2:00PM Water Cooler 3/1/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“Canadian government allows extradition of Huawei CFO to the US” [CNBC]. “The Canadian government has decided to allow the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to the U.S.” • Plus the press release, that’s it.

Politics

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

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

2020

Booker: “Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide, with support from fellow 2020 candidates” [CNBC]. ‘Co-sponsors include fellow 2020 Democratic contenders Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand”. • Good for Booker, and good for them all.

Biden: “As Joe Biden weighs 2020 bid, Democrats ask: ‘Does he meet the moment?'” [Japan Times]. One tidbit nobody seems to have noticed: “Sharon Holle, who has been working to organize for Biden in Iowa ahead of his decision, argued his experience would appeal to Democrats nervous about the country’s direction under Trump. ‘People are scared,’ Holle said. ‘We’re in a crisis right now. We need somebody we can trust.'” • To do what?

“The 2020 Endorsement Primary” [FiveThirtyEight (DK)]. Top five: Booker, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, Biden. Bookers are all from NJ; 9 of Harris’s 10 are from CA; all of Klobuchar’s are from MN; and Sanders are from CA, OH, PR, DC, VT. So four of the top 5 are endorsed by regional political machines (proxies for regional oligarchies), and Sanders is the exception. From the article: “A lack of a consensus can mean that party leaders’ first-choice candidate may have more trouble securing the nomination.” • We’ll see!

Health Care

“Nancy Pelosi: The Rolling Stone Interview” [Rolling Stone]. Pelosi: ” Medicare for All is not as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act. It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental.” • S1804 has dental. I haven’t checked Jayapal’s bill, but I believe it does. In general, all Medicare for All bills have better coverage than ACA. Pelosi is simply wrong, whether stupid or evil I don’t know. Of course, she doesn’t have to worry about insurance, so perhaps she didn’t bother to check. I’ll have more on this when I post on Jayapal’s bill, on which I would welcome reader comment.

2019

“House Democrats explode in recriminations as liberals lash out at moderates” [WaPo]. “But Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the unquestioned media superstar of the freshman class, upped the ante, admonishing the moderates and indicating she would help liberal activists unseat them in the 2020 election… ‘She said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them,’ [AOC staffer Corbyn] Trent said, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Triggering the blowup were Wednesday’s votes on a bill to expand federal background checks for gun purchases. Twenty-six moderate Democrats joined Republicans in amending the legislation, adding a provision requiring that ICE be notified if an illegal immigrant seeks to purchase a gun.” • Pelosi is ticked off at them too, seemingly, which is hilarious since this sort of Blue Dog is exactly the sort of candidate the DCCC sought to put in office, at Pelosi’s behest. I don’t know whether that’s incompetence or playing both ends against the middle, but that’s our Democrats. Too bad the explosion of recriminations is about gunz and not #MedicareForAll or the Green New Deal, though.

“Six Republicans named to House climate panel” [The Hill]. “The climate committee was formed as Pelosi’s response to calls from progressives to form a panel designed to focus specifically on mitigating the effects of climate change. Originally, freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) had championed a committee on the Green New Deal, which would draft a plan to get the country running on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Pelosi instead drafted the climate crisis committee, which will have no subpoena or legislative authority.” • I’ll take that as a no.

“Senate Democrats introduce ‘Green New Deal’ alternative” [The Hill]. “‘Climate change is real, human activity during the last century is the dominant cause of the climate crisis; and the United States and Congress should take immediate action to address the challenge of climate change,’ the resolution reads in its entirety…. The resolution is meant as an alternative to the Green New Deal resolution introduced in early February by Sen. Ed Markey. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the vote on the resolution two weeks ago in an effort to highlight a Democratic divide over the plan…. While the new resolution doesn’t offer any specific plans to decrease emissions and combat climate change, Democratic leaders championed it as a push in the right direction as Republicans failed to back or introduce any climate bills of their own.” • [head, desk]. • And I’ll take that as a no.

AOC (1): If you want to scale the left, this is a good approach:

Though I hate to see the gradual corruption of AOC’s language; “robust,” forsooth. Stop that.

AOC (2):

Realignment and Legitimacy

Speaking of Iowa:

“The Left’s Latest Demand: Race-Based Reparations” [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative]. “The questions that instantly arise are: who would qualify as a beneficiary of reparations? And who would pay the immense transfer sums involved?” • The scaly old lizard backbrained reprobate isn’t wrong (though, to be fair, it’s not clear to me that these were questions the German State asked after the Holocaust). The thing is, however, that these are basic questions for which there should be ready answers. MMT is obvious framework for the “transfer sums” (what a loaded word); reparations advocate Darity — a scholar, as opposed to a pundit like Coates — is MMT-adjacent. But the qualifications process seems tricky and fraught with unintended consequences (as Warren’s adventure with DNA shows). Both Harris and Warren aren’t really proposing straight-up reparations, either; both are simply repurposing existing programs or concepts, like “investment in black communities.” I hate to go all “national conversation” on this, but it may be that Conyers’ HR40 — the closest to a reparations bill that there has been; Jayapal and Khanna were cp-sponsors — is the best way forward. It’s not a “study,” it’s a lot like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. If this could be undertaken in good faith, and didn’t become either a whipping boy for reactionaries or the playing of identititarian policy entrepreneurs, progress could be made. (Then again, debts that can’t be paid, won’t be.)

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, January 2019: Edged lower [Econoday]. “Today’s report combines all of December’s data with only January’s income data, the rest of the month’s data delayed because of the government shutdown…. Consumers apparently put the money they didn’t spend into the bank as December’s savings rate spiked 1.5 percentage points to 7.6 percent…. The December piece of this report is old news and was wrapped inside yesterday’s fourth-quarter GDP data, but January’s income, specifically the 0.3 percent rise for wages & salaries, offers a respectable opening for the first-quarter outlook.” And but: “U.S. personal income falls; spending weakest since 2009” [Reuters]. “The Commerce Department did not publish the January consumer spending portion of the report as the collection and processing of retail sales data was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the government that ended on Jan. 25.” And: “The increase in personal income for December was above expectations, however the change in personal income for January was well below consensus” [Calculated Risk].

Purchasing Managers Manufacturing Index, February 2019: “slowing conditions through the month of February” [Econoday]. “Manufacturing had a strong year last year but there have been emerging signs the past six weeks or so that the sector slowed at year-end and early into this year. Still, rates of growth are sound underscored by strength in this report’s employment reading.” And but: “Overall, surveys do not have a high correlation to the movement of industrial production (manufacturing) since the Great Recession” [Econintersect].

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, February 2019: “Not all the anecdotal reports are reporting slowing but both manufacturing PMI and now ISM manufacturing are” [Econoday]. “Though slowing, rates of growth are still in the mid-50s which is not only respectable but arguably desirable… Though there are plenty of small sample reports like the ISM showing continued strength, the bulk have been signaling moderation which is probably the call right now for manufacturing. This report gets close attention from the Fed and today’s results fit right in with their general warnings on slowing and the need for patience in monetary policy.” And: “This was below expectations of 55.0%, and suggests manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in February than in January” [Calculated Risk].

Consumer Sentiment, February 2019 (Final): “Consumer sentiment did bounce back at least some following the government shutdown” [Econoday]. “Today’s report fits in with the general slowing theme of recent data and specifically offers a hint that consumer spending may be on the soft side this quarter.” And: “Final February 2019 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Improved From Preliminary” [Econintersect]. “Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments: ‘…. Consumers continued to react to the Fed’s pause in raising interest rates, balancing the favorable impact on borrowing costs against the negative message that the economy at present could not withstand another rate hike.” • Does anybody know if consumers actually act that way? I certainly don’t.

