2:00PM Water Cooler 3/15/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this Water Cooler is a little Beto and Boeing heavy, but that’s where we are right now! –lambert


“China and US make ‘concrete progress’ on trade deal text” [South China Morning Post]. • We’ll see.


“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


O’Rourke (1): “Beto O’Rourke 2020 Presidential Candidate. With Poll” [Daily Kos]. FWIW, the online poll at Kos, representative of who knows what:

Yang is higher than I would have expected.

O’Rourke (2):

The NRCC has not lost its touch. “Law-hating furry” is almost as good as “pot-smoking joy-seeker.” Not that there’s anything wrong with furries, pot, or joy.

O’Rourke (3): “It is wildly unclear whether Beto O’Rourke supports Medicare-for-all” [Vox]. “O’Rourke entered the Democratic primary Thursday, and a close reading of his policy positions on health care reveals he vacillates between Medicare-for-all as ‘the best way to ensure Americans get the health care they need’ and criticism of the Medicare-for-all plans offered. He once described writing his own Medicare-for-all plan, but so far, no such plan has been made public. His presidential campaign site doesn’t yet have a section on policy proposals.”

O’Rourke (4):

So, Kliff is wrong; O’Rourke supports Neera Tanden’s brand-confusing scheme to derail #MedicareForAll, which is what “Medicare For America” is.

O’Rourke (5): “O’Rourke says adding SCOTUS justices is worth exploring” [The Hill]. O’Rourke: “What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans and those 10 then pick five more justices independent of those who picked the first 10. I think that’s an idea we should explore.” • Um. Readers?

O’Rourke (6): “Beto O’Rourke’s Past GOP Ties Could Complicate Primary Run” [Wall Street Journal]. “Before becoming a rising star in the Democratic Party, Beto O’Rourke relied on a core group of business-minded Republicans in his Texas hometown to launch and sustain his political career. To win their backing, Mr. O’Rourke opposed Obamacare, voted against Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader and called for a raise in the Social Security eligibility age.” • Admirably flexible.

O’Rourke (7): “Beto O’Rourke frequently voted for Republican legislation, analysis reveals” [Guardian]. “[E]ven as O’Rourke represented one of the most solidly Democratic congressional districts in the United States, he has frequently voted against the majority of House Democrats in support of Republican bills and Trump administration priorities. Capital & Main reviewed the 167 votes O’Rourke has cast in the House in opposition to the majority of his own party during his six-year tenure in Congress. Many of those votes were not progressive dissents alongside other left-leaning lawmakers, but instead votes to help pass Republican-sponsored legislation. O’Rourke has voted for GOP bills that his fellow Democratic lawmakers said reinforced Republicans’ anti-tax ideology, chipped away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), weakened Wall Street regulations, boosted the fossil fuel industry and bolstered Donald Trump’s immigration policy.” • Note the source: “fellow Democratic lawmakers.” O’Rourke is, perhaps, no better liked than Cruz?

O’Rourke (8): “Beto’s ‘unity’ narcissism” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “It takes enormous self-regard to run for president, but truly titanic narcissism to think one can bridge America’s partisan divides through force of personality. It turns out that conservatives have deep ideological disagreements with liberals and leftists about how the country should be governed. The way to get past them is to defeat them.”

O’Rourke (9): “Beto Got $430,000 From Individuals in Oil and Gas. Should We Care?” [Sludge]. “Based on detailed campaign finance data provided to me by the Center for Responsive Politics, the organization that operates the OpenSecrets website, I’ve found that of the $430,000 that O’Rourke’s Senate campaign received from individuals who work in the oil and gas industry, 75 percent has come in the form of “large” donations over $200. The donors include more than two dozen oil and gas executives. More than 30 donations were the maximum allowed amount of $2,700. But the Texas representative also took in tons of small donations of $200 and under. I also found that O’Rourke broke the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge—a commitment to reject campaign donations over $200 from fossil fuel PACs and executives that was endorsed by 16 environmental groups—which he signed.” • From 2018, still well worth a read.

O’Rourke (10): “Beto O’Rourke’s secret membership in America’s oldest hacking group” (!) [Reuters]. “The hugely influential Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named after an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse, is notorious for releasing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft’s Windows. It’s also known for inventing the word ‘hacktivism’ to describe human-rights-driven security work. Members of the group have protected O’Rourke’s secret for decades, reluctant to compromise his political viability. Now, in a series of interviews, CDC members have acknowledged O’Rourke as one of their own…. There is no indication that O’Rourke ever engaged in the edgiest sorts of hacking activity… ‘There’s just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you’re doing it,’ O’Rourke said. ‘I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.'” • “Profound value.” Nice timing by Reuters and whoever fed them this, though.

And lighter Beto fare:

O’Rourke (11), a photo from Beto’s coffee shop announcement:

O’Rourke (12), needing gas money (very relatable):

NOTE: No announcement of his first-day fundraising totals.



“Democrats upset over Omar seeking primary challenger” [The Hill]. “Several party leaders said they have had discussions about finding a candidate to take on Omar, just two months into her first term in Congress. But even those who were deeply offended by Omar’s comments about Israel concede they have not yet found anyone to challenge her.” • So all that “Listen to Black women” was just for the rubes, I guess…

2016 Post Mortem

“How Trump’s Brand of Grievance Politics Roiled a Pennsylvania Campaign” [New York Times]. “Here, among Republicans in the northeastern Pennsylvania region that has suffered with the gutting of the steel industry and the ravages of the opioid crisis, Mr. Trump’s language is endlessly repeated…. Over a bowl of stuffed pepper soup, [Frank Scavo Jr.] cited a statistic that is notorious among the group: that nonwhite Americans were expected to outnumber whites in the coming decades.” • That statistic is also, in fact, “notorious” among Democrat consultants and strategists. The “coalition of the ascendant” is an article of faith in the Democrat establishment, invented and propagated by Ruy Teixeira, and the reason Democrats believe they don’t need to change; demographics will bring their voters to them, so policy doesn’t matter, and identity politics does. But did they seriously expect there would be no, er, reaction?

Realignment and Legitimacy

[Montgomery Advertiser]. “SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement Dees’ dismissal over his misconduct was effective on Wednesday, March 13. When pressed for details on what led to the termination, the organization declined to elaborate…. Over the years, the SPLC has continued to amass massive funds from donors amid differing levels of scrutiny. The nonprofit has hundreds of employees and offices in four states. The organization had nearly $450 million in net assets, according to publicly available tax documents filed for 2017.” • Hmm.

Stats Watch


Manufacturing: “Boeing’s 737 Max Problems Put $600 Billion in Orders at Risk” [Bloomberg]. “Boeing Co.’s $600 billion-plus order book for its 737 Max began shaking after several big customers threatened to reconsider their purchases in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the second deadly accident involving the plane since October…. VietJet Aviation JSC, which doubled its order to about $25 billion only last month, said it will decide on its future plans once the cause of the tragedy has been found. Kenya Airways Plc is reviewing proposals to buy the Max and could switch to Airbus SE’s rival A320. Russia’s Utair Aviation PJSC is seeking guarantees before taking delivery of the first of 30 planes.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing faces mounting pressure as more countries ground Boeing 737 Max” [Xinhua]. “U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing’s efforts to defend the safety of its jets backfired Wednesday as the U.S. government bowed to international pressure to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft…. ‘Given that two accidents both involved the newly delivered Boeing 737-8 planes and happened during the take-off phase, they had some degree of similarity,’ China’s Civil Aviation Administration said on its website, adding that the move was in line with the principle of zero tolerance for safety hazards. ‘China has an excellent safety track record in civil aviation. In part, it comes from an absolute willingness to take decisions like these, even if it seems an overly cautious use of the powers,’ Gordon Orr, a senior adviser to McKinsey China, said on the social network LinkedIn.” • Ouch.

Manufacturing: “Bjorn’s Corner: The Ethiopian Airline’s Flight 302 crash” [Leeham News and Analysis (SS)]. “The Seattle Times today wrote the horizontal stabilizer trim system, a jackscrew which pushes the horizontal stabilizer up or down, has been found at the crash site. Apparently, it was in the full nose down position. This should point to this being another MCAS accident, with the aircraft’s powerful pitch trim going to full nose down position.” SS comments:

If the elevator is in this position, nothing the pilot can do with the stick can overcome this. The plane will fly into the ground. MCAS would have to be turned off, and apparently in the noise and confusion of the evolving disaster, this is too hard to do

Leeham continues on issues with the original MCAS software design:

There are several areas of question marks over Boeing’s problems with the 737 MAX’s sensors and stability augmentation system:

It’s strange the AoA [Angle of Attack] signal to the Air data computer gets corrupted on brand new aircraft with only months between presumably two cases of it happening.

It’s also strange there were no balances or checks in the system to check the signals were correct and not erroneous. The signals were used to trigger powerful and potentially dangerous functions in the flight control system.

Finally, it’s strange how MCAS was allowed to trim the horizontal tailplane full nose down. It’s not needed to fulfill its intended stabilizing function in a remote part of the flight envelope. By allowing this to happen, MCAS can overpower the pilot’s elevator control and render the aircraft uncontrollable.

I’d love to see the requirements document for MCAS. Presumably in the lawsuits to come, we will…..

Manufacturing: “Boeing overhauls quality controls: more high-tech tracking but fewer inspectors” [Seattle Times (JO)]. From January, still germane: “one element of what Boeing is calling its “Quality Transformation” has unnerved the Machinists union and current quality inspectors: The company told the union last month it will eliminate thousands of quality checks as no longer necessary. Boeing said it will cut about 450 quality-inspector positions this year and potentially a similar number in 2020. In the Puget Sound region, there are currently just over 3,000 Boeing Quality Inspectors, who typically work as a second set of eyes. For each of the tens of thousands of jobs that go into assembling an airplane, they formally sign off that it has been completed and done right. By the end of next year, Boeing’s plan would bring that down to not many more than 2,000 people.” More: “Boeing envisions a new streamlined production system that builds every component and performs every task without defects from the get-go — “built right first time” — so there’s no need for every last detail to be inspected afterward. The model is the high-volume auto-manufacturing industry… To convince the FAA, Boeing has compiled data on how it is reducing defects.” But if the data is bad? “FAA investigators substantiated a complaint by a whistleblower working at Boeing’s Electrical Systems center inside the Everett plant. They found that quality inspectors had issued final acceptances on some wire bundles, although afterward Boeing employees reworked the wiring to fix defects, without writing a record of the work.” • “[N]o need for every last detail to be inspected.” I understand the use of statistical sampling for quality control. But if crooks are gaming the samples?

* * *

JOLTS, January 2019: “Job openings keep rising and employers are increasingly scrambling to fill them” [Econoday]. “Today’s report also includes a sharp upward revision to December… Year-on-year, openings are up 21.7 percent which dwarfs the 4.2 percent rise in hires. According to the text books, separation like this points to the risk of an inflationary flashpoint for wages which in fact have been showing visible traction in recent months. One indication of inflationary risk that Federal Reserve policy makers watch closely is the quits data in this report, rising … to indicate no more than moderate mobility in the labor force, that is workers seeking higher pay moving from one employer to another. ” • Can’t have that.

Industrial Production, February 2019: “If it wasn’t for a weather-related boost for utilities, industrial production would have been in the negative column of a second month in a row” [Econoday]. “[I]t’s manufacturing and whether the sector, outward facing as it is toward the global economy, is at risk of sinking into the negative column this year. This may not be an exaggeration based on a second month of contraction for production…. Indications on business equipment from the capital goods components in the separately released durable goods data were very weak going into year-end though they did pop back up in January, a fact which points to a better performance for business equipment in this report in the months ahead. Yet searching for positives is an indication of trouble and that is becoming an established theme for the factory sector.”

Empire State Manufacturing Survey, March 2019: “Diminishing growth is a now common theme among many of the regional manufacturing reports” [Econoday]. “The general outlook for the sample remains favorable yet… is a little less favorable than February. Manufacturing data have been wobbling since late last year with occasional strong showings the exception and mixed in with plenty of soft ones. Today’s report won’t be lifting expectations”

Consumer Sentiment, March 2019: “The consumer sentiment index easily beat expectations” [Econoday]. “Economic data, led by last week’s marginal gain in the employment report, have been mostly disappointing of late making today’s results especially important, results that hint at better strength for consumer spending.”

Banks: “Regulator Warns of ‘Panic’ Risk From Money-Laundering Scandals” [Bloomberg]. “Once considered the safest of them all, Nordic banks are now navigating a world dominated by allegations of laundering…. Nordic banks underpin the entire financial system across the Baltic region… The money laundering scandal has engulfed not only Nordic and Baltic banks, but also their regulators. The financial watchdogs of Denmark and Estonia are both being investigated by the European Banking Authority to find out whether they should have done more to prevent the Danske scandal. In Sweden, the head of the FSA has stepped away from the case because of a potential conflict of interest, due to his relationship with a Swedbank board member. The banks to have suffered the worst investor exodus are Danske and Swedbank.” • Some damned thing in the Baltic?

The Bezzle: “OxyContin’s maker is accused of fueling the opioid epidemic. Its new overdose antidote was just fast-tracked by the FDA” [CNN]. It’s brilliant, a classic self-licking ice cream cone: Create an epidemic of addiction, then sell the antidote! (That Harvard still has the Sackler name on the Arthur M. Sackler museum is a telling symbol of their institutional priorities. The Harvard Museums don’t seem to give out their email addresses. Here is their contact information, such as it is.)

