2:00PM Water Cooler 3/5/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“$1.6 Trillion of Trade Means China Pain Is Asia’s: Taking Stock” [Bloomberg]. “A slowing China puts into stark relief just how dependent many of the biggest export-driven countries in the region have become on the world’s second-largest economy, if Tuesday’s moves in Asia stocks are any indication.”

China and US ‘certain’ to reach deal on opening up financial sector South China Morning Post

“China and US still have work to do but both ‘certain’ deal on opening financial sector can be achieved” [South China Morning Post]. “‘I can say with certainty that, on the opening up of the finance sector, China and the US can achieve a complete agreement,’ [Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission] said… ‘We have some minor disputes, but I don’t think it is a big problem.'” • I assume this isn’t freelancing by Guo, since it’s SCMP’s story hook…


“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


You can’t tell the players without a scorecard:

* * *

And now the actual or potential Presidential candidates (or non-candidates) in alphabetical order:

Brown: “Twenty Things You Didn’t Know About Sherrod Brown” [National Review]. • Fascinating: An enormous oppo dump. NR must take Brown a lot more seriously than, well, I do.

Harris: “Big-dollar donors, including Donald Trump, fueled Kamala Harris’ political rise in California” [Sacramento Bee]. “In 2011 and again in 2013, Trump donated a total of $6,000 to Harris’ campaign for California attorney general…. The first donation from Trump, for $5,000 in September 2011, came months after he had begun popping up on cable news promoting a conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not the United States, something that’s been widely condemned as racist. Harris campaign spokesman Ian Sams told McClatchy that Harris donated the $6,000 Trump had contributed to a non-profit that advocates for civil and human rights for Central Americans. But that donation wasn’t made until 2015, a year after she won her reelection for attorney general and as she was launching her run for the Senate.” • Very sloppy staffwork. Of course, Ian Sams did work for Clinton and the DNC, so I suppose that is only to be expeccted.

Merkeley: “Senator Jeff Merkley Announces He Will Not Run for President in 2020” [KDRV]. “In the end Merkley says his best contribution is to run for re-election in the Senate, ‘and do all I can to help the Senate be a full partner in addressing the challenges before us.'” • Generally, losing Democrat candidates do very well as talking heads and in the NGO world, so Merkley’s passing up more than you might think.

Sanders (1): Put on your rally caps:

Sanders (2): “Bernie Sanders Four Years Later” [Paste]. From the Brooklyn rally: “‘I know where I came from!’ Sanders cries out firmly—but his voice cracks.” • I rarely watch video, preferring transcripts, but I watched the Sanders rollout, and that was a great moment; pivotal.

* * *

“Trump spread money around to 2020 Dems” [Politico]. “Kamala Harris received money from Donald Trump as recently as six years ago. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner hosted a Park Avenue fundraiser for Cory Booker. Kirsten Gillibrand took in Trump family donations three times across a seven-year period — and then gave a similar amount of money to a nonprofit years later after the president mocked her in a tweet… Harris, Booker and Gillibrand — along with Joe Biden, John Kerry and Terry McAuliffe — all share a common bond of receiving Trump family donations.” • Trump has always been Trump, “ideological shapeshifter” or not. Oddly, or not, all the Democrat front-runners share that “common bond” — except for Warren and Sanders.

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary and Bill Clinton Think Bernie Sanders Can’t Beat Trump in 2020, Still Bitter Over 2016: Report” [Newsweek]. “Interacting with each other briefly in Selma, Alabama, this weekend at the 54th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday,’ the two continued to show signs of resentment. Sanders reportedly received a brief handshake from Hillary Clinton, while others, such as Booker, received a more welcoming hug, according to those at the event.” • I think we should take this very seriously. The Clintons are, after all, experts at losing to Trump. (And what’s with “the two”? The only one Newsweek says showed resentment was Clinton. And what was Sanders supposed to do? Get all handsy, Joe Biden style? Imagine the hysteria.

“Clinton camp stews over Sanders 2020 campaign” [Politico]. “When Sanders pulled in $1 million in the first three-and-a-half hours of his campaign, Adam Parkhomenko, the former director of grassroots engagement for the 2016 Clinton campaign, tweeted, ‘Only half were named Vladimir.'” • Classy!

Another excuse. Thread:


Where the low road and the lower road meet:

“The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backlash begins” [Chris Cilizz, CNN]. “The real question then is not which part of the party is on the rise — it’s the AOC/Bernie Sanders wing for sure — but rather how those moderates and conservatives are treated by the liberals in the party. Will they be driven out as insufficiently loyal to the cause — as tea party (and Trump) Republicans have done to their own centrist wing over the last decade? Or will liberals find a way to incorporate the views of their more moderate party members as they try to find a candidate who can oust President Donald Trump in 2020?” • Sure. Just vote for #MedicareForAll and everything will be jake with the angels. For now.

“Ilhan Omar’s Criticism Raises the Question: Is Aipac Too Powerful?” [Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times]. “Those questions have grown louder with the controversy around Ms. Omar and will grow louder still in the run-up to this month’s annual Aipac policy conference — a three-day Washington confab that is expected to draw more than 18,000 people, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and leaders of both parties in Congress.” • I wonder if we’ll ask Bibi to explain to us again what our foreign policy should be, to a Joint Session of Congress?

