2:00PM Water Cooler 2/19/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I did too much thinking and not enough typing on Harris v. Sanders; I’ll type very rapidly and have more up in a jiffy. –lambert UPDATE 2:45 All done. I went to do a wash, and opened up my bag of Nihilist Laundry Soap. But there wasn’t anything in it. Straightening that out took a little time.


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

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune


Taking the events of the long weekend in sequence, I’ll do Kamala Harris first, and then Sanders (who just announced).

Harris: Ian Sams, once Hillary Clinton’s Regional Communications Director, now Kamala Harris’s press secretary, tweets the following:

(The product placement for @TexasPete is a very nice touch.)

We’re in “forgotten nothing, learned nothing” territory with the Harris campaign. Clinton kept hot sauce in her purse; the Harris campaign doubles down! At this point, let’s remember that Harris was recruited (in the Hamptons) by Clinton donors; and she’s supported by Clinton staffers. The Clintonite faction in the Democrat Party really believes they did nothing wrong in 2016; it follows that to succeed in 2020, all they need to is follow the Clinton campaign formula. Which is what they are doing, as rerunning the hot sauce episode shows. (Krugman helpfully attributes the ridicule to, you guessed it, racism; one of the many hilarious aspects of this episode is oodles of white people explaining that black people like hot sauce, often on their greens — and they do too!) Be that as it may, in the Harris campaign we see Clinton donors, Clinton staffers, Clinton tactics, and also Clinton strategy: Locking up superdelegates and Democrat notables, seizing the high ground in the media, and, naturally, election rigging by the DNC — they just can’t help themselves! — in this case by moving up the California primary to Super Tuesday, a move that obviously favors California Senator Harris. Speculating freely, the Clinton faction believes that the only real mistake they made was being too nice to that Jew Bernie Sanders, and they don’t intend to make that mistake again. Hence, my addition of the second epigraph from Dune to the Politics section.

Here are the early 2020 primaries, assuming nothing changes:

  1. February 3: Iowa caucus
  2. February 11: New Hampshire primary
  3. February 22: Nevada caucus
  4. February 29: South Carolina primary
  5. March 3: Super Tuesday (Alabama, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia primaries)

I’ve helpfully underlined the states the Harris campaign might regard as gimmes: Nevada, for what remains of the Reid machine; South Carolina, for the 2016 “firewall” (hot sauce; hip hop; dope-smoking*); and California. Combine those wins with an identity politics-based denunciation and disempowerment of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary (white; old; rural) and it’s pretty easy to construct a narrative where Sanders is knocked out early. NOTE * I regard all of this as almost unbearably clumsy, but I’m trying to get into the hive mind of the Harris campaign, here. And now to Sanders–

Sanders: “He’s In For 2020: Bernie Sanders Is Running For President Again” [Vermont Public Radio]. • Post updated at 7:12am — the most Vermont thing ever. The video:

Sanders: “CNN to host Bernie Sanders at 2020 town hall” [CNN]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders will head to Washington next Monday for a town hall moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.” • Absent treachery, this plays to Sanders’ strength.

Sanders: “‘The Bern’ returns: Bernie Sanders announces entry into crowded 2020 Democratic field” [Des Moines Register]. “In his announcement, Sanders called out President Donald Trump as ‘the most dangerous president in modern American history,’ as well as a ‘pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction.'” • Throwing that red meat! Objectively, Bush was worse (if the metric is slaughtering people and wrecking the Constitution). But let’s not quibble!

Sanders raises a million:

Important. If Sanders is going to make a run for it in California — and I wish I knew more about the California Democratic Party, where IIRC Sanders supporters just barely missed taking it over — he’s going to need a lot of people canvassing. I don’t think he can take on the California Democrat Establishment, especially the Silicon Valley mafiosi, with the air war alone. That means money for organizing (apparently the fault line in the 2016 campaign, and the Our Revolution origin story, as well). Making Sanders’ choice of staffers — no liberal Democrat moles, one hopes (treachery) — extremely important, and something I’ve seen no coverage of yet.

Sanders on Schultz:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Bad sign for the DSA. Thread:

Check out the responses.

“Alleged victims say powerful Georgia lawmaker repeatedly delays cases” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. • From the purely personal perspective, Stacey Abrams is better off far away from this cesspit, up there in the empyrean of the Beltway, with Neera Tanden and the Council on Foreign Relations singing in celestial chorus…

Stats Watch

Housing Market Index, February 2019: “Low mortgage rates are no doubt a key factor behind recovering strength in the housing market index” [Econoday]. “This index plunged dramatically back in November [and] December at a time when mortgage rates, unlike now, were on the rise. The new home market, like the rest of the housing sector, struggled through 2018 though the indication from this report does hint at an improved start for 2019.” And: “NAHB: Builder Confidence Increases in February” [Calculated Risk]. “This was above the consensus forecast.”

Commodities: “Despite rise in U.S. oil production, OPEC still steers global prices” [Axios]. “Although U.S. production continues to rise, it still accounts for only 11% of global consumption, compared to OPEC’s 32%. The recent supply cuts illustrate that sudden disruptions and U.S. sanctions that take oil out of the market can put OPEC, and Saudi Arabia specifically, back in charge of global oil prices.” • And our fracking industry hasn’t made a dime in the aggregate, last I checked (readers please correct me). Of course, the executives made a lot. Speculators, too, But that’s a high price to pay for all the, um, externalities.

Credit: “Just Released: Auto Loans in High Gear” [Liberty Street]. From last week, still germane. “[T]he largest share of auto loans is from banks, followed by credit unions. Debt issued by captives, which we classify as dealer-based loans that are associated with car manufacturers (such as Ford or Honda), is predominantly owed by prime borrowers and shows relatively strong performance. But auto finance companies are a different story—50 percent of outstanding loans from auto finance companies are to borrowers with credit scores less than 620. By comparison, only 14 percent of the $340 billion in outstanding auto loans owed to credit unions are associated with subprime borrowers. The performance of loans reflects these quality differences; 6.5 percent of auto finance loans are 90+ days past due, compared with only 0.7 percent of loans originated by credit unions.” • The headline story last week was delinquency on the rise, so this is an interesting breakdown to have.

Retail: “Amazon Signals It Could Sign Agreement with Local Unions to Govern Arlington Construction” [ArlNow]. “Amazon is showing an increasing willingness to sign a collective bargaining agreement with local unions before it sets to work building new office space in Arlington, perhaps meeting a frequent demand of activists concerned about the tech giant’s labor practices. Though the company cautions that nothing is set in stone until county officials formally sign off on an incentive deal to bring the tech giant’s new headquarters to Crystal City and Pentagon City, Amazon is sending signals that it’s open to the prospect of striking a ‘project labor agreement‘ with construction workers who could someday erect the company’s future home in Arlington.” • I wonder if Amazon would be signaling this if New York hadn’t kicked them out?

* * *

I had noticed a few warehouse fire stories before the latest story of a fire at Tesla. So I thought I’d do a cursory aggregation:

Supply Chain: “UK’s Ocado Expects Total Loss of $58M Distribution Center After Huge Fire” [Insurance Journal]. “One of Ocado Group Plc’s largest U.K. warehouses is expected to be completely destroyed by a fire, constraining the online grocer’s ability to meet customer demand and cutting sales growth. The blaze began Tuesday morning in the 45-million pound ($58 million) automated facility in Andover, England, that manages as many as 70,000 orders a week. Although under control, it caused a collapsed roof and damaged all the robots and stock inside, firefighters said. Revenue growth will suffer until capacity can be increased elsewhere, according to the company.” • Just in time for Brexit!

Supply Chain: “Families evacuated from homes after huge warehouse fire in Adlington town centre” [Lancashire Post]. “The fire began at around 11.45pm last night (February 3) at a warehouse which is home to a number of industrial units, including paint shops and a waste recycling company. The fire appears to have engulfed the whole warehouse, with 12 fire engines and over 100 firefighters deployed to bring the blaze under control. Commander Jon Charters said the fire was already ‘significant’ and ‘well-developed’ in part of the building when crews arrived.”

Supply Chain: “Ocado blaze: Automated warehouses create new fire protection complexities, says expert” [IFSEC Global]. “If robots are more cost-effective than humans – requiring no pay, food or rest – then they do present a fire safety issue: electronics get hot. Furthermore, as one commenter on an Instagram post by BBC journalist Zoe Kleinman wrote, robots ‘can’t smell the smoke when said workplace is on fire.’ That’s not to say that electronics were to blame in this instance; the cause of the fire remains unclear pending an investigation.” • Indeed.

Supply Chain: “Gas leak causes several warehouse fires Sunday morning” [WKYC]. “The Cleveland Fire Department responded to several warehouse fires early, Sunday morning. According to officials an underground gas leak caused the buildings on the southwest side of Industrial Parkway to catch fire just before 5 a.m. he fire spread to standing water on the outside of the building.” • What makes my Spidey sense twitch on this is that only one warehouse, the heart-tugging “Coats for Kids,” is mentioned.

Supply Chain: “A Top Cause of Warehouse Fires that Might Surprise You” [Harrington Group]. “NFPA has compiled statistics on structure fires in storage properties. There were an average of 22,900 fires in storage occupancies for the period from 1994 – 1998. The leading cause of these fires was intentional fire setting (arson). No big surprise there.” • No indeed!

Tech: We’re not the only ones:

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Crime Rate. “The crime rate is down in several categories” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 178. Flirting with the 180 floor. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.


Thanks to NC readers for many thoughtful comment on #fieldwork. I would scope the concept — I think Amfortas the Hippie would agree with me here — to apply only to person-to-person interaction, and to involve a lot of listening. Granted, the next snippet is about getting politicians to listen to you, but it at least insists that understanding your interloctutors needs is important….

“Want to get a politician to listen to science? Here’s some advice” [Science]. “But the most important advice for scientists interested in influencing policymakers is to be timely… While proposing new legislation on vaccines in the midst of a measles outbreak might seem like a good idea because it is timely and relevant, suggesting a new policy to the state legislature in the middle of January might not be effective because the legislative sessions for most states begin in early January, for example. Suhay recommends being aware of these dates and planning early.” • Lots of good ideas here. Has anyone applied them? Does anyone care to try them out?

