Links 2/28/19

Why African elephants appear wrinkled National Geographic

A Troubling Discovery in the Deepest Ocean Trenches The Atlantic. Plastics.

MMT Is Already Helping Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Jacobin. Another response to Henwood.

An Interview with the Chairman: Taxes, Spending, Deficits, Inflation: The Workings of Federal Finance Mosler Economics

Other People’s Blood n+1. On Paul Volcker.

Amazon abandons plan to occupy huge downtown Seattle office building Seatte Times, which summarizes: “Amazon threatened to abandon a prominent downtown Seattle office project if the the city imposed a so-called head tax. The city ultimately did not impose the tax, and now Amazon is abandoning the project anyway.” Bezos has form.

Scott Morrison’s pea-and-thimble trick Sydney Morning Herald. Another Five Eyes omnishambles….

Wilson-Raybould alleges ‘consistent and sustained’ effort by Trudeau, officials to ‘politically interfere’ in SNC-Lavalin case Globe and Mail. And another…


JACOB REES-MOGG: Why I WOULD be delighted to back Theresa… and all it takes is the tiniest of tweaks to the Irish backstop Daily Mail

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will support Brexit referendum BBC

Britain has a chance to think again on Brexit FT

A New Editor, and a New Take on Brexit, for a Brawny London Tabloid NYT

Japan seeking big concessions from Britain in trade talks Guardian

North Korea

Trump, Kim fail to reach nuke deal at second summit Japan Times

India v. Pakistan

Good advice:

Kashmir conflict explained: what brought Pakistan and India to air strikes and tensions to the brink of war? South China Morning Post

New Delhi and Islamabad Don’t Want Fire and Fury Foreign Policy

Pakistan hits back, shoots down two Indian jets; two pilots arrested The News (Pakistan).

India Pakistan war: How India and Pakistan differ Times of India

The Daily Fix: Revenge is not a strategic objective – India and Pakistan must reduce tensions

Domestic pressures blunt hopes of India-Pakistan de-escalation FT

India and China Defy Trump on the Iranian Oil Boycott The Wire (J-LS).

Saudi Arabia’s Crude Supply to U.S. Gulf Falling Fast and Hard Bloomberg


Israeli Extremists Are Making a Comeback—With the Help of US Tax Dollars The Nation

Russia Wants to Get Iran Out of Syria, Netanyahu Says After Putin Meet Haarretz


Next year in Caracas? Venezuelans hope exile will end soon AP

U.S. weighs sanctions against mysterious Fintech billionaire’s Venezuela deals seen helping Maduro Japan Times

Will Maduro’s Supporters Abandon Him? Foreign Affairs. Betteridge’s Law….

Debunking Four Mistruths About Venezuela’s Humanitarian Aid Showdown Venezuelanalysis

Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America FAIR

From the ground:



China is facing employment challenges as its economy slows, official says CNBC

China Strike Map China Labor Bulletin

A history of Singapore, explained in 10 dishes Roads & Kingdoms

Trump Transition

The Cohen of Silence Breaks: What to Make of Wednesday’s Testimony Lawfare

Michael Cohen has blown a lot of political smoke but no impeachable fire Henry Olsen, WaPo

Michael Cohen’s Testimony Is the First Hearing in President Trump’s Impeachment Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Michael Cohen: Lots of Wind, No Damage The American Conservative

* * *

House passes bill for universal background checks Axios

Pentagon harbors culture of revenge against whistleblowers Roll Call

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Dow Jones’ watchlist of 2.4 million high-risk individuals has leaked TechCrunch. “The data, since secured, is the financial giant’s Watchlist database, which companies use as part of their risk and compliance efforts.” Whoops.

Limiting Your Digital Footprints in a Surveillance State NYT

Police State Watch

Farm Aid for the Big House Vera

Health Care

What Would ‘Medicare for All’ Do to Medicare? NYT. Clean out the neoliberal infestations, one hopes.

ACA plans denied nearly 1 in 5 in-network claims in 2017 Health Care Dive. Which is why everybody loves their insurance company so much.

Class Warfare

How income inequality affects our mental health Gillian Tett, FT

The Academy Is Unstable and Degrading. Historians Should Take Over the Government, Instead. Chronicle of Higher Education

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wants the Country to Think Big (interview) Rolling Stone

Antidote du jour (via):

Looks like Larry the Cat’s trying to shake it all off.

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

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. Yves Smith

          OMG this guy is COOL! It reminds me of the stereotypical Britain’s Got Talent (and its many overseas imitators) where a very ordinary or even oddball looking person by professional performer standards gets behind the mike and delivers a great show.

      1. tegnost

        yeah, don’t miss this clip! I’ll shakin it off all day now…including the hand swoops (don’t worry I spend most of my time solo). That guy has got to be a karaoke madman.

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      I torment children in the same manner in the school drop off line. My music is cooler tho. They hate when people honk in support. Big Dog also sticking head out the window.


    2. ambrit

      I just had to forward this to my policeman brother-in-law. He’s a copper in the Kansas City region. Now I’ll find out just how good a sense of humour he has.
      Thanks Rev.

  1. John A

    Rees-Mogg and the tiniest of tweaks.
    The biggest sticking point has always been making the border the Irish Sea or on the mainland. As the likes of Rees-Mogg wants neither, he still hasnt come up with a cunning plan as to what this tweakette would look like. Simply saying, as he does, that a date must be set for the backstop, without saying what would replace the backstop – Irish Sea or hard border, he is being his usual disingenous self.
    However, most Mail readers will lap it up, they’re not given to thinking for themselves.

  2. Summer

    Re: Interview with Fed

    “So collecting taxes is also about controlling inflation? As we just showed, the government shreds the currency when taxes are paid in cash, and paying by check doesn’t give the government anything that is actually operationally spent; so it must be about inflation?”

    Almost getting to saying out loud and finally: Income inequality is a contributor to inflation.

    1. jsn

      All my rich and super-rich clients have been complaining noisily for the last decade about inflation: all the things they buy, nice houses, apartments, cars, private jets etc. have inflated quite a bit in parallel to the Feds balance sheet.

      While the stagnant wages of the vast majority have held down the inflation of those items the Fed deigns to put in its inflation “basket of goods”, all those things the affluent want, excluded from the basket, from health care to education healthy food clean neighborhoods, water and air are inflating away.

      Apparently those are externalities to the Fed: inflation’s been low or flat…

      1. Summer

        But they keep buying at the high prices. They are hoarders so maybe can’t help themselves.
        Others can’t afford to. In cities, you’ll have a median household income of 5 figures and outrageous home prices and rents.

        Everything you named that is excluded from the inflation basket is done so because it exposes a system that is pure greed.
        The biggest gains are from being a rentier of some kind…parasite…middle man/platform.

        1. jsn

          It’s really perverse, but this real experience the super rich have of inflation just reinforces their priors, that they need more money and poor people should have less.

          They can’t imagine that it’s not poor people taking too much causing the inflation they experience, which they themselves are causing by having taken almost everything and then bidding up what they want but don’t already have.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            As Michael Hudson points alot of the “GDP growth” this quarter was increased bank earnings…so you were late on your Mastercard bill and the interest rate went from 11% to 21%…and Hey Presto! The “economy” is doing great!

            And we’ve been bamboozled for a decade about how “inflation is low”. The real-world Chapwood index completely debunks this. It’s running at about +/- 10%, which is absolutely devastating:


      2. ewmayer

        I guess all your rish and super-rich clients have the rather odd myopia that affects such folks, in ignoring that central-bank-sponsored asset-price inflation is also raising the value of the things they already *own*. “Oh, no, my net worth doubled in 5 years thanks to the sweat of my brow and my laudable entrepreneurial initiative!”

    2. Craig H.

      You might have that backwards. Income inequality is contributor to keeping the inflation from destroying us all. Greenspan told the congress in one of his lucid moments we need a little unemployment and similar economic worry to keep the peasants working and quiet.

        1. Eclair

          Good heavens, yes! I was just about to post a comment on: Other People’s Blood.

          In untechnical terms, the author summarizes the turbulent period from Nixon’s discard of the gold standard through Jimmy Carter’s appointment of Volker to head the Fed with a mandate to combat inflation, whatever the social costs. The result was carnage; monumental unemployment with its concomitant destruction of urban areas and the beginning of the breakup of a strong middle class with a weakening of unions and the realization that “wage discipline” and its resulting precarity for the working class was profit-making for the overlords.

          The death blow was dealt by Reagan, firing all the striking air traffic controllers and jailing their leaders. A warning to those still fortunate enough to have jobs: strike at your peril, disobey and you will be annihilated.

          Oh, and the point, which I had seen last week somewhere, that the term “economics” is mis-labelling, in its insinuation that the field is a science somehow divorced from politics. When used as a form of social control, the more descriptive term is “political economy.”

          I lived through this period but I was beating about in the underbrush. Tim Barker, in this review of Paul Volker’s memoir, takes us soaring above the forest and points out the patterns in the important landmarks.

          “The original gold standard, historians have concluded, became untenable around the time of World War I. Once universal suffrage was granted across Europe, the strategy of maintaining price stability through recurrent bouts of deep unemployment became politically impossible. Volcker wrote in 1978 that the Fed’s control of the money supply (and the resulting high interest rates) could provide the same discipline that “was once a function of the gold standard.” The next year he brought back the form of wage discipline—that is, recession—which had been considered politically impossible. It makes sense that it wouldn’t remain politically possible forever. “

          1. Oregoncharles

            So it was Carter, more than Reagan. No wonder he got walloped in the next election. This explains a graph I just saw – now I forget where. It was wages vs. productivity. They were tightly stuck together until about 1977; then wage growth suddenly falls off the productivity line, never to recover. Wages have been essentially flat since then, while productivity continued to increase at about the same rate.