“Israel Boycott Exposes Serious Rifts in the Democratic Party” [The American Conservative]. “According to a 2018 Pew Research Center report, the number of Republicans that sympathize with Israel over Palestine has increased to 79 percent, while sympathy for Israel dropped among Democrats to 27 percent, a disturbing trend especially for the anti-BDS movement. Besides growing sympathy for the Palestinians, progressives are echoing the ACLU and other groups who say any law prohibiting [BDS] boycotts won’t ultimately survive a Supreme Court test. They are probably right.” • 27 percent.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“A retiring Marine reflects on 18 years of war: What have we achieved?” [Des Moines Register]. “For most of my career, I believed that policymakers were in control of the situation and regardless of how counterproductive decisions made at their level seemed at my level, national leaders would not commit such vast resources in support of a policy lacking a definitive objective. Divested of this illusion, I can see this war was inadequately planned, recklessly administered, and is now just wasteful. Retiring after more than two decades enables me to confidently say that while I am proud of my service and especially those with whom I served, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is a mistake. If those countries are fronts for the war on terror, it is because we have created them.” • These must be hard words to write. And this vote is there for Sanders (and Gabbard). They are the only two candidates — besides Trump, in his random, bloviational, give-zero-[family blogs] way — who can claim it.

DSA (1): “How a Sanders 2020 Endorsement Will Hurt DSA” [Medium]. “As an organization with limited resources at our disposal, understanding the level of impact we can have on the working class per dollar or hour spent must be a vital part of our decision making…. We should look more towards methods of strengthening and growing our membership from the ground up — this means more support for smaller chapters, organizing committees and local elections as well as bridging gaps between national and local levels of organizing.” • At least delay the decision until the National Convention in August — still more than a year away from election day. That just seems like a no-brainer.

DSA (2): It’s a long way from Brooklyn, NY to Eugene, OR:

DSA (3):

Good. I can’t bring to mind the long-ago article that explained how, er, “finding dates” was a tactic used by agent provocateurs to divide and destroy entities to which they were inimical, but the anecdotes were vivid, believe me.

Stats Watch

New Home Sales, December 2018: “In a very solid headline for what has been a run of weak ones for the housing sector, new home sales jumped” [Econoday]. “The bad is mixed with the good in this report but, for the outlook, the latest month is always the most important of any month, and December’s data for new home sales should give builders and sellers a lift.” And: “December 2018 Headline New Home Sales Improved” [Econintersect]. “Because of weather and other factors, the rolling averages are the way to view this series. The rolling averages improved by [sic] remains deep in contraction.”

Purchasing Managers’ Services Index, February 2019: Up “sizeably” [Econoday]. “New orders are the best barometer of future activity and the report’s description for February is a ‘sharp increase.'” And: “Both services surveys are in expansion – and improved this month. This is a much stronger report than last month” [Econintersect].

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, February 2019: “Demand for exports is a major theme of a very positive ISM non-manufacturing report for February where the index jumped” [Econoday]. “Strong incoming orders and the need to work down backlogs should give this sample’s employment index in future months a lift.” And: “This suggests faster expansion in February than in January” [Calculated Risk].

Commodities: “Goldman Tones Down its Bullish Outlook on Commodities” [Bloomberg]. “Raw materials are no longer significantly undervalued and further price increases will require data showing better demand and tighter supply, analysts including Jeffrey Currie wrote in a March 4 report. However, a stronger-than-expected recovery in global economic growth could boost commodity indices, and there are still some industrial metals that offer relatively good value, according to the bank.”

Commodities: “Exclusive: U.S. to issue meat company guidelines as recalls mount – official” [Reuters]. “The U.S. government plans to issue new guidelines for food companies as early as this week after an increase in recalls of meat and poultry products possibly containing metal, plastic and other foreign materials, a food-safety official said on Monday… The voluntary guidelines, in the works for months, are designed to ensure companies meet pre-existing regulatory requirements, she said.”

Manufacturing: “Passenger Jet Parts Not Properly Checked By Japanese Engine Maker” [Bloomberg]. “Japanese heavy-machinery maker IHI Corp. said employees didn’t properly check some aircraft engines, the latest quality-control issue to dent the reputation of the country’s manufacturing sector…. IHI is still investigating how many engines were involved and over what period…. According to IHI’s website, the V2500 has been installed on Airbus A319, A320 and A321 jets, while the PW1100G powers the Airbus A320 neo.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla Sell-Off Worsens After Elon Musk’s Surprise Store Closings” [Bloomberg]. “Tesla Inc. shares continued a steep sell-off in the wake of Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s surprise move to close most of the electric-car maker’s stores and shift to online-only sales. Many sales personnel first found out about the decision when Tesla published a public blog post Thursday afternoon, said three people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters.” • Why would anybody buy a car from a company where the CEO openly treats his employees like garbage? It’s not like there aren’t other cars out there, even electric ones.

The Bezzle: “China suspends customs clearance for Tesla Model 3 imports – Caixin” [CNBC]. “China’s customs authority has suspended customs clearance procedures for Model 3 cars built by Tesla Inc, the financial publication Caixin reported on Tuesday. The report said the customs authority in Shanghai had found various irregularities in 1,600 imported Model 3 cars, including the improper labelling of the vehicles.” • “Improper labelling.” Hmm.

The Bezzle: “How much does Tesla have in the bank?” [FT Alphaville]. “A lower implied cash balance also may go some way to explaining the cost savings Tesla has made over the past year, including three rounds of lay-offs, and last week’s announcement that nearly all of its stores would be closing in-favour of online only sales.” Here is a tweet with the product of the post’s calculations in chart form:

For balance sheet aficionados, this could be important. Readers?

The Bezzle: “40% of Europe’s artificial intelligence start-ups have no AI” [Financial Times]. “The research by London-based investment firm MMC Ventures could not find any evidence, based on public information and interviews with executives, of artificial intelligence applications at 40 per cent of 2,830 AI start-ups in Europe.” • Tsk!

