2:00PM Water Cooler 3/12/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is a little top-heavy on politics, but I really had to do a pantry clearout! –lambert


“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: “Rip The Bandaid” [Eschaton]. From last Friday, still germane: “I hope Joe Biden runs. Because it’s time.” • Yes, this will be clarifying…..

Biden: “Exclusive: Biden to run for White House, says Dem lawmaker” [The Hill]. “‘I’m giving it a shot,’ Biden said matter-of-factly during a phone call with a House Democratic lawmaker within the past week — a conversation the congressman recounted to The Hill and interpreted as a sure sign that Biden will run in 2020…. Despite the swarm of senators already in the race — Sanders, Harris and Warren, as well as Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) — one Democratic senator is hoping Biden joins the group. ‘I love him,’ the senator told The Hill, ‘and think he’s got a unique ability to connect with Americans in the Rust Belt who feel left behind by government.'” • He’s tanned, rested, and ready!

Biden: “Biden is expected to wait until early April to announce so that he’ll have nearly three full months to raise money before filing his first quarterly fundraising disclosure. The next public event on his schedule is the Delaware Democratic Party’s dinner on Saturday in Dover” [Bloomberg]. • Presumably, the money won’t be from small donors. I wonder what Harris and Booker’s fundraising teams are thinking right now?

Biden: “Biden eyes fundraising challenge amid new sense of urgency” [Associated Press]. “Those close to the former vice president believe he would start off at a fundraising disadvantage compared to would-be rivals, whose campaigns have benefited from an early flood of small-dollar donations from the most liberal wing of the party. Biden, a 76-year-old lifetime politician with strong connections to the party’s establishment, would be forced to rely on an ‘old-school grind-it-out’ plan to generate campaign cash from wealthy individual donors, according to a person with direct knowledge of Biden’s thinking.” • Totally relatable!

Buttigieg: “Buttigieg feels momentum after CNN town hall, with $600K raised in 24 hours” [CNN]. “According to the Buttigieg aide, the mayor raised more than $600,000 from over 22,200 donations in the 24 hours after the CNN town hall. The number is even more significant, the aide said, because the committee employs 20 staffers, lean when compared to other Democratic operations… ‘I have rarely seen a candidate make better use of televised Town Hall than @PeteButtigieg is on @CNN tonight,’ former top adviser to President Barack Obama David Axelrod said on Twitter. ‘Crisp, thoughtful and relatable. He’ll be a little less of a long shot tomorrow.” • Rhodes Scholar, McKinsey Consultant, Afghan vet, [x] gay? What’s not to like? (I mean, besides everything, excepting [x] gay, which is irrelevant, as Obama’s [x] black showed).

Gabbard: CNN still rigging questioners:

Gillibrand: “Former Gillibrand aide resigned in protest over handling of sex harassment claims” [Politico]. “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), one of the most outspoken advocates of the #MeToo movement who has made fighting sexual misconduct a centerpiece of her presidential campaign, spent last summer pressing legislators to update Congress’ “broken” system of handling sexual harassment. At the same time, a mid-20s female aide to Gillibrand resigned in protest over the handling of her sexual harassment complaint by Gillibrand‘s office, and criticized the senator for failing to abide by her own public standards.”

Harris, in great contrast to Sanders’ campaign events yesterday:

Poor staffing. Always make sure the hall is too small, so it looks crowded.

O’Rourke: “Beto O’Rourke Moves Toward a 2020 Race He Could Upend, Ready or Not” [New York Times]. “Robby Mook, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager in 2016, said that Mr. O’Rourke stands apart as a politician who can ‘drive his own news,’ independent of Mr. Trump, alluding to his history of social media-ready flourishes on the campaign trail. ‘It’s not just a matter of being authentic,’ Mr. Mook said. ‘It’s authentically taking on Trump and challenging political norms.'” • Norms like what? A billionaire father-in-law?

Sanders: “In Iowa, Bernie Sanders attacks ‘factory farming,’ big agribusiness” [Des Moines Register]. “Now, Sanders connected his longstanding disdain of corporate America with the state of Iowa’s agricultural industry, a major force in rural communities from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River… At rallies in Council Bluffs, Iowa City and Des Moines, he chided the CEO of Smithfield Food’s parent company for reportedly earning $291 million in 2017. While executives get rich, he said, the livestock farmers who lease animals and equipment from giant agribusiness firms earn ‘an inadequate wage for doing extraordinarily hard work'” • No Smithfield Farms operations in South Carolina, however…

Sanders: “Bernie Sanders takes jabs at Donald Trump while other Democrats avoid president’s name” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “He told the [Iowa] crowd that Trump ’embarrasses us every day,’ before attacking the president’s health care promises. ‘I know it will shock you when I tell you he lied,’ Sanders added…. But Democratic pollster [the horrid –lambert] Celinda Lake said Sanders’ attacks risk alienating older, female and black voters. Sanders has ‘a 25 percent base that is fired up by this, that sent him $6 million in his first day,’ Lake said. ‘But is his job just to hang on to that base, or is his job to expand that base? I think others are going to find this too harsh — too much negative and not enough about the alternatives about what the Democrats provide.'” • Older, female, black voters are going to be alienated because Sanders attacks Trump by name? Lol. (In reality, Sanders is the only candidate who’s free to do that, (a) because he’s seen as authentic, and (b) he can compete successfully for “deaths of despair” Trump voters.)

Warren: “Facebook backtracks after removing Warren ads calling for Facebook breakup” [Politico (MR)]. “Facebook removed several ads placed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign that called for the breakup of Facebook and other tech giants. But the social network later reversed course after POLITICO reported on the takedown, with the company saying it wanted to allow for ‘robust debate.’ … A message on the three ads said: ‘This ad was taken down because it goes against Facebook’s advertising policies.'” • Proving her point…

Warren: “‘It’s not even hard’ to break up Amazon and other tech giants” [Los Angeles Times]. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) bold proposal to take on Google, Amazon and Facebook barreled through the conference, which continues through March 17 in Austin, Texas, like an electric scooter on a crowded sidewalk. Onstage at one event, journalist Kara Swisher said Warren’s plan has the tech industry ‘vomiting on their Allbirds.’ But at one tech podcast’s live recording session on Sunday, chants of ‘Break them up’ broke out.” • Interesting, even if not spontaneous.


AOC (1): “‘I Felt Like I Was Being Physically Ripped Apart’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Opens Up About Her New Fame, Trump, and Life in the Bubble” [Vanity Fair]. AOC: “It’s really hard to communicate that I’m just a normal person doing her best. I’m not a superhero. I’m not a villain. I’m just a person that’s trying.”

AOC (2):

That’s the stuff to give the troops!

Liberal Democrats competing for the Latin irredentist vote in Florida:

Hillary Clinton would be proud!

“Dems have started the gears of impeachment. Can they still turn back?” [Politico]. “For that reason, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and committee chairs have broached the impeachment topic cautiously, arguing it should be considered only after the various federal and congressional investigations of the president are complete.” • Lol, so the whole RussiaRussiaRussia thing wasn’t treason after all?

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton Is Still Deeply Confused About What Happened in Wisconsin. Here’s Why That Matters.” [The Intercept]. “The attempt to analogize the Southern struggle for voting rights with her fate in Wisconsin subordinates some uncomfortable, and likely more relevant, truths — in the service of a narrative offered by an element of the Democratic Party that would prefer to see cheating and illegality, rather than politics and policy, as the causes of its collapse. That narrative glosses over a remarkable, decadeslong decline in black economic conditions and political disillusionment outside the Southern, black Democratic firewall.” • And read the story for the Democrat’s horrible blunders in fighting Walker.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“NY State to Review Certified Vote System After Computer ‘Ballot Stuffing’ Design Flaw Revealed: ‘BradCast’ 3/11/2019” [BradBlog]. “A serious ‘design flaw’ in a previously certified computer voting system is finally acknowledged on Friday by New York State’s top election official… The vulnerability has resulted in Douglas Kellner, the co-chair of the NYS Board of Elections, calling for a reexamination of the ImageCast Evolution (ICE) computer Ballot Marking Device (BMD), which both prints ballot selection on a paper and then scans that ballot to record results after it, theoretically, has already been verified by the voter. ‘After you mark your ballot, after you review your ballot, the voting machine can print more votes on it!,’ [emphasis in original], Princeton’s computer science professor Andrew Appel warned about the Dominion ImageCast Evolution system in October of last year…. The very same design flaw appears to be present in systems currently in use or set for use before 2020 in parts of Kansas, Texas, Pennsylvania, Delaware and elsewhere, as jurisdictions scramble to spend federal dollars to ‘upgrade’ their voting systems to new equipment in advance of the next, crucial Presidential election. A similar system made by ES&S, currently being pushed for use across the entire state of Georgia by Republicans, vendors and elections officials, also appears to have the same flaw.” • It’s only a “design flaw” if you think party operatives never want the option of stealing an election.

“Reexamination of an all-in-one voting machine” [Freedom to Tinker]. “The co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections has formally requested that the Election Operations Unit of the State Board re-examine the State’s certification of the Dominion ImageCast Evolution voting machine. The Dominion ImageCast Evolution (also called Dominion ICE) is an ‘all-in-one’ voting machine that combines in the same paper path an optical scanner (for hand-marked bubble ballots) with a printer (for machine-marked ballots via a touchscreen or audio interface). Last October, I explained that why this is such a bad idea that it should be considered a design flaw: if a hacker were able to install fraudulent software into the ICE, that software could print additional votes onto a voter’s ballot after the last time the voter sees the ballot. I’ll just give one example of what the hacker’s vote-stealing software could do: In any race where the voter undervotes (does not mark a choice), the hacked software could print a vote into the bubble for the candidate that the hacker wants to win.” • It’s not enough to have hand-marked paper ballots. You need hand-counted, too.

“Deny, defy, disdain: Georgia election chief adopts familiar voting security strategy” [Politico]. “[Georgia Secretary of State Brad] Raffensperger and his staff are pushing ahead with a $150 million plan to switch the state to new voting machines that an array of experts warn would be susceptible to hacking. He’s dismissed critics of the devices — including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine — as fringe figures. And his deputy recently scolded the tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks, which also opposes the machines, by saying its Georgia-born and -based top policy executive doesn’t understand how things work in the state.”

“Ceci n’est pas une preuve: The use of trapdoor commitments in Bayer-Groth proofs and the implications for the verifiabilty of the Scytl-SwissPost Internet voting system” (PDF) [Sarah Jamie Lewis, Olivier Pereira, and Vanessa Teague]. “The implementation of the commitment scheme in the SwissPost-Scytl mixnet uses a trapdoor commitment scheme, which allows an authority who knows the trapdoor values to generate a shuffle proof transcript that passes verification but actually alters votes.” • Oops.

* * *

“Fear the reparations backlash” [Damon Linker, The Week]. “Might [reparations] nonetheless be worth the consequences? Perhaps — if we could know that demands for reparations would be limited to the descendants of slaves. But we can know no such thing. On the contrary, the dynamic of grievance politics in the United States tells us that reparations for African Americans would only be the start. Just as anti-discrimination law and affirmative action began with blacks and then spread to different races, ethnic groups, and other protected classes, so calls for reparations would quickly metastasize to different groups demanding recompense for past and present injustices.” • It’s clear to me that there’s a moral case for reparations for human sale (slavery). Why, then, is there not a moral case for reparations for human rental (wage work). Do reparations advocates not view capitalism as exploitative? (NOTE: HR40 has been reintroduced.)


When you think that $5000 a pop would be manna from heaven for the locals, you’ve gotta wonder what National is thinking.

“Marx and Gandhi in the Spooky Forest” [Benjamin Studebaker]. • Fun!

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, February 2019: “the small business optimism index fell short of expectations” [Econintersect]. “One plus is that the outlook for economy, after dropping sharply in January, did turn positive in the month.”

Consumer Price Index, February 2019: [Econintersect]. “Housing makes up nearly half of the consumer price index and general softness here, fundamentally underscored by slowing home price appreciation, is not giving much lift to the core which missed expectations… Yet it’s medical care, another major category, that is the smoking gun in today’s report, down and reflecting marginal increases for physician services and sharp declines for hospital services and prescription drugs…. Forecasters rarely miss the core CPI which really didn’t come close to expectations…. Yet this report probably won’t be ringing any alarms at the Federal Reserve as the core, despite February’s setback, is still right at their 2 percent target. But a turn lower for the economy, hinted at perhaps by last week’s employment report, could raise the risk of further price moderation in the coming months.”\

The Bezzle: “Man City Accused of Using Shadow Firms to Flout Rules” [Der Spiegel]. “Football Leaks documents outline how Manchester City’s owners may have used a surreptitious company in the Cayman Islands to conceal a player investment fund. The team has been accused of violating UEFA spending rules.” • Football Leaks seems like a WikiLeaks for soccer football. Pretty neat!