            3 years BEFORE Reagan was elected, so Carter and Volcker. No wonder Carter’s been trying to make up for it ever since. He’s a candidate for Worst Pres. Ever. And the beginning of the end for New Deal Democrats.

            This also brings up a pet peeve: “productivity” always means LABOR productivity – just as inflation always means wages increasing. “Productivity” in this sense is really job elimination. It would mean a higher living standard IF, and ONLY if, there was full employment. Otherwise, it’s a bad thing. And why aren’t we measuring Capital and Resource productivity? (Another point: there are at least 3 “production factors,” not just 2.) You can’t fix what you don’t measure.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              The 70s were a chronically unstable time. I think Barker’s history is too smooth – he seems to argue that inflation started rising in the 1960s due to aggressive union wage demands and reached epidemic proportions in the late 70s that forced politicians to “do something.” This downplays the two oil shocks, which were important drivers of inflation. And the “wage push” inflation story is a canard: the UAW was by far the most powerful union driving wage increases and their contracts were nominally the same in the 70s as they were in the 50s and 60s: 3%/year for productivity and COLA inflation protection. But by the 70s their ability to act as wage leaders for other unions and non-union workers was already on the wane. Volker, the Chrysler bankruptcy, the Japanese import invasion and the firing of the air traffic controllers all contributed to ending the link between wages and productivity.

              The question I have yet to see answered is why, given how awful Reagan’s first 4 years were, he was re-elected so overwhelmingly. For those who argue “it’s the economy, stupid,” Reagan was somehow able to argue it was “morning in America” with 10% unemployment.

              Oh, and we do measure productivity of other “factors of production:” economists call it Total Factor Productivity while the government calls it Multi-Factor Productivity but they are basically the same thing. But it’s not a good thing – the intellectual framework within which this is done is completely corrupt. As you might expect, the data shows that finance is our most productive industry.

              1. Carey

                Maybe, and I am not sure, Reagan’s re-election had little to
                do with voter and votes; same with GWB. I was around for both, and “stay the course”, when most people’s lives were
                steadily getting worse (mine included), just didn’t seem
                that compelling. But both times we were somehow sentenced to four more years.

                Emma Goldman

              2. Oregoncharles

                LIW – But “Multi-Factor Productivity ” is never reported or referenced – I’ve literally never heard of it before.. Which is just as well, if it’s corrupted, but says there’s a political agenda in the “productivity” numbers. Which isn’t surprising: for the most part, economics is really just political ideology dressed up with numbers.

              3. Phil in KC

                To put it simply: Reagan was re-elected because Mondale was simply awful and reminded people of Carter (he had been Carter’s Veep, you will recall). And yes, by 1984, New Deal, Fair Deal, New Frontier, and Great Society politics were crepuscular.

                But to be fair, it mattered little if either Carter or Ford had won in 1976, as events were bound to overtake whoever was in the Oval Office. Nixon and Ford tried battling inflation to no effect. (Remember WIN: “Whip Inflation Now,” a famous slogan from the Ford interregnum?)

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > So it was Carter, more than Reagan

              ” The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Matt 3:3

              Carter was John the Baptist; Reagan was the King…

        2. Craig H.

          The Volcker Shock destroyed my father’s business. A lot of people think they have a better idea. Most of the other ideas lead straight to this.

          1. jsn

            Right, you do see government sponsored genocide happening every time interest rates come down…

            What can one say to such an extreme position?

            There are a few other policy options that have worked out better than starving the working class and genocide, many of them discussed in the article I linked above, used and shown to be effective in my lifetime.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Cart-Horse-Cart. Or is it Horse-Cart-Horse?

              Nixon was not the first world leader in history to want to pay for war by simply debasing the money. If you’re looking for other examples, start with Babylonia and just work your way forward.

              So did we get inflation because of the Vietnam War, or did we get the Vietnam War because Nixon could inflate?

              Sound money – oops can’t pay to run the country PLUS kill faraway yellow people. Solution: disconnect the money from reality.

              Fast forward to today. Absent any control mechanism, every possible entity (people, corporations, governments) is stuffed to the gills with debt. So much so that they have to take giant swaths of it and pretend it no longer exists (QE). So much so that they need to completely eviscerate savers so that debts can be serviced (interest rates).

              What is the Fed anyway? Since when did we decide that the most important price in the world (the price of money) should be fixed by a command-and-control, top-down priesthood reading entrails to divine the path of an infinitely complex system (the economy)? Did we not learn how destructive top-down price fixing ultimately is (ref. The Soviet Union)?

              End The Fed = End The War

              1. jsn

                OPEC created the inflation. Deregulating natural gas ended it.

                The rest is political window dressing: the organized, corporate right, as outlined 3 years earlier in the Powell Memo, used the chaos of the oil embargo to roll out a coordinated assault on the New Deal.

                It mostly succeeded as described in “Other People’s Blood” linked above and in today’s links. NeoLiberalism overwrote every other policy discussion from the previous 40 years, restoring a classical “Liberal” market ideology that your comment seems to endorse. Or maybe I’m not understanding.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  I think again it’s cart-horse-cart. Does the price of the good (in this case oil), since it is represented in currency units that can now be created in unlimited amounts, actually represent anything at all? It’s completely unhinged. So OPEC didn’t “create inflation”, the newly unhinged money creation mechanism enabled a larger number of currency units to be assigned to the same exact good: a barrel of oil.

                  And if this is a successful way to run things (where the currency can simply be created at will with no actual connection to any good) why not just take that to its logical conclusion and print it in unlimited quantities? We’ll all be trillionaires!

                  But of course there is a limit: the ability of debtors to repay. That is currently only maintained by centuries-low interest rates and through parlour tricks like QE where we pretend trillions in debt no longer exist. And through accounting fictions like still calling the 28% of sovereign bonds that pay negative interest rates “money”. I give you 100 and two years later you give me 98? I wouldn’t call that “money”.

                  1. jsn

                    Was there and oil embargo? Did the US economy have massive dependence on cheap oil inputs?

                    Was there a massive distribution of newly printed money to the population and some force requiring them to spend it on oil?

                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      Where the oil was doesn’t matter (embargoed or not). What matters is how much there was and what quantity of currency units were assigned to each barrel. Less oil combined with currency that could now be printed with no limit equalled a larger number of currency units being assigned to each barrel. With sound money the demand for oil would have dropped, instead the currency got debased. Similar to my arguments elsewhere here: without debasement the demand (ability to pay) for war would diminish.

    3. Susan the Other

      And the next one, “Other People’s Blood” about Paul Volcker. Less than a decade after John Conally, Nixon’s Sec. Treasury, told Nixon inflation didn’t matter – “it would be everyone else’s problem.” But nobody let the bankers in on it? Volcker’s story about assuming inflation could be controlled gradually until he went to Europe and was cornered by heads of state who were panicked about our inflation being their problem. So for the next decade we patched up the old system by impoverishing ourselves. Goes to show that in order to make a change from the destructive monetary ignorance of the past we need to get the word out in a more effective manner. What wall of ignorance will MMT collide with now that neoliberalism has been exposed by its own excesses – and has created both inflation and deep recession – much worse and more intractable that the stagflation of the 70s. (But still prefers to deny all this dysfunction.) All this misery because we were brainwashed into thinking by gold standard assumptions. Even after Nixon defenestrated the whole idea. So, just thinking about all the lost opportunity to create a sustainable economy – we should have let Europe find their own balance instead of abandoning our political-economy instincts. We had understood quite well – since the 50s – that neither socialism nor capitalism worked to maintain a healthy society. But the thought of Europe going even more socialist was just too commie for us to ever consider. What a shame.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think the lynchpin is to actually think about inflation, it’s received wisdom that we must have it. Nonsense.

        Prices going down as productivity rises is also known as progress. It used to take 40% of us to grow our food, with productivity advances now it takes just 3% of us. But advocates of inflation say, completely counterintuitively, that it’s better for people if at the same time the price of the food being produced is somehow made to go up.

        I go to the store. The price of a kilo of rice is $5.00. Next year it’s $4.00. How do I react? Do I say “I won’t eat until next year because the price will be $3.00”? Do I say “Oh no, now I have an extra dollar in my pocket, how terrible!”. Of course not.

        The fastest rises in the U.S. standards of living were during periods of sustained *price deflation*, where prices fell 50% or more.

        So if our goal is *to have a higher standard of living* we should be cheering for deflation, not coming up with hairbrained schemes to prevent it. I don’t want a larger number of dollars in my pocket, I want the dollars I already have in my pocket to be exchangeable for a larger quantity of goods and services.

        1. False Solace

          In one comment you deplore the crazy high debt levels in every sector of the economy, in the next you cheer for deflation. Since they’re so contradictory I’m not certain which comment I’m meant to take seriously.

          Under deflation debts become ever harder to repay, a situation much beloved of creditors and rentiers but guaranteed to bankrupt everyone else. Deflation is a curse and a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once it begins people stop buying stuff and start hoarding, which causes yet more deflation. When you get a guaranteed return from squirreling away your money in a mattress vs making an actual productive investment you have a big big problem.

