2:00PM Water Cooler 2/25/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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


Trump: “Trump unleashing digital juggernaut ahead of 2020” [The Hill]. “the scale of Trump’s spending and the sophistication of his digital operations is unparalleled among sitting presidents, according to analysts. Trump’s digital operation in 2016 was so successful he appointed the man widely credited with steering it, Brad Parscale, as his campaign manager for 2020…. The campaign had also raised about $130 million as of last year, the most by any sitting president at that point in the cycle.” • Trump may be weak, but he’s not that weak.

Sanders (1): Sanders foreign policy advisor Matt Duss:

The article (and others) make the point that a Trump v. Maduro binary doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because the locals have different perspectives on Maduro, not all of them from the country clubs or people with second homes in Miami. Whether Duss is speaking for Sanders, I don’t know. (“No Maduro” doesn’t mean removing him in a coup, as the headline could be seen to imply.)

Sanders (2): “Sanders Asks Campaign Surrogates To ‘Engage Respectfully’ With Democratic Rivals” [HuffPo]. “In the Saturday email to over 100 campaign surrogates obtained by HuffPost, Sanders also preemptively admonished supporters against ‘bullying and harassment of any kind.’ ‘As we engage with our opponents in the Democratic primary, we will forcefully present our views and defend ourselves against misrepresentations,’ he wrote ‘But, let us do our very best to engage respectfully with our Democratic opponents ― talking about the issues we are fighting for, not about personalities or past grievances. I want to be clear that I condemn bullying and harassment of any kind and in any space.” • UPDATE This rubs me the wrong way. I understand the “Clean for Gene” rationale. That’s fine. Interestingly, the issue is exactly the same as with strategic non-violence: People will say “I’m somebody punches me, I’m punching back,” and it seems to do no good to point out that, strategically, that may not make sense. And similarly online. Fighting words demand a response, seemingly. However, those who were out in the trenches in 2016 beating back Clintonite smears of being racist and sexist BernieBros — smears funded to the tune of a million bucks, let us remember — might appreciate a pat on the back for the hard work. And it’s not like David Brock went out of business, either. Since new smears and new talking points will obviously emerge, one thing a Sanders rapid response team might do is broadcast boilerplate that his online supporters could respond with, that would be crafted so that a reasonably observer would regard it as not bullying. (The Identitarian Industrial Complex will never admit it, but they never would anyhow, so why worry about them?) The boilerplate might even take the form of hash tags. Nevertheless, liberal Democrats are gonna say what they say, regardless of what Sanders does, or what his supporters do. For example—

Clinton (1): “Ex-Clinton staffers slam Sanders over private jet flights”” [Politico]. “‘I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,’ said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign.” • This is in 2020, mind you, and said of Schumer’s Outreach Director, one of the most popular politicians in the country. Offer the Clintonites a helping hand, and they’ll rip your arm off, right up to the shoulder…

Clinton (2): “EX-CLINTON POLLSTER: Hillary will run if Biden doesn’t — or field is ‘too far left'” [The American Mirror]. “After defending Clinton’s credentials as ‘one of the most experienced politicians around,’ [Mark] Penn went on to say of the reported recent confabs between Hillary and declared candidates, “Those meetings are going to be somewhat awkward because she hasn’t declared that she’s not definitely running, and she, in fact, at the same time is looking over the field and I think will make a decision later in the year whether or not to run herself. Penn said the chances of Hillary running depends on how the field shapes up. ‘If the party looks too far to the left and there’s no front runner, she’ll get in,’ he said. ‘I think if Joe Biden gets in, that probably means she won’t run if he gets in. If he doesn’t get in, I think the field will be open for her,’ Penn said.” • She’s tanned, rested, and ready!

Health Care

“Don’t Let Medicare For All Be Rebranded” [Current Affairs]. “In the lead up to the 2018 midterms, the mildly named “Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future” brought together a consortium of industries—big insurance, big healthcare, Pharma, and the AMA—with the single goal of opposing Medicare-for-All. Corporations recognize that single-payer, Medicare-for-All—the real thing—has the potential to finally align our healthcare system with the needs of the people it serves, rather than the profiteers who have dominated it for a long time. By allowing them to redefine it, those who would turn Medicare-for-All into nothing but a meme may, yet again, doom our best chance at a just, equitable, and sustainable approach to healthcare in America.” • Note that this otherwise good article isn’t cynical enough about Obama. He seemingly supported the public option — easy, since it was, in itself, a bait-and-switch operation promoted by liberal Democrats to suck all the oxygen away from single payer, which it did — but secretly cut a deal with Big Pharma to eliminate it.


“Where in the world does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez live?” [New York Post]. • The partner thing didn’t get any traction, so we’re on to this. Readers will correct me, but I see two issues raised by the article: One is her local office, not yet complete. Since I see stories about AOC in the district all the time, I don’t know that this matters very much.* The other is her condo, apparently left to her by her father, at which the Post’s paparazzi have found little evidence of her occupation. The whole thing reminds me of the ginned up scandal about Sanders, not the winter jacket one, but the one where he sold one house to buy another. So Sanders isn’t St. Francis of Assisi. And AOC now lives in a DC location commensurate with her salary. So she isn’t Mother Theresa. Since they’re not shaking down Goldman Sachs to the tune a few hundred thousand bucks for an hour’s work, do I care? NOTE * Leaving the Post’s moralizing aside, yes, AOC had best get constituent services under control unless she wants to be a one-term representative. I know she’s been through life-changes in the last year, but politics is unforgiving.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Beyond the Rising Tide: Reparations for Slavery Have to Be More Than a Symbol [Briahna Gray, The Intercept]. “Because the value of wealth compounds, capitalism rewards the historical possession of wealth; the ability to invest today is worth more than the ability to do so in the future. That being the case, how can black Americans, first enslaved and then legally barred from participating in capitalism for the overwhelming majority of this country’s history, begin to catch up with a systemic adjustment to the system? The answer is we can’t. There will be no racial equality under capitalism.”

“Democratic Consultants Should Stop Working for Corporate Clients” [Politico]. “While it’s not well-known outside the political class, many consultants who advise campaigns are often working for corporate clients at the same time—and all too frequently, these clients interests’ directly oppose the goals of any progressive coalition. Those working both sides of the street include some of the most senior aides from the Obama administration, and as well as advisers to both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns. From opposing progressive taxation to fighting for deregulation, working for corporate clients means pushing an agenda most progressives would consider a non-starter were it espoused by a political candidate.” • Obama’s Plouffe at Uber, to pick an example at random.

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, Januar7 2019: “Production can apparently have a quirky effect on the national activity index as it did in January, driving it down sharply” [Econintersect]. “This is low but no record as the index was even lower as recently as May, at minus 0.51 when a fire at a parts supplier disrupted that month’s auto production.” • A single fire. That’s an awfully fragile supplly chain.

Wholesale Trade, December 2017: “Volatility is increasingly the theme of recent economic data, including wholesale inventories which bloated” [Econintersect]. “The relationship between inventories and sales in the wholesale sector began to look unfavorable in November and really points to overhang in this report. Year-on-year, inventories are up 7.3 percent while sales are down 1.5 percent…. The jump in wholesale inventories will provide a technical boost to fourth-quarter GDP but not a healthy one.”

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, February 2019: [Econoday]. “The Dallas Fed report, like other regional manufacturing surveys, had been tailing off noticeably but now is back on the climb.”

Tech: “RIP Culture War Thread” [Slate Star Codex]. “This post is called “RIP Culture War Thread”, so you may have already guessed things went south. What happened? The short version is: a bunch of people harassed and threatened me for my role in hosting it, I had a nervous breakdown, and I asked the moderators to get rid of it…. The fact is, it’s very easy to moderate comment sections. It’s very easy to remove spam, bots, racial slurs, low-effort trolls, and abuse… But once you remove all those things, you’re left with people honestly and civilly arguing for their opinions. And that’s the scariest thing of all.” • But then there’s a long riff about commenters who “profit off of outrage culture,” which doesn’t strike me as honest or civil. However, moderating for that is an “I know it when I see it” thing, which doesn’t scale (at least until somebody figures out how to get an AI to do it while the discourse is constantly changing, with some of the change being driven by bad faith actors. Anyhow, a long post, but well worth a read. And take a bow, NC comments section!

The Bezzle: “The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America” [The Verge]. There are 1,000 people moderating content for Facebook at a body shop professional services vendor in Phoenix called Cognizant, and for 15,000 content reviewers around the world. The yearly salary for at Cognizant is $28,000. “Collectively, the employees described a workplace that is perpetually teetering on the brink of chaos. It is an environment where workers cope by telling dark jokes about committing suicide, then smoke weed during breaks to numb their emotions. It’s a place where employees can be fired for making just a few errors a week — and where those who remain live in fear of the former colleagues who return seeking vengeance. It’s a place where, in stark contrast to the perks lavished on Facebook employees, team leaders micromanage content moderators’ every bathroom and prayer break; where employees, desperate for a dopamine rush amid the misery, have been found having sex inside stairwells and a room reserved for lactating mothers; where people develop severe anxiety while still in training, and continue to struggle with trauma symptoms long after they leave; and where the counseling that Cognizant offers them ends the moment they quit — or are simply let go.” • Moderation does not scale. Does social media scale only because effective moderation is absent?