The Bezzle: “How a Bitcoin Evangelist Made Himself Vanish, in 15 (Not So Easy) Steps” [New York Times]. “Mr. Lopp, a self-described libertarian who works for a Bitcoin security company….”

Manufacturing: “U.S. to mandate design changes on Boeing 737 MAX 8 after crashes” [Reuters]. “Boeing confirmed the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement late Monday that it will deploy a software upgrade across the 737 MAX 8 fleet ‘in the coming weeks’ as pressure mounted. Two U.S. senators called the fleet’s immediate grounding and a rising number of airlines said they would voluntarily ground their fleets. The company confirmed it had for several months ‘been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer.'” • So, MCAS is the problem? And FAA is stepping in to protect the brand?

The Biosphere

North America’s oldest boreal trees are more efficient water users due to increased [CO2], but do not grow faster” [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]. “The metabolism of North America’s oldest boreal trees (Thuja occidentalis L.) is strongly affected by rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) increased dramatically, although nonlinearly, since the beginning of the industrial Era.”

“New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution” [Quanta]. “The bobtail squid has a unique quality that lends itself to symbiosis studies. Rather than going into partnership with a consortium of bacteria, as the human gut and most other symbiotic organs do throughout nature, the bobtail squid’s light organ cultivates a strictly monogamous relationship with V. fischeri. The squid’s immune system recognizes and nurtures only this one type of bacteria within the light organ, warding off all other suitors.”

Health Care

“Pharma & Insurance Gave $43M to the 129 House Democrats Not Backing Medicare for All” [GritPost]. • That’s nice.

“Medieval Diseases Are Infecting California’s Homeless” [The Atlantic]. “Infectious diseases—some that ravaged populations in the Middle Ages—are resurging in California and around the country, and are hitting homeless populations especially hard…. Public-health officials and politicians are using terms like disaster and public-health crisis to describe the outbreaks, and they are warning that these diseases can easily jump beyond the homeless population.” • Welcome to the Third World. I’m also a little dubious about looking at California for a national model (“optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward“).

Class Warfare

“Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among 50 people charged in massive college entrance exam cheating scandal in which parents paid up to $6M in bribes to get their kids into elite schools like Yale, Georgetown and Stanford” [Daily Mail] (Here’s the indictment.) “Full House star Lori Loughlin and Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman are two of the 50 parents charged in a plot to get their children into schools including Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, University of San Diego, USC, University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale…. The scheme was uncovered by the FBI and federal prosecutors in Boston, and involved parents paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into these elite schools.” Here are the methods used:

The ‘cheating’ referenced in the documents occurred in four forms.

Bribing college entrance exam administrators to allow a third party to facilitate cheating on college entrance exams, in some cases by posing as actual students,’ is the first.

Bribing university athletic coaches and administrators to designate applicants as purported athletic recruits – regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport,’ is the second.

That is what the documents accuse Loughlin and her husband of doing with their daughters.

Having a third party take classes in place of the actual students, with the understanding that the grades earned in those classes would be submitted as part of the students’ application,’ is the third.

The fourth was ‘submitting falsified applications for admission to universities … that, among other things, included the fraudulently obtained exam scores and class grades, and often listed fake awards and athletic activities.’

Parties are accused of then ‘disguising the nature and source of the bribe payments by funneling the money through the accounts of a purported charity.’

Note that the second method involve administrators at universities (like Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, University of San Diego, USC, University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale), so the rot is institutional, not just on the parents; and the bribe money was funneled through a “purported charity,” so the non-profit, NGO sector is involved, too. Of course, under neoliberalism, everything is for sale (“markets in everything”) so perhaps the only shocking thing about this story is how long it took to come to light. But can we at least retire this “meritocracy” nonsense? That’s clearly not happening. I periodically see, on my Twitter list, the joy and pride of actual, ordinary working class people who made it into school or grad school after a lot of hard work, holding multiple jobs, and all that. Chumps, eh? As one of the perps says:

“A side door.” Third World stuff.

* * *

More crooks:

“Why striking CSO musicians and management are at impasse” [Chicago Tribune]. “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, which manages the ensemble, has proposed changing the musicians’ pension from a traditional, defined-benefit plan to a direct contribution plan of the kind that many corporations and nonprofits began adopting several decades ago… The other major obstacle in negotiations is salary, with the CSO 2019-20 suggested annual base pay of $163,818 marginally ahead of the Boston Symphony… ‘The most difficult aspect is this is a declining path,’ said CSO bassist Lester. ‘We used to be ahead of those orchestras 10 years ago. Now we’re barely even with one and way behind on the other two. The association wants to keep us on this declining path. We are not a second-rate orchestra.'”

“Reducing socioeconomic disparities in the STEM pipeline through student emotion regulation” [PNAS]. ” In a large-scale (n = 1,175) field experiment conducted in ninth grade science classrooms, students were asked to complete a control exercise, or they were given the opportunity to complete an exercise to help them regulate their worries and reinterpret their anxious arousal before their tests. We found significant benefits of emotion regulation activities for lower-income students in terms of their science examination scores, science course passing rate, and students’ attitudes toward examination stress, suggesting that students’ emotions are one factor that impacts performance. For example, 39% of lower-income students failed the course in the control group compared with only 18% of students failing the course if they participated in the emotion regulation interventions.”

News of the Wired

“Against Willpower” [Nautilus]. “More fundamentally, the common, monolithic definition of willpower distracts us from finer-grained dimensions of self-control and runs the danger of magnifying harmful myths—like the idea that willpower is finite and exhaustible. To borrow a phrase from the philosopher Ned Block, willpower is a mongrel concept, one that connotes a wide and often inconsistent range of cognitive functions. The closer we look, the more it appears to unravel. It’s time to get rid of it altogether.” • If we have the strength.

* * *

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

IM writes: “A shore pine in Mountain View cemetery in Vancouver.” Now that winter is leaving, one hopes like a lamb, and there’s only 75 days until planting time in Maine, I’m geting lots of lovely snow scenes!

* * *

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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. 12-Bar Blue State

    You can extend the Hillary post-mortem discussion with observations from the City Journal article about the blue state model. It has issues for all Americans to acknowledge so that they may begin to converse about what they want and how their neighbors may think differently and what to do about that.

    1. BobWhite

      I think we need to consider the source of the information when it comes to citing the City Journal, since they are funded by the Manhattan Institute, and all of the references in the article are right-wing think tanks or their own right-wing/neoliberal articles.

      Manhattan Institute is run by Paul Singer and Bill Kristol… not exactly “objective” people.

      One of their arguments is to cut benefits for government workers to save money and reduce taxes.
      They are also anti-union, as it costs more to “build things”… as if workers getting paid are the real problem…
      (AKA – race to the bottom)

      1. Torrential

        It would be useful to separate the message and the messenger or the baby and the bathwater. People leaving states for any reason will impact those left behind, regardless of party affiliation. The remaining populace will face a shrinking or slower-growing denominator problem so will have to address how to manage the tax revenue and expense numerator. New York and especially Illinois are headed for trouble and don’t need more partisan help to publicize that.

  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    The Presidential primary is a different animal. HRC and Obama after Oprah took up so much oxygen its been forgotten, but these are small crowds where those crowds will ask questions that might not make Chris Matthews ear or be asked when the opponent is a Republican.

    Crowd size is a sign of enthusiasm, but these smaller crowds will be interesting. Most primaries are just lining up endorsements. There won’t be a line of brown nosers to protect Harris from a question about the mortgage settlement or even Joe Biden and the Bankruptcy Act.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I see this Harris picture, and what experience do the Clinton loyalists have with retail politics and little name recognition. 1992 was a long time ago now.

      1. Cal2

        Seen the youtube video where in a mostly empty Iowa gym, a Clinton worker keeps clapping and chanting “Hillary!”-“Hillary!”
        The few people present stare at her. One starts to clap, looks around and sees that she’s the only one and stops.

        “Hillary!” “Hillary!” More clapping from the shill. People stand there with their teeth in their mouth, to use an old Midwestern expression.

        When I saw that and then saw the overflowing stadium for Trump I knew he was going to win.

        If Sanders runs with Tulsi as his Vice President, Trump loses.

        If any other Democrat runs, Trump wins.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Did the HillShill get visibly embarrassed when she discovered herself to be the only one clapping and cheerchanting?

          By the way, was she a local person? A fellow-Midwesterner? Did she know she was violating the Cultural Norms of her People?

          1. UserFriendly

            Re your ‘Decent Three’ proposal from the other day

            The Delegates are bound for the first vote, they can’t vote for anyone but who the got assigned to vote for during their state process. What I very strongly suspect is happening is that Bernie, Warren, and Gabbard all sat down together before the whole thing started and agreed to all run and get in early. Just having them there pulls the whole center of gravity of the primaries and the early debates way to the left. I would put money on the fact that who ever is winning among the 3 of them around the end of January will see the other 2 drop out and endorse the 3rd before a single delegate is claimed.

            If that doesn’t happen than all the negative things everyone has been saying about Warren are probably true.

    2. Summer

      The establishment is hoping Beto addresses the size problem.
      2008 was 11 years ago.
      They (Beto backers) are banking on, to some degree if not much, children who witnessed the Obama experience wanting one of their own.
      The marketing machinery for auch an experience is in place.

  3. Anon

    RE: Photograph and caption.

    Umm…that’s not a Shore Pine (Pinus contorta) and unlikely to be Vancouver (B.C. or WA), either.

  4. Carolinian

    Huffman is still married to the somewhat better known William H.Macy. No indictment for the Boogie Nights actor?

      1. Randy

        Lip in “Shameless” takes admissions tests for lesser ability college bound students. Art mimics life.

    1. Pat

      According to the trades I read. No, none. The most detailed article stated that they had Huffman on tape starting to arrange the same deal for her younger child that they had for their older one ($15,000 for better test grades) but then backing out. I’m assuming that they have no direct evidence for Macy.

      Loughlin has not been indicted, her husband has. I’m going to make the assumption that she is in Canada filming as most of the Hallmark series and movies are shot there, while he is in California.

      1. polecat

        Celebrity culture needs to DIE ! .. and the public needs to quit living vicariously through it !
        All it does is give a false sense of reality to everyday life. These celebs are not to be admired, nor to aspire towards !

        1. wilroncanada

          According to some of the accounts I have watched/read, some of the students knew what was happening (obviously those who were going in through the athletic route), but some did not. One of those charged is a Canadian m/billionaire?, David Sidoo member of the order of Canada, educated at UBC and a star football player there, and also played pro CFL football for 5 years, member also of BC sports hall of fame. Part of the new stadium is named after him. He’s listed as an investment banker and so-called “philanthropist” living in a $36 Million home in West Point Grey (Vancouver’s wealthiest neighbourhood).
          He had the misfortune of landing in California just in time to be arrested. Two sons are alleged to have been “helped” to the tune of $100,000 each.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The students knew what they were being admitted based on as well.

          Not all did; there are examples of parents concealing the mechanics of the “deal.” Of course, at some half-conscious level the students probably did know, which makes the behavior of the parents all the more monstrous.

    2. ambrit

      This can be seen as one of the first cracks in the “solidarity” between the .01% and the ‘enabling’ 10% population elites.
      The prosecutions look like an attempt to protect the ‘Meritocracy’ brand. The ‘gaming’ of the higher education system by the ‘enabling’ class seems to have been entering the mainstream of popular culture. Such a ‘reveal’ is corrosive to the narrative of hard work, education, and merit being the guaranteed entree to the upper classes. To preserve the illusion underlying the meritocracy myth, sacrifices have to be made so as to show that the ‘system’ was being defended for the good of ‘Everyman.’ From what I read, those being prosecuted are from the 10% enabling class, not the true top tier wealthy.
      There is now a visible divide between the Traditionally Wealthy and the Parvenus.
      Someone needs to ‘weaponize’ this split. It is how revolutions are managed.

        1. ambrit

          Make it a class issue by making that “95% thesis.”
          The way the lower uppers are being targeted, it will soon be the top .01% and their 4.99% ‘enablers’ left to inveigle “onward and upward.”