The Biosphere

“Our Gardens Are at the Center of Vanishing Bees and Butterflies— and in Saving Nature.” [Medium]. Starts off with the now universal observation that there are now no more bug splats on windshields. More: “What do home gardens or business landscapes have to do with any of this? In a time when wildlife is vanishing in perceptible fashion every spit of land matters, just as every plant matters. Native plants support many times more insect biomass than exotic plants imported from Asia or Europe because native plants have a shared evolutionary history with insects and other wildlife. Further, when we use lawn as default landscape mode we might as well be paving over everything with asphalt, because lawn has no flowers — and it certainly has no shrubs or small trees which create hedgerows, perhaps some of the best bee nesting habitat around.” • Abolishing your lawn and starting a garden is something many, many people can do — and it gives the suburbs an un- or at least less-impeachable reason for being — but in contrast to consumerist solutions, gardens directly benefit insects (and birds (and small rodents (and cats (and other apex predators, like me))). Gardens also have aesthetic and psychological benefits that buying “Green” products lacks. If you meet other gardeners, there are also collective benefits, so you can do #fieldwork (many conservatives, interestingly, are very sound on gardens).

“Slow and steady, the American prairies grow” [Christian Science Monitor]. “ver the last three decades, a dedicated community of conservationists and land managers has worked to preserve American grasslands in all their manifold forms: the tallgrass, shortgrass, and mixed-grass prairies of the Midwest, as well as lesser-known varieties, such as the northwest prairies in Oregon and Washington, or the sandplain grasslands in Massachusetts. Since the ’80s, conservationists have make significant progress in their ability to reestablish and care for prairie ecosystems… The exact acreage of prairie conservation efforts is somewhat difficult to track, since many of them are grass-roots endeavors. A rough estimate for preserved prairies in the Great Plains area alone is around 207,000 square miles of tall-, mixed-, and shortgrass biomes. But there are countless small preserves scattered across the United States, which can include areas as small as half an acre.” • Let’s speed this up! (I forget which NC reader pointed this out, but my recollection is that grasslands are better for carbon capture than forests?)

“Senate Passes a Sweeping Land Conservation Bill” [New York Times]. “The Senate on Tuesday passed a sweeping public lands conservation bill, designating more than one million acres of wilderness for environmental protection and permanently reauthorizing a federal program to pay for conservation measures. The Senate voted 92 to 8 in favor of the bill…. The bill designates 1.3 million acres in Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and California as “wilderness,” the most stringent level of federal land protection. It prohibits any development and the use of most motorized vehicles. And the bill creates less-stringent but permanent protections of land in Montana and Washington state… It also classifies approximately 225 miles of river in Massachusetts and Connecticut and 280 miles of river in Oregon as wild, scenic, or recreational.” • It’s a start. Why don’t we classify the Mississippi and Missouri rivers as scenic? Ha ha, only serious!

“Regenerative agriculture can make farmers stewards of the land again” [The Conversation]. “A method called regenerative agriculture promises to create new resources, restoring them to preindustrial levels or better. This is good for farmers as well as the environment, since it lets them reduce their use of agrochemicals while making their land more productive…. he experiences of farmers who have adopted regenerative agriculture show that it restores soil carbon, literally locking carbon up underground, while also reversing desertification, recharging water systems, increasing biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And it produces nutrient-rich food and promises to enliven rural communities and reduce corporate control of the food system.” • Let’s just hope Big Ag doesn’t do for regenerative agriculture what it did for “organic farming.”

“Factbox: New systems pinpoint palm oil deforestation in real time, almost” [Reuters]. “Previously, problems with government data and reluctance by palm oil companies to specify plantation boundaries made it difficult to gauge when they encroached on protected forests.” • Not, perhaps, good enough, but better.

“Atlantic Coast Pipeline delayed until 2021” [Grist]. “Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline boondoggle only grows worse…. According to a spokesperson for Dominion, Karl Neddenien, all construction is halted because of multiple factors including increasing costs, and in part over a dispute regarding permits to cross the Appalachian Trail and national forests. He says the delay, caused by what he calls ‘well-financed’ opposition groups, are impacting more than just the construction schedules, according to Neddenien.” • Good. All projects that make it easier to take hydrocarbons out of the ground should be opposed when encountered. It’s fun and educational!


“Running Dry: New Strategies for Conserving Water on the Colorado” [Yale Environment 360]. “Since 2000, the snow that blankets the Colorado Rockies each winter — the source of most of the river’s water — has tapered off considerably. Last year it was less than half of normal. So far, the farmers here have gotten their share of water, but this year could bring the first emergency declaration by water administrators. That would mean that some ‘junior’ water users — those whose allocations came later — may have to forego their share in favor of senior users. The nearly two decades of low snowpack is being called a drought, and tree rings show it’s the most severe in over 1,200 years. The term drought, however, implies it will end someday. But there are serious questions about whether this is a drought or a permanent drying of the West due to a changing climate.” • I don’t mean to sound heartless, but back in the day I flew across the country reasonably often, and from the air, the concept that we ought to be doing agriculture in the desert is not obvious.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Kaepernick Won. The NFL Lost.” [The Atlantic]. “Technically, Colin Kaepernick withdrew his collusion case. Technically, the NFL did not admit that it conspired to blackball Kaepernick from the league after he began taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. But nontechnically speaking, the NFL lost. Massively…. Had Kaepernick’s case gone further, there was no question that more sensitive and damaging information would have come out. Who knows what was said about Kaepernick or other players in texts and emails.” • Indeed.

Police State Watch

“FBI is dismantling its war crimes unit” [Reveal]. “In addition to finding international war criminals living in the U.S., the FBI’s human rights unit also has investigated and apprehended perpetrators of war crimes against Americans abroad, along with Americans who commit war crimes themselves – such as military contractors accused of killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan or U.S. citizens who fight alongside the Islamic State. All those efforts now could fall through the cracks.” • That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.


Are UK universities undergoing some sort of crisis?

Why on earth would a college administrator need a chief of staff? Do they need a Großer Generalstab, too?

Class Warfare

Many a true word spoken in jest:

“Tidying up is not joyful but another misuse of Eastern ideas [Aeon (RH)]. “In more fanciful moments, I think about decluttering the KonMari method itself, stripping it of the middle-class respectability its exoticism confers. In place of Kondo herself, I imagine a tired maid (maids are always tired) using her years of ‘tidying’ to counsel a family on managing their too-abundant stuff. She appeals to her experience both in cleaning and in life – invoking, say, that time she had to downsize from a double-wide trailer to a single-wide. (Long before the ‘tiny house movement’ – another pop-culture fascination for those suffocated by their own stuff – many people already lived in tiny homes, and these are called trailers.) My sage maid uses her organisational competency, hard-earned from years of picking up after others, and her long practice in the art of making do without the new or the shiny. Most of all, she is full of plain good sense. But what she will not promise, cannot promise, is that cleaning house will bring you contentment. Nor will she suggest that you discard belongings that don’t ‘spark joy’. And that really is the rub. My wise maid will forgo soft talk of joy, and use instead a harder, plain-speaking language to assess all that stuff: does it still have use in it?” • In more fanciful moments, I wish this would have been Ehrenreich’s take…

DSA has a Dog Caucus (which is actually a good thing):

“A network’s gender composition and communication pattern predict women’s leadership success” [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]. From the Significance: \”Graduate programs increasingly place women directly into leadership positions. For men, centrality in the school-wide student network predicts job-rank placement. Women’s placement is also predicted by centrality and the presence of a distinctive inner circle of women in their network. The inner circle of high-placing women displays an unusual network duality: The network has cliquish ties among women, but each woman is connected to a separate set of third-party contacts. This dual connectivity of strong and weak ties appears to provide simultaneous access to gender-related tacit information important for women’s success as well as diverse job-market data needed for successful job search and negotiations.”

News of the Wired

“An Interactive Map of the 2,000+ Sounds Humans Use to Communicate Without Words: Grunts, Sobs, Sighs, Laughs & More” [Open Culture]. “Before the linguistic technologies of grammar and syntax, hominids, like other mammals today and a good number of non-mammals too, had a wordless language that communicated more directly, and more honestly, than any of the thousands of ways to string syllables into sentences…. That language still exists, of course, and those who understand it know when someone is afraid, relieved, frustrated, angry, confused, surprised, embarrassed, or awed, no matter what that someone says. It is a language of feeling—of sighs, grunts, rumbles, moans, whistles, sniffs, laughs, sobs, and so forth. Researchers call them “vocal bursts” and as any long-suffering married couple can tell you, they communicate a whole range of specific feelings.” • “More honestly.” Hmm. Is it really impossible to lie using “vocal bursts”?

“The biological basis of mental illness” [Nature]. “In [psychiatrist Randolph Nesse’s] view, the roots of mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, lie in essential functions that evolved as building blocks of adaptive behavioural and cognitive function. Furthermore, like the legs of thoroughbred racehorses — selected for length, but tending towards weakness — some dysfunctional aspects of mental function might have originated with selection for unrelated traits, such as cognitive capacity. Intrinsic vulnerabilities in the human mind could be a trade-off for optimizing unrelated features… evolution selects for reproductive success rather than for health and happiness; hence, the existence of human diseases and disorders….. evolution selects for reproductive success rather than for health and happiness; hence, the existence of human diseases and disorders.” • Possibly helpful to the suffering. And possibly not.

The Reeking Philosophers Problem:

You may have to click for the image.)

Fun with aircraft:

* * *

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

IM writes: “Liquorice and sword ferns, goldstream park, BC. Taken in what passes for winter on the west coast!”

Readers, several of you sent in pictures of plants yesterday, but I recognized all the names! How about sending Water Cooler some pictures of plants if you’ve never sent any before? Fungi count!

* * *

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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. Arizona Slim

    Vanishing bees? Well, you wouldn’t know it by the trailing indigo in my back yard. If that plant isn’t a bee magnet, I don’t know what is.

    And, for Slim, it’s the perfect photo op. (Aside to Lambert, would you like me to send you one of photos for the Cooler?)

