them to try to live now, all over this country?
    I think not.

    1. Tim

      I don’t see why the homeless cannot be the workingman’s lobbyist.

      People that work regular jobs do not often have the free time and or money to perform “outreach” to their congresspeople, and clearly the homeless are willing to hang out in the congressional office buildings to make a buck.

      Sounds like a viable business opportunity to an entrepreneur, until the real lobbyists lobby congress to shut it down. Oh well.

      1. wilroncanada

        Back in the 1980s, we had a “homeless” man in my home area (he lived in his truck cab with his dog) whom we elected as our representative on the regional district board.
        He had many redeeming characteristics, and some quite irredeemable…sniff!
        Exact location not mentioned…,

  6. laughingsong

    ” . . .the ‘policy was intended to protect the sanctuary status of San Francisco . . . ”
    And how would it do that? Was there some wording in a statute that I haven’t heard of?

    ” . . . and to ensure local police, who needed to have strong relationships with the communities they serve regardless of immigration status”
    How would this endear them to immigrant communities?

    ” . . . were not forced to operate as immigration agents . . .”

    Other police forces don’t cooperate with ICE, it is their prerogative. If they need to they can proffer excuses like staffing, etc.

    “Looking back, this policy could have been applied more fairly . . .’”

    If by “fairly” you mean “not at all”, then yeah…

    Ready to crown the new Queen of Mean.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That (‘…people camped outside committe’) reads like the Capitol Building can become a home for the homeless.

      And a fine home too, with lots of public servants to serve the homeless citizens.

      “More coffee, sir?”

  7. pretzelattack

    finally identified the judge that wrote an opinion sincerely making the argument that anatole france mocked in his famous quote. compare

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

    to judge pamela a. rymer, in her dissent to a court ruling that the los angeles police department cannot arrest people for sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewals on skid row:

    the los angeles code “does not punish people simply because they are homeless. it targets conduct–sitting, lying, or sleeping on city sidewalks–that can be committed by those with homes as well as those without”.
    los angeles times, april 15, 2006.

    i guess this means the wealthy are also eligible to be paid by lobbyists to maintain a place a line. equality!

  8. Summer

    Re: “How to Stop Facebook’s Dangerous App Integration Ploy” [Sally Hubbard, New York Times].

    No. The only way to stop playing this ignorant game of whack-a-mole-regulations with out to lunch and bought and paid for regulators is people power. Getting heads out of butts and signing off until they change.
    But notice that is never a solution from the MSM. Wouldn’t want people to start having agency.
    So Zuck rides the stupidity and is considered genius.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Recall he called the rest of us “Dumb f**ks” for trusting him and giving him our personal information. And most of us applaud his perspicacity and intensity in taking full advantage. Of course cancer cells act like the Zucks do…

  9. Stanley Dundee


    …we must seek civility — but not at the expense of truth telling or the protection of treasured principles.

    I think there’s a principle of treasure at work here. He sure protected the treasure of bankster principals!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What is the Holder constituency? People who don’t want Trump’s friends to be in power, just their lawyers?

      I’ve got it. This is an elaborate ploy by Obama to get Holder to take the blame for what is ultimately Obama’s decision. Obama can argue he was just poorly served. It’s a sorry excuse but still an excuse.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Let Holder run. Analyze whoever votes for Holder. They would be a strong core-sample of the type of people Holder’s constituency would be.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          This is a final vote. I’m trying to determine how Holder sees himself actually getting to the White House. Will he try to take second place in the Gilmore Family Reunion Presidential Straw Poll despite it being a Republican event?

          The faults of neoliberalism aside. Gillenbrand, Harris, Klobuchar, Booker, Sanders, Brown, and Warren (the last three aren’t neoliberals certainly) are fairly formidable. A couple are even good campaigners. Who does he expect to be open to voting for him? Booker is way too much of a cartoon, but he’s entertaining. Klobuchar might not have much in the way of policy ideas, but she’s won in a state where Norm Coleman was once Senator. It stands to reason she can campaign in the Midwest and the whole country. Gillenbrand may have wrecked her candidacy with her outreach, but her efforts against sexual assault in the military were good things. She even fought the party leadership. At least Biden now has name recognition, but Holder, I can’t come up with anything.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Let Holder run through the primaries. We would see who, if anyone, would vote for him in primaries. And that way we would know who would support Holder.