The Bezzle: “Americans Still Fear Self-Driving Cars” [Bloomberg]. “Seven in 10 Americans don’t want to go anywhere near self-driving cars. The portion of Americans who fear autonomous vehicles—71 percent in the American Automobile Association’s latest survey—is virtually unchanged from a year ago and up eight percentage points from 2017. While public skepticism isn’t new, its consistency is noteworthy…. There’s been virtually no increase in public acceptance even as automakers and tech giants are pouring billions into driverless technology…. Putting children or family members into a fully self-driving car? Only 19 percent of those surveyed would be comfortable with that.”

The Bezzle: “SEC charges Volkswagen, former CEO Martin Winterkorn with lying to investors” [USA Today]. “The Wall Street regulatory agency accused the German automaker of defrauding investors by selling bonds at inflated prices and lying to them about the state of the company. The accusations cover actions from April 2014 to May 2015. The scandal was first publicized in September 2015.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla’s Lack of ‘One More Thing’ Moment Underwhelms Wall Street” [Bloomberg]. “The string of disappointments for Tesla Inc. investors continued after the much-anticipated Model Y unveil was largely found to be underwhelming…. Tesla did announce what it promised. A crossover vehicle that is largely similar to the Model 3, so it allows the company to keep a lid on the price. Production, as expected, will not begin until 2020, which some say might get pushed out to 2021. Yet, the market was expecting more – a ‘one more thing’ moment – a la Apple Inc’s Steve Jobs. ‘There was no ‘one more thing’ – nothing incremental to get the Tesla bulls excited. No updates on self driving, mobility as a service, etc.,’ Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne wrote in a note to clients.” • There is, however, a $2500 deposit. So the rollout looks more like crowdfunding than anything else.

The Bezzle: “Facebook is being abandoned by top executives. Here’s everyone who has left since the Cambridge Analytica catastrophe last year.” [Business Insider]. List of names and bios. This one is interesting: “Chris Cox joined Facebook in 2005. He helped build some of the social network’s most recognisable features, such as the news feed. His departure signalled a major reshuffle at the company’s highest levels following Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he was going to make the company more privacy-focused… No one will be filling Cox’s shoes as chief product officer, and instead, the heads of Facebook’s various apps will report directly to Zuckerberg.” Hmm. I suppose Steve Jobs was a CEO and a chief product officer. I don’t think Zuckerberg is a Steve Jobs.

The Bezzle: “Bird lays off up to 5% of workforce” [TechCrunch]. “Electric scooter startup Bird has laid off between four to five percent of its workforce…. The layoffs were part of Bird’s annual performance review process and only affected U.S.-based employees… Despite the layoffs, Bird is actively looking to hire for more than 100 positions throughout the company… Bird has raised more than $400 million in funding to date and is reportedly in the midst of raising an additional $300 million.”

Tech: “Tech giants’ free pass means they haven’t innovated in years” [Sky News]. “According to estimates by Tommaso Valletti, chief economist at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, since 2001 Google has acquired over 200 smaller firms, swallowing up one every 18 days in the years since 2010… Some it turned into products: Google Maps and Google Earth, for instance. Many others just disappeared. For Google, both results are wins – either it grows its market share, or it eliminates a potential competitor. At Facebook, Amazon and Apple it’s just the same. Far from innovating themselves, these companies have been buying innovation at a furious rate. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa both started life as independent startups, as, famously, did Facebook’s Instagram and WhatsApp.” • Interestingly, uses business class vs. economy as the structuring trope. More: “Silicon Valley firms were thought to possess a special power. Unlike ordinary companies, it was believed, they were innovative. In fact, they were mostly just rich.”

Tech: “Amazon gets an edge with its secret squad of PhD economists” [CNN]. “Amazon is now a large draw from the relatively small talent pool of PhD economists, which in the United States grows by about only 1,000 new graduates every year. Although the definition of “economist” is fuzzy, the discipline is generally understood as the study of how people use resources and respond to incentives. In the past few years, Amazon has hired more than 150 PhD economists, making it probably the largest employer in the field behind institutions like the Federal Reserve, which has hundreds of economists on staff. It was the only company with a recruiting booth at the American Economics Association’s annual conference in January, handing out free pens and logoed stress balls.” • Oddly, or not, mainstream economics works very well for Amazon, and very badly for the rest of us.

Tech: (unrolled thread) [Hemant Mohapatra]. “So @lyft is paying $8m/mo to @AWS — almost $100m/yr! Each ride costs $.14 in AWS rent. I keep hearing they could build their own DC & save. My early days at @Google cloud, heard the same from customers: “at scale, owning is cheaper”. It wasn’t – they all came around. Here’s why.” • Lots of interesting detail on what owning and running a data center implies.

The Biosphere

“Thousands of scientists are backing the kids striking for climate change” [Nature]. “In about 1,700 cities in more than 100 countries — from Nepal to Vanuatu — thousands of young people are planning to walk out of schools to demand that adults do more to combat climate change… The day is set to be the biggest moment yet for a grassroots movement that has developed into a global phenomenon in only a few months. Most protestors — including Nakate — have been inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who kick-started the movement when she began regularly walking out of classes in August 2018 to sit outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm with a sign reading ‘school strike for climate’… ‘You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes,’ [Thunberg] said in a speech at the 2018 United Nations climate conference in Katowice, Poland.” • And she’s not wrong, is she?

“California declared totally drought free for first time in seven years” [Reuters]. “California was declared totally drought free for the first time in more than seven years on Thursday, following unusually abundant winter rains and snowfall statewide, according to the government’s weekly report on U.S. drought conditions… The U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest survey reflected an astonishing turnaround – at least for now – from a severe, prolonged dry spell that reduced irrigation supplies to farmers, forced strict household conservation measures and stoked a spate of deadly, devastating wildfires.”

“Well-bred daphnes are a victory for common scents” [Financial Times]. “The warm English weather in late February was exceptional and amazingly lovely. Magnolias came into flower about five weeks early. Hyacinths coincided with early crocuses. There has never been such a transition between winter and spring and the effects were too beautiful to be worth worrying about. Who knows what will await those flowers which obediently open in April? Storms and frosts may ruin them all anyway. As a spectacle this early season was heavenly. It was also wonderfully scented. Flowers’ scents are released most freely when the temperature drops after a warm sunny day. In this unique season, days of summery heat cooled sharply in late afternoon and provoked a haze of scent in well-planted gardens.” • “Unique” season? Perhaps not.

“GOP lawmaker: Green New Deal is like genocide” [Axios]. “Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said the ideas behind the progressive policy are ‘tantamount to genocide. That may be an overstatement but not by a whole lot,’ Bishop said at a press conference Thursday morning on Capitol Hill.” • Hoo boy.

“Eco-fascism: The ideology marrying environmentalism and white supremacy thriving online” [New Statesman]. “Although eco-fascism can manifest in different ways (just like any umbrella ideology), there are consistent sets of beliefs that crop up among eco-fascists. They include veganism, anti-multiculturalism, white nationalism, anti-single use plastic, anti-Semitism, and, almost always, a passionate interest in Norse mythology. Most Twitter profiles of self-defining eco-fascists are a bespoke cocktail of alt-right memes, pictures of forests and cabins, hatred towards Jews, and rants about animal rights. Between calls for a racial purity and plastic bans, most accounts have tweets or retweets honouring Thor, celebrating Tyr Day, or glorifying Sunna, the Norse Sun Goddess.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Facebook, Axios And NBC Paid This Guy To Whitewash Wikipedia Pages” [HuffPo]. “This guy” is Ed Sussman, a former head of digital for Fast Company and Inc.com. “The vast majority of the people who propose and make changes to Wikipedia are volunteers. A few people, however, have figured out how to manipulate Wikipedia’s supposedly neutral system to turn a profit. That’s Sussman’s business. And in just the past few years, companies including Axios, NBC, Nextdoor and Facebook’s PR firm have all paid him to manipulate public perception using a tool most people would never think to check… Although he’s only technically allowed to suggest changes on a subject’s Talk page, Sussman has an impressive track record of getting edits approved on behalf of his clients.”

Class Warfare

“States where income inequality is causing the middle class to disappear” [USA Today]. State rankings. Interestingly, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont are first, second, and third.

News of the Wired

“The Sound of Evil” [The American Scholar]. “Like many movie trends, the musical murderer cliché was born of genius. The trope’s historical roots trace back to two landmark films. Fritz Lang’s M (1931) introduced the trait in serial killer Hans Beckert, who whistles Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” while stalking his victims. But Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) truly enshrined the phenomenon in the cultural consciousness. Its iconoclastic score rewrote the rules of cinema soundtracks by mixing graphic violence with serene symphonic classics. Gentle melodies from Purcell and Beethoven accompanied brutal acts of rape and torture carried out by the protagonist’s gang.” • So the crapification started with Kubrick, right at the beginning of the neoliberal era…

“The easiest way to lucid dream, according to science” [Quartz]. From 2018, surely still germane? “[O]ne of the most mysterious faculties of the human mind [is] to know that we’re dreaming even while asleep, a state known as lucid dreaming. In the study I published with colleagues at the University of Adelaide, the best technique turned out to be something called Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD), originally developed in the 1970s by the American psychophysiologist Stephen LaBerge. It involves the following steps…” which you can read. More: “Aside from the sheer joy of being able to bend an imaginary world to your will, there’s a range of additional psychological benefits to lucid dreaming. For one, it can help with nightmares: Simply knowing that you’re dreaming often brings relief during a nasty episode. You might also be able to use dreams to process trauma: confronting what’s haunting you, making peace with an attacker, escaping the situation by flying away, or even just waking up. Other potential applications include practicing sporting skills by night, having more ‘active’ participants for studies about sleep and dreaming, and the pursuit of creative inspiration.” • Do any readers practice lucid dreaming? Do these benefits exist? I must say, “practicing sporting skills by night” seems a little bathetic.

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

Oooh, a lovely ice storm!

* * *

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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. diptherio

    “California declared totally drought free for first time in seven years”

    I believe that’s what you call a dead cat bounce. Water use will skyrocket once rationing is lifted, next year will be dry, and things will be back to the new normal in no time. Not that I’m cynical…

    1. jo6pac

      As a Calli person what you’re saying is very true. The overlords in the silly valley are going on a building orgy but really don’t have water needed in the very near future. Then again what do I know being a poor serf;-)

      1. Summer

        I keep seeing bond initiatives on ballots for water projects.

        But then again, every year there have been bonds about funding schools too.

    2. Sanxi

      And summer has it happened yet. With the current very wired acting El Niño I expect it to be very warm, for a very long time, with no rain. Extremes are not good.

    3. RUKidding

      Aaaand once again, we don’t have enough dams or whatever to cache a lot of the precipitation that we’ve had. And it’s likely that the dams we do have will have to do big releases this spring – so that the water flows right out into the sea. And then we’ll be back to drought once again.

      Lather, rinse, repeat.

    4. JBird4049

      Not that I’m cynical…

      Don’t blame you.

      California has been reducing its rate of water use since at leas the 1970s during that decade’s drought. Between the new laws, regulations, and the response of most in emergencies to change have worked very well. Adding the local water agencies acting like a health agency during an epidemic with the authority and ability to do what it sees fit. Basically, rights, what rights? Strict limits, billing water like the graduated income taxes with notices, fines, and then cut offs, first temporary and then permanently for overuse. However, most people and businesses were and have been conscientious.

      The problems are the following listed with increasing importance:

      entitled wealthy babies, most of whom cannot see why they have to change, (rolling my eyes here)
      too many Californians,
      businesses especially agribusinesses that waste vast amounts of water,
      the water barons that ultimately control the use of most of the water use for the entire state of California.

      The water barons want most of the water directed towards agriculture and towards the most profitable crops, which is now the very, very thirsty almond tree. Most of California’s water already goes to farming. If the ground water has to be drained depriving many small towns and poor communities of water and the rivers all diverted to farming that is fine with them.

      Fortunately, the large metropolitan areas like the Bay Area and L.A. have the numbers to stop their water being stolen, which only leaves the remaining ten to twenty million remaining Californians to die. Thinks of a gigantic Flint, Michigan having to ship in their water. But hey, they are mostly poor and don’t have the money for donations and the concentrated numbers to fight off Sacramento so they don’t count.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Almonds . . . almonds . . . where do most of California’s almonds go? Is it really necessary to grow a high-water-use crop like almonds in California?

        Maybe not!

        Jung Seed claims to sell two varieties of almond which it claims were developed in Ukraine.


        If these trees are all Jung claims, and they can truly function in the parts of Ukraine where winter gets cold, then they might indeed function over much of the Eastern US. In which case, 50 million suburbanites could have their 2 almond trees apiece in their own yards, and orchardists could grow orchard amounts of almonds with lower-than-California level expenses.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Where do most of California’s almonds go

          As of 2017:

          From the same source, California agricultural exports:

          Almonds dominate, but it looks like the water barons are growing “luxury foods,” as it were. The only necessity on the list is rice. People can, I think, do without almonds, or walnuts, or wine (very sadly, all good foods, but is they the highest and best use of our water? Especially our groundwater? Paging Michael Burry!).

          1. JBird4049

            Spain abandoned ( destroyed ) of its agriculture starting in the 70s because its limited water can be more profitably used elsewhere such as resorts for the wealthy. So it imports more of its food including almonds. The almonds coming from California are helping to the desertification of the state.

            So to restate, one state is desertifying a large part of its centuries old agricultural land because it is more profitable to use the water in such things as tourism and luxury coastal communities; another state is desertifying itself to ship replacement crops especially in almonds because Profits.

            This is just insane.