    1. JohnnyGL

      Get some raspberries in there, too. Feed yourself while feeding the bees. Plus, they can be invasive, an added bonus! Food that spreads and replants itself! The horror!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        If what you’re growing isn’t at least potentially invasive, you are probably growing the wrong plants in the wrong place.

        1. Cal2

          Try and ID the plants you know and that are bug beneficial. When they flower and start to drop seeds, grab half the seeds and spread them around. Keep the other half in a quart plastic jar, stored in a dark cool place. Add the silica packs from vitamins into the jar to keep them dry.

          Mix them all together. Whenever you spread compost, dig a trench, spread leaves around, add a fistful of mixed seeds. The beneficials will grow where it’s right for them.

          If you want to get serious, research how to make seed balls. You can throw these out your car window, over fences etc. With a wrist rocket slingshot, I can plant seed balls hundreds of feet up a steep hill or sideways.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            +100 the guerilla gardening!
            Weed Culture further invades the Nous Americana!
            for the garden, umbelliferae are the go-to “good bug” attractors.

            and glass jars are best for collecting(and storing)…altho i understand that not everyone is(or can be) a compulsive jar-collector like me.
            I only collect seeds when it’s dry, unless it’s for immediate dispersal.
            it’s also helpful to remember that when wild seeds are “ready”—they detach more readily, for instance—that’s the exact time that they’re trying to plant themselves….so it’s best, if possible, to imitate that.

      2. polecat

        I have an issue re. the whole native vs ornamental uses of plant materials in one’s purview. The author insinuates that ornaments bad !!! .. Natives Only !! Good ! I’m sorry, but we don’t live in that world, well most of us anyway .. not for about 12,000 yrs., or more. Many of those ‘ornamentals’, not a few of which are Also food and forage species, have developed side by side with human evolutionary, as well as cultural developement for millennia … Lastly, many ornamentals are draws for a whole host of pollinators, as well as other beneficials. Granted, there are biota that, through evolutionary pressures, developed to co-exist in narrow niche enviroments, but there are, I would posit, many others that no doubt cross over from one type of plant community, to other types, even though they’re non-native. A personal example : Lithiodora sp. Growing profusely in our surrounds, and, when in bloom … which is over 2 long intervals between Spring and Fall …. attracts sooo many Bumble Bees (several species of Bombus) as to lose count !! Same with the blueberries, or leeks !!
        Our raspberries and blackberries attract blue an green orchard bees … many herb attract wasps, serphid flies, beetles, hemipteras (true bugs), lepidopteras .. just to name a few ..
        If it weren’t for ornamenals, (and I use that trem rather loosely) and mankind’s mendellinian alchemy … that nice juicey apple in your hominid hand would most as likey be a crabapple … not to malign crabapples, mind you. We have some natives (for our region), and appreciate their attributes, in their own ways, too, as well as the native “barrowed scenery” that grow adjacent to our lot, such as the vine maples, huckleberry, or the oceanspray (Holodiscus) that, when in full bloom, is so brimming is various bee/fly species as to sound like a kind of subdued honeybee hive.

        1. Harold

          I agree with Polecat about ornament. There is room for both natives and ornamentals in our gardens. The most harmful non-native is probably lawn grass ,which is native to Europe and the Middle East, still I don’t see what is wrong with a small lawn for play or walking barefoot but there should be meadows, too.

          As far as attracting insect life. Besides flowers for pollinators, they also need places to hibernate undisturbed and lay their eggs, such as leaf litter and tree bark. Also, nature is not benign. Raspberry bushes attract chiggers (and probably bears.) Humans are justified in taking certain defensive measures.

        2. Sanxi

          Well I come from along line of gardeners. Have to say that if you know what your doing, I don’t see a problem. From my perspective, I like using native plants, which I define as any in North America. Then as a second principle are unusual color combinations. Third, all done in whatever micro climates I have to work with. Fourth, those climates have changed quite a bit in 40 years. Plenty of bees, butterflies, snakes, voles and moles. But then I know what to plant to keep them happy.

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          aye. we’ve already had a profound effect in homogenising the biosphere…is water hycinth not unlike a mcdonalds in every town?
          how far does anyone hafta go to obtain boxwood, privet or red tipped photinia? they have become corporate plants….available at yer nearest big box nursery section.
          if i come across a “ferrin” plant somewhere that I really dig, i consider:1. will it take over the world if i take it home with me?
          2. is it useful, in some way(incl. for bees, and such), or just cool to look at/smell/listen to?
          3. will it grow more or less easily where I live?(will the Lares accept it?)
          I wasn’t always so picky, mind you…25 years ago, i took what was available at the feed store or wherever…including things like bermuda grass, which I abjectly regret…

    1. Huey Long


      This was predicted in the game Sim City 2. “Microwave powerplants” didn’t cause air pollution, but one did run the risk of the microwave beam missing the receiving dish and setting the surrounding buildings ablaze

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I remember that story – years ago I read an analysis of this in the long defunct Omni magazine. It did point out that the use of microwaves to transmit the electricity was both viable, and potentially a very dangerous weapon. It would take microseconds to direct the microwaves to somewhere other than the receptor point.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Space-based solar? Beaming high-powered microwave beams back to earth? Will they kill anyone or anything which flies through them?

      They could be weaponised through being made aimable to zap-fry any chosen target on earth. We would need a way to shoot that thing down, just in case.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        only silver lining i can see, there, is it will get us into near earth orbit with a will.

  2. Vsy

    No-nothinging Japan’s culture into a parody of itself is hard when there’s just so darned much of it. I sometimes feel like the better part of our contemporary culture consists of half-baked attempts at this.

    Must be frustrating for the powers that be. It can’t be easy trying to front-run a culture that made a TV show whose main character was an Internet meme… in 1983.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    “Who knows what was said about Kaepernick or other players in texts and emails.”

    And who knows the extent of the involvement in the lawsuit of the DoD whose Nuremberg-ish, super-big flag fests with at least four national anthems (but never “This Land” by God) were severely hampered by the protests.

    Re: converting lawns into pollinator-friendly gardens–

    A couple of recommendations:

    Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, H. C. Flores

    Change your landscaping, change your community.

    Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening, Sepp Holzer

    Austrian Alps farmer on permaculture, Jerusalem artichokes and double digging.

    Convert Your Lawn to a No-Till Permaculture Garden

    Good old Mother Earth News. And a song from one of Lambert’s neighbors, little Tommy Rush from New Hampshire

    1. Seth

      Thank you for the recommendations Henry! I was looking into these exact topics this weekend, I just requested both of these books from my local library

  4. anon in so cal

    Trump and Bolton preparing military strikes on Iran based on the allegation that Iran is linked to Al Queda?


    Does anyone remember when a New York Times reporter alleged that Iran was connected to the 9/11 attacks?

    “The government has agreed to distribute proceeds from the building’s sale, which could bring as much as $1 billion, to the families of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorist attacks, including the Sept. 11 attacks. ”


    1. The Rev Kev

      I remember when Iraq was accused of helping Al Queda before the invasion. It did not matter that the first port of call for a Al Queda member going into Iraq was up against a brick wall, that was one of the many lies that we were told.

  5. dcblogger

    Recently I moved to a new home, this one has a balcony, so I have decided to plant vegetable. I have been researching this and it turns out that there is an entire cottage industry of growing micro greens in your apartment. I am advised I can make $100,000/year doing this. (There is also at least on video advising me that I can lose everything once mold takes over my micro green farm.) It occurred to me that the real money is in selling to micro green farmers. It also occured to me that this is an indicator of economic collapse. When everything else fails, try farming.

    1. ambrit

      Good point, but, essentially, when everything collapses, farming will be unavoidable. Grow food or die.

      1. polecat

        That’s what mirco-farmworker backyard chicken whisperer, bee-tenderer polecat does … Gotta say, it be hella work indeed !! … when the sun shines, and the days are long, anyway … And ta think I only get paid in fruit .. and vegies ..and eggs .. and …… sometime lots of honey !!! … as well as inadvertent fauna, and volunteer flora …. and always, always … pieces of mind !
        So when the machines grind to a halt … and the Quatloos are found worthless, hopefully I’ll still be that unpaid landhand steward ….

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          you and me both!
          we’re the monasteries…museum pieces, that teach and preserve.
          almost sounds like a further justification for UBI….
          I can make soap(after making my own lye water)(altho i don’t make a practice of it(cost benefit))
          i can build a fire in a lake.
          cook a running dog.
          and walk by and get it done.
          plumber electrician architect chief ecologist(in the broadest sense imaginable) druid
          turns out that this is much the way my great grandad lived, and my grandad grew up.
          one expects to find a shrine to Wendell Berry tucked in among the nasturtiums and sprangletop.
          “I’m with you in Rockland”, Polecat.

        2. Nancy E. Sutton

          Three words (to live by – in temperate climates).. spuds & cole crops (they grow themselves, and store over the winter) and poultry… very hardy and self sufficient, especially ducks. (I know about the Irish, so get a few varieties!!)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Um, $100,000 seems high. Remember the only people who made money in the gold rush were the people who sold the picks and shovels and pans and over-alls….

      I think gardening is a good thing in itself. I would be more modest, and try growing things that you will eat and/or your neighbors will like. Also, soil is very important. I’m not sure about how to get good soil in a balcony environment. Perhaps readers could help.

      Also, try to avoid Big Box stores, especially for plants, for which they are disease vectors.

      1. dcblogger

        micro greens for profit strikes me as yet another scam. that is why I mean it is an indicated of collapse. when you can no longer flip houses, you try micro greens.

        Growing spinach so I can get some fresh every day without going to the store seems more manageable.

      2. steve

        It would be well advised to use either premixed commercial potting soil/mix or a DIY version of potting mix for any container gardening, especially for someone making a first go at container gardening.

        “Soil”, as in going out and digging some from the field, is not generally a good idea for container gardening (notable exceptions exist!). It is heavy ~75-80 lb/sq ft compared to 5-15 lb/sq ft, contains unwanted soil life and bugs and possibly herbicides and pesticides or other toxic chemicals.

        Sunlight is key, the orientation and elevation of the balcony is important, this along with your local climate will dictate which plants can be successfully grown there.