  10. jsn

    Supply Chain: “The Post-Brexit Food Chain: ‘This Is Really, Really Scary’” [New York Times]. From January 30, still germne. “Retailers typically store no more than two weeks’ inventory.” • [gulp].

    Hurricane Sandy destroyed Long Island’s ability to re-fuel: almost all oil and gas to the island historically arrived by barge and the barge dock facilities were all flood damaged. This happened: https://www.army.mil/article/91055/massive_logistical_effort_marks_ny_guard_response_to_hurricane_sandy

    I expect Brexit to look something like this, but what do I know?

    1. Sanxi

      Very little is what you know. As far as importing goes, nothing prevents the U.K. from adopting, at least initially no border inspections, and next to none, as waive them through custom controls. There will be no food shortages in the U.K.. Exporting is the issue with regard to the E.U., that the E.U. controls. Get a grip. The E.U. is never going to shoot itself in the foot, it will adopt temporary rules to ensure it suffers no pain. Reality – that is just what is going on.

      1. ambrit

        I think that you are underestimating the sheer inertia of bureaucracy. Rule Number One of Bureaucracy is: “The Rules Must Be Obeyed.”
        Only “Strong Man/Woman” administrations can do the “cutting through the red tape” you envision. In a completely collectivist enterprise such as the EU, indeed, almost any large administration you can think of, the makeup of the instrumentality itself engenders incrementalism and obstructionism.
        See “Yes Minister” for an object lesson in said turbid enlightenment.

  11. a different chris

    That Aeon article about snakes — the info was interesting, but I don’t get the conclusion:

    “What is it about snakes that makes them so attention-grabbing to us?”

    Snakes eat all sorts of mammals, I would think that primates are on the low end, as we usually are for most predators, because we don’t have the muscle and fat that say herbivores do. Yet I read the whole article and it doesn’t explain why we evolved to see snakes “better” but Bessie the cow’s small ancestors didn’t?

    Maybe it was just left out.

  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    If Overclass bunkers is what Brooks has in mind by “decentralized solutions”, he will be sorry he supported it when he finds himself denied entry into the bunkers. After all, what would Brooks be good for in a “post-emergence” world?

    If it all evolves that way, the Overclass will not announce where we can hear it: ” Okay . . . its Bunker Time!” They will just quietly fade from view and be long gone into Deep Hiding by the time the rest of us look around to see that they are not “there any more”. And David Brooks would be looking around and wondering along with the rest of us.

  13. Carolinian

    Re AOC–isn’t she a little wet behind the ears to be giving out sententious tweets on decorum? Better to have said nothing.

      1. Carolinian

        demonstrated a capacity to acknowledge pain & apologize, use the opportunity to learn abt history of antisemitism,+grow from it while clarifying her stance.

        Could she be a little more condescending while lecturing her fellow freshman? The left is going to have decide whether they are going to a) stroke the powers that be or b) confront them. I realize she’s playing politics so she can “gain the power to make a difference” but isn’t that what they all say going back at least to Bill Clinton? Better to say nothing or at least do the stroking away from Twitter.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > sententious

          This is the first really false note I’ve heard from AOC. And of course, committee assignments are at stake (“gain the power to make a difference”), exactly because Hoyer says they aren’t. There’s also the question of the composition of AOC’s district to consider.

          I also read AOC’s regrettable tweet as the sort of people-pleasing “smoothing over” one might do in a family conflict that’s not really resolved. In this case, it would been better to say nothing, rather than use the rhetorical tools Pelosi et al devised, or to be wholly supportive of Omar on policy, who, after all, spoke nothing but the truth. This awkward middle ground does nothing to help Omar, infuriates a faction of AOC’s supporters, and won’t ingratiate her with the House leadership.

          I looked at Bernie’s Twitter feed, and he is (as usual) relentlessly on message. All about policy, mostly benefiting working people explicitly.

    1. zagonostra

      Agree. My initial excitement at AOC’s election is continuing to grow dim, though I still retain a glimmer of hope.

      Her comments on McCain and Bush, focusing on long-term goals of GND, instead of tackling short-term goals like M4A, increasing SocSec Benefits, college loan forgiveness, policies that would rankle the ruling elite (D&R) and help millions of common folk, these are disappointments. But, my expectations were unrealistic and probably misplaced.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Don’t feel bad and don’t be down on AOC. Washington is a snake pit of hustlers, con-artists, gunsels, and stunning corruption with every form of Machiavellian techniques flashing underneath the surface because the mainstream media won’t cover real politics because they are big players in that scene. Give some slack as she negotiates this Star Wars’ cafe of creatures.