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        I mean, they’ve run out of poor and middle class people to fleece, so now they’re moving on to the petty gentry.

        MLB baseball players make 39% of the overall revenues in salary. The owners, who hit zero home runs every year, keep 61%. If they’ll collude against a workforce of a few thousand people to keep wages down, what hope do the rest of us have?

        Sanders 2020 – because enough is enough

        1. Another Scott

          The owners don’t keep that 61%, a lot of it goes to the various costs they incur, like the debt to buy the team and all the ivy league grads in their front office to tell them how little players are worth.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            I’m aware of the difference between gross and net, thanks. The point is they do nothing to earn whatever % of the 61% of revenues they collect. People turn on the TV and show up to the stadium to see the players. Most sports fans hate their team’s owner, and rightfully so. My SF Giants at least spend money and actually try to win (though not always smartly), but their owners donate money to deep-south Republicans and throw their wives to the ground in public trying to wrestle a cell phone away from her.

            Rich people ruin everything. Localize all sports teams to be owned by the cities that own the stadiums that the rich people refused to fund themselves, because why when someone else will pay for it?

      2. Summer

        “Such a ‘reveal’ is corrosive to the narrative of hard work, education, and merit being the guaranteed entree to the upper classes. To preserve the illusion underlying the meritocracy myth…”

        These are the future speech writers for political candidates. So that is something to remember…

        1. Tvc15

          Exactly Summer.

          And only in this backwards system is the average CEO worth 204 times the median worker pay. But they work so hard, and they are so much smarter, and they have a prestigious MBA. Trump, Rubio, and a thousand other Washington shysters confirm this BS myth.

          I’m a native Houstonian, and the hardest working people in that city are all the Mexican immigrants. As a kid growing up there, the lazy Mexican narrative didn’t make sense to me and now I know why. The entire system is a corrupt rigged lie.

          Seeing that DWS picture on the Colombian side of the bridge to Venezuela is beyond the pale and repulsive. That thing should be in jail, not selling the latest CIA Latin America coup attempt. Ugh…I’m done with this! Which is why my family now lives in central Maine and are working towards an off grid homestead so I can check out of their game.

          1. Summer

            And the establishment is quick to point to poverty, especially children, raised in poverty, as a pathology that is detrimental to society.
            Now let’s turn that laser focus on the pathologies of wealth.
            This is how a system reproduces itself. This is why so many in positions of power are so comfortable about failing upwards.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            If in the years to come you have possibly reproducible successes with one method or another, perhaps writing a comment about it in the most recent “comments still open” thread over at the Permaculture category of posts might be a good thing. Every so often people can just check the threads in that category to see if such a post has appeared.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              severing as many tentacles as possible is the goal.
              Perhaps mycillia are a more apt allegory.
              such stories and anecdotes are important, not least because they open up possibility…varying degrees of emancipation from the machine are possible, if certainly not complete, or all that easy.
              I saw mention somewhere of josip tito, and realised i knew little about him, or that area since the fall of rome.
              that wikiwander led me…” …by a commodius vicus of recirculation…” to Mutualism, and this excellent stimulant: http://www.mutualist.org/id4.html

              We’ve been increasingly encircled and entwined for a long time.
              when i think of our little patch as a country( i occupy 1/20th as much space as the vatican)…with a balance of trade issue(too many imports, requiring currency, etc)…I consider that i could probably so arrange it, given enough resources, that I don’t really need to leave the farm.
              but no matter how self sufficient i become(it really does take a village)…there’s still property taxes. I own this place “fee simple”…which derives from the same root as “feud”, as in “feudalism”.
              so i pay the sovereign rent on this land.
              they don’t take yard eggs, last i looked.
              (and, to be clear, with OW Holmes, “I like paying taxes. they are the fee i pay for civilisation”. I’d just rather pay more georgist taxes,lol)

        1. ambrit

          Thanks for the vote of confidence.
          This is a case of mild cynicism having a salutary effect on understanding and analysis.

      3. David Carl Grimes

        Can legacy admissions be outlawed? How about donations that guarantee admission to an elite college?

        1. ambrit

          Anything can, in theory, be outlawed. What is lacking is the political will to do so.
          Capping the salaries of the administraitors, sports coaches, department heads, etc. would go some of the way towards reducing the stresses induced in the ‘education’ system through the endless striving after funding.
          One of the biggest means of de-stressing college administrations would be the complete demonetization of college sports.

          1. Sanxi

            Another would be a lottery. Turns out, five years out of an ‘elite’ college doesn’t matter if you got in with a b or an a average. Or just supply the seats as needed. I’d vote that unless you intended to teach do research go somewhere else and normalize that as good and great.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > There is now a visible divide between the Traditionally Wealthy and the Parvenus

        Arguably, buying your kid a slot by donating a new wing to the Administration building is more ethical than muscling into a slot reserved for a real athlete, or gaming test systems meant for the disabled.

        I ran several posts on “Credentialism and Corruption” awhile back, but it hadn’t occurred to me the corruption was as foundational as this. I try to hard to be cynical, but I’m never cynical enough!

        1. Sanxi

          I have to say this. The actual backdoor at least at Harvard is their evening school. Not much to the admissions other then showing an ID filing out form. Deal is you have to maintain a B+ to go beyond a certain number of credits, if you do you can get a degree either from the traditional college or the ‘night school’. I like the night school version. Second, if you’re in the military and have reached the rank of heavy colonel, you pick a college and degree program and they let you in, simple as that. To be a 2 star you have to have a PhD. Third, in general if you are really interested in something and know a fair amount about it AND seek out and find a tenured prof and demonstrate your ability and willingness, often you’ll get a chance to show what you’ve got. I don’t think of this as merit as much as talent, whatever, it works. I know all these methods work.

          Thing still is why? What matters to you? To the world? Do you give in, give up, or play them off for something like social change (for the better of most) and healing (for all, like it or not)? When I was young it seemed the only thing I could do was try and I did. Given a few more lifetimes, I might just get somewhere.

      5. Jessica

        Very well said.
        I think that rather than describe the divide as being between the Traditionally Wealthy and the Parvenus, it is more accurate to say that it is between the merely rich and the black-hole hyper-wealthy.
        Jeffrey Winters in Oligarchy, which is an excellent analysis of different forms of power, points out that this dynamic is quite common in history.

      6. eg

        “From what I read, those being prosecuted are from the 10% enabling class, not the true top tier wealthy.”

        Coz the “true top tier wealthy” don’t need the “side door” — they’re going through the back door via gigantic donations …

  5. nippersdad

    Re: Sanders and Smithfield in SC.

    I don’t know if Smithfield has much of a presence in SC, but they are huge in NC; they have a meat processing plant there that processes 32,000 pigs a day. Every time there is a hurricane with the potential to hit the coast stories are recycled about the manure ponds there overflowing into the rivers.

    The South is now rife with such operations. The poultry industry here in Georgia is so tiered now that actual farmers no longer make sufficient to upgrade their operations and put the blame on aggregators. These have been real issues for a long time down here, even in my own county per a friend of mine who worked for the county agent, and it was a really smart move for Sanders to address them.

    Here is something from ’14, and it has only gotten worse since then. This is going to be a huge plus for his campaign here in the South.



    1. justsayknow

      I wa going to comment on the chicken biz in the south too. Much bigger set of nuggets than pork for Sanders. Appalling business model. The “farmers” are close to being sharecroppers on their own land and buildings.
      Focusing on the rural economy is a wide path forward for Bernie. Who else in the race is believable in this context?

      1. nippersdad

        “Sharecroppers on their own land” is a great way to phrase it. He brings that up in a debate and there are going to be a lot of lifelong Republicans nodding their heads around here.

        1. Randy

          It seems like it could be worse here in Wisconsin for the small dairy farmer. In NC the chicken and pig farmers work for next to nothing. In Wisconsin dairy farmers work for the privilege of going bankrupt. CAFOs are the norm now and CAFOs are bad news. They deplete the groundwater and pollute what is left. They pollute the air with their liquid manure and cause untold amounts of property damage in diminished sale value to the people who live in their vicinity. Small farmers in WI have lost their buyers for their product but you don’t hear about the same thing applying to CAFOs.

          There oughta be laws against all this.

          We need to manage dairy like Canada does instead of demonizing Canada for doing the right thing for their farmers. I could write a full blog post about the policies enacted since the late ’70s that seemed calculated to destroy the small farmer.

          1. Stillfeelinthebern

            Write that post. 4 years, no profits. Guv Walker enacted policies that boosted production, had nothing to offer except to say “eat more cheese.”
            Watching my cousin trying to keep the dairy farm afloat that has been going for 6 generations is heartbreaking.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            small farmers always get screwed.
            all of ag is cartellized, like that.
            it’s almost funny when the extension guy talks about free markets.
            The farmers he “represents” are almost to a person de facto tenant farmers/sharecroppers, beholden to immortal ficitions acting as both monopolies and monopsonies. Hydraulic despotism in both directions.

            (graymarket eggs and produce, here…hardly a recipe for grandeur. I’d be happy just to be at subsistence level)

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          never has flyover country been so gettable for the D party, if only they pick the candidate that can actually win this time…

            1. John k

              They’re willing to win, but only with the sufficiently right candidate. Obama, Hillary. They have standards to maintain…

        3. John

          Now, now, the “sharing economy'” is a good thing. What’s old is new again. 21st Century feudalism is the same as 12th Century feudalism… the lords of the manor did allow the serfs to keep a tiny share of their produce. BTW, the Black death temporarily ended that system due to labor shortage…the coming jackpot might do the same

        1. Stephen V.

          Yes NTG, amazing indeed. Years ago I did some research for a client and found that the Natl Labor Relations Board had found that chicken er, indentured, farmers were actually EMPLOYEES. IIRC, this was in 1997. Never heard a peep about that. What a coincidence. Same president hmm. Various lawsuits in the meantime have ruled that the so-called contracts used by big chicken are anything but. Legally and on the ground, it’s all about direction and control.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Focusing on the rural economy is a wide path forward for Bernie.

        That’s how I feel. But I don’t know enough about the South Carolina agricultural economy to look for a point of attack. Hog “lagoon” overflows? Etc.

    2. Carolinian

      I believe we have a few hog operations down near the coast. Most of the hog farms and chicken processors tend to be in our neighbor to the north.

      However SC does have a penchant for nuclear waste. There’s a now partially closed low level waste dump at Barnwell, SC and the Cold War era (first one) Savannah River Plant that once made Tritium for hydrogen bombs–near Aiken.



    3. Lee

      I think we should blame it on the Chinese. First they came for our jobs. Then they came for our intellectual property. Then at last they came for our pigs.

      Purchase by Shuanghui Group

      On May 29, 2013, WH Group Ltd., then known as Shuanghui Group or Shineway Group, the largest meat producer in China, announced the purchase of Smithfield Foods for $4.72 billion.[24] Shuanghui announced that it would list Smithfield on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after completing the takeover.[25] On September 6, 2013 , the U.S. government approved Shuanghui International Holding’s purchase of Smithfield Food, Inc.[Thanks, Obama]

      And then finally they came for our politicians.


      Amongst those involved in the meat processing and products industry, Smithfield has so far made the largest contribution towards lobbying the US government during 2018.[34].

      1. philnc

        What? Are you suggesting that the Hon. Sens. Burr and Tillis should be referred to as “R-Bejing”?

        Re Tulsi vs CNN: Someone over on another platform opined that she “hit it out of the park” in how she deftly handled the questions put to her by real and fake “average citizens” alike. My gloss on that was that she actually “repeatedly hit it out over the parking lot and hit the No. 7 train several times”. In Tulsi’s latest campaign vlogs her crowds are still relatively small, but there’s an authenticity about her campaign, and the people she seems to be attracting, that they could wind up being just the core of a force to be reckoned with over the next year.

        DSA: After the recent advisory poll of members, it looks like the NPC is going to endorse Bernie in the primary. But I think the case some have been making that it will divert scarce resources from non-electoral projects has resonated. Personally, what Bernie proposes to do about imperialism and promoting workplace democracy will be important. The good news is that DSA is a diverse and decentralized organism. The locals will do what they think serves their communities best. Still, electoral politics slurps up a lot of cash and volunteer hours…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > DSA: After the recent advisory poll of members, it looks like the NPC is going to endorse Bernie in the primary. But I think the case some have been making that it will divert scarce resources from non-electoral projects has resonated.