          In the wider view deflation leads to radical politics, meaning revolution or outright war to distract people from a crappy economy situation. Deflation is not an outcome to be wished for by serious people. It is not the same thing as the cost of living, which we do want to decline relative to wages.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            So instead of buying rice I’m not gonna eat because rice will be cheaper next year? I’m not gonna pay my electric bill because rates are going down? And once you have high levels of debt, why yes, deflation does hurt debtors. But how did all that debt accumulate in the first place?

            And I would say there were many “serious people” who enjoyed the economic growth rates and rising standards of living during very large deflations in the U.S.


            The facts cited seem persuasive, so please cite facts when you rebut, thanks

        2. Phil in KC

          Deflation is something you devoutly do not cheer for! For deflation also affects wages. The price of goods may go down, but not as fast as your wages–assuming you get to keep your job. Deflation was one of the worst aspects of the early years of the Great Depression. As my father recalled, people had money but were afraid to spend it, unless absolutely necessary, as it thought that each dollar would purchase more with each passing day.

  3. vlade

    Japan-UK trade deal (lack of). Surprise surprise.

    The “most favoured nation” clause gets often overlooked. In other words, IF (and it’s a massive IF) the UK managed to negotiate a better deal with someone that has a “most favoured nation” clause with the EU (and the EU is asking to get it in pretty much all its new deals AFAIK), the other side has to upgrade the EU agreement too to be at least as good as the UK’s one is (plus keep anything else the EU negotiated over and above). For free. That means they may make concessions like these only in cases where it does not matter, because the market is small. Which means that likely, if the EU asked for those concessions, it would have got them anyways, but couldn’t have been bothered.

    TLDR; UK cannot have better trade deals than the EU where there is a MFN clause (like Japan now) – because even if the UK managed to do so (how, pray?), the EU deal will automatically upgrade.

    Oh, and what few commented on so far – even if the UK gets a deal with the EU. The 54 (60-6) trade deals that the EU has right now will be gone. No deal with the EU can force third countries to roll those deals. Hence the point of “our goods are on a ship to Japan, arriving April 2, we need to know we’ll have deal” is pointless, as it does not depend on the EU. So, for Japan (for example), you can assume there will not be a deal.

    Tough luck. It takes all of a half day to figure this out (at most), so if it’s critical for your business and you could not spare that half a day, then I have very little sympathy for you.

    1. Off The Street

      One if by land, two if by sea.

      The British are Coming, The British are Coming, whether to Ireland or Japan.

    1. human

      It has always been irresponsible for autos to have engines capable of hundreds of horsepower and advertising showing them operating at breakneck speeds.

      1. Chris

        I disagree.

        Having an engine with a rated capacity and a transmission and wheels and roadway capable of utilizing that capacity are two different things. Most of that horsepower goes into other activities performed by the car. Like accelerating uphill. Or running the AC and bluetooth and charging a device while driving.

        You need to do a lot of work to most stock vehicles to get them to perform up the limits they’re capable of.

          1. Chris

            I disagree because having an engine that is capable of propelling a car along a road at usafe speeds does not mean the car can actually go at those unsafe speeds. If it doesn’t have the right tires, if it’s traveling on the wrong road, if it’s transmission isn’t set up to deliver the power to the wheels properly, etc. etc. etc.

            Kind of like the routine Jay Leno had about the uncontrollable acceleration that was reported in the Toyota Prius. The unbelievable part was someone got a Prius up to 90 mph, not that Toyota had a manufacturing issue.

            Most of that horsepower goes into other things. Your typical stock car isn’t set up to actually use all the power in the engine efficiently.

            1. human

              My point was the waste in manufacturing as the capabilities are not achieved 99.9% of the time and the narcicism in the advertising.

    2. Chris

      It already exists. The switches just haven’t been thrown yet.

      If you have a car built after, oh, about 2005, it is equipped with a data recorder capable of analyzing multiple channels and taking data on all sorts of things. Things like, how hard you brake. How often you brake. Your speed. Whether people are using their seatbelts. Start and stop times. Some also have geolocation abilities too. Etc. Etc. When there is a need for accident reconstruction, people download all this data from your car’s data center and use it to calculate what they need to understand about the accident that happened.

      It is technically a simple step to add a control function to the system that’s already there and already monitoring everything about the vehicle whenever you turn it on. What people would do politicly, legally, etc. if that were to occur… That’s a whole other mess. But technically, we’re already there.

      1. Ignacio

        It exists? If it is not imlemented it doesn’t exist. We are talking about mandatory speed limiters that cannot be switched off.

        1. Chris

          We might be hashing out semantics here.

          The control system is there. The connection between the data collection and the engine is there. The capability to program the on board computer to limit RPMs is there. What is missing is a program which expressly puts all that together for the purposes of governing speed.

          Kind of like with the Google Nest security devices not recording on the microphones that weren’t there. All it takes is one little update and then you have it. I wouldn’t say this doesn’t exist based on that.

      2. polecat

        Just wait till the Precogs get hooked up …. then they’ll shut you down for superfluous pre-crimes !!

  4. a different chris

    >The city ultimately did not impose the tax, and now Amazon is abandoning the project anyway

    You know, and AOC might just put out a shut-down tweet on this, if Amazon so badly needs to expand then it would expand. Somewhere.

    But suddenly the “two new places” is just one, and now they are dumping this idea. I don’t think Bezo’s spreadsheets (Amazon is not the original but the most mightily successful on “lose money on each sale, make it up on volume” company) are making him as happy as they once did. There are only so many consumers who will buy so many things.

    Being able to can some highly-touted but maybe overdone expansion plans and then be able to point the finger outside the tent is probably not a bad thing.

    1. tegnost

      Amazon is exposed in that a small portion of the population buy a lot of things from them, what if something were to happen to that slice of the population, whom incidentally are the same crowd that can “make some adjustments to the bond portfolio and exchange some instruments into cash” for a major purchase, say a second home in door county…It’s imo the impact of QE was to stuff the bank accounts, treasury accounts, and stock portfolios of the wealthy. I would love to know how many student loans of the pro class got evaporated in 30 to 15 year refis, I know several people who did it so it has to be common, and then it’s all “I pay my debts why can’t you?” Well they gave 16 trillion to the banks when the total debt load is 13.5 trillion if I recall correctly from a recent post. That 16 trillion went to the top say 20% with the share rapidly depreciating from the 1% down to the 20th% who got basically squat or less just like the rest of us mopes. I don’t know many not in the top 20 who shop at amazon. They are also obviously a very lousy neighbor and I hope the collapse is spectacular but I’ll refrain from holding my breath on that.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Is it really true that Amazon is “exposed” in the way you describe (i.e. that its base is very narrow)? And are you certain that this customer base is all from the top 20%? I would be excited and enthused to know for sure that this is the truth, but I’m wondering how you know it.

      2. Oregoncharles

        tegnost – I don’t think Amazon’s customer set is so small. They’re the online equivalent of Walmart: the cheapest source, almost always. It’s a financial sacrifice to not shop there.

        1. Yves Smith

          That isn’t correct. Too many consumers assume that Amazon has the lowest price when it often doesn’t these days. Many reader reports to this effect.

          1. Chris

            Sharing in the interests of field work…

            What Amazon has now is a wide variety of products and flawless execution on delivery. Or at least, all the flaws are sufficiently hidden from customers.

            If I go to home depot looking for a tool chest on casters, I can find maybe 3 options, all at price points home depot thinks are worth it to keep in the store. If I shop on Amazon, I can find a number of different form factors at many different price points which will be delivered to me using better service that home depot’s if I order off their website. And with the other options on Amazon, I can still get the same brands as if I was ordering off home depot. Ditto for boyscout related products. Used books. Tools. Paints. Kitchen utensils. Movies…

            Between that and services like subscriptions, Amazon will have people locked in regardless of whether they really are the lowest price. Pretty much every middle class parent in the DC/MD area has subscriptions for what they want on Amazon and Whole Foods for their kids. Diapers, formula, wipes, and on and on. It is disgustingly convenient to have that service when you have to keep both your house and the daycare stocked with supplies. It saves an enormous amount of time shopping and it’s all delivered to your house. We didn’t start using Amazon regularly until kid #2 came along. Since then it’s something we rely on. Which is only reinforced because of PrimeTV and movies and apps and kindles… If anything, they could double the price of a Prime Membership could double in price and it would still be a bargain for a lot of families I know. Ours included.

            My friends all check Amazon before they buy anything in a store. Often while talking to the clerk who’s helping them.

            That is why Amazon really, really, needs to be broken up. As it stands now there is no market force on Earth that’s going to derail it.

            1. tegnost

              Pretty much every middle class parent in the DC/MD area has subscriptions for what they want on Amazon and Whole Foods for their kids. Diapers, formula, wipes, and on and on. It is disgustingly convenient to have that service when you have to keep both your house and the daycare stocked with supplies

              yes this is amazons base, I’m talking about households living on $40,000 per year. We could pretty much add amazons success to flooding their customer base with QE and it’s effluence. Do you think the wal mart employees shop on amazon?

          2. Oregoncharles

            I’ve yet to see an example of lower prices elsewhere, short of thrift stores – which is where we do most of our shopping. Local discount stores might be competitive on a few things.

            EBay is sometimes competitive, but then the item turns out to come via Amazon. They dominate because everything is a loss leader. Occasional exceptions don’t change my point, that Amazon has a broad base because they’re cheap.

