2:00PM Water Cooler 3/11/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Imports drop to annual lows with tariff hike on hold” [Supply Chain Dive]. “U.S. ports this month are expected to see their lowest import numbers since about a year ago, as trade hits its annual slowdown between peak seasons and the tariff hike is on hold… It looks now the trade war with China will end with a whimper in the next month or so, causing parties on all sides to lick their wounds and move on. The next politically motivated trade war may be met with less seriousness and a delayed reaction.”

“No date has been scheduled yet for a Mar-a-Lago summit but the White House economic adviser is reiterating his bullish stance on the prospects of a China deal” [Politico]. And meanwhile: “U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with New Democrats this week in an attempt to woo a critical bloc of lawmakers to support the new NAFTA deal.”


“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


Biden: “Joe Biden’s not so secret weapon: Barack Obama” [CNN]. “Voters like Biden not because they don’t know or don’t understand his left-right ideology (though he does better with moderate Democrats than liberals). Democrats like Biden because he was the vice president to the most popular Democrat in the country, Barack Obama. Biden’s best chance of winning is not to run from his record. It’s merely to focus on his most recent record. Biden should point voters to his time as Obama’s number two. It’s far from a guarantee that it will work, though it really could help ameliorate the potential flaws of his past record in the Senate.

Obama is still a rock star to Democrats throughout the nation. His favorable rating stood at an astounding 97% among Democrats in a CNN poll taken last year.” • I don’t see how Biden leverages this; it would take Obama endorsing him, which seems unlikely.

Biden: “As Possible Rivals Pass On 2020 Race, Biden May See A Path Clearing” [NPR]. “”It’s not that Joe Biden can’t reach across the entire Democratic spectrum, because he can. He’s liked and respected by all elements within the Democratic Party. I think it is about his agenda and his outlook,” [pollster Peter] Hart said. “If his outlook is the head that’s turning behind or back, versus the forward-looking outlook, I think he’s going to have a hard time. Because this is about tomorrow — it’s not going to be about yesterday.”


That’s nice.

Harris: “Crime lab scandal rocked Kamala Harris’ term as San Francisco district attorney” [Mercury News]. “A review of the case, based on court records and interviews with key players, presents a portrait of Harris scrambling to manage a crisis that her staff saw coming but for which she was unprepared. It also shows how Harris, after six years as district attorney, had failed to put in place written guidelines for ensuring that defendants were informed about potentially tainted evidence and testimony that could lead to unfair convictions.”

Sanders (1):

Sanders (2):

Sanders is now moving on to New Hampshire. Waiting for South Carolina…

“Dems pick Milwaukee for 2020 convention over Miami, Houston” [Associated Press]. “‘This choice is a statement of our values,’ [Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez] said in a statement. ‘The Democratic Party is the party of working people, and Milwaukee is a city of working people.” • Like every city, you nimrod.

“The Case for Reparations” [David Brooks, New York Times]. “We’re a nation coming apart at the seams, a nation in which each tribe has its own narrative and the narratives are generally resentment narratives. The African-American experience is somehow at the core of this fragmentation — the original sin that hardens the heart, separates Americans from one another and serves as model and fuel for other injustices. The need now is to consolidate all the different narratives and make them reconciliation and possibility narratives, in which all feel known. That requires direct action, a concrete gesture of respect that makes possible the beginning of a new chapter in our common life. Reparations are a drastic policy and hard to execute, but the very act of talking about and designing them heals a wound and opens a new story.” • We live in a very strange world; a world where it’s possible that David Brooks writes in good faith (though of course it’s also possible that he’s tossing an apple of discord into Democratic ranks; reparations polls extremely badly).


“Bill Nye Turned Up at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Talk at SXSW and Dug Into Climate Change” [Gizmodo]. “‘Courage begets courage,’ [AOC] said. “The first person who stands up has to encounter the most amount of fear and discomfort. But once that person stands up, it becomes immensely easier for the second person and the third and the fourth.'”

2016 Post Mortem

“The anti-Bernie Sanders campaign being pushed by former Clinton staffers, explained” [Vox]. “‘I think we are all just scarred by 2016 at large and would like to prevent that again,’ one former Clinton staffer said of the attacks against Sanders. These former Clinton aides aren’t tearing apart Sanders’s current policy agenda (probably because most major Democratic candidates have essentially adopted it). They’re just saying, here’s a bunch of dirt we had and we would like Sanders to have to deal with if he’s going to run again.” • Ah, the ol’ ego-mego. More, which even Vox sees: “But in the machinations of the Sanders-Clinton rivalry, in which both camps purport each others’ teams engaged in nefarious tactics to ultimately deny Democrats the White House, one statistic is often forgotten: as best as we can tell, more Sanders primary supporters voted for Clinton in the general election than Clinton supporters voted for Barack Obama in 2008. And while Clinton’s aides say they are trying to even the playing field in 2020, this relitigation of 2016 is doing more to reopen past wounds than heal them.” • If the liberal Democrats who ran the Clinton campaign want to be seen as acting in good faith, they would already have called for a post mortem of the 2016 campaign, and published it. They never have.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Who Gets to Vote?” [Governing]. “Broad voter purges appeared to be the next step in a decade-long campaign to make voting more difficult. Expressing concerns about security, a majority of states have taken steps in recent years that restrict voting in one way or another, including photo identification requirements, cutbacks to early voting and policies designed to make it more difficult for students to vote where they attend college. But something else is happening in response. This year, hundreds of pieces of legislation are up for consideration in more than 30 states that seek to expand voting rights. Already, New York has passed a package of bills that would move the state, long considered one of the least voter-friendly in the nation, into the modern era. All over the country, both ballot measures and legislation are being promoted to make voting and registration easier and closer to universal. It’s not happening everywhere; there’s still a partisan divide on many voting issues. But politicians from both parties, in various states, have come around to the idea that it’s time to make voting easier. Differences in approaches to voting rights aren’t just partisan. They’re also historical and tend to swing like a pendulum.”

“Meet the most insidious #Resistance grifters” [The Outline]. “Sensing weakness, these grifters have taken advantage of that desperation and are profiting off of liberal misery and hope. This group includes everyone from laughable con artists to social-media conspiracy theorists to conservatives on the reinvention circuit. Here are the ones to know.” • Get out the brain bleach!

Stats Watch

Retail Sales, January 2019: “For retail sales, no period has more seasonal extremes than the busy days of December vs the quiet days of January. This and weather make adjustment difficult and are likely part of the explanation for the extreme volatility of the December and January retail sales reports” [Econoday]. “For the first-quarter GDP outlook, today’s report is positive as it shows acceleration. For the Federal Reserve, the report is right in line with their move toward caution, waiting to see how events are unfolding.” And: “The increase in January was slightly above expectations, however sales in November and December were revised down significantly” [Calculated Press]. And: “There was a significant downward adjustment of last month’s already poor data. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which declined” [Econintersect].

Business Inventories, December 2018: Inventories rose as-expected in December but, against a drop in sales, point to an unwanted build [Econoday]. “Inventory growth is always a positive for immediate GDP but overhang points to the need for inventory liquidation which would be a negative, not only for future GDP, but for employment growth as well.”

Leading Indicators: “December 2018 Leading Index Review: Growth Forecasts Generally Slowing” [Econintersect]. “Leading Indicators Conclusion: most are forecasting modest to average growth seen since the Great Recession – and none indicating a recession over the next six months.”

The Bezzle: “Facebook’s So-Called Pivot to Privacy Is a Diversion” [Slate]. “In his writing, it seems when Zuckerberg thinks about privacy, he thinks about encryption. He talks about people “interact[ing] privately” with a “shift to private, encrypted services” where “[p]eople’s private communications should be secure.” But privacy is not the same as encryption. Encryption is about making data impossible for an outsider to read and understand. Privacy is a far broader concept, covering not only the flow of information among individuals and groups, but also personal, intellectual, and sexual autonomy, and the trust necessary for social interaction. In practice, privacy is about limiting data collection, placing restrictions on who can access and manipulate user data, and minimizing or barring data from flowing to third parties. Zuckerberg mentions none of that in his essay. When he talks about encrypting the messages users send to prevent “anyone—including [Facebook]—from seeing what people share on our services,” he neglects to mention that Facebook will still be able to collect the metadata from these messages, like who individual users message and when.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s stock takes a hit as more Max 8 planes are grounded” [Associated Press]. “Safety experts cautioned, however, against drawing too many parallels between the two disasters. ‘I do hope though that people will wait for the first results of the investigation instead of jumping to conclusions based on the very little facts that we know so far,’ said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.”