Retail: “UPS Offers Fulfillment Service for Multichannel Sellers” [Ecommerce Bytes]. “UPS announced a fulfillment service for small and medium sellers who sell on multiple marketplaces and platforms, from eBay, Amazon, and Etsy, to BigCommerce, Shopify, and Volusion, and Sears, Rakuten, and Walmart. It also supports Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime. UPS eFulfillment handles storage, order processing, packaging and shipping. Each month, sellers are billed for fulfillment and shipping of orders and inventory storage or $1,000, whichever is higher. As a general rule, approximately 4-5 orders per day will place a merchant’s bill above the minimum. The company is currently offering a 60-day trial for new merchants in which it waives the minimum fee.” • So, Amazon buys trucks and jets, UPS boosts marketplaces that compete with Amazon. (If the other marketplaces could get a union bug on products that ship via UPS, that would be excellent.)

The Bezzle: “Here’s Everything That Just Went Down at Tesla” [Bloomberg]. Picking one tidbit: “In order to achieve these dramatic price cuts, Tesla is eliminating in-store sales. All sales will now be completed online.” • Certainly a bold solution for Tesla’s QA problem!

The Bezzle: “How Instagram Users are Building Businesses Based on Others’ Intellectual Property” [The Fashion Law]. “There is a growing pool of people using the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app to create and maintain accounts that aim to meet users’ pop culture fancies, whether they be meticulously-updated celebrity fan accounts, nostalgic fashion ones or something else altogether. More than merely using the 8-year old social media platform to display such imagery, though, the operators behind many of these accounts, having built up a dedicated following, are looking for ways to monetize their followers…. The practice is also potentially problematic when we consider the fact that in the vast majority of these cases, the curated imagery consists of individual photos for which the Instagram account operators do not have rights, specifically, copyright rights.” • The next Facebook scandal?

The Bezzle: Or maybe this is the next Facebook scandal:

(Note for Twitter h8ers: I can’t bust through the WSJ’s paywall, but this tweet gives the gist, not otherwise available.)

Tech: “NYSE Dumps Bots for Humans to Make ETF Trading Smoother” [Bloomberg]. “The New York Stock Exchange is preparing to hand human traders a bigger role making markets for exchange-traded funds…. The funds currently reside on the company’s NYSE Arca exchange, an electronic venue powered by algo-driven traders known as lead market makers. While these firms commit to offering the best prices for a large part of the day, the lack of human involvement can leave less traded products struggling if a large order hits just as trading begins or ends, or there aren’t enough liquidity providers making a market at any given time.” • Oh. I hope that doesn’t apply in other trading verticals…

Fodder for the Bulls: “ECRI’s WLI Growth Rate Index Marginally Improves” [Econintersect]. “The current forecast is a slight business cycle contraction six months from today.”

The Biosphere

Exuberance! I don’t disagree:

“There is a word for the trauma caused by distance from nature” [Quartz]. “Disconnection from nature can be bad for our mental health. But there was no name for this particular malaise until Australian sustainability professor Glenn Albrecht coined the term psychoterratic, creating the beginning of a vocabulary to discuss the relationship between mental health and environment…. Wood wandering as therapy began in Japan in 1982, when the government introduced the concept of shinrin yoku, or “forest bathing.”… Japan now has 62 designated therapeutic woods, attracting about 5 million visitors annually.” • And here at NC we have antidotes and plants! So we are doing our best.

“About a dozen trees cut, dumped into Potomac River at Trump golf club in Virginia” [WaPo]. • No shinrin yoku for golfers!

“Wiped out: America’s love of luxury toilet paper is destroying Canadian forests” [Guardian]. “But America’s heavy use of toilet paper – particularly the pillowy soft kind – is worsening climate change and taking ‘a dramatic and irreversible toll’ on forests, especially the Canadian boreal forest, according to a new report by two major environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Stand.earth…. The report found that major brands’ refusal to switch to sustainable materials in toilet paper is having a devastating impact on forests and climate.” • I hope this isn’t too much information, but I hate “pillowy soft” toilet paper and never buy it. It never seems to, er, do the job [musical interlude].

“Labor Unions Are Skeptical of the Green New Deal, and They Want Activists to Hear Them Out” [The Intercept]. “With respect to labor issues, [Evan Weber, political director at Sunrise Movement] said, the Green New Deal is ‘leaps and bounds ahead of previous climate proposals.’ From his group’s perspective, if energy workers cannot find new jobs that pay them equal to what they’re currently earning, then ‘the government should step in and make up that difference,” he said. ‘I think the job guarantee is a really critical element of the Green New Deal,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t say if you’re a coal miner, you’re now going to go work on installing solar panels; it asks what are the jobs that make sense for your community and have this transition be something that’s locally determined.'” • Weber gets it. That said, doesn’t that approach disempower/disintermediate union leadership? Also interesting on carbon capture, struck from H.R. 109, but about which unions are enthusiastic.

“California Is Stuck Fighting Climate Change With a Bankrupt, Distrusted Company” [Bloomberg]. “The Camp Fire, as it was named, proved the deadliest and most damaging blaze in California history—85 people were killed, most of them in Paradise, and 18,800 buildings were destroyed. Cal Fire won’t conclude its investigation into the cause for months, possibly years, but the realization that PG&E’s equipment might be the culprit led in short order to a collapse in the utility’s stock price, the resignation of its chief executive officer, and, on Jan. 29, a declaration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy…. The bankruptcy is an early test of the state’s new governor, Gavin Newsom. But this isn’t just a California story. It’s also a multibillion-dollar case study for a set of once-abstract questions about corporate responsibility, societal risk, and climate change. California’s political leaders have long seen the power grid as a vital tool for reducing carbon emissions to curb global warming. What’s become clear is that the grid is also dangerously vulnerable to the already palpable effects of climate change.”

“Toledo Wants Local Control to Save Lake Erie” [The American Conservative]. “”The Lake Erie Bill of Rights” was a charter amendment that would be put on the ballot and could bestow upon this body of water the legal designation of “personhood.” That’s right, Toledo wanted to radically change the legality of the natural environment, basically making this 10,000 square-mile lake it sits upon its child, with the citizens of the Glass City the lake’s legal guardian. In essence, the parents then could sue on behalf of its child if the lake was bullied with polluters…. [T]he city ordinance passed this week easily, by a 61 percent majority vote.” • Interesting enough. The TAC spin: “Are American urban areas becoming more independent city-states than second-fiddle step children under the national umbrella?…. They are also dealing with mass transit funding, water conservation, and renewable energy more locally…. In some ways, what is evolving is that liberal entitlement programs and libertarian free-market independence can not only coexist, but can promote each other in big cities.” • Well, I’d expect liberals and conservatives policies to mesh, because as neoliberals both put markets first. So I don’t know what TAC’s reaction would be if left “universal concrete material benefits” were swapped in for liberal “entitlement programs” (emphasis on “entitlement” though complex eligibility requirements).

“The city of Angkor died a slow death” [Ars Technica]. “In the early Middle Ages, nearly one out of every thousand people in the world lived in Angkor, the sprawling capital of the Khmer Empire in present-day Cambodia. But by the 1500s, Angkor had been mostly abandoned—its temples, citadels, and complex irrigation network left to overgrowth and ruin. Recent studies have blamed a period of unstable climate in which heavy floods followed lengthy droughts, which broke down the infrastructure that moved water around the massive city. But it turns out Angkor’s waterworks may have been vulnerable to these changes because there was no one left to maintain and repair them. A new study suggests that Khmer rulers, religious officials, and city administrators had been steadily flowing out of Angkor to other cities for at least a century before the end.” • We should start moving Federal agencies out of DC….

MMT

Krugman messed with the wrong person:

Health Care

“Hundreds pack Oregon hearing to oppose bill to end vaccine exemptions” [The Oregonian]. “Oregon and Washington are in the midst of a measles outbreak that has touched five people in Multnomah County and 65 in Clark County. But even for people who haven’t caught the highly contagious virus, the large number of cases has spurred hundreds more people to vaccinate this year than usual years. And it has restarted a long-running debate over whether parents and guardians should be allowed to send their children to school with the risk of exposing other children to measles…. Lawmakers who support the bill say that parents can still choose not to vaccinate — however, they will have to homeschool or find ways for children to go to school online…. the most passionate pleas came from those who compared their plight to Brown v. Board of Education and Nazi concentration camps, saying that those who choose not to vaccinate their children would be segregated unfairly. Some said they moved out of California after it passed a similar bill in 2015, and others said they would leave Oregon.” • Good. What’s the issue?