          It’s never a good sign when enormous process issues like those raised by the rural chapters come to the surface. See the Democrat primaries in 2016. I think the rural chapters are right, and that this issue should have been put to a vote — the election is, after all, more than a year away — and that a poll is simply a figleaf (24% “turnout,” too, which doesn’t bode well for actual, as opposed to nominal, membership).

          It’s also worth noting that the Iowa chapter opposed the endorsement, and they (presumably) would be asked to do the work on the ground for the Iowa caucus. So what is National going to do? Bus in volunteers from Brooklyn?

          1. ambrit

            “Bus in volunteers from Brooklyn?”
            That is exactly what the voting rights activists in the South had to do back in the 1960s.
            (The father of a high school girlfriend was “on the bus” during the ’61 Freedom Ride. He was a short, stocky Jewish lad from, ta da, New York.)
            So, snark aside, the DSA might well have to bus in organizers, agitators, and the rest. The Right wingers do it. It also works more often than not.
            The argument can be made that this process is a splintered but essentially national entity.

      2. rps

        To complete the total take-over are the mega-mergers of agricultural chemical and seed companies in the global production of food.

        Mega Agriculture: Three huge agriculture acquisitions creating monstrous companies that will control the food supply. Six of the world’s largest agricultural firms, those that control seed patents, produce pesticides and fertilizers and effectively dominate the worlds agricultural output are about to become three. Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Syngenta (Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta has been bought by chemicals giant ChemChina in a deal worth $43 billion (CHF43.8 billion), Du Pont, Bayer and ChemChina have deals to absorb each other, further consolidating the industry and firming up their strangle hold on farmers and the means of production.

  6. notabanker

    Biden will do well in the rustbelt? My God these politician must think they stole manufacturing workers brains with their jobs.

    Do they think anyone in the Lordstown area has forgotten NAFTA? Joe’s just gonna get a mulligan on that one? And on GLBA? And TARP?

    These DCcrats are delusional. Biden is going to be shocked to learn Shaker Heights fundraisers aren’t indicative of rustbelt voting sentiment.

    1. Roger Smith

      I came here to address that statement as well. Seriously, is ganja legal on capitol hill already? What on Earth could be the justification for that statement? I really think these people don’t ‘know how to use cellphones’.

      Biden reminds me of a Democrat Jeb Bush. “My son died, please clap.” That will be the card pulled by compliant MSM outlets. “No criticism, this man knows suffering.” Maybe selfishly he does, but that means nothing in the public sphere.

      1. Pat

        I think they are utterly clueless what is going outside of their own little circle. They are still confused by Trump’s popularity. It is not all about racism. They didn’t get Sanders either. None of that has been a problem for them.

        Which is why they still think “bipartisan” and “working across the aisle” is good, that job training actually plays as an answer to job loss to technology and outsourcing, and that tweaking ACA is an answer.

        1. Gary Gray

          Trump is popular? Outside the Republican party, he is not. This post is pure junk. I guess based on Clinton getting a popularity of vote means she is popular?

          You need to give a rest.

          1. Joey

            Gary you’re missing the point. RNC confused by Trump as well. Red state everymen recognized he wasn’t precertified by DC elites, and favored him, as you appear not to recall, much to the party’s dismay.

          2. Pat

            He was popular enough and in the right places to get elected when leading Democrats expected him to crash and burn without any votes from women, Latinos and Blacks. All of which did have a significant portion who did vote for him. His current popularity while very low still beats both Houses of Congress and last I saw both Parties as well. And every policy or strategy point I pointed out that they are wrong about stands.

            Democrats ARE largely clueless. And no I will not give it a rest.

        2. jrs

          what then is Trump’s “popularity” about? Tax cuts for the rich? Appointing super conservative judges? Being even more anti-worker, anti-environment etc. than what we usually get? Making the bad old ACA for the most part even worse? Evangelical support for inexplicable reasons but maybe something to do with abortion? Immigration?

          Gee, I wonder why Dems don’t run on those positions …

          1. Joey

            See above. He’s nutty but he’s not a stepford candidate, regardless of which side he approached. And I recall he considered D, which would have involved other random policy choices. Don’t let red vs. blue distract from Roger and Pat’s point about Beltway blindness.

          2. Pat

            And I wonder why Democrats provided no significant opposition to those things. Instead spending their political capital on Russia Russia Russia or actually helping the passage of things. Certainly their base wanted a robust and feisty and successful opposition.

            Oh wait I don’t. But you might want to start asking that question.

            1. jrs

              they literally had no real power until this recent election. I guess they had the power of rhetoric, but zero legislative power.

              I didn’t even bother to write my representatives, because they were Dems and so what would be the point? In a divided government both parties might have some power, but when power was as completely tilted to one party as it was until recently, there was no point even to tell my House Rep: hey keep not voting for these bad policies you aren’t voting for but that will pass anyway.

              1. Pat

                Except Democrats were voting for these policies. Not all but some. And sure they were weaker in the House but in the Senate they did have the ability to put road blocks in the road.

                Without absolute Party solidarity nothing should have passed. Okay they could have managed without McCain but with Pence’s vote. Want to name how often that was necessary? And then there was Schumer making deals to pass judges so people could go campaign rather than just telling them.to go and posting a couple of Democrats on the floor to force McConnell to call everyone back to DC to get anything done.

                There would have been fewer losses if they had used the tools they have.

                But like Obama, just keep accepting “they couldn’t do anything” although they are really contradictory. (Here is the secret, the Democrats would have to actually act as the opposition party and be willing to piss off a donor or two to be as good at it as the Republicans were and even then Obama could have pulled a Trump and used his power to do things anyway.)

          3. Grant

            Trump isn’t popular, but it is hard to overstate how much people hate the establishment. The media, when they attack people like Sanders, don’t seem to understand how much they are helping him. Sanders would probably suffer more if the CNN or MSNBC types were all in for him. Trump won in 2016 because of the horrible candidate the Democrats chose. Turnout was the lowest for a presidential election since 1996. I see no reason to assume the Democrats will pick a better candidate. Bernie was obviously a better candidate in 2016 and they went all in for someone historically unpopular. I fully expect Biden to crash and burn, but him polling this high, with his record and his massive baggage, in this political climate, doesn’t speak well to the thinking of those in that party. A Biden vs. Trump election is depressing, and to think that Bernie could in any way be derailed by him is mind-blowing. In some ways, it would be even worse than what happened in 2016. My opinion is that Biden will have done a service to those that want the system to remain as is by just beating Bernie enough to deny him an outright victory in key primary battles. Even if he fizzles out, he helps to stop Bernie and allows a better, younger candidate to get across the finished line. And then we are back to where we were in 2008, only things are much worse now on almost every level, and those like Biden ideologically have no solutions to any large problems facing us.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I think we all see what we want to see. You want to see the MSM attacks on Sanders as counterproductive. I on the other hand believe there is a giant central swath of Americans who watch micro-sound bites under the banner “CNN” as they wait in line at the (fill in the blank), and they believe them.

              “Socialism is horrible”
              “We can’t afford M4A”
              “Assad gassed his own people”

              1. Grant

                Give me some data. What percentage of the country watches CNN daily versus, say, The Young Turks? What percentage of likely voters? Also, take into account of those that watch it sometimes, as I do, that watch realizing how full of shit it all is? I realize that there are people like that, but the country seems to have shifted, and the public has agreed with the left a wide range of issues for some time. That support has grown since Sanders ran, and polls on the media show that people in large numbers don’t trust or like the media.

                I don’t buy that it is that effective. If it was so effective, why do such large percentages of the public support policies it opposes?

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  in my habitual eavesdropping in the produce aisle and ad hoc colloquys in the feed store, degree of belief in the Approved Narrative depends entirely on one’s level of comfort: the long forgotten Class Analysis. even marginally more comfortable folks I encounter are often unaware that not everyone is having a good time.That unawareness increases with affluence.
                  this is a marked change from the height of the Tea Party, when the opposite was true.
                  when youngish rednecks start sounding like a corn pone lenin or che, something is amiss.
                  given that the media they ingest says nothing of the sort…and indeed ignores class at all costs…one wonders where such radical thought comes from. I’m hearing less and less offhand talk about the things that Rush and Hannity yell about, and more rumination on anticorporate, anticartel, antirich and anti-both parties-themes, as well as (still inchoate) talk about solidarity and an egalitarian view of “community”–from rednecks, mind you!
                  These folks are not big readers. I can’t see them searching through Kropotkin, or wendell berry.

                  if anyone else is doing #Fieldwork, this is something to keep an eye out for.
                  it’s often hard to discern, admittedly…they have been forbidden the very language of actual resistance/political economic critique for a century, after all…but it’s there….and begs watching.

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            Because, as per the “ratchet and paul” mechanism which Lambert Strether used to discuss here years ago, the Clintobama ConservaDems will run in being 3 inches to the left of Trump. And the further right Trump goes on policy, the further right the Clintobama ConservaDems can go on policy and still be 3 inches to the left of Trump.

            They look to Trump to run on those positions so they don’t quite have to. Whence some of the fury of their hatred at realizing that Sanders, Warren, Gabbard might be undermining their sweet racket.

          5. John k

            The rust belt wants a wall. And to stop the trade deficit with China. And hates nafta. And like many, they’re tired of the wars, knowing it’s their sons dying and maimed, not coastal’s.
            Trump is on their side on all these, at least lip service on getting out of the wars.

            and the dems? It’s still Russia. Why wouldn’t trump carry the nidwest? Again? And with bigger margins? Biden will promise them what, exactly?

          6. Roland

            jrs, don’t forget the foreign policy angle. Trump’s so far the only US president in the past quarter century to not start a war. Also might become first potus in over 40 years to end a term with fewer overseas bases. Still have to wait and see, but so far, so good.

            Next to question of war & peace, SC is a bagatelle.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > No criticism, this man knows suffering

        Biden milking the death of this son for the sake of his political reputation is a bit much. Since I hope he stops doing it, he’ll probably intensify it.

    2. Gary Gray

      It depends if people think NAFTA actually hurt them……………things have changed a bit since 2016 and even 2012. If anything, Lordstown was helped via NAFTA by auto industry subsidies. It was the material extraction jobs that got gutted, for good reason, the US had peak metals in the 1959 and heavy excess capacity of plants by 2000. Democrats like Biden know this and purposely supported NAFTA for the light assembly workers in the UAW and auto industry. While other non-auto’s got crushed. Please, understand the true politics of “NAFTA”. It can be unsettling for progressives to learn that the UAW was basically the reason why the Clinton Administration gave up and folded.

      1. notabanker

        I’m not a “progressive”. You might want to rethink who you are labeling.

        No one cares what the politics of Clinton’s NAFTA was. What they care about is there are 14,000 people making Blazers in Mexico and zero people making cars in NEO. And zero suppliers feeding them parts. And no one paying for schools, or cafe lunches, or libraries or anything but a pharmacy and dollar general store. And a tiny fraction of the screw machines, die casting, heat treatment, stamping and metal shops that once employed hundreds of thousands are left. No one is making Catepiller or Terex equipment. The telecom companies have left and gone overseas. GE and Phillips bought the healthcare manufacturing and moved it overseas. They are told they can spend thousands of dollars they don’t have on schooling to fight for the handful of jobs left making high tolerance cnc parts for $18 an hour. Or maybe they are lucky to land a job making $25 an hour manufacturing computerized equipment. Their odds of landing that handful of jobs is about the same as winning 100K in the scratch off lottery. There’s always cleaning up after the sick and elderly, because healthcare services is the only game in town. The really smart kids get out and go to LA, SFO, NYC, Dallas or Charlotte.

        Now they are being told by the “business leaders”, a bunch of 50 year old white guys who would get eaten alive if they had to work a month in NYC or London, that the future is blockchain. Learn to code that and you will reach nirvana. As the crypto market races to the bottom, Ohio is going to become the blockchain state.

        The last time Biden was in Cleveland was for a fundraiser in Shaker Heights. He scheduled a public speech so he could fly in on the taxpayers dime and have his motorcade paid for as well. They didn’t buy Clinton’s bullshit and elected Trump. They aren’t going to buy Biden’s either. The DNC is completely clueless. They have staked their position on the neoliberal hill and they aren’t moving. They think they are untouchable and that there are zero consequences for their actions. Good luck with that.