Mr. Market: “Airline stocks pare early losses after second deadly crash involving Boeing’s 737 Max” [MarketWatch]. “Airline stocks pared their early losses Monday, as Boeing Co. shares rebounded from their worst levels… The 737 is the best-selling airliner ever, and the Max is a newer version that Boeing says has a more fuel-efficient engine. The aircraft is a key part of Boeing’s effort to compete with rival Airbus.”

Rapture Index: Closes down one on volcanoes. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 176. Now well under the 180 floor. Notice also that “Israel remains strangely peaceful”; no red heifer yet, apparently (from 2018). Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

“Why Bhutan Is All Alone in the Carbon-Neutral Nation Club” [Bloomberg]. “There’s a tiny nation nestled in the Himalaya mountains with so many trees — and so little pollution — that it actually gobbles up more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces. Alas for the fight against global climate change, most of the world’s countries aren’t like Bhutan.” And: “6. Is anyone enforcing the [carbon-neutral] rules? Not really. There is some oversight built into in the Paris Agreement that holds countries accountable if their climate plans aren’t ambitious enough, but nothing is enforceable by law at a global level. Some countries and U.S. states — like Sweden, Hawaii, and California — have enshrined their commitments into legislation, making pledges harder to break. (When pledges aren’t enforceable, they’re easy to dodge when it becomes politically expedient.) So far, scientists, protesters, NGOs and investors have been the main source of pressure on countries to change and make sure their promises are kept.” • Something globalization would have been good for. Well done, 1%.

“Investors call on soy trade companies to eliminate deforestation” [Supply Chain Dive]. “Fifty-seven investors with $6.3 trillion in assets sent a letter to companies involved in the soy trade, asking them to eliminate “deforestation within their entire soybean supply chain, and will seek evidence of this on multiple levels.” The investors are worried climate and deforestation risk could harm the companies they’ve invested in. The investor names and total number of companies are not being disclosed, but they include ‘the largest publicly traded companies in the soy trade,’ said Julie Nash, the director of food and capital markets at Ceres, an organization that works with investors to find engagement opportunities and help facilitate action.” • Interesting!

“Denver Suburb Fights Colorado Over Oil and Gas” [Associated Press]. “A group called the Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee says the wells are dangerously close to their homes, although they would be beyond the 500-foot setback required by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the industry. They say that state laws are forcing residents who own the mineral rights under their property to lease or sell them to Extraction through a process called forced pooling. It allows the oil and gas commissioners to require all the owners of nearby minerals to sell or lease them to an energy company in exchange for a share of the profits. Created a century ago, forced pooling was designed to prevent the proliferation of oil derricks. Landowners were scrambling to drill their own wells to keep a neighbor’s well from grabbing their oil. Forced pooling allowed a single well to gather the oil, and the income was distributed among the owners.” • Somebody should ask Hickenlooper about this.

“Wetland carbon storage controlled by millennial-scale variation in relative sea-level rise” [Nature]. “Coastal wetlands (mangrove, tidal marsh and seagrass) sustain the highest rates of carbon sequestration per unit area of all natural systems, primarily because of their comparatively high productivity and preservation of organic carbon within sedimentary substrates. Climate change and associated relative sea-level rise (RSLR) have been proposed to increase the rate of organic-carbon burial in coastal wetlands in the first half of the twenty-first century, but these carbon–climate feedback effects have been modelled to diminish over time as wetlands are increasingly submerged and carbon stores become compromised by erosion. Here we show that tidal marshes on coastlines that experienced rapid RSLR over the past few millennia (in the late Holocene, from about 4,200 years ago to the present) have on average 1.7 to 3.7 times higher soil carbon concentrations within 20 centimetres of the surface than those subject to a long period of sea-level stability.” • So I guess that negative feedback is good news?

“Highest Sea Level Rises in U.S. are in Texas and Louisiana, Annual Report Finds” [Weather Underground]. “Texas and Louisiana have the highest rates of sea level rise in the U.S., with Grand Isle, Louisiana (7.75 mm or 0.305 inches per year) topping the list, according to the annual sea level “report card” from researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Rockport, Texas (south of Galveston) had the highest acceleration rate (0.240 mm/year2), due to rising seas combined with subsiding land (caused by such things as natural geological processes, ground water pumping, and oil industry activity).” • Perhaps we should force all oil company executives to live wherever their business activities create the greatest impact on climate. Sadly, there’s no golf course in Grand Isle, although there is a Migratory Bird Festival. Perhaps a change of location would help change perspective.

A helpful thread on metrics:

Farming with animal traction na ga happen:

Our Famously Free Press

“Decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold” [Associated Press]. “‘It felt like an old friend died,” Sanders said. ‘I sat and I cried, I really did. Because being the editor of the Daily Guide was all I wanted for a really long time.'” • Yes. The newspaper business is (was?) a wonderful place to be as a social entity (besides as a business entity, a firm). And the collapse of local newspapers is one reason, dear readers, we depend on your reports, as well as those from the many blogs that are still standing (but are hard to find).

“On Monday night police launched attack on our 1st Amendment. Here’s how you can respond.” [Sacramento Bee]. “After they “kettled” marchers on a highway overpass where they could no longer leave, police began arresting them for failure to disperse. They detained Pastor Shane Harris and Pastor Les Simmons, restraining their hands behind their backs in plastic zip ties. They did the same to Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler, who was handcuffed and led away as Bee reporter Sam Stanton shouted that Kasler was on assignment. A police officer with a baton shoved Bee photographer Hector Amezcua to the ground, damaging the equipment he was using to do a live broadcast of the march. All of this took place as news cameras rolled and livestreams broadcast the march to the world.” • We’ve had our differences with the Bee over CalPERS, but they are doing the right thing here. Kudos.

Health Care

“Policies designed for drugs won’t work for AI” [Nature]. “We can already glean how technologies are changing health-care systems. In late 2017, Babylon Health in London launched a smartphone app that provides physician consultations. The Royal College of General Practitioners criticized Babylon for “cherry-picking patients, leaving traditional GP services to deal with the most complex patients, without sufficient resources to do so”. Radiation oncologist Anthony Zietman at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has described how the costs of proton-beam therapy distort US health-care markets and channel funds from other areas, such as conventional radiotherapy. My colleagues at King’s College London have found that investment in surgical robotics draws funds from other treatments and centralizes care in large teaching hospitals, requiring many patients to travel longer distances or forego care.”

“Cancer Patients Are Getting Robotic Surgery. There’s No Evidence It’s Better.” [New York Times]. “[T]he Food and Drug Administration has warned that there is no evidence cancer patients receiving robotic procedures live longer than those who have traditional procedures. And some research shows that patients with cervical cancer fare worse.” • No information on proft in this story. Seems odd not to follow the money.

“Capuano’s Trip Through the Revolving Door: From Medicare-for-All Supporter to Health Industry Lobbying Firm” [Sludge]. “Former Rep. Mike Capuano joined lobbying firm Foley & Lardner on March 6, six months after losing the 2018 Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District to now-Rep. Ayanna Pressley. During his time in office, Capuano was an outspoken proponent of prospective universal health care programs, including Medicare for All. But his new position at Foley will put him squarely within an organization that has taken a large amount of cash from clients opposing those efforts.” • Eesh. I wasn’t happy that Pressley took down Capuano, on grounds of policy. Now I am happy. Best to get the Quislings out of the way…

Detailed thread from on how to dispute hospital bills:

Great, but there shouldn’t be bills. The entire apparatus should be blown away.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The New Black Codes: Racialized Wealth Extraction, Economic Justice, and Excessive Fines Schemes in Timbs v. Indiana” [Law and Political Economy]. “To the extent that our eighteenth-century Constitution sets out economic rights at all, they pertain to protecting those with wealth from having it confiscated by the government…. What the Constitution does not forbid, apparently, is the systematic extraction of wealth from certain social groups lacking political power. Interestingly, both Justice Ginsburg and Justice Thomas in his concurrence discuss the practice of wealth extraction from African Americans after the abolition of slavery. Slavery itself, of course, was a massive, nationwide machine for wealth extraction, and a successful one. As Justices Ginsburg and Thomas further point out, the Black Codes passed in the South following the Civil War were an effort to build a similar machine. Using vague, elastic crimes such as “vagrancy” and draconian financial penalties for their commission, planters and state and local governments sought to recapture the fruits of black labor.” • Exactly, but exactly, as “law enforcement for profit” operated in Ferguson, in our own day.