“An “Exciting But Dangerous Moment” for Medicare for All” [Common Dreams]. ” I am also completely convinced that imposing costs on patients at the time of healthcare use has no useful purpose. That seems like a radical idea, and even people on the liberal-left side of the spectrum sometimes say, well, having a reasonable copay is not such a bad idea to ensure that healthcare is not used sort of frivolously…. At the end of the day, maybe people paying for healthcare only really affects working class and poor people because well-off people are always going to be willing to pay a forty-dollar copay, right? It really is just a way of punishing the sick and the poor.” • Yep. I don’t know if there are any numbers on “frivolous” use of health care. I mean, who thinks going to the doctor is fun?

Our Famously Free Press

“Why the Left Can’t Stand The New York Times” [Amber A’Lee Frost, Columbia Journalism Review]. “[In the morning, I go to the front door and] pick up my New York Times and my Financial Times. I then walk back to my apartment, look at the front page of the New York Times for approximately five to eight seconds, and throw the whole thing in the garbage with contempt. I drink my coffee and proceed to read the entirety of the Financial Times, excluding the particularly dense bits of the Companies & Markets section.” • Yes!!!! More: ” often find myself explaining my preference for the pink paper of liberal capitalism over the Gray Lady of cultural liberalism. The answer is simple: by literally any measure, the Financial Times is just a better paper. It covers the world as it is—a global battle not of ideas or values, but of economic and political interests…. FT’s reportage serves a readership that gambles on world events. The New York Times compulsively analyzes and scrutinizes everything Trump ad nauseam because it pays the bills by cultivating an audience, flattering them, and keeping them stimulated.” • It’s awfully fun to see a Chapo Trap House podcaster in the CJR, and on the FT, Frost is 100% correct. The weekend FT in print (my guilty pleasure) is far superior to the sadly provincial Sunday New York Times.

Guillotine Watch

Who did this:

Then again, “no man, no problem” (Stalin, apocryphal). “Walmart moves to phase out greeters at 1,000 stores nationwide” [WDIV].

Class Warfare

“Mapping the rising tide of suicide deaths across the United States” [WaPo] (original). “Suicide rates are on the rise across the nation but nowhere more so than in rural counties. The maps also show considerable regional variation that gets missed in state-level suicide figures. Suicide rates in northern Florida and California, for instance, are considerably higher than in the southern parts of those states. Across the Deep South, counties with high proportions of black residents have lower rates of suicide than surrounding areas. Suicide rates tend to be lower in counties with large Hispanic populations and higher in counties with large Native American populations…. Overall, the data shows that from 2005 to 2015, 99 percent of U.S. counties saw their suicide rates increase by 10 percent or more.” • Everything’s going according to plan!

“Nonstandard work arrangements and older Americans, 2005–2017” [Economic Policy Institute]. “Perhaps surprisingly, workers were slightly more apt to have standard work arrangements in 2017 than in 2005. In 2017, the total share of the labor force working in nonstandard arrangements was 10.1 percent, down from 10.9 percent in 2005.” •

“Do Chief Diversity Officers Help Diversify a University’s Faculty? This Study Found No Evidence” [Chronicle of Higher Education] (original). From 2018, still germane: “The authors were unable to find any statistically significant increase in faculty diversity after the creation of a chief-diversity-officer position.” • Of course, there are an awful lot of institutional factors at play, so it’s not clear that a Chief Diversity Officer would be anything more than the academic equivalent of a no-show job in any case.

News of the Wired

The Jackpot and the Quiet Car:

“Inside the quietest room in the world: Microsoft reveals the $1.5m ‘chamber of silence’ it uses to tune everything from headphones to the click of your mouse button – that’s so quiet no one has been able to spend more than 45 minutes inside” [Daily Mail]. “Known as an anechoic chamber, it is a small room measuring 21ft (6.36m) in each direction….The few outsiders who have entered it have complained of everything from becoming disturbed by the loudness of their own breathing to ringing in the ears and deafening stomach gurgles.”

“First evidence of planet-wide groundwater system on Mars” [European Space Agency]. “Mars Express has revealed the first geological evidence of a system of ancient interconnected lakes that once lay deep beneath the Red Planet’s surface, five of which may contain minerals crucial to life…[Francesco Salese of Utrecht University, the Netherlands] and colleagues explored 24 deep, enclosed craters in the northern hemisphere of Mars, with floors lying roughly 4000 m below martian ‘sea level’ (a level that, given the planet’s lack of seas, is arbitrarily defined on Mars based on elevation and atmospheric pressure). They found features on the floors of these craters that could only have formed in the presence of water.” • Hot diggity! I hope Michael Burry stakes a claim and charges Elon Musk’s colony up the wazoo.

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

AM writes: “This was taken out of the bedroom window of a little house just outside of Canterbury England. We rented it for a week around New Year’s Day. It was foggy but the rose caught what little light there was. A couple days later it was brownish and the bloom was definitely off.” Funny, life!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

134 comments

  1. Carolinian

    Re robust–isn’t that a word more likely to be heard in coffee commercials when not part of politician-speak? Do they conduct robust discussions while seated on “rich Corinthian leather”?

    And re Walmart–they got rid of the greeters already but then sort of brought them back. They can’t make up their minds, clearly. My local Walmart has just replaced half the checkout lanes with self check and the new machines have a camera that shows your picture in a corner of the screen when you are checking out. It’s more than a bit Big Brother, but is presumably to intimidate people into not stealing.

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      Our local wally has done the same thing, the camera is creepy as f.
      Our local bank has recently been remodeled and there is a camera in each drive thru pointed square in your pie hole. Equally creepy.

      PG&E is a direct result of the deregulation craze started in the 70s and 80s. No more money for maintenance, but plenty of bonuses for the suit and tie crew.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        For some reason, tired eyes I guess, I read the very end as “suit and lie crew”. I think that’s actually just as good or better.

        Reply
    2. h2odragon

      I love messing with the self checkout. When you’re buying two of something, scan one item twice, then throw both in the bag. I’ve had an 85% success rate or so with getting “assistance required” (and the screen showing the “mis-scan”)… I suspect that they’ll quit fighting the urge to freelance socialism, even with automation, soon enough and accept that all produce is bananas at the self checkout.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Or, hold one item on top of another and scan it once. A finger over the bar code does wonders. We are all beta testers you see…

        “I don’t understand how these things work.”

        Consider these errors as a promotion, or a tip to the customer for allowing them so save all that money on human personnel.

        Reply
      2. Kurtismayfield

        Thank you for the tip.. you don’t need ssbo’s to throw into the machines when we all can gum up the works. I personally would rather stick to the cashier in the checkout line, but sometimes the local grocery has ‘one’ person on a cash register.

        Reply
      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        Did you test for the base failure rate first? I’ve used SCOs maybe ten times and I have no idea how it can beat a cashier.

        But then we’re in the MBA era where irritating the customer is an externality.

        Reply
        1. Charlie

          “But then we’re in the MBA era where irritating the customer is an externality”

          Irritating the customer is a feature, not a bug, to MBAs.

          Reply
    3. JohnnyGL

      I think ‘robusta’ is the lower grade commercial type, less preferred than the more common ‘arabica’.

      Slightly off-topic, anyone know a good place to get shade-grown coffee? Does the taste change? Is it really expensive?

      I know the common variety used in plantations and sold commercially was bred to be grown in long, tree-less rows like most cash crops. I enjoy using the old grounds to improve my soil and boost my plants, but it be better if it wasn’t damaging the place it came from!

      The tropics need more food forests…a cash crop understory seems like a better way to earn money for farmers without wrecking their land.