        If you catch the bug for gardening you will soon begin thinking about starting your own seed. It’s cheaper in the long run, your choices are far greater and after the great collapse it will be your only choice. Good Luck!

        1. dcblogger

          I am going with potting soil, because in addition to everything else I suspect that DC soil is contaminated with all manner of industrial pollutants.

    3. Janie

      You may be able to find a plot in a community garden near you. It’s a good way to meet more experienced gardeners and to swap seeds and surpluses.

    4. johnnygl

      I think you’re misreading a bit. This is the nature of clickbait driven media….content creators are driven to do this sort of thing by the way the platform oligarchy has written algos to sell ads and keep the eyeballs glued to the screen. It’s not exclusive to gardening/farming…far from it. You can find tons of videos telling you how to making a business for yourself in stocks, currencies, real estate, poker, or any number of things.

      There’s a lot of good stuff on platforms like youtube, but for those content creators trying to make an income stream out of it, there’s pressure to constantly do lots of videos, short ones, speeded up or cut into highlights.

      Urban farmer curtis stone did a video where he explained how he was being pulled in a direction he didn’t want to go. He’s a good example because he has pretty good content around gardening, but explained how he feels pressured to feed the beast that is youtube.

      Also, i’m not sure the game is in selling picks and shovels to prospectors, but in getting eyeballs to watch the sales pitch to sell the picks and shovels. I think it’s all more performance art, rather than scam, though some of the less scrupulous ones are always pushing product.

  6. taunger

    Philosophy Matters has much more than puns. In fact, I’d say it is a good equivalent to the no-nonsense, straight talking we get here, but limited to philosophy. It’s run by a longtime friend, and it is great to see some cross promotion amongst some of my favorite online resources!

  7. Big River Bandido

    I clicked on the Twitter link for “nihilism soap”…and before it would upload the picture, this message displayed:

    This media may contain sensitive material. Learn more.

    The Blob really is thin-skinned.

      1. Lunker Walleye

        My friend recently gave me Existentialist Gum. The package slogan is “Hell is other people.”

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      And ‘learn more’ is just a narc box with a brick wall of inscrutable legalese. Silicon Valley, as with Redmond before, are terrible at keeping the brute force reality of their corporate culture concealed from the consumer experience of their product.

      And wow, I mean how the heck do you trigger a nihilist?

    2. Sanxi

      Well I come from along line of gardeners. Have to say that if you know what your doing, I don’t see a problem. From my perspective, I like using native plants, which I define as any in North America. Then as a second principle are unusual color combinations. Third, all done in whatever micro climates I have to work with. Fourth, those climates have changed quite a bit in 40 years. Plenty of bees, butterflies, snakes, voles and moles. But then I know what to plant to keep them happy.

  8. ambrit

    I like the ‘Nihilism soap.’
    The problem with it as a business model is that it would seem to be on a steeply descending sales curve.

  9. Matthew G. Saroff

    To be fair, New York didn’t, “Kick then out.”

    Amazon probably still could have gotten the deal, they would just have had to pretend to listen to people saying bad things about them, so they threw a tantrum.

        1. bassmule

          It was a strategic withdrawal because the “political climate changed” and somehow that has nothing to do with “progressives or the Anti-ICE lefties”? Nonsense. Barry is often right, but this time he’s not even close.

          1. Yves Smith

            Agreed. This is silly Amazon PR even if Barry has convinced himself of what he’s selling.

            There is a ritual in NYC development deals, and this was a development deal. You have to go before various community groups. If there is serious pushback, you need to sweeten the deal.

            Amazon didn’t want to negotiate. As I described long form in my post, Amazon is used to getting its own way. It does not fit its self image to have to bend to anyone.

            1. Kevin

              “Amazon is used to getting its own way.”

              reminds me of a certain president. Must be something in the water these days….

  10. Louis Fyne

    —While proposing new legislation on vaccines in the midst of a measles outbreak might seem like a good idea because it is timely and relevant—

    this might be a politically incorrect comment, but does anyone know what percentage of measles outbreaks are due to native anti-vaxxers and what percent are from tourists or migrant populations who were never vaccinated in the first place? (or are all newcomers/tourists required to get vaccinated?)

    I never hear such info in the news coverage of any measles outbreak. Just wondering cuz of my total ignorance.

    1. marym

      Vaccination requirements for immigrants: (Link)

      Currently no vaccination requirements for tourists (Link)

      News: (Link)

      “What we’ve seen is, as over the last few years, a small but growing number of people have not been vaccinated. That number is building up among young adults in society, and that makes us vulnerable,” [CDC Director Tom] Frieden said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “We have to make sure that measles doesn’t get a foothold in the U.S. It’s been actually eliminated from this country for 15 years. All of our cases result, ultimately, from individuals who have traveled and brought it back here.”

    2. Summer

      And I think the “anti-vax” deignation is a small percentage of people. Some aren’t anti-vax, but are very specific about the vacinnations they’ll take a pass on and for many different reasons.

      1. Mark Keller

        Agreed. I was vaccinated years ago for a number of things and never had a bad reaction. However, the actual science concerning many of the current vaccines actually argue against their safety, without even considering ten of thousands of parents who have witnessed their children’s decline after having them administered to them. The top of the danger list is the MMR vaccine, which is why the resistance is heavily focused there. Realize this: the most ardent opponents of this and other current vaccines are the parents of damaged children, not some weird fringe group.

  11. DJG

    Why don’t we classify the Mississippi and Missouri rivers as scenic? Ha ha, only serious!

    Well, have you ever driven along the Mississippi near the Palisades–from Savanna to East Dubuque and beyond? Gorgeous.

      1. Shonde

        Yeh, gotta keep those rivers commercial so Con-Agra etc can run those grain barges up and down the river after the taxpayers have paid for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain it for them. More corporate welfare.

        1. taunger

          maintaining shipping lanes aint’t so bad, allowing ridiculous profit off a public way is! get those corporate tax rates and income margin rates up!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Damn Joe is just racking up those high profile endorsements. Will David Duke weigh in next?

      Is “Uncle Joe” the guy who makes everyone uncomfortable at Thanksgiving with his views?

    2. neo-realist

      The Trump camp also pushed the notion that Biden would be the toughest candidate to beat. But imo, that was okie doke on his part for he really believes that Biden would be the weakest one; He would be the weakest campaigner for sure, and wants the dems to make the foolhardy mistake of nominating him.

      Trump came after Warren with the Native American slurs to degrade her potential candidacy because he believes she may be one of the more formidable candidates with her positions on the markets and American consumers.

      1. richard

        yeah, trump was pushing pelosi for speaker as well.
        No surprise…
        I hear he likes randall “tex” cobb a lot as well

        let’s not let him pick his opponent, okay?
        that kind of backfired when we let hillary do it

    3. polecat

      Well, Lotts a luck with That strategy, Trent Old Boy.

      What • An • Idiot !

      They’re Both a part of the Purple Penury Party .. It’s motto: “Here’s your manicles, hope you like em !”

  12. diptherio

    Thought people would be interested in this:

    In this chapter, Razeto introduces the first solidarity economy road, which starts with the self-organized economic activities of people living in poverty, on the margins of the dominant economy. After describing the reality of poverty and marginalization, Razeto defines the term “popular economy,” traces its structural causes, and explains its relation to solidarity economy.


    1. Tom Stone

      I spoke to a lifelong Democrat ( Also lesbian, retired and barely getting by) today.
      She’s a big fan of Maddow and a whole hearted supporter of Kamala Harris.
      She is very bitter about Sanders and his supporters sabotaging HRC’s campaign and blames them for her loss.
      Along with the “Russian Influence”, which almost goes without saying.
      it was a disheartening conversation.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        I’ve met a lot of people who are still diehard HRC supporters, even in 2019. They find Bernie too extreme. Better Beto than Bernie.

      2. Octopii

        This blog seems blind to it, but there is a hella lot of residual anger toward Bernie. I supported his campaign financially (repeatedly), worked the phones and texts, and generally evangelized his message in 2015/2016. This year I will not. His efforts would be more productively spent guiding the younger generation, as he has been doing with amazing results. Announcing his candidacy just reminds all the Hillary people how pissed off they were, and whoever gets the nomination is going to need those people like it or not. Until the electoral college is gone and this country has ranked choice voting nationwide, there will never be room for a third party either officially or embodied in a subversive candidate.

        1. Yves Smith

          I am sure Bernie welcomes their hatred.

          Hillary has no one but herself to blame for her loss. Bernie did not make her make her “deplorables” remark. Bernie did not make her set up a home e-mail server while she was at State, and even treated the topic as off limits in the debate. Bernie did not make Hillary give speeches to Goldman Sachs at $325,000 a pop and then compound the problem by refusing to release her transcripts. Bernie did not make Hillary make her “superpredators” slur as First Lady, and then refuse to recant it during her campaign when she was called out on it. Bernie did not (as Donna Brazile describes long form in her book) make Hillary listen to Robbie Mook and ignore the persistent pleas of operatives to make personal appearances in Michigan and Wisconsin. Bernie did not make Hillary make only ~70 campaign stops after Labor Day when Trump made over 105. Hillary raised twice as much as Trump did and couldn’t beat him because she was a terrible candidate whose pitch boiled down to “I deserve to be President.”

          Bernie lived up to his part of the deal. He endorsed Hillary. He even made statements on her behalf. He didn’t do much in the way of campaigning for her because she didn’t want it. I believe this was hubris and Hillary not wanting to owe Bernie something that she’d have to pay back when in office. The Hillary whiners have zero valid basis for their ire, but they’ll blame anything but the real person responsible for the loss, which is Hillary herself.

          Americans do not like sore losers and Hillary is the epitome of a sore loser. No one but her base buys her crap. Her voters are dying and getting Alzheimers while more and more young people are coming of voting age, and they are very receptive to his message.

          The electoral college is not going to be gone, ever. You say you understand politics? You need to bone up on what it takes to get the Constitution amended. Women couldn’t get an equal rights amendment passed in the era of Peak Feminism. You are really off base to be pissed at Bernie for not wasting his energy on unproductive targets. And I doubt you have as many fellow travelers as you claim you do.