        1. John

          But the Star Wars cafe was amusing, weird but amusing. Washington is … pausing to search for metaphor and finding nothing but … den of vipers or snake pit.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            What would the Washington DC image-keepers do if hundreds or thousands of people began to write the following message on all the bathroom walls . . .

            “Flush once. You’re already here.”

      2. notabanker

        My view is she is taking on GND and campaign finance to set up the 2020 election to get more non-PAC progressives in Congress and throw support to Bernie. I’ve also noticed she is carrying the water for Pelosi by going after Trump, while simultaneously exposing all of Congress for what it really is. She’s smart not to pick fights. She’s pretty deft in responding to attacks.

        She turned down the Select GND committee. She clearly wants the cspan platform for the Fin Svcs and Oversight committees. Her job is mobilize a progressive base to get out the vote in 2020. There is nothing to be won in Congress before then.

        1. Phenix

          AOC ran off of the energy created by Bernie. While I am not a FB member I am a degree removed from her campaign Her major support came from Bernie groups. Typing on phones is awful. Her victory is a great sign for Bernie.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            She won the seat.

            Now it’s time to represent her constituents, which is different from winning elections, and the take-off is a bit shaky, I believe.

            There is still time to finish this part of the race strong.

            Focus on Medicare-for-all is my thinking. I believe Lambert wrote before that it was the most important issue for him. If not, I apologize.

            I also think that, to have too many people place unrealistic expectations can be harmful to a person, even if that gets the person media coverage every day.

            Avoid fame and fans, and avoid being used. I would suggest.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Among people of her age group, is her net worth or income among the top 1% now (minus charitable donations – which are usually excluded in the defintion)?

      4. Phenix

        I am not sure how much of this is an act of a knowledgeable activist or a sign that she is really new to all of this information.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        AOC is an elected. She’s on the inside, which is where the left (one presumes) wants her. Getting resolutions in the works, questioning on committees, all the rest of it. The real, structural issue is that the left outside is not strong enough to have her back (yet). It’s unrealistic, indeed disempowering, to put all one’s faith in single individuals. The Beltway will start tearing her wings off in its own good time.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I actually think she is making an important point, viz. that it is possible to say things that might be racist, anti-Semitic etc. and still be a good person, or at least have the capacity to be. This is against the implicit view that racists are invisible and irredeemable demons in our midst, to be instantly torn apart by wolves once unmasked. It can be reinforced or undermined through the use of language (“what you said was racist” = you were wrong about something, “you’re a racist” = you are a bad person). The former makes it possible to have conversations, change attitudes, and reach common ground, while the latter suppresses all those things and reinforces entrenched positions and divisions.

      Politics, in general, tends to favor the ‘torn apart by wolves’ strategy and thus perpetuates the problem. AOC is trying to take Omar’s corner to the greatest extent possible without triggering the Democrat immune response, as well as offer a more constructive resolution path and defuse some of the virulence. I don’t think her remarks are addressed to Omar at all.

      Incidentally, I think this was a big factor behind HRC’s problems, as she very clearly favored the “bad person” model over the “possibly decent person with some wrong ideas” model, and was unable to prevent it from coming through in her public statements.

      1. Carolinian

        things that might be racist, anti-Semitic

        But that didn’t happen did it? Therefore the objection to what AOC is saying is that she accepts that it did. Israel is not a race or a religion but a political entity that does in fact solicit money to influence the actions of the Congress. If you doubt that they are doing this there are plenty of examples offered up in the last few days at this site.


        As the lawyers like to say truth is a defense against libel and if that truth causes “pain” then it could be because the truth hurts. But here’s suggesting this is not about genuine offense at all and more about having the power to control the conversation.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I have Jewish friends on FB who are convinced that it did happen. I don’t agree with them, but then disagreement on this particular topic is pretty common.

          Playing devil’s advocate for a minute, sometimes things that are self-evidently true can also be a coded phrase for a position that could indeed be taken as racist, a personal attack etc. ‘All Lives Matter’ is one example. While I think pushing back on them is problematic because it allows your position to be easily mischaracterized, I’m not prepared to say it’s always wrong either.