      If I’m showing ignorance on this one, please feel free to straighten me out.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        To clarify, my first line above was meant to be a joking play-on-words of ‘robust’ becoming ‘robusta’. Poor execution by me! :) I’ll do better next time!

        In any case, I side-tracked myself into food forests….planting season is coming!!!

        Reply
        1. Stephanie

          Check out small-batch roasters in your area. In my experience they are more likely to have single-source beans available and to know something about the farms from which they came.

          Re: taste difference: waaaaaaaaaay back when I was roasting coffee, I was told that all arabica beans are shade-grown (not necessarily in an environmentally friendly manner, but in shade). So assuming that is still true, the taste of shade-grown coffee is going to be the chemical difference between an arabica vs a robusta bean + growing region + roast + age of bean after roast + water used + brewing method + probably other factors that I’m forgetting.

          Yes, it is expensive, especially if you are buying a certified shade-grown coffee.

          Reply
      2. Robert Hahl

        Shade grown coffee from arborday.org/coffee is very good. It comes in five and ten pound bags, so keep the open bags is a freezer.

        Reply
    4. Quentin

      ‘Robust’ reminds me always of Tony Blair, who regularly used it. The W began to imitate him. The word enjoyed a general fashion in Britain of the ’00s. Gawd, was he deceitful. Now he’s torpedoeing Brexit with his herd of Labor Trojan Horses in Parliament.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        “Robust” here in the Exceptional Nation makes me think of Cheney, and, especially,
        D. Rumsfeld; and mostly brings to mind their bombing the daylights out of
        weaker countries. I’ve loathed the word ever since.

        Reply
      2. Carolinian

        The Hillary crew were big on “muscular” as in “muscular foreign policy.” Presumably they like to sound like corporate managers so people will think they know what they are doing.

        Reply
  2. Bill Smith

    “The city of Angkor died a slow death”

    Years ago when I visited Siem Reap I was told by the local guides that Angkor had slowly depopulated after the move of the capital to Phnom Penh because of its access to a better transportation network: the Mekong River.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      The local guides are quite likely to know what they’re talking about.

      Something similar on Easter Island: archeologists speculated for decades on how the famous statues were moved into place. Finally someone asked the locals. Yes, they knew.

      But that’s just a few hundred years; i doubt anyone still knows how the pyramids were built or the megaliths were moved – but the latter might be a lot like Easter Island.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      You never get big projects like this off the ground without good engineers. Not only to build stuff like Angkor but also to maintain it. I wonder what happens to a civilization where engineers lose respect and are not given either their due or the resources needed to do their job? If the engineers were still there as a force you would think that they would have been put to work to at least keep the waterways clear in Angkor.

      Reply
      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Re: engineers: Ah yes, we live in technocracy-by-default no matter what.

        The problem is that technology is always on the move but base human nature is stuck with the lizard brain.

        Pip-pip!

        Reply
  3. jo6pac

    Trade

    This only the beginning of what she will go through, the title is misleading. That’s my thought.

    Today, Department of Justice Canada officials issued an Authority to Proceed, formally commencing an extradition process in the case of Ms. Meng Wanzhou.”

    Reply
  4. Gary

    RE: Background checks and I.C.E.

    What would be wrong with just not selling guns to anyone who is not a citizen? Is the Second Amendment based on birthright or geography? Asking for a country…

    Reply
    1. kgw

      False argument…;~) I used to think that the only way the U.S. Constitution should be read is universally. All rights apply to all!!

      Still think so? (snicker)

      Reply
      1. Fiery Hunt

        The US constitution is an outline for the governing of American citizens.
        It is subject to change only by the agreement of American citizens (elections and amendments).
        The rights of American citizens is guaranteed by that constitution and doesn’t apply to all.
        2nd amendment is part of that…

        Absolutely, we should not be selling firearms to non-citizens (including very much foreign governments we are not formally allied with!)

        Reply
        1. sleepy

          Cite me any part of the Bill of Rights which validates your opinion that it only applies to US citizens. US citizenship wasn’t even defined at the time.

          The Bill of Rights operates as a restriction on government power, not an extension of rights to certain groups.

          It doesn’t grant rights to individuals. It restricts the rights of government.

          Reply
          1. Fiery Hunt

            All other rights not specified to the AMERICAN government are preserved for the AMERICAN people.

            Amendment X (1791)
            The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

            The people… as in Americans.

            You really should read the Constitution before spouting nonsense.

            Reply
              1. Fiery Hunt

                Oh, I agree with you…the courts, and Congress have clarified (and complexified and re-interpreted and clouded and added and subtracted and…)

                And in general, I support the idea of an evolving Constitution; the “living” doctrine vs originalism.

                My only point was that the original Constitution granted rights to the people of America. Now, we can dissect what “people” meant and who had, and who currently have, the rights granted by the Constitution but it was not intended as a universal declaration covering all people everywhere. Be nice it it were…but hell, even US citizens can’t keep the rights they were given.

                Reply
                1. Skip Intro

                  yes, people didn’t necessarily mean non-landowners, women, or slaves, depending on the context, but I don’t think it excluded immigrants pre se.

                  Reply
      2. Unna

        2d Amendment: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

        Put aside the “well regulated Militia” controversy, if you can, which was answered in Heller, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller, and focus on the words “the right of the people.”

        Quick Quick look at Wikipedia (?) shows: So who are the “people”? In Heller the Court wrote: “… ‘the people,’ the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset.” And a quick look at Wikipedia says that Heller said the set of the “people” refers to the same as those that enjoy the protections of the 1st and 4th Amendments.

        However, in United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez the Court said that a drug dealer could have his home in Mexico searched without 4th Amendment protections, see Wikipedia, saying:

        “The Second Amendment protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to “the people”… While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that “the people” protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.”

        Important here are the words: that the “people” are “… persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.”

        So you pay your lawyer and you take your chances and roll the dice on what the current Supreme Court, especially after another Trump appointment, might decide to say about what that means.

        Reply
      3. sleepy

        The first time the word “citizen” is mentioned or defined in the constitution is in the 14th Amendment ratified in 1868. None of the first ten amendments, the bill of rights, restricts those rights to “citizens”, and no court has ever limited those rights to “citizens”.

        Reply
        1. sleepy

          I should add–

          Prior to the 14th Amendment, US citizenship was predicated–loosely–on being a citizen of a state which could set its own qualifications. Citizen of Alabama? You were automatically a US citizen.

          There was some discussion that residents of DC were not US citizens because they were not citizens of a state.

          None of this mattered very much to the PTB and was mostly academic if you were white since the overriding issue pre-Civil War was that slaves and certain minorities were denied state citizenship and thus US citizenship, while someone from, say, Germany could just hop on a ship, land here and have full rights.

          Citizenship mattered after the Civil War when states denied citizenship to ex-slaves or their descendants and thus denied them US citizenship. The 14th amendment took the states’ power to define US citizenship away and made citizenship a federal prerogative.

          Reply
    2. marym

      Most of the rights specified in the US Constitution apply to everyone in the US.

      Constitutional rights in general:

      “There is no question that all persons in the United States including unauthorized migrants enjoy the protections of the Constitution,” said Gabriel (Jack) Chin, law professor at University of California-Davis. “There is no debate about that among legal scholars.”

      The Fifth Amendment, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment protects everyone from deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law, Chin said.

      There have been several court decisions dating back more than a century that outline the rights of undocumented immigrants.

      2nd amendment specifically:

      Non-citizens have a right to bear arms, even if they are in the country illegally, the Seventh Circuit ruled late in August [2015]…

      But, there’s a catch. While the right to bear arms extends to unauthorized non-citizens in the U.S., the Second Amendment also allows for limits. That includes a federal law banning unauthorized immigrants and nonimmigrant visa holders from possessing firearms, the court concluded.

      In reaching the conclusion, the court analogized the Second Amendment to the First and Fourth, both of which apply to non-citizens. “In the post-Heller world,” the court wrote, “where it is now clear that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is no second-class entitlement, we see no principled way” to exclude noncitizens from its protections.