          1. Octopii

            Never is exactly my point. It’s not going to happen, the guy’s too old and too polarizing in the wrong direction for the American “left.” I’m not saying anything positive about HRC here and I didn’t vote for her (ever). I’m saying that her supporters blame Bernie for her loss, and are still pissed about it. I guess we’ll all see how big that bloc is in the next year or so.

            1. Darius

              So what then? Kamala Harris? Any of the Democrats other than Bernie would be followed by a Bolsonaro or Duterte.

            2. Yves Smith

              Huh? What I wrote shows that Hillary is polarizing. Your remark is sheer projection.

              Sanders is far and away the most popular politician in America, which directly contradicts your assertion.

              Moreover, Hillary is not “left” as Thomas Frank has explained long form.

              And Sanders is not too old. He looks terrific and is in great shape.

              No one says Bloomberg, who is the same age, is too old, nor does anyone say Biden, who is only one year younger, is too old. This again is trumped up.

            3. drumlin woodchuckles

              If Sanders can win the nomination and all the millions of Jonestown Clinties either “don’t vote” for Sanders . . . or even vote for Trump just to make sure of defeating Sanders . . . then let them do so. Let them do it in public so everyone else can smell them for what they truly are.

              1. Skip Intro

                They already did it in 2008. The Pumas’ revenge was statistically demonstrated. The smell was strong on them in 2016 already, now with Trump on their conscience, their cognitive dissonance and the violent reactions to reality that it causes, they will be even more dangerous and deranged.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  I agree. I will claim to have written that myself in past comments. The millions and millions of Clintonites have made themselves execrable and despicable. And they are irredeemable. They will never change. Never Ever.

                  They will remain a deadly threat and a menace to American political society for as long as they live.

            4. bob

              “I guess we’ll all see how big that bloc is in the next year or so.”

              Not big enough to get Hillary elected, or even to get Hillary the majority of the votes of white women.

              The ‘hardcore’ of this cohort are all keyboard revolutionaries- taking time away from their non-profit non-jobs to never stop posting in their twitter echo chambers.

              They can get with the program or get the hell out of the way. Losing is no longer an option.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                There are millions of them. If we can get Sanders nominated, they will conspire their hardest to get Sanders defeated. We should expect that from them in advance.

                1. bob

                  ….and because we should expect that, we should immediately retreat and offer to give back half of what we were asking for, in the name of bi-partisanship

          2. Hopelb

            I love you Yves! Great synopsis. Here in Pittsburgh,Pa everyone I know who has a good job/ education is a Hillbot/Russiaphobe/Obama fan. (You should have heard the lead professor of microbiology going on about Michele Obama’s book. It seems simply Everyone Must read it.) This is why I fear that commenter may be right (Thomas Frank’s top 20 percent VOTE), the historic (majority) of non-voters need to register,vote Bernie, and have their vote counted. With only twelve years left to right this ship, this looks like our last chance. We have to utterly overwhelm them and put into place vote verification.
            I hope and pray you are right!

          3. Higgs Boson


            Like Octopii, I also did grunt work on behalf of the Sanders campaign. I am sure the Democratic party will screw him over again. But I’m glad he’s running. I will again make regular contributions and canvass neighborhoods and make phone calls. I think he continues to pave the way for a new generation of inspiring politicians. Would AOC have gotten into Congress if Bernie hadn’t run last time?

            There is a wasteland of progressive politicians in the age group ranging from late 40s to early 70s. They’re all centrist neoliberal hacks. Win or lose, if Sanders continues to get more young people into the political fray, it’s better for all of us.

        2. Skip Intro

          I’m shocked, SHOCKED! to read another post from a ‘former Bernie supporter’ who has seen the light. I bet we’ll be seeing these even more regularly. Say hi to David Brock for me.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The comments BTL in the Guardian article on Bernies announcement was telling. Previously articles on Bernie were full of intelligent commentators and Bernie supporters, with the occasional (very obvious) Hilbot. But within minutes the G article was packed with both right wing trolls and very obvious Dem concern trolling. It was all far too fast and too organised to be a coincidence or a genuine sign of a change of mood.

            The attacks on Sanders are going to be absolutely relentless now they know how big a threat they are. Its really disappointing to me to see progressives here join in the attacks, even unwittingly. He isn’t perfect by any means, but anyone who thinks there is a realistic alternative to him is completely delusional. Basically, its Bernie, Trump, or a corporate Dem. Make your choice.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          The Bernie haters are vociferous, especially on Twitter (and some are no doubt funded) but I don’t think the “NeverBernie” cohort is numerically significant (IIRC 8% of Democrat voters, Democrats themselves being a fraction of the electorate). I would put them in the same bucket at post-2008 PUMAs, irredentists who also had vanishingly little influence on the direction of the party. In any case, nothing Sanders does will ever satisfy this cohort, so why listen to them or dignify their complaints with responses? Especially given their poor political judgement and farcically bad performance in 2016 and after?

          NOTE: The “I supported Bernie but _____”, and “I supported Bernie until ____” tropes were ubiquitous in 2016, emanating in the main from Brock’s million-dollar trolls. I’m not sure it’s the most effective rhetorical choice, but you do you.

  13. Aubrey McClendon

    Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s longitudinal and girth welds mixed DC & AC passes; basically a novel procedure, necessitated by the ancient cage-weld mill running very heavy wall, high yield/ UTS Korean plate, while welders, many neophytes, were replacing the usual experienced union girth welders on short notice. The Columbia Gas line that exploded immediately after installation was their first order utilizing these parameters & consumables. Lots of this going on, recently.

      1. Aubrey McClendon

        Saw right THROUGH me? PHMSA just attributes the explosions to “subsidence!” It’s like hitting your head against a wall?

  14. Quanka

    Grassman here – thanks for the link Lambert, this is good. Although titles of articles often suck the title of this one is my 2019 mantra (slow and steady wins the race). There is more conversion of rural farm land from mono-crop to native grasses than is commonly covered in the news, so good to see this picking up notice.

    1. Quanka

      And to repeat what I’ve said before. Trees and grasses have fundamentally different physiological relationships with the soil. As result, grasses transfer or drive carbon into the soil where its used by microbes. Trees, by contrast, store a majority of carbon in the trunks and stems. When the tree is burned, the carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Grasses are capable of driving carbon into the soil pretty much year round (except in northern latitudes with significant snow cover).

  15. Carey

    Regarding the California Dem Primary 2020, they’ll have to steal it, again.
    No one knows who Harris is; everyone know Sanders, and remembers
    the 2016 theft, when HRC couldn’t put 500 people together without
    paying them, while Sanders drew crowds of up to 30,000.

    It’ll be interesting.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It seems unlikely to me that nobody knows who their US Senator is, even in a very large state like California, and the Democrat Establishment and the press are solidly behind Harris, which matters in California, where retail politics is very difficult.

      It will take a great deal of hard work by the Sanders movement, if we may so classify his campaign, to overcome that. That means money, canvassing, staffing, and organization. (And it may require an attitude by Sanders volunteers/activists that “Every French soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his knapsack,” given that Sanders may well have difficulty recruiting staffers who are into resumé-enhancing (some percentage of which are certain to be moles (treachery)). We shall see!

      1. jrs

        Especially as people voted for Harris for Senator, real recently actually, but now they’ve all developed amnesia? (granted not everyone bothers to vote for Senator). Now she hasn’t been Senator long, nor of course done anything much as Senator, and it was a bit dirty to run for Senator as a mere bid for the Presidency, kind of a betrayal of CA in my view (we are huge in our own right, and not just a stepping stone). The rest of the country may not know Harris is.

        Yes the press is big in pushing candidates in CA, and the other thing is CA isn’t that left and often IS more interested in identity politics. So yea it takes work, mostly getting out the vote of those who would vote for Sanders.

        1. Anon in So Cal

          It will be interesting to see what develops and what kind of support Sanders gets, especially in California. It triggers memories of canvassing for Bernie in the greater Los Angeles area. He had a lot of fervent supporters and canvassers back then, including moi.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Do they care is more relevant? The other issue is what was the draw of HRC for an individual supporter. The Clintonistas ran two campaigns: one, to win the White Flight Republicans but the other was to assure everyone HRC was a secret liberal.

          If you believe HRC is a secret liberal or not that different from Sanders, voting for Sanders doesn’t make that much sense. If HRC is just a name, you might look at the record and come to a different conclusion. Harris might start calling herself California’s Abuela in the near future, but she wasn’t the co-President and announce the co-Presidency on GMA in 1992 (sorry, but this will always be awesome) and never will be.

          Or the narrative of HRC knowing how to win or having access to the Clinton Political Dream Team. These two narratives always struck me necessary to the HRC candidacy. Without her supporters scatter if they even care.

      2. Carey

        Harris is one-third of her way through her first term in a one-party state where she
        beat another no-name (with the help of the Smart Money) to take Boxer’s vacated
        seat. No, no one knows her. IdPol, a few photo ops, and friends in high places
        are the reasons she’s now a Senator, not in that order; prior to that, she’s best
        known for not prosecuting Mnunchin’s bank, and for jailing parents of truant
        children, as AG. Her base of organic support is tiny, IMO.

        Agreed that Establishment Dem and mainstream press support weigh heavily.

      3. Stillfeelinthebern

        Starting in the summer of 2017, I participated in a program in WI canvassing voters pretty much getting ready for Sen Tammy Baldwin’s 2018 campaign. I was very surprised that many did not know who she was or anything she stood for. 25% -30% and I was worried.

        We asked them about issues (#1 health care) and their elected representatives. Asked them to rank the electeds on a scale of 1-10. Many of the people wanted to talk about the 2016 election. I met people who voted for Bernie in the primary and voted BOB (big orange baby) in the fall. Really an eye opener.

        I did look at polls at that time and found other US Senators with a similiar number of people who could not identify them.

        Tammy Baldwin ran a very smart, steady campaign. This is always her style, focus on doing things for people. With the power of the Repubs in Wisconsin, one could be very worried, but steady consistent positive message works. I only saw her get a bit negative once with her opponent during a debate. She had a very bad cold at the time.