Concentration: “How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? Former industry execs tell all” [Los Angeles Times]. “[Charles Dahan] was once one of the leading suppliers of frames to LensCrafters, before the company was purchased by optical behemoth Luxottica. He also built machines that improved the lens-manufacturing process…. ‘There is no competition in the industry, not any more,’ he told me. ‘Luxottica bought everyone. They set whatever prices they please.’… Dahan, who lives in Potomac, Md., was responding to a column I recently wrote about why consumer prices for frames and lenses are so astronomically high, with markups often approaching 1,000%.” • That’s a nice business to be in!

Our Famously Free Press

“Financial Times acquires majority stake in TNW (The Next Web)” [TNW]. “The deal forms part of a corporate development strategy that has seen the FT diversify its Group business in strategic business areas. The move complements the FT’s recent investment in Sifted, a new media site and newsletter targeting Europe’s innovators and entrepreneurs, and the expansion of various other tech-themed editorial products, and acquisitions by FT in recent years of AlphaGrid, a content production company, GIS Planning, a San Francisco-based investment intelligence company, and Longitude, a specialist provider of thought leadership and research services.” • “Thought leadership.” Gawd.

Helpful thread on Venezuelan coverage:

Maybe I should file this under guillotine watch:

“Hiding in Plain Sight: PAC-Connected Activists Set Up ‘Local News’ Outlets” [Snopes]. Ugh. One of the many sordid details: “Chris Butler, listed as the Tennessee Star‘s investigative journalist, covered the Lee campaign and administration for the Star. But just before joining the Tennessee Star as an “investigative journalist,” he served as a media spokesperson “for a political PAC to help elect Bill Lee governor in 2018″ between May and August 2018.” • We like, at least, to have a door that revolves.

“Why Misinformation Is About Who You Trust, Not What You Think” [New York Magazine]. “Bennett Holman and Justin Bruner give a great example of heart arrhythmias. When people were first studying anti-arrhythmic drugs, the question was, “Are these going to reduce heart attacks?” Other scientists asked, “Do they reduce arrhythmia?” Big Pharma funded the latter group. It poured money into scientists asking whether these drugs reduced arrhythmia. In fact, they did. But they also increased heart attacks and were responsible for upward of 100,000 premature deaths by heart attack. So, again, independent researchers were doing exactly what they were doing before. It was just that some of them now had a lot more money and that shaped the evidence.” • 100,000 deaths seems like rather a lot.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Capital Prisoners: Unbranding the Narrative of Slavery” [Ghion Journal]. “Up until today, I used to refer to people who were indentured into forced labor as political prisoners [not slaves. But] a more appropriate name is capital prisoners. This is precisely what ‘slaves’ were, they were hostages of capitalism which turned human beings into assets and liabilities on the balance sheets of wicked traders…. The same way Africans once sold their own into bondage and overseers lashed capital prisoners, these modern day ‘House Negros’ are doing the bidding of the system by keeping their people oppressed while they live lavishly. I’m of course talking about Obama, Kamala, Booker and the army of black corporate courtiers who are unleashed upon the ‘African-American’ community.” • A complicated post, worth a read, agree or not.

Guillotine Watch

“American Airlines will let super-rich passengers take private helicopters to avoid long lines” [Fast Company]. • Tumbrils are far more slow-moving.

News of the Wired

“MIT’s latest dog-like robot can do backflips on command” [San Francisco Chronicle (J-LS)]. • Yeah, but is it electable?

Turning the knobs all the way up to 11:

* * *

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 (HM):

HM writes from here Vancouver, BC, Canada: “These (night time) photos were taken less than week ago, when our city was covered under a few cm of white powder.” Definitely a city’s night sky.

* * *

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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. Enquiring Mind

    Re American Airlines helicopter story: I bet the tumbrels don’t even have WiFi!

  2. Adam1

    Luxottica… sunglasses are one of the few luxuries I splurge on. I was a loyal Ray Bans consumer for years and when I needed to buy a new pair after Luxottica bought the brand all I found was crap, but not priced any lower. I then went to Maui Jims, but they too are now owned by Luxottica. It is extremely hard to find anything not made by Luxottica now. My current non-Luxottica glasses are Gators and they are extremely well made.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve gotten sunglasses that would have cost hundreds new for 20 or 25 dollars in more or less pristine used condition on ebay. The selection is exponentially better than even the best new retail options, encompassing not just recent stock but nearly everything from the last two or three decades. This, if you don’t need prescription lenses. I prefer glass lenses, so used will probably be more likely to be unscratched.

    2. Katy

      Warby Parker is where I buy my glasses now. The frames are no different than you’d find at the mall. $125 total (including high-index lenses because I’m blind as a bat). Customer service is great. And they’re not owned by anybody else.

    3. WobblyTelomeres

      FWIW, I wear Randolph Engineering sunglasses – https://www.randolphusa.com/ – as they offer straight earpieces that fit into helmets (I rode motorcycles for 46 years). Great customer service, too, if you ever need a repair (metal frames) or a “tune up”.

      Indications are that they are not Luxottica-owned. Supposedly, owned by same family since founding in Massachusetts.

      1. turtle

        Nice find, thanks! Made in the US, lifetime warranty, a bit less than some major brands.

    4. Phacops

      You’d have to pry me away from my AO sunglasses. High quality vintage styles, and, what I especially like are that they offer polarized glass lenses. Being on the water and in rugged conditions, glass lenses are far less fragile than plastic.

      What I’ve noticed is the crappy Chinese acetate frames in the market. The low-quality acetate produced there will deform and lose shape over time compared with Italian acetate. Useful only for disposable glasses. But, y’know, America wants cheap, not quality.

      1. katiebird

        Cheap. That’s a laugh. I have been held hostage by my vision since I was a kid. And paying $350+ for glasses even with insurance is a slap in the face.