Class Warfare

“How to Use Grievances to Organize” [Labor Notes]. “The difference between a truly democratic union and one that follows a servicing model is stark when it comes to grievance handling. In a strong democratic union there may not even be many grievances; members organize to convince supervisors to stop violating the contract without having to use the formal procedure…. In the servicing model, the member is not encouraged to get involved but to turn the grievance over to the “expert.” Even in unions that seek member mobilization, the service model of grievance handling prevails: members may be mobilized to act for certain grievance issues, but they take no leadership role—no responsibility or initiative.” • I wonder which model the unions driving CalPERS use…

“Disney heiress: Jesus Christ himself doesn’t deserve this much money” [MarketWatch]. “‘If your CEO salary is at the 700, 600, 500 times your median worker’s pay, there is nobody on Earth … Jesus Christ himself isn’t worth 500 times his median worker’s pay.’ That’s how [Abigail Disney] responded when asked during a CNBC interview on Thursday whether Disney CEO Bob Iger is overpaid.” • Well, no, but Jesus Christ would not have been in any case. Luke 4:5-8: “5 Then the devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 ‘I will give You authority over all these kingdoms and all their glory,’ he said. ‘For it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish. 7 So if You worship me, it will all be Yours.’ 8 But Jesus replied, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'” So Disney’s implied offer is rather misses the point….

News of the Wired

“Correcting the Record on the First Emoji Set” [Emojipedia]. “Until now, Japanese phone carrier Docomo has most often been widely credited as the originator of what we know as emoji today. It turns out, that might not be the case, and today we are correcting the record. SoftBank, the carrier that partnered with Apple to bring the iPhone to Japan in 2008, released a phone with support for 90 distinct emoji characters in 1997.” • I have never been sure whether to applaud emojis, or deplore them. Do they compete with literacy? Or supplement it? Or even serve as an on-ramp to it?

“Browser Tabs Are Ruining Your Brain” [Medium]. “A messy browser is like a messy home: distracting, unnecessary, and after a certain point, probably unhealthy. A couple tools and coping mechanisms can take you far, freeing up the mental space you waste searching through a trillion tabs so you can focus instead on the task at hand — and maybe even leave work early as a result.” • Marie Kondo-like hectoring aside, some of the extensions listed here might be useful; I end up with a squillion tabs, but I dispose of them all in the course of writing a piece, so perhaps it’s not as stressful as keeping a set of tabs open over time.

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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 (SM):

SM writes: “This one is from 2016, from the family’s ritual visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, when the magnolia starts to bloom. It’s just around the corner!” Like a Japanese print!

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. djrichard

      Obviously we need a new priest king to kill the existing priest king (a la “The Golden Bough”), lol.

      Anyways, here’s a link to an english translation to the defining essay that was referenced in the article: One of the key texts of the anti-white left is an online essay by a Weibo user named “Fantasy Lover Mr. Liu,” titled “The Road to Spiritual Plague: The History of the Evolution of the White Left. Precious and NFSW in its use of language which made it a fun read. For instance

      When their fans went to the whorehouse, they turned up their noses at the whores that didn’t have syphilis — they wanted to go mad from the disease, just like their idols.

      Made me think of Thomas Disch’s book, Camp Concentration. Kind of in the same spirit as the essay, of sending up the authorities. And preoccupied with syphilis as a pathway to transforming empowerment as well (big wink on that :-) )

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” White Left” . . . ” White Left” . . . hmmm . . . .

      I guess most present day Western readers are taking “White” as a racial designation . . . White European or EuroAmerican. White as the opposite of Non-White.

      But what if this White is meant to be understood as ” Non-Red” . . . as “White Guard” So . . . Non-Red Left, White-Guard Left? Is that what is being meant?

  1. Pat

    Do you think having the convention in Milwaukee will remind the nominee to actually campaign for President there?

    1. Roger Smith

      Nah, Biden or Harris know it is rigged for them. This is why the invented skype. Why put on a full suit when you can just get dressed from the waste up.

      1. ambrit

        I love that “typo.” “…the waste up.” Where’s the waste on a politico? A question for the ages.

        1. Cal2

          “Now this episode, which undercut Harris’ image as a polished leader and raised questions about her management style, has taken on new relevance as the senator seeks the Democratic nomination for the presidency.”

          “Senior adviser to Sen. Kamala Harris resigns after report of $400,000 sexual harassment settlement”


          “An employee of California Attorney General Kamala Harris was arrested for allegedly serving in a leadership role in the extrajudicial Masonic Police Force…”


          Before Kamala became San Francisco DA, the violent crime rate (murder, rape robbery, aggravated assault) in SF was just 58% of the rate of Los Angeles

          By the end of her disastrous reign as DA, SF violent crime was:

          26% HIGHER than LA
          64% higher than San Diego
          17% higher than Fresno (SF was previously safer than Fresno)

          SF went from the 6th to the 4th most violent city in the state (behind only Oakland, Stockton and Sacramento.

          The New Democratic Party: Making Trump look good, one horrible candidate after another.

      1. ambrit

        And will she be surrounded by an eerie halo of light?
        Of course, if the convention “deadlocks” she can be persuaded to run as a “healing candidate.”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have offered before a suggestion on how the trio of Sanders/Warren/Gabbard might work together to pre-overwhelm any drift towards deadlock. But it would only work if the three candidates were all highly enthusiastic about the concept and all their millions of supporters and workers at all levels were pre-consulted in a tedious serious of tens of thousands of consultations and meetings to see if they all accepted it once it were understood.

          And it goes like this: as all three decent candidates run through the caucuses and primaries, they all keep track of firm first-ballot delegate numbers that each of them is gaining. After the last primary and caucus is run, but before the Convention happens, the three decent candidates and all their millions of workers and voters and supporters all get totally informed on what the total-of-all-three’s combined delegate totals would be. If that combined number is high enough to win on the First Ballot, then all the delegates from all three decent candidates vote for the candidate who has the highest single percent of the decent three’s pooled bunch of delegates. That way, one of the Decent Three would win on the First Ballot.
          That will only work if everyone agrees and everyone accepts that . . . let us say . . . Gabbard got the most delegates of the three . . . . that all the delegates of the other two candidates would re-assign themselves and be re-assigned from Sanders and Warren to Gabbard.

          It would be hard to co-ordinate. The trust needed would be the hardest thing to achieve. But if it could be arranged and achieved, it would drop a fuel-air bomb on the Democratic Establishment.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If anyone else likes ” The Decent Three”, please feel free to use it and even spread it around to see if it spreads even more.

    2. Darius

      Democrats like Perez always prattle on about “our values,” because they don’t have a program. It’s eyewash.

  2. Pat

    A small group of protesters were outside the NY Times building. Mostly well dressed, some with homemade, some with more professional signs, and lots of flags they were proclaiming the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and declaring Maduro a dictator. There was at least one photo of a dying baby.

  3. Alfred

    So David Brooks wrote: “The need now is to consolidate all the different narratives and make them reconciliation and possibility narratives, in which all feel known.” The rub is that all the different so-called resentment narratives that Brooks deplores, are already consolidated into a narrative of exploitation. For evidence see the paragraph here under Black Injustice Tipping Point. Brooks, it seems to me, is suggesting the substitution of one or two new false narratives for an old one that does indeed seem to have reached the end of its usefulness to TBTB.

    1. Carey

      I think Brooks is saying that a new narrative, where “all feel known..” is needed *in order to* continue the exploitation. As with Harris’s “we see you!”.