        It is all about the organizing. Almost all the people who participated in the 2017 effort in my area were Bernie supporters. Motivated folks, who stick to it. I’m encouraged.

    2. Darthbobber

      This underestimates the opponent significantly, I think. Harris will have to be beaten, and in California it won’t be that easy. I can easily see a California result in which whoever wins gets not that large of a delegate boost, given that it’s not winner take all.

      If she does anything but win convincingly there, I do think she has big problems at that point.

      1. Carey

        What will be Harris’s rallying cry? For what does she stand, to whose benefit?

        “I’m a woman of color: love me love me love me”?

        I just don’t see it working in 2020, but maybe I’m wrong.
        Wonder if there will again be no exit polling, natch.

      2. Phenix

        Her purpose is to prevent Bernie from reaching a majority of delegates. I’ll be shocked if she can honestly compete in the South.

        I can not fathom a pro drug war DA surviving in this political climate. Or a feminist that used sexual favors with a senior citizen to manage Twitter
        outrage. It won’t play in Suburban Philly. That is Booker’s job.

      3. Utah

        This is true unless California has, like most other states, a 15% rule. If you don’t get 15% of the vote, you don’t get delegates. This is how Bernie could win more delegates, even in a huge field. Vote splitting among candidates who don’t make the threshold, while Bernie does. We’ll see if any state Dem parties change that rule before the election, of course.

  16. Kurtismayfield

    RE: Mortgage rates and housing market.

    Is this the point where you spot a bubble, that if mortgage rates go up a little bit (1%) then the buyers dry up? Prices here have hit the point of “You have to be kidding” reactions..

    1. Synoia

      It’s at the point where the buyers, whose purchasing power is limited by their loan, hate everything they see.

      In general it is a version of “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

      I’ve strongly discouraged Male buyers to buy a home the wife has not seen. Make a short list? Fine. Make the buying decision – not a good move.

    2. Octopii

      House down the street went on the market Friday, had open houses Sat and Sun, tonight has “under contract” on the yard sign. Nearly 3/4 mil for a 1940s working class rowhouse, in the off-season doldrums.

  17. Miles Teg aka Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Re Dune

    Denis Villenious? Is directing the new Dune movie coming out winter 2020.

    I hope he shows the gigantic and unlimited scope of Herberts ideas and physical structures making up the Dune universe.

    Lambert, as usual, best blogger on the Web!

    Sorry, Yves :)

    Lambert affiliates himself with Dune more.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      To be fair to Yves, and despite the “:-)”, I don’t do genuine reporting. I’m certainly not going to get people fired at CalPERS any time soon! Which means, I suppose, I’m fully qualified to go to work for CNN, or FOX…

    2. Plenue

      I’m hoping his movie gets the sequels. There are apparently a lot of people who hold that Dune gets worse with each additional installment, but continue to love the original and just consider it in isolation. Which means they rather miss the entire point. Dune shouldn’t be viewed as just another heroes journey adventure story; instead it’s a deconstruction of that genre. Paul Atreides is actually a terrible person who knowingly unleashes a jihad that kills billions just to get revenge for his family.

        1. Plenue


          Jodorowsky is a really awful man, who thinks nothing of hurting people for the sake of his art.

          He also had zero respect for the source material, which he never even bothered to read. He was downright gleeful about at the prospect of ‘raping’ Herbert’s work, and it looked like he was going to make the same mistake that the Lynch film ended up doing by actually making Paul into a magical messiah figure. Jodorowsky’s vision of Dune wasn’t Dune; it was just another vehicle for him to masturbate his ego with.

          At least we got Alien out of the whole affair, so it was probably worth it.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            More comments like this!

            I knew something fishy is up with Jodorowsky. The Holy Mountain is one of those new age 70s marahajah guru flicks. Def taken too much acid!

            I like to think when the time comes ill be able to stay on the Golden Path and do what must be done like Leto Ii. Also its a tragedy what happened to Alia.

            And the memories within memories all the way back to Agamemnon. They should start the movie like that and then say 10,000 years later!

    3. Yves Smith

      Hey, I love Dune and have read it many times (and all the sequels at least 2x even though I am not keen about them and even the generally bad prequels). But Lambert comes from a VERY long line of ministers, and so has a memory for quotes that beats mine hands down. Does this with a lot more than Dune, you are missing that this is a talent of his.

      Lambert is also much better at Snark of the Day than I am.

    1. Annotherone

      Indeed! Staying on the fictional side for a mo – last evening we watched some episodes of season 4 of “Poldark” on DVD. Ross Poldark takes a seat in Westminster. In one of his speeches he is declaring an 18th century British version of what Bernie Sanders is saying to the people of the USA in 2019! Poldark was campaigning to abolish the poorhouses, child labour, and rampant starvation due to cost of food/grain. We’ve moved on a little, but history still rhymes, even across the Atlantic.

      1. VietnamVet

        History rhymes. But, also, I suspect that Poldark’s screenwriters are sneaking England’s current political and economic problems into the scripts that are mightily ignored by Fleet Street’s successor Media Moguls.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Have u seen Peaky Blinders? They introduced a Communist character and for thats the first time i had seen a decent portrayal of a Communist in a TV Series. In the end i think the Communist ends up compromising on her Marxism. Oh well.

          Poldark is good but i stopped watching after like 5 episodes. Im tired of that genre i guess. Unless its like Taboo, a gritty Tom Hardy show on FX!

  18. ACF

    Sanders v. Harris

    I think CA is not a lock for Harris. Harris has the prosecutor’s history, and even worse, Mnuchin/foreclosures. And racism and sexism work against her. She she’s been elected statewide, but this is head to head v. Bernie. Trump’s domination of the R side might reflect a deep desire for blowing up the pro-corporate, pro-war/interventionist status quo Clinton started in ’92. Last, it’s pretty easy to vote in California, which leans to grassroots turn out. And the nurses union will surely side with him. Not saying it’s a lock for Bernie, but I don’t think Harris will dominate. And delegates are awarded proportionately.

    I agree Bush was an order of magnitude worse. Iraq War worst Pres. decision of my life time. Based on lies, in order to secure oil supply. Blew up the Middle East. Involved war crimes and constitutional violations.

    Bush v. Gore (and the Florida and National D’s failure to deal with voter purges and badly designed ballots) was far more consequential than any Russian participation in 2016. Not only was the action direct and substantial, the consequences were worse: we didn’t start tackling climate change, instead building in an at least 20 year delay; and we invaded Iraq per the above.

    Trump hasn’t come within an order of magnitude, if this Emergency Declaration is resolved appropriately. The Emergency Declaration–a PR stunt aimed only at his base–is blatantly unconstitutional. Imagine what it would mean if the President–any President–could just decide to ignore a law s/he signed and spend money in a manner different than Congress dictated. That’s Constitutionally crazy. And Congress are recreants if 2/3 of them can’t quickly stand up and say so without waiting for the Courts. This should be smacked down hard and fast.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t believe Harris will be “alive” in the nomination part to carry CA. She’s obnoxious and phony and unlike Trump not that entertaining. She’ll face withering fire from the other candidates and will like Jeb before here expire during the debates. I fear Klobuchar more than anyone. She comes off as reasonable, moderate, clever, and a true corporate Democrat and thus loved by the media. She’s solid, tough, and will come off as the “adult in the room” during the debates. Just my impression. Harris comes off as very insincere Senator K is insincere but is much slicker than Harris.

      1. neo-realist

        Klobuchar would be an excellent running mate for Sanders vis-a-vis competing in the battleground states in the general, but I don’t think she’d give up her corporatism to satisfy a Sanders ticket.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Klobuchar would be a terrible running mate as it would make Sanders look like a fraud, and that whole state balance thing is past. Texas-Wyoming beat Tennessee-Connecticut and Massachusetts-North Carolina. When Jim Crow was a going concern, the state balance kind of mattered and for the disbursement of patronage jobs. The VP is just a random idiot except maybe Cheney and 41. Pence, Biden, Gore, Quayle…eesh.

          Except for the constitutional requirement, no one cares.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Sanders/Klobuchar would seem somewhat like McGovern/Eagleton. It would mark the self-McGovernization of Sanders. Hopefully Sanders has better sense and also a mean streak where appropriate.

          Sanders/Gabbard might be inspiring.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Like Harris, Klochubar is a career prosecutor and a dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal.

        I suppose the DNC figured Klobuchar would be an acceptable stand-in for Cheri Bustos, the only other “House Liberal” they have in the Midwest. The smell of desperation is really quite overwhelming.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe Harris is not so bad as an Obama. If that had been Obama in that picture with the sauce bottle, you would have noticed his finger placed over the spout of the bottle (thinking of the Flint water glass here).

    3. Yves Smith

      I agree that Harris will wear badly with more exposure. She comes off as a mediocre actress trying way too hard to land a big part. And this pandering to African American is also na ga work. Yes, blacks in America have it rough, but a pretty fair skinned half Jamaican who grew up in CA playing jive? Really? Lambert thinks the church ladies in the South will come out for her, but I think a lot will stay home. Would love a reading from Southerners, though (Birmingham is a post Civil War town, dominated by the medical industry now, and so a poor proxy).

  19. Carolinian

    Let’s just hope Big Ag doesn’t do for regenerative agriculture what it did for “organic farming.

    Over to you H.L.Mencken


    Not that I agree of course, coming from a line of farmers and (urban, my mother version) gardeners. But it could be that the desire by farmers to maximize yields rather than organically regenerate is also part of the problem–not just Big Ag.

    1. Lee

      The dictatorship of market driven short-termism.

      Last time I read a peer reviewed paper on the topic, some years ago, the rate of return for the conventional farmer was $4 for every $1 spent. Here and there in CA, integrated pest management, largely based on entomological research into the life cycles of pest species and the introduction of certain methods and insect predators, has been able in some instances to reduce chemical pesticide use by 75%.

      One obstacle to the research and development of methods offering alternatives to using pesticides and other inputs, is lack of funding and capital investment because these alternatives often do not involve the development of a product that can patented or otherwise generate profits for Wall Street. Finance capital is killing us; most farmers are just trying to stay alive.