        Then you sneer because out of the blue I can find glasses at an affordable (probably still overpriced) price and can get sunglasses for the first time ever.

  3. nippersmom

    “A retiring Marine reflects on 18 years of war: What have we achieved?”

    This was very good. Thank you.

    1. ex-Marine but nowhere near 21 years

      Yes and no. On the one hand, it is well-written, which is a treat in and of itself nowadays. And if he really did have his ‘the scales fell from my eyes’ moment, then fair play to him — even if Smedley Butler did it so much better. On the other hand, what took him so long? Moreover, he is / was a life-ing motherfamilyblogger, which means you can’t trust a word he says. And consider the tone of this essay. I say, remember his name: you _will_ be seeing this guy in politics, most likely sooner rather than later.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      The next veteran of Afghanistan and/or Iraq I meet who thinks it was worthwhile to go either of those places will be the first.

      And I’m from rural America and knew people who signed up on 9/12. For years I’ve thought the change in America would either look like 1776 or 1789 but is it possible it’s more of a 1991 situation with regions just deciding “yeah we don’t have any reason to be connected to them

  4. Summer

    Re: “The same way Africans once sold their own into bondage and overseers lashed capital prisoners, these modern day “House Negros” are doing the bidding of the system by keeping their people oppressed while they live lavishly. I’m of course talking about Obama, Kamala, Booker and the army of black corporate courtiers who are unleashed upon the “African-American” community.”

    It is a narrative that brings to mind the Bledsoe character in Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” or even Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” where the real revelation was not the Django character but the Samuel L. Jackson character…the slave that managed the slaves. The system would not have worked without the characters like the one Samuel L. played.

    1. clarky90

      Kapo (concentration camp)

      The system of prisoner guards….was commonly called “prisoner self-government” (Häftlings-Selbstverwaltung) in SS parlance. (“self government”, a euphemism that, in fact, means the complete opposite of the grim truth. Like “our” Democracy?)


      “Concentration camps were controlled by the SS, but day-to-day organization was supplemented by the system of functionary prisoners, (who)… made it possible for the camps to function with fewer SS personnel. The prisoner functionaries sometimes numbered as high as 10% of the inmates. The Nazis were able to keep the number of paid staff who had direct contact with the prisoners very low in comparison to normal prisons today.”

      1. Summer

        “The prisoner functionaries sometimes numbered as high as 10% of the inmates. ”

        Turns the meaning of “talented tenth” on its head.

  5. Michael

    Sacramento Bee editorial in the aftermath of last night’s protest and the police response:


    “Shoving journalists to the ground. Detaining members of the clergy and the press – hands cuffed behind their backs – without cause. Arresting citizens for exercising their right to peaceful protest.

    We expect such things in authoritarian countries, but not here in our hometown. Not in Sacramento.

    This was the scene of violation perpetrated by the Sacramento Police Department against citizens, clergy members and journalists during a protest march on Monday night. We watched on live feeds as 85 people were detained during the march through one of Sacramento’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Last year’s protests resulted in only five arrests.

    Of course, last year’s protests didn’t march through East Sacramento. On Monday police pursued a very different strategy…”

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Imagine the treatment in the press if the reporters and clergy being handcuffed and detained had been in Venezuela rather than in one-party State, California. Hard to pin this on Putin.

    2. Carey

      The conditioning continues. I don’t mean to be glib, but that’s what it is, along with
      now being overt.

      What a country

    3. Oso

      @ Michael thank you for bringing up Sac and the Stephon Clark protests. DA shamefully investigated (and vilified) the victim while letting the police skate. rolling protest continue, i believe 3 to 6pm will be at Sac PD. for those so inclined (allies pls help) social media live commentary with hashtags #wealreadyknew and #solidaritywithsac deeply appreciated by on the ground activists.

  6. katiebird

    We’ve been getting glasses through Zenni Optical. Even with my elaborate prescription, frames and lenses and postage costs just $120 …. They are not designer frames but people frequently stop to tell me that they love my glasses (which has never happened before)

    It was scary the first time but since I’ve never had any trouble, I like it now. Also I can afgord sunglasses which I have never had till now!

    The only trick is to get an optitician to give you your pupillary distance.

    1. Kevin

      Warby Parker is the latest fad around here. My wife bought a pair and the lenses were not good at all. They scratched very easily. This would explain why Warby commercials are all about the frames, nary a mention of the lenses.

      1. katiebird

        I thought Warby Parker was pretty expensive compared to Zenni so I didn’t give them a chance…. This latest pair of Zenni is two years old and no scratches at all (I’m pretty careful though and only use their cleaning cloths) also the frames haven’t faded or discolored.

        I’m probably getting cataract surgery next month though (if I can be convinced it is safe) so I’ll be getting new glasses after that.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          My mother had Lasik treatment with her cataract surgery, can be an option to consider. I’m not pushing the treatment, I have enough insight about myself to figure that wearing eye protection all the time is good idea. Especially not sure I’d do surgery twice if my vision changed further.

  7. jefemt

    Veteran Marine: I don’t get why Sanders and Gabbard are the only ones who can legitimately get after and claim the empty-hearted veterans?

    Buttegieg? Inslee? Hickenlooper? Gillibrand? What gives this terrain exclusively to Sanders and Gabbard?

    The important message to me is that there are many who are starting to question questionable institutions, accepted narratives, that are starting to crack the hard shell of American Exceptionalism. Perpetual war. Occupation for oil and other resources. Regime Change ™. Anthropogenic climate change. No system of universal access to medical care, social justice. Racism. Gun violence.
    Hell of a long list that the entire clown car can trot out with confidence. Not sure why only a few can access or carry the mantle with legitimacy.