    2. curlydan

      I had no idea what Brooks was saying. That last paragraph was a bunch of mush, but I’m sure my liberal, “David Brooks loving” friends will email me the link or post it on Facebook as a reminder that there is, as they might say, “one good conservative” in the world.

      Does Brooks want reparations? And if so, in what amount? And does he want them for the Native Americans he briefly mentioned? Does he really think it will cause healing? Because I sure as hell don’t think it would. I get the feeling it’s just a minefield he’d like us to cross while he watches from a distance with popcorn at his side.

  4. BoyDownTheLane

    Milwaukee values: average beer, above-average sausage, and railroads.

    According to Wikipedia: “In 2015 Milwaukee was rated as the “worst city for black Americans” based on disparities in employment and income levels.[61] The city’s black population experiences disproportionately high levels of incarceration and a severe educational achievement gap” and “During the first sixty years of the 20th century, Milwaukee was the major city in which the Socialist Party of America earned the highest votes.”

  5. Detroit Dan

    I appreciated the link to the Intercept story (Glenn Greenwald) this morning. The NY Times video on the same story — Footage Contradicts U.S. Claim That Maduro Burned Aid Convoy — is also very important, IMO. It’s incredibly well done and, being from the Times, is likely to convince people who may be skeptical of The Intercept and other less well known media brands. I’ve sent the video link to many friends and relatives and have gotten satisfying feedback from some normally moderate types.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, it was.

      It seems like it was supposed to be a kind of ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ type thing. Or an “Assad just gassed his own people” moment.

      I can’t help but wonder if we’re better off with Trump, since he and his crew are REALLY bad at this game. They clearly can’t manufacture consent very well. I feel like HRC would have kept everyone on script much better than this.

      1. nippersdad

        Speaking of scripts, is it just me or has everything gone quiet on the Eastern Front lately? If Russia is going to continue electing our Presidents they will need to keep a higher profile or no one will notice again, and vast amounts of time, energy and money are going to have to be expended to bring it to our attention.

        Hillary needs to teach them something about the value of repetition….Biden isn’t going to lose this on his own.

        1. notabanker

          But the new voting machines are “hardened”. They are going to prove how effective they are during the primaries.

        2. johnnygl

          I think the cohen testimony was a potential watershed moment in the russiagate narrative. Mueller clearly has cohen’s private parts in a vice grip. That said, cohen flat out said he’d never been to prague and there was no collusion around the election.

          A few russia-gaters doubled-down and moved the goal posts. A bunch of others seemed to be making peace with the story being pretty well dead and buried and moved to talk about bog-standard corruption.

    2. Cal2

      What took the NYT so long?

      Moon of Alabama ran that story and the videos the day after it happened.
      Nice scoop.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Good question, Cal2. My theory is that the original story needs to hang around unchallenged for a few days to seep into the general conversation before acknowledging the correction. That way, the people who want to believe the propaganda will keep on believing it, regardless of this addendum issued days later. It’s the chronological equivalent of burying a correction on page 47 the next day.

        As is often the case, our friends at The Onion take it to the next level:

        ‘New York Times’ Corrects Story By Admitting They Burned Venezuela Aid Convoy

  6. urblintz


    “It wasn’t just that Biden voted for the Iraq war on the Senate floor five months before it began. During the lead-up to that vote, in August 2002, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he presided over sham hearings — refusing to allow experts who opposed an invasion to get any words in edgewise — while a cavalcade of war hawks testified in the national spotlight.

    “It is difficult to over-estimate the critical role Biden played in making the tragedy of the Iraq war possible,” Middle East studies professor Stephen Zunes wrote. “More than two months prior to the 2002 war resolution even being introduced, in what was widely interpreted as the first sign that Congress would endorse a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Biden declared on August 4 that the United States was probably going to war. In his powerful position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he orchestrated a propaganda show designed to sell the war to skeptical colleagues and the America public by ensuring that dissenting voices would not get a fair hearing.””


    “It should go without saying, then, that Biden was among the ninety senators on one of the fatal (to the rest of us) legislative gifts presented to Wall Street back in the Clinton era: the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999. The act repealed the hallowed Depression-era Glass–Steagall legislation that severed investment banking from commercial banking, thereby permitting the combined operations to gamble with depositors’ money, and ultimately ushering in the 2008 crash. “The worst vote I ever cast in my entire time in the United States Senate,” admitted Biden in December 2016, as he prepared to leave office. Seventeen years too late, he explained that the act had “allowed banks with deposits to take on risky investments, putting the whole system at risk.”

    In the meantime, of course, he had been vice president of the United States for eight years, and thus in a position to address the consequences of his (and his fellow senators’) actions by using his power to press for criminal investigations. His longtime faithful aide, Ted Kaufman, in fact, had taken over his Senate seat and was urging such probes. Yet there is not the slightest sign that Biden used his influence to encourage pursuit of the financial fraudsters. As he opined in a 2018 talk at the Brookings Institution, “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.” Characteristically, he described gross inequalities in wealth mainly as a threat to bipartisanship: “This gap is yawning, and it’s having the effect of pulling us apart. You see the politics of it.””

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden was ignored because Delaware is small, and he had a tight grip on it. He paid attention. If Obama was older, he wouldn’t have been seen as preferable to a Kaine or Bayh Vice Presidency. Biden is like Saint McCain. They always reach new lows.

      2. Cal2

        “Because this is about tomorrow — it’s not going to be about yesterday.”

        Many millions of student loans in arrears. Joe Biden the one most responsible for them taking those debts to their graves, or those of their parents and grandparents who co-signed, no matter what the circumstances of their lives.

        Gee, maybe all those debtors could incorporate themselves in Delaware and thus be able to use the corporate bankruptcy laws?


        Apparently Biden decided recently that not enough people hated him so decide to change that. Saw a Jimmy Dore video
        on him talking about Millennials who will be potentially 40% of voters in 2020,
        he says, and I quote:
        “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break.”

        1. richard

          That last quote, considering what Biden has actually done to people, how he has shortened and immiserated lives, is chilling. If you look at the clip it comes from, Biden is not speaking for comic effect. Quite the opposite. The audience was laughing when he says “give me a break” the first time, and he stops their laughing by reminding them he is serious, and has no empathy.
          I think we should take him at his word.

    1. notabanker

      NAFTA, GLBA, Iraq and TARP. Sprinkle on some student debt fudgery and a little old fashioned misogyny ala Roger Sterling. What could possibly go wrong?

  7. Watt4Bob

    So reparations is a difficult topic?

    Let’s soften it up a little bit, instead of reparations for the wrongs perpetrated long ago (in the minds of people alive today) let’s talk about reparations for the most recent grievous economic crimes perpetrated by the currently living rich and powerful upon the currently living common folk, all of us.

    I’m proposing reparations paid to every living American for the crimes related to the neo-liberal war on the poor, and the eventual 2008 financial melt-down.

    Reparations for every home foreclosed upon, and every job lost, and every pension stolen by private equity vultures.

    Reparations and debt forgiveness to all Americans, nobody left out, and no complaining allowed.

    All of this financed by taxes on financial trading, a return to taxing the very rich at the ‘normal’ levels of the 1950-60s, and of course, MMT.

    1. SpringTexan

      Yep, and those wronged are still alive! (still not practical, but a bunch MORE practical than reparations for slavery at this point) However, a check for every single citizen could be done.

      “Reparations” is just a way of sowing discord among Democrats and (unjustifiably) attacking Sanders, from what I can see.

      1. Geo

        The initial $700B bailout to bankers in ‘08 equaled approx $2,300 for every person in the United States – no exceptions. Think how much that would have helped a family of four behind on a few payments (approx $9K) or a young couple paying off school debts (approx $4.5K).

        We have the money, we don’t have the values.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, actually . . . ” we” DO have the values.

          But it is “they” who have the money and the power.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Reparations and debt forgiveness to all Americans, nobody left out, and no complaining allowedp

      A lot of rich people and corporations own mountains of debt.

      Even debt forgiveness to just the rich (humans, not corporations), among all Americans, can be controversial and make people complain.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Sorry, but I would define ‘rich people‘ as those unencumbered by debt.

        If you’d prefer some limits, say $25K in credit card debt, and unlimited student debt forgiveness.