    3. John k

      The hearing is about the very big homeless situation.
      Hiring this group right outside the hearing room to hold your place in line is ironic and imo worth reporting.
      Beyond this, she provides me with a continuous feeling of what it’s like to be a newbie in congress, reporting on what she finds interesting or surprising,
      We need a lot more like her.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        a lot more.
        I find that I’m willing to forgive her her flubs and occasional foot in mouth….when I would be stridently unforgiving of…say…kamala doing the same thing.
        can’t fake authenticity, perhaps…and the snake pit/den of vipers quality of that place, with the forces arrayed against her, lends itself to being even more forgiving.
        There are so many ways that the Machine can take sincere thoughtfulness and make it look like pol pot…it’s really pretty amazing that she exists at all.
        I’ve considered running for office a few times in my life…but I’m a target rich environment for perfidious slime purveyors and their gish galloping attacks.I get exhausted just thinking about it.
        and in our current era of twitter/panopticon…well…being willing and able to subject herself to all that hateful nonsense makes me dig her even more.

  14. David(1)

    So perhaps 2020 will be our first hip-hop election?

    Yes! Let the credentialed class explain why some animals are more equal than others.

    Living Legend Tries to Make a Living

    Aside from musicians, record collectors and D.J.’s, the name Clyde Stubblefield does not make many ears perk up. But no matter who you are, you probably know his drumming…

    That is because he was the featured player on “Funky Drummer,” a 1970 single by James Brown whose 20-second drum solo has become, by most counts, the most sampled of all beats. It’s been used hundreds of times, becoming part of hip-hop’s DNA, and in the late 1980s and early ’90s it was the go-to sample for anyone looking to borrow some of hip-hop’s sass (hence Kenny G.).

    Yet Mr. Stubblefield’s name almost fell through the cracks of history. The early rappers almost never gave credit or paid for the sample, and if they did, acknowledgement (and any royalties) went to Brown, who is listed as the songwriter…

    The lack of recognition has bothered Mr. Stubblefield more than the lack of royalties, he said, although that stings too.

    “People use my drum patterns on a lot of these songs,” he said. “They never gave me credit, never paid me. It didn’t bug me or disturb me, but I think it’s disrespectful not to pay people for what they use.”

    In 2002 Mr. Stubblefield had a tumor in his kidney removed, and now he suffers from end-stage renal disease. He qualifies for Medicare but has no additional health insurance.

    For Mr. Stubblefield, lack of credit is not only an issue with D.J.’s and producers sampling his beats. It was also a bone of contention with Brown, who was famous for running a tight ship — he fined his musicians for missing a beat or having scuffed shoes — and also for not giving his musicians more credit.

    “A lot of people should have gotten a lot of credit from James Brown,” Mr. Stubblefield said, “but he only talked about himself. He may call your name on a song or something, but that’s it.”

    Let the Dems explain how “market forces” allow Chuck D to make money, while the guy who created the groove gets nothing.

    Holy moley, the rhythm guitar!

    Sampled from James Brown’s “I got ants in my pants” IIRC.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      We have a candidate who is single.

      When will we get one who is for polyandry or polygamy? Do they represent progress?

      Should this be an issue? Is it an issue for some people?

    2. Summer

      The funny thing about the enitre sampling thing is that if they would have just had a drummer replay the beat. Beats alone (just drum patterns) are not copyrightable.

      Sampling the record is a whole other type of copyright: mechanical.

      Otherwise, the person who first played four on the floor, back beat snare, and 8th note hi hats would get paid from zillions of records.
      Many other examples.

      Drummers can get songwriting credit from the songwriters….depending on relationship to the team writing.

  15. zagonostra


    Isn’t wonderful to be alive in these times, you can watch the “Manufacture of Consent” as it blatantly unfolds in real time right before your very eyes…

    “Photos and video of oil tankers and shipping containers blocking a bridge between Venezuela and Colombia were used as proof Caracas was “blocking” US aid. Left out was the fact that the bridge was never open for traffic.”


  16. a different chris

    OMG — Fox News Headline: “Ocasio-Cortez policies drives a steak through the growing US economy: Sen. Barrasso”

    A steak??? That sounds pretty, uh, tasty. Jesus these guys are dumb.