            1. Yves Smith

              I regularly find prices cheaper than Amazon. I will do price searches and Amazon will show up in the results even though I am not planning to buy on Amazon. I have found much cheaper outlets for cosmetics, home products, and dietary supplements, off the top of my head. Oh, and the microwave I just bought. Home Depot had better prices and free delivery, but I did way better with a refurbished unit from Newegg.

              1. Oregoncharles

                Hmmm. Will keep that in mind – we try to avoid Amazon. Therre are local places I’d rather go to than Home Despot, but it serves as a reserve option.

        2. Katy

          Amazon has been using the monopolist’s playbook, playing the long game. It used to have lower prices. Now that it has killed competition, it is raising its prices at or above market level. Above for Prime members, if you count that Prime membership is $119 per year now. You’ve got to buy a lot of paper towels to make that back.

          Lots of the big players price match now. So they all have incentives to price their items at exactly the same (inflated) price. It’s price fixing without conspiring, so it’s not an antitrust violation.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did imposing the tax, or not, have anything to do with Amazon?

      If it was not imposed, in deference to that corporation, should they revisit the issue now?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        This global mega-corporation owned and run by the richest man on Earth which paid *zero* taxes last year or this…has their hands out for state and local tax giveaways? Seriously?

        Next time Bernie is heckled about “Socialism” he needs to come out swinging. Folks we already *have* Socialism, but it’s the kind for big corporations, not people.

  5. Alex morfesis

    Bigblundyr comedy watchlist…so how good can the list be ?? Here in tampabay, the son of the italian banker who helped Saddam launder billions via Atlanta in the 80’s is a lawyer who works as a partner for a law firm appointed to be an emergency receiver by the State of Florida Dept of financial regulation…

    and the lead partner of the firm is the son of the FBI agent during WW2 in NYC who cut the deal with the mob…

    was lead fbi agent in scam involved with j edgars attempts to throw off the US military questioning HIS German Swiss background by coming up with fake german u boat long island submarine spy story when the US military was questioning why FBI was ignoring the bund…

    Was as retired agent involved in paperclip…

    And said retired agent Was involved in Watergate…

    And the lawyer partner son a self proclaimed fcpa expert while owning a home in Costa Rica that might…might…just have been owned by some Iran contra types previously…

    Biggbro gigo Corp…

    Corporate griffters have got to grift…

    What good is a database that can’t go back 50 years…oh…and that Italian banker who was the assistant branch manager in the NYC office of said helpful to Saddam Italian bank…enjoying retirement in beautiful Naples Florida…

    His overt-ish actions are somewhat claoked from the public and when presented to local state law enforcement the notion was effectively scoffed at by said chief partner of law firm…do you know my pedigree… How dare though question me ??

    Since I refused to provide my source… It went quietly away…

    The source is the Italian Senate investigation of September 2001 that melted into the ether as the report with names was released the first week in September…

    Before most could make their way through the details, the events the next Tuesday got in the way….

    1. human

      Just another “problem” that was able to be conveniently swept under the rug by the “New Pearl Harbor.”

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Amazon abandons plan to occupy huge downtown Seattle office building

    Sounds like Bezos is pissed that Howard Schultz is the most hated man in Seattle and he’d gunning to be #1.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “India and China Defy Trump on the Iranian Oil Boycott”

    Can’t see these two countries doing anything else. If they obeyed US sanctions – not to be confused with UN sanctions – then that would be deliberately choking back their economies and causing a raft of consequences that would need to be dealt with. This is the same reason that Germany is determined to complete the Nord Steam 2 gas pipeline. They do not need the hit on their economy if they gave up on this cheap gas supply. Of course when it comes to oil, both Iran and China might point out to Trump that in spite of all his sanctions against Venezuela, that it did not stop the US increasing oil imports from that country five-fold this month going from 117,000 barrels per day to 587,000 barrels per day-

    It should be mentioned too that oil imports from Venezuela to India surged 66% this month as well so, it is not only oil from Iran going to India.

    With OPEC cutting output, countries still have to import oil from somewhere, even if those countries are not on Trump’s Christmas card list.

    1. EricT

      After the US has showed the world how it wields power, would any normal non-corrupt country rely on the US for its survival. It’s literally signing a deal with the devil.

      1. a different chris

        I agree but would question your combination of “normal” and “non-corrupt”. Is non-corrupt really normal at this stage in history? :)

  8. zagonostra

    Foreign Affairs: “Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro tightens his white-knuckled grip on power…”

    So opens the article, revealing its bias right from the get go.

    And so the article ends (below), revealing its mind boggling optimism that the military will turn on its democratically elected leaders.

    Yes pragmatism and openness – reminds me of the scene in the movie 300 where the Persian representatives comes to proffer a deal to Sparta for surrender and obeisance.

    And the Chavista leadership has reason to worry about how far it can push the country’s military in resisting an attempted overthrow, should opposition efforts escalate.

    Listening to the Chavistas, however, we heard some pragmatism and openness to negotiation.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I like your analogy about the Battle of Thermopylae. To riff off your observation-

      Pentagon: “Our cruise missiles will block out the sun!”

      Venezuela: “Then we shall have our battle in the shade!”

  9. Maurice Hebert

    Pelosi says she supports bill to study issue of reparations for slavery
    The issue of reparations burst onto the presidential scene last week after Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), two high-profile White House candidates, came out in support of the restitutions.

    “We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” Harris said in a statement last week. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”

    “One of the things that we can do not only just in terms of trying to make up for a horrible, sinful thing that happened in our country in terms of slavery, but for our country to live up to who we think we are,” she said.

    “We have to reduce the disparity in income in our country, we have to reduce the disparity in access to education in an affordable way in our country, reduce the health disparities in our country … so while we’re studying how we deal with the reparations issue, there’s plenty we can do to improve the quality of life of many people in our country,” she said.

    I can see this for what it is as naked political pandering. However I can’t miss the white reactionary section of the NC gang (including the Adolph Reed huggers) whenever the reparations boogeyman peeks in.

    Cue hyperventilating in 3-2-1…

    1. pjay

      Adolph Reed hugger here. If you think four more years of Trump will help minority communities, then by all means lets push a conversation about reparations front and center! You obviously see that this is a cynical ploy by Harris (and Warren). There is no issue that would so effectively alienate the white working class. And as Reed, William Wilson, and many others have pointed out for decades, there are many policies that would help disadvantaged minorities that do not have to be race-targeted. So yes, I get a little “hyperventilated” being called a “white reactionary” for calling bullshit on this obvious political stunt.

      1. WJ


        Besides, the fact that NANCY “WE ARE CAPITALISTS” PELOSI is taking up this cause tells you all you need to know about its true political aim: namely, to further enable Democrat voters’ feelings of moral superiority and enlightenment while ensuring nothing substantive happens to endanger the oligarchy on her watch.

        1. tegnost

          Sanders is the biggest threat, bigger even than a second term of trump, Pelosi is trying to fragment bernies support base with clown car tactics…don’t forget how “smart” the upper echelon of the status quo are…

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              tegnost is making an empirical argument, that Sanders is the biggest threat. I think that’s obvious. That’s not relevant to whether one should vote for Sanders, Gabbard, or anybody else. Try to stay on point.

      2. Matt

        A universal program (say a job guarantee) that would disproportionately (in a good way; “disproportionately” is almost always prefixed to something negative so I wonder if there is a word for positive uses) benefit African-Americans could be pitched as a reparations program. Coates himself put forward this idea in his own reparations article.

        Maurice, not sure why you linked to that article. It sounds great but the word “reparations” does not appear, though it does put forward universal programs for housing and health care.

        1. marym

          Politicians who don’t support a job guarantee, M4A, GND, tuition-free public college and vocational education, a student loan and medical debt jubilee, and restitution for victims of foreclosure fraud; and who don’t acknowledge their and their parties contribution to creating and perpetuating injustice in these areas have no credibility in “study[ing the] issue of reparations for slavery.”

          Given their lack of commitment to economic justice in bold, concrete, universal, effective action in the past, why would we even begin to trust them on such a politically divisive and pragmatically elusive project as slavery reparations?

          They have as little credibility, and as suspect a motivation as those self-proclaimed “pro-lifers” who don’t support programs that promote healthcare, sex ed, childcare, etc.

        2. integer

          The word “reparations” does not appear, but the following does:


          We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make.

          The Black Panthers’ 10 Point Program was actually written in 1966; photos of the original handwritten document can be seen here.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Slaughter of…

            I remember reading Zinn’s People’s History of the United States that millions of Native Americans also died (earlier than otherwise, as everyone dies, eventually) from Columbus’ discovery.

            Some of those millons were from Cortes’ capture of Mexico, and some from Pizzaro’s taking over of the Inca empire.

            Back to the US.

            The West was won by many contributors, even former slaves, and cooperating Native Americans themselves. And when railways cut through places the indigenous people lived, their cutlures were impacted, negatively and severely. The workers of those railways came from many different countries. For example, the Chinese, who were themselves victims, while participating in building those railroads that would conclude the finishing phase of the settling of the West.

            This the slightly broader picture I see.

            Anyone taking another step back can probably see something even wider.

          2. marym

            Not my place to say how closely a 50-year-old platform of demands reflects priorities and alliances among black activists today. However, 50 years ago Fred Hampton’s leadership of the BPP in Chicago was class-oriented and intersectional, building alliances with the Young Patriots and Young Lords. Until the Chicago police under the direction of the Cook County State’s Attorney killed him.