      1. Lee

        the rate of return for the conventional farmer was $4 for every $1 spent

        Should read: the rate of return for the conventional farmer was $4 for every $1 spent on pesticides.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Charles Walters (and others at times perhaps) had written fairly extensively on how the urban-based governing establishment felt there were too many farmers in America farming too little land per farmer. They estimated the “parity support” price steadily down in order to force farm-goods prices down. They permitted foreign food imports so as to drive price structures downward.

      Farmers who believed or might have been brought to believe in organically regenerating their land were carefully driven out of farming and off the land altogether. The farmers who believed in maximizing production were the farmers who were left and mostly are left in existence today.

      There are farmers here and there who would prefer to regenerate the land. If they have to spend more and work more to do that, will they have customers who are willing to pay more for their food in order to support their efforts? And if there are farmers who are growing food more dense and rich in various minerals, vitamins, protein, etc than the mainstream food average, are there people ready to pay a higher price for that food out of respect for the higher quality in that food?

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Wendell Berry was taking on Earl Butz on this back in the 70s. Berry also argued that one of the effects of our system was to make us essentially helpless, no longer skilled at growing, storing or even cooking food.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Some decades ago I read the transcript of a public debate before an audience between Wendell Berry and Earl Butz. I found myself still supporting Berry’s view of agriculture’s problems against Butz’s. But I found Butz more pleasant as a person.

          Berry takes a paragraph to write a sentence, a page to write a paragraph. Butz was much more laconic and few-of-words by comparison. And I really enjoyed what I took to be Butz’s residual culture-German-ness , that cold hard MidWestern bitterness.

      2. Carolinian

        Back when Mencken was writing farming was very much a speculative activity and farmers often just struggling to survive. His criticisms of the gambler mentality involved–call it casino agriculture–were not entirely unwarranted. These days many farms–including that of my grandparents–have been transformed into that other form of speculation: real estate. One shouldn’t overgeneralize but it’s undoubtedly true that many farmers have always viewed the land as something to be used, or used up, rather than conserved. Back in earlier times there was always more land to be had further west.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I read once a book by Curtis Stadtfeld called From The Land And Back. It was basically about farming in his family’s part of Michigan . . . both for his family and for the people in general. Here is the link. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4776082-from-the-land-and-back

          Somewhere towards the start of the book he referrenced a rural sociologist named Sue Jacoby ( I think) who noted a culturally-rooted approach-difference between ” anglo-saxon” culture-ancestry farmers and “german” culture-ancestry farmers. The “Anglo-Saxons” in farming regarded it as a speculative make-money activity, to leave if better opportunities for more money ever appeared away from the farm. Whereas the “Germans” viewed farming as a way of life and were prepared to endure much poverty in order to stay on their farms, living their farming lives.

          The founder of Acres USA, Charles Walters Jr. was one of the AmeriGermans, in his case descended from Volga Germans who moved into far western Kansas. ( I learned from reading Acres USA that the German-Americans referred to President Wilson as “der Schlechte” which I read meant “the Evil” . . . as in ” the Evil” President Wilson. And can anyone honestly say they were wrong?)

  20. ACF

    I think CA not a lock for Harris. Harris has the prosecutor’s history, and even worse, Mnuchin/foreclosures. Plus Trump’s 2016 R primary performance may in part reflect a deep desire to blow the system up. And racism and sexism work against her. I mean, sure, she’s been elected statewide. But this is head to head with Bernie. And delegates are awarded proportionately. In 2016 (and maybe a long time before that, I don’t know), both blanks and Ds could vote in the primary. I don’t know if that will necessarily be true this year. I would hope it would be.

    I agree Bush was an order of magnitude worse. Iraq War worst Pres. decision of my life time. Based on lies, in order to secure oil supply. Blew up the Middle East. Involved war crimes and constitutional violations.

    Bush v. Gore (and the Florida and National D’s failure to deal with voter purges and badly designed ballots) was far more consequential than any Russian participation in 2016. Not only was the action direct and substantial, the consequences were worse: we didn’t start tackling climate change, instead building in an at least 20 year delay; and we invaded Iraq per the above.

    Trump hasn’t come within an order of magnitude, if this Emergency Declaration is resolved appropriately. The Emergency Declaration–a PR stunt aimed only at his base–is blatantly unconstitutional. Imagine what it would mean if the President–any President–could just decide to ignore a law s/he signed and spend money in a manner different than Congress dictated. That’s Constitutionally crazy. And Congress are recreants if 2/3 of them can’t quickly stand up and say so without waiting for the Courts. This should be smacked down hard and fast.

  21. Lee

    I don’t mean to sound heartless, but back in the day I flew across the country reasonably often, and from the air, the concept that we ought to be doing agriculture in the desert is not obvious.

    Do try and keep up with shockingly wrongheaded developments.

    Saudi Hay Farm In Arizona Tests State’s Supply Of Groundwater

    Outside of Phoenix, in the scorching Arizona desert, sits a farm that Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy uses to make hay for cows back home.

    That dairy company, named Almarai, bought the farm last year and has planted thousands of acres of groundwater-guzzling alfalfa to make that hay. Saudi Arabia can’t grow its own hay anymore because those crops drained its own ancient aquifer.

    Reporter Nathan Halverson tells NPR’s Renee Montagne that Almarai bought about 15 square miles in the Arizona desert.

    1. human

      I know of a lot of hay farmers in the northeast who have lost their markets because of the mass demise of small dairy operations. Let’s put buyer and seller together.

      1. Conrad

        Growing fodder for dairy cows in a desert and then transporting it across the Pacific Ocean is an insane waste of resources.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Let’s abolish Free Trade, lets re-protectionise America, let’s ban the import of any dairy product which can be made just-as-well here, and let’s practice supply management such as they have in Canada and we used to have here.

        Then we can slowly restore “smaller” dairy farmers back into existence, should they wish to come back into existence.

  22. Synoia

    This should be smacked down hard and fast.

    True. But is it the best politics? Having it drag out in the courts is better politics in the coming election.

    Please Note: I personally am not close to any such calculation.

    1. ACF

      It’s good politics if you communicate effectively and stand united, bipartisan. That’s what 2/3rds would require. Good policy communicated effectively makes good politics.

      And really, I think most people can be convinced a) there’s no real emergency b) it’s unconstitutional and c) Trump is a bad negotiator and a sore loser who puts his image before the Constitution. But talking only about c) and not taking a stand based on a) and b) undermines c) because if it a) and b) were really true, wouldn’t Congress take more of a stand?

      Second, it’s as cynical to think about “having it drag out in the courts” as being a political plus as it is to declare a national emergency for a pr stunt. Not trying to insult you/accuse you of anything.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        “Drag it through the courts” would allow Trump to run against the evil Democrats who won’t let his base have nice things and Great Walls. The upside might be that “drag it through the Courts” might prevent the most eco-and agri-destructive parts of the wall from getting built. It might also mark beginning a process of bringing Presidential power back under some measure of control.

        When they vote on upholding or down-smacking Trump’s emergency over in the Senate, I hope that Bernie is one of the first Senators to cast a vote. It would give him an opportunity to say ” I vote to uphold Trump’s Emergency Decree so that when I am elected President, I can declare Emergencies of equal Constitutional validity and get my way the way I am voting for Trump to get his way.” That would clarify the issue and might get some Republican Senators to vote against Trump’s Emergency Decree.

        But that would only work if Sanders were among the first Senators to vote.

  23. Tommy S.

    As far as that harisonburg link, any ‘socialists’ that put Lenin on their page are not socialists. And it would be obvious that syndicalists, democratic socialists and the far left anarchist and libertarians would run far away from that group. If that is what is happening. Trots and Leninists and maoists still exist, surprisingly, in this world, despite all the facts of the past 100 years of their mass murder, and destruction of bottom up revolution. The ISO and RCP still get members somehow. And many people that exited talk of it like exiting a cult. Ahistorcial, and completely anti worker democratic. Many DSA chapters are actually attracting anarchists, and syndicalists because they are doing open assembly and mutual aid, and not ‘left baiting’. Anyway, lets be clear about history. This is not ‘left’ against ‘left’ over disagreements. The history is obvious. Trots, leninists, maoists will destroy any bottom up organization, in order to control….and then of course it has no mass support whatsoever. Wrecking indeed. Also, the ISO supported american overthrow of Assad. even with whom they were funding for that …..nice huh?

    1. jrs

      It’s just a bunch of stupid left (twitter at that) infighting against a truly effective organization. Now I’m not saying one has to agree with the DSA on everything, but align with them on issues where one does, it’s a big varied organization. Of piss in the wind for years to come, which is all the left ever seems to do sometimes.

      And the comments: “join the IWW instead”. Sheesh, man, how lame. Now the IWW is great historically and even what remains of it. The IWW is explicitly against wage slavery, you can’t get better principles. It’s active on prison labor etc., it’s good. HOWEVER, it’s a TINY organization with only a few things going on, but the DSA is big and active now. So really …

      And avoiding electoral politics has not done any good. It’s fine to say electoral politics aren’t everything and that most candidates are compromised (so run your own candidates), but avoiding it is only making things worse.

    2. Plenue

      Looks like the people in the Harrisonburg DSA have decided they’re going to give up on effecting any actual change. Good luck, ‘comrades’, I’m sure the international workers rebellion will start any day now!

    3. Massinissa

      And this is why socialists are never able to effectively organize anything. Too busy fighting battles from almost a hundred years ago.

      1. Phenix

        It’s a bunch of college kids. Harrisonburg is home of James Madison U. DSA is populated by college kids from NOVA

        When I was there the war hurt us but we were the first to organize against Afghanistan which was intimidating considering JMU is a MIC school at least the children of MIC employees.

      2. fajensen

        Mustn’t forget the Purity Crusades. Whenever the left achieved critical mass, it immediately fission into several toxic isotopes, which are then dissipating their energy tearing into all the factions over issues that any spectators will see as nothing.

        A toxic side effect of all that dialectics they trained, I suppose.

        The good part is that the alt-right are doing the same.

    4. ChrisPacific

      Agreed. Criticizing the DSA because they ‘divert revolutionary energy into bourgeois electoralism?’ Accompanied by a picture of Lenin?