    Oh, we are exceptional all right … we need a lot more ‘we’, and a lot less they and the other.

    1. Anon

      I can’t speak to the others, but it’s probably Sanders since he has a very strong anti-interventionist streak and Gabbard because actually serving beats love of the troops, which, similar to Sanders, she sees the futility of war.

  8. clarky90

    Re; “The jackpot”

    Scenario (#1) An “ethical” (politically motivated) vegan living in the Chicago or the Seattle area. How do you feed yourself eating ONLY food grown and processed in a 300 mile radius? (ie, no bananas, coffee, or Brazil nuts…) The goal is a tiny, sustainable, carbon footprint and pertains to the present economic moment.

    Scenario (#2) A “For Good-health’s sake”, vegan living in the Chicago or the Seattle area. The carbon footprint is not important. How do you feed yourself in the wake A Lambertian Jackpot Episode? (Monetary collapse, or electric grid collapse, or pandemic collapse, or Nuclear war collapse………)

    Chicago and Seattle are both in the North, with winters and with growing, and fallow seasons. Winter and early spring are traditionally famine times. “The Jackpot” would reduce available transportation to pre-industrial tech, like walking, for months or years.

    1. Oregoncharles

      How? You stock up on beans, rice, and a few other staples, keep them in a closet or similar. Also fuel and some way to cook. Water could be the worst problem – we’re on a well, but require electricity to pump it. Should probably have a generator. Solar, if possible, is a safety measure of sorts.

      All of that is hard on apartment dwellers.

      1. Carey

        A little practice in fasting is not a bad idea, either. Not that difficult for most people, I think, and likely will come in handy later.

      2. clarky90

        You would want some vegetable oils as well. Coconut and palm oil are the stable vegetable oils (high saturated fat, resist oxidation), but they are grown in the tropics, so off the menu. You may want to store nuts, in their shell, for fat. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, chestnut, pine nuts, hazelnuts….

    2. Inode_buddha

      Somehow my ancestors did just fine despite the Michigan winters, with only 2 horses and 50 acres, and no electric or running water.

      1. clarky90

        Hi IB. Your ancestors were, almost certainly, not vegans. Probably omnivores?

        Vegans, by definition, do not exploit animals. Most vegans consider our using animals, solely for our own benefit, to be exploitation. Horse riding can lead to injury for the horse, either directly when out being ridden or, in the long term, from having a heavy weight on their backs.”

    3. Wukchumni

      About 5 years ago I was having lunch with my mom and her once a fortnight Guatemalan maid Angie, who had developed a friendship with us, a wonderful lady we called ‘the queen of clean’ in a reverent way. She could blitz through a house in 2:30, wasting only around 58 seconds in not tidying up or cleaning something in that span, leaving your place spotless.

      My mom mentioned that a river runs through it here where we live, and Angie told us of the 1976 earthquake in Guatemala that was shallow and as a result broke pipes en masse, resulting in great difficulty of getting water in the cities, and those that had it made were the lucky few that had a creek or river nearby in the country. Everybody else suffered greatly, she related.


    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Scenario #1: If you can grow some food, do that for freshness and quality. For bought food, just find out from your local co-op or organic food store or local Quakers who has knowledge of what foods are grown within your 300 mile radius. Once you know that, you can buy and eat whatever you like as long as you know it came from within the radius. If you live in a real house in a real suburb, you might be able to build a root cellar which will allow you to store as much cool-is-cold-enough roots, tubers, winter squashes, heads of cabbage, etc. to live on till next Farmers Market season begins. Also you could buy pounds of different beans and seeds and learn how to sprout them and eat the sprouts for fresh greens all through winter.

      Scenario #2: You’d better be already living in a suburban doomstead or a rural doomstead. If you live in a Big Gray Sterile City, and the food grid gets disrupted, you won’t survive for long.

      As long as you don’t live IN Chicago or Seattle, winter and early spring don’t have to be famine times. Buy and store and eat-on-rotation ( first in first eaten) various beans, grains and seeds. Both cooked and sprouted. Grow or buy and store a winter’s worth and an early spring’s worth of root-cellar-storable roots, tubers, bulbs, cabbages, winter squashes, apples, etc. for winter into early spring. Do that . . . no famine.
      And if civilization is continuing on as before, you can buy doses of these things all through winter and early spring from local radius food-storage bussiness people who are re-selling doses of these to stores for retail sale to you.

      Oh . . . and if you have any local Mormons, they might give you advice.

  9. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “…Harris donated the $6,000 Trump had contributed to a non-profit that advocates for civil and human rights for Central Americans. But that donation wasn’t made until 2015,…

    Money is fungible, so I rather doubt that the exact $6k that Trump sent was the $6k that was sent on to the non-profit. More likely, it was spent at the time on various campaign expenses, then when there were plenty other contributions in the pot, it was convenient to ‘donate’ it (to an organization no doubt run by voters who would appreciate the payment), with minimal financial effect on the campaign.

    I think the correct thing to do is return the contribution to the sender, marked ‘unwanted’ – I don’t buy the “we take the devil’s money to do the Lord’s work” line of reasoning. If it wasn’t kosher (to mix the religious metaphors) in 2015, shouldn’t it have been equally so in 2011?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Ethics by press release. Obviously one can’t vet every $6,000 dollar check to your campaign before it is cashed, or you’d never be electable.

  10. Summer

    Re: “How a Sanders 2020 Endorsement Will Hurt DSA” [Medium].

    Until this party decides what they are going to do and whatever they decide to do, they should keep organizing from the ground up.