    1. Hameloose Cannon

      Not a typo. “[D]rives a ‘steak’ through the growing US economy,” is a phrase designed in a media skunk works to elicit a bouquet of American associations built-in to the concept of “eating steak”, while simultaneously eliciting the idiomatic driving of a “stake”, vampires, aka the other. It deploys the shibboleth of “steak” to type A’s living Glengarry Glen Ross. Shucks, it’s a practically a sigil from the Black Magic Sigil Committee to Re-Elect Trump [BuMSeCRET]. It’s a bunker buster munition for the American mind. This is why they win.

    2. richard

      You really have to want it, to drive a cut of flank through someone’s heart.
      Amelia Bedelia Kills a Vampire

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That is wasting food (steak), which should not have been produced in the first place.

      Now, it is not even used to feed the hungry (in moderate portioins to many humans, or pets).

    4. ambrit

      Did Fox also fire all their copyeditors?
      One fine day I expect to see above a certain masthead the motto: “All the noose that’s fit to o, Print.”

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Wow. From the comments:

      It takes a serious cool head to go on Fox News and have to endure two white evangelicals jewsplain what it means to be Jewish in America. – Seth Rubenstein

      I’d never read/heard the word “Jewsplain” before, but it is entirely fitting.

    2. Plenue

      I wasn’t aware that Chuckie the Schum had said peace can’t be negotiated with Palestinians because they don’t accept the Torah. What a dumbass. Islam accepts the Old Testament. In fact the whole point of Islam is that it claims to be the ‘true’ religion of Abraham. It’s ‘proper’ Judaism, basically.

  17. a different chris

    >He said it would “shut down American energy” and a “little thing called air travel.”

    Here’s a funny thing that the right-wing doesn’t understand politically, even though (if you bring it up in a non-political context) they agree wholeheartedly: Nobody wants to fly anywhere anymore if they can help it.

    Thank both the Mommy and Daddy parties for this, whichever is which I can’t even figure that out frankly.

    1. polecat

      The real intention of the Mommy/Daddy parties is to step into the faulty teleportation pod, shut the door, and splice together .. as One …. ” You, Me … but not the Baby”, who, having got thrown out with the bathwater, is forced into crawling across the floor .. on it’s legs … All 640, 000 million of them, give or take .. with solid representation in its interest to be found wanting !

      1. Plenue

        I read in a comment here once that the reason babies on flights won’t stop crying is because their ears haven’t developed enough to be able to pop to equalize air pressure. If so, infants on flights is literally torture, and should be illegal.

  18. Chris Cosmos

    I found it hard to believe a man like Holder would run for POTUS. This guy has MAJOR baggage. Are the right wing Dems worried about Biden? Is Harris too lefty? Does thi mean Lady Clinton won’t run.

    After the ’16 election Roger Stone, who whatever you think of him understands Washington politics, said that Michelle Obama would be the candidate in 2020. Though I dont like her I think she would have a good chance of winning. Well have to see.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Michelle Obama isn’t a candidate. She might like fame, but beyond the celebrity, she’s never demonstrated any drive to be a candidate. HRC was part of her husband’s Administration. She belongs to the Dolly Madison (we can rank them) side of the First Ladies, but Michelle is more Laura Bush than Nancy Reagan. What did Michelle do? Did she chair a committee? Hit the trail for an issue? She ordered a Potemkin veggie garden to be planted.

      She seems nice, but she’s never been questioned. HRC was because she put herself out there for 24 years.

      My guess is Holder is simply deluded. What he does is good because he good intentions type nonsense with a dream he represents a return to a steady hand.

      1. Pat

        And I am beyond thankful that she isn’t a candidate, because I think Stone is right. (Add to your list, she is very very happy to be able to wear what ever ugly ass expensive stuff she wants while being adored without a worry about any one questioning her about her extravagance. I get the impression she will never wear J Crew again if she can help it.)

        My guess is that Holder is not seeing the return on investment he thought he would see for his good work protecting the 0.01% from prosecution and our wrath. Needs to be the top man for that.

        1. richard

          “not seeing the return on investment he thought he would see for his good work protecting the 0.01% from prosecution and our wrath. Needs to be the top man for that.”
          As good an explanation as any.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        I think Michelle is a bit more than Laura Bush ever was. The important thing is image. Michelle comes on very competent, very professional, and as confident as Barry–I think she would make a great candidate. Accomplishment and ability are not that important for POTUS–what is important is the team–people miss that when evaluating Presidents. Trumps problem outside the fact he is a problem, is that he did not and still does not have a real team of allies, not just in the WH, but throughout the government. This is why they all hate him–Carter faced the same thing–only Carter was a decent guy and the ruling elites at the time didn’t go too hard on him though they wanted him out ASAP.