          2. BlakeFelix

            I think rice is high calorie, but I don’t know if it’s really that good for people. Give me tomatoes over rice any day! Especially in California, almonds are hard to grow, rice is grown in tons of places. Hay was the most water for least value last I looked at it, and alfalfa that got shipped to China for pig food.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            I have always side-stepped a hard choice ( water or almonds?) if I can. And for personal use and limited amounts, Ukrainian almonds may allow some of us to sidestep that hard choice. 50 million suburbanites planting two Ukrainian almond trees apiece would be a hundred million Ukrainian almond trees.

            Rain/snow watered Ukrainian almonds in Eastern/ Midwestern commercial orchards would permit small but real amounts of almonds. Not like the industrial almond mines in California, but those will end when the water ends. . . . in California. Likewise for wine and walnuts. Small but real amounts of them can be grown without irrigation in the East/ Midwest.

            That chart was very interesting, not least in what it shows about how information can be presented visually. One hopes that has been done for every major California agri-export.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          I have two of those “Jungian” almonds planted in my Rust Belt city yard. They’re two years old now. They’re in a very sheltered side yard between our house and the neighbor’s, and seem to handle our winters well enough so far. They’re supposed to bloom late enough to avoid a late frost, so we’ll see what they do this year.

          If I get a nice bloom out of them this year, I’ll try to send a pic.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            That would be welcome, I should think. And reports of almonds themselves coming from the trees in future years would also be good.

    5. Wukchumni

      The drought is over, but the subsidence from Big Tree Ag relying on water exclusively from the bowels of the earth is now being felt…

      And it doesn’t matter how much precipitation we get, as none of it is going to replace water taken from a thousand feet down, it’s just a compacted void.

      A bill introduced last week by state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, proposes to take $400 million from California’s General Fund to fix the canal. Canal users have already contributed about $2 million toward the repair effort, while the federal government has invested about $7.4 million.

      Also, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, last week proposed a bill that would free up additional money for canal repairs and other California water infrastructure by redirecting unspent federal money that had been set aside for the California High-Speed Rail Project.

      Probably the least expensive option, estimated to cost $150 million to $250 million, would expand the canal’s upper portion — the part visible from the surface — from about 60 feet to as much as double that width, but only along the 25-mile problem section.

      An alternative approach, estimated to cost about $400 million, would be to build a nearly identical canal adjacent to the existing one in the areas that have experienced the most subsidence.


      1. JBird4049

        It is not just the slurping up of the deep underground water. I think most water wells are much shorter. It is the large agribusinesses that are building those deep wells.

        Wouldn’t the destruction of the very large, even vast wetlands, the paving over of much of the farmland, and the extirpation of the beaver all help to stop even the slow filling of the deep underground aquifers or even just the upper levels?

        Somehow I don’t think unpaving most of the Bay Area, or Los Angeles, is possible although we could probably make a better effort of recreating some wetlands. Beavers are something we could do as they are great at making ponds, small lakes, streams, even wetlands making the land into a large sponge. They used to live everywhere in California in large numbers except in the southeast and I’m not too worried about the Mohave Desert or Death Valley. They use to store much of the water coming down. Since the mountain ice packs which act as the summer reservoir are shrinking, California could use more beavers.

        The unintended consequences of our actions as well as their knockdown effects are serious, and often not obvious.

        The large multi county wetlands, full of the birds, elk, deer, wolves, bears with the omnipresence of the beavers which helped to create the wetlands that supported them, that attracted the settlement of and destruction by Americans. Those wetlands used to support the farms.

        The oyster pirates that extirpated the oysters that kept the Bay’s water clean, as well as fed the locals. The damning of the rivers which threatens the salmon whose spawning are needed to fertilize the upland river system which are also supports the forests throughout the Rockies. The large Redwood forests, heck the forests generally, which helped to moderate the climate and not only encouraged local rainfall, but also stored it as well.

        Please note that it wasn’t just the damning, or farming or hunting, or even building cities, but the uncontrolled amount of it everywhere in the state. The population growth was going to cause damage, but it is as if we decided to do our growth in about the worst ways possible. It is not just the presence of large number us that is really the problem, but it is in such as the suicidally damaging growing of almonds because money. However, it is not profitable to use long term thinking. That’s socialism or something.

        1. Wukchumni

          Don’t think it was merely Big Ag in a drag race from the bottom, here’s a tale of whoa from ag-adjacent, right smack dab in the worst time of the drought in 2015

          The article cleverly tells you that the existing wells @ 600 feet went dry, and they had to go to 1,100 feet. You see that’s the untold tale of what went down, in this case with a $1.5 million price tag to the county, imagine how many peaches you’d have to grow to make that nut even if it was pistachios instead, and you were Big Ag with hundreds of tapped out wells, too many ‘plastic straws’ punched into the ground.

          Tulare County supervisors approved on Tuesday paying an additional $260,660 to extend the depth of a newly-drilled well at the Bob Wiley Detention Facility north of Visalia.

          It’s part of a $1.5 million project to drill three new wells at county facilities — two at the jail and one at Mooney Grove Park on Visalia’s south end.

          The primary well of three at Bob Wiley failed earlier this year, and the two remaining were at risk of failing, too, because of the Valley’s severe drought. Those wells supply water for Bob Wiley and two other county jails — the neighboring Adult Pre-trial Facility and Men’s Correctional Facility — along with the inmate-operated jail farm.

          After studying depths of other wells in the area and drilling a 900-foot test hole on the jail property, it was determined that the domestic well needed to be extended an additional 500 feet, said John Hess, assistant director of Tulare County’s General Services Division.

          “1,100 feet is pretty deep. There are people who have gone to 1,200 and gotten salt water,” in the area, he said.


            1. Wukchumni

              What it’s telling you, is the underground safety net of unlimited water is coming to an end. most of the fruit and nut trees planted last only 30-40 years usually anyway, so similar to an oil well, you get all you can out of it, and then shut r’ down.

              Think of the firewood potential for all of those almond trees suffering from a lack of H20 in 2025 and no longer alive, take a small bundle, shrink wrap it for easy carrying, and get $5.99 from a city rube?

              Profits, bay-bee. That’s all that counts.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          How much of the oceans’ current rise in sea level might be due to decades of extracting “fossil” water from deep or super-deep underground and re-injecting it into the right-on-the-surface water cycle? Have we de-aquifered and put back into play enough ground water so as to measurably add to the water in the sea?

          And how much less skywater which falls on the land now stays on the land like it used to? How much of it runs right downhill to the ocean now? Now that half the wetlands are gone, the 500 million beavers with their 500 million ponds are gone, millions of acres of farmland are tiled to drain all the subsoil water fast fast fast out off the farm and into the ocean?

          1. JBird4049

            So we are busily turning the half of California that is not a desert into one. One big beautiful state of dry ground, desiccated forest, grasslands, and farmlands with a population of forty million and at least ¼ in isolated communities like Paradise. At least the Very Important People have their helicopters and personal jets.

            Burn baby, burn.

      2. Tom Doak

        One of the reasons water use laws are so bad is that government is afraid to write good ones for fear of being accused of “rationing,” which would lead to accusations of “socialism”.

        Instead, in a drought many states cut back water use to a % of historical use … which causes many business users to chronically OVERWATER so they can live with 50% of normal. (sigh)

    1. RUKidding

      Wow. I’m saddened to learn this. Sometimes drastic measures like this are called for, but not always.

      1. Cal2

        The cat keeps burying the Southern Poverty Law Center in kittylitter no matter how much it tries to pop up and raise more fear-money.

        “The SPLC has been crazily denouncing highly respected writers who are Muslim, black, and female for being anti-Muslim, anti-black, and misogynist. All of these contrived charges are in the service of the SPLC’s core mission, which is to separate progressives from their dollars.

        “Founded in 1971, the Alabama-based SPLC, dubbed “essentially a fraud” by Ken Silverstein in a blog post for Harper’s back in 2010, discovered some time ago that it could line its coffers by positioning itself as a scourge of racists. Silverstein reported that in 1987, after the SPLC sued the United Klans of America, which had almost no assets to begin with, over the lynching murder of Michael Donald…but the SPLC used the matter in fundraising appeals (including one that exploited a photograph of Donald’s corpse) that raked in some $9 million in donations. Today the SPLC typically hauls in (as it did in 2015) $50 million. In its 2016 annual report it listed its net endowment assets at an eye-popping $319 million.


  2. Samuel Conner

    This is surely highly tin-foily (a remote part of the conspiracy envelope), but (remembering an old sci-fi yarn, “The Cold Cash War”) I wonder whether “corporate sabotage” might conceivably be in view in Boeing’s woes.

    But then I remind myself that one should generally not attribute to “malice” that which can equally well be explained by garden-variety “stupidity” and “avarice”.

    1. marku52

      I think its mostly the case of management at every fork in the design process taking the cheap, quick and dirty way out of responding to Airbus’ new very fuel efficient plane.

      New plane design? (737 is 30 years old)? Nope.
      Taller landing gear? (would require change to the wings) Nope.
      Huh, doesn’t fly as well with the new engines. We’ll fix it in software!!

      Carefully design and test the software? Make it robust to sensor error? Nope.

      Rush it out the door, bury it in the docs, and hope no one notices it.

      The interesting question is once the new “fix” is released, and the FAA blesses it (which you know they will), what does the rest of the world do? They’ve already shown that they don’t trust the FAA anymore by rest of world grounding the Max, and eventually forcing the FAA to act.

      “Why would I trust you now?” seems a very valid question.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well . . . the foreign air-safety authorities and airlines who have excluded Boeing 737 MAX from their airspace at least until this is resolved have preserved their legitimacy by just that much. And if they express ongoing disatisfaction with a rushed-out-the-door “patch” on the built-in-nosedive feature by keeping the MAX out of their jurisdictions and fleets, then they will be retaining their just-that-much legitimacy for just-that-much longer.

          Will they be satisfied with: ” Here’s a Free fire extinguisher to go with your Ford Pinto. Have a nice day.”

      1. notabanker

        That’s exactly why this is a huge problem. The international damage is already done. It’s one thing to have to outmaneuver Google and Facebook and IBM and and and because the Americans won’t do it, but when planes start falling from the sky some lines will be drawn. China has more of these planes than anyone.

      2. Darius

        Boeing acts like the defense contractor it is. Cutting corners is a way of life. Just spread the manufacturing around to as many congressional districts as possible and pile on the campaign contributions.

        1. JBird4049

          Which works until you cannot sell those winged bricks. It doesn’t matter how many congresscritters you people just won’t pay to make flaming holes in the ground. Perhaps they got too interested in the F35 as a viable business model.

          1. JBird4049

            I don’t know. I do know that the military has an unfortunate habit of blaming their air crews for the defect caused crashes and often ignoring complaints; kinda sucks when that jet fighter pilot can’t oxygen; do not forget that the goal is to make money for the lobbyists, management, including the generals’ and admirals’ retirement, and is not on providing a safe, effective and reliable product. As long as the paychecks, bonuses, bribes loans, cushy jobs, and other perks with the inevitable disaster and blame happening elsewhere. Like the non-Western “backward” country that has the crash.

            The latest Boeing is supposed to fly just good enough or not too catastrophically with the least cost to the manufacturer. The F35 is supposed to fly just good enough to fake all the rigged tests while costing as much as they can get away with. Both make money by being crap. The lives of the people using them don’t matter. Lose the five hundred passengers or the war hopefully after everyone has been paid.

            There are Americans doing decades in prison for selling pot, or shooting their rapist, or robbing a house. The management who gave their approval for these inevitable deaths to fatten their already fat paychecks should do life. I don’t believe in the death penalty and life is almost always wrong, but sometimes it is difficult to not believe so.

      3. The Rev Kev

        So let me get this right. In order to save hundreds of millions of dollars of development costs, they chintzed the whole thing with a software kludge so now they have $600 billion worth of contracts at risk? Sounds legit. Somebody give them a bailout.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Not quite. As I understand it, Boeing originally wanted to replace the 737 with a new narrow-body single-aisle design. The delayed and over-budget 787 meant that Boeing couldn’t design and launch a new aircraft in time to compete with the re-engined Airbus 320, and so they went with giving the 737 yet another upgrade. So in some ways the 737 MAX debacle is a knock-on effect from the earlier 787 debacle. Remember that plane was grounded because of battery fires? “First slowly, then at once.”

      4. Robert McGregor

        @marku52, “We’ll fix it in software!!” Yeah, could we say that Neoliberals overestimate software? I believe they overestimate its current utility and underestimate it’s current cost. In Tyler Cowen terms, Software is Overrated! You have an aerodynamic problem with a plane . . . write a subroutine to fix it. Yeah, right!

        “Boeing’s 737 Max Problems Put $600 Billion in Orders at Risk”

        I wonder if Boeing wonders now if maybe they should have spent more money up front on a better design. And the funny thing is, a good design only has to be paid for once.

        Why does this remind me of the F-35?

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Boeing thought this could have happened, Boeing would be working very hard to trace this behavior back to its perpetrator roots and do something to make it very known to the people who buy and fly planes, even if not to the rest of us in the general public.

      Now if that still happens and comes out, I will revise my whole thinking. But for now this still looks like a “Ford Pinto” deal on the part of Boeing’s Head Deciders In Charge.

  3. anon y'mouse

    i don’t know that i would count Kubrick in “crapification”. his masterful use of music, image and humour in A Clockwork Orange makes the audience complicit in the crimes carried out on screen. you are soothed, lulled and find the horror of the acts lessened. they finally become funny and interesting. i personally believe he was doing a very slick thing–using the power of music and image in the way that a Loony Tunes cartoon did, in order to make the audience side with someone who is essentially a sociopath, running a gang of psychopaths. Alec becomes Bugs Bunny. we end up crying when he cries. otherwise the rest of the movie does not really work on us (we would side with the doctors trying to brainwash him out of his problems).

    no wonder Burgess hated that film.