      If your political philosophy involves violent revolution and the wholesale killing of anyone who disagrees with you, or is a designated Bad Guy according to criteria you define, then you can take a hike as far as I’m concerned. That goes just as much for neo-Leninists as for militaristic capitalists with delusions of empire. They are not socialists, and DSA are well rid of them.

  24. MartyH

    Regenerative Architecture – Old Wines in new bottles. Rodale Institute was on this in the ’70s … if not earlier. Nice little magazine.

  25. Liberal Mole

    I recently moved to California’s central coast and joined up with a Sanders/Medicare f All group. One of the first things that was pushed was voting for a progressive slate of representatives for the county (who go on to vote for party chair, etc.) I saw hundreds of people show up for this pretty much obscure, unpromoted Dem party vote, which was overwhelming for the progressive slate. The demographics here are mostly retired people or college kids. Last time the party cheated the Berniecrat running for chair, and put in some healthcare lobbyist instead who eventually had to resign in disgrace. We’ll see what happens this year.

  26. NotTimothyGeithner

    About the Harris campaign path to victory, I think limiting the scale of Sanders wins in Iowa and NH matter. The Clintonistas also had their clocks cleaned in caucus states twice. Without HRC’s popularity, I don’t see the team improving on their caucus performance going forward.

    Even with the identity politics routine, I’m not sure how Harris would do in SC. The Clintons were doing well there in 2008 until HRC’s unfortunate appeals and the racism narrative. The “I’ve never seen Sanders” narrative was designed to reinforce the idea Sanders and Clinton were the same on policies. Like Nevada, Harris needs to blunt support, and she needs to clear the field as much as possible. Her problem is the candidates in the VP sweepstakes probably don’t want to drop out. Look at Beto, VP would be an ideal job for him. He gets perks and probably sent on a few trips. I bet he would have fun.

    1. voteforno6

      If this country wasn’t so corrupt, I doubt that Harris would be considered a serious contender. What’s her constituency? More important, what’s her raison d’être? That would be something very easy for Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard to answer. More importantly, voters would be able to understand that about them as well. With a little bit of time, I think that Booker could get to that point as well. What about Harris? What is her defining issue? She has none, other than herself. That’s why I find it so fitting that she’s surrounded herself with Clintonites – that was one of Hillary’s major flaws last time around. With Harris, though, she doesn’t have the long history with the party, or nearly as many favors to call in. I think that anything less than a resounding victory in California for her should be considered a failure.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I think you’re right, in fact, I don’t see her surviving long–why? Because she has a grating personality that will rub Democratic voters the wrong way whereas Klobuchar, who is in her lane, is way more charming and not even potentially obnoxious. If you’re going to be obnoxious you have to be amusing and claim the room like Trump did with great mastery. The Dem field is really strong this time–and they’ll blow Harris away.

        1. Shonde

          Klob comes from a state that until this coming election was a caucus state. She is an expert on caucus organization (they are easy to take over, BTW) so her organization might do better than expected in especially Iowa. She certainly has that down home appeal act perfected.

  27. Lee


    Sanders far out front in Daily Kos straw poll.

    As of right now Sanders has received 41% of 30,742 votes cast so far. In second place, Harris with 17%, then Warren with 10%. As to what this may or may not mean, I cannot say.

  28. Chris Cosmos

    There are a whole class of people who would have us believe that depression is “chemical” and biological and even genetic. This has been pretty much debunked for years. A good survey of the literature was made by Jonathan Hari in his book *Lost Connections.* Big Pharma wants you to think we are machines that just need a better chemical bath whereas science is, increasingly, showing that our emotions and thoughts cause chemical changes and even the structure of our brains–and thoughts and emotions can also change the structure and chemistry of the body and brain.

    1. Yves Smith

      While I find Hari persuasive, more than half the men in my father’s side of the family suffered from depression, real black dog depression. It happened so often my father considered himself lucky not to be afflicted. His brother, one of the nicest people on the planet, had a very severe case, must have tried every med and med combination in existence and was so desperate he sought out electroshock. He often would sleep 22 hours a day and could not muster the energy to see people, he found it draining to feign enough normalcy.

      1. amfortas the hippie

        prolly both/and.
        varying degrees of madness runs in my family,too, from full blown raving to mundane pre-rigging for melancholia.
        of course, the “Sight” runs in there,too,lol
        i thinks important to remember just how big the proportion of universe we dont understand is.
        and to be kind to one another, just in case

  29. ChiGal in Carolina

    Some rare good news just arrived in my inbox from Jackson Park Watch:

    Judge rules against City’s motion for dismissal of POP lawsuit

    Today was the long-awaited federal court ruling on the motion to dismiss the Protect Our Parks lawsuit against the City and the Chicago Park District. The POP lawsuit challenges the siting of the Obama Presidential Center in historic Jackson Park. POP strongly supports a South Side location for the OPC, but opposes a site in a public park.

    Federal Judge John R. Blakey, who is hearing the case, had the options of dismissing the suit for lack of subject matter standing, or granting standing to POP on some or all of the charges and allowing the suit to continue with further discovery (that is, court-supervised gathering of evidence for POP’s use).

    Fortunately, Judge Blakey chose to grant standing to the majority of the charges filed by Protect Our Parks, meaning that the lawsuit can continue. He also allowed POP to engage in further discovery.

    JPW is pleased with Judge Blakey’s ruling today for two major reasons:
    The rulings will allow the full range of issues included in this complex and controversial case to be aired, including:
    –alleged denial of due process related to this highly controversial grant of invaluable historic public parkland to a private entity;
    –the issues raised in the lawsuit that allege a failure by the Defendants to comply with a host of statutes;
    –the “bait-and switch” involved in converting the Obama Presidential Library to a Presidential Center, altering the site, and insisting on road closures and realignments;
    –the requirement that taxpayers foot an unspecified part of the bill, not only for roadwork, but also for uncapped costs of environmental remediation work related to OPC construction.

    Importantly, the rulings send the message that public parkland cannot readily be conveyed to a private entity by Chicago City Council legislative fiat without judicial review and scrutiny.

    There was also an appeal for financial support and a link to the ruling and coverage in the Chicago Tribune.

    1. crittermom

      Although I live out west, I’ve been interested in this since first reading about it here on NC.
      I remain infuriated that a proposal to allow the transfer of this land was even considered. Taking from many to benefit the ego of one, & then expecting the many to pay for it? What a dangerous precedent this would be if allowed.
      Thank you ChiGal, for keeping us up to date. Very much appreciated, & especially glad to hear this latest news.

  30. Matt

    As someone who has nothing to do with the DSA, can anyone explain what’s going on with this:

    “we believe that the organization [DSA] as a whole…collaborat[es] with the capitalist Democratic party to enact social programs that benefit Americans, especially white Americans, at the expense of the international working class”

    A US organization that fights for benefits for the US working class is a bad thing? My gut instinct was this had something to do with the border, but nothing in their tweets mentions open borders or immigrants. What has the DSA done that’s objectionable?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Too Left/Did Not Read

      What has the DSA done that’s objectionable?

      I’m going to guess from quotes: something in the real world.

  31. Eclair

    Lordy, my FB feed is exploding! Between the establishment Dems who are screaming about the crazy Bernie supporters getting ready to ruin everything once again, and the tiny cadre of Socialists/Anarchists who want to skip directly to the Revolution (kudos to them for being the persistent activists on local social justice issues, though,) I have to just close my eyes and read through.

    I gave a small donation to Bernie, just to tick off the Dems. Well, that, and he actually has a platform.

    1. John k

      Ruin everything again… because they’re deplorable if not supporting establishment that has done so much for them… long list shown below.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      My sense is the Clintonistas expected an Obama style candidate to solve their problems, ignoring the obvious that Obama was only possible because of the problems with Team Clinton.

      The other side is donors. Without real traction, the money might not come in for a candidate who isn’t inevitable.

  32. John k

    Biden has been leading in the polls, he will likely declare soon to avoid losing momentum to Bernie. IMO bernies competition is not Harris or warren but joe.
    Harris probably just hoping joe will pick her for veep.
    How long will warren stay in? Would she be happy with treasury? IMO tulsi better pick for veep… good if deep thinks his replacement not better for them.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Talked to one of my fellow bartenders at work, Mr Roosevelt, an 86 y/o black male, and asked if he was gonna vote Bernie. He out of nowhere brings up Joe Biden.



  33. ewmayer

    Your friendly neighborhood grammar nerd here was about to comment to the effect that “I see both ‘forgo’ and ‘forego’ used in article snippets cited in today’s 2pmwc. Both should be ‘forgo'” – because the Colorado River junior users may have to ‘go without’ their allotment, not ‘receive their allotment before everyone else’ – i.e. the stray ‘e’ confers the entirely opposite meaning here from what is intended. But decided to confer with ye olde online dictionarye first, and to my surprise, the #1 definition of ‘forego’ is not, as one might have expected, ‘to precede in place and time’, but rather ‘a variant spelling of forgo’. I hate dictionary-approved ‘variant spellings’ in such cases, when the two words in question have wildly, possibly dangerously, different meanings.

    [Then again, biannual and semiannual both mean ‘occurring twice a year’, so I suppose we crossed the someday-a-spacecraft-will-crash-or-get-lost-because-of-this-silliness bridge long ago.]

      1. ewmayer

        In honor of the late Bruno Ganz, what we need now is some youngster to turn my above musings re. ‘forgo’ into a rant and subtitle-splice it into the meme-immortalized bunker scene in Downfall. “I said we should ‘forgo’ the invasion of Russia, not ‘forego’ it! Verdammt nocheinmal!! Wir sind ruiniert!!!”

  34. Jaime Garfield

    Kimberly Ellis is running again for California Democrat chair.
    https://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-may-2018-activist-kimberly-ellis-announces-bid-1545327845-htmlstory.htmlSALE! | 10¢ A WEEK FOR 15 WEEKS
    California Democratic Party leader Eric Bauman to resign after accusations of sexual misconduct
    NOV 29, 2018 | 4:50 PM

    California Democratic Party leader Eric Bauman to resign after accusations of sexual misconduct
    California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
    California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman, leader of one of the most influential political forces in the nation, said Thursday he intended to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior toward party staff members and activists.

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