      Reply
  5. Pat

    Michelle Obama rules out running for President as she sells her book at SXSW, Supposedly because she wants to leave space for the next generation, propping them up. The Obamas don’t want to take up the space for them.
    I recognize the swipe at Bernie, but she does realize that also hits old buddy partner in Obama administration crime Joe Biden doesn’t she? Of course she may have come to dislike his tendency to the touchy and feely as much as some of us who have just watched him over the years.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Kamala Harris is the same age as Michelle.

      Who are these vastly younger people people are pining for? Millenials are by and large too young to even run (need to be 35).

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Who are these vastly younger people people pining for?

        Watch Joe Rogan’s September interview of 37 year old Tulsi Gabbard to answer your question.
        She’s overqualified and will force important issues to the fore, unless they succeed in completely ignoring and burying her.
        65,000 donors, no matter how small, means she gets in the debates. It will be better than any movie you have ever watched.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIb2lmHgd5s

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          I like Tulsi, but as a mid twenties milennial, most people I know of don’t even know who Tulsi is.

          Also I myself prefer Bernie to Tulsi, though my friends are all over the play, from other Bernie supporters, to Warren supporters, to my best friend who for some reason is a diehard Bloomberg supporter. (Hes the only one I know, regardless of age).

          Reply
    2. Duck1

      Maybe 0bama told her about the Dealey Plaza films hubby reviewed up at Langley after the inaugural. / s

      Reply
    1. Matt

      Its scary to me that the more I read about MMT, the better it sounds. Its advocates are definately sharpening and tempering their message.

      She handled Prof. Krugman brilliantly, but I’m not sure how much of a victory that is anymore given his pretty specious opinions of the last few years. MMT is like an up and coming boxer that is getting closer to a title shot. Thanks for posting the link.

      Reply
      1. ChristopherJ

        Thanks, Matt and Dan. MMT is just a description of reality. The deception is the explanation that taxes can be respent and that borrowing for deficits is necessary (rather than a policy choice).

        Yes, enjoyed seeing Krugman taken down. Even his twitter page is full of people taking him down. He’s such a fake economist, perfect foil for the elites that pay him.

        Reply
  6. clarky90

    Re. “America’s heavy use of toilet paper – particularly the pillowy soft kind – is worsening climate change…”

    Another example of The Law of Unintended Consequences.

    “The Plant Based Diet” is crammed down our throats. Then, Voilà! This disturbing news!

    Meanwhile, the silent carnivores, without fanfare (reduced flatulence), are protecting, in a small way, our biosphere….

    Reply
    1. dcblogger

      huh? what does toilet paper have to do with vegetarianism? In any case pillowy soft TP is dangerous to make. A friend of mine who worked in a TP factory told me all the accidents had to do with extra soft TP, which is why I never buy it.

      Reply
      1. clarky90

        Thanks for your comment DCB!
        An animal based (carnivorous) diet is calorically dense. That is why we see prides of lions lounging around, and ignoring the herbivorous prey-animals who must be, incessantly eating. Herbivores produce a huge volume of dung throughout their day.

        Carnivore humans typically eat once or twice a day. They might move their bowels once a day. Their stools will be small. (no roughage)

        Foods for carnivorous diets are usually grown and processed locally. So, pound for pound, they involve far fewer food-miles- (1) more calories, (2) less weight and bulk and (3) closer to home.

        How can importing cashews from Brazil and bananas from Costa Rica be environmentally sound practice? Or exporting soy to China and re-importing it as textured vegetable protein (fake meat)?

        Joe Rogan Experience #1164 – Mikhaila Peterson
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF_7688Zk6s

        Mikhaila was diagnosed with Juvenile idiopathic arthritis at 3 yo. She now (27 yo) exclusively eats steak, salt and water. A wonderful account of a young woman’s journey, from dis-ease to ease! She figured it out herself. (just imagine the snarling and teeth gnashing of the medical/dietary “experts”) It is lots of fun, if you enjoy iconoclasty.

        Reply
        1. Jeff

          The ‘far fewer food-miles’ is an assumption (IIRC over 95% of Costa Rica’s meat production ends up in the US). But you are missing the elephant in the room. Instead of eating the vegetable calories yourself, you give them to a cow and then eat the cow. That process consumes an awful amount of water, pesticides, arable soils, energy … and ‘making’ 1 pound of meat-based calories consumes over 15 pounds of vegetable calories. So in the end, neither of your three arguments hold.

          Reply
          1. clarky90

            Cattle eat grass, not broccoli. Humans cannot eat or digest grass because we do not have rumens.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruminant

            The cows process the grass into the precursor of soil, (cow dung, which forms soil when it is trampled into the ground). Ruminants (sheep and cattle) graze on grasslands (often, high country) which is not, and never will be, suitable for arable farming.

            The Woolly Mammoth (elephant x 100) in the room, is that high intensity, pesticide, herbicide, chemical fertilizer, Crop Farming is destroying our soil, everywhere.

            Arable Farming is rapidly destroying the deep, black, fertile top-soils created by ruminant herds, which were herded by wolves. This soil formation (turning grass into soil) occurred over hundreds of thousands of years

            Reply
        2. Adam Eran

          ? Admittedly, this is a stretch from toilet paper to diet…but…
          – Humanity now eats five times more meat than in the 1950s
          – Livestock eats ten calories of veg (and thousands of gallons of water) to make one calorie of meat, so meat eating requires much more farming and habitat destruction. Not so much for grass-fed beef, but we don’t see much of that. (Wild game has far more nutrients, too)
          – The largest study of the connection between diet and health (see The China Study by Colin Campbell) concludes that animal protein is implicated in everything from cancer to alzheimers, arterial disease to autoimmune disease.
          – As a testament to his commitment to science, Campbell, a biochemist, was raised on a dairy farm–so ate plenty of meat and milk–but now travels the country promoting plant-based whole foods diet.
          – As for testimonials, try http://www.drmcdougall.com/stars. There you can read about or see videos from literally hundreds of patients who have adopted that plant-based, whole foods diet and been healed. No, I don’t mean placed on a continuing medication, I mean healed. They throw away the diabetes medication and the statins, and often find their life full of energy (I know I did).

          Anyway, there are sure to be outliers, and I’ve never had much success convincing carnivores of the harm they’re causing to themselves or the planet…so feel free to disagree

          Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      I’ve installed an Asian-style bum sprayer on my toilet. Only use minimal toilet paper and this rabbit’s behind is clean as a spring morning in Vermont.

      Highly recommended!

      Reply
      1. scott 2

        a 10-4 on that. I spent 2 weeks in Japan a couple of years ago and every toilet had the bidet seat. The crappy 1 ply TP is good for drying off, but that is all you need.

        If everyone put a $40 bidet attachment on their toilet, we could cut our TP use by 2/3ds, thereby saving the planet.

        Reply
    3. el_tel

      Scrunch or fold? (Toilet paper). This was a question asked years ago on some media outlet I don’t remember (TV? web?). It may have been Graham Norton’s original Channel 4 show (which, for North American viewers used to his more recent BBC one, was MUCH MUCH ruder).

      When the question was asked (without context), the funny thing was everyone knew exactly what was being asked, without knowing the context (toilet paper). What made it doubly funny was there was found to be a correlation between what you did and whether you came from the UK or US. Apparently Brits generally favour folding whilst US people tend to favour scrunching. One of those hilarious totally useless bits of trivia from a no-doubt highly unscientific source. If true, I wonder if it has implications for per person toilet paper use?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        But don’t forget the real important questions. Such as when you have your toilet paper on the roll hanger, does the end of it hang over or under?

        Reply
        1. polecat

          That’s all nice and fine … but what about all that fresh toilet-tank water-couldn’t it be put to better use .. and who’s job is it anyway to empty the chamber pot in the morning ?? Questions for the not too distant future.

          Reply
  7. Big River Bandido

    After almost 3 years of non-use, polluting my own bio, and deleting all my own posts and tags to my account…I finally deleted Falsebook entirely this morning.