    1. Carolinian

      Maybe it’s just a bad movie. Stephen King hated The Shining. Thackeray, were he still around, probably wouldn’t have thought much of Barry Lyndon.

      On the other hand Lolita is generally considered a very successful adaptation of Nabokov and 2001 was a template for the films that followed. It could be that Kubrick’s fame got the better of him.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Full Metal Jacket. His fame was getting to him?

        Im distessed hereing all this Kubrick bashing.

        Both Kings AND Kubricks versions are great.

        Sex and Violence and AI.

        1. Carolinian

          Apparently Kubrick didn’t think much of King’s book and hence the distressing (to King–I haven’t read the book) adaptation. Admittedly dissing anything by Kubrick is not the vogue these days, but at least one heavy hitter–Pauline Kael–was not a fan of his later work. I would certainly agree (or opine) that Full Metal Jacket and even Eyes Wide Shut are a lot better than Clockwork Orange.

        1. Carolinian

          Indeed there’s an entire recent book about it called Space Odyssey. Check it out.

          But arguably the movie’s long term influence was stylistic rather than Clarke’s mystical theme. The film’s story was still being worked out well into the three year creation. Some story elements came from suggestions by crew members. Kubrick’s directorial brilliance is the star here, IMO.

      2. Old Jake

        Arthur C. Clarke was not happy with 2001. And so it goes. I think the medium – to some extent – and the economics of profit to greater extent overwhelm purity of the art. So it’s less clashing artist and more clashing profit models.

    2. Tyrannocaster

      The remark about soundtrack crapification in today’s links is below the standards I expect here. It’s personal opinion, I get it, but there’s nothing to back it up. Unlike most people, I have actually written film music, so I think I have earned the right to say that. So convince me.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s The American Scholar link that claims that classical music is somehow being abused by being associated with villains in many films. This precious premise is not very convincing.

        1. Wukchumni

          Wagner passed away 6 years before Adolf was born, but they are joined at the hip somehow.

          1. Carolinian

            And yet the Metropolitan Opera in NY–not exactly pro Hitler territory–doesn’t shy at performing Wagner. Great music is great no matter who likes it or puts it in their movies or even if the composers themselves had unsavory views.

            1. Wukchumni

              As far as i’m concerned, inserting classical into movies in any guise of good, bad & ugly is only more potential exposure of largely decomposing composers to an audience that’s never had the pleasure.

              1. ambrit

                Ha! Just listen a bit to any “new” classical music, as exemplified by Hollywood movies and you’ll probably hear the ghostly plaints of mouldering composers.
                Really though, the old Hollywood movie business hired some of the best of the younger ‘classical’ composers coming up in the teens, twenties, thirties and later of the Twentieth Century and put them to work. Korngold, Waxman, Bernstein, Rosza, Herrmann, Copeland (!), Stravinsky (!)(Russian films,) down to recent ground breakers like (I kid you not,) Elfman and Glass.
                Another seldom remarked aspect of the soundtrack of film is the ambiant sound. Just listen to the background ‘noise’ in the famous opening shot of Welles’ “Touch of Evil” to get a feel for it.

                    1. Plenue

                      Classical influence is ubiquitous in film, television, and video game soundtracks.The Japanese Gundam franchise outright hired a classical composer, Shigeaki Saegusa, to score several installments. A couple examples:



                      As far as I know they never got another professional classical artist after him, but the influence never left the franchise:


                      Some other Japanese examples:





                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHQJX8a8CWc from a show entirely dedicated to classical, with the score recorded by a music college ensemble.

                      And this franchise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofR3xzEpSBk didn’t have much original music, instead relying almost entirely on existing classical.

                  1. Robert McGregor

                    @Wukchumni, I think you should start a Vlog. I’d much rather watch you climbing the Sierras than Olivia Giannulli decorate her pretend–dorm room.

                    Pretend to be qualified for USC
                    Pretend to be living in a dorm and being a college student
                    Printed to be making dorm-room decorating choices like a college student makes.

                    But climbing an actual mountain is not Pretend, or at least not the way I believe you do it.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      Peaks in the High Sierra tend to have an ‘oh my gawd’ technical side, and a mere pedestrian route on the other side that usually doesn’t require protection (harness-climbing rope-camming devices, etc) as it’s class 2-3 all the way to the top, with routefinding required in a feel it out process, with help from Secor’s “The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, Trails”.

                      Every peak is different, some mile mannered until the summit block, others you can sleep on top, which is quite the thrill.

                      This is my favorite peak, Black Kaweah. Maybe 125 people have climbed it in the past century.

                      The view was quite something!


                  2. Unna

                    I’m sure everyone has seen this 1938 movie, Aleksandr Nevsky, with music by Prokofiev, but for those who haven’t, the score starts at min. 1:56.

                    “It was the 13th century and the Teutonic Knight were advancing on Russia from the West. Russia’s vast and rich land attracted the invaders….”


                    1. Carolinian

                      That’s a great score. The charging knights supposedly inspired Olivier’s similar scene in Henry V, perhaps William Walton’s music as well.

                    2. Roady

                      The Yuri Temirkanov performance, released by Sony Music, is one of the best recorded versions you’ll find of Alexander Nevsky

        2. Geo

          Maybe it’s associated with villains because people associate classical music with old empires, aristocrats, and extravagant wealth? You know, villains.

          1. Carolinian

            Kubrick had Alex North write an entire score for 2001 but then discarded it because he liked the classical themes he used in editing better. The success of the music in 2001 undoubtedly inspired a follow up in Clockwork and perhaps the beginning of a trend in other films.

            But so what? Classical music will survive the movies, has been around a lot longer.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              2001 came on tv when i was like 8 or 10. profoundly influenced my young wierdohood. couldn’t get the Strauss music out of my head…pestered parents to obtain the album.
              then…playing it incessantly at full volume..wondered who the hell Zarathustra was.
              rummaged in public library until I discovered Neitszche.
              so accidentally catching Kubrick/Clarke on network tv led directly to reading philosophy before I hit puberty.
              totally altered my life.
              I’ve never really recovered.

              1. Wukchumni

                We lived in Port Washington on Long Island in the summer of ’69, and my mom made sure we saw all of the Big Apple and then some, and she took me to see 2001 in a theater in Manhattan, and she told me awhile back that as she walked in with me, she realized that the she was the only woman in the mostly packed theater, and I, the only kid.

                Pretty heady stuff for a 7 year old, but I was gung ho about the space program, that I think I was pretty receptive of it’s message.

              2. MoBee

                Going ‘backwards’ to find who influenced art I liked or who the artists were listening to/watching/looking at was also formative for me! I still try to do it, though as I get older and know more and the artists are half my age (or more), it becomes less of a mystery.

                My formative ones were musical as a Reagan-era punk kid (the Damned covering the MC5 led me back to them and the Stooges, or the Jim Carroll Band back to Patti Smith back to Rimbaud). Good memories. : )

            1. ambrit

              Uh, Bach worked as music director, musician, and posts like Kapellmeister of many churches, and the odd aristocrat, like the King of Poland. Unlike today, most professional musicians and composers needed to associate themselves with a patron in order to survive. Those patrons were usually aristocrats, either saecular or ecclesiastical. Now that I think about it, things today really aren’t that much different from yesteryear. Just more opportunities for composers who are willing or need to take big risks for the “Golden Ring.” (A theme used by Wagner if I remember correctly.)

              1. Harold

                In Leipzig he was Kappelmeister and taught Latin to the boy singers, essentially he was the town composer, and the burghers were sorry they had missed out on hiring Telemann and had to settle for Bach instead. At least it was steady works we visited his house in Leipzig, it was pretty modest.

    3. ewmayer

      I thought the use of music in ACO was brilliant, easily the most memorable part of the film. I think Kubrick was highly effective in using music and humor to induce cognitive dissonance in the filmwatcher – making you simply deplore Alex and the droogs? No, you’re not getting off that easy, mate – you’re going to find yourself toe-tapping to the music and giggling to the visuals of the “Singing in the Rain” rape scene, and then find yourself horrified at finding yourself toe-tapping to the music and giggling to the visuals of the “Singing in the Rain” rape scene. And Burgess’ book, brilliant as it is, had a rather (IMO) forced and implausible ending in which Alex reforms and becomes a good guy and all is right with the world … I thought Kubrick’s jettisoning of that phoney-baloney epilogue and ending with Alex being “reformed, alright” was much more powerful.

      1. ambrit

        Throughout I thought that Kubrick had fun comparing and contrasting the “Official Powers” and the “Underworld Powers.” Droogs become police and the government returns Alex to his “evil” self for political ends. Both eventually blend together.

  4. Hepativore

    Does it even matter if Beto publicly says that he supports “Medicare-For-All”? He is just going to either back away from it later ala Booker and Harris, or support a bill that is its exact opposite and brand it “Medicare-For-All”.

    The advantage of Beto to the Democratic Party power-brokers is that he is basically an empty vessel in which various donors and party operatives can fill and have him shill for. He has no pesky platform or opinions of his own to get in the way. Instead of Romneybot we have Betobot!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      After piling through all that Beto material today, I’ve concluded he’s a more complex figure than I thought, for good or ill, but I think for ill. I do think that Supreme Court thing was pretty flaky; I wonder what his staff thought of it.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Well, I suspect his staff have been promised jobs in whichever administration that isn’t Sanders as reward for helping sabotage him.

        So, whatever they personally think, they will get a nice job working for Neera Tanden, or some other equally mindless sycophant.

        Hard to get a job these days. Best chance is if you can get one by sucking up to a narcissist.

        On another note, when will Markus start deactivating those KOS polls? Those are not going to make the echo-chamber any more harmonious. 4% Beto, bwahahaha.

      2. Gary

        Lambert, you should read about Beto’s father, Pat. We was a road commissioner and then county judge in El Paso. He was a political animal and was quite possibly assassinated while out for his regular jog. El Paso isn’t like any other place on earth.

        1. notabanker

          I was just reading Beto’s wiki and saw this about his father, which I thought pertinent given the WSJ article.
          served as the state chairman of Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns,[17] before switching parties in the early 1990s and running several unsuccessful bids for office as a Republican

          1. Gary

            Texas switched to Republican in the early 90’s. If you wanted to hold office, you had to be a Republican. Prior to that, if you were a Republican, you HAD to run as a Democrat. Governor Dolph Briscoe was such a Democrat. You couldn’t ask for a more Republican Democrat. Bill Clements was the first one to break the trend and actually win the governorship as a Republican. The local Republicans in El Paso probably branded Pat as a RINO.
            Texas politics is and always has been a hoot. Not only do the dead vote, they do it in alphabetical order.

      3. voteforno6

        I don’t know…he still comes off as a bit of an airhead. He makes Donald Trump and Kamala Harris seem substantive by comparison.

        1. Olga

          Oohh, but he’s cute and has all that youthful energy! For some, that is more than enough to qualify him.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The King (Queen in this case) is dead, and all of her loyalists including the ones who signed up because of the “inevitability” story don’t know their place in the new order. Everyone missed out on a promotion for their loyalty. Based on the Podesta emails, its likely multiple people were bring promised the same position.

            Now you see a scramble for candidates to handle patronage. There is no grand plan. Beta is clearly an attempt to find a new Obama by people who didn’t understand Obama’s rise in 2008. Harris is a hard core Clinton hang out, and Biden looks like a steady hand of the state parties magnet. Booker is an Obama style candidate, but his style is more self help guru. With a tip of my hat to Liz Brueing for making this comparison some months ago, Beto is an Obama style candidate who really should have become a “Youth minister.”

            Since Obama was largely a blank canvass and a by product of a few temporal factors linked to his opponent, the Team Blue courtiers have a dilemma. They probably even don’t recognize it. “OMG Russia” kept the divisions from appearing, but they were always there.

            In the end, Beto is a candidate people left out in the cold by other candidates who want to get to the next level are hoping to glom onto.

          2. polecat

            Oh, you think sooo, eh … well, just watch some surf action by Tulsi … That’s gotta turn more heads than mr. Doobiedo hiking God Know’s Where ! ‘;]

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Still depressed by a reader comment from yesterday: Beto’s job is to take primary votes in Texas. Ditto Warren, Harris, Booker, Klobuchar et al in their respective regions. This keeps Bernie from winning on the first ballot so the superdelegates can then pick the “unification” candidate on the second ballot.

          1. Robert McGregor

            I just don’t think Beto is going to take votes away from Sanders. Yes he appeals to millennials, but the millennials who voted for Hillary! A Bernie voter wants progressive policy, and Beto is very far from that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the primary race becomes Bernie vs. Beto. The middle ground hodgepodge of (Gillibrand, Harris, Booker, Biden) I think might very well get wiped out by Beto. In these times, his smaltzy schtick has appeal. He’s the closest thing to a diabolical mixture of Trump and John Kennedy.

            1. ACF

              Agreed that he won’t harm a natural Bernie voter. No Bernie person I know/am on a list with likes Beto, they all see him as a fraud. I think some Clinton voters will reject him because he’s a white male and they have identarian diverse choices (though policy roughly the same). I have no idea out of Gillibrand/Harris/Booker/Biden/Beto who the favorite (of that group) is. I also don’t know if Inslee or Buttegieg can get sufficient notice to be impactful anywhere.

              I do believe the DNC is trying to prevent a Sanders nomination by siphoning votes via all these candidates, but I don’t know how effective a strategy it is. Primary voters tend to be higher information voters than the general electorate. The current mood wants someone to believe in, and that’s not #Authenticity, it’s having a track record. Grassroots organizing and turnout operations are going to drive this more than DNC dreams.