        And massive housing assistance of all sorts, use your imagination.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If you are going to do reparations, you are going to have to do DNA tests to find out who is black and who is white and by what fraction. Guaranteed to be more than a few surprises there on all sides but this whole thing is pointless. No, change that. As a tool to divide the electorate it is a great idea. Divide people by racial lines. What could possibly go wrong with that idea. And just supposing that it did happen with all the accompanying bitterness, nothing would have changed for blacks in America. People want reparations? Fine! Here is how you do it. Make blacks be fully equal now. Politically, financially – right across the board. In fact, let all races have full equality as promised in the founding documents of the United States and make MLK’s vision of people being judged by their character rather than the colour of their skin a reality. That is how you do reparations.

  8. Alex V

    Lambert try reading one of your pieces, or Water Cooler….. NC is the reason I have 56 tabs open right now! Too much good stuff to learn about gets linked here.

    1. James

      I’ve always found that the convenient little “x” icon on the right hand side of the tab to be very effective in preventing clutter. It does have one small peculiarity, however. You have to click on it for it to work.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      I save stuff I can’t get to to Keep (the G habit that will be hardest to kick)

  9. jhallc

    Re: 2016 Post Mortem:
    “If the liberal Democrats who ran the Clinton campaign want to be seen as acting in good faith, they would already have called for a post mortem of the 2016 campaign, and published it. They never have.”

    And they never will. If they did an honest assessment, they would have to blame themselves.

    1. Geo

      In their mind the Mueller investigation is the post mortem. Nothing was their fault. It was those dirty Ruskies and their commie allies Sanders and Stein.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Given the relative closeness of the election (it wasn’t out of reach for HRC) and the everyday but spectacular failures of Team Clinton and the Democratic courtier class, any post mordem will be an indictment of both the strategic and tactical level from simple stuff such as the dippy “Hillary is my Spanish Grandmother and deserves your loyalty” to the more heinous hiring of David Brock. Its all the same problems with HRC in the 2008 primary and the Democratic Party’s efforts in 2010 and 2014.

      The incompetence at all levels of the Democratic Party structure is so great only a purge and blacklisting are potential solutions. These are people who lost to Donald Trump. Yes, Republican misfits lost to Trump too.

      Based on the Obama Boys article in Current Affairs, these are people who are ultimately without values beyond a celebration of the status quo and people feeling better about themselves.

      1. nippersdad

        I’m pretty much convinced that the source of Petkanas’ ire is his blacklisting. Several of the stories that I have read in which his bleating goes on record notes that he was a part of the Clinton campaign, presently heads a Democratic strategy firm and has no clients. That can’t be a coincidence.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          “Strategy”? Probably more like “strategery”

          Strategery and Tacktickery. So of course no clients.

    3. polecat

      There’s that little issue with a hypothetical thumb-drive, and the fact that a certain Seth Rich seeming to have the misfortune of running into a bullet, or two …

  10. B_Hunt

    In reference to your use of “Nimrod”, it’s an interesting word. He’s a descendant of Noah in Genesis 10:8 where he receives a call out as a “mighty hunter” or “mighty warrior”; it varies between english translations. As best as I know, although I’ve never done a real study on this, it’s not until Looney Toons comes around that Nimrod becomes nimrod, as in a moron. This, of course, arises from Bugs Bunny calling Elmer Fudd the hunter a nimrod. Of course, Fudd is an idiot, so the meaning of nimrod as stupid became more common in American parlance than Nimrod as a hunter. In case you or anyone else was unaware of this interesting word in American english.

    1. Tyrannocaster

      Yeah, I wondered about that use, too. “Nimrod” means “hunter”, although there often seems to be an amount of dumbness associated with it, and that has been true for considerable time. But to take an example, Algernon Blackwood’s classic tale “The Wendigo” uses the word a a synonym for “hunter” with no disparagement implied – it’s in the very first paragraph of the story IIRC, which was written in 1910.

    2. ewmayer

      Thanks, B_Hunt (an apt nick for a poster re. nimrods) – I’d always found the historical-vs-modern-usage difference interesting for this word, was unaware of the Looney Toons connection. “Be vewwy, vewwy, quiet…”

      Another funny one in a similar vein: The Looney Toons amorous-French-skunk character Pepe Lepew is based on the Charles Boyer character in the 1938 classic Algiers. Boyer plays a French criminal named Pere le Moko, on the lam and hiding out in the old town, or Casbah, of Algiers. Whence Pepe Lepew’s “come vees mee to zee Casbah” line.

    1. JBird4049

      It also shows how Harris, after six years as district attorney, had failed to put in place written guidelines for ensuring that defendants were informed about potentially tainted evidence and testimony that could lead to unfair convictions.”

      Emphasis is mine.

      As Lambert Strether likes to note sometimes, this is not a bug, it is a feature. DAs are charged with the pursuit of justice, and there are plenty of criminals to pursue, prosecute, and convict as there are thieves, rapists, murderers and other nasty people throughout this country. However, too many in the “Justice” system seem to think that it is just a numbers game and that convicting anyone that they can for any crime regardless of one’s guilt or innocence is okay.

      So, often the innocent are convicted for other’s crimes, which means those who have stolen, raped, or murdered are unpunished because doing the work of punishing the guilty often involves honest work. Convicting anyone they can gives the appearance of doing their job while making less work for themselves. Ruining lives for in a political, legal, and financial reasons in a numbers game is normal here in the United States.

  11. Jason Boxman

    Multiple tabs is why I use Opera. It supports MRU behavior, so I can ALT TAB to my last tab, anywhere it was; this makes bouncing between email and another tab easy, for example.

    It also supports tab preview, by hovering over a tab, and a list of open tabs (and recently closed).

    I pin email and a few other select tabs, so they’re always available on the left-most side of the browser.

    Most recently, it added a quick search, so I can CTRL SPACE and type a few letters to bring up a tab by its HTML title. It’s like CMD SPACE in OS X.

    Occasionally I still close stale tabs if I haven’t used them in awhile.

    I’m surprised other browsers don’t offer these essential features. I’m still baffled when I see people with 50 tabs open in Chrome. It’s unmanageable in Chrome. It’s a useless browser. (And everyone used it at Google; I have no idea why no one fixed such a terrible UI.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      The military in the past has found that the human mind can only keep track of five elements at a time successfully. Any more and it starts to get overwhelmed. I am going with the idea then that if you are the sort to have multiple tabs open, then it might be an idea to limit it to five tabs then. Same idea too for the number of programs you have running and typically I myself have only four running with one being a browser and the other an email program.

  12. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Biden leveraging Obama.

    Obama is largely a fictional character for his supporters. Reminding people he was a real guy is a problem. It raises questions about what did the VP do while he was working with Obama.

    Re: ‘The Democratic Party is the party of working people, and Milwaukee is a city of working people.”

    Are any of the Team Blue types even vaguely intelligent? Or can they not speak without insulting people?


    I’ll just repost this because its good.

    1. crittermom

      “Obama is still a rock star to Democrats throughout the nation.”

      The pollsters must have not visited the 9M+ of us who lost our homes under Obama’s HAMP to hold him in such high regard, but I doubt those thinking Biden coat-tailing Obama is a good thing even remember those days. Fools.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Wow. They’re as bad as we thought. Nathan Robinson managed to read all those staffer books without slitting his wrists? Impressive.

      Such pathetic, superficial people obsessing over trivialities.

      And the pining for bi-partisanship….whew….

    3. Duck1

      From the NTG link:

      Jim Messina, Obama’s deputy chief of staff and reelection campaign manager, spoke to a key Republican staffer after the 2008 election and was shocked when she told him: “We’re not going to compromise with you on anything. We’re going to fight Obama on everything.” Messina replied “That’s not what we did for Bush.” Said the Republican: “We don’t care.”

      Got to admire the panache of the red team. What a bunch of nimrods on the 0 staff.

  13. a different chris

    >the Max is a newer version that Boeing says has a more fuel-efficient engine.

    Now there are different ways to save fuel, scaring everybody completely off of flying is one way I suppose.

    1. John k

      Gnd approves of any method that ends flying.
      Besides… Skype, travel docu, etc, why travel?
      Plus getting less pleasant all the time… but wife still likes it…

  14. marku52

    Leeham news had the best technical coverage of the issues that lead to the crash of the Lion Air 737 Max. I expect them to do the same with this one.