            The Panthers and the Patriots
            The story of how a group of poor whites in Chicago united with the Black Panthers to fight racism and capitalism.

            From the Bullet to the Ballot
            The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago

        3. jrs

          I kinda suspect that ANY program that really disproportionately benefits African-Americans has no shot in America. I mean hasn’t it always been thus?

          1. todde

            What is your opinion of Affirmative Action?

            I’ve noticed wealthy white people always go to the school of their choice and always get a well paying job at their parent’s corporations.

            So it doesn’t effect their pocket book while increasing racial resentment among ‘the poors”.

            I am all for reparations, if they upper class pays them.

          2. Matt

            Then why do minimum wage increases easily pass when they’re put forward in referendums? Why is Medicare For All polling so well? I don’t have evidence for this, but my guess is that Social Security keeps a disproportionate amount of black seniors out of poverty compared to white seniors and SS is very popular.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Another assault on universal benefits — I believe from the Coates’adjacent crowd — is that New Deal housing policy was racist (I believe it turned out to be*) and that New Deal Social Security did not cover everybody (true, but half the working population was excluded, i.e. not just blacks).

              Regardless, the New Deal Coalition did not form and persist for fifty years because FDR made black people worse off!

              NOTE * Because implementation was done by the goddamned banks, who redlined everything.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            If that were true, no universal benefits program would ever have passed, nor would the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (or, for that matter, the Fourteenth Amendment).

            Pessimism is fine, except when it shades over into hyperbole (a disempowering combination).

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > push a conversation about reparations front and center

        Pragmatically: It’s not clear to me where, as a political tendency, this is coming from (this is my ignorance; I have to do more research. Ta-Nahesi Coates is not an organizer and so far as I can tell not the representative of a party faction. Sandy Darity is MMT-adjacent, and capable of putting together a policy proposal, but IIRC his book is to appear later in this year. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask what the plan is, and what the cost would be; #MedicareForAll has done that, and so has the Green New Deal.

        Politically: I would like to know what the Black Misleadership Class thinks of reparations, and, more to the point, what the “South Carolina Firewall” thinks.

        Policy: I don’t like the tendency in some discussions I have seen to deny that universal benefits are of value to, for example, black people (who suffer disproportionately from medical debt and in the medical bankruptcy process.

    2. a different chris

      White (don’t think I’m reactionary but how would I know) NC gang member here — main question is why are you picking on us? Ms. Harris, who I do believe is non-white, played a pretty transparent shell game.

      I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.

      That’s not capital-r Reparations.

      We have to reduce the disparity in income

      That’s not capital-r Reparations.

      we have to reduce the disparity in access to education

      That’s not capital-r Reparations. And she finally admits it as such:

      >so while we’re studying how we deal with the reparations issue,

      Studying, huh? Typical Kamela, and so again, why are you picking on us supposedly white people? BTW, my family wasn’t even in this country at the turn of the last century, and wasn’t really treated as “white” when they got here (Italian). Given that, do I get a reduction in what I have to pay my black boss? Will there be tables, like the income tax ones?

      Fix the black communities infrastructure. Get them into post-education. Bring back affirmative action with a vengeance. But reparations are an insanely tricky thing to even define, let alone implement.

      1. pjay

        Actually, the quotes cited by Maurice are apparently from Pelosi. I hadn’t read the article before I posted my response. So everything you said (“studying, huh?”) is valid +1. “Studying” reparations in Cogress will lead to nothing. But using reparations as a wedge issue could be effective against one candidate in particular — Sanders. He gave a pretty strong response to the reparations issue in 2016, but seemed to stumble a bit the other day. There is no doubt in my mind that this issue has been introduced to race-bait Sanders. To believe that these politicians give a sh*t about social justice is like believing the Trump administration gives a sh*t about the welfare of the Venezuelan people.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          If there were truly a serious Truth and Reconcilation Commission, I think that would be good and a lot more than a “study.” IIRC, the only legislation introduced the Federal level that’s close to reparation was from Conyers, and that’s basically what it did.

      2. Felix_47

        Everything else seems to have failed. Reparations make a lot of sense. They would be a lot better than the defense budget. Ten years of income and asset distribution would lead to a huge change. Another option would be a tax credit.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Everything else seems to have failed

          If the common factor in the failures is white supremacy, pure and simple, then you have to wait until 2044 until whites are no longer a majority, and even then the outcome isn’t a given. (Not clear to me what Latinx voters will think of reparations that don’t include them. Or women, whose labor for e.g. housework is also unpaid.)

          If the common factor is capitalism, then there’s a candidate who’s at least directionally correct on that. Unfortunately, the strand of reparations thinking that denies the importance — heck, the morality — of universal benefits seems, whether by intent or happenstance, to be aimed like a dagger that the heart of that candidate’s campaign.

      3. notabanker

        reparations are an insanely tricky thing to even define, let alone implement.

        Yale has some whiz bang DNA technology that can help with that. ‘A couple of facial recognition pictures, a blood sample, some fingerprints and we’ll tell you how much we owe you.’

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          On one side of that issue is who is eligible to get it, and how much.

          The other side of the same issue is who should pay.

          Here, we look back historically to examine who were involved.

          1 Slave catchers (local to their original homes, and from abroad)

          2. Slave traders (in the exporting and importaing countries)

          3. Shippers (Who owned those ships? Who piloted those ships? Who worked on those ships?)

          4. Bankers (who put up money for it to happen).

          5. Buyers

          Looking at the issue from those two sides, one question we may confront is what to dow when a person has DAN from both sides. Does part of that person make reparation to some other part of the same person?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’m picturing a dystopian outcome where the “one drop of blood” concept is implemented and financialized (and maybe goes on your ID card, South African-style, why not?)

    3. Lee

      However I can’t miss the white reactionary section of the NC gang (including the Adolph Reed huggers) whenever the reparations boogeyman peeks in.

      Your linked Black Panther document makes perfectly reasonable demands on behalf of “Black and oppressed communities.” A sentiment I find both morally agreeable, and from a political point of view, strategically adept. The question is, what exactly do we mean by reparations? PoC, women and other groups have special, generally greater claims within a broader group of claimants that includes poor and working class whites. Promoting race-based antagonism by those from any quarter, rather than striving for unity within this broader group is morally abhorrent, reactionary if you will, and strategically suicidal.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > other groups have special, generally greater claims within a broader group of claimants that includes poor and working class whites.

        People who practice human sale (slavery) should end up in a deep circle of Hell. People who practice human rental (wage work)… Well, we aren’t talking about that, are we?

    4. Eureka Springs

      When “study” means, make this go away, do nothing, learn nothing, endlessly.

      I’m placing Nancy’s use of “study” up there with police use of “internal investigation”.

      1. Carey

        Exactly. For their study they’d likely want everyone’s DNA, though, and that’d
        be a big plus for the Few.

    5. JohnnyGL

      There’s been an organic movement among black americans agitating for someone to lay out a plan to fix the racial wealth gap, — pointing out it’s a result of many years of bad federal and state policies.

      Pelosi and the centrists are looking for a new stick to beat Bernie with. As usual, team dem is doing what they do best, trying to hijack organic movements and redirect them down a dead-end or using them to beat down insurgents they don’t like (like Bernie). Recall this was attempted with BLM in 2016, with mixed results. Thus far, those black activists using the ADOS hashtag have directed their wrath at Harris, because she won’t offer any policies and just plays games with cultural cues.

      Harris and centrist dems would like to turn this problem towards Sanders, instead.

      I’d expect to hear something soon about how AOC, Ilhan Omar and Tlaib are all too weak on the reparations issue. Again, centrists looking for a new stick to divide and beat down insurgents. I hope I’m bing too cynical, but I don’t think so.

      1. notabanker

        This is exactly right. Harris cannot beat Trump. It’s not even her job to beat Trump. Her job is to make sure Sanders walks into the convention with less than 50% of the delegates so there can be a second vote to let the super delegates decide the nomination. US AG would be a nice consolation prize. Doubt she would get the VP nod.

        Harris has been tripping over herself, and JohnnyGL has posted numerous videos on vocal African-American activists calling her out. Now she’s outright dangling a check to them.

        I’ve been skeptical of Warren, and for me this seals the deal. She’s a party Dem. TreasSec? EdSec? In a strong primary showing maybe even VP?

        HRC threatened to run if Biden didn’t get it together, and now it looks like Uncle Joe will sacrifice everything and throw his name in the hat for the sake of the country. Thanks Unc!

        I’m not sure how to monitor this but the clues will be in the delegates chosen to represent Harris, Warren, Klobuchar etc… assuming they get delegates, in the primaries. They will need to be loyal party dems who will throw their support to the chosen one, probably Biden, at the convention. Watch how Harris campaigns. It won’t be to win states, it will be to hoover up delegates above the 15% level, by large districts and at large. She doesn’t need to win, she needs to stay relevant to last deep into the primaries. This is why it makes sense to put the Clintonista’s on her campaign. They can’t win. They don’t need to. They need to throw rocks at Bernie and win strategic Dem footholds.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is it possible, in the second vote, at the convention, Hillary can come in that late and be the nominee (to, I suppose, unify the various factions of the party)?

        2. JohnnyGL

          I do appreciate the compliment, but I disagree with what you’ve described above as the makings of an anti-Bernie coalition taking shape among the rest of the primary field (apologies if I’ve misread).