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Volcanoes. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 177. Under the 180 floor. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

Readers will remember the following methodological critique of the Sánchez-Bayo/Wyckhuys review of insect population decline. The methodology:

[W]e performed a search on the online Web of Science database using the keywords [insect*] AND [declin*] AND [survey]

The critique:

In their review, Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys found 73 studies showing insect declines. But that’s what they went looking for! They searched a database using the keywords insect and decline, and so wouldn’t have considered research showing stability or increases.

Earlier, I asked if any readers had access to the Web of Science, and I believe I have a volunteer. Now, I would like the help of experts in the field — this is NC, surely there are several — to replace the keyword “[declin*]” with another keyword. (I think the query should be identical in every other respect). I would, myself, try “[increas*], but I’m a layperson, and perhaps that’s not the term of art among scientists. Readers?

(I should say I don’t want to assault Sánchez-Bayo/Wyckhuys; I just want to know what else is happening. For example, perhaps generalist species are increasing (not enough to make a different in tonnage lost, however). I don’t like loose ends, and this strikes me as a loose end.)

* * *

“This is an emergency, damn it” [Vox].”The [GND] release prompted a great deal of smart, insightful writing, but also a lot of knee-jerk and predictable cant. Conservatives called it socialist. Moderates called it extreme. Pundits called it unrealistic. Wonks scolded it over this or that omission. Political gossip columnists obsessed over missteps in the rollout. What ties the latter reactions together, from my perspective, is that they seem oblivious to the historical moment, like thespians acting out an old, familiar play even as the theater goes up in flames around them…. The house is on fire. But an odd number of Democrats and pundits just seem to be whistling past it, acting out familiar roles and repeating familiar narratives, as though we’re still in an era of normal politics, as though there are still two normal parties and some coherent “center” they are both attempting to capture… Here’s the only way any of this works: You develop a vision of politics that puts ordinary people at the center and gives them a tangible stake in the country’s future, a share in its enormous wealth, and a role to play in its greater purpose. Then organize people around that vision and demand it from elected representatives. If elected representatives don’t push for it, make sure they get primaried or defeated.” • Yes, I’m not caveating that the GND is necessary but not sufficient so don’t @ me. NOTE * As I said, “The Green New Deal is a DEAL.”

“Want a Green New Deal? Here’s a better one.” [Editorial Board, Washington Post]. “In this series of editorials, we propose our own Green New Deal. It relies both on smart government intervention — and on transforming the relentless power of the market from an obstacle to a centerpiece of the solution.” • There’s that word: “Smart”! More: “Ask practically any economist how to do that as cheaply as possible, and the answer is equally emphatic: put a price on carbon dioxide emissions with a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program.” • I hate the trope, “Imagine ____,” but I’ll break my rule against it: Imagine being able to write “ask practically any economist” with a straight face. (See at NC here for cap-and-trade; and here for the difficulty of calculating a carbon tax.)

“Attacks on wind and solar power by the coal and gas industries” [Energy and Policy Institute]. “Wind and solar power projects are under attack by coal and gas companies that fear competition from the booming renewable energy industry.” • A bill of particulars from last year.

“It’s Possible to Face Climate Horrors and Still Find Hope” [Truthout]. “In [The Uninhabitable Earth; Life After Warming‘s] chapters about the ‘climate kaleidoscope,’ — describing the distortion lens through which climate is viewed in mainstream culture — [Benjamin] Wallace-Wells also reveals himself as an incisive and insightful cultural critic, revealing the systems that lull us into complacency. He dissects and systematically takes down countless trends toward fatalism, technological distraction, the growing obsession with individual wellness (as a substitute to collective health) and conscious consumption with a keen eye. However, Wallace-Wells makes an omission, perhaps because of the publication date for this new book, when he declines to discuss the recent seismic shift within the climate movement. Since the publication of his article in 2017, the climate emergency movement has emerged, revealing itself as a powerful force. This movement tells the truth about the scale of the crisis, and demands a real solution, be it a ‘Green New Deal’ or a WWII-scale climate mobilization for a 10-year transition to zero emissions plus drawdown.” • “Movements” don’t take power, so I’m skeptical. That said, as First Sergeant Daniel Daly remarked: “Come on, you sons of b*tches, do you want to live forever?” In the short run, we’re all alive, and I think the attitude to take up is to a baseline grim determination save as many of the 99% as possible (as distinct from the vision of the 1%, which is to retreat to a hellscape of bunkers and robots, and whatever the vision of the 10% might be, which probably ranges from denial to writing off the deplorables).

“Selling the Green New Deal With Positivity” [Douglas Rushkoff, Medium]. “We’ve won the communications battle in the sense that the rich and powerful now accept the reality of climate change and are actively betting on it happening. They believe us. But we’re losing the war in that they don’t believe the crisis can be averted. As speculators, they’re more committed to betting on the most likely future instead of investing in the future they’d like to see happen. In the finance world, betting on what you hope for is derided as “emotional investing.” One is supposed to bet only on existing probabilities — not on one’s genuine goals or dreams. And this mentality is self-perpetuating. The more we invest in the inevitability of climate disaster, the more assuredly we bring it on and the more devastating a future we are creating for ourselves. If we’re going to get business on our side (after which government is sure to follow), we have to convince them that the most likely future scenario is one where the whole world tries to get in on the bet that we can avert climate change. Or at least we can mitigate its effects.” • A little bit MBA-ish, but a different perspective….

Class Warfare

“The class pay gap: why it pays to be privileged” [Guardian (JB)]. “Yet a helping hand does not always push from behind or below. In many elite occupations, support is more likely to come from above. And instead of economic it is often social – in the form of sponsorship. This process is simple; a senior leader identifies a junior protege and then, often operating beneath formal processes, is able to fast-track their career by brokering job opportunities, allocating valuable work or advocating on their behalf. This was particularly common at our accountancy firm, where most partners talked openly about “bringing through” younger staff to the partnership. And while this was often presented as innocent talent-spotting, we found that sponsor relationships were rarely established on the basis of work performance. Instead, they were almost always forged, in the first instance, through a sense of class-cultural affinity – shared humour, taste or lifestyle. And, as senior managers across our case studies were themselves overwhelmingly from privileged backgrounds, this acts as another way that progression is rigged in favour of the privileged.” •

News of the Wired

Adaptive behavior:

“The mythos and meaning behind Pokémon’s most famous glitch” [Ars Technica]. “The first Pokémon games for the Game Boy included 151 Pokémon (including the ultra-rare Mew, if your parents were long-suffering enough to drive you to one of the Nintendo promo events where it was distributed). But by following a seemingly random series of steps, players could encounter a 152nd Pokémon, MissingNo (Missing Number), which took the form of an L-shaped block of pixels…. Nintendo’s official statement on MissingNo confirms that the glitch was not intentional and seeks to discourage players from exploiting it: ‘MissingNo is a programming quirk, and not a real part of the game.'” • For some definition of “real,” given that retro games are bug-fpr-bug compatible with their earlier versions. A fascinating insight into computer games (which I cut out of my life entirely after spending, like, two days doing nothing on my Mac 512KE but play pong).

“In memory of Tomi Ungerer, eight illustrators share their thoughts on his endlessly inspiring legacy” [It’s Nice That]. “A prolific artist, Tomi published over 140 books in his career. From his first published children’s book, The Mellops Go Flying, in 1957 to the renowned Flat Stanley and Moon Man, Tomi’s work is one that when mentioned induces a nostalgic sigh in anyone who read, or was read, his books as a child. For many creatives, Tomi’s storytelling ability and narrative illustrations, which shared both the wrong and the right in the world without passing any judgement on either, presented a way of depicting things differently. He showed how illustration could be a way to truthfully communicate, shine a light, poke fun and educate too – even if that education came in the form of a Kama Sutra book that uses the beauty of frogs legs to demonstrate the joy of sex.” • Not the sort of career that would be acceptable today, I think.

“The Treachery of Images”:

* * *

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 (via):

Robert McFarlane comments: “Word of the day: ‘Pando’ — the name given to the clonal colony of quaking aspen trees in Utah that is conjoined by its roots into a genetically singular organism weighing c. 6 million kg & aged c. 80,000 years old (in Latin, pando means ‘I Spread Out’). Aka ‘The Trembling Giant.'”

Readers, I’m still a little short on plants. And it would be very nice to see plants from readers who’ve never sent in pictures before. See directions below!

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click below! (The hat is temporarily defunct, so I slapped in some old code.)

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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. Isotope_C14

    Very impressive on the adaptive behaviour tweet.

    Every time I see a shopping list I add in no particular order:

    Jack Daniel’s
    Duct tape
    Paper ballots, hand counted in public

    Only duct tape was ever acquired.

    If you can’t fix it, duck it..

      1. Isotope_C14

        Don’t give the Russians any ideas.

        Once they learn cursive, Boris and Natasha will be able to “hack” the election – they will put Hillary’s name in cursive on the ballots, and her infidel opponents, in standard Times New Roman.

        I just hope they put Bernie in 18 point font, and Tulsi in 24. Must admit, his Twitter intern must be a deep-state operative.