              1. Biph

                That doesn’t really work, after March 3rd it’ll be down to 2 viable candidates 1 anti-establishment (likely Bernie) and 1 establishment, any establishment minnows are just gonna siphon votes from the establishment candidate while largely remaining below the 15% threshold to get delegates increasing the anti-establishment candidates delegate haul.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > He’s the closest thing to a diabolical mixture of Trump and John Kennedy.

              The skateboarder in a suit with the affect of a 14-year-old who votes for Republican bills, takes oil industry money, and hates #MedicareForAll. And I don’t even know what to make of this “Cult of the Dead Cow” stuff, besides applaud the timing. I think Beto is a darker figure than conventional wisdom has it. Sure, he’s an opportunist, but the stakes for opportunities chosen in are very very high just now.

          2. Big River Bandido

            States are allocated convention delegates not only by population, but by their relative size of the Democrat vote in the last presidential election. This is done so that the states with the most “loyal” party support, whose votes are most critical to winning a general election, get a stronger say over the nominee than states who will never support a Democrat in any case. This is also why Hillary Clinton’s arguments about a “black firewall” in the Southern primaries were completely irrelevant.

            The number of Democrat convention delegates to be won from Texas will probably not be quite so dispositive.

      4. JohnnyGL

        “I do think that Supreme Court thing was pretty flaky; I wonder what his staff thought of it.”

        When I think of democratic accountability, I think of appointed justices, appointing another round of justices!!!

        Federal Reserve to Beto’s Supreme Court: “Wow, and we thought WE were isolated and insulated from the public!”

        1. ambrit

          I dunno. The Beto Supreme Court ‘trial balloon’ sounds similar to an earlier, ill fated attempt to ‘soften’ the reactionary edge of an earlier Supreme Court: Franklin D Roosevelt’s attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court back in 1937. It ended badly, as I would expect this idea to end similarly ignominiously.
          Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_Procedures_Reform_Bill_of_1937
          If you advise everyone to “play by the rules,” you will have to “play by the rules” yourself.

      5. Partyless Poster

        I am just amazed by how incredibly out of touch he is.
        After 2.5 years of screaming about how trump is a Russian agent, racist etc.
        He has the nerve to talk about bi-partisanship? I mean who actually wants this?
        Its kind of hard to win a battle if your not on your own side.
        Not to mention everything I’ve heard him say is such a meaningless cliche I have to try not to gag.

      6. John

        The Supreme Court thing was odd, nonsensical. In 1877 a commission was appointed to untangle the electoral college mess. It was supposed to be four each, Republican and Democrat, and one independent. They wrangled and could not find the sacrificial lamb to be the independent. If I recall correctly, the fifteenth member was David Davis, a more or less independent Republican. He voted with the Republicans each time and Hayes was declared elected. Hayes was not corrupt himself to my knowledge but he was known as His Fraudulency.

      7. Darthbobber

        He’s angling to be a Democratic version of the old “idea a minute” Gingrich.

        When he goes with these “provocative” what ifs’s, I’m put in mind of an old response to the young Tom Hayden when he was in that rhetorical rut.
        “What if I were a plum?”
        What if we elected justices?
        What if we chose them by lottery?
        What if we amended the judiciary act to exclude certain things from their apellate jurisdiction (as was done with the reconstruction acts)?
        What if their decisions were ignored, a la Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln?

        Does he know that while the first part of his what if could be implemented by legislation the second part would require amending the constitution?

        Have I just wasted more time pondering this what if than Beto did before he tossed it out there?

      8. Earl Erland

        His Supreme Court “idea” is beyond flaky, and actually demonstrates his superficiality.

        1. Anyone, especially a politician, who complains that the SCT is political is either disingenuous or daft. Justices are selected and confirmed by politicians, and because the SCT sits as the final arbiter of publicly enacted policy it has and always will be a part of this Country’s political apparatus. This is a feature, not a bug, of our Constitution.

        2. Beto’s brain fart would require tinkering with the Constitution via the Amendment process. Given the current power structure in this Country, this would almost certainly result both in a “reap the whirlwind” result and one that would only further entrench the oligarchy.

        3. The problem, according to Beto, is the “perception” that the SCT is a nakedly political institution. Someone on Beto’s staff needs to tell him that Washington did not cut down that Cherry tree and occasionally told a lie. See number 1, above, and God help us if we wind up electing another candidate who traffics in fairy tales.

        4. The Gang that wrote the Constitution treated SCT appointments like they did the election of Senators; the path to those offices had the veneer of democratic participation without the threat posed by direct election. Beto’s idea deliberately adds an additional layer of protection from direct democracy.

        5. Beto’s brain fart envisions that Democrats and Republicans each choose 5. Hmmm. Green Party voters, Independents, etc. are second class citizens to be denied participation? This shines an interesting light on Beto’s emphasis on “Unity”.

        6. How exactly would “Democrats” and “Republicans” choose the allotted 5. Through direct election, through the parties existing structure, at state or national conventions, by lottery draft, the phone book? You can be certain direct selection by the people would be a non starter.

        Beto is not demonstrating any complexity with this idea. He is acting more like a clueless CEO tossing off “bold” “paradigm shifting” ideas such as “Why not change the formula”?

        1. Big River Bandido

          Agreed with all of your points except #2. The Constitution leaves much of the actual implementation of the judicial appointment process to Congress via statute. So even though the Constitution (for example) is silent on things like political parties…Congress could probably structure the process that way through legislation. They have already increased the number of justices several times over the course of the nation’s history.

          That said, just because it’s constitutional doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. And in this case, it’s a horrible, stupid, bad idea, to say nothing of all the other good arguments you make in opposition, especially numbers 1, 5, and 6.

          1. Earl Erland

            You are correct that inferior federal judicial positions are creatures of statute. However, the Appointments Clause specifically grants the President the sole power to appoint the Supremes, hence the need for an amendment.

        2. polecat

          On 6. .. How, you ask ? Why, they would Both refer to the ‘Duopoly’$ rule$ & regulation$ handbook’ for any matters forthcoming.
          So it’s All Good !

      9. ACF

        The origins of the idea are a Yale Law Review article and Buttigieg made it an issue according to Above the Law: https://abovethelaw.com/2019/03/pete-buttigieg-supreme-court-democratic-candidate/?fbclid=IwAR2CfpiwcIWLWFIaZN3mEA1EW5daPC1vIAvnwlNE7R4NcuWFGGY6oxUTa9c and it consists of:

        “increasing the number of justices from nine to 15 and perhaps rotating justices to the high court from the appellate level. … a structure in which five justices are appointed by Democratic presidents, five are appointed by Republican presidents, and then those 10 justices must unanimously agree on appointing the five additional justices, who would come from the appellate bench.”

        I think it’s classic law review article: theoretically elegant, real world irrelevant. While I’m sure the law review article offers some method to get there from here, consider:

        Currently there are 5 R appointed judges and 4 D appointed ones and we have an R president. Who appoints a 5th for the Democrats? If it has to be a newly elected D president, how long do we function with the current 9? If the scheme is adopted and Ginsburg dies while Trump is in office, do we drop to 8 while we wait for a D replacement of Trump (after one or two terms, or even more R terms) Do you really see Trump agreeing to that law? Forget the fact that no R in office would agree to such a scheme–they have a court majority.

        You could only get it done if you had D majorities in both houses and D president, and the law was somehow filibuster free (b/c supermajority of Ds or the filibuster gone.) And if there was such a D government, why should the electorate that put them there give the likes of Kavanaugh and Gorsuch a veto on the other 5? If there was a D majority, the Rs would back it sure. But only because it would give them more power than they had.

        And does Trump or (the President when it passes) nominate appellate judges for the Justices to unanimously agree to? And what about the wee constitutional advise and consent confirmation by Senate bit?

        It’s another example of crappy “centrism” without regard to the policy preferences of the majority (using majoritarian preference as a definition of “center”; let’s let moderate D justices and radical R justices largely unified in their support for corporations unanimously agree on 5 more.

        Old fashioned court packing by a D President with a sufficient D majorities, or early deaths of the radical R judges is the only way to shift the balance of the current court.

        1. ACF


          If there was a D majority, the Rs would back it sure. But only because it would give them more power than they had.

          was supposed to mean,

          If there was a young D majority currently on the court, the Rs would back it for sure. But only because it would give them more power than they had.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The origins of the idea are a Yale Law Review article and Buttigieg made it an issue according to Above the Law:

          Thanks very much for this. So the takeaway is that O’Rourke is trying to hijack Buttigieg’s isssue, ergo regards him as his primary competitor… But why this issue, for pity’s sake?

          1. ACF

            I don’t know that it’s as strategic as all that. I get the impression that O’Rourke is just picking up bright shiny objects to have things to say on policy that sound exciting and bipartisan.

            I think there will be many of these things that pop up and vanish. I can’t imagine either Buttigieg or O’Rourke pushing this very much. The real issue for a Democrat is: WTF do we do with a court like this? And most won’t answer much besides vote for me b/c RBC (which doesn’t mean much b/c the majority is locked in now). Answers like the Yale Law Review bit aren’t reality-relevant enough to go anywhere. Someone promising court packing might get some real traction, but only in a general and only as an explicit promise to deal with certain decisions (e.g. citizens united). Otherwise the Court just isn’t going to be a big issue.

    2. Liberal Mole

      They will have to reboot now that Beto’s 1st day haul is $25,000. Turns out his internet popularity was all about being the Anti-Cruz. Unleash the Biden-Saurus!

      1. Liberal Mole

        Sorry, that’s the Draft Beto stat, and not his actual campaign ActBlue account. Darn!

  5. Roger Smith

    Yang is higher than I would have expected.

    And Gabbard is just as unaccounted for as I would have expected. I’d wager most of those “other” are hers, which even half of makes her higher rated that some nobody named Insless or Hickenlooper.

    1. clarky90

      Yang Gang Style – A Meme Scene Investigation on the Rise of Andrew Yang
      The Asian Capitalists

      “Andrew Yang and the Yang Gang are taking the internet by storm, with a meme campaign that threatens to derail whatever momentum the Trump Train has left. How did this happen?”

    2. Geo

      The order they listed the names and who they excluded speaks volumes about the pollsters views. By their numbers Booker could have been left off the list but of course they have him in the first three.

      They’re pushing an agenda just through the order of names on that list.

  6. Roger Smith

    “Thousands of scientists are backing the kids striking for climate change” [Nature].

    Does no one else find this weaponizing of children appalling? Is it okay now because it is for something so many support? This is a exponentially more psychotic form of child-scare advertisements and news stories. Indoctrinating children to believe something to sick them on the nay-sayers like bloodhounds… pathetic tactic that doesn’t sell me on the argument one bit.

    1. barefoot charley

      I get you, but not sure I agree. The girl who started it all in Sweden wasn’t weaponized by her parents, rather by disgust at all us old oafs murdering her inheritance without conscience. The kids are shaming us, like the Parkland survivors did before. Knowing that our representatives and leaders have no moral compass, I’m glad to see one somewhere.

      1. Kilgore Trout

        +1. These kids can think for themselves, and see plainly what the adults are doing to their planet. How does that native American saying go? Something like: “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our descendants”?

      2. Tom Doak

        Totally. My kids have been hearing about climate change since the third (?) grade, asking questions and taking on that worry, the same way my generation thought about nuclear war. Teachers in the public schools (at least in Michigan) have been ahead of the learning curve.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Well, if you need to be “sold” on the argument then what’s the point? If you can’t understand the science or, even if you doubt some of the science, is it worth risking the possible end of civilization because of bad PR? The consequences here are huge and all need to be concerned. Even if predictions are way off, it’s still a major problem.

    3. Geo

      When I was a kid I was very politically engaged and often went up against adults in authority against the wishes of the other adults around me. And looking back I’m still proud of those times and changes I was able to help make occur.

      Kids aren’t all idiots with no agency. In fact, seems too many become those things more as they age and give up on ever making a difference.

      As for the climate change thing… what’s the worst outcome of climate action? A less polluted planet with more sustainable environment and efficient energy system? Sounds horrible. /s

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        When I was 13 I rode my bike to school 30 miles with a sign on my back “I Support Earth Day”. That was the very first Earth Day in 1969. No, my parents didn’t push me into it, I read The Club of Rome report and drew my own conclusions.

        And for prior threads talking about how kids are traumatized today by their uncertain future I would note that one of my first memories is being instructed by my first grade teacher on how to dive under my desk if I saw a bright flash. This was instant annihilation with absolutely no warning, no chance to migrate to higher ground or cooler climes, no chance for technical fixes. I used to play in the bombshelter my friend’s parents had dug in their back yard, we’d lift the heavy counterbalanced concrete door and pretend we were shooting invading Russians.

        Then they shot and killed the president, and I watched with my Mom on live TV as his alleged assassin was gunned down.

        Later we went into the streets and stopped a war. And threw a crook president out of office. I guess this is what has changed today: maybe kids don’t think they have the power to change anything. But that is one of those things that is only true if you believe it to be true. Rand Corp shutting down all that “free press” nonsense after Vietnam doesn’t help but it’s easier than ever to get real information.

        Like AOC, kids should just start acting like they have power, because they do. I think the kids walkout is awesome.

        1. JCC


          I’m just a couple of years older and remember all that, too well, sometimes. More power to these kids. Like nukes and Viet Nam were to us, AGW is to them, and they are right to do what they believe to be a way to wake more people up.

          Again, more power to them… and I believe most of them are smart enough to realize they are self-weaponizing. We were.