          I don’t think Warren’s interested in helping orchestrate a Bernie takedown. I suspect she genuinely likes him (and would rather get a cabinet level job in his administration).

          I think the more simple explanation is that Warren and Harris just aren’t very good candidates and aren’t running good campaigns, at least thus far. So far, it seems the field of candidates is weaker than anticipated.

          1. notabanker

            I respect your views here and not in any way trying to put words in your mouth. I can certainly be wrong. In many ways I hope I am. You do interpret it correctly. I have thought for a good while now that the idpol strategy by the DNC is to purposefully subvert a Sanders nomination. He’s that big of a threat to them. I’m skeptical of Warren. It will be interesting to see how she fares early on and what she does after that.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t think you’re being too cynical at all. (Note that fixing the racial wealth gap* is a goal, and reparations is one possible means to achieve it.)

        NOTE * If the goal of “fixing the wealth gap” is a bunch of Travis Kalanicks of color — crooks who abuse their workers — then count me out.

    6. Grant

      “I can see this for what it is as naked political pandering.”

      Of course it is. Harris, Booker and Warren all said that they were in favor of reparations. But, when pressed for specifics, none of them to this point offer anything that is race-specific. In this country, there are obviously differences in regards to income and wealth based upon a person’s race, given our history. Everything Harris, Booker and Warren have proposed at this point is basically a set a policies aimed at helping the poor and lower income people. That is what, to this point, they are calling reparations. Bernie at least asked the pertinent question, which is, what does that mean? Does it mean a lump sum of money, a particular program or programs, or structural changes that would massively benefit communities of color? The others, being typical politicians, say they are for something when the cameras are on, but they don’t support what people are thinking of as reparations. They also say they are in favor of Medicare for all, when they clearly aren’t. They cannot win without lying and gaslighting people. Instead of pretending to be in favor of it, why not be an actual leader and take part in a nuanced discussion about the issue? Of course, Harris, Booker and Beto will not want to do that, because ultimately under all the platitudes, there isn’t much of a policy or ideological difference between them and the Clintons. The big money donors behind them can clearly see this too.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Bernie at least asked the pertinent question, which is, what does that mean?

        For which, of course, he is pilloried!

        Harris, IIRC, was going to do reparations with tax credits. Dearie me….

    7. integer

      I think The Onion could have some fun with this topic. My suggestion for a headline:

      Democratic Party Commits to Studying Reparations in Attempt to Keep Black Voters on Their Plantation

        1. integer

          Didn’t see it when I posted, but I should have substituted “Neoliberal” for “Their”. Oh well.

        2. wilroncanada

          We’re all Onions now, and I’m the President of Peel. or at least the Shaw of Shallot, or maybe just the Leader of Leek.

    8. anon in so cal

      “Reparations” of sorts for bias against African American farmers, under Obama:

      ‘Obama on Wednesday signed a $1.15 billion measure to fund a settlement initially reached between the Agriculture Department and minority farmers more than a decade ago.

      The 1997 Pigford v. Glickman case against the U.S. Agriculture Department over claims of discrimination against black farmers was settled out of court 11 years ago. Under a federal judge’s terms dating to 1999, qualified farmers could receive $50,000 each to settle claims of racial bias.”

    9. Lambert Strether Post author

      I looked at the BPP PDF, but I’m not sure what the point is, since you don’t say. Surely not “Even the Black Panthers didn’t ask for reparations”?*

      As for Adolph Reed, I’m too old to go around hugging people, but I did go looking for a passage that might have gotten knickers in a twist. Perhaps it’s this one:

      This is why, for example, Coates and other proponents of reparations seem unconcerned with the strategic problem of piecing together the kind of interracial popular support necessary to actually prevail on the issue. Such problems do not exist for them because the role of the representative black leader or voice is precisely to function as an alternative to political action. Instead, the order of the day is typically to perform racial authenticity in a way that doubles as an appeal for moral recognition from those with the power to bestow it. Winning anything politically—policies or changes in power relations—is not the point. That is why the jeremiads offered by contemporary racial voices so commonly boil down to calls for “conversations about race” or equally vapid abstractions like “racial reckoning” or “coming to terms with” a history defined by racism.

      And so for example:

      However I can’t miss the white reactionary section of the NC gang (including the Adolph Reed huggers) whenever the reparations boogeyman peeks in.

      Well played indeed!

      NOTE To be fair, Integer points out the following:


      We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make.

      I’ve helpfully underlined the portion that could be taken as reparations. King used the same debt metaphor (“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check”) as did Lincoln (“all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk”).

      I’ve also helpfully struck out that part of the BPP program that doesn’t seem to figure largely in current reparations (that which I have seen).

  10. The Rev Kev

    “‘Sometimes you just have to walk’: Trump and Kim fail to reach nuke deal at second summit”

    I think that what caused this second summit to fail was the fact that Trump had been listening to some golden-oldies on the radio and as he walked over to meet Kim, he was quietly singing the words of of the last song that he heard-

    You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
    Know when to walk away and know when to run.

    1. Lee

      Once the North Koreans put their commie shoulders to the wheel of multinational capital’s great labor arbitrage machine, all will be well. What’s a few nukes among nation-states with collaborating oligarchies?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From the MMT perspective, this improved labor arbitage machine means an expanded global labor resrouce.

        That, in theory, affords more room for deficit spending, as far as potential increase in inflation is concerned (spending limited by resources…).

    2. gordon

      The US objective is to prevent an independently negotiated peace between North and South Korea. That would make the US look irrelevant and weak, and so must be torpedoed. Trump therefore forces himself forward with much-publicised summits which aren’t designed to achieve anything but to push the South Koreans out of the picture. I have no doubt that the South Koreans have also been told to back off peace negotiations.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      As always with Grey, its very interesting, but I think he is going a step or two ahead of himself.

      I think the possibility of a Referendum is very remote. It requires a postponement of exit to 2021, and its hard to see how in just four weeks we can get to where we are, to May and Parliament agreeing to this, and the EU concurring.

      The only way I can see it happening from the UK side is that Labour manage to get a postponement and new referendum motion passed in Parliament – which would mean a significant number of Tories defecting. This isn’t impossible, but it would need some type of agreement with May as she can almost certainly block this if she can (not least by refusing to negotiate with the EU on it until its too late as Parliament can’t negotiate on her behalf). There is no evidence she would do this. And I’m pretty sure Corbyns conversion to the Referendum isn’t a real one – its political and tactical. He probably calculates that a no-deal is the best option for a future Labour government. He just wants to make sure the blame lies with the Tories – so it would be easy for him to go through the motions, while allowing May to sabotage any substantive motion.

      And the EU side is at least as complicated. It would need EU27 unanimity to agree to such a radical postponement. Several countries (especially Spain) need to be convinced its in their interest. I’m not sure they would.

  11. Unna

    Well, I’ll post this here. So I ran across this Southfront, article “Russia Slides Towards Internal Political Crisis” (via Zerohedge gasp!) explaining how Putin is in trouble with the Russian people, mostly because of the Western style economic “liberal” policies of Dmitry Medvedev.

    This is interesting and seems to reflect back on the recent internet exchange between Kremlin insider Vladislav Surkov, “Putin’s lasting State” where Surkov argues that Putin has established a governmental, economic, and political structure for the Russian State that will out last Putin’s eventual departure indefinitely into the future; and Western Liberalism’s ideological Russian Bête noire, Aleksandr Dugin himself.

    Dugin argues that although Putin is a Russian “patriot” and has done great things for Russia – like saving it from disintegration – his regime is a temporary Compromise between “liberal” elites and “patriots” or the people. See Dugin, “Putin or Super-Putin” For Dugin, Putin hasn’t permanently settled anything and after Putin’s departure the future of Russia will be contested by these groups and the institutions which represent them.

    Personally, I think Dugin has the better argument. Anyway, I find it interesting to read what the Russians are arguing about among themselves. And it’s hard to get anything about Russia day to day on the ground in English that’s not essentially pro Western propaganda. Be aware, the articles are long and convoluted since maybe because they were written by Russians. But be careful. Surkov may be just a shill for the oligarchs and Putin (?), and Dugin…well like I said, be careful out there….

    1. Carolinian

      regime is a temporary Compromise

      Aren’t they all? Eisenhower said the New Deal would be forever. Now we fight to defend it.

    2. Yves Smith

      Please don’t post SouthFront. Ever. It’t not a reliable source and I don’t want a reader pointing to it to lead others to think that it is trustworthy. Normally I would rip the comment out. The use of SouthFont is one of the many reasons we are not keen about ZH and discourage readers from citing it. Even though ZH has quite a few good articles, a very high proportion are just wrong, as in factually inaccurate. The editors don’t care and most readers are in no position to tell one from the other.

    3. ewmayer

      “For Dugin, Putin hasn’t permanently settled anything”

      Name me one leader in human history who *has* permanently settled anything, omitting the utter-destruction “Cartago delenda est” form of settling things, that is.

      1. Unna

        Well, settled for the “long run” as in America’s Madisonian constitution after the Articles (now perhaps finally going defunct in our own life time), or Lincoln’s post war federalized union of states subordinate to Washington which we still have today, or FDR’s New Deal state that lasted from the ‘30’s to more or less into the ‘70’s, or the post WWII German Federal Republic, or Lenin’s communist state that lasted until the ‘90’s.

        Of course, nothing exists without any change, but a persistent state structure recognizable over the course of a number of decades that has economic, social, political-cultural identity and pursues more or less consistent goals and maintains internal power relationships over a long stretch of time.