    It doesn’t feel any different. I had been not using it for so long, I finally decided the more *real* people leave, the better.

    Reply
    1. Howard Beale IV

      I never had a sign-on to Facebook – so just for grins I created an ID. Let me tell ya firsthand: Their Shadow profiles are real, and they use a metric sh*tton of feeds to build your Shadow Profile – spooked me big time.

      I quickly deleted my ID, but I suspect the Shadow Profile’s will live on….

      Reply
      1. EGrise

        Rather than “Shadow Profiles” I prefer to think of them as “Dossiers” like the ones the Stasi kept on everyone, whether they were political or not.

        Reply
  8. JohnnyGL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w07vHlduO08 – AOC does sharp questioning. She MUST have good staff helping to prep her.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbtDt9abaX0 – Aaron Mate and Cenk Uygur discuss Trump-Russia

    Both clips are good by themselves, but I wonder if it makes sense to package them together as you can see Cenk and Michael Brooks, who’ve been mild Russia-gate boosters (as opposed to hysterical people who’ve lost their minds). It’s interesting to see them both wrestling with the information as it comes and now slowly coming to grips with the idea that Trump-Russia collusion as was originally conceived, is not true. Neither have really attempted to grapple with the idea that the sourcing of the story was a problem and that the players pushing the story found it to be useful.

    Completely absent from their discussion is a massive problem. There are two main bits of ‘evidence’ of Trump-Russia ties. 1) Steele dossier and 2) Trump tower meeting. Item 2 was clearly being turned into some kind of much bigger deal than it really was, but it was always a supporting item to the Steele dossier.

    The Steele dossier, and the people pushing the story are really what started the whole thing. It really infuriates me that the origins of the story don’t get much scrutiny from the left with a handful of exceptions (this site, Jamarl Thomas, Jimmy Dore, Caitlin Johnstone, Glenn Greenwald).

    I’m glad to see the Trump-Russia collusion story dying a slow death (I’d prefer a faster one), but there’s way too much neglect of the role of John Brennan and his CIA buddies, the Clinton campaign and their media allies. Obviously, corporate media and the MIC companies that buy ads from them also get a big assist.

    Without more scrutiny of the stunt that was pulled, we’re susceptible to having it pulled again.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      The left as currently constituted is not the left but another version of the right. To put it another way the liberals Thomas Frank mentioned in his book Listen, Liberal are really, at best, Republicans with an added obsession with identity politics. My definition of “left” is a movement that is against imperialism/militarism and for a convivial society for everyone.

      Maybe we should just face up to the fact the actual left is tiny. In my lifetime the actual left has been pretty constant at five percent of the population.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        The two examples above are hardly representative of Thomas Frank’s technocratic elites from ‘listen, liberal’.

        Michael Brooks’s show endlessly discusses Marx and Marxism. Cenk Uygur is a major pioneer of TYT and part of the spearhead of independent media that’s sprung up.

        They’re both ‘moderate’ Russia-gaters in that they think there’s something nefarious, but aren’t crazy like Maddow.

        Both seem to bizarrely refuse to consider who/where the story has come from. It seems to be a weird blind spot.

        Strangely, there’s been much more willingness to dig into these questions in right-wing media. My comment ends up being a plug for NC, since NC is willing to read TAC, the Federalist, and other sources that have dug into these questions. I probably wouldn’t have seen some of this reporting without Lambert and Yves.

        Reply
        1. Briny

          A-bloody-men! NC is a wonderful lens to keep in the toolbox as it really does look across the spectrum of views on political-economy.

          Reply
    2. John Wright

      I watched the Cenk / Mate discussion.

      Cenk makes a big deal of the private Trump-Putin discussions.

      Cenk seems to believe Trump could agree to do something nefarious to help Putin when his administration, the political class, the USA media and the entire world will be watching his actions.

      I wish that Putin had given a Putin inscribed copy of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” to Trump.

      And that Trump had the book scanned and put on the White House website for all to read.

      Then the media (go for it Rachel) would have had a frenzy looking for hidden instructions from Putin to Trump via Leo Tolstoy.

      And understanding of Russian literature in the USA might improve.

      Reply
  9. Another Scott

    The article about unions and the GNG is interesting and thoughtful, the comments there not so much. There is a lot of condensation towards unions among climate advocates, both in those comments and in other conversations. Does anyone else remember construction jobs on pipelines not counting because they are “temporary”? Based on my reading, a lot of the union members are indifferent and divided, but mainly they want good jobs and respect. Once those are accomplished, they can get on board with the GNG

    I read an article earlier this week about the same subject.

    http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/21760/green_new_deal_unions_ibew_jobs_just_transition_environment

    I think this quote summarizes a key part of the the problem that needs to be addressed to get unions and especially their members on board.

    “Kevin Norton is a member and former assistant business manager of IBEW Local 11 in Los Angeles. He strongly supports his local’s environmentally friendly work. But his first reaction to the Green New Deal is that it’s “a lot of well-meaning people who don’t necessarily know what they’re talking about.

    ‘“There’s always a group of people,” Norton said, “that want to do those kinds of projects, but they want to do them at $15 an hour, or $13 an hour.” In contrast, he said, wages and benefits for a union journeyman can total up to $74 an hour.”

    Reply
    1. notabanker

      I asked someone I know well who is a union political organizer about the landscape locally a couple of months ago. IBEW and Teamsters want influence and back winners, mainly concerned about right to work and pensions. They have problems getting the members to show up at the polls but have a lot of money. SEIU is the most progressive, can organize really well and has a pretty big membership. Didn’t ask about LIUNA, but it doesn’t surprise me they are going to back the DNC. I can tell you the local politicians of any flavor stand in line for the public construction money to spend on development. Don’t seem to have any problems appropriating that cash.

      Reply
  10. ChiGal in Carolina

    Pelosi

    What bald-faced lies, and SO irresponsible! M4A will cover all “necessary medical expenses” so no, not face lifts, but yes–anything that catastrophic coverage currently does.

    Catastrophic coverage is crap coverage on the day to day but kicks in if you are hospitalized with a major injury or surgery.

    No one on M4A will ever need cat cov to kick in cuz they already have it, along with the day to day.

    And yes, dental will be covered, though it is not in current Medicare.

    I hope there is video of this though the quote alone will do. Properly used by advocates it is an excellent nullifier of her opposition to M4A since she doesn’t even know what it is.

    Reply
    1. katiebird

      Pelosi should know that The new Medicare for All Bills are (mostly) ….

      Medicare for All people and
      Medicare for All medical expenses

      Reply
      1. foghorn longhorn

        Since clintoon has seemingly ‘retired’, Pelosi is vying for the most ignorant politician of all time hall of fame.
        We must pass it to see what in it, WTF.

        Reply
        1. Earl Erland

          I especially enjoyed that part of the Rolling Stone interview when Pelosi turned to her aide and asked: “What’s the frequency, Drew?”

          Reply
      1. BoulderMike

        True, but the funny thing is that I am what would be considered OLD in today’s world, and my ACA coverage DEMANDS that I also purchase a Pediatric Dental Plan for $0 dollars. Whaaaaaat! Why does a retired person need to sign up for Pediatric Dental to get Medical coverage. And don’t even get me started as to how crapified the ACA plans became in 2018 and now 2019. Since when do Medical Plans not pay out one red cent until you have completely met the outrageous deductible? Let alone that the one procedure I had last year (a procedure that is recommended by my Dr. to confirm whether or not a previously treated condition has recurred) was not negotiated down one penny by my insurance company, oops I should have said insurance predator. In fact, had I paid cash the provider would have given me a 10% discount. So, by paying a premium every month (me and Uncle Sam) I was rewarded with paying more than if I was uninsured. And or course it didn’t come close to my high deductible. So, what value are insurance companies providing anyway? And don’t say catastrophic coverage (looking at you Nancy P.!) as my guess is you got sick enough to exhaust your high deductible and out of pocket maximum, they would start denying claims.
        I guess I shouldn’t have said don’t get me started as I clearly did get started. Sorry for the rant but everyone needs to realize that the ACA isn’t even really insurance anymore by definition, and in practice, but more like graft. Instead of politicians focusing on the cost of the monthly premiums, they should be focusing on the overall cost. It is like the tax vs. fees argument. Who cares what you call it if it is coming out of your pocket. Anyway, as far as I can see the insurance companies no longer provide any value. They are blood suckers who profit on our misery and misfortune.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          You can get started and continue. Every major institution in our society has become a hustle. While most people are good if they work for a large institution their function is to be part of a toxic institution and it drags them down. I’m listening her as I’m typing this to horror stories about the legal, mental health, and medical system.