          1. Unna

            There’s a darker way of interpreting that. It wasn’t the kids that stopped the war, it was the fact that the US Army had been defeated and the army itself was in disarray and close to a state of collapse. So the PTB ended the draft, and ended the war. And the Empire lived to fight another day. Middle class college kids in America had little to do with it. Once the war ended, as I remember, the kids went yuppie and turned into “boomers.”

            The kids today won’t get their GND, I fear, until the PTB have figured out and settled among themselves how to turn the whole thing into corporate profit. Show me the money. Who get’s it and where does it go. Who gets taxed and who gets subsidies. Who eats more and who eats less. Who works and who gets a BI. Who drives what and who doesn’t get to drive at all. Who gets increased power and who gets regulated.

            In other words, I like the “idea” of a GND but before I support anything I want to know the players and see the details. What makes anyone believe that the same form of elite misbehaviour seen in university admissions won’t also be seen in the administration of a GND.

            Besides, in what kind of world do adults seek the guidance of children rather than children seeking guidance of adults? And therein lies a symptom of the Problem for which our culture no longer can provide a solution.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              In what kind of world? In a world where that small minority of adults who dominate politics and etc. have no guidance to offer or to give. That kind of world.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How young are those kids?

      We have come a long way from when we allowed or forced kids to work.

      Are we privileging thinking over working? Kids can think. They are not allowed to work, lest they’d be taken advantaged of.

  7. nippersmom

    “Democrats upset over Omar seeking primary challenger”
    Diversity is good, as long as it isn’t diversity of opinion.

  8. Sanxi

    Practice lucid dreaming? Don’t know about the practice part part, it’s not like yogi, for me it just happens, started when I was eight. First time was after I watched the movie the Blob, which my mothe Kate Phillips wrote. And I want to say although she signed away the performance copyright, she keep every other form of it. So like ‘happy birthday’, her estate is entitled to $5 bucks or something. Not that I’m going to collect it. She died six years ago and she’d think it pretty funny that it’s bevone a meme of sorts regarding the internet.

    Anyway back to lucid dreaming, when I woke up screaming, my dad said to me it’s “ it’s judt a dream” and when I feel back to sleep I knew I was dreaming and I knew how to destroy the Blob, although in doing I died. That I remember real well, upon dying I slow woke up. It was a very strange experience.

    As I got older I found myself flying, not real high or fast and not with at lot of control but it was fun. Overtime flying in a dream made me realize I was dreaming and then I slowly learned to flying better (in real life I also became a pilot). In family both my parents were screen writers, actors, producers, doctors, and seemingly whatever they wanted to be, so talking about anything was not ok but encouraged. My Mom give me the idea to try when dream to always remember the same object – an apple over and over again so I knew I was dreaming.

    The apple thing took years to work and mostly happen when I was stressed out in life and having dreams about it. Maybe a friend died and when I dreamed I would ask why he did the things he did. My divorce, etc.,. Mostly it’s been helpful and the flying is now amazing – like the song “flying in my taxi, taking trips, & getting stoned”.

    1. Sanxi

      Edit, it’s just a dream, overtime to over time, not ok to not only ok, ever time someone writes “blog” her estate…

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I used to practice lucid dreaming using the looking at your hands technique and it worked for awhile–I too would fly until I flew too high and then, decided soon after that to stop it. Occasionally I find myself awake in a dream and sometimes that can be very exciting but I prefer to just not manipulate that space.

    3. Wukchumni

      I tend to have wonderful daydreams as i’m skiing down a hill at breakneck speed of 40-50 mph, and in full control to the point where I don’t have to think about anything, my body knows what to do. We ski in a group of usually around 6 people, and the trance is only broken when you get down to the bottom of a lift and bullshit with each other on the way up sitting down on a chair, en route to another round of wide awake REM.

        1. Wukchumni

          We’ve always counted on Becky to be our airbag, oh the stories of where she has skied in her 50+ years on the slopes.

          1. Wukchumni

            Before Bono & a Kennedy cashed it in on the slopes, 99% of the skiers & boarders didn’t wear helmets, and now the number is pretty close to 99% of us having one on our noggin.

            1. Carolinian

              Don’t forget Natasha Richardson, daughter of Vanessa Redgrave, who merely fell down on a beginner slope. That skiing stuff is dangerous.

              1. Wukchumni

                2016 Skier/boarder deaths at resorts: 39

                2016 pedestrian deaths: 6,000

                You might glimpse the odd skier/boarder with a selfie stick in hand, barreling down the mountain, but it’s rare. Nobody’s peering into their smartphone either.

    4. Jeff W

      I’ved had some lucid dreams, too —flying around or, when I get into an unpleasant situation, saying “This is a dream—it’s not really happening” and changing it somehow or just waking up. I’m not very good at it but I think, over the years, I’ve gotten a bit better at being aware that I’m in a dream (when I am, that is).

      That technique by British hypnotherapist Keith Hearne in the Quartz piece—where he has the “experienced dreamer” (does that mean an experienced lucid dreamer?) signal that he is lucid dreaming by shifting his eyes back and forth—sounds weirdly backwards to me. It’s OK if you want to know that a person is lucid dreaming or not, I guess, but, if you want to have the person learn lucid dreaming, I think I’d try cueing the person in some way when REM starts and seeing if that person could, with practice, bring his or her dreams under operant control. I’m not sure that would work—and that’s something you’d have to do in a sleep lab—but it seems a bit cleaner than jarring the person awake with an alarm clock and hoping he or she will drop back to sleep in a few minutes.

  9. Kurt Sperry

    “O’Rourke (1): “Beto O’Rourke 2020 Presidential Candidate. With Poll” [Daily Kos]. FWIW, the online poll at Kos, representative of who knows what:”

    Keeping their powder dry for Biden? Hillary!?!? Bernie’s been such an object of open scorn and ridicule for so long at DK, I don’t understand how those numbers even happen. Have the readers of the site actually stopped listening to the site’s own fundamentalist DNC narrative? No, it must be something else. Anything.

    1. Liberal Mole

      All the ex-kos Sanders voters are still around and still online. A few still visit the site. One or more of them post a link to the poll on Twitter, Facebook or Reddit, they come in, swamp the poll, and leave, showing the site and its current readership to be a shadow of what it once was.

      1. ambrit

        Scince many of them were “encouraged” to go elsewhere, I’d say that “turnabout is fair play.”

  10. Hameloose Cannon

    There is some refreshing respect for institutional tradition in Harvard allowing a safe space for opioid profits. Oxy funding the Sackler’s Harvard endowment for the era of mass production follows in the footsteps of opium funding Delano’s Harvard endowment 150 years ago for a Post-Enlightened America.

    As the self-absolving Warren Delano explained in a letter to his brother, “I do not pretend to justify the prosecution of the opium trade in a moral and philanthropic point of view, but as a merchant I insist that it has been a fair, honorable and legitimate trade; and to say the worst of it, liable to no further or weightier objections than is the importation of wines, Brandies & spirits into the U. States, England, &c.”

    Why wouldn’t diversity in higher education include the moral agnosticism of rogues, privateers, and scoundrels? There are worse ways to spend the lucre than book learning.

  11. Gary

    Lucid dreaming is something I tried in the early 70’s. It was all the rage partly due to the Carlos Castaneda books. I eventually came to the conclusion that dreams are just nonsense, but here is the basic technique I used: first, you have to get much better at remembering your dreams. Keep a dream journal and the first thing you do when you awake either in the morning or in the night is to write down as much as you can remember from your dream. Details are important. After a few weeks of this, remembering your dreams becomes much easier. Once you can remember your dreams better it is easier to begin the awareness that you are in a dream state. When you know you are dreaming you can begin to have some agency. Since your hands are always with you, stop and stare at your hands if you can. This may all be woo woo. Maybe I was dreaming I was doing all of this. It is an interesting mind experiment . Give it a try. Be patient. This takes several months but the techniques may have improved.

  12. Tim

    As an aerospace engineer with experience supporting Airworthiness certification, production quality, product development (on the 787 no-less) and systems engineering requirements development, I am appalled at the information coming out of articles here and elsewhere. What has happened to Boeing?

    It’s almost as if all the explosion in shareprice is proportional to the internal rot of the company’s execution.

    And it’s likely led to the hubris of the CEO leading to what has also become a major PR disaster saying the aircraft is safe to flight when that assertion is clearly questionable.

    The only thing that needs to be unquestionable for commercial aviation is safety, and Boeing just stomped on it like worthless toy airplane.

    1. marku52

      It’s a testimony for American MBA style management to be able to ruin anything.

      More from Leeham
      “Reports of a phone call between Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg and US President Donald Trump reportedly imploring the latter not to allow the FAA to ground the MAX provides additional reason for doubt. To wit, why lobby the White House to override the FAA if the technical evidence is clearly on Boeing’s side? This flies in the face of any Boeing public statements about putting safety first.”

      It’s a process that all American business seems to be doing: First screw your vendors, then your employees and communities, and once all that is done, take on your customers as your last victims.

    2. BoulderMike

      OOOOMMMMMGGGGG! This just blows my mind. As a former manager in IT I was often in trouble for advocating testing/quality. It was always get it done in 3 weeks whether that was possible or not. And testing, it was just costly and unnecessary because after all “we don’t need to test, we hire good people who do it right the first time”. I went against this and tested and was negatively reviewed as a result, and eventually let go. Guess what, I was the only one who didn’t release Priority 1 defects into Production. Not because I am wonderful or better than others, but because I put in the time and effort and expense to test. Testing is not designed and judged by the number of defects found, i.e. “great testing, we found a lot of defects”. Rather, testing is to insure defects are caught, and ultimately to continually improve the development process so as to reduce the number of defects created. So, in the end, good testing insures good process, which insures good results.
      This Gonzalez-Beltran guy, and the people above him who hired him and condoned his actions should be fired immediately and prosecuted. I am against the death penalty, but if there is any argument for it, this would be it. Everything in the Seattle Times article that this guy proposed and implemented is to me horrifying and goes against any logic in regards to a production process, and definitely one where lives are on the line, both the workers and the ultimate customers. Of course defects are down at Boeing, they aren’t testing! Defects may be down but clearly quality is waaaay down. And arguing that not testing is showing respect to the production workers is insane. I could go on, but what really scares me is this same mentality is pervasive everywhere in our society. What else can go wrong? Financial systems? Safety systems for transportation other than airplanes? Etc. And, since we have privatized space travel to Musk and Bezos, do we really believe they are doing things any better? I am scared.

      1. Tim

        See the CNN article on the K46 tankers being made at that same plant and read all the way to the bottom…you can’t make this stuff up.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          US Air Force says Boeing has ‘severe situation’ after trash found on refueling planes CNN. The last paragraph doesn’t seem especially earth-shattering, so perhaps we are reading different versions. Some excerpts:

          In a blistering attack on Boeing, [Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics,] the Air Force’s top acquisition official said the company has a “severe situation” with flawed inspections of its new KC-46 air refueling tanker aircraft, after trash and industrial tools were found in some planes after they were delivered to the Air Force….

          Roper emphasized to reporters that while the issue of the material and objects — known as Foreign Object Debris, or FOD — being left inside an aircraft as it comes off the production line is not a design or safety risk, it is a matter of great concern to the military.

          “FOD is really about every person, everyone in the workforce, following those procedures and bringing a culture of discipline for safety,” Roper said.

          “Culture is something that I’m not going to believe because we have a good month, or a good two months, that the culture is back. I’m going to believe it when I see month after month for a long time that yes, those practices are now things that aren’t just being done because they have to be done, they are being done because the workforce says, ‘This is a product we deliver to the Air Force,'” he added.

          Yikes. The fish rots from the head, but (to mix metaphors) the rot has apparently reached the factory floor. No problem, though, I’m sure that morale is sky-high among the $17.95 an hour assemblers gluing plastic panels together for the 787 down in South Carolina….

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The legacy Boeing workers still in Greater Seattle probably don’t have enough money saved collectively to stay on such a thorough strike as to keep Boeing-Seattle cold and idle for ten or so years. And the rest of the Union Movement probably doesn’t have the money on hand to support the Seattle Boeingers for a ten year strike.

            But that would be the only way for the legacy Seattle Boeingers to save Boeing from extinction. They would have to strike and stay struck until Boeing could be tortured in closing the South Carolina facility and closing the Chicago Headquarters and bringing the work and the Headquarters back to Seattle. And maybe also force Boeing to only hire CEOs from within the science and engineering side of Boeing. And send them to CEO school so they could apply their engineering and science knowledge in a CEO way.

            Since that won’t happen, the question arises . . . will Boeing disinfect and de-cancerise itself totally enough to survive and recover for real? Anyway?

            One wonders what kind of iceberg is hiding underneath these visible tips?

    3. barrisj

      Seattle Times doing first-class reporting on Boeing’s QA/QC “streamlining”, and how it possibly relates to the USAF rejecting new KC-46 tanker aircraft due to “foreign object debris” (FOB)… a relatively recent issue with Boeing, but coincidentally with the “rationalization” of Quality Inspecting…it’s not just about “streamlining”, a lot of it is related to reducing the unionized work-force, which has been Jawb-1 amomgst the C-suite set for a decade or more. Stupid fools paid dearly with the huge FUBAR with the Dreamliner production, now it’s the 737-MAX8, Boeing’s version of a massed-produced Chevvie giving the company a major migraine.

    4. Lamont Cranston

      From the Leeman website:

      Secondly, here’s a quote from Boeing’s statement:
      “Boeing has determined […] to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.”
      So the manufacturer makes a recommendation to ground the fleet to the authority that’s supposed to regulate that manufacturer.