        If you think that Putin’s state is a “compromise” among Yeltsin era oligarchs, the security services, the Russian orthodox Church, and the “system” opposition in the Duma, it would be a useful thing to first realize that, and then to know whether that arrangement might persist for the next 30 to 40 years. Or, will Russia go back to pro Western capital Yeltsin style oligarch rule post Putin? Or, will Russia rid itself of the oligarchs and move to a new compromise between Putin loyalists, the security services, the Church, and the “patriotic” traditionalists and Eurasianists. What kind of economic and foreign policy goals would each of these arrangements pursue into the future?

        Some people actually speculate about such things. If that internal struggle is now commencing in Russia as suggested by some of these articles, does it mean that Putin himself is assuming some sort of lame duck status since he’s now being subject to criticism internally, and not just by the usual “non system” suspects? Is the criticism of Putin really an attack on Medvedev and the “Westernizers” to induce Putin to act against them now? Is public opinion really changing there and does that give an opening to the Nationalists and the Communists in the Duma to win outright in the next election?

        You can’t get the correct answers to those questions – important questions – unless you think about them.

        As far as Yves’s decision to exclude certain sites, I very much understand her point.

          1. Unna

            Quite the eye opener. Thanks, Eustache de Saint Pierre. So I imagine the authors of that article would have known that, which is curious to me coming from that article. And certainly the Levada stats are more like what I would have imagined. And so I wonder what they are trying to do. Which is part of trying to figure out what is really going on. If you can shed any light on this, please do. Thanks again. Well, I’m off to Orlov’s site.

            1. Unna

              Went back to that site. Looked at the comments and, Oh, what a cat fight. And the comments back and forth, one more crazy than the last told me this: who’s arguing with whom about what and from what POV which told me all I need to know at this time.

              Not “reputable” for sure but interesting.

              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                You are very welcome.

                Wrong turns can be interesting as long as one does not get too lost.

                The Saker fell for it & perhaps this mischief originates from some of the bill Browder types of this world, who are aching to dip their beaks into Russian resources.

        1. Ohnoyoucantdothat


          Well said. I can’t understand what’s happening right now and I live in Crimea. The pension fiasco seems to be a major issue for him. Certainly has my wife pissed. The palace intrigues frothing in the Kremlin would put Game of Thrones to shame. Really concerned about post-Putin as there aren’t really many good choices in the wings. Not sure how the country transitions once he’s gone.

  12. Carolinian

    Insightful surveillance evasion advice from that NYT reporter in China

    personal meetings also work

    Other suggestions to try: learn shorthand, carry a pencil and one of those little notebooks instead of an iPhone. But then he is their technology reporter.

    Meanwhile the excellent FAIR link talks about that other current journalism innovation–writing about countries while not actually going there. This takes care of both the surveillance problem and the telling the truth problem. As Caitlin Johnstone writes, big media reporting these days is all about narrative. Persnickety concern over facts is not allowed to interfere with a good yarn.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Narrative and myth are key to controlling the masses. Logic, reason, accurate information just doesn’t register for most people. People want a story–it has to have good guys and bad guys and all kinds of drama–truth is never an issue. All the main supports of the mainstream Narrative are easily debunked–and I mean ALL of them. That’s just the way politics works particularly in large societies that are fundamentally illiterate which is the case in the USA. Not matter the social level of political affiliation most Americans are militantly ignorant of the world around them. For me, the situation is getting worse and the American media resembles the old Soviet press only with worse writing.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Limiting Your Digital Footprints in a Surveillance State”

    Great article this. I’ll remember it if I ever go to China. I very much look forward to the next installment where he explains how to avoid the surveillance state in the west. Now that can be news that we can use. As Paul Mozur works for the New York Times, maybe he can get pointers what it is like to be targeted by the State from James Risen, a former fellow reporter from the New York Times or maybe even former Fox journalist James Rosen. I’m sure that Associated Press would be willing to help out too.

    1. notabanker

      I very much look forward to the next installment where he explains how to avoid the surveillance state in the west.

      That’s easy Rev. Go to China!

    2. Ook

      This person feels it’s OK to brag to the world how he’s figured out how to be anonymous, using his real name and publishing his picture in the NY Times, and that tells me more than anything of how concerned he really is about the whole thing.

      1. Carey

        It’s about normalizing and making well-understood the surveillance. The author will be rewarded for same.

  14. Chris Cosmos

    Disappointing interview with AOC–very much on the “lite” side–more of a celebrity interview than a political interview. The idea, presented by AOC, that Pelosi is “really” a progressive is absurd. She isn’t. Pelosi is a right-wing Democrat because that’s where the power lies because that is what the oligarchy supports.

    Pelosi has chosen to support the ruling elite because the alternative is not to be Speaker and she, like many in the political landscape, and, btw, in the corporate world also, believes she can do “good” by giving in to corruption–these people figure if not them then it could be someone worse. This is simply not true but that’s a longer discussion.

    1. WJ

      Is AOC anything more than a younger, hipper, edgier, Latina Obama? Or is she being blackmailed or subtly coerced in some way by the Dem establishment?

      A few months ago she was tweeting about the realities of class inequality and the effective social marginalization of nearly the entire populace of the US, now she is riding the Identity Train and saying stupid things about Venezuela.

      Am I wrong about this? Any readers more informed than I am about her record and background have an opinion on what her schtick is?

      1. Yves Smith

        She just made the entire credit bureau industry look bad this week in Congress by making an industry exec try to tap dance around the fact that consumers don’t consent to the use of their data. Please tell me when Obama made any executive or monied person look bad. I can only come up with Mitt Romney, who doesn’t count for the obvious reasons.

      2. Another Scott

        I can look past the statement about Pelosi, she doesn’t have a better option. But she does appear more focused on getting national press than anything else. This is good so far as she can advance an agenda, but she needs to deliver.

        The story a few days ago about her residence in her district is troubling to me. She does those cooking videos, but are the people who are asking questions from inside or outside her district? How is her constituent service? Is she getting involved in supporting striking or locked out workers, such as the Charter Communications workers, in New York City? I don’t know the answers, but they are important.

        1. John k

          She will make mistakes, IMO will learn from them and grow. Even Bernie is avoiding a fight with mic and imperialism… first, this would enrage msm, second neither need more enemies, and third they already have enough pop agenda to get elected. Nothing wrong with stroking Pelosi… but does calling her a progressive really do that?
          Right now she just needs to keep her district happy, she will do that. And continue to be a role model for other smart young people re 2020.
          I continue to think the pendulum is finally reversing.

        2. Geo

          Bernie spend decades working for his district and doing things out of the spot light but look how much he’s been able to achieve for all of us with his newfound spotlight.

          AOC’s district will benefit from her use of the spotlight as much as we all will.

      3. Chris Cosmos

        AOC is learning about Washington. Being against imperialism is simply not allowed. The same thing is true of Bernie–to be covered favorably in the media, to ally yourself with a progressive faction within the oligarchy (there is one) to make some badly needed reforms to keep the wheels from completely coming off the wagon you have to genuflect to orthodoxy in the realm of foreign affairs. We have to face the fact that AOC does really want to do something. Obama never had the least interest in doing anything–he was always a con man employed by the oligarchs to fool the public. AOC and even Bernie are not stooges–they care–the question is can they remain only a little corrupt or will the become another Pelosi?

        1. a different chris

          And most importantly – it’s February 28th. Despite the fact that AOC has been on our radar, and arguably the brightest object, she hasn’t actually been in office for a full 8 weeks.

          So everybody calm down. Anyway, I don’t like the whole savoir/mommy/daddy thing. AOC can do what she can do with our support. She isn’t LeBron James, on a court with defined rules. We can’t just cheer for her, we need to help. Or push-back when she veers, I’ve said several times that I don’t really care what a politician believes, it’s what he/she can be made to do.

          But it is helpful when they do seem to believe the right things, like AOC. Trust but verify is maybe what I’m getting at? :D

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There are at least 2 options for her (and any of us).

            One is less visible, quieter, involving learing and doing away from the limelight. It’s like going to school studying programming, for exampl. One spends years and years by oneself. Even in fields like acting, a learner would still have to have a lot of private time to perfect the art.

            The other is to take advantage of one’s visibility to get things done, and if there are not likely such similarly favorable moments projected in the future, then, one has to ‘seize the moment’ now. The risk with this is becoming a mere celebrity. We can debate if Ocasio-Cortez is generating too much news about herself or If this is the right approach. We will only know, I suppose, later.

        2. Andrew Thomas

          The imperial militarist corporate surveillance state, complete with command centers for every continent, military/ special ops bases everywhere and unlimited, unknown and completely unaccountable budgets and spending are the only true third rails left in US politics. As long as that remains the case, any positive change will be tiny, if not ephemeral. The fact that the best people we have in Congress, regardless of their experience level, cannot bring themselves to call the Venezuela catastrophe what it is- the endgame of a 20 year long exercise in imperial savagery-does not bode well.

          1. WJ

            I concur with Andrew Thomas and find deeply unsettling the view that US imperialism is something we are just going to have to accept–or tolerate–for the sake of social democratic improvements in domestic policy. As long as MMT is not the accepted view, the gross excess of our military expenditures will be used among other things to justify *why* we can’t “afford” improvements in education, health care, and social services.