    For those of you who might not have followed that crash, as usual, it was not just *one* damned thing.
    Boeing put bigger engines on the Max. This changed the aircraft’s performance in pitch-recovery. So they added a control loop to push the nose down in an adverse pitch-up situation. This used both airspeed and angle of attack sensors as inputs.

    Critically, however, they did not disclose the existence of this new automatic control function. (Boeing wanted to be able to say that *any* 737 rated pilot could pilot a Max. Adding new features contradicted this claim. So, pilots weren’t trained on how to shut off this new feature.

    Lion Air had a defective angle of attack sensor. Maintenance logs showed several attempts at repair. On the final flight, the defective AofA sensor kept telling the control computer to put the nose down. The pilots vainly tried to pull it back up, all the way down, not knowing that the plane was fighting them, and how to disable this *feature*.

    But every 737 pilot in the world should know this now, and the recent crash should not be caused by this chain of events. But the situations are similar–technical problems reported by the crew on early climb out, and a rapid descent into ground. As another expert pointed out “You should not have 2 new model planes crash inside a year, much less several months”


    1. Carolinian

      Sounds like any way you slice it Boeing is at fault and not for any good reason (the no pilot recertification pitch a marketing gimmick). Perhaps they could send new board member Nikki Haley out to blame it all on Putin. She’s good at low credibility excuses.

      1. polecat

        “Oh, that’s just Great ” … “Why don’t you put Her in charge !!”

        Go one step further, and give Nikki a crew of 0 .. and let her rip !

          1. polecat

            I would NOT go so far as to sully the distinguished career of such a highly capable ICC licensed M-Classed star freighter engineer !

            1. The Rev Kev

              Do you think then that we could send Nikki to go check out that wrecked space ship on LV-426? Maybe send along her predecessor Samantha Power to keep her company.

              1. ambrit

                Hmmm… A new concept arises. A company with the motto: “Building Better Politics.”
                Gives a new meaning to the term, ‘face hugger.’ A sort of a Phil Dick level of horror.
                Plus, as an added bonus, the advertising tag line for the new drone pilot recruiting campaign: “From Space – no one can hear them scream.”

              2. polecat

                Well, since they both are, for all we know, ‘artificial persons’ .. it would seem to not be a great loss if they stumbled upon a mass of leathery objects .. or something.

  15. Lee

    Right to Repair

    ‘Right to Repair’ Movement Fights Back Against Unfixable Devices

    This an interview with listener call-ins.

    The “right to repair” movement is growing. A range of D.I.Y. groups offer classes and online instructions for how to fix everything from discarded clothing steamers to iPhones and Wi-Fi enabled refrigerators. But technology companies have resisted consumer efforts to repair increasingly software-dependent electronic goods, citing safety concerns. Advocates contend that even modern electronics can be repaired safely, with less waste and expense, if people have access to the proper tools. California Assemblymember Susan Talamentes-Eggman introduced a bill last year that would have forced companies to sell those tools, along with repair guides and replacement parts. The bill died in committee, but the push for a right to repair continues. Tell us: are you able to repair the things that you want to? Where do you fall on the right to repair continuum?


    Kyle Wiens, co-founder and CEO, iFixit

    Nathan Proctor, director campaign for the right to repair, U.S. PIRG

    Earl Crane, advisor, Security Innovation Center

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is this group of people studying how to turn Wi-Fi enabled refrigerators into Wi-Fi unecessary refrigerators?
      How to strip out the Wi-Fi cooties and make the refrigerators analog again?

  16. super extra

    if the powers that be are talked into passing a Reparations Act + Bureau of American Descendants of Slavery (BADS) one of the many ways they can screw the reparees in addition to blood quantum is by denying benefits to anyone who has been convicted of a federal crime in the same way that a lot of the tribal benefits are denied for certain classes of crimes. also, will a Reparations Act change the various types of tribal administration and benefits? is genocide higher or lower on the atrocity scale? Sort of sarcastic there but seriously: idpol pollutes everything. Either we’re all equal or we’re not.

    In the horrific event of something insane like Cotton primarying Trump and defeating a brokered Biden/Harris, who then passes a gutted version of a Reparations Act including the million and one ways to screw the reparees, could this then be used as a major wedge to advocate for the wider progressive planks of debt jubilee, free college tuition, and UBI? (canceling college debt is one of the ADOS planks, so these three would equal the reparations as defined so far I think, except made available to everyone)

    1. Jen

      Biden/Harris passing a gutted version of a reparations act? Once they get your vote, baby, they’re done with you. After all, Biden learned from he best.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Super extra’s comment predicts a Cotton victory in the event of Cotton versus Biden-Harris, with Cotton then getting passed a Cotton-friendly Reparations Bill and saying ” now that its passed, y’all can shut up now forever.”

  17. Ranger Rick

    That Colorado bit about mineral rights is real interesting, because to my knowledge most properties out West have all the rights severed from their deeds (land, mineral, and water rights are all distinct from one another). This could potentially mean only one person in an area needs to sell mineral rights to an extraction company to enable fracking to start.

    Broomfield is one of several municipalities up and down the I-25 corridor that are vocally against fracking, and their epic legal battles against the practice set the stage for Hickenlooper’s infamous sip of fracking fluid.

  18. Hameloose Cannon

    [Re: 2020 Convo] Milwaukee is an All-American city built by ethnic Polish labor for the benefit of ethnic German owners with appetites for Lebensmittel: hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst [Köstlich, ja?], which became “American” cuisine after it’s German-ness was abandoned in the interests of patriotism during the Great War. The next war brought business to the suburbs and places called “Fond du Lac”, but more compellingly, it brought Black Americans from Chicago to Milwaukee, so the Milwaukee Socialist Stadt was abandoned. Turns out, for German American industrialists, if the Polish are beyond the pale, then the Black Community will not be welcomed with a stein of beer. Historical Milwaukee is a metaphor for human cruelty and indifference [nothing personal, Milwaukee], but also the fluidity of political substance: people and ideas come and go on either side, but a line is always drawn somewhere over which we can’t help but stare at one another. Anyways…

    Harley-Davidson builds loud motorcycles, Herb Kohl is a great guy [really], and the city’s “Community Development” is a real thing for the Black Community, so Milwaukee Doin’ All Right, I can dig.

  19. ChrisPacific

    Well, how about that. I thought I was no longer a Christian, but it turns out that I am still enough of one to be offended by Abigail Disney’s implication that the worth of Jesus Christ can be measured by slotting him in somewhere on the compensation scale for obscenely overpaid CEOs. It just shows how much her thinking has been corrupted by the very system she is supposedly arguing against. How about we stop using compensation and/or net worth as a proxy for virtue, so that we don’t have to regard the greedy CEO set as virtual Gods bestriding the Earth?

    1. Geo

      During the “Grand Bargain” day terms like “job creators” and “shared sacrifice” were being thrown around which, to my mind, conjured images of us peasants making sacrifices upon an alter for our deified overlords in the hopes they would bless us with jobs.

      In America economics is religion and we are promised paradise in an afterlife for the toil in this one. All hail the invisible hand of the free market!

  20. clarky90

    Re; “Luke 4:5-8: “Then the devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. ….. and I can give it to anyone I wish. So if You worship me (Satan), it will all be Yours.’ But Jesus replied, …..”

    Is it any wonder that the Big Media rarely has a good word to say about homeless, destitute, unemployed, Deplorable-Jesus and His Teachings?

    The Media attack Christ, via the myriad of “fake christians” who have made unholy bargains.

    I see Our time, as a omnipresent cultural/political/spiritual battle. The Neo-Armageddon. Mammon is seemingly, invincible. But, lacking substantial foundations (only, ever, me me me …mine, mine..), Mammon is always doomed to drunkenly stagger into, “The Jackpot”. It is obviously an “engineering” failure. (sand but no cement or aggregate, all the way down).

    1. Geo

      I have more respect for the Branch Davidians then I do most modern day American Christians. The Davidians had a house in LA’s Skid Row and spent every day bringing food and aid to the homeless there. They helped clean up junkies (had an anti-drug policy within the cult), and promoted a healthy, harm-free lifestyle including vegetarianism within their group. While they did sell guns they used the money to continue these efforts. They also included a feminine theology within their interpretation of the trinity (the Holy Spirit was female).