    I live in Cali. In all primaries but the Presidential election primaries, people can vote across party lines.
    Except the Presidential election. I’m not going to register as a Democrat just to vote for Sanders or anyone else in this election. But I am registered as undeclared. “An NPP voter may request the ballot of one of the political parties, if any, that authorizes NPP voters to vote in the presidential primary election.”
    This is the dreaded provisional ballot. I’ll do that, but Cali has a problem counting provisional ballots.

    So after this brokered convention, I’d hope there are more alternatives built as a “place to go.”
    Everyone is in a trick bag as long as “there is nowhere else to go.”

    1. edmondo

      Same here in Arizona. As a No Party Preference voter registrant, I can vote for every office in the primary election except for president. There is zero chance I would ever register as a Democrat again (or a Republican either) so I will miss out on the 2020 festivities.

    2. Jeff W

      “An NPP voter may request the ballot of one of the political parties, if any, that authorizes NPP voters to vote in the presidential primary election.”
      This is the dreaded provisional ballot.

      No, it isn’t. If you’re a No Party Preference [NPP] voter in California and you request such a ballot, you get the same ballot that those registered with that party get. There’s nothing “provisional” about it.

      If you are an NPP voter who votes by mail, gets an NPP ballot (without presidential candidates) in the mail, and then goes to a polling place to exchange it for one that has presidential candidates, you’ll get a regular ballot, too, but, if you don’t have the NPP ballot with you to hand in, you’ll get a provisional ballot, according to these Tips for No Party Preference Voters fron the California Secretary of State.

        1. Jeff W

          “…and had a hell of a time getting a ballot…”

          In 2016, as an NPP mail-in voter, I requested—and got, as a matter of course—a Democratic primary voter’s ballot, exactly how the procedure is supposed to work. That was in San Mateo County. (I didn’t ask for any assurances that my vote would be counted.)

          The procedure basically assumes that the mail-in voter will respond to a postcard from his or her county elections office asking if the voter would like to receive a ballot with presidential candidates. (If the voter doesn’t do that, he or she can still get a ballot with presidential candidates, but then we’re in a somewhat different ballpark—it’s not really clear to me what, other than the ballot exchange/provisional ballot procedures at the polling place, that voter is able to do.)

          If an NPP voter is wary of the mail-in procedure, he or she can choose not to get a mail-in ballot, appear in person at a polling place (some of which are open days or weeks before the day of the election) and request a ballot for a party in which NPP voters are allowed to vote (which, in the 2016 election, included the Democratic, but not the Reublican, party).

          Other than the procedure being set out by statute, it seems to me like it would make more sense for the NPP ballots to include all the candidates that voter could vote for (since he or she could request the particular ballot and vote for that candidate) and let that person vote however he or she wants—why would the NPP voter be presumed to want to vote for no candidate as opposed to voting for any candidate he or she can vote for?—but maybe that’s perceved as giving the NPP voter an “advantage” over the party-affiliated voters.

      1. Summer

        That makes me curious. I want to hand in the NPP mail ballot and see what they hand me before I ask.

  11. Lee

    Besides growing sympathy for the Palestinians, progressives are echoing the ACLU and other groups who say any law prohibiting [BDS] boycotts won’t ultimately survive a Supreme Court test.

    Bibi will explain to a joint session of Congress why the the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is antisemitic except insofar as it protects AIPAC activities.

    1. Gary Gray

      Well, considering “Judaism” wasn’t conceived until around 1200, maybe removing the clause as the “oldest” of the “Triad” would scare them into being reasonable?

      Oh, don’t get me wrong, Islam didn’t come into total focus until the 19th century and yes, Christianity is the oldest of the Triad. But even its modern form doesn’t come into being until around 1000.

      1. Oregoncharles

        That sounds interesting. Do you have a good source on those dates and just what happened then? Christianity is the only one I’m at all familiar with, but I don’t recognize that date – the Middle Ages?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I don’t like the 19th century date and suspect he’s adding the renewed Zionist movement of the 19th century to Judaism, but.

          -the current Judaism that you and I are familiar with has two major dates; I don’t remember the century (I’m thinking the 14th) but there was a Rabbinical Congress in Eastern Europe (I think Prague; I’m just drawing a blank on the city. I’ve been to the successor Synagogue as a tourist) where there was an amount of standardization.
          -the other aspect is the diaspora after the Jewish Revolt where the Pharisees who weren’t fond of the Temple going aspects were also dispersed to Jewish communities around the Roman world. What you get is a religion connected to a geostatic site morphing into a different kind of religion.
          -Christianity (See Gibbons). Its still the Imperial Religion.
          -Islam. Who do you mean? Like Judaism, its not the imperial religion. An attempt by the top Mufti in Istanbul (I forget the century, but probably around the 16th) to style himself as a Black Pope or new Patriarch was met with a rebuke by the Emperor that he only recognized one Pope and that he lived in Rome.
          -Occasionally, there are Islamic Congresses, but like Judaism, it lacks the cohesive nature of the Imperial structure. Most Islamic sects will accept updates to Halal, believing humane and clean butchery of animals is the intent of the laws, so technology can improve the process and still remain Kosher (Ha!).
          -In a sense, Jesus of Nazareth is reputed to have made reference to “the Jews”, but in a sense, he means the locals. Samaritans for example practice a religion very similar to Judaism, but the site of their Temple and God’s lounge area is not in Judea. Talk about blood traitors!
          -Judaism and Islam are much more similar than they are to Christianity.
          -Even with Islam, contemporary Christians identified Islam with Arian Christianity which was stamped out by the various Councils of Bishops. Mohammed is reputed to have had a Christian monk who lived outside the Empire as a mentor. Obviously, we don’t have multiple newspapers, so what was Mohammed’s deal? Not everyone was Muslim in the Muslim areas. The Millet system came out of his original community in Medina, and especially with Islam, its very concerned with the day to day operations of a community.
          -My personal opinion is Western history of religions is fubar and stuck in an Old and New Testament structure where Christianity descends from Judaism and Islam is Ishmael or some weird cousin where they don’t worship Jesus but aren’t Jewish.