    1. curlydan

      That 5 year old is so innocent. My already corrupted 9 year old, at the height of the Fortnite obsession this summer, wrote a simple list on my refrigerator: “Batteries!!!! Costco!!!!” That’s about all you need to know about boys in this country. Have X-box controller with batteries, will travel.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I don’t know. The list seems fake. Clearly the husband needs precise instructions for two items but can handle purchasing coffee filters on his own.

  2. GF

    Democracy Now today has a show with the Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza for the whole interview segment. The Coup Has Failed & Now the U.S. Is Looking to Wage War: Venezuelan Foreign Minister Speaks Out (Includes transcript). Definitely not MSM account of weekend activity:

    Also, for those who want to know about Trump’s background, A&E is starting a 6 part 3 night show about him called “Biography: The Trump Dynasty”.


  3. JohnnyGL


    Another day on the campaign trail, another gaffe from Kamal Harris. She gets a minor dressing down from John King at CNN for a ridiculous blow off answer to the question of “what are you going to do to win Iowa voters, especially the ones that went for Obama twice and flipped to Trump?”

    Tim Black and Niko House cover it.

    The unstated tricky part of this question is something that Matt Stoller loves to keep emphasizing. You can’t REALLY answer the question without saying, implicitly or explicitly, that Obama failed Iowa voters. The obvious ones….failing to regulate feedlots as polluters, complete lack of anti-trust action means big ag squeezes farmers, TPP, were all Obama’s policies.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Just finished listening to Tim Black (1st clip). He’s got a longer clip, which is better.

      John King actually gave her a major, not minor, dressing down.

      If even CNN has lost patience with her….not a good sign for Harris’ prospects.

      1. Isotope_C14

        This time of abhorrent MSM really has brought out some great indy media people.

        Tim Black, Niko House, Jimmy Dore, the rest of the list is pretty straightforward.

        I also like – “Black Bear News” he’s doing climate change right, a little crazy, but dang he’s got a real calming voice.

        “Historic.ly” where you get to see @eshalegal on twitter do a great summary of historical events.

        Graham Elwood has a pretty good YT too.

        The collapse of capitalism isn’t all bad. We get to enjoy 2000X better news/opinion/history than anything that was done in the 90’s.

        Though Phil Donahue was pretty great too.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Esha is terrific. I retweet her thread on Blunders of the Obama Administration, or whatever she calls it, all the time.

          Fascinating to see people forcing Twitter to deliver content in a way it was not really designed to do.

    2. Carey

      That Tim Black segment on Harris was a good one. Haven’t known of him before.

      Harris also used the “we see you” line again in there, which makes my skin crawl.

    3. notabanker

      Thanks for these links and many of the previous ones, much appreciated.

      Textbook US politics in how to answer the question by asking a different one. What’s not textbook is not being able to answer the new question you’ve just posited. She stands for nothing. I have yet to see her say anything that has any substance on any issue. It’s like having a conversation with Google Siri.

    4. voteforno6

      We’re going to be seeing a lot of Kamala Harris’ furrowed brow, I suspect. I guess that’s a sign of seriousness on her part.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t John King a…Republican? Tapper never misses a chance to tut the nominal left and hail a Republican, but isn’t King kind of there too? I know he’s a member of the media, but the inevitability of the HRC Coronation might have caused some confusion. These “Centrists” aren’t going to simply be the beneficiaries of right wing love.

      I would not be shocked if the Clintonistas find out they aren’t as welcome by the white flight republicans as they were when it looked like HRC was inevitable.

    6. Jeff W

      Here’s Kamala Harris’s word salad:

      What [voters] want to know is that people who want to be the leaders of this country are actually seeing them and thinking about the issues that keep them up at night. That’s what they want. And whoever has the best plan for that and I think speaks most truth about the reality of American life today and speaks truth and with an honest heart and purpose about what can be the vision for our country—i think that’s the person who the voters are going to support.

      So, if I were John King, I would have followed that up with, “So, if voters support that, what did Donald Trump say in speaking ‘truth about the reality of American life today’ or ‘about the vision for our country’ that Clinton did not address?”

      Kamala Harris would have deflected that, too, but, at least King’s follow-up would have exposed the unspoken implications in Harris’s answer.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > people who want to be the leaders

        I don’t want a “leader”; that’s airport bookstore management best-seller garbage. I want a President or a Senator or whatever; a well-defined constitutional office. Making leadership the ultimate test for political figures has had very bad results, in at least one very obvious historical example…

  4. Charles Leseau

    As superficial as it is, I’ve taken it as a given that we’ll see Hillary again ever since Chelsea titled her book ‘She Persisted’. Can’t help thinking of that as anything but a predictive, call-to-action metaphor for/to HRC.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      Ha! As an early warning system, I’m keeping an eye out for upticks on donations to the Clinton Foundation and ticket sales for “An Evening with Bill and Hillary Clinton.”

        1. ambrit

          Great Googly Moogly! You can’t even offer to give a b— j– to the former occupant of the Oval Office for $15 USD nowadays! They want no less than a Benjamin. (It’s all about access, isn’t it. Inside the Beltway anyone?)
          Lo, how the mighty have fallen!

        2. voteforno6

          I once saw Sonic Youth opening for Wilco at DAR, many years ago. As I recall, the tickets cost quite a bit more than that. I guess they charge what the market will bear. It was a good show.

      1. Cal2

        “Hillary will run if Biden doesn’t — or field is ‘too far left’”

        Imagine a debate between Hillary and Tulsi. Worth the price of admission.

        Joe Rogan’s hour long interview with Gabbard demonstrates her to be the most qualified candidate for president in the last 50 years.


        1. The Rev Kev

          From what I can see Hillary won’t run. I have seen video clips of both her runs – that in 2008 and 2016. The Hillary in 2008 was fit and probably at the top of her game. The Hillary of 2016 was another matter altogether as her health had deteriorated and it showed. Her collapse in public on a mild sunny day underwrote that she may not be the one to take that 3 am phone call and may also explain why she was not doing interviews most of 2016. Unless she has dramatically taken care of her health she may not be up to the strain of next year’s campaigns. She had her one big chance and she blew it. If she had won, I wonder how she would have dealt with the stress of the past two years and how much of the Presidency she would have had to delegate.

  5. Hana M

    The best data on insect and arachnid populations are on species that are either disease vectors like mosquitoes or ticks, or that cause crop or forest damage. See, for example, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/index.html and the US Forest Service https://www.fs.fed.us/science-technology/invasive-species-pests-disease

    Tellingly, most of the articles and studies I’ve seen on these and other sites like local agricultural extension units, highlight population increases especially of invasive species. There is also plenty of evidence that insects are mutating and developing resistance to pesticides. My guess is that the insects will do #Resist! a lot more effectively than people.

      1. Judith

        I did a very quick internet (DDG) search for the expression “insect population increase” to see what terminology scientific publications are using. I only found one reasonably current article (behind the paywall) that directly addresses this topic:


        I also looked at a few links about biological populations and the terms that seem to generally used are growth, increase, and population dynamics.

        For example:


      2. Hana M

        I think it depends on what you are looking for. For reviewed scientific studies your ideas sound good and those scientist with expertise in the field can add value. For ‘popular science’ stories I would suggest that ‘if it bleeds, it ledes’. So adding scary stuff to the headline helps, so does focusing the general search on crawly critters people hate or fear. A Duckduckgo search on ‘black fly population explodes’ turned up this interesting article from a local source with lots of regional biological nuance: http://www.magnoliareporter.com/news_and_business/regional_news/article_d6da6264-3707-11e8-b188-9f9043e16449.html

        The Bing and Google searches on the same key words were repetitive and carried only the dumbed down poorly reported stuff.

      3. Acacia

        Lambert, how about “insect” and “population”? Any study of a population must be concerned with either growth, decline, or change, I’d think.

        1. CanCyn

          Agreed. I’m a librarian. Go broad first, especially in subject areas about which you do not have any expertise. ‘Insects and populations’ is a place to start. Comb results for articles that are on topic and see what subjects WofS has assigned to them. Most databases have their own subject authorities, you don,t have to stick to keywords.
          I don’t have access to WofS at my little. Immunity college, that is one pricey database.

          1. Cancyn

            And yes, a superset is the way to start. Trying to do precision searching in a subject area and/or a database with which you’re unfamiliar is generally going to yield bad results.
            There is a saying that only librarians like to search and everyone else just likes to find but the more searching you do and the more combing of results that you actually do, the better a searcher you will become. The algorithms are there, lots of searches helps you familiarize yourself with them and teaches you best approaches for best results. More true in commericial products WofS than google.

      4. voislav

        Review papers in the field are the best way to start. My advice for a modifying the inquiry would be to include “review” and look at recent review papers. Typically, each review paper will have at least 50 references to actual studies and will discuss the context of those. It might be helpful to exclude the word “decline”, so making it “insect, population, review”. For example, if you look for “Global pollinator decline: a literature review” by Kluser and Perduzzi from 2007, it’s a short report but with 50+ references to original studies.

        Also, Web of Science (and Scopus, the other academic citation tool) have terrible search algorithms. Even though I have access to these I prefer to use Google Scholar. I doesn’t have the analytical tools that Web of Science has, but if you are just looking for papers Google Scholar search algorithm is much better.