        1. Gary Gray

          Nothing personally, but nothing you said was due to NAFTA. Telecom companies had been leaving since the 60’s. Blazers were a dead model like the Cruze and were discontinued. Lets note the big expansion of SUV’s in the 90’s and the boost to overall auto employment that decade. I think that was the last new product expansion, really in auto. NAFTA in the words of the French Plantation owner in Apocalypse Now, was the biggest nothing in history compared to other factors. It lost some jobs, saved some jobs and in the end meant very little where we were headed.

          You say the DNC is clueless, so are you. You don’t get debt based expansion. Manufacturing is for national self-sufficiency, not jobs programs. It hasn’t been a jobs program since 1923. I have said this before and I will say this again. Materials cost money to extract and manufacturer. Debt creates excess consumption and companies have to satisfy the debt. What we need is no debt and instead a debt free currency that abolishes usury. Less manufacturing per consumer. Products that are well made and last. That means more automation and less production. That means moving into space which is the true jobs program and moving material extraction into space as well(sans the moon, which needs protected for obvious reasons).

          Your living in the past and it shows. We need a cultural change from me me me me me, self-gratification into efficiency and ecological revolution. This is where Sanders speaks out of the both sides of his mouths, like most progressives for decades. You can’t have both.

          1. laughingsong

            “Telecom companies had been leaving since the 60’s”

            Please expand on this? I remember the 60s still being Ma Bell territory, that is, telecom as public utility/government monopoly.

            “Blazers were a dead model like the Cruze and were discontinued. Lets note the big expansion of SUV’s in the 90’s and the boost to overall auto employment that decade.”

            Again, timing seems a little off to my memory, I thought Blazers were SUVs and yes, they were everywhere in the 90s but I don’t remember them being discontinued in the 90s? What year did Chevy axe them?

            Also, I do remember after NAFTA, sure, auto employment expanded , , , but not here, Or at least not for long. I remember the auto industry going to war with the unions, threatening to move if they didn’t capitulate. And then they moved, to southern non-union states, China, Mexico, Korea. Sure it didn’t happen in a year, but the trend seemed to pick up speed quickly and was very visible by the late 90s. At least that’s how I remember it.

            “You say the DNC is clueless, so are you. You don’t get debt based expansion”

            Hey now, no ad hominem okay? for the second quoted sentence, I did not read anything that notabanker referred to regarding debt? I agree debt fueled prosperity isn’t prosperity but I am curious what made you mention it in context to notabanker’s response. Thanks.

          2. notabanker

            I am talking about how people in the rust belt are going to vote in 2020. It ain’t gonna be for Biden. I look forward to his campaign of yes, I voted for NAFTA, but it was really because the UAW wanted me too. And I fought hard to keep your jobs, and I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but this time is different. I’m here for ya. Here’s a news flash, majority of people don’t like Trump. His didn’t win the Ohio Primary. He won Michigan primary with 35% of the vote. 100,000 more people voted for Sanders in the Michigan primary than Trump. The problem is, they disliked Clinton even more. And the DNC seems intent on doubling down on that strategy.

            If you want to call me clueless because I’m not feverishly working on my asteroid mining startup with newly minted non-debt Bezos dollars, maybe you have a point. Personally, I think the main problem we have is that the world has 7 billion people and that’s probably 5-6 billion too many. I figure if I can figure that out, so can the people who were smart enough to build nuclear arsenals and all the tech bot and algos that are automating the serfs away, and they are probably in a pretty good position to actually do something about it. But that’s just me.

            Maybe there’s an outside shot that we can elect some decent people that actually care about what they are doing and have a sense of responsibility to humanity and we’ll slow down climate change enough to prevent the complete extinction of humans. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth taking for now.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Joe “Hillary with the selling points” Biden is going to do better in the rust belt because …ummm….errr…he has a steady hand. He and Trump can share groping stories.

              For every #metoo voter Biden loses, he’ll get off at least two spirited tweets direct at Trump!

          3. Grant

            “NAFTA in the words of the French Plantation owner in Apocalypse Now, was the biggest nothing in history compared to other factors.”

            Says who? NAFTA wasn’t just about net job losses, which did occur. Investor state disputes, rules regarding government procurement, intellectual property, safety standards, etc. It had a huge impact on the quality of jobs being created domestically, it impacted power dynamics between workers and capitalists and it had a negative impact on working class people. All three NAFTA countries have seen decades long wage stagnation. It can’t be blamed on NAFTA alone of course, but it surely can on the types of ideas within NAFTA. I also care about workers in Mexico, who face extreme violence if they try to form independent unions, and the hugely negative impact NAFTA has had on Mexican farmers. Even if you are indifferent, that turns around to impact American workers. There was a reason that there were NAFTA side agreements on labor and the environment and those side agreements were non-binding. Many deals around the world were created on that model. CAFTA, bi-lateral trade agreements here. To argue that it and deals like it haven’t contributed to inequality and wage stagnation is crazy. It had an undeniable impact on union organizing drives and had a detrimental impact on the environment, especially in Mexico. TransCanada tried to use Chapter 11 to sue the Obama administration for its decision on the XL pipeline, and there were lots of challenges within the privatized NAFTA courts, especially regarding Canada. There were disputes over things Canada supporting reforestation, with some interests saying that it amounted to a subsidy to the Canadian timber industry. It was and remains a cocktail of horrible ideas, and it wasn’t as if labor, environmental and consumer rights groups were at the table when it was being negotiated.

            1. wilroncanada

              The US beat up Canada about 10 to 1 in NAFTA investor state disputes. The US is the litigious state, not Canada. the US has more lawyers than all the rest of the world combined and they have to make work for themselves.

              And I’ve said this before, if you want to see where the jobs went that weren’t already being automated out of manufacturing look south WITHIN the US, the states with poor health and safety, non-existent unionization, low wages, two non-“white” minorities to kick around, and a rapidly deteriorating environment. Your own owners started there before going outside the country.

              1. Grant

                Well, I mentioned that in regards to Canada, and Canada was targeted more because it had more to challenge. We have long been economically dysfunctional, we have long given away power to private interests, which you pointed out. Within a few months of the WTO being around, it had already gutted portions of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments here in the US, the Endangered Species Act, it has undermined our efforts in regards to over-fishing, it has undermined the renewable energy industries in many countries (Canada and the US included). These are all roughly the same set of ideas. I oppose NAFTA for somewhat similar reasons I oppose the WTO and the IMF. I think NAFTA should be analyzed in isolation, but it should also be analyzed more broadly, since many of the ideas in the deal are everywhere. I agree with you on working conditions deteriorating, which I also mentioned above. I mentioned that wages in all three countries have long been stagnating and that it increased the power differential between workers and employers. Like I said, it isn’t just NAFTA, since these ideas are found in many places, deals and institutions, some of which came before it.

                I would add that automation, coupled with all of this, should get us to think about public and cooperative ownership a bit more. Public and cooperative ownership is place based in ways many private businesses aren’t. Cooperatives are also internally democratic, a means of gaining skills and are equitable. Lots of cities, NY is one of them, are actively supporting cooperatives. Local public ownership seems to be increasing a bit with the remunicipalisation of utilities and publicly owned and run ISPs. The Obama administration released a report in 2016, shortly before leaving office. There was one mention of ownership and it said that if trends continue, that conflicts between workers and employers were likely to intensify. I think that is true.

                1. Grant

                  Sorry, wasn’t clear on the report by the Obama administration. It was on automation. Here is the report, and the section I was talking about:


                  AI-driven technological change could lead to even larger disparities in income between capital owners and labor. For example, Brynjolfsson and McAfee argue that current trends in the labor market, such as declining wages in the face of rising productivity, are indicative of a more drastic change in the distribution of economic benefits to come. Rather than everyone receiving at least some of the benefit, the vast majority of that value will go to a very small portion of the population: “superstar-biased technological change.” Superstar-biased technological change is somewhat similar to skill-biased technological change, but the benefits of technology accrue to an even smaller portion of society than just the highly-skilled workers. The winner-take-most and winner-take-all nature of the information technology market means that the fortunate few are likely to emerge as victors of the market. This would exacerbate the current trend in the rising fraction of total income going to the top 0.01 percent (Figure 4).

            1. skippy

              “>>> Subject: debt based money

              >>>Dear Mr. Wray,

              I would like to invite you to our weekly radio show. The show will discuss how to eliminate our debt money system and replace it with a wealth based money system. The basis of the theory is to have governments SPEND money into circulation as opposed to borrowing money into circulation. We would like to hear your views on the matter.” – snip

              Its always the commodity money camp that starts its rhetorical sophistry by such contrivances as money – is – wealth [tm] and then bolt on a bunch of wonky quantifiers like –

              “It is a violation of – natural law [tm] – for us to be required to borrow money, just to participate in commerce.”

              “It requires unlearning, – common sense [tm] -, and approaching the balance sheet and other orthodox systems in a completely different way.”

              Anywho …. its all grounded in utopian free market ideology where interest or debasement is the source of all the markets ills [no word about society imo], not that contracts proceed all transactions, hence contracts have more influence on outcomes, E.g. the humans conducting exchange. So if you have a bunch of Darwinian mindset humans [shareholder value et al] competing for poster boy of the month status [Grisham’s law] on would expect a rather large debris field through society – regardless.

              Never understood the propensity of some to attribute agency to stuff and not the dominate social imperative i.e. decades of neoliberalism and its accompanying homo economicus platitudes. Where failure is always a factor of government, money crankery, irrational human subjects – must wait till the next generation to see the light [tm].

              Always interesting to watch these sorts launch from some contrived ideological starting point and then spin some ripping yarn … I can smell the Rothbard – Austrian through my screen ….

      2. jhallc

        Not so sure NAFTA worked out well for the UAW.

        From: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/naftas-economic-impact
        “Many workers and labor leaders point to these numbers to blame trade, including NAFTA, for the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. The U.S. auto sector lost some 350,000 jobs since 1994—a third of the industry—while Mexican auto sector employment spiked from 120,000 to 550,000 workers. CEPR’s Baker argues that econometric research shows that increased trade also puts downward pressure on wages for non-college educated workers, who are more likely to face direct competition from low-wage workers in Mexico.”

        As for Material Extraction jobs, yes the coal industry and mining sectors have taken a hit for years and not necessarily because of NAFTA , but global competition (think cheap Asian steel”). However, the US oil/gas extraction industry has been ramping up significantly since fracking came along (which is not necessarily a good thing).

        I’m also unclear on how the the “Clinton Administration gave up and folded on NAFTA” Perhaps you cold explain that a bit further. I tend to think they got just what they wanted.

        1. skippy

          Remember the Clinton we need to re-skill some folks for the service – FIRE sector economy – TINA – the market said so …..

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        This is lunacy. I was at the UAW at the time of NAFTA and no one supported it. It was perhaps the one thing that brought the union establishment and dissidents together.

        1. ambrit

          Hillary was a terrible campaigner in the ’16 contest.
          Plus, she had over twenty years of baggage to drag her down. Not everyone was ‘stupid’ and ‘deplorable’ enough to not dislike her.
          Trump, for all his faults, knew how to run a populist campaign. He sensed the middle America’s discontents and spoke to that. This came across in the debates. Remember Nixon’s “five o’clock shadow” that is thought to have lost him the live televised debates with Kennedy? Yes, surface features, but crucial in swaying the public, which listens to debates with both the front and rear brains. Trump knew this from his time in entertainment programming. Reagan did the same, but much more professionally. Dislike both as you and I probably do, but each won his campaign when it counted.
          The bottom line is, Trump won, and the Democrat Party apparatus does not want to admit it and ‘reform’ to meet the new ‘normal’ in America.

      1. Eureka Springs

        I can hear Trump now. You’ve had forty years.

        Voter turnout between these two narcissists. I would wager quite a sum on the meanest of the two. No way actual voters are going for pepsident over junk yard dog.

      2. Geo

        In a race against Trump and that Starbucks guy Dems are going with this:

        “Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are. I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.”

    3. Chris Cosmos

      Yes, on substance, Biden will have problems in th rust belt and elsewhere but people don’t usually vote on policy but myth. Biden has three things going for him: 1) his smile and the idea that he’s much more electable than ! “divisive” candidate like Sanders; 2) nostalgia for the illusion the DP was able to con Anericans with during the Clinton and Obama administration–I think there’s a hunger for “normalicy” among voters that Biden is best equipped to serve; and 3) he will have the full-throated support of all major power players and that should not be underestimated. However, Biden would be very vulnerable on the debate stage because he will be attacked by most of the other candidates and may make a major gaffe.