        1. richard

          Actually, J. Carter was set upon pretty hard by the ruling elites of his time. Maybe not in the same way as Trump, or with such vehemence (it was also a somewhat gentler time), but they acted decisively to thwart his presidency, and make his name mud for a succeeding generation. The issue back then was more about legitimacy; Carter was actually elected by the most democratic primary process the dems had ever allowed. They were determined to take that back, that oligarchs deciding 90% of it should be considered legitimate. They did, by shaming the public for picking such a “loser”. Who they had knived repeatedly in public. “Let the professionals decide.” Feels like the beginning of all that.
          So anyway, just my 2 cents. Walter Karp is dynamite on the carter era; if you ever get the chance, read Liberty Under Siege
          no one ever wrote like him either

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      On the bright side it’s a good outside hacking detector. If there is a sudden rise in mortality amongst county clerks, we’ve probably been hacked by someone else.

  19. Wukchumni

    The atmospheric river decided to go north and south of us and it ain’t no big thang with around 1/2 an inch of precip falling here, but I hear it’s raining hard @ 8,000 feet in the Tahoe region which is no bueno, as there’s copious amounts of snow below that level.

    1. Lee

      My kid just got back from fishing from a rubber dinghy in a couple of lakes in the foothills up Tahoe way. He got skunked, the weather worsened, he got home in one piece. Made my day.

          1. Wukchumni

            A raft would work…

            From NOAA:

            “By now you are probably wondering what parts of the central California will get a good water dousing. Well, it`s where the southwesterly winds aloft are forcing and lifting this subtropical moisture into the higher elevations. To give you an idea just how tropical this air mass is, mesonet data is showing snow levels of about 9,500 feet today. Above that elevation, snow will fall heavily through at least Thursday evening. Elevations below it and in the Sierra foothills will likely receive copious rain with totals of 4 to 7 inches or more. The combination of rain and rapidly melting snow over the Sierra will bring a threat of flooding, mud slides, rock slides and debris flows tonight through Thursday night in the Sierra foothills. Residents in these areas will need to monitor water levels along area streams and rivers and be prepared to move to a place of safety if and when Flood Warnings or Flash Flood Warnings are issued.”

            There is easily 10 feet of snow on the ground below 9,500 feet in the higher climes here, with lesser amounts down to a few feet worth @ 5,000 feet, and if it gets melted off, you’ll be hearing about our little town in the national news on Friday, as the worst flood since 1955 bears down on us.

            64 years in between allows everybody to pretty much forget what happened, and homes and businesses along the river that should have never been built there in the intervening decades, will be in harm’s way.

  20. Savonarola

    In German, the flower is “Schneegloekchen,” or “Little Snow Bells.” They generally break right through the snow, a promise of Spring.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That reminds me of another flower, the rare Snow Lotus, or Saussurea, found in Central Asia, and famously in Tianshan.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Schneeglöckchen in the original German. I saw them for the first time in Germany one spring and was fascinated by them. They did not last too long but it was like witnessing something of the rhythm of the seasons at work.

  21. Samuel Conner

    Re: ” But that’s not what Brooks has in mind. Or is it?”

    I haven’t paid attention to Brooks in years, but back when I was younger and less cynical, it seemed to me that he wasn’t interested in solutions to actual real world problems, simply in commentating.

    Was that (and is it still) an accurate perception?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like adding Indian, Korean, Guatemalan, etc dishes to the Thanksgiving dinner.

      More choices, more better.

      1. Sanxi

        Why? This may come as a shock but beliefs are based on constructs of reality as in being real. Thanksgiving has some essential dishes to it. Is there something wrong with tradition and with it establishing your self (not you as such) as relateable to others? Being American surely has to mean something. Your better off with that belief to apply it to/for Xmas.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          It may represent an updating of a living, on-going tradition to reflect our diversity today.

          Some, like you, may disagree. That’s OK.

          On the other hand, we are better off without more styles, Russian or otherwise, of kleptocracy. I was hoping maybe other posters might point out that difference.

  22. Darthbobber

    David Brooks. Still running neck-and-neck wIth Tom Friedman for laziest pundit.

    I’ll skip the hysteria about the massive superstars he sees as inevitable under the aspirations green New Deal.