    5. JCC

      Yesterday’s link from one of the Comments sections ( https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/boeing-goes-to-pieces/ ) spelled out a lot of what happened to Boeing, particularly this quote

      Hart-Smith’s message should have packed a special significance for Boeing’s future chief executive, Harry Stonecipher. A classic “numbers guy” who had come out of Jack Welch’s General Electric, Stonecipher had served as chairman of McDonnell Douglas and presided over a particularly toxic outsourcing fiasco involving technology transfer to China. By 2004 he was CEO of Boeing and oversaw the early stages of the 787’s development.

      I worked for a 100 year-old Machine Tool company in Upstate NY that hired one of Jack Welch’s trainees. After quickly working his way up from Chief Engineer to taking over the CEO role – and handing over our technology to China and Taiwan and Japan – he quit within 6 months and took massive stock options and bonuses with him.

      Luckily, for me, I was smart enough to make plans to get out of there as soon as I heard about his “bona fides” – I firmly believed at that time that anyone who trained under Jack Welch was a Kiss Of Death for any company that hired one of these people.

      The company is now owned by a PE firm and barely holding on.

      1. polecat

        So, it’s Shark Eat Shark then .. who’s the bigger one …… and what/who gets consumed next.
        Is this how the world ends .. with one, big, fractal vortex of crapification until everything is dead ??

  13. Summer

    Re””O’Rourke says adding SCOTUS justices is worth exploring” [The Hill]. O’Rourke: “What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans and those 10 then pick five more justices independent of those who picked the first 10. I think that’s an idea we should explore.” • Um. Readers?

    Well, I just finished my ” exploration” for Beto (he did say, “we”).
    I found a lot of money in politics that makes that idea complete non-sense.

    How much “exploring” of the same old neoliberal BS is expected?
    Who has the stomach for the coming pleas by Beto and handlers to “explore” more shit that is going to kill most people except the super-rich?
    The status quo has been “explored.”

    1. Balakirev

      What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans and those 10 then pick five more justices independent of those who picked the first 10. I think that’s an idea we should explore.”

      Oh, absolutely: five justices selected by one hand of the Corporate Party, and five selected by the other. Then they can all select more, to achieve greater..’.well, you know, what’s the word I want? Oh, right: diversity. Members of the Enterprise Institute (for one) are probably needing to change their undies right now, having spontaneously orgasmed.

      1. Geo

        Since Beto has started off this game of throwing out wacky ideas:

        We should have the half of Americans who don’t vote in the presidential election get to vote for the SC justices. That way the disenfranchised and disenchanted have proper representation without Dem/Rep duopoly corrupting the court.

        It’s dumb but no dumber than Beto’s.

        1. polecat

          Well, look on the bright side. We’d just inch a little bit closer.. like the geologic process of subduction .. to the world of “Idiocracy” … complete with to public shooting up autos and crashing airliners ! /s

    2. notabanker

      That’s the same pitch Buttigieg gave on his CNN Town Hall, also framed as an interesting idea we should explore.

    3. Big River Bandido

      O’Rourke’s “idea” has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. I don’t think Sanders has much to worry about from this doofus.

    4. Darthbobber

      A Democratic version of the idea a minute version of Gingrich.

      What if I were a plum?

      Does beto know that while the number can be changed by legislation, changing the method of selection requires amending the constitution? Is he serious enough about this to even care?

      I suspect I just wasted more thought on this than he bothered with.

  14. a different chris

    >there are consistent sets of beliefs that crop up among eco-fascists. They include veganism,

    Wait, what?

    >Simply knowing that you’re dreaming often brings relief during a nasty episode.

    I do that… actually it isn’t nasty dreams so much but when the dream version of me suddenly declares “this is really stupid” like it’s a TV show or something and then seemingly literally – obviously not, but there is a sense of being physically forced thru some barrier – pushes me into consciousness.

    1. jrs

      also they are against single use plastics.

      well on the single use plastics us eco-socalists agree.

  15. JohnnySacks

    The DKos poll is an eye opener considering the in-general dislike of Sanders I witnessed back when I frequented the place. Seems the Dems are putting up such a large group of candidates same as the GOP did in 2016 that at some point the moderates or bench tier will cannibalize each other and the radical populist might just manage to get a win simply by holding onto the votes he already has. Unfortunately when the Biden bomb drops, things will shake out into a repeat of 2016. At least if Joe manages to squeak out a win we won’t have to listen to the 2016 blame vitriol.

    1. Roger Smith

      I highly doubt it. Clinton was a brand name and had the corrupt tendrils to make others do what she wanted, even though they all seem to have known how stupid her game was. Biden is part of this machine, but he does not have the power, or public image/brand Clinton had. Biden will only win by cheating the primary.

      1. neo-realist

        Biden can arguably cheat if he can amass enough votes to degrade a Sanders majority from getting an outright win followed by the DNC brokering the necessary superdelegate votes to Biden or whoever the last neoliberal democrat standing is.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I doubt Biden’s campaign could even make it out of Iowa. His so-called appeal to “blue collar” people has never been borne out in an actual race — “journalists” believe it because they wrote it themselves so it must be true. The few times this notion of Biden’s strength in the Rust Belt was put to the test outside the Acela corridor, it flopped. (One of those times this idea was tested was so long ago that the Acela itself didn’t even exist at the time.) Combine that with his same old staff, using the same old fundraising tactics that he used in 1988, does not add up to a winner. These people don’t know anything about raising money or running a presidential campaign. They don’t know anything about running ANY campaign in the modern era. They are dinosaurs, and I don’t mean age.

      Further, O’Rourke’s announcement will take out what little wind existed in Biden’s sails. Among actual voters, there’s no evidence of a clamor for a hawkish, “business-friendly” Democrat to vote for. (And don’t quote Monmouth or Emerson polls — they don’t know diddley about polling in Iowa.) Whether nationwide or in Iowa, there’s no electoral majority for that kind of politics in 2020. But between the two of them, my money’s on the one that knows how to raise money online.

      For that reason, I think Biden’s “announcement” in April will be that he’s not running.

      1. Summer

        Re: “His so-called appeal to “blue collar” people has never been borne out in an actual race — “journalists” believe it because they wrote it themselves so it must be true..”

        The excellent sheep consider going off script and using foul language “blue-collar” appeal.

        1. Big River Bandido

          If you mean that candidates adopt certain postures specifically in front of working-class voters, yes, they do. Many coastal elites believe that this works as a political tactic — but they’re the fools. Usually, it backfires.

      2. Rojo

        Good post, I don’t think he’s running either.

        I think there’s a subset of Establishment Dems who’ve learned the wrong lesson from 2016 vis-a-vis the white working class (the larger subset has learned nothing).

        Anyhow, the idea from these folks is to treat the white working class as just another “bloc” and find superficial ways to appealing to them, just as they have done with black voters, young voters and such. This crappy answer is — drawing from their own storyline, as you mention — Joe Biden.

        But the larger problem is that the diagnosis is wrong. Bernie made class-based politics the overarching paradigm, He didn’t try to find a niche bloc to appeal to.

        The consultants, however, will just expand their existing faulty paradigm.

    3. The Rev Kev

      That DKos poll – where’s Gabbard on that list? That is the second such poll from Kos where her name is not on it even though she is running.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        One can hardly mention Gabbard favorably in a post or comment without being attacked vociferously. Neocons have infested what was once a more-or-less antiwar site.

        Note that Kos was never antiwar. Quite the contrary. But because he opined that the Iraq War was a “bad war,” antiwar folks congregated there and made up one of the three primary elements at DK: antiwar; pro-LGBT equality; anti-religion.

  16. Swamp Yankee

    Re: income inequality and the disappearing middle class in NH, MA, and VT:

    Boy, can I attest that this is true. My evidence is anecdotal but pretty strong — talented and intelligent people working two jobs to afford an overpriced lousy rental apartment; skyrocketting rates of homelessness in city, suburb, and countryside alike; students who have very few options beyond McJobs at minimum wage. And on the other side expensive microbreweries and tapas bars for our soi-disant liberal gentrifiers.

    I think three factors have been particularly devastating here in MA, as well as our neighbors in NH and VT:

    1) The control of most municipal governments by what I call the Real Estate-Developer Industrial Complex. This wants to build exclusively luxury housing on which high profits can be made. They own local government.

    2) Similar to national trends, the rise of Boston as a kind of super-metropole in New England (plus NYC for western parts of New England), has meant a hollowing out of once prosperous middling sized towns in the hinterland.

    3) The growth of the East Coast Megalopolis — this is already fairly built-out in its central sections, say from New Haven to Baltimore, but it is still growing, and the only places with free land that aren’t hemmed in by the Appalachians are on either end. Thus the explosive growth in hitherto rural parts of Northern Virginia on the one hand, and of New England, on the other. Portland, Maine, comes to mind, or the filling in of countryside on either side of I-95 in MA with development. But that is luxury development, so normal ppl can’t live there, and the problem gets worse.

    Much of this, I should note, is perceived locally as colonization by New Yorkers and other Mid-Atlantic denizens.

    Would love to hear other people’s thoughts.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Also in Boston, growth of private equity/hedge funds, big hospitals and bio-tech start ups in addition to the wealthy universities provide the upper classes.

      Immigrants are here in sizable numbers to do the various trades and housecleaning. These are the new working class add-ons to make sure the wealthy get EVERYTHING they need.

      On the housing front, there was a gap a few years back where housing got vaguely affordable, but that time has passed. Inheritance seems to loom large for young adults coming of age.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Yes, political power resides, in my area (Charlotte NC) at least in the burbs in real-estate developers/lawyers and so on. Growth is high where I live because we are being flooded with people from Long Island who, justifiably are tired of the State of New York’s high costs, high taxes and incredible corruption in Buffalo.

    3. Anarcissie

      I noticed invasion of Maine by gentrifiers from NYC and Boston in southern Maine maybe 40 years ago. At the time it was mostly confined to the Portland area and southward along the coast, but it was spreading north and inland a few miles every year. I think, though, that in a finite world there cannot be an infinite number of rich people, so presumably the expansion of the gentrification zone will come to a halt and begin to recede, probably after the upcoming Collapse. Meanwhile the natives will have to make do in cheesy condos. New Hampshire and Vermont are of course subject to the same blitzkrieg.

  17. todde

    “Law-hating furry”

    is that supposed to be fury as in extreme violent anger or is it furry as in ‘a person who dresses in an animal costume’?

    unfortunately for humanity, this is a serious inquiry by me.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      He played in a band named The Sheeps in costume (ewe/eew) for a couple of years. Found the video on YouTube after searching for “beto furry”.

  18. albrt

    I learned lucid dreaming almost forty years ago, supposedly as a step to astral travel. For me, it worked extremely well for eliminating nightmares and reducing anxiety. In fact, I became so much less anxious that I stopped worrying about things like astral travel and started on the path to living my regular life instead. So I can’t tell you whether or not astral travel works. Nor did I get to a point where I could control details sufficiently to practice sports or other skills.

    1. Rhondda

      I have had some seriously wild and scary experiences practicing lucid dreaming. My noggin is a bad neighborhood to be traipsing around in at night!

  19. Wukchumni

    “Although eco-fascism can manifest in different ways (just like any umbrella ideology), there are consistent sets of beliefs that crop up among eco-fascists. They include veganism, anti-multiculturalism, white nationalism, anti-single use plastic, anti-Semitism, and, almost always, a passionate interest in Norse mythology.

    most accounts have tweets or retweets honouring Thor, celebrating Tyr Day, or glorifying Sunna, the Norse Sun Goddess.”

    I’m particularly smitten with the Norse God Ullr, as we have a lot in common, is there cause for concern?

    1. Rhondda

      This makes me furious. I am a pagan, also sometimes known as a heathen. First They turned Isis into something akin to a cussword and now Tir and Sunna? Family blogging family bloggers!

      Yah, the They I am referring to ain’t the guy with the gun or the supposed “white nationalists” — all 39 of ’em — that we’re supposed/required to be So Very Afraid Of.

      Some heaping dollops of Bernays sauce on this plate full of Guilt by Assoc.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, that’s Fascism. A giant combo platter. Its mutability is why it’s able to survive so well. Hitler was a vegetarian, after all. And loved dogs, and patted lots of children on the head.

    2. The Rev Kev

      We have a compulsory census every five years in Oz and when they come to the question of religion I always take care to put Pagan. Of course there are about 50-60 thousand people who mark themselves as part of the Jedi order but we all know that they are just heretics.

  20. Kurtismayfield

    1) The control of most municipal governments by what I call the Real Estate-Developer Industrial Complex. This wants to build exclusively luxury housing on which high profits can be made. They own local government.

    Totally agree.. in my xburb of Boston the guy with the only +$500k house in the neighborhood ( most are in the low $200k’s, he built up and out) is a developer on the zoning board. Not much new builds of the 1000 sq foot variety here, just 2k+..

    The recent education stats that are coming out about Mass is that we are a tale of two sides of the bell curve.. our districts have some huge diffenecess in MCAS scores between haves and have nots.

  21. epynonymous

    RE: “They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.”

    I’ve been preparing for the current election madness by delving into our past elections, not a popular subject to be sure. Love you all though, so here’s my take.

    Watching our 1992 presidential debates, I was reminded of the hyped-up stories of the past. Bill Clinton was decrying President Bush for Bush claiming that Clinton had been to Russia, and was therefore (said the narrative of the time) a Russian agent.


    I was able to find this story about those old stories, having put this together myself, so no other direct links from 1991-1992 here. However, this Russia craziness from ‘liberal’ media against Trump, actually comes straight from the 92 Republican playbook.

    What a tangled web.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Think about it.