      1. Grant

        Biden has a really bad record all around, has said monstrously stupid things and in this day and age, the image pretty quickly melts away. I remember Lieberman leading in the early 2000’s for similar superficial reasons, and he too crashed and burned. Biden did horribly in previous runs, but now that the country has moved far away from him, his worldview and his corruption, he now will be a candidate that can win? I have no faith in the Democratic Party, but that would probably be a worse decision than their decision in 2016. To think that people will be fired up by a Biden vs. Trump election is absurd. What Biden will do is potentially make it so that Bernie doesn’t win key early primaries. If he does that, even if he fizzles out, he will have done an important job for the backers of Harris and Booker in Martha’s Vineyard and Wall Street.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Hard to imagine that the Democrats would run the guy who condemned millions of younger voters — supposedly part of their “coalition”! — to life-long debt servitude by making student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

        But working on the principle that the worst possible decision will be made, that’s what they’ll do (Biden/Harris, in my view, a ticket that Trump would eat alive).

  7. djrichard

    I’m shocked, shocked that college entrance is fraudulent. But the thing I’m wondering is, is that actually a crime? Can the colleges simply claim that they never articulated (or guaranteed) otherwise? In that maybe it’s time for people to grow up?

    Kind of like how the DNC managed the disconnect between perceptions vs reality.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bribery is illegal. And it appears they were in violation of the rules for special needs students. Some rich ahole is using a system designed for the deaf.

      In that maybe it’s time for people to grow up?

      I say let Amy Klobuchar throw a binder at them. We need to look the other way for when a poor person steals a loaf of bread. If a rich person steals crumb, they should be strapped into a rocket and launched to the sun.

    2. Summer

      No wonder they attack teacher and professor salaries.
      Making them work for “commissions”…

      But the tax write-off stuff is going to ne a fine line…

    3. Chris Cosmos

      Universities are in steep decline. I usually advise people not to go. Start with community college us you’re genuinely interested in an education otherwise there are a lot of interesting options if you can avoid the scams

      1. a different chris

        >Universities are in steep decline.

        My kids have been employed, in their fields, straight out of college. And their fields required a college degree and plus (night school, natch). And their yearly gross is approximately equal to a year of college. State school tuition, I’m talking about. Which means they will be in debt half-way to retirement. If they went Ivy it would take approximately two lifetimes of constant work in their fields methinks.

        Yeah, that’s a sustainable model. Good riddance.

    4. Jen

      I work for an Ivy League school. Out of the 1100 or so freshman admission spots, maybe 300 or so are really competitive, by the time you factor in legacy admissions (gotta keep those alums donating) and athletic recruitment slots.

      Friend of mine and her ex husband both went to said Ivy, as have their 3 kids. Said friend was taking her youngest to various other schools as she didn’t really have the grades to get in to the Ivy, but lo and behold, she was admitted. I’m sure her parents capacity as donors had absolutely nothing to do with this.

      These poor slobs obviously just don’t understand how the game is played and are seeking the ultimate elite credentials for their kids.

    1. Pat

      OMG they are irresistible! Glad they have new homes and herds, but I cannot imagine having to say goodbye.

      Freya gives good puppy and great mothering!

  8. notabanker

    Front page headline on CNN online:
    “Sanders says it’s too early to ground 737’s”

    That would be uh, Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary. But of course you all knew that already right?

    1. Olga

      Or – perhaps – file under ’empire decline:’
      The formerly ever-compliant vassals are getting out of hand:
      “I think the world has gone mad, quite frankly,” said Jeffrey Guzzetti, the former director of the FAA’s accident investigation division. “I think it’s capricious. Civil aviation authorities are grounding a workhorse airplane with no evidence and seemingly on public fear.”
      Oh, my… (she/he clutches the airline stocks)…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Just now caught up with that article that you linked too. I see why you mentioned it and you are right. There has been a sea-change in attitudes towards US institutions like the FAA. They used to be highly respected once but their attempt to gloss over the crash of this jet under extremely suspicious circumstances as well as it being reminiscent of that earlier crash makes it look that they want to keep it flying due to commercial reasons alone. If that was in the US military they would have grounded the fleet of that aircraft type in a heartbeat. At least that has not changed – yet. I wonder if any FAA investigation teams for aircraft crashes will also come under similar suspicions? Good find that Olga.

        1. VietnamVet

          The flight recorders haven’t been read yet. Ethiopia is in between a rock and a hard place. A powerful multinational corporation, Boeing, is solely intent on keeping the money flowing. The FAA has clearly lost trust overseas; likewise the Trump Administration. I don’t know of a strong neutral third party to read the flight recorders. This is fascinating to see how it plays out. Will American authorities try to regain the public’s trust, or will it be gamed and manipulated? Today is so like the late USSR when the people no longer believed their government.

    1. Gary Gray

      Default is a done deal. I suspect they agree to a extension to prepare. It was always going to go this way.

      1. Mattski

        Kind of surprised that with the events of the last few days we have no comment from Yves. Hungering to hear what she has to say.

        1. super extra

          there was a big post last week about it… hasn’t actually been a state change yet but I am very curious for the reax from our commentariat friends in the UK. as a dumb american my primary insight into the situation is by way of the potential of a unified ireland. the rest of the effects and crisis of legitimacy are also fascinating and terrible since they appear to be similar to smaller crises all over the anglosphere (or maybe the globalized world?)

  9. allan


    Boeing 737 MAX: The Latest Example of a Passive DOT [WSJ]

    Thirty-five Congressional mandates sit unanswered, on everything from minimum seat space to secondary barriers protecting cockpits. The top job at the Federal Aviation Administration has been open for 14 months. Enforcement fines against major U.S. airlines have dropped 88% in the past two years, even as three-hour tarmac delays have more than doubled.

    The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao has seemingly been delayed on a number of issues important to travelers. …

    “Seemingly” and the passive “been delayed” are doing a lot of work there.

    Who could have imagined that the Majority Leader’s life partner would do less than a superb job at DOT?

  10. Mel

    Always make sure the hall is too small …

    Achhh. Dr.Seuss attack.

    … we cannot get a hall that small.
    That hall would not exist at all …


  11. Polar Donkey

    In regards to DSA and the VAN. Here in Tennessee and most other places you can go to the local election commission and buy the voter file. They give you a disk. Has voter’s name, age, address, race, party ID and voter turnout record. I would get that, chop up data any way I wanted. I could give a score to high turnout democrat or republican voters. Tells if they like to early vote or do it on election day. I would geocode the addresses on my gis program. (You can get arcmap for $100 now downloaded over the internet from ESRI). Do some online basic tutorials or go find a college student studying mapping. If you get competent enough, you can download census data for free and intersect that data with each person’s voter file. Who needs the van. They are ripping you off and controlling access to public information.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      In Wisconsin you can buy voter records instantly as a downloadable file. Name, address, sometimes phone and email, but not often because that is not required on voter registration. You get voting history, meaning if they voted (and if it was at the polls or absentee). BUT there is no party info as we do not declare party in any way in this state.

      The VAN has that rating though in my area it is often not accurate and half the people are without any rating. You have to be working constantly to keep this info up to date. This is where the Democratic party really fails. This kind of work should be ongoing at the county level, but there is no initiative to do this.

      One of the biggest complaints here of volunteer canvassers in the 2016 election was ” why are you sending me to Republican doors?” This was a big sign that there was a shift in voter sentiment.

      In my town, in a red county, Obama won about 1\2 the wards both times. HRC barely won one. It wasn’t racism, it wasn’t the Russians, she was a BAD candidate.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s an interesting point. The advantage of the VAN data, as I understand it, is the ratings (so you don’t canvass voters you are unlikely to win). But in an election where the voters are volatile, that advantage diminishes. I would argue the 2020 electorate will be as volatile as 2016, perhaps moreso. So DSA National bought, as it were, at the top.

  12. none

    Ok, May just lost a Brexit vote. Everyone expected her to lose, so the question was only about the point spread. Question: she lost by 149 votes. Was that higher or lower than expected, and what if anything is the consequence? Thanks.

    1. David

      Higher than most people expected. Chaos. Vote on no-deal tomorrow (May says she will oppose the option). If no-deal is voted down, vote on extending Art 50 on Thursday. It is theoretically possible for that option to be voted down as well, in which case we are in Wonderland. I fact, I don’t think anyone honestly knows where we will be this time next week, but the EU has already made it clear that there can be no more negotiations.

      1. ChrisPacific

        If May intends to vote against No Deal it makes me wonder what she actually does support, since we know it’s not Remain. The only explanation I can think of is that she (still) hasn’t given up on her deal, as improbable as that seems. That or she is now in the Save The Unicorns camp (extension to give the EU more time to change their mind) which is essentially a much more dangerous form of No Deal, since it may command a majority even if No Deal doesn’t.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I checked the articles and unfortunately it’s looking like Save The Unicorns from May:

          The prime minister said she has “personally struggled” with whether to back no deal in Wednesday’s vote or not.

          “I am passionate about delivering the result of the referendum. But I equally passionately believe that the best way to do that is to leave in an orderly way with a deal and I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action,” she said, in an apparent indication that she will vote against leaving with no deal.

          Really? Which deal would that be?

  13. Summer

    Re: College Admissions scam

    It’s kind of like all the over-priced assets are backfiring or will.

  14. Chris Cosmos

    Diseases and the homeless–homelessness is a result of deliberate policies made by the ruling classes to make sure the undesirable element stays poor and miserable and, above all, make sure the bosses have a stick to beat workers into submission. Homelessness is a problem that could be easily solved (I worked at HUD for awhile) but both local elites and national elites do not want to solve the problem for the reasons listed above and, of course, NIMBY.

    1. jrs

      NIMBY plays a part, pretty much everyone in L.A. agrees: “we need to do something about the homeless problem!” but it seems very few people want a homeless shelter in their backyard either when it gets down to trying to determine locations.

  15. djrichard

    10Y decisively broke through its lower resistance yesterday and continued down today, putting it 3 basis points closer to the 3 month yield (and the Fed Funds rate). 21 or so more basis points of that and I’m figuring the Fed Reserve will have its hand forced – they’ll need to lower their rate.

    1. Gary Gray

      I doubt it. That would be bad for the economy. Anytime the FED lowers rates when debt servicing is high, that creates a situation where purchases are delayed………for years.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Another me me me me me post.
        What the heck does that even mean?

        Biden’s an a-hole neoliberal and his getting elected is perhaps the worst thing that could happen to this country right now.
        Yes, worse than Trump.

  16. Summer

    Re: College Admissions Scam

    I won’t assume the “innocence” of the “students.”
    You mean to tell me they never took a peak at falsified admissions packets before they were sent off?

    Nor will I assume they feel bad about it. Not for all the strutting about they do on their parents’ rep to begin with.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Having someone help you cheat on the SAT is huge.. getting a sports position that they have no business getting is even bigger. Of course they were in on the scam!

      I do appreciate the guys honesty, there has always been a back door and the system already has impropriety in it.. why not exploit it with the side door?

      1. Summer


        s. Giannulli, 19, is the daughter of the actress Lori Loughlin and the designer Mossimo Giannulli, whose fashion brand was sold at Target until 2017. Ms. Giannulli is a social media influencer with close to two million YouTube subscribers and over a million Instagram followers. In September, she posted two paid advertisements on Instagram that highlighted her identity as a student.

        The legitimacy of her college acceptance has been called into question as a result of a Justice Department indictment, along with that of a number of others…”

        See, they are all ready to ride their parents wealth and/or success, any benefit, to the bank. They are all prepared to be called “the best and brightest” and “future leaders,” so they all should be ready to bear the consequences when the fraud and scam is revealed.

  17. Geo

    Biden is the ideal choice for all who learned nothing in ‘16. He was one of the primary Dem salesmen for the Iraq War as chairman of the foreign relations committee, the architect of that disasterous bankruptcy bill and advocate of numerous other harmful economic policies, and proposed the Foreign Assistance Act in ‘81 which barred U.S. aid from being used for any medical research on abortion (still in effect) and signed the Hyde Amendment. Oh, and he told Millenials he has “no empathy” for them.

    He can definitely get the nomination but he will lose the primary. But, his supporters would prefer that over a progressive I guess.

    1. Gary Gray

      I don’t see it that way. I see it as “unpopular candidates” generally struggle. I also could argue Kerry/Edwards were on the right track in 2004, but since they couldn’t quite squeeze out a enough white votes in the north for a electoral victory, Democrats went with the “minority plan” instead of you know getting those 50% of white voters who register but don’t vote up north,which Kerry/Edwards was going after, to vote “D”.