          Reply
        2. jrs

          It’s gotten to the point I’m going out of network and paying cash just because I’m tired of waiting so long to get minor medical conditions treated.

          Reply
        3. Rageon

          My simple back of the envelope calculations for health care and social services here in Quebec are:
          In 2017-2018, program spending on health and social services to $36 764 million.
          2017 – 8.408 Million population
          = $4372.50 per person (~365/month)
          And that’s in Canadian dollars for universal health care.
          The question then is would you rather pay that in tax, or continue paying premiums to an insurance co?

          Reply
          1. Kurtismayfield

            The fact that we can double that number and still be cheaper that what the US currently pays is insane. That is a lot of 2nd houses for Pharma, Health care Managers, and specialists.

            Reply
        4. marym

          Thanks, I didn’t know about pediatric dental. I did a little searching. It’s included in the essential benefits that any plan has to include, so apparently they found the most klugey way to implement that. Sigh.

          Reply
      2. polecat

        Shorter Nannycy : ” Bu bu but my grift engine would run out of gas-baggery if M4A became a reality .. sob !”

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          Actually I’m not sure Pelosi is necessarily interested in just money. My experience based on many years in Washington is that the powerful are motivated by competition in the political game. The game is very exciting and very intricate and challenging. Washington, to be blunt, is a town full of plots and plotters–it is skullduggery central. Pelosi and others aren’t really mean-spirited so much as just into gaming.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            If Pelosi and her ilk, like their counterpartners, really cared about the plebians concerns .. ALL of the plebians, that is .. then this country wouldv’e instituted policies that effected positive, and decent outcomes for most everyone. But they don’t. Instead, they reak of pettiness and one-upmanship, in their phony sparing with their fellow corrupt red countersparts, while you and I are left to drift into dark seas with the hammerheads. I consider That mean-spirited in the worst way.

            Reply
          2. Ape

            Excellent. It’s only about personal resources up to the point of a fancy toilet.

            From there on out it’s satisfaction – expressing yourself and other ego games.

            Reply
      3. jrs

        It includes pediatric dental but adults are out of luck. So yea she seems pretty ridiculously ignorant. Anyone who has EVER even CONSIDERED much less gotten an ACA plan knows more than her as it’s in the most basic plan details, not the fine print.

        Her and DiFi looking more clueless by the minute.

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      ‘Free at the point of care’ will make so many heads explode that we will need to seriously look at how to bolster our health care system.

      I’m in the ‘drug resistant TB doesn’t care about your credit rating’ school when it comes to that.

      Reply
  11. marku52

    Kruggles never argues in good faith. Not even the Bank of England can convince him that his (and most of econ’s) loanable funds theory is totally bogus.

    I’d like to see Ms Kelton’s long form response.

    How come NT doesn’t have an “MMT” tag on the side board? I was looking for the article about correct predictions made by MMT and couldn’t turn it up….

    Reply
    1. fajensen

      I think Krugman is suffering from the ailments of being sidetracked: Loss of purpose, maybe a bit too much drink, some old grudges that he now lacks the power and organisational resources to settle and not keeping current.

      It happens a lot. Many men invest their time in building an identity shaped around their careers, and draw all of their resource needs from within “their” organisation.

      When their borrowed power eventually is taken away from them by the new incoming crop of bright young things, they become lost.

      Happened to both my father and myself.

      Reply
  12. jake

    Obamacare does not offer adult dental benefits (pediatric, only), though some states may elect to provide it to low-income recipients in what amounts to mixed Medicaid/Obamacare plans.

    In NYS, the choice of dentists is pitifully limited — and frightening.

    Offering this coverage as a reason to reject Medicare for All is preposterous.

    Reply
  13. Summer

    RE: “A new study suggests that Khmer rulers, religious officials, and city administrators had been steadily flowing out of Angkor to other cities for at least a century before the end.” • We should start moving Federal agencies out of DC….

    It says they “flowed” out. What if they were chased out?

    Reply
        1. JacobiteInTraining

          If we are willing to be honest with ourselves – as proud citizens of the Great Khmer Empire – we really NEED to insure that the skills of the priestly and monk class are testable and measurable in order to uplift our society and insure we are at our best. We simply do not want our spiritual health to be administered by slothful people who just managed to wait out the clock in order to get their tenure.

          And it is with this desire for the future that I introduce the ‘Charter Temple’ bill, (commonly called the ‘No Acolyte Left Behind Act’ by the media) … which I think all will agree will allow much better metrics-based measures to weed out the bad Monks, allow synergies of scale with new innovative privately-run monasteries who will be able hire the best and brightest, while allowed to obtain their fair share of our common tax resources to so so, and thus insure that ALL of our citizens have a CHOICE in what Monks they see, and which monasteries they support with what is…after all…their own money.

          Reply
  14. Summer

    RE: Nancy Pelosi …Rolling Stone

    So phony makes my blood boil. I had to get up and take a walk to let out a stream of expletives.

    Reply
  15. notabanker

    In the #fieldwork category, I was close to making this comment yesterday regarding something else, but given the suicide report above and the WV teachers strike post, I think it is relevant.

    First a little background, before the 16 general election, my wife and I spent quite a bit of time driving through Ohio, western PA and western NY. Once out of the suburbs, the Trump signs out numbered the HRC signs by at least 100 to 1. On one drive to Toronto, we counted exactly two HRC signs on the entire drive up I90. We were not at all surprised on election night and were laughing at the idiots on CNN.

    I just drove two hours across ‘rural’ Ohio. It’s more like rural land and some farms in between factory towns that no longer have factories. Small townships with houses built in the 40’s and 50’s, mostly falling apart, a pharmacy, a dollar store and a big brand new looking hospital. No real local businesses to speak of other than pizza shops and mechanics. Things have not improved since Trump, they’ve gotten worse. I was thinking the progressives have a real opportunity to turn large portions of the flyover areas and when I saw the WV post this morning, that kind of confirmed my suspicions.

    The purpose of my drive was to meet with someone who had been taken advantage of by our medical system. They were not happy and are fighting back. DNC political jibberish is not going to cut it and now they’ve been screwed on Trump’s watch. This is going to be an interesting election season.

    Reply
  16. BoyDownTheLane

    The relationship between nature and mental health is not unknown to me. When my triply-abusive step-mother went too far, I’d run away and sit in the woods alone for hours. Decompression, psychic bathing, silence, simple meditation….

    Reply
  17. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Inside the quietest room in the world

    In 2015 I attended Igor Levit’s complete performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, ‘designed’ by the artist Maria Abramović, at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC. The ‘gimmick’ was that 45 min to an hour before the performance, people checked in, left their phones, cameras, watches, and other noisemakers and distractions in lockers in the lobby. Everybody was given very effective noise-muting ear-muffs (like those worn by people moving planes around at airports), and we sat in the hall with them on for at least a half-hour, in silence. No talking with your neighbor (the seats were widely separated). I became very aware of breathing, of time passing, and the absence of sound. A sign lit up, directing everybody to take off the ear-muffs, and the Bach started. And the music, as the first thing to be heard after all that silence, was concentrated and immense. An extraordinary experience.

    Reply
  18. bun

    The answer is simple: by literally any measure, the Financial Times is just a better paper. It covers the world as it is—a global battle not of ideas or values, but of economic and political interests…. FT’s reportage serves a readership that gambles on world events.