    1. Darius

      Pest population explosions do not equal insect biodiversity. We could be losing thousands of ecologically important insect species while populations of a few adapt to the enormous riches presented by modern mass monoculture agriculture. These also are more likely to be invasive hitchhikers of modern globalization.

      1. Hana M

        Yes, but that sort of migration/cross mating/habitat change is exactly what fuels evolutionary change. We humans may not like the direction this change takes but if we profess a rational approach to science and data we must also allow that some of this change is beyond human control and is going to produce winners and losers.

        1. Hana M

          It just occurred to me that insects going splat on windshields is not to those insects species survival advantage. It is perfectly possible for insect populations to evolve to avoid tarmac roads or rapidly moving vehicles. We must learn not to be simplistic about the complexity of nature and the power of natural life to evolve, change and heal.

          1. Shonde

            “We must learn not to be simplistic about the complexity of nature and the power of natural life to evolve, change and heal.”
            Thank you Hana.

        2. T

          Of course it will produce winners and losers. That is what Darius said. Winners will be the weedy species — humans, coyotes, kudzu, etc. — that thrive in all sorts of environments including monocultures.

          Losers will be biodiversity and complex ecosystems.

          Then, when the ecosystems give out, because they relied on the complex relations of newly extinct species, the weedy species will be the losers too. We all lose, except maybe the cockroaches.

          1. Darius

            At some point, the environment created by industrial agriculture and the industrial economy will run its course. At that point, the army worms, Mediterranean fruit flies, and quack grass will lose their human benefactors. If we have killed off the natural fauna, it will not be there to step back in. Instead a Frankenstein’s monster combination of genetically modified organisms and opportunitistic hitchhikers will awkwardly fill ecological voids.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Cockroaches – at least the ones we’re thinking of – appear to be obligate human parasites. Do they occur in the wild?

      2. Ford Prefect

        Its similar to the proliferation of attorneys. We seem to have far more attorneys these days than we used to but law-abidingness (especially white collar) does not appear to have increased, nor has the amount of people in prison decreased.

        1. wilroncanada

          Ford Prefect
          Lawyers and the military seem to go together in the USA. I read about 30 years ago, during the Reagan era, that the US had more lawyers than all other countries in the world combined. Just like military spending. Must be exceptional in one or two areas. It’s bred in the bone, to quote Robertson Davies.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Yes, depending on humans in some way is a good survival strategy – so far. I go into more detail below, but essentially echoing Darius.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Brilliant. Get him to help out and manufacture future smear fodder on him from whole cloth, all in one easy step.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.

          “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.”
          ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

    1. deepstatefear

      for his 3 outdoor 2016 ny primary rallies, which drew huge over flow crowds (IIRC: 20, 000 in the Bronx) Bernie paid the NYPD union scale overtime for security. Hilary did not.

    2. Skip Intro

      This is a good smear, in the sense that it will discourage him from getting into small airplanes, which have a disturbingly bad safety record when carrying popular progressive politicians.

  6. Burritonomics

    “Ask practically any economist…”
    Ok. As someone with a useless degree in quantitative economics, I qualify to be asked. Here’s my answer:

    Any economic system designed around growth will belch out more and more co2, regardless of tax schemes.

    But I don’t need to tell that to the readers of Naked Capitalism, did I?

    I am available for any other handy quotes if you need em, WaPo.

  7. Eureka Springs

    Hillary will run if Biden doesn’t — or field is ‘too far left’

    By her own standards she’s hating all over several women in the D field by both ignoring gender and their extreme right leaning records.

    I wonder what ole Mad Albright has to say about this. (Not really.)

    Run, Hillary, run!

  8. diptherio

    That sidewalk scrawl was truthful when written. Time makes liars of us all.

    And are we meant to fill in the blanks ourselves?

  9. pjay

    Re Bernie and reparations (this also came up in today’s Links discussion):

    Sanders made a pretty clear statement on this issue in early 2016 during the campaign. This is his full quote from the Ta-Nehisi Coates article cited in the Intercept piece. The question in early 2016 was whether he favored reparations for slavery:

    “No, I don’t think so. First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive. The real issue is when we look at the poverty rate among the African American community, when we look at the high unemployment rate within the African American community, we have a lot of work to do.”

    “So I think what we should be talking about is making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African American and Latino.”


    Coates naturally criticizes Sanders’ “class first” approach for being insufficiently committed to alleviating “white supremacy.”

    I cannot think of an issue that would alienate Bernie from potential white working class voters more than support for reparations. So *of course* it will be brought up and shoved in Bernie’s face. An answer like that above will be used against him by the Identitarians, as it was in 2016. But it is interesting to see Harris and Booker receive some flak as well for policies that are insufficiently race-targeted.

      1. polecat

        I’m half irish, half german ….
        Where My reparations ??

        There was a time when Both of those groups were scorned, or worse ..

        1. Lee

          Truly. This lumping together of peoples that have been exploiting, killing and otherwise harming and antagonizing each other by the millions for centuries ignores an awful lot of history. Melanin based solidarity is an awfully thin thread upon which to hang the future of the species.

          1. The Rev Kev

            But it is a great tool for dividing the 80% and get them fighting each other rather than the elite 20%, isn’t it?

              1. NotReallyHere

                And Kamala’s Wikipedia pages says that she is descended from plantation owners on the Jamaican side of her family. So should she pay or receive reparations?

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          “… Both of those groups were scorned, or worse…”

          As half-Irish, your reparations beef (an arguably justifiable one) is with England, far more than the US. Also, your ancestors in this country were not enslaved for over two hundred years, and then forcibly repressed for another century. Nor did they struggle with the continuing social, political and economic aftermath of that.

          The last thing i want to get into is one-upping historical victimization, and I’m not arguing for reparations. I come from an ethnic group that struggled to be accepted as “white,” (and there are places where we still aren’t, quite) in this country. My father Anglicized his name during the Depression in hopes of escaping the ghetto of “Italian (pick and shovel) work,” a common term at the time. He and the family were scarred by that, and rightfully resentful of it, but it’s fundamentally not much more than a chapter in the national story, whereas the historic and continuing oppression of African-Americans is an epic.

          And therein lies one of the biggest and most important challenges facing a (hopefully-emerging) New New Left: crafting policies and narrative frameworks, and engaging in struggles, that speak to the working class of every race, ethnicity and gender, while addressing the unique challenges faced by African-Americans.

          1. NotReallyHere

            @Michael Fiorillo
            OK, here goes… (recognizing that the problem with all discussions such as these is that it quickly descends into an oppression auction of who had it worse and when)

            One aspect of clear writing is to try to use the active voice whenever possible, on the basis that the passive voice can be used to 1) obscure meaning and 2) deflect blame. You are right indeed, when you say

            “As half-Irish, your reparations beef (an arguably justifiable one) is with England”

            but which England? The English working class that by the 1850″s was made up 30%+ of irish born? Or the native born English ones who were being driven off their land and pushed into coal mines?

            Likewise, who suffered? Somewhere between two thirds and three quarters of the population of Ireland were either banished or left to starve in one generation (1840’s to 1870’s). I was born in Ireland and grew up in Ireland. Am I a victim? I can’t be because I was born there and so my family (and everyone else’s who are still there) survived that carnage. Should the UK government pay reparations to Irish citizens now in Ireland or to their own working class?

            The African American experience is horrible. But here is an instance where we almost never hear the problem laid out in active voice. Who did it and who suffered? The population of the northern US states was something like 2% African American in the 1930’s but southern, ex-slave states had African American populations of between 30% and over 50% before the great migration happened. Who died to remove slavery in the Civil War? African American soldiers of course, but white ones too. Are we saying that the descendants of immigrants should accept moral responsibility for a system that hurt their ability to sell their labor and benefited enormously a tiny proportion of the population in a minority of states in the US?

            1. Michael Fiorillo


              I don’t get your point about the passive voice: are you saying I used it, among other grammatical constructions, to obscure and deflect? if so then address those obfuscations and deflections directly, please, lest I be tempted to see your raising it as misdirection.

              And you don’t seem to get the point of my response to polecat, whose raising of reparations-for-white-people was a red herring. I explicitly said that I wasn’t arguing for reparations, which you seem to ignore in your last paragraph. What I was saying is that the historical and current status of African-Americans in this country is special, and that Left policies and struggles must account for that. Easy to say, and hard to do, but a profound reality all the same, and far from an argument for reparations.

              By making the (true but not entirely relevant) point that it’s an injustice for the descendants of white working class immigrants to bear the burden of making reparations for a system that also oppressed them, you fail to make that accounting. Acknowledging all the injustices and material deprivations you list, whites nevertheless continue to “enjoy” certain benefits (mostly negative ones) in comparison with African-Americans and Black people in general: whites don’t need to have special conversations with their sons about dealings with the police, nor feel even greater worries than parents already do when their adolescent sons go out. They don’t have the same justifiable nervousness when stopped while driving. They don’t get prosecuted and jailed for infractions that white people frequently receive the benefit of the doubt for…

              I could keep on going for pages, but I think you get the point.

              I’ve spent decades arguing and fighting against Identitarian politics, and find it more than ironic that I might be accused of arguing for it here, but I’m not, because the historical reality is that successful Left and working class movements in this country, such as the Communist Party’s involvement in building the CIO unions, recognized the special status of Black workers.