      Yet, these were the people our nation turned against and not the multitude of mega churches, prosperity gospels, and catholic “abuser havens” that siphon up the wealth of our nation’s poor and desperate to fund their greed. By comparison, Koresh was a run-of-the-mill corrupt religious zealot and their cult was relatively enlightened.

      America’s Christians would give Christ the electric chair for his heresy to their values.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Christ was a political dissident and was nailed to a stick for that crime, it was only 400 years later that Paul of Tarsus invented a bunch of stuff he didn’t say and re-positioned him as a prophet.

      So I say why not compare him to a CEO, people have been putting words in his mouth for centuries

  21. Stanley Dundee

    Lambert says:

    Farming with animal traction na ga happen

    That estimate of only 20,000 draft horses tingles my spidey-sense. According to Nolt, History of the Amish, 2014 estimated population of Old Order Amish was nearly 300,000. Many are doing horse-powered agriculture. Some modern-day homesteaders are also doing it, e.g. Jeffers, Prosperous Homesteading. I see a bright future for horse-powered farming, what with peak oil and all.

    1. Lunker Walleye

      Mother used to talk about her Father’s plowing team and I’ve heard others, mostly gone now, who remember the names of their team. Believe Mother said Granddad’s horses were named “Dick and Doc”.

      1. Jeotsu

        In a population that no longer has any connection to agriculture, or to working animals, I think they too easily gloss over just how difficult that sort of labor. It is a skill, and not one that can be learned quickly. Especially if there are very few who can teach it.

        “There’s an app for that!” won’t help in the down-and-dirty real world.

        1. polecat

          Don’t discount the idea that people will learn .. what they have to, to survive. The one’s that don’t will not likely chance to contribute their genes to humanity, as it tries to sqeeze, or leap through on horses even, whatever bottlenecks Gaia throws our way.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Was reading in a history book that it would, in the 19th century, take about three years to train a man to work on a farm to the point that he and others would start the day and go to work on what needed to be done without being told what to do. Three years.

      2. polecat

        Let’s not limit the discussion to just horses, fine creatures that they are. Don’t forget that mule’s lives matter too ..

        That goes for oxen & llamas as well.

        1. clarky90

          All the wonderful ruminant animals (oxen, cattle, sheep, goats…) turn grasses into black, fertile soil; simultaneous with extracting the nutrients for their own survival. A game changing (ancient) innovation!


          On the other hand, MonSanto is strip-mining our deep, black, life supporting soils.

      3. eg

        My grandfather never took to the tractor on his St John river valley farm — he left that for his sons to drive while he stuck with a pair of horses.

    2. BobW

      My father plowed with a mule team, and his job in the army (Fort Benning in the 30s) was muleteer for a regimental HQ company wagon, that and playing baseball. But he grew up in the Ozarks, and I grew up in Detroit. Doubt that I have ever been within a yard of a mule. Also had an uncle who plowed behind a horse until he was in his 90s.

        1. Carolinian

          My man Ansel Adams always used mules to carry his favorites: canned beans and bacon not to mention hefty view cameras.

    3. Wukchumni

      There are around 300 horses in town, and most of them are glorified pets that have never had to do any work, and seldom get ridden.

  22. Wombat

    Comments are due by March 13th for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.

    I reviewed much of the environmental impact statement and appendices.

    The report considers five alternatives. Alternative A (No change) may not be selected because it conflicts with PL 115-97 that mandated leasing in the Arctic (among other things). Alternative B and C open up all 1.6 Million Acres to drilling, but Alternative C places more surface occupancy restrictions than B. Alternative D1 and D2 make protections for some species and open 1 Million Acres to drilling, with Alternative D2 having the most protections.

    I started with the assumptions in Appendix B, then looked back to the main report and quickly found inconsistencies or claims not based in reality. If anyone wants to do the same, FWIW, here is some of what I wrote:

    This report’s assumption that “Gas would be vented and flared only in emergency situations” (B-8) is contradicted by recent occurrences. The Houston Chronicle (Douglas, 25 January 2019) reported that natural gas flaring in West Texas is severely underreported and that drillers burned off nearly twice as much natural gas than reported to regulators. Even if industry accurately reported flaring of byproduct methane, BLM has recently decreased methane emission standards on our public lands. By choosing to “reduce unnecessary compliance burdens” (43 CFR Parts 3160 and 3170), the BLM further allowed industry to emit methane directly into the atmosphere. With the natural gas glut, it is increasingly unprofitable for companies to harvest byproduct natural gas /methane for resale. Thus, the overwhelming trend is toward flaring or venting byproduct gasses directly into the atmosphere. The assumption that gas would be vented and flared “only in emergency situations” is completely incompatible with reality. The existence of this foundational, yet flawed, assumption invalidates all air quality analysis conducted throughout the overall report. A decision should not be made until air quality is properly assessed.

    In another instance, this report (3-62) cites BLM (2004), “The combination of more stringent agency regulations … [reduces] the probability and size of future spills.” Current trends to remove “regulatory burdens” are not “more stringent”. Relying on a 15-year-old quote that was written in a different regulatory environment instills little confidence in this report. The current Department of the Interior hails a reduction in regulatory burden. Today’s BLM and Fish and Wildlife Services operate under this deregulating strategy. It is inconsistent to cite a 15-year-old report written under a more “stringent” strategy to support that oil spills will not be as likely or large today. This inconsistency indicates that the oil spill analysis may be incorrect. Alternative selection must be delayed until risks to ground water and soils are properly assessed.

    During the acoustic analysis, this report assumes a “highly conservative” estimate for increasing airfield traffic in Kaktovic Airport (3-21), yet the report uses “highly optimistic” assumptions elsewhere. If the report uses “highly optimistic” assumptions for the development scenario, it must use the corresponding level for acoustic considerations and airport traffic that would result from abundant resources. The higher airport and associated acoustic impact may effect the dwindling polar bear population more than this report anticipates. Acoustic effects must be determined under the same “highly optimistic” threshold used for the development scenario.

      1. Geo

        I’m torn. Part of me feels I should give Zerohedge some traffic to show solidarity after their Facebook ban, and part of me doesn’t want to encourage the tinfoil hat brigade at that site.

    1. Carolinian

      Facebook claims it was because the ad included their corporate logo and other Warren ads stayed up. Still, they are on very thin ice censoring politicians. They may not be giant thinkers over there in Facebook HQ.

      1. ambrit

        Those running Facebook probably consider politicians as just another demographic to ‘process’ in their imitable way.
        I can empathize. After all, the head honchos at Facebook see their oligarchical peers buying and selling politicians all the time. Thus, their viewing politicians with a measure of contempt is quite natural.

  23. Plenue

    Someone mentioned YouTube trolling about the Captain Marvel movie over in the Boeing 737 article. As far as I can tell this is entirely the result of a bunch of self-proclaimed nerd gatekeeper channels pandering to reactionary subscribers by contriving to create a scandal where there was none, deliberately misrepresenting some quite anodyne statements by lead actress Brie Larson to misrepresent her as a rapid racist manhater (against white men). They then ran with this as a way to smear the entire movie as some sort of ‘SJW feminazi’ propaganda piece.

    They called for a boycott of the movie (in the process attempting to co-op and weaponize the Battle Angel Alita movie as a ‘non-SJW’ alternative, something that as a long time fan of that franchise I don’t at all appreciate), and predicting Captain Marvel would fail and be the beginning of the end for the big budget Marvel movies. Captain Marvel has in fact been one of the biggest opening weekends ever and already pulled in half a billion dollars in four days.

    So, good job, ‘alt-right’. I’ve observed a lot of stupid nonsense from the ugly side of nerd subcultures, but this whole episode is probably one of the most asinine.

    1. Carolinian

      The movie did get some critic pans as being rather dull. I haven’t seen it. However opening weekend box office returns should be taken as a measure of marketing success rather than quality since nobody has seen it yet. Time will tell whether the movie has “legs.” To this movie watcher it does seem doubtful that the opening numbers reflect a giant clamor for the work of Brie Larson, who is not exactly a household name and (IMVHO) not exactly an a-list actress.