    Chomsky has been saying the very same thing for years. I heard him say it in person at least 20 years ago – he reads the business press, because business people mean, er, business and they need to know what is really going on, not the pablum the MSM uses to manage consent.

    personally, I have not had the stomach to follow in his footsteps, but as the grey hairs sprout and the years recede, it seems to be coming a little easier…

    Reply
    1. Craig H.

      My college economics 1 teaching assistant was a Marxist and he told us to read the Wall Street Journal because it was more factual than the other newspapers. Everything that happened yesterday that mattered was in that second column all the way down page one. This was before Murdoch bought it. (He said we probably want to skip to the opinion page.)

      Reply
  19. Lee

    How economic inequality might affect a society’s well-being
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-economic-inequality-might-affect-a-societys-well-being

    Paul Solman interviews Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett, Justin Wolfers, and Betsey Stevenson.

    An eight minute piece from PBS Making Sense. Or, if you prefer, the transcript is provided at the site. It’s nice to see the mainstream media affirming, in easily digestible form, views generally agreed upon by most here.

    There are differences in the interpretation of data between the interviewees as to the relationship of more wealth and greater happiness that are of interest, but there is shared agreement that a high degree of inequality is personally and socially corrosive, even for the relatively well off. Except for the super rich who probably don’t give a shit.*

    *My $0.02

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Announcing the intellectual bout in a YouTube video on Thursday, the media-savvy Peterson said he would face off against the reclusive Slovenian Marxist in Toronto’s Sony Center on April 19. The topic? Happiness: Capitalism versus Marxism.

      Thanks, I’ll put it in my calendar.

      Reply
  20. Rajesh K

    Facebook Privacy settings not working. “Move fast and break things” remember? Probably used to work half of the time but no longer working now :)

    But seriously, anyone still using Zuckerberg’s platform deserves the results they are getting.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Except whether you’re “using the platform” or not, it it using you (shadow profiles).

      Friends in high places

      Reply
  21. ewmayer

    o Re. Dem recrimination-splosion about gunz — With fitting irony, the sanest gun-legislation-related thing I’ve heard of late is not from the Dems but from the Orange-haired Satan™:

    Judge gives green light to Trump ban on gun ‘bump stocks’ | Reuters

    o “Six Republicans named to House climate panel” [The Hill] — Classic Pelosian “We are studying it”. As in an ACA-esque “we have to let the climate catastrophe happen so we can see what’s in it”. And once we see what the details of the climate catastrophe are, we can really take decisive action by way of … convening a task force! Yes, that’s the ticket…and said task force would be charged with making a set of recommendations to a House Select Committee…

    o “Toledo Wants Local Control to Save Lake Erie” [The American Conservative]. “”The Lake Erie Bill of Rights” was a charter amendment that would be put on the ballot and could bestow upon this body of water the legal designation of “personhood.” That’s right, Toledo wanted to radically change the legality of the natural environment, basically making this 10,000 square-mile lake it sits upon its child… — Does that include the right to dose the kid with psychoactive drugs if it misbehaves? “Erie, dearie, If I told you once, I told you a thousand times: dumping lake-effect snows on the North Coast is naughty, naughty, naughty!”

    o “Hundreds pack Oregon hearing to oppose bill to end vaccine exemptions” [The Oregonian] — Here in hippy-dippy Marin county, CA, the local fishwrap had an article this week about vaccination rates and our own local measles outbreak, to the effect that while public-school vaccination rates have climbed to around 95% in recent years, the local elite private schools act as islands of ant-vaxxerdom and contagion. Would that the resulting outbreaks were confined to said schools and the parents who send their special snowflakes there! And our modern-dsy me-me-me culture has seemingly rendered outré the classic kind of public-health-benefit calculus, whereby a vaccine which saves much suffering and many lives but carries with it a small risk of adverse effects is viewed as unacceptable for wide-scale use. The same “it must be 100% safe or I won’t let my child do it” mentality is behind helicopter parenting and the no-free-range-kids social pathologies.

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      wemeyer, re MMR vaccination:
      Meanwhile, here in Marxville North (BC Canada), our provincial government is going to institute a registry of all children starting school, registering whether they have been vaccinated. It is not forcing all to be vaccinated, just information as to who may not be. It will apply to all students, public AND private. Groucho would be pleased.

      Reply
      1. marieann

        Where we are in Canada all schoolchildren have to bring in the proof they are up to date on all their vaccinations or proof of a valid exemption.Until the paperwork is complete they can be suspended from school.

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Classic Pelosian

      How does the nation’s leading Democrat respond to an existential crisis? This controversial answer will shock you.

      Hundreds pack Oregon hearing to oppose bill to end vaccine exemptions

      Were they wearing n95 masks?

      Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    I noticed in my time in Germany that most of their cities were small – call it about the 100,00 to 300,00 range. Because of this, a popular pastime was to go walking through the woods which due to the size of the city were never that far away. I think that it was called “spazierengehen” and it simply meant going for a stroll. It was like a balance to living in the city.

    Reply
  23. Dan

    Just thought I’d share the latest on the Oakland teachers’ strike. A tentative agreement was reached this afternoon that gives the teachers an 11% salary raise over three years plus a one-time 3% bonus (versus the teachers’ ask of 12% over 3 years).

    The Oakland Education Association also claims wins on other issues: a reduction in class sizes by one student per class (versus 2 in the original position) and increased hiring of support staff. The president of the board of education has also agreed to bring proposals for a 5-month moratorium on school closures and a general moratorium on new charter schools before the board at its next meeting.

    Press release is here: https://oaklandea.org/updates/oea-reaches-tentative-agreement-with-ousd/

    If approved, this is another big win for educators (and parents, and kids) – and dependent on good organizing, a united union, and excellent community support.

    Stay tuned!

    Reply
  24. Cal2

    “Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide, with support from fellow 2020 candidates” [CNBC]. ‘Co-sponsors include fellow 2020 Democratic contenders Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand”.

    So is Tulsi Gabbard. Shame on whomever for not mentioning that. The Joe Rogan interview of her is a perfect example of what a real presidential candidate with an intellect and a congressional and combat track record looks like. Plus, she’s 37 and is an athlete.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIb2lmHgd5s

    Reply
  25. Summer

    Re: “Green New Deal is ‘leaps and bounds ahead of previous climate proposals.’ From his group’s perspective, if energy workers cannot find new jobs that pay them equal to what they’re currently earning, then ‘the government should step in and make up that difference,” he said. ”

    Did they, do they and will they do that for farmers, factory workers, driver, etc?

    Why do I think this “find the energy workers jobs” will be funds going to the oil companies to implement the program? And we would see the “trick” in trickle down….

    Reply
  26. richard

    Can anyone explain Jackpot and The Quiet Car to me? Or is there nothing to explain? I am kind of spinning from it, but it’s been that kind of week.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      “Jackpot,” in Lambert speak, is societal collapse – when all the bad stuff happens at once. I believe it’s from a William Gibson novel.

      Haven’t a clue about “Quiet Car.”

      Reply
      1. richard

        Yeah, I remember that about the Jackpot, but I don’t get what the talking dog was on about. Or what a quiet car is; is that an east coast train thing?

        Reply
  27. flora

    re:
    “House Democrats explode in recriminations as liberals lash out at moderates” [WaPo]. “But Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the unquestioned media superstar of the freshman class, upped the ante, admonishing the moderates and indicating she would help liberal activists unseat them in the 2020 election… ‘

    The WaPo is playing with words. Apparently, when New Deal type Dems attack the neoliberal 3rd Way Dem wing the WaPo suddenly switches from calling the neoliberal wing ‘the centrists’ to calling them ‘the moderates’. Does that make the neoliberal wing sound like a more sympathetic group?

    Reply
  28. Procopius

    … Some said they moved out of California after it passed a similar bill in 2015, and others said they would leave Oregon.” • Good. What’s the issue?

    My emphasis added. Wonderful answer. Exactly right.

    Reply

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