              I’m no fan of Ta-Nahisi Coates, and am convinced that arguing for reparations in electoral politics is divisive and deluded, but that historical needle still needs to be threaded.

              1. NotReallyHere

                So I took a second look at my post and while I see why you could interpret it as criticizism I was actually trying to add to your point. I used the grammar thing only as a means to structure my thoughts.

                I did misunderstand your post regarding reparations. I thought you were defending them. I was wrong there.

                That said, you called out the actor in the case of Irish-catholic/Presbyterian oppression but used passive voice when referring to African American oppression. Why do you do that? I do it too. Indeed why does Ta-Nehisi Coates and basically everyone else I read on this topic do it? I don’t believe for a second that you do it obscure or deflect,

                You will find no argument from me about the horrible outcomes/social consequences of slavery. Nor will you hear any easy solutions, cos I don’t have them.

                I suspect that these discussions are raised – not by you or me – but by politicians and “community organizers” and our “thought leaders” – to divide and not to actually solve any of these problems. If that is true, then Polecat’s reference to his oppression is actually very relevant.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        And whatever we’d get in today’s politics would be tax rebates, incentives, and other Sunday Buffet Coupons.

        I think the power of the of the idea is that it’s such a leap-of-faith thought stopper. The theoretical impossibilities crowd out the practical impossibilities.

        Great excuse for a National DNA Registry though.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > tax rebates, incentives

          That was the nature of Harris’s support; mush, like her #MedicareForAll support. I’m beginning to think that Harris is too slippery to get traction.

    1. Plenue

      Coates is at best a useful idiot. As Adolph Reed has pointed out, just talking about sheer practicality reparations is a complete nonstarter, yet conveniently seems to always be trotted out precisely when someone starts making waves about organizing different ethnic groups along class lines.

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks for clearing that up. Is it conceivable that at any other current Dem candidate takes a different View?

      And that Daily Beast article has some flaky assertions including this

      There is another camp, besides that of apologists or aggressors. As the dissident Chavistas of Marea Socialista, a left-wing political party, have put it, “Maduro, the people don’t want you, and Guaidó, no one elected you”—a necessary reminder when some members of the opposition, high on their own perceived legitimacy, suggest an “interim” government could end up governing for years.

      In the United States, this position has been echoed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who issued a statement stressing opposition to any foreign-imposed regime change in Venezuela—while noting Venezuelans should be provided the opportunity to change their regime on their own

      In fact a very recent poll has 55 percent support for Maduro given the US threat. Also most of the opposition themselves stepped aside from the most recent election–perhaps simply so they could claim it was illegitimate regardless of the outcome. So it’s quite a bit more complicated than presented above. But instead of arguing about the facts, why not–as some have suggested–just say nothing or better still quote another, wiser candidate: “hands off Venezuela.” For some of us our vehement opposition to Hillary was almost totally about her imperialism. Bernie will be making a mistake if he tries to finesse this issue IMO.

    3. Lee

      From this morning’s links:

      Eureka Springs
      February 25, 2019 at 9:33 am
      Free college, free healthcare, public banking, actual affordable unlimited fiber to every home already on the grid, a guaranteed income/22.50 minimum living wage would be reparations far better than a mule. We are out of 40 acre allotments.

      And even far better than the present value of same, ranging in estimates to be from $130K to $500K per slave descendant, if one takes the factor of social cohesion and its future benefits into consideration.

      Some of the disadvantages of taking a race first approach should be obvious to someone as smart as Coates. Lest we forget, the U.S. electorate is still 2/3 white; that although poverty rates are higher among non-whites, there are still more poor whites than any other racial group; there has been a significant backlash against affirmative action even here in the very blue, nearly majority minority state of California.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        +1 to Eureka Springs for calliing for free healthcare, and not just universal healthcare.

        We divide ourselves (to be conquered) when we make something more special (free college, but not free healthcare, not free housing).

        Similarly we are divided when separted into different groups.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        What keeps me up at night is the idea of an explicitly white nationalist party, with a militant wing, led by somebody much more disciplined than Trump. That would be very, very bad.

  10. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the beautiful photo of the quaking aspen organism known as “Pando”. Recalled an article from last fall which said that Pando is dying due to a combination of human encroachment, and cattle and deer grazing on its new shoots and leaves. Not sure, but I think the article might have been included in ‘Links’ on NC around that time. In any event, conservation efforts that include fencing appear to be having some success at protecting it.


    1. Lemmy Caution

      That’s heartbreaking.

      Tree lovers can find a mention of Pando on the Treeographer site, which is a collection of the true histories of significant or symbolic trees from around the world.

  11. Bruce F

    On the subject of Climate Change/Emergency/Chaos, is this interview of author Dahr Jamail, by Chris Hedges where they talk about Jamail’s book The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption.


    They go through his findings, one by one. It’s a horror show, and hard to take in.

    I suppose this goes against a certain train of thought that says you want to put a good spin on things, but I don’t see how that’s possible.

    1. notabanker

      Watched this last night.

      David Wallace-Wells and Rupert Read are essentially saying the exact same thing.

      I’ve tried to be careful jumping to conclusions on this because it’s really hard to sort fact from fiction in this space. These systems are chaotic and symbiotic. The scientific conclusions can vary pretty widely on specific topics. But these three have come to very similar conclusions looking at the overall scope of the problems and what they have to say is compelling.

      I’ve seen the doom and gloomers who have tossed in the towel, the moderates who keep talking about acting now to save 2060-2100 and the deniers (who ought to be jettisoned into outer space). I gotta say, these three have been the most credible to me.

      Finally, in the last week I have seen this coverage on BBC, ITV and RT. Nada in the US. I’m not sure what the significance of that is, but it feels like it’s important.

  12. Watt4Bob

    I’ve been tempted to comment on this earlier, but for some reason, wasn’t motivated enough.

    I’ve made a couple trips to Edmonton AB, from Minnesota in the last few years and on the way back the last time, I had to stop every 30 miles or so as I crossed North Dakota, to clean my windshield because the bugs were so thick.

    This would be on the portion of the trip between Minot and Fargo.

    No lack of insects, more insects that I had ever driven through.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Rode a motorcycle to Yellowknife and back. Couldn’t take off my helmet north of Edmonton unless I was indoors without getting swarmed. Helped me understand the plight of the caribou, moose, and bear up there.

      1. eg

        On the motorcycle the worst for me, insect-wise, were the prairie grasshoppers — they were like being struck by gravel!

  13. Martin Finnucane

    Re: Matt Duss/Sanders/Maduro

    Some clever wag on the Twitter characterized Charles Davis, the author of the piece that Duss endorses, as a hipster neocon. I think there’s probably more nuanced ways of taking a nuanced position. Peek at Charles Davis’ oeuvre.

    Be that as it may, I get confused and frustrated trying to figure out why we’re talking about our feelings about Maduro’s governance. What I think about the shortcomings of the Bolivarian money printing press (or whatever) is actually immaterial, or at least of little relevance to anything any time soon. However, to the extent that I’m an American, and to the extent that my opinion presumably has some bearing upon the actions of the government presumably acting in my name, whether or not I say “Hands Off Venezuela” may actually be important.

    So, just say it: Hands Off Venezuela. Foreground that. Make it categorical and unambiguous. I mean, what happens if we do: we become “dupes” of big bad Maduro? That’s just red baiting (hipster or otherwise.) Given that Sanders has been viciously red baited his whole career, I was hoping that he would engage the issue by saying “Hand Off” loud and proud, and daring the troglodytes to smear him for it. But alas.

    1. Carolinian

      As someone said here the other day: this time he thinks he’s actually going to win. Gotta be statesmanlike. Or something. Perhaps it’s early to hit the panic button but Duss (see interview below) does not impress. He seems to be rehearsing for State Department spokesperson job.

      1. integer

        Duss’s foreign policy experience appears to be limited to Middle Eastern affairs. His positions on AIPAC and Palestine are pretty good IMO, however his understanding of other regions is an open question, and may be cause for concern.

    2. integer

      The Daily Beast is a “hipster neocon” publication. Michael Weiss (!) is one of its senior editors, and its parent company is owned by Barry Diller, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

      1. pjay

        On this subject, I just read at MOA that Richard Haass, head honcho at the CFR (therefore head neoliberal ideologue), has invoked the “Responsibility to Protect” Doctrine to justify outside intervention into Venezuela. This is not just a neocon con job; the neoliberals are all in as well (if we can distinguish the two at this point). Bernie’s tweets just justify their arguments — which of course are invalid, as b points out.


        1. integer

          I agree that the signs are ominous, and it’s no surprise that neocons and liberals (whose unquestioning support for neoliberal policies and self-proclaimed righteousness mixed with ignorance renders as toxic and destructive as neocons IMO) are pushing for intervention. Regarding Sanders though, I’m going to hold off on making any sweeping judgements regarding the now infamous tweet, which states:

          The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.

          I’m not (yet) convinced this is as big a deal as some are making it out to be, and he has explicitly stated that “The US has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American nations [and] must not go down that road again.” Maybe I’m misreading the significance of his latest tweet on Venezuela, but for the moment at least, my position is that the condemnation he is receiving from the anti-war left, of which I consider myself a member, is disproportionate to its content.