      Lets be clear, 2016 was fascinating, but not necessarily much of a bellweather. If Biden’s son hadn’t died, he probably runs in 2016 with Obama’s support. What would have happened?

      This board simply doesn’t want to admit Clinton’s anti-favs played a big role in how things developed. Obama supporters are much more tribal and many wouldn’t vote for Clinton. We see this in the weak primary turnout. Obama himself, who supported Clinton very late in many respects, clearly wasn’t into her. I think people better watch Biden’s mojo. Some guys just got the likability factor once you get around the rough edges. As I said a couple of days ago, Trump makes him more viable. I always viewed Biden as a crummy primary candidate but a good General candidate for this very reason.

        1. dcrane

          I wonder if the “Creepy Joe” mantle will overtake the “Uncle Joe” marketing at some point.

          Trump got elected despite being a disgusting character, but he was viewed as an outsider.

      1. Gary Gray

        I will add, Trump’s failures with the trade deficit(as a political tool) and weakness with RD’s up north who are generally independent swing voters now in Ohio and Penn especially, won’t help Trump. Biden will say, “Told you so”. Will Biden support Trump’s redone NAFTA? My guess not.

        Lets remember, the corporate elite hated Obama’s original TPP. They wanted concessions for legal control and Obama wimped out. Biden can easily play the tough guy now and demand the corporate elite give in to the “original TPP”(if he can rebuild the coalition) and that will hurt them in China, much more than the tariff and sellout deal Donnie is working on…………and yes, its a sellout deal and will inflame Biden to attack Trump as a lackey of China and Xi, who plays his little games.

        1. Pat

          Speaking of not fighting, there was nothing on the vote theft in Ohio.

          They might not have missed as many white voters up north as you would think.

        2. dcblogger

          no way to know, but I think that HRC would have crushed him. Biden has all of Clinton’s defects and none of her glamor.

      2. CitizenGuy

        “Obama supporters are much more tribal …”

        Not stepping onto that landmine. Didn’t Lambert demonstrate (not so long ago) that the so-called Obama coalition never existed? Or if it did, it wasn’t much of a coalition?


        Regarding the 2016 as a bellweather — I would concede that perhaps the general election, given what was on offer, wasn’t much of a surprise to people outside the professional class. But I think the Democratic primary was a huge wake-up call to the Democratic Party. That they ignored it is neither here nor there. A nationally unknown senator almost won a primary against a former first lady / secretary of state that had been in the public eye since 1992 — in a rigged contest!

        Had Biden run instead of Hillary in 2016, I don’t think the results would have been any different. I don’t think Obama’s supporters would have come out for Biden. I think they, like many democrats, were simply too disgusted with how their icon of “hope and change” turned out to be more of the same. There was never a coalition to begin with …

      3. voteforno6

        I think most people (at least here) understand just how unpopular Clinton was (and still is). The difference is (at least for me) Sanders gave me a reason to vote for him. All Clinton could offer was that she was not Trump.

        I also disagree, in that I think that 2016 was a significant election – it demonstrated that most everything that people assumed to be true was all bunk. Trump wasn’t supposed to win the Republican nomination, and then he wasn’t supposed to win the general election, not especially with the weight of the entire political establishment against him. If he could win, then just imagine what else could be accomplished.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Show me someone who thinks the 2016 presidential election was about sexism or racism or xenophobia or Russia!Russia!Russa! or tribalism, and I’ll show you someone who never told a boss or a teacher or their parents to “F**k Off!”

          2016 was a giant middle finger to those in charge of corporations, banks and the Establishment Elite of both parties. And if that message is ignored again by the Dems (by nominating Biden, or Harris, or Beto or ….anybody not named Bernie), you’ll see it again in 2020.

      4. Geo

        2016 Trump vs. Clinton = New/Change beats Old/Same

        2008 Obama vs. McCain =
        New/Change beats Old/Same

        2000 Bush Jr. vs. Gore =
        New/Change beats Old/Same

        1992 Clinton vs. Bush Sr. =
        New/Change beats Old/Same

        Notice a pattern? Biden will get crushed in th general election. People aren’t happy. They want change but only have two options so they keep yanking that lever back and forth thinking if they do it harder this time it might work. Nobody but the top 10% want to put it in neutral.

  18. Oregoncharles

    AOC: ” I’m not a superhero. I’m not a villain. I’m just a person that’s trying.”

    I’ve helped judge a lot of potential insurgent candidates, and I can tell you she doesn’t grasp how extraordinary she is. I think she’s being honest; she doesn’t FEEL extraordinary, and it would be just as well if she never does. But just technically, she would be hard to beat. As Rowley discovered.

    Interesting that Omar has turned out to be the real bomb-thrower in office. But that’s because she’s focused on such an emotional topic.

    1. Olga

      Yeah, I hope she never does. For one, it would take away from her extraordinary quality and freshness (as in, she may become self-conscious) and/or it could make her subject to being co-opted/coerced.
      She is a breath of fresh air… in the hopelessly stultifying halls of congress.
      Being from the old world, I cannot help but imagine many faces in wigs and powder staring at her… in total disbelief.

  19. Oregoncharles

    And on AOC (2): I’d wager she was one hella’ waitress. Or barkeep, which I heard before. As she doesn’t quite imply, some similar qualifications.

  20. Summer

    Re: College Admin Scam

    Thx for covering it NC.
    This is one of the places where the hell – and all its values – begins that we are in.

  21. ChrisPacific

    Regarding reparations, I don’t believe the USA is at the point yet where they can even begin to have the conversation. Who decides on what’s offered, or whether it’s enough? Does the black community get any input? What is the black community, anyway? Churches? The NAACP? Black politicians or community leaders? What about people who are disconnected from any kind of leadership, who may also be among the most disadvantaged? What if there’s disagreement? Will there be negotiations? Who will be the negotiating parties? What about Native Americans, or other minority groups that have suffered injustices? Will they be included as well? What legal framework will be used for the conclusions?

    A unilateral monetary figure, decided with no input from the affected parties and distributed according to arbitrary criteria that will almost certainly end up being unfair in myriad ways, will please nobody. Whites who disagree with the premise will see it as a political handout, and blacks will be offended that they’re expected to consider past injustices settled via a process that they didn’t agree or contribute to.

    As a resident of a country, New Zealand, that has gone through a similar process (look up the Waitangi Tribunal) I can say that when done in earnest, it ends up resembling nothing so much as national therapy. Before compensation can be discussed, it’s necessary to determine the extent of past injustices, and who was affected. There will be many, many differing viewpoints, and everyone will want a chance to tell their story. Those not from the affected group need to listen to the stories, which can be painful, as they can challenge some deeply-held beliefs about national identity. But if they don’t listen, then the community won’t have the proper context for evaluating any recommendations and won’t support them, which means (in a democratic society) that they won’t happen. It can easily take decades or generations, since it involves redefining the national identity.

    To give one example, I would say that a necessary (but not sufficient) prerequisite would be abandoning the concept of American exceptionalism. Is the electorate ready to take that step? If not, how do you propose to get them there? Wake me up when you have answers for that and many other difficult but necessary questions.

    All of that makes it sounds like I think it’s a bad idea. Actually I think it would be a very good idea and would likely have many positive benefits for society, BUT only if America is ready to embark on the journey. Deploying a dumbed-down version of it as a political football does nobody any favors, and is likely to end up hurting more than it helps by implanting incorrect ideas in people’s heads.

    1. Geo

      Thank you for this analysis and comparison to your own country’s experience. I completely agree that this country is not ready for such a conversation yet since the very concept of self-reflection is beyond our abilities. Heck, we’re still meddling in Latin America, dropping bombs on the ME and Africa, and neglecting our own centuries old refugee camps (reservations) in our backyard. Not to mention our prisons (domestic and blacksites abroad), mass homelessness, and undernourished children we do nothing about. We can’t start the healing process if we’re still actively causing more harm.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      While I have some sympathy for reparations I don’t buy it because it just exacerbates our focus on identity politics. I don’t believe in race as an issue. I know it is an issue but forcing people where I live (in the South) to pay reparations would create a rebellion and I mean that literally–just won’t happen. Rather, we should concentrate on helping the poor, reform (in a major way) the “justice” system that discriminates against dark skin and poor people (the New Jim Crow).

      Marianne Williamson seem to favor creating some kind of board of black leaders who would distribute funds in such a way to help people but I don’t think she grasps (as I do from personal experience) the degree of corruption many of those “leaders” are involved in. I think in her case she’s just ignorant of political reality on the ground.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Agree with what you said. If they tried to go ahead, they would have to use DNA to work out who would be eligible. Could you image what would happen if the head of the KKK got a partial reparations cheque due to the black ancestry that he had and the head of the NCCAP not getting a full reparations cheque due to lots of white ancestry? Reminds me of the fellow who spent $2,000 finding out about his ancestry and then another $5,000 covering it right back up again. It would be chaotic when it came out who got a cheque and how much of one. But like you said, as a tool for flaring up identity politics instead of class politics, it would be great.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I don’t think writing $400,000 cash payments based on “lineage” as determined by a panel of experts is gonna fly, and that’s the ADOS platform in a nutshell (leaving out qualifications).

          Leaving justice aside for the moment, there are two power plays at work:

          1) If ADOS delivers that check, they’re doing something that the Black Misleadership Class did not do (and especially, though this is not stated, that Obama did not do) after decades of being in power. Therefore, the power would shift to the professional and media class members pushing ADOS. (I make no moral judgement; people who achieve justice should have political power). (Another way of thinking about this is that, in fact, the debacle of the Obama administration is more widely recognized than one might think.)

          2) Moving the focus from melanin (ascriptive identity) to “lineage” (American Descendants of Slaves) is problematic for a lot of reasons, beyond the technical difficulties of determining it. Let me juggle a few power tools for this tricky topic, hoping not to drop any:

          a) A lot of Americans, especially liberal Democrat-adjacent NGOs, will have a hard time accepting what is, after all, a change in “what it means to be black”). For example, neither Obama (Kenya) nor Harris (Jamaica) qualify as ADOS. That’s going to seem incongruous to a lot of people, including liberals who voted for them on the basis of skin color (“We elected the black guy”).

          b) In the popular presentations (i.e. on the twitter), the case for reparations because of “stolen value” (from slavery) is confused with the case for reparations because of racism as such. I see “We owe you $X because that labor was stolen from you in the past” as a more saleable proposition — again, leaving issues of justice aside — than “We owe you $X because we’re racists right now.”

          c) I don’t know the implications of 14% of the population being officially identified as to “lineage” where the rest of the country is not. Does lineage go on ID cards? Official documents? And then there’s the “I’m Irish. Where’s my check?” contingent.

          3) And then of course there’s the political aspect, this being already 2020:

          a) For whatever reason, Sanders is being beaten about the head and ears on this issue, and others are not. (The line is “I don’t think his answer on reparations is good enough.” But I have never seen anybody using that line go on to say what they think his answer should be, raising the issue of that no answer will ever be good enough.) I mean, Harris rebrands some fake tax deal as reparations, and everybody says “Great!” Sanders raises — in my view, 100% legitimately; ADOS’s demands are not the only ones — the issue of how to define reparations, and there’s an audible gasp from liberal pundits.

          b) There is also a strain in the reparations community (if I may use that word) that rejects universal benefits. (Apparently, blacks joined the FDR coalition for two generations randomly, and not because the New Deal benefited them, albeit very imperfectly (e.g., housing)). Combining points (a) and points (b) looks very much to me like dagger pointed at the heart of the Sanders candidacy — not because, I hasten to add, I view ADOS people as not operating in good faith, but because the opportunity is there for people who are acting in bad faith, reinforced by the Clinton smears that Sanders is a racist from 2016.

          c) Then there is the issue of how the reparations community hopes to achieve its goal. Adolph Reed wrote in 2000 (!):

          How can we imagine building a political force that would enable us to prevail on this issue?

          But the question ultimately does not arise because reparations talk is rooted in a different kind of politics, a politics of elite-brokerage and entreaty to the ruling class and its official conscience[1], the philanthropic foundations, for racial side-payments…. This is a protest politics that depends on the good will of those who hold power. By definition, it is not equipped to challenge existing relations of power and distribution other than marginally, with token gestures.