      1. el_tel

        I made the comment Plenue refers to. Just for clarity: I don’t disagree with the points either of you make. But I’m largely steering clear of the ins and outs of the movie so as not to go off topic/derail the conversation. I just used that example as it is particularly timely in illustrating the gross hypocrisy of certain groups on social forums. Plus Tim Berners-Lee has just made a statement saying similar stuff about how the internet has really gone in bad directions – not surprising in terms of what he said but interesting in terms of the timing!

        There may indeed be grounds for thinking the movie isn’t great and indeed time will tell whether it has “legs”. However, there are some popular youtubers who moved the goalposts practically daily when their predictions were proven wrong. First “its opening will be awful”. Then “OK we always said it would do well day one but over the first weekend it won’t have legs.” Now its “OK it did well over the first weekend but we always said that and it will collapse in 2nd weekend”. They’re like the two little boys playing with bows and arrows. Boy 1 misses the target and when when boy 2 makes fun of him he says “joke’s on you, I wasn’t aiming for the target”. WTF?

        Plus when you accuse your opponents of nasty tactics and “big corporation marketing scams”, refusing to admonish YOUR followers who do all the same and much worse really takes the biscuit….but of course these youtubers are not really about “guarding the quality of the movies” – they’re more interested in the “superchat money” and advertising they attract to their channel. People in glass houses….

        1. Carolinian

          It is a tempest in a teapot but guess my only point was that one shouldn’t necessarily defend the movie just because the people attacking it are dopes. These super hero “tent poles” are not exactly Shakespeare regardless of what social consciousness frame they are coming from. There is the danger–which Larson was apparently courting–of taking it all a bit too self seriously.

      2. Plenue

        My point was that their attempts at boycotting it and predicting it would flop have already completely failed. Even if it doesn’t make any more money from this point forward it’s already turned a profit.

        Haven’t seen it yet, but none of these MCU movies have every actually been bad, per se. Few of them have been exceptionally good, but Marvel/Disney has settled into a routine of making consistently quite good super hero movies. The general consensus I’ve seen is that it’s okay to pretty good. Worst case scenario it’s Ant-Man caliber, which was an entirely decent movie.

        The internet right-wing is just replaying the same sham they previously did for Black Panther (and to a lesser extent Wonder Woman). They get up in arms and claim it’s awful ‘SJW politics’ ruining movies, and will fail, and then go quiet when it doesn’t fail. They just move on to the next thing to contrive a moral panic over. They know they can reliably get at least a few hundred thousand views by pandering to idiots like this. That’s the actual goal here.

        1. Monty

          “Show me someone debating social issues around billion dollar movies, and I’ll show you someone not threatening my piles of money” – Oligarchs

    2. Geo

      You hit the nail on the head. I would venture to guess that about 99.9% of online outrage is trying to hitch their name to a “trending” topic. Then, like a snowball rolling down a mountain it becomes an avalanche of anger at some vague threat to the offended identities.

      An actor I was working with (white male) was going on about it and I retorted “if us white dudes are being held down by the words of Bree Larson and one movie featuring a ‘radical’ woman we have bigger problems than SJWs.”

      Don’t know what’s more depressing: how fragile everyone’s identity has become or that “super” people in movies made for socially maladjusted children are considered “important” social conversations. At this rate I fully expect “Peek-a-boo” the movie to become the next extended universe to captivate the national zeitgeist.

      1. Plenue

        “or that “super” people in movies made for socially maladjusted children are considered “important” social conversations.”

        You’re right that these things shouldn’t really be treated as so important, because they aren’t either important or radical (Black Panther actually has very little going on it, despite being so hyped up as ‘important’. If anything its message was entirely reactionary).

        But they also aren’t for ‘socially maladjusted children’. The people who embody that stereotype are actually the ones constantly whinging on the internet. These movies are now aimed at general audiences (half a billion dollars in four days), not the entitled nerds who keep complaining.

        1. Geo

          It’s true that the audience has widened but my view of it is that this says more about our socially maladjusted and immature society than it does about any adjustment to the narratives in the comic book movies. They’re the same stories, it’s the audience that has changed.

          They are the same “chosen one” narratives used in YA like Harry Potter and, while not new (it’s a tale as old as time) it was most notable in Star Wars – the original obsession of maladjusted nerds.

          The issue with comic books, unlike some of the other “chosen one” narratives is their reliance on Ayn Randian narratives. The elites are out saviors in these stories. Gods and business tycoons, or its jingoistic war propaganda like Capt America, Capt Marvel, etc – perfect soldiers representing America as saviors of the planet.

          Part of this is the eras the stories emerged from. Part of it is the demographic they were aimed at. Most of it is just due to the limits of its narrative constructs. Might equals right in their world. No room for diplomacy or negotiations. No purpose for non-super people except as a burden to the righteous elite who know best.

          And, somehow, they have gone from merely being dumb rags for adolescent boys to get hit and bothered over to being billion dollar franchises for the masses to get worked up over.

          It’s not the movies that bother me as much as it’s a society that obsessed over them. These are not the stories a healthy society finds value in.

          1. Carolinian

            These are not the stories a healthy society finds value in.

            I think you are being a bit harsh. The studios like these movies because they are primarily about action and special effects and can therefore appeal to an international audience that the moguls see as increasingly important. Therefore it’s not just Americans who like them and the genre is probably less about our society and more about changes in the movie business including the increasing importance of computer technology and it’s ability to create realistic fantasy. Action movies have always been part of the business including the Westerns which were once a staple or the crime movies with their endless car chases. These too promoted macho values and targeted male audiences.

  24. WobblyTelomeres

    I want to thank Yves, Lambert, the commentariat, and others for the ongoing education on MMT I have received here.

    I took a discussion class on macroeconomics this spring. I’m in Alabama, so I’m pretty sure I was the only person anywhere to the left of right-center in the class. The instructor, who taught Economics at West Point, is an avowed monetarist to the point of playing videos of Friedman whenever he could work them into a lecture.

    However, when the subject of hyperinflation came up, Greece, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, or even the Confederacy (!), the national debt, or the deficit, I was able to respond to the lecturer with relatively short explainers gleaned from Randall Wray’s primer or from the posting here. Very much appreciated was that several of my class mates (all seniors, retired execs mostly) approached me asking for recommended readings. I pointed them all to Wray’s MMT primer. Maybe he gets a few sales.

  25. Wukchumni

    Search Continues for Missing US Marine in Central Sierra Nevada

    CENTRAL SIERRA NEVADA, Calif. March 11, 2019 – This is the sixth day of an intense multiagency search for missing Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Matthew Kraft, a 24 year old man from Washington, Connecticut. 1st Lt. Kraft is 6’1” and 185 pounds.

    1st Lt. Kraft’s planned itinerary is the 195-mile Sierra High Route; he is believed to have hiked out of Kearsarge Pass on Feb 24 with a plan of concluding his hike near the Twin Lakes area by Bridgeport, CA on March 4 or 5. Kraft commissioned as a Marine Corps officer on May 6, 2016. He graduated from some of the Marine Corps’ most rigorous training including Infantry Officer Course and Winter Mountain Leaders Course.

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Incident Commander Dave Fox added “We know the public is very interested in helping with the ground search effort, but due to the extreme hazards in the search area, we are not requesting any outside units at this time.”

    Busy day militarily on the slopes, saw a group of around 25 really decent Marine telemark skiers, and a few Blackhawk helos in the far distance looking for the way overdue marine. There’s a veritable shitlode of snow in the backcountry where he would’ve been going, with a number of brutal storms when he was out.

  26. Upstater

    Submitted my comments last month; largely based on impacts on the Porcupine caribou herd (the only stable herd in North America) and migratory waterfowl.

    The scenarios allow for “restored” strip mines of gravel beds to not count against the allowed acreage for drilling and the hundreds of miles of roads to be constructed in wilderness.

    Nothing is sacred under capitalism, except the god of money.

  27. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re under Trade: “No date has been scheduled yet for a Mar-a-Lago summit…”

    Breitbart and Fox Business News reported that Xi has canceled his planned visit late this month to Mar-a-Lago:


    Unfortunate in a way. I was really looking forward to the political cartoons after the Orchids of Asia day spa access hubbub.

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