  14. Synoia

    Now, I would like the help of experts in the field — this is NC, surely there are several — to replace the keyword “[declin*]” with another keyword. (I think the query should be identical in every other respect). I would, myself, try “[increas*], but I’m a layperson, and perhaps that’s not the term of art among scientists.


    Population Count
    Insect Mass

    Insectivore population
    Gecko Population
    Lizard Population
    Tons of Insecticide used per year

    This is not a “choose one measure” query. It’s “use all of them” and look for common trends.

  15. BoulderMike

    Can someone explain why this is being brought up again? I thought it was a dead issue long ago. There are many people who have been enslaved in this country, some more directly than others. Clearly slavery was a terrible thing and a stain on our country, as well as others. But the slavery referred to in reparation discussions, African-American slavery, ended several generations ago. How do we determine who is deserving, and how much? Many “black” people, for lack of a better term, here in the US are not from Africa directly (I know, even Caribbean people could be from Africa in previous generations, but….). Obama has African lineage, but is not technically African-American in the strictest definition as his ancestors were not slaves). Would Obama be due reparations? In general the question is how to determine if one’s ancestors were slaves? Many African-Americans lived up North, and while their lives weren’t great either, they weren’t technically slaves, at least no more than the many other low wage workers of the time who were immigrants. This just seems like a wedge issue that should be put to rest NOW, and instead, as Bernie said in 2016, we should focus on poverty in general, and why it impacts certain demographic/racial groups more than others.

    1. Hana M

      Oh, but think of the bureaucratic joys of means-testing! Whole agencies could be staffed with DNA testing labs and genealogists and skin colour measurements! And as an added bonus feature–spin-off privatized data-gathering-and-sharing and monetization as an info source for ‘law enforcement’ agencies. Just one drop of blood….

      1. blowncue

        On this particular point, as opposed to the larger question, I would encourage the commentariat to read Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play.

        It’s characters trek to a National Park like site known as The Great Hole of History. Said hole being the place into which the institution of slavery hurled genealogical certainty.

        Because, unlike other genocidal efforts, say in Cambodia, those enslaved, forcibly cleaved from each other as well as from their motherland, weren’t allowed writing privileges, nor scrapbooks, nor addresses for their kidnapped kin.

        Tough to establish one’s family tree when tree-cutting is not a bug, but a feature.

        Providing funding for genealogical testing and historical research to African-Americans wouldn’t be the worst use of public funds–I can think of far worse expenditures made. Wars and pork barrels and such.

    2. Hameloose Cannon

      Reparations. Ancient tradition to compensate your neighbor’s household for the cruelty you inflict upon the neighbor’s family members. The longer it takes to do so, the larger that debt becomes. Nothing so gauche as to buy everybody Amazon gift cards, but allocation of public funds toward school districts, college scholarships, business grants, perhaps, but above, all else an acknowledgment of wrong doing. Chattel slavery in the Colonies can be traced back to a rough 12 extended English-speaking families who owned sugar plantations in Barbados in the 17th century, which became threatened by the Spanish naval presence in Florida. So, “get your things kids, we going to Grandma’s” and the plantations relocated to the Carolina’s under protection of the English Crown. Ever this since, this land has been in the excuse business for why some were less free than others.

    3. JBird4049

      Can someone explain why this is being brought up again?

      Distractions, distractions, distractions…

      With the political left rising in influence, likely to have actual political reasons political in the next five years or so, the wealthy elites, the power brokers who serve then, and the minions who seek the crumbs want to stop or at least blunt this; identity politics has been an effective, very effective means of dividing and conquering in America politics since the 17th century.

    4. Synoia

      Who caught the slaves in Africa and were their first sellers?

      Why are only West Africa Blacks discussed in teems of Slavery? East African Blacks where just as likely to be caught and sold into slavery, the only difference is form where the slavers originated.

      1. JBird4049

        Do not forget all the Native Americans who were enslaved, dispossessed (And in California hunted for fun during the Gold Rush) before, during, and after the (ostensible) emancipation of Blacks by Americans for centuries, the involuntary British immigrants/indentured, the roughly ¼ of the white underclass that’s been the poor for three or four centuries, and of course the Californios, Neomexicanos, and Tejanos.

        If people want to go down into the rabbit hole, we can do that, but they might be unpleasantly surprise when claiming supreme victimhood status. Often the only thing that might be worth debating just how badly they, and their ancestors, were and are treated, and that’s only different in degree and not in kind.

        But that is what the establishment wants. Most of the agitation is coming from the top as identity politics is great at splitting the reformers into small, weak, digestible, and controllable chunks.

        I hope no one is actually stunned by all the Black reformers who wound up dead once they started seeking alliances with the leaders of other groups. The leaders of those groups often had… problems although not of the fatal kind.

        Just look at Fred Hampton, the Black man who coined and started Rainbow Coalition, the multi-group, cross class, cross race which got him assassinated by the police. Now look at the modern Rainbow Coalition which was founded a few years later. Or MLK murder at the start of his Poor People’s Campaign. Somehow it went from all poor Americans to oppress, but necessarily poor, Blacks with the Black Misleadership Class in charge of the flim-flam.

  16. Joe Well

    Re: culture war thread killed by outrage culture harrassment

    It’s been my uninformed perspective that virtually all these US online lynch mobs depend on Twitter to spread so far. Not Facebook, Linkedin, Snapchat, Youtube, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Whatsapp, blogs, email, etc. I mean, those other platforms may play a role, but the real action seem to be on Twitter.

    I love some journalists’ Twitter streams, especially Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi. But it is striking that most of their tweets take the form of an argument with someone else, often with a lot of vitriol. All of politics Twitter (and a few other communities as well) seems like that.

    I am involved in the education universe and while the debates in that world are intense and personally felt, education Twitter does not devolve into open hatred (admittedly, it’s also pretty quiet, and perhaps in part because so many of the participants are women, a lot of them stay off Twitter).

    Is that a mistake impression re: Twitter?

    1. Craig H.

      My impression is that this was far more personal than a typical twitter mob. This is a subculture which is *vastly* different than Naked Capitalism. There are incessant meetups; there are group living quarters; dozens if not hundreds of these people see one another IRL all the time. There is a different subreddit (sneerclub) which now has 2164 subscribers the bulk of the daily traffic is hating on Scott and anybody else displaying politically incorrect behavior. I have seen culture war threads with over 9000 posts. (The software will not function at that load.) In the early days some of the discussion was fascinating but it became far too cumbersome.

      Maybe the new subreddit will resurrect some of the charm. There are not a lot of places on the internet where you see serious (sort of) discussions between red-pillers and antifas plus purported weirdos you had no idea were even conceivable.

      The thing that struck me about his post was his labeling of two weeks of being too freaked out to deal with anybody as a nervous breakdown. He is a psychiatrist. Aren’t they supposed to be more cautious with that term? Or, maybe that really is a nervous breakdown. In which case I probably have had about fifty of them by this point. Maybe I should see a doctor? Ha ha just kidding.

    2. Daryl

      I follow only tech twitter, and I can report that it’s unfortunately pretty argumentative and cliquey.

      Tech twitter is also pretty lefty so I get exposed to an unfortunate amount of political stuff, very little of which I find informative. Bernie’s announcement that he was running helped me mute a few more idiots.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. that post made me sad.
      i’ve avoided twitter(didn’t have the right fone until recently…and AOC almost made me take the leap…must…resist…)
      and i abandoned faceborg a few years ago for pretty much the same reasons laid out here…the ugly…splattered over everything…unavoidable…
      and that was well before the hilldog/bernie fight.
      the righty trolls and the randian lunatics i could handle. it was when the clintonists started policing speech…and following me around, as it were, for not liking either clinton, since about 1990…that i had to back away.
      it’s sad, because i consider myself a creature of the Enlightenment…Jeffersonian in my regard for free speech, open debate and due frelling process.
      and here’s the greatest communications invention in history being undermined by a few hateful morons, and an unknown number of cynical operatives(troll farms? really?!)
      (and! one of the last straws was Jefferson….”he owned people!!!”…so we should toss him in the bin? amazing.)

  17. Tomonthebeach

    CLASS WARFARE This statement strikes me as naive: “This process is simple; a senior leader identifies a junior protege and then, often operating beneath formal processes, is able to fast-track their career…”

    The process the Guardian attributes to fast-tracking clueless aristocrats also applies to bright and upwardly mobile achievers. You get noticed by being willing to take on freebie projects for executives (re-analysis, special report, etc.), and always focusing your briefings and reports on the problems of the higher-ups (admirals, generals, agency heads); not just the senior people who tasked you with the project. Thinking back, the only position I ever applied for was graduate student after being released from active service after Vietnam – I was invited to that 1st job too… by the draft board. :-)

    People get to be top management by getting things done through people. Junior executives who surround themselves with highly competent and achieving people move up. Make that exec shine, and you become a protege. As they move up – they take you with them. As your reputation builds, even bigger executives move you under their wing. Alternatively, an exec who puts the son of his golfing buddy under his/her wing risks their unproven proteges taking them down with them. I have seen several execs plateau or be forced to resign for just that sort of dynamic.

    That is how a meritocracy works. Unfortunately, it is also how “connected” people surpass their level of incompetence and give casual observing writers the impression that the system is rigged in favor of well-connected wealthy dolts. If that was really the case, there would be no successful organizations.