    In fact, I’ll take his equating it to WW2 at face value. And will note that government managed to do a great many things quite successfully in the course of waging that war. (and without turning into anything resembling the Soviet Union in the process. The very sort of things that Brooks religiously believes governments to be literally incapable of.

    Presumably, had he been around and in possession of a platform at the time, he would have argued for a “humble”, decentralized, market-driven approach to mobilizing the nation’s resources. Alas, existential crisis are pretty resistant to the application of nudge theory and marginal tinkering as the sole solutions.

    Given the magnitude of climate change, his selection of ww2 as the basis for comparison is more appropriate than he realizes. Though not in the way he thinks. Real crises call for adequate means to be deployed, and whether even the GND itself does that, let alone whatever trivial measures Brooks might countenance if he were willing to even treat the matter as serious enough to merit offering actual proposals, is not entirely clear.

    I’ll leave to one side his usual rhetorical ploy of treating the government in Washington as somehow an alien power having nothing to do with those it governs, and treating that situation itself as inherently unchangeable by the people. (And to the extent that the first is true, Brooks normally prefers it that way. He’s affecting to be anti-elitist in this pose, at least as long as he can pretend that the only elites are actually officeholders, but he’s usually more exercised by his more usual bogeyperson of “populism. “

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Will it be called a Green Pearl Harbor when something finally smacks us hard enough to treat the threat as more than a parlor debate?/s

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Kamala Harris claims to have smoked pot in college while listening to Tupac and Snoop.

    Tupac’s first album came out in 1991.
    Snoop’s first album came out in 1993.

    Kamala Harris graduated college in 1986.

    My impression is that the standard internet witty response is, ‘What is she smoking now?!!?!’

    And, that should be a lesson for us all.

    1. Carey

      My general thought is: “which corporatist will the Few inflict on us this time, four years
      later?” *No way* Team Dem allows Sanders the nomination; or, if the theft would be
      unacceptably obvious, he’ll get McGoverned in the general election.

      One POV.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hunter S. Thompson in the book Fear And Loathing On the Campaign Trail 1972 devoted a few pages to showing how McGovern collaborated in McGoverning his own self with the Eagleton pick and with trying to appease the standard Democrats he had defeated to become the nominee to begin with.

        No doubt the Clintobamacrats would McGovern a Candidate Sanders as hard as they could. But Sanders would not collaborate in his own McGoverning.

        1. Carey

          In my opinion, he already did: remember “we’re taking it all the way to the Convention!”? I sure do, since I again sent him money I could not afford, based on that, um, loose talk.

          Lucy football over and over

  24. Wukchumni

    AIPACkage deal?

    Healthcare Conglomerate Associates and Dr. Yorai Benzeevi apparently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a political consulting firm with ties to Israeli spy agencies in an unsuccessful effort to hang on to control of Tulare Regional Medical Center.

    Or at least that’s according to a long and surprising investigative piece published this week in New Yorker magazine.

    The piece — written by New Yorker staff writer Adam Entous and New Yorker contributing writer Ronan Farrow — details how HCCA and Benzeevi allegedly paid Tel Aviv-based Psy-Group $230,000 to run an alleged smear campaign against Senovia Gutiérrez, who ran a successful 2018 recall election against then TRMC board member and HCCA supporter Dr. Parmod Kumar.

    “Little old Tulare at the center of a story about an international attempt to undermine democracy?” he said. “It’s unbelievable. Someone should write a book about it.”


      1. Wukchumni

        It gives you an idea the breadth of the Israelis game plan politically in our country. This was a complete nothingburger in the scheme of things, and yet they tried to do their worst to influence the election in using the 2,300 Benjamins that were given to them, in the attempt.

  25. Darthbobber

    Was overly down on Omar’s apologies yesterday. She’s done good service by promoting a further slipping of the mask, and causing the blackjack behind the imposed unanimity to be foregrounded.

    Blackjacks put me in mind of Musssolini: “Reason is one means of persuasion. The blackjack is another. Once the persuasion has been accomplished the means may be forgotten.”

  26. Carey

    This is a little bit meta, but I’ve noticed a fair amount of seemingly reality-based reporting from our corporatist media recently, and am wondering if what they claim to
    be decrying- loss of privacy, in particular- they are actually working to normalize
    with their coverage. “resistance is futile” seems to be the quiet but insistent
    refrain from our corporatist friends.

    We’ll see about that.

    1. Hamford

      Without a pension to count on, congressmen will try even harder to appease lobbyists to line up a future gig.