          I think, especially with religion, everything you learned is likely wrong because its based on an 18th century British aristocrats decision on how to present it, but don’t get involved in a discussion over how many angels dance on the heads of pins because there are no newspapers to provide accuracy of dates.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I have a comment which I’m sure will get stuck in the filter for reasons, but this is a point which shouldn’t be left out: Editing!

          -Christianity has a story telling problem. How do you one up Jesus? You can’t.
          -Judaism can be a developing religion. They don’t have this problem.
          -Islam has a similar story telling problem as Christianity but was very concerned with temporal organization, so there was room for development.

          The religions we understand today aren’t necessarily going to be the religions of yesteryear. Don’t forget the Pope has only been “infallible” since unification of Italy and he was given a title to reflect the loss of the Papal States. The current Pope said the mission of evangelization was over more or less.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            There is such a divide between elite definitions of religions and the actual day to day practices of the laity. How much of the Bible says, ‘you’re doing it right’?

            I was raised a Catholic in rural New England, I can’t distinguish what I grew up with from Unitarians. Our priest turned us on to how Jewish vs Samaritan had a ‘no true Scotsman’ thing going on as a prelude to talking about ‘The Good Samaritan’.

            I’ve been thinking about how I don’t really have a problem with the religion someone practices. But, if you’re ‘orthodox’, I’ll probably head for the punchbowl.

      2. Synoia

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, Islam didn’t come into total focus until the 19th century

        Tell that to the Crusaders.

        Or the occupants of Constantinople.

      3. Massinissa

        “Oh, don’t get me wrong, Islam didn’t come into total focus until the 19th century ”


      4. The Rev Kev

        Moar history pleeze! On a more interesting note, I read that three of the world’s greatest religions – Christianity, Judaism & Islam – each originated only about a hundred miles from each other though I have not checked that statement. Must be something about living in the middle of the desert that accounts for that. Paul Atreides might have something to add about this subject.

        1. Todde

          Or maybe living in the middle of a cluster if trade routes helped contribute to the formation and spread of these religions 7

          1. The Rev Kev

            Good grief. You are quite right. Being at the nexus of east-west and north-south trade routes does help.

      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        But all the basic components of “Judaism” were already in place, were they not? Torah, Talmud, etc.? Wasn’t the only thing missing . . . the word “Judaism” itself?

        I remember reading once that an Early Enlightenment German Jewish thinker inVENTed the word “Judaism” because the Jews had no word for “Judaism” and this German Jewish thinker thought the Jews’ religion was regarded as backwards and lacking a systematic philosophy. If he could give it a “name” worthy of being a “philosophy” in the emerging German sense . . . . a word ending with “-ismus” which is German for “‘ism”, he could “classy up” the Jews and the religion. So he invented the word “Judaism”. At least that’s what I read somewhere.

        1. LifelongLib

          I read somewhere that in ancient times religions were ethnic/tribal based, so people didn’t think of their religious activities as something separate from the other things they did as members of a certain ethnicity/tribe. But Christianity became multi-ethnic so supposedly for the first time people started thinking of religion as a separate thing. This then led to the idea of “Judaism” and other “religions”, even though earlier practitioners hadn’t defined their activities in that way.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well . . . the Tribes of Israel were indeed referred to AS the “Tribes of Israel”, back in the Good Old Days. And one of those Tribes WAS the Tribe of Judah. So all the basics of the belief system could have existed dating to at least some hundreds of years BC without the existence of the word-concept “religion” or “TribeOfJudahIsm”.

            Wasn’t it around 500-or-so BC that Hosea and Ezra the Scribe systematized and canonified the Scriptures and the Books into the form which carried forward into the Judaism of today? If so, then the structure of the “religion” of “Judaism” would be 1,200 or so years older than the word ” Judaism”.

  12. voteforno6

    Re: Spinal Tap

    My favorite scene might be the Stonehenge number, just because I’ve seen it play out in real life on more than one occasion.

    1. roxy

      Favorite scene-when Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) keeps setting off the airport metal detector and has to extract a tin foil wrapped cucumber from his pants.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        For me it’s either that one or “What’s wrong with being sexy?

        And I may be one of the few people who actually saw the movie for the first time in the theater – it grossed a whopping $4 million or so. We were on an 8th or 9th grade French class trip to Montreal and we had a free afternoon to do whatever we wanted, so a few friends and I went to check out the matinee, not really knowing what it was about. IIRC, the four of us outnumbered the rest of the crowd in the theater.

        I can’t even imagine that being allowed today – letting a bunch of small town kids loose on their own in a big city unsupervised for hours. We had a blast – I also picked up the Cramps “Bad Music for Bad People” album that afternoon which was unlike any music I’d ever heard before. They sure didn’t play that stuff on the radio in rural VT. Ah, the salad days…

    2. Geo

      Agreed. That scene is brilliant both for its delivery and it’s realism. Same with the cocoon scene and the endless hallway scene.

      Hard to pick a favorite. The whole movie (and many deleted scenes) are satirical perfection.

    3. ewmayer

      Too many great scenes to pick *a* favorite, better just to chuckle over the various ones that spring to mind … A very young Paul Shaffer as hapless local promoter Artie Fufkin, bending over and imploring the bandmembers to ‘please kick my ass’ after a record-store-promo screwup. Or – I’ll defer to IMDB here:

      [Nigel is playing a soft piece on the piano]

      Marty DiBergi: It’s very pretty.