    1. ambrit

      Define “successful.”
      I’ll bet that ””successful” has had a change of meaning since the Neo-liberal decades commenced.

    1. Another Scott

      There is also an entire class of gaming called speed running, which usually involves exploiting glitches to finish a game in as little time as possible. It’s really interesting to see how quickly they can get through games that I spent days to finish as a kid

      1. Plenue

        I’ve heard PUBG is so inherently broken that the fact it’s constantly screwing up is just an expected part of the experience at this point.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Certainly puts some unexpected spice in the game. From the film clips that I have seen, most players have a good laugh when it happens or say something like “What? What? WTF?”. Must make for some good anecdotes in chat.

  18. Henry Moon Pie

    Rushkoff and selling the GND:

    I’m trying an approach In my Rust Belt city that intentionally smacks of Chamber of Commerce talk:

    “Let’s make our city the most resilient in the country!”

    That good old ‘Murcan spirit of competition, selling the locale to outside Big Money, boosterism. Whatever it takes.

    I’ll admit I’m not trying the uber-optimistic approach that Rushkoff seems to advocate as if we can avoid climate change entirely. Way too late for that. But we can take measures that will mitigate the impacts of that change, and those measures will also keep us as close to 2.0 degrees as possible.

    Key elements in that “resilience:”

    1) local food independence which will depend in part on vacant lot food forests and yard gardens;

    2) resilience projects (like rain gardens and planting window shading) funded at the municipal level but shaped and administered by neighborhood councils;

    3) requiring our internationally famous hospitals to do some real public health in our community that sadly boasts high infant mortality numbers.

    1. Darthbobber

      Credit to Rushkoff in a weird way. He skips any pretence about meaningful democracy and cuts straight to properly persuading the presently rich and powerful. Good luck with that.

      I’m reminded of Proudhon being reduced to lobbying Napoleon III to implement Utopian socialism by decree.

  19. ldruid

    Lambert, I have a friend who is a respected entomologist (several critters to his name) to whom I forwarded your request for search terms. He responded as below:

    I read the paper in question a couple weeks ago. It was interesting but did not comport very well with the news headlines associated with it, which often talked about increased danger from pest species as overall diversity declines. I could hardly find anything in there about that.

    Meta analyses like that one are always subject to accusations of bias. In my view what they do is point to something, saying, “this is interesting and deserves more research attention.” If i were the authors of it, or someone wanting to study the situation more broadly, I would read all papers dealing with insect diversity and abundance. I wouldn’t look for either increase or decrease articles. Of course, this kind of search and study is much more difficult and time consuming, but is the only way to get the full picture.

    1. Lee

      FWIW, in a recent interview with an entomologist, on Science Friday if IIRC, she said that a problem is the paucity of studies and historical data on insect populations with which to compare current surveys.

  20. Wukchumni

    Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday signed nearly two dozen bills into law, including one that says there’s a need to conduct a grizzly bear hunt in the state. While the state was ready to hold a grizzly bear hunt last fall for bears that wander out of the Great Yellowstone Ecosystem, in September a federal judge rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove grizzlies in the ecosystem from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

    That led the Wyoming Legislature, which cited the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which “guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the constitution” — earlier this month to pass a measure authorizing the state’s Game and Fish Commission to hold a hunt for the bears if it determines such a hunt “would be beneficial for managing Wyoming’s wildlife and for protecting Wyoming workers and other citizens and tourists of the state…”

    Tacked onto that measure as an amendment is permission for the Game and Fish Commission to send any grizzly bears it traps “to the state of California … or to other willing states with suitable habitat.”

    No word yet if California is interested in grizzlies.


    1. Synoia

      No word yet if California is interested in grizzlies.

      Please release them on the Facebook and Google Campus.

    2. Darius

      The California grizzly has been extinct for 150 years. I’m sure it hasn’t been determined if the subspecies at Yellowstone would be appropriate for reintroduction in California.

      The Wyoming bills is non scientific, superstitious nonsense funded by powerful rich mining and timber lobbyists who have taken advantage of white supremacy tropes to buy the state. Just like in Montana.

    1. Carey

      That’s a good thing! One data point: I sent a brief email to the Sanders campaign, and surprisingly, got a response from a human. I was impressed.

  21. anon in so cal

    “A new state bill mandating that community college campuses let homeless students park overnight is a good idea. It just needs to be refined”

    “California’s housing crisis has left hundreds of thousands of community college students either homeless or facing the threat of being homeless.

    A new California State Assembly bill offers a potential remedy — letting students sleep in their vehicles in campus parking lots and structures.

    Assembly Bill 302, sponsored by Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, would require the California Community College system to make their college parking system accessible overnight to any enrolled student in good standing. State law already requires that community colleges provide homeless students with access to shower facilities on campus.”



    1. Geo

      That’s amazing. Looks like Canada is building their southern border wall faster and cheaper than we are.

  22. Ford Prefect


    I don’t think I buy into the thesis presented here as it would require great foresightedness of corporations since workers require a minimum of 18 years to produce from birth unless you can actually use child labor. Very few billionaire octogenarians are thinking that far ahead, although they would probably like access to low paid child labor.

    I think it is more likely they are looking to avoid current cash flow expenditures on medical costs and parental leave. If you view current workers as disposable and fungible commodities, then it is not critical if they depart the work force when they get pregnant and have kids. You just don’t want to pay them money and incur costs when they have kids as that would hurt quarterly earnings.

    1. zagonostra

      Yeah…Dore was on fire, just watched Kulinsk and I hope some of Bernie’s new handlers are paying attention. For myself, no more contribution to Bernie’s campaign until I see if this is an aberration, otherwise it’s Tulsi full steam ahead.

        1. JohnnyGL


          Yeah, you inspired me. I just zipped through it quickly. It’s at the edge of what I’d consider barely acceptable. This is just pathetic: “But coming out as Trump has done and sort of putting the US in the lead — just completely recognizing Guaidó as the president— and putting the US four-square behind the opposition, has the potential to create some possible outcomes that the US is not quite prepared for.”

          There is absolutely, positively ZERO basis for recognizing Juan Guaido as president of anything more than a cardboard box. It’s been absolutely clear as day that he’s being appointed by the US and its lapdogs that run other countries. It’s a flagrant grab for assets. they’ve seized a major oil/gas distribution and retail chain in Citgo. Just stole the dang thing. It’s worth around $7bn….poof, stolen!

          Trump’s real value is that he’s awful at faking stuff and lying, so it’s as transparent as a daylight robbery.

          1. Rhondda

            Yes, as Lambert has often said: “wonderfully clarifying.”

            For those who have eyes to see… Perhaps the Berners better check and make sure they haven’t got any Integrity Initiative moles-as-staffers this time around.

            1. Hopelb

              The guy put in charge of running the office here in Pittsburgh was so blatantly a hillbot mole we asked him outright and tried to get the campaign to replace him. He did nothing and wasted all of the glossy literature. I pray Bernie has learned from this.

      1. Cal2


        I urge you and everyone else, to watch the hour plus interview of Tulsi with Joe Rogan.

        This woman is unbelievable. Cool, collected, intellectual, soft spoken but with Gravitas.
        We are writing her campaign a large check today.

        Bernie, our favorite in 2016 and until today, is nothing compared to Gabbard.
        I am in awe of this woman. Even if she doesn’t get the nomination, her value is to shame, inform and awaken the voters.

    2. pjay

      Thanks for posting these links. Very good. I think Kulinski absolutely nails it in 12:00 minutes. Dore is good too, as usual.

    3. richard

      Jimmy at his best.

      Bernie: Don’t lie to us about Venezuela. Don’t gaslight us: we can see for ourselves what is going on. Every one in the world can. Wake up!

  23. dearieme

    “a tangible stake in the country’s future, a share in its enormous wealth”: the country owns huge acreages – distributing almost all this land in equal shares among adult citizens would be a fine idea. Bad luck if your bit turns out to be barren land in the Rockies but that would be the luck of the draw. At least you could search it for gold.

    Or you could make the shares equal based not on acreage but on some measure of value. That might be wiser. In the age of satellite surveying such a scheme is feasible, indeed almost easy.

  24. kareninca

    So, we were asked for anthropological sketches. If they are also family gossip, I think that then they are not condescending in the way they might otherwise be. Maybe condescending in other ways? Sorry about that in advance.

    I have a 75 y.o. relative. She is near-destitute. It actually can sometimes be the case that a person’s lifestyle led to their being broke; it’s not always the admittedly bad economic system. Her husband had a really, really good union job, and they had nearly-free housing and fabulous health insurance (even now her hearing aids are covered). She never needed to work. But, they were both spendthrifts; it was actually a compulsion for them to spend what came in, as soon as it came in. They bought every imaginable car and boat and other such thing. If you remember New England in the 70s you can picture this. So she lives in the (very heavily mortgaged) tiny family shack (built 100+ years ago when our mutual forebears came over, which has never been upgraded). With her smelly rescued dogs (well-tended but they have some sort of naturally smelly skin oil) and a million purchased things (adult coloring books, knick knacks, hanging plants, on and on).