      A counterproposal- pensions are forfeited if congressmen work for a lobbyist firm after leaving office!

      1. Angie Neer

        Good idea, but I suspect the big lobbying firms would gladly cover the cost of the lost pension. Cost of doing business.

  27. Wukchumni

    Drinking fountains that require a credit card to dispense water is sadly, par for the course we’re on, where ‘market forces’ trump everything.

    1. JBird4049

      I was thinking of the people who don’t have credit or debit card and that you also need to download an app onto your cell. It’s effectively an employed, good credit person’s only water fountain. It’s not racism or classism. It’s moneyism. (Is that a word? Or did I just invent one?) I guess some people really do want the miserable to go die.

      1. ambrit

        I like “moneyism.” An alternative locution would be; “Gelt’s Gulch.”
        Really, the whole thing harkens back to Social Darwinism.

  28. Tim

    “Self-driving cars could actually make congestion much worse”
    There is a solution: Fine the owner of any car that is driving around with nobody in it. Similar to driving in a HOV lane with only a driver.

    It does beg another question, how do you pull over an autonomous car?

    1. Grebo

      If I was a savvy urban hacker I would be thinking about how to summon and commandeer these circulating auto-autos. Could save a fortune on Ubers.

  29. Plenue

    >“Democrats willing to pay for 55 miles of new barrier. Trump ‘not happy.’”

    Regarding the idea of a border wall in general, it’s a perfect example of the hypocrisy and ignorance that are standard for Trump Derangement Syndrome. The wall already exists in many places, and has for years. These sections were created with bipartisan support. I’m currently watching the Fear the Walking Dead series (it’s better than The Walking Dead show, which isn’t saying much, I know. Kim Dickens is a much more compelling lead than Andrew Lincoln ever was); the existence of border walls and fencing are plot points in the second season, filmed in 2015. It’s only now that Orange Hitler™ wants to finish the wall that people feign moral outrage.

  30. FluffytheObeseCat

    “Not all energy storage is clean – it might even increase emissions”

    Dr. Hittinger et al published a very readable article in The Conversation that explains their findings regarding the use of energy storage. The piece is well-written and presents the issues in a way that is accessible to non-specialists.

    Key quote: “We studied [the power generation balance] and found that for the Midwest grid there is a turning point when wind and solar reach about 18 percent of total generating capacity: At that point, adding storage starts to decrease rather than increase emissions. The current adoption level is 10 percent…”

    They do not project that new/increased energy storage will necessarily lead to more GHG generation. Their point is that in the Great Lakes region, presently, there is still too much coal power in the mix. They gently argued for increasing the percentage of wind a/o solar on the Midwest grid at the end of their piece.

  31. anon in so cal

    Old article re: Los Angeles’ Light Rail:

    Los Angeles Metro picks Tutor-Saliba Perini Corporation for the Metro Purple Line, despite its botched LAX runway.

    “A $250-million runway at Los Angeles International Airport, rebuilt six years ago, is riddled with construction defects, including cracks, exposed steel reinforcing bars and deteriorating concrete, according to city officials.

    The mounting problems, including the runway’s failure to meet Federal Aviation Administration construction standards, could disrupt future flight operations at the nation’s third-busiest airport, according to a city lawsuit filed against companies responsible for the work….”


  32. anon in so cal

    So, the California bullet train is being at least partly constructed by Tutor-Saliba Perini Corporation, the same corporation that botched the LAX runway construction?


    Apparently, Diane Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, used to own shares in Tutor_Saliba Perini.

    1. JBird4049

      Oh how terribly surprising. Why it almost looks like donations bribes, kickbacks, and even graft would be involved! s/

    1. Summer

      I saw pictures of me running and you running for President, but no Tulsi.
      That FiveThirtyEight collage of Democrats to watch for 2020 actually included The Rock and Oprah….
      And the examples went on and on with similar presentations on networks. (So glad I do not go to TV for real information.)

      If she scares them this much, I’m going to give her a closer look.,

    1. JBird4049

      No subpoena power? I guess Speaker Pelosi really doesn’t want the committee to actually be able to force the recalcitrant to give testimony on anything embarrassing. It might make getting those fat bribes harder. I wish I was being sarcastic here.

      I wonder what Congress could do if the few honest, or at least conscientious, were more prevalent than the current weasels in charge. It is supposed to be, and was for over a century, the most powerful branch of government.

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