      -Bill Clinton went to the USSR.
      -has been a constant source of embarrassment for his wife
      -despite Bill’s political genius, the HRC campaign didn’t know how the electoral college worked.
      -And Bill’s people have led Gore, Kerry, and HRC to defeats.

      The only conclusion is Bill Clinton is a KGB double agent. He has done so much to hold HRC back.

      1. Olga

        Makes you miss the ancient good ol’times – back when HRC claimed a vast right-wing conspiracy. Ahhh, those were the days!

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In that case, it was through Bill that DC became the Fourth Rome, or the Second Moscow.

  22. Chris Cosmos

    The DKOS poll points to one unexpected result and that’s the popularity of Yang. He is, by far, the most articulate and well-spoken of all the candidates–check out his interview with Joe Rogan and his town hall stuff. There’s almost no creepy bullshit from him–he’s real, he has a POV and data to back him up–he’s completely forward looking and could well catch fire because he represents a side of America we all miss–the open minded positive thinker who sees the big picture and the details at the same time and doesn’t have to spout endless platitudes and nonsense most of the other candidates spout. Of course, I am and have been for a long time, a UBI enthusiast and Yang actually articulates many of the points I stumble over that I’ve argued since I read one of Buckminster Fuller’s books or interviews where he said that if you give 100 people enough money to live one of them will invent something that allowed the other 99% to live well even if all they wanted to do is, as he put it, going fishing which was, in the old days, the equivalent of just doing nothing. This shows incredible faith in the human condition which I believe and have always believed is justified and social science has begun to back that up.

    If you combine his approach (and book) with David Graeber’s book on *Bullshit Jobs* you have all you need to know to understand why we need something like UBI.

    1. Tom Doak

      That would be great, if you could stop the rentiers from increasing rents $1000 per month and hoovering up all of the UBI money.

      Does Yang have a plan for that?

      1. Chris Cosmos

        He addresses it by saying that the prices won’t rise that high. I agree with him–I think prices will rise at first but the demand will spur construction of low/medium housing whereas at present the only stuff that getting built is for rich people. Increased construction will bring economic growth–this time based on the real economy.

        1. QuarkfromDS9

          Ah so his response is basically “the free market will fix it”. If that’s his actual response, I have even less interest in his candidacy than I did before.

          I live in Phoenix now (after getting priced out of Southern California) and his magical hand wave of increased demand creating more “affordable” housing isn’t bearing out here. We had something like 100,000 people move here in the last 5 months (increased demand) and we don’t have the onerous building restrictions California has that right wingers love to pin as the cause of its housing crisis. That should be spurring the development of affordable rents, like Yang said right? Nope! It’s spurring the development of tons of “luxury” apartments/condos, which hilariously was happening in San Diego right before I left (just my luck). Luxury of course meaning “I can charge 3x the normal rent of the area” which also has the effect of driving up the general rent higher as the regular rental units play catch up.

          So he’s going to have to come up with a better solution than “the magic of the free market will fix it!” before I even consider him a serious candidate.

    2. notabanker

      He also thinks the tech companies are experts at not paying income taxes so we should put a 10% VAT tax on everything bought in America to fix that.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Exactly! VAT is a much better tax. Right now the rich routinely cheat on income tax–not just tech companies.

        1. QuarkfromDS9

          Or….close those loopholes.

          Oh wait no, let’s just surrender that option so people like Yang can get away with paying less income taxes, and have the proles pay higher consumption taxes.

      2. Big River Bandido

        As I understand it, a value-added tax is a multi-layered type of sales tax, applied to each new stage of production. In the end — that is to say, at the point of purchase — any tax paid by a producer gets passed on to the consumer (in the form of higher prices).

        If the goal of the policy were to fight industrial pollution by heavily taxing stages of production requiring use of fossil fuels, for example…a VAT targeted to those products might help reduce the market for those products, thus fighting pollution. But if the goal is redistributive — to recoup the ill-gotten wealth of corporations for the public good — there are better, more efficient tools for the job. In fact, a VAT would actually undermine that goal, by ultimately dumping the entire cost of the tax on the consumer, thus compounding the problem of wealth concentration.

  23. Summer

    Re: “Tech giants’ free pass means they haven’t innovated in years” [Sky News]

    Oh, it finally dawned on the fawning press that an instagram address looks like an email address.
    The first email was sent in the 1970s.

    And Facebook…yep, looks like web page.
    The first one also created decades ago.

    1. Geo

      Their main innovations were how we accessed those email addresses and webpages – the organization/search integration. Google made itself a portal to the web, FB/IG made a gated community micro version of the web.

      1. notabanker

        Having spent decades buying technology, their only innovations were schemes to monetize technology lock-in. Microsoft didn’t discover the OS, Google didn’t invent search, Amazon didn’t invent online retail, Oracle didn’t invent SQL, Facebook didn’t invent online communities. They were all specifically designed to create dependence, prevent migration and use scale to acquire competitors.

      2. Summer

        “Their main innovations were how we accessed those email addresses and webpages…”

        “We” seem to be accessing them the same way…signing in.

        Their main innovation is how corporations, advertisers and marketers can access info from those email addresses and webpages.

  24. Name withheld

    I suffer from sleep paralysis. Google it. I had it bad.

    It is basically where you are awake and conscious of your actual room you are sleeping in, but you are still dreaming, or actually hallucinating, as you are awake, just paralyzed.

    After one episode where I was dreaming and a guy who had armed robbed me in the past was in my ‘dream’ which was taking place in my bedroom, and he had a shot gun pressed against my chest and I ‘woke up’ and grabbed my gun and searched for a guy who didn’t exist; my wife said I should probably see a doctor as I was scaring the shit out of her.

    Went to my doctor who asked, “Do you want drugs” Which I said no, but then said ‘do I need drugs?”

    So he put me on prozac. Which has a side effect of causing massively intense dreams.

    So then I started to have out of body experiences.

    The 1st time you have an out of body experience you think you are dead. I was floating in the air and looked down and saw myself in bed. Sh!t, I died, I thought. And then the creatures came out of every shadow and the room got real dark and my dead father showed up.

    So then I thought, ‘Sh!t, I’m dead and going to hell.” So the creatures and I had a massive fight, I felt every claw and bite and when I woke up I fully expected to be battered, bitten and bruised.

    I talk to my wife about what happened, and eventually after several more experiences like that I told her to write a word on a piece of paper and tape to the top of our ceiling fan and i’m going to float up there and see if I can read it.

    she wouldn’t do it and insisted I go back to the doctor and get myself right. Helluva doctor, they’re useless in my eyes.

    We moved, and I still get them on occasion, but never like I used to. The was a large electric transformer just on the other side of my back yard fence at my old house. I often wonder if that helped create the paralysis.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      This is a very complex system. My best friend in high-school was half .native American. His cousins taught him to astral travel. He used to lie down in the middle day and tell me he was going to be away for a half-hour to travel around in his astral body then he was back. I’ve been outside my body before and experienced sleep paralysis. I believe it is part of the astral body wanting to go out of the body but we Westerners resist it. Native people had no trouble with it so they had complete confidence in it because it was part of their culture. We need to loosen up and allow strange stuff to happen and go with it more. I’ve found that the way to do that is to just have confidence in yourself and asser that nothing bad can happen to you. The best way to do that is to have some kind of spiritual practice or religious faith or lacking that having faith in some higher power within you.

  25. Summer

    Re: “States where income inequality is causing the middle class to disappear” [USA Today]. State rankings. Interestingly, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont are first, second, and third.

    And no more frontier to ease the pressure.

    1. Geo

      DNC strongholds. Maybe, with donor approved rhetoric of how “America is already great” Biden can lose those states in ‘20 like Hillary lost the Rust Belt ‘16?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Oregon is number 8. Not good.

      Would be interesting to see an analysis of HOW the middle class is being disappeared. In the Willamette Valley, I suspect real estate prices and rents.l But those are widespread problems.

      Some places are improving because they can’t get any worse.

    3. Big River Bandido

      The middle class hollowing-out process has been transpiring in slo-mo for well over 40 years now. The Upper Midwest and Great Lakes states experienced this process during the Reagan years, mostly as de-industrialization and catastrophic numbers of layoffs, and for the most part, they’ve never recovered.

      The centers of the neoliberal economy (places where the economic base is in finance, medicine, education, pharmaceuticals, communications technology, etc.) were spared this result early on, because those sectors were high-growth industries. But there’s only so much growth those sectors can have before they start pricing out workers in the *real* economy. Somebody has to clean all those increasing luxury condos, and make all those lattes and raspberry brioches for the residents in them…and where are those workers going to come from, since those jobs don’t pay a living wage?

  26. dearieme

    “It’s also strange there were no balances or checks in the system to check the signals were correct and not erroneous. The signals were used to trigger powerful and potentially dangerous functions in the flight control system.”

    “Americans Still Fear Self-Driving Cars”

    Any relation?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps if we limited ourselves to robot ballerinas, the world would not be such a scary place.

      If they fell from jumping around on stage, they’d only hurt themselves.

      1. polecat

        How about maybe Robbie doing Tai Chi … a bit more sedate, I know … but definately clunky.

      1. cnchal

        No. Here is MIT guy with the “most valuable thing”.

        Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, predicts that companies will have a powerful incentive to do so. “The most valuable thing coming from AV technology is trapped attention,” he says. “If I’m Amazon and I have your undivided attention for an hour, I will figure out a way to eliminate motion sickness and remove all the other obstacles to enjoying the ride so that I can sell you things.”

  27. Dwight

    After reading the Reuter hacking piece, I think O’Rourke would be a good moderate Republican FCC commissioner, though I’m not sure he could be trusted to vote for Net Neutrality.

  28. cnchal

    > Tech: “Amazon gets an edge with its secret squad of PhD economists”

    No doubt any edge Amazon has is being dulled by the eclownomists it hires. These people have brought entire nations to ruin with their gibberish. Let them do the same for the sweat shop they work for.

  29. Wukchumni

    Too soon to ask dept:

    Australia-New Zealand relations reminded me of the USA-Canada relationship, and the assassin from the land of Oz-how will that affect things, Antipodeans?

  30. Wukchumni

    This was what a friend in the collectibles business, i’ve known for over 35 years related to me, which paints ChCh in an interesting way, vis a vis old 3rd reich relics…

    “The South Island has had a heavy element of extreme white nationalist madness for a long time but no one expected this. I was only in Christchurch on Tuesday and saw a dealer I haven’t really had anything to do with. He was VERY keen I brought him any nazi stuff. I don’t get much – just the odd WW2 bring back and don’t chase it because I both don’t like it, and there are lots of fakes. I wondered at the time why he was so keen, and who would want it. Presumably he’s had pause to consider the same thing over the past 24 hours. Maybe the customers are more than just your typical funny old lovable collector?”

  31. Whoamolly

    Re: “Boeing envisions a new streamlined production system that builds every component and performs every task without defects from the get-go — “built right first time” — so there’s no need for every last detail to be inspected afterward“

    After reading this, my personal mantra for all future air travel is simple and grimly serious: Always Fly Airbus.

    The last time I flew was on Delta. Airbus 220. Seriously impressive planes.

  32. tokyodamage

    I used to remember dreams all the time, back in the 90s. Like, pages and pages worth of details per dream. Then one day I re-read all the dreams . . . and only then realized that 90% of them were nightmares powered by dread and anxiety . . . so I made a decision to stop remembering.

    Be careful what you wish for, I guess . . .

  33. ckimball

    I question the wisdom of manipulating or controlling the content of our dream world.
    I believe that we access different areas of our connection to our mind and that it is dimensional.
    We can find places we did not know we knew but not by intention and control.

    November 1986 approximately 3:00 am (from my notebook)
    I awaken from a sleep in which the veil I normally experience
    between conscious-awake and conscious asleep to be gone
    I stare sightless and mute into what I can only express as cellular in content:
    The sensation was like seeing without visual form
    feeling without emotional connection
    knowing without ideas
    being without substance
    I experienced myself to be inside the formation of thought.
    It was abstract in that the contents of thought were not noticed
    It was the mechanics of thought forming that was experienced.
    I was aware from the inside of the energy system.
    TRANSITION TO AWAKE SELF: waking mind self organized, identified the experience
    in its realization of what it was that occupied its
    sleeping attention
    Random energy clustering in like polarities
    Breaking apart and reforming in patternings
    of various intensities densities
    creating non physical invisible structures
    thought in its magnetic movement into form
    which then…after collecting density
    materializes into material metaphors
    expressing the content of human consciousness
    in any particular moment
    Coming out of the state I felt myself reach for a less abstract and more specific concept to hold the experience and found..the nature of prejudicial thought form in relationship to social diseases
    I was living in proximity to the Castro area in San Francisco and was confronted with a lot of
    sadness, confusion and fear. I would not have been able to write or hold onto this experience
    without the last anchoring thought. I believe we all traverse vast territories beyond our ken.
    I never thought I would be bringing this out but…… lucid dreaming I had to respond to you

    1. Yves Smith

      I lucid dream with some frequency. The usual pattern is something happens and I go, “This must be a dream.” Then I test it by flying. Then I argue with myself why can’t I do this while I am awake.

      1. ckimball

        It sounds like the rational ‘grounding’ part of you sets up a dichotomy with the flyer
        and you wake up. This is a guess because I do it too in another way. I’ll be with
        someone who is telling me something or showing me something and I’ll start disputing
        something by bringing up an example from the rational of my waking state. The dream
        dissolves. It always means I’m waking up. sweet dreams

  34. albert



    That’s good. Is that yours? No matter, I’m stealing it anyway.

    . .. . .. — ….

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