    She was widowed seven years ago, and after a couple of years wanted to date. She wanted companionship and sex. Here is the problem: she is terribly homely; she is as round as a bowling ball and has eyes that protrude and so on. Her extensive social network did not bring her anyone. She tried online – no luck. But here is her secret weapon – she is an extremely kind person. She tended her husband (an alcoholic) to the last. She tended her mother (a jerk) to the last. She’s been there for us as well. In the last few years, due to being utterly broke, she has worked part time as a home health aide, since her kind nature suited that to her and also it was what she could get as work in an economically depressed part of New England. Anyway, she really wanted a boyfriend. Truly any boyfriend who wasn’t actually an axe murderer. Maybe even an axe murderer if he left his axe at home.

    So last week, she got a phone call. An 80 year old guy whose wife she had tended wonderfully. The wife had died 14 months ago. He was calling her to ask her on a date. He showed up in a new Lexus (he is actually upper middle class). They went out; she had her first kiss.

    My mom and I are swooning with joy, both for her happiness and because maybe now we won’t have to pay for her fuel oil.

    1. Geo

      That’s a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing.

      I’ve known many who have gone into their later years solo (and most likely will myself). While there is a joy to be found in solitude it is hard when that solitude turns to isolation and a feeling of rejection. Glad to hear she kept her loving nature which aided her in the quest for affection and companionship.

      1. kareninca

        Um, this is not about my mother. My mother is the same age as this relative, but is comfortably off and extremely attractive. We are happy for my dad’s cousin.

  25. cm

    Transgender greatness as 2 trans come in 1st & 2nd at a high school girl’s track meet.

    Love to hear feminists take on this. Identity politics for the win!

  26. JohnnyGL


    AOC doing her cooking and her stream of consciousness chatting. I think it was on instagram-live. She wandered into Iran-Contra but either didn’t seem to know the story, exactly, or veered away from it, but she is clear on Abrams being a criminal. She was better on Venezuela than Bernie has been, lately.

    I’d advise not to read the tweet-commentary the right-wing clown wrote to go with the tweets. The person basically just calls her stupid and says she doesn’t belong in Congress. The person either thinks WAY too highly of most congress-critters, or is just triggered by someone disagreeing with him.

    It’s sort of funny, on a personal note, I’ve had the fortune/misfortune to see a number of US sponsored/influenced ‘regime change’ operations and I’m only 10 years older than she is. I recall the coup attempt in Venezuela in 2002, and the oil strike/lockout in 2003. There was the Honduran coup in 2009, the parliamentary coup in 2012 in Paraguay and in Brazil in 2016. Throw in Ukraine in 2014 and Syrian Civil War and years of reading NC and all the linked articles over the years.

    Someone really needs to get the reporting from Robert Parry at Consortiumnews in front of AOC so she can get the full picture of what Reagan’s crew was up to. And get her reading more Sy Hersh, too.

    1. Geo

      Some of my earliest political memories are of watching the Ollie North hearings. I was far too young to understand what was going on but it was clear to my little mind that the man with all the badges had done something bad and probably had a lot to do with my distrust of “official” looking people.

      Years later I was browsing through numerous book stores looking for books on the subject. Sadly, I found numerous books of propagandistic fiction by the author Oliver North, but no nonfiction books about the Iran Contras. Ended up getting a few online from fringe publishers. Some might as well have been delivered with a tinfoil hat for how deep down the conspiracy well thy went (I tune out as soon as the Illuminati or Knights of Templar are mentioned) but fortunately a few seemed to be valuable.

      One book titled The Conspirators, published in 1999, has an afterward warning of the potential Bush Jr. administration that is almost prophetic. Combined with what is currently going on in our Trump Administration concerning China, Russia and Latin America it might as well be a report on what is happening, not what might happen.

      Explains why the book was self published. Too much truth for a major publisher when they have Ollie North garbage to sell.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I went to a pretty left-wing University, (UofOregon) in a really left wing city (Eugene) of a fairly left wing State, during that whole time…so you can imagine my beliefs at the time.

        All these years later, I still remember Ben Linder – idealistic, went to help the people, was killed by US financed/operated thugs. I don’t know if there is still the ‘Ben Linder’ room in the Student Union, but I hope so….real live breathing peoples, once killed, get a small brass plaque on a wall somewhere, and as time goes on they become invisible to the younger generation.


        Some live peoples still remember them though. And hope others don’t forget.

    1. Darius

      Will Trump be raptured? Maybe God will take him up despite his not giving a fig about all that stuff because the evangelicals have given him honorary Christian status because MAGA. Elliott Abrams too. And we know the evangelicals speak for God and vice versa.

  27. richard

    A very rough day today, hoping some of you can help me process.
    We just found out about 2 deaths at our K-8 school returning after mid-winter break today. Our bilingual IA Rania was just killed, returning to Libya to care for her elder mom who lost her husband. No details yet on what happened.
    Our assistant principal from last year, Chrys, took her own life over the weekend. No other details.
    These are both people I worried a lot about. I felt guilty about their situations, both of them. And now today I find out that they’re both dead. I know this isn’t about me, but I can’t get out of my head with it.
    Rania worked in my classroom 1-2 day a week during our Being A Reader block. From the moment I found out she was going back to Libya, I began to worry and feel tremendous guilt about the dangers she’d be facing. I raised money for her trip. I hardly knew her, but I couldn’t get out of my head what her country used to be, and what it was now, and my part in that. Now she’s dead.
    Chrys worked at our school for several years. She was a dynamo, holding together so much at our school, working so hard. Last year she needed several breaks, citing stress and mental health issues. She worked pretty closely with me personally, through a couple of years where I struggled professionally. I always felt close to her, but also like I was a lot of work for her and stressed her out. We’ve missed her this year, and I’ve felt a little guilty all year about her leaving, especially the overwork I contributed to. Now she’s dead.
    I know none of this is about me. But I feel targeted anyway, or like I targeted those around me. That’s enough about me.
    I need to tell my students tomorrow.
    This is very bleak, and not much hope at the end. Thanks for reading.

    1. Carla

      richard, I cannot imagine having to tell your students about the loss of these two precious lives tomorrow. I will be thinking of you.

      1. richard

        Thanks Carla, for you thoughts. It helped me just to write it down there. I don’t know what to say or do else. I have a very big feeling, and I just have to let it pass through me.

        1. Darius

          It breaks my heart, richard, to read this. It is horrible to have to endure tragedy. It sounds like you made a real difference in the people’s lives. Their troubles were beyond your power to solve. But you are there for people and I’m sure many love you for it.

          1. richard

            Darius thanks for your kind words. I’m going to turn in for the night. Wasn’t that Kim Zetter tweet above pretty funny? That’s the problem with our country, too many five year old rentiers!

        2. The Rev Kev

          I really do not know what to say richard except to stay strong for your students. A lot of them may be looking to you to take their lead from and you may have to watch for those that knew these two people and are having a rough time taking it in. They are the ones that will be needing help in the coming days. And don’t forget to take care of yourself as well as that is important too.

          1. richard

            Thanks Rev, for your kind thoughts. We talked through it today, although we weren’t able to tell the students about Rania, because for some reason we don’t have official confirmation yet. That was a little hard, to keep that inside.
            We did some crying and thinking and there were a lot of soft discussions, and watching each other for how we could help. Lots of hugging.

    2. Hopelb

      I am very sorry. My daughter lost three of her classmateS this year.You might consider the probability that her assitance to you might have been the highlight of her day.We humans like nothing better than to act our humanity in our particular expertise. Telling your students how much she helped and mentored you,how she got you through a tough spot, and how her kindness/counsel will live on through you might aleviate some of their pain and is a great life lesson to impart.

      1. richard

        Thanks Hopelb. I’m not sure what I will say about Chrys tomorrow, or Rania. I will mostly not talk about it and listen to friends and students. I’m terribly sorry to hear about your daughter. That is so much tragedy for a young person to go through, to have to grow through.
        Along with all the joy and wisdom and wit I see here at NC, I know there’s a hell of a lot of experience with pain and grief as well. So I thought I would process here a little, among friends (as I think of you, though I know nothing but a screen name) whose words I read all the time.

    3. integer

      I’m not sure there’s anything one can say to lessen the impact of such a terrible set of circumstances. Your reaction is perfectly normal, and as you say in your reply to Carla, time will probably be the only thing that will allow you to fully come to terms with, and be at peace with, what has transpired. My sincere condolences.

  28. Darthbobber

    Credit to Rushkoff in a weird way. He skips any pretence about meaningful democracy and cuts straight to properly persuading the presently rich and powerful. Good luck with that.

    I’m reminded of Proudhon being reduced to lobbying Napoleon III to implement Utopian socialism by decree.

  29. Oregoncharles

    About the insect decline study: a possibility to consider is that pest insects and those dependent on people are increasing at the expense of others. I’m living in a relatively insect-friendly area; but the common ones are honeybees (but also bumblebees), yellowjackets, food pests like codling moth, marmorated stink bugs (just arrived), cabbage butterflies, and ladybugs – including the invasive Asian one that likes to come inside for the winter. Oh, and ants, both sugar ants and carpenter ants. Box elder bugs are also common; they parasitize the maple trees, but seem to do little real harm. Our maple trees are ginormous.

    I’m not an expert at all; that’s just a gardener’s observations.

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