            Besides, Tulsi shows that you don’t have to capitulate to the Borg on foreign policy to have a national political presence. Who cares if that presence is largely negative at this point? Anything that brings into our public discourse coherent anti-imperialist positions will only serve to strengthen those positions, as most Americans–contrary to what the NYT, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc would have you believe–are not in support of our interventionism.

      4. jrs

        she has always had some stupid tweets, if tweets are the standard. But I think who she actually is politically is pretty indeterminate as of yet.

      5. Oregoncharles

        Yes, she’s being blackmailed, by Pelosi, because she can’t be effective in Congress over the Speaker’s dead body. So for the time being, she has to go along to get along. The truth will out when she’s better established – though she’s likely to try for the Senate ASAP, given her star caliber.

  15. Wukchumni

    If you’re a doomeratti, we’re proceeding through a very rich vein in a global convergence of events swiftly coming to the forefront. Mine over matter being the motto of that model.

    1. Lee

      And let’s dance!

      And there’s the battle of the bands at the Venezuelan border. And then there’s this:

      Feb. 27 (UPI) — Self-declared Venezuelan leader Juan Guaido, who attempted to deliver relief aid last weekend, is now facing the challenge of finding a way back into the country.

      Hmmm. Colluding with a foreign power to overthrow the existing government. Should they let him back in or not? If they let him back in, should he be impeached?

      IIRC, from reading not experience, haven’t there been cultures that settled disputes through ritual displays and symbolic battles that were at worst minimally lethal? Actually, a lot of animal species do this. Always looking for the evolutionary precedent, me. I think I do this because the more of what I see of my own species’ volitional behavior the more I hope that something too long dormant in our genes might kick in and save us from ourselves.

  16. Carolinian

    A link worth noting.

    There was once a Canadian paper mill jointly owned by Kimberly-Clark and the NY Times (for their newsprint)–no usage comparisons implied.

    In any event the Canadians do seem rather careless of their slow growing forests.

  17. Wukchumni

    We have a reservoir here that’s run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and somebody related to me about all the activity around the lake in drone action, which frankly i’m oblivious to in the same way as video games.

    There is apparently a large no-go zone around the Visalia airport which excludes most everything up until the reservoir, about 30 miles away, and drones aren’t allowed in the National Park, so it’s kind of the one place it’s allowed, and it can’t be done over the marina, the dam & paved areas or the campground, but everything else is fair game around the lake including going over the water, which sounds a little risky as far as rescue goes, glub glub glub.

    Another thing I was clued into, was the number of people homeless yet not carless, who made a living out of sleeping in the parking lots when possible. I asked how many, and a dozen or so was the approximation on any given night.

  18. Summer

    Breaking News: Bibi indictment.

    However, as far as I can tell it hasn’t stopped him from seeking re-election.

    Your global “order” at its finest.

  19. JohnnyGL

    Worth a read, I saw the Morning Consult poll to which the author refers and was thinking about posting here, but wanted to see how their poll changes over the next couple of weeks. This article pulls in that poll and refers to a few others.

    It’s intersting that Bernie’s picked up 6 points in a week. Contrary to some of us here, he seems to be picking up support from each of the various candidates, not just one in particular. I think this kind of thing shows that the field is very fluid and voters can go in a lot of different directions.

    I think concerns and hopes around things like ‘splitting the left vote’ or ‘splitting the centrist vote’ are perhaps misguided. For example, Bernie seems to be the 2nd choice among Biden supporters. I think it’s a useful antidote to the twittersphere where there seems to be a constant flame-war between clintonite diehards and DSA supporters and MAGA trolls.

    We should not underestimate the draw of showing momentum and enthusiasm. He’s already strong on fundraising, and when Bernie starts holding rallies and pulling in big crowds, it’s going to attract more support.

    1. notabanker

      Morning Consult says these are “Democratic primary voters”. This would be good. Sanders is going to need large indy turnout for the primaries if he is going to win. If he can get 30% of the historical Dem voters and get independent turnout the DNC will go nuts.

      In Ohio for instance, 1.2M voted Democratic and circa 700K of those for HRC in 2106 primary. 30% turnout overall, about 5M didn’t vote. Mobilize 15% of them, get 30% of the Dems and it’s a crushing defeat. There was a 71% turnout for the GE, so people will vote. They are going to need to get the message that the Primary is the key to victory.

  20. Unna

    Trudeau looks to be in big trouble. He and his Prime Minister’s Office folks pressured the then Atty Gen. Jody Wilson-Raybould to not prosecute a certain large Quebec company. When she refused, he demoted her. When it came out in Globe and Mail stories, he and his people lied about it and his people made what were judged to be sexist snipes about JWR for which Trudeau had to apologize. At first she couldn’t defend herself because of atty client and cabinet privilege – which Trudeau only recently and partially waived under political pressure. She then testifies (see G&M article in Links) about extreme and continuous pressure on her by Trudeau, and his insider gang, which included some apparatchik in the “Privy Council” – help me – who’s supposed to be non political with the result that the Globe and the Cons are now calling for Trudeau’s resignation and an immediate election.

    Trudeau is now shown to be less than the honest boy scout he claimed to be, a fraud about openness in government, not so nice to women in government when his feminism shtick doesn’t suit him, and all in with politicians interfering in Canada’s judicial process because they were afraid of losing Quebec in the next election. Meanwhile, see Ms Meng and Trudeau’s judicial rule of Law virtue drama about that. All around bad news for the Kid And on top of it, JWR is the daughter of a hereditary Chief, has an important religious status in her nation, and is considered smart, competent, and honest. She’s a former Crown Prosecutor and reportedly did very well at the hearings. As Trump would say, Not Good People.

    So the problem for Canadians now is, who to vote for in the Fall election. Trudeau and the Liberals’ problems are obvious, but there’s still no ground swell to go back to the Cons except to stick it to the Liberals. Meanwhile, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP, is new and untested with a party in a certain state of disorder, although Singh did win his seat in the Commons earlier this week by winning a BC by election. I suspect Jagmeet’s inexperience is why the Globe and the Cons want an election right now and not next week! And I confess, I have no predictions about this mess.

    Fun times in the Great White North.

    1. JEHR

      One of the Committee members questioned JWR to make the point that giving SNC a break is just in keeping with other countries that have begun to fine fraudulent and corrupt companies instead of criminally charging them. We did not quite go down that road but give us time and I’m sure we will be doing the same. Our PM is learning a hard lesson about how quickly corruption can occur when re-election becomes the focus. We dodged the bullet this time but the legislation (deferred prosecution) is the slippery slope to not holding executives responsible for their company’s corrupt and fraudulent behaviour. If this legislation becomes the norm then it will spell the beginning of our loss of democracy and its rule of law.

      1. wilroncanada

        Deferred prosecution is in the code now, but is not to be used when the criminal activity takes place in a foreign country. Ms Wilson-Raybould refused to bend the law, even though she was being pressured with the possible blame for the loss of 9000 jobs in Quebec in the middle of a provincial election campaign, or the possibility of the company moving out of Canada to a more compliant country in terms of corporate criminality: France, or the US.

    2. adrena

      There are different opinions about Jody Wilson Raybaud. Someone who worked with her in BC said she was extremely “rigid”. This guy wrote a long and interesting thread about her on Twitter.

      The Globe & Mail is fanatically conservative – despises Trudeau.

      1. JEHR

        I see nothing wrong with a person being rigid when it comes to doing the right thing. If a company is criminally responsible for bribery, fraud and corruption (not just once) then it should not have deferred prosecution, which just means a fine.

        The corruption also affected Montreal:

        Police in Quebec charged former CEO Pierre Duhaime, Ben Aïssa as well as former McGill University Hospital executive Arthur Porter with orchestrating $22.5 million in bribes in the awarding of a hospital project to SNC-Lavalin. (from above link)

        Myself, I would rather our country have the reputation of being honest than being corrupt in order to keep jobs. How else will companies know that being honest is better than being corrupt if they want to work in Canada? It is a harsh lesson, but should be learned.

        1. adrena

          Fair enough. You raise some good points.

          However, the excessive outrage of the conservatives is rich considering their own history of corrupt behavior.

  21. Summer

    “They can’t imagine that it’s not poor people taking too much causing the inflation they experience…”

    And even with the outrageous gap between exec and worker compensation (even larger tham the outrageous gap between exec amd worker wages).
    “Gee, I can’t imagine where all this inflation for necessities is coming from.”

  22. thump

    Hi all. Recently, there was an Atlantic article about how Democrats were the party of the 10%, Republicans the party of the 1%, and nobody represents the 90%. Does anyone here immediately recall that article’s title? While the article was listed here as “not news to NC readers,” I’d like to send it to friends who might read it in a more “authoritative” source. Thanks.

    1. Darthbobber

      But worth considering: To whom is the message really directed?
      Perhaps they wish to discourage democrats from supporting Sanders by portraying him as the guy they’d rather run against.
      Or perhaps they expect the “Radical” bugaboo to rally their base the same way it might have 20 years ago.
      Or perhaps this is just boilerplate. They strove mightily to portray Bill Clinton and Obama as quasi-Bolsheviks.

      1. Geo

        My Fox News loving neighbor was convinced Hillary was a communist. When the meaning of these words has been so abused I don’t see how calling Sanders a Radical Socialist will carry much weight. The few gullible enough to still be scared by this name calling aren’t ever going to vote for a progressive even if it directly and obviously benefitted their immediate personal needs.

        At this point, my guess is being labelled a Democrat is at least as, if not more, detrimental to a progressive running for higher office and the perception of them among independents.

Comments are closed.