      Nigel Tufnel: Yeah, I’ve been fooling around with it for a few months.

      Marty DiBergi: It’s a bit of a departure from what you normally play.

      Nigel Tufnel: It’s part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I’m working on in D minor which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don’t know why.

      Marty DiBergi: It’s very nice.

      Nigel Tufnel: You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like – I’m really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it’s sort of in between those, really. It’s like a Mach piece, really. It’s sort of…

      Marty DiBergi: What do you call this?

      Nigel Tufnel: Well, this piece is called “Lick My Love Pump”.

      And I actually saw Tap live in concert! It was during their followup-album Break Like the Wind tour a few years after the movie came out. I still have my ticket stub tucked into my memorablilia album – says Friday, June 19th, but no year listed – but whatever year the BLTW album came out – at the Pine Knob outdoor amphitheater in SE Michigan. Even though it was just a few days before the summer solstice, a freakish cold front from Canada had swept through the upper Midwest earlier that day, so at concert time it was in the 50s and foggy – in other words, perfect Stonehenge weather. Highlights:

      o Cher made a surprise guest appearance – in form of a giant projection of a headshot of her, with a pair of anminated lips mouthing the words to a song;

      o The giant horned glowing-eye skull hanging over the stage at every Tap concert had been given an upgrade – at the end of Big Bottom the Skull rotated 180 degrees, on the backside was a giant pair of foam bittcheeks with smoke blowing from the nether orifice;

      o The Stonehenge prop was nowhere to be seen during the show, but shortly after the band started in on the same-named song, a frazzled-looking express-mail-uniformed guy ran onstage, handed Derek Smalls an overnight-mailer and had him sign a receipt form, then ran offstage. Derek rips open the envelope, pulls out a 3″-high plastic Stonehenge prop, is briefly unsure what to do with it, then jams the legs of the mini-prop around the neck of his mic and resumes playing his bass. Good times.

      On the way out of the venue we stopped to buy T-shirts, black, with a design which was a riff on the misogynistic-album-cover scene in the film: the T-shirts had a scantily clad model wearing a graduation-cap on the front beneath the Spinal Tap logo, the model is down on all fours, and there is a dog’s forepaw holding a leash attached to a collar around her neck. On the back: “Bitch School: Enroll Now”, and 2 phone numbers beneath that: 1-900-GIV-2-TAP and 1-900-TEL-2-TAP.

    4. richard

      “Stonehenge! Where the banshees wail, and they do it well!”
      Okay, I am probably misremembering the lyrics. I’m bad at this game.

  13. Jeff W

    Or will liberals find a way to incorporate the views of their more moderate party members as they try to find a candidate who can oust President Donald Trump in 2020?”

    Only if they want to satisfy Beltway pundits like Chris Cilizza—and lose, I think. (And I’m not so sure I’d call the AOC/Sanders wing of the party “liberals,” anyway.)

    1. Carey

      Pretty sure “losing” is the Plan, since Dem elites and donors don’t lose at all, in that
      scenario. Then they can “fight Trump!” for four more years.

      Anything to stop Sanders/Gabbard.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, that’s the pattern. They take turns, two full terms at a time.

        It was interesting, how they engineered that last time. 2020 will be a challenge, too.

        But it appears there’s enough slop (you might call it) in our electoral system that they can make it come out any way they want.

        1. Long John

          Actually, ‘two full terms at a time’ is not a pattern at all; more likely it’s just a recent blip. In the bigger scheme of things, it’s relatively unusual. Of the 44 (*) presidents before Trump, only 11 had two full terms. (* I am of the school which holds that Grover Cleveland, being one man, should only be counted once. However, we seem to have lost that argument. Nevertheless, even doing Cleveland properly, it would still only be 12/43.) And the three consecutive two full terms of Clinton-Bush-Obama was only the second time in US history that that happened, after Jefferson-Madison-Monroe.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Remember, leftists always have to think of “including” the liberals. The problem is the liberals will always tack right after the left gives them what they need.

    3. Milton

      I’ll keep saying it – liberals are the moderate wing (conservative even). For God’s sake when are journalists going to get it straight that the 30, or so, year period in the U.S. when the liberal moniker was foisted on left-wing Democrats is no more. The traditional definition now applies: liberals and libertarian are the same.

  14. h2odragon

    I have to speak up as a happy Zenni customer too. Went all in on the options on my daughter’s new glasses and they were still only $35; bought two pairs for myself for as much combined and they’re as good as anything I’ve ever had from a store. My wife’s “insurance assisted” storebought glasses work out to cost $250/yr and she gets to replace them every 18 months.

    The fact is there’s no need for glasses to be non-disposable anymore, for most people. That business is going to dissolve because all it knows how to do is collect rent anymore, and yet it doesn’t have enough cash to buy regulations to enforce its continued existence. I hope.

    1. carycat

      count me as a happy Zenni customer also. especially when my child broke 2 pairs within a few months and the 2 replacements still cost less than what my employer health plan provided the year before. and the frames met the approval of the fashion police at school. measuring pupillary distance isn’t hard, you just need somebody you don’t mind holding a ruler with mm markings across the bridge of your nose and inline with your eyes to read the distance between the centers of your pupils as you stare straight ahead. i think Zenni even includes a little ruler (Albeit a little late).

    2. notabanker

      Big fan of Zenni. I have three pairs. The only downside is you can’t try them on and I have one pair that I really don’t like and rarely wear. If I would have been able to try them on ahead of time, I wouldn’t have chosen the frame. I have a very expensive pair of Oakley prescription sunglasses that I wear quite a bit and imo were worth it. They cost me more than the three pairs of zenni’s combined.

      For non-sunglasses I wear wire frames. I hated spending $200 