          There’s a more insidious dynamic at work in this politics as well, which helps us understand why the reparations idea suddenly has spread so widely through mainstream political discourse. We are in one of those rare moments in American history—like the 1880s and 1890s and the Great Depression—when common circumstances of economic and social insecurity have strengthened the potential for building broad solidarity across race, gender, and other identities around shared concerns of daily life. These are concerns that only the minority of comfortable and well-off can dismiss in favor of monuments and apologies and a politics of psychobabble, concerns like access to quality health care, the right to a decent and dignified livelihood, affordable housing, quality education for all. They can be pursued effectively only by struggling to unite a wide section of the American population that is denied those essential social benefits or lives in fear of losing them. Isn’t it interesting that at such a moment the corporate-dominated, opinion-shaping media discover and project a demand for racially defined reparations that cuts precisely against building such solidarity?

          d) Putting on my tinfoil hat after Reed: There are 14 million non-Hispanic blacks in the United States, and a somewhat lesser number of ADOS. This means two kinds of politics, so far as I can tell: (a) a mass movement involving coalition building or (b) elite brokerage. I don’t see the signs of a mass movement, in terms of depth of organizing and seriousness of proposals (compare #MedicareForAll), or in terms of consciously seeking coalition partners (although something may emerge, say in South Carolina; and my reading on the Twitter, though broad, may not be adequate). My paranoia says, therefore, that option (b) — elite brokerage — is the strategy. And what better sacrificial victim to bring to the elites as a demonstration of fealty than a nullified Sanders campaign? IMNSHO, that would be a spectacular misjudgment, but then Obama was a spectacular misjudgment too, wasn’t he?

          4) Putting power politics aside and allowing justice to enter in, what Lincoln said in the Second Inaugural is still true:

          Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

          My sense is that the best way forward is HR40, now reintroduced in the House, and conceptualized as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but implemented via something close to deliberative democracy, as opposed to panels of experts. Sanders should look into endorsing HR40 (as have Gabbard, Jayapal, Khanna, Pressley, and Tlaib, although not, interestingly, AOC and Omar). As an MMTer, I don’t have the “how do you pay for” issue with reparations at all, but I don’t think the ADOS proposals are viable even in the medium term. That does not mean, however, that justice must not be pursued, and putting the nation to work on it, via truth and reconciliation, is a better way forward than elite brokerage.[2]

          NOTE [1] Hence the excitement when David Brooks endorsed the idea.

          NOTE [2] If you want a really bad outcome for elite brokerage, imagine that in the next recession after reparations we end up with a militant (guns; uniforms; command structure) White nationalist tendency, now that “lineage” has been formally legitimized in civil society as a source of political power (and with a $400K check in the offing, too!) Why shouldn’t “The Sons of Wotan” get their check? Things can always get worse!

          1. ChrisPacific

            Good post and summary of the issues. I agree that defining the population in question is a massive and possibly insurmountable problem.

            Your reference to elite brokerage made me think of the reparations paid to the Marshall Islanders for the damage to their home from Pacific nuclear testing. While I don’t think anybody would deny that it was deserved, it effectively made the remaining people wards of the State. Their lives were destroyed. Reparations gave them a large financial windfall but otherwise did nothing to un-destroy their lives, homes or culture. We don’t hear a lot from them or anyone else any more about what was done to them, because they rely on the reparations for financial support and they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. Functionally it ended up being not all that much different from the Trump payment to Stormy Daniels. I suspect reparations for slavery, done poorly, would likely end up in much the same territory.

      2. ChrisPacific

        Yes, that is the other question. I think it (sort of) works in New Zealand precisely because it’s not based on race, but tribal descent and affiliation. Unlike the situation in the US, there are actually Maori entities with authority to deal and the founding document (the Treaty of Waitangi) has the force of law. The degree to which those entities possess delegated authority, and whether (and on whose behalf) they are empowered to negotiate, are enormously contentious issues. But at least they exist in some form, and have a legal basis from which to make arguments. Even that is probably thanks to the victories Maori have achieved and their success in remaining a dynamic force in national politics over 200+ years. The USA would be starting from a far less evolved position, and would need to do correspondingly more work to even have a framework to operate in.

        Echoing Bernie’s comments, I think a more achievable and sensible goal in the short term would be to stop making things even worse.

        1. Wukchumni

          The Maoris fought the English to a standstill as a formidable foe to be respected, whereas the Aboriginals in Aussie were largely exterminated, easy pickings. I can’t think of any other native people other than the Maori that the English couldn’t subjugate.

          Our Indians were lied to, treaties broken, forced to endure long marches in being relocated against their will, or put on the reservation. You see Maoris in NZ all the time (mostly in the North Island) and one rarely sees a Native American in our cities, let alone seeing road signs in both English & say Navajo or another tribe, as one would see road signs in NZ with English & Maori.

          I think reparations in the USA would be a disaster of sorts, but that’s what we’re proven ourselves adept at.

          1. Angie Neer

            > one rarely sees a Native American in our cities
            How does one know this? Does one walk up to every passing person and ask whether they have Native heritage? One might be surprised.

  22. dcblogger

    I am starting a garden for the first time in my life. It will be on my screened in second story porch, so all containers. Any reason I have to transplant herbs I start from seeds? All the videos have starting them in seedling containers and transplanting, is that really necessary?

    1. katenka

      Nah. There are reasons for starting your seedlings indoors/early if there are specific things you want to do (such as get bigger herbs faster), but if they don’t apply, go ahead and sow those seeds where you want them to end up, and let them figure it out! They’ll do a good job of it. (Also, when you direct sow, you don’t have to worry about hardening off your seedlings.) (I run a program at a community garden growing food for local food pantries, so while I wouldn’t call myself expert by any stretch of the imagination, I have a fair bit of experience at this point both starting seedlings indoors and direct sowing. They both work fine!)

        1. notabanker

          Farmer’s almanac website has some good, basic free downloads. Just costs an email address.

        2. katenka

          Good luck and have fun! Depending on how much light your porch gets, you might want to be conservative about the range of vegetables you try your first year (or not, if the occasional learning-experience failures are more interesting than discouraging to you, ha). Greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.) usually are less light hoggy. (I’m growing perpetual spinach, which is a type of chard, this year, because, unlike lettuce, it isn’t prone to bolt so I can keep growing it through most of the season. I think DC summers get pretty hot, on the assumption that’s where you are, so bolting may be an issue with a lot of greens for you. If that happens…well, score 0 for salad but 1 for free seeds for next time!) If you think your porch is up for light-hungrier sorts of plants, there are dwarf versions of a lot of things (Mascotte for bush beans, for example, or Tumbling Tom for cherry tomatoes) that are perfectly happy to live their lives in pots. There are tons of free resources — Notabanker’s Farmer’s Almanac advice is excellent, and there’s plenty more out there too!

          1. dcblogger

            I purchased a grow light to amplify light, I am also planting sugar baby watermelon which likes full sun.

            1. katenka

              Last year was my first year growing Sugar Babies — they were a huge hit at the food pantry we gave them to! They are just so cute (and remarkably sweet). I’m growing them again this year too! I grew them in the ground of course, but they didn’t take much space in terms of their roots, so I can certainly imagine them being successful in containers. The vines did like to ramble a bit, as watermelons do!

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I start seeds indoors in small-celled six-packs so I can get all the seedlings under my limited plant light coverage. When things warm up a little more in a couple of weeks, I’ll transplant them into medium-sized pots and place them in a couple of little shelf greenhouses that are outside in the sun. When they get too big for that, it’s time to transplant them into their own special spot.

      If you know you’re only going to use those planters, and you’re not planting anything like tomatoes or peppers that require planting in February so that they have time to mature, bloom and bear fruit, then there’s no reason you can’t wait until the frost-free date and plant some basil or lettuce or another shorter season plant directly into your planters outside.

    3. notabanker

      Seedling containers generally contain looser, sterilized soil that drains better, promotes root development and discourages disease. But you can start them from seeds directly in the container you will grow them in. Plant extra in case some don’t germinate and thin them out when they do.

    4. Randy

      Herbs can be very hard to start from seed. Better off to buy plants. My 40 year old memory might be faulty but oregano seeds are the size of pepper grains and can take a month to sprout. I couldn’t get them to sprout. You can get a good herb harvest from one plant.

      Vegetables need a a lot of light, especially tomatoes.

  23. stefan

    I didn’t hear the televised town hall the other day, but I did hear a radio interview with Buttigieg a week or two ago, where he faced an hour of persistent, challenging questioning. I found him interesting because he did not dole BS out of a can, instead replying with original thought seemingly produced by generative grammar.

    Buttigieg’s candidacy might be actually more than identity politics. Time will tell.

    1. CitizenGuy

      “…instead replying with original thought seemingly produced by generative grammar.”

      Maybe we should add “[x] Passes the Turing Test” to our running list of candidate qualifications. Given the breadth of our political candidates, I wouldn’t expect a 100% pass rate.

      They should run a Turing test during the televised debate. Have a 3rd party on a different site listening only to the moderator’s questions and the candidates’ responses, and try to determine if the candidate is a machine or not. Given the propensity of candidates to dodge hard questions by awkwardly seguing to their talking points, the results could be very interesting!

  24. polecat

    Who is Jessica ?? That smug mug says it all .. “I’m better that you” .. “and smarter too !”

      1. Geo

        They’ll be fine. If the jobs dry up they’ll just switch to the other side like David Brock did when Bush Jr. won.

  25. Wukchumni

    I’m also a little dubious about looking at California for a national model

    In terms of how climate change is going, our Giant Sequoia & Bristlecone Pine trees are a most excellent model, as they’ve been through 200 & 135 year droughts which didn’t faze them all that much, and while I know little about how the latter is faring, the brobdingnagians in my ‘hood seem little worse for wear, compared to lesser pines-many of which have died en masse. I’ve not seen one Sequoia of size that’s died in the usual manner of all of the sudden going tan and lifeless.

  26. polecat

    So today the weather improved enough .. after over a month of snow and freezing temps .. for the sun to shine and for the temperature the get above 40°f …. and lo and behold it’s BEE City in the polecat backyard … with even foragers bringing in some pollen !! Some even alighted on moi, to check out first-hand the bee slave ! .. truly, they are such amazing little creatures.
    It will soon be time to take a peak inside the hive for an evaluation of stores, if any, and this Spring’s feeding strategy.
    I ordered a bee package to fill an empty hive, leaving 2 others for possible swarms later.

    I’m a willing slave to my hairy-eyed harem ..

  27. The Rev Kev

    Since Biden’s name keeps coming up, thought that I would share an article I spotted a little while ago. “Multiple incidents of plagiarism helped doom Joe Biden’s first presidential run in 1988”


    You know that he will flame out so why does he even bother? Trump would make mincemeat out of Biden and his record. Might call him Çheatin’ Uncle Joe’ to get under his skin.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I agree that he wouldn’t win the election–but he could win the primaries or, since there are a lot candidates, he could be the “compromise” candidate that would pretend to be for progressive causes like Obama. I probably would not vote for him–but at least, bad as he is, he is not a nut case like Hilary Clinton.

    2. Carey

      Maybe Biden’s job with the donor class is to make certain Team Blue loses.

      “We’ll get ’em next time!”

  28. Wukchumni

    Saw my first ever business with a “we take Bitcoin” sign in the front window, @ the Mammoth Self-Serve Dog Washing place.


  29. djrichard

    I guess Facebook found Zerohedge to be redeemable after all. LoL.


    While Facebook has yet to contact us directly, they did comment with a Facebook spokesman saying that “This was a mistake with our automation to detect spam and we worked to fix it yesterday.” He added that “we use a combination of human review and automation to enforce our policies around spam and in this case, our automation incorrectly blocked this link. As soon as we identified the issue, we worked quickly to fix it.”

  30. Oregoncharles

    ” It’s not enough to have hand-marked paper ballots. You need hand-counted, too.”
    Oops. A couple of years ago, Oregon discovered that hand counters can cheat in the same way – by filling in the undervotes, in the particular case for Republicans. So “in public” is doing a lot of work in your usual formula. If the hand is quicker than the eye, it’s amazing what people can do.

    Of course, the one we know about got caught – but there was no way to know which votes on the ballots she handled were legitimate.

    And a bonus: I worry a little about a way to cheat on the mail-in ballots, too. They are validated by the voter’s signature on the outside. In a small county where everyone knows everyone else, an elections officer might well discard ballots from people they know will vote “wrong.” But I don’t know that that has happened, and again, proper supervision would prevent the problem.

    Electoral fraud far predates electronics; the famous big-city machines, mostly Democratic, were based on it. Dead people voting, that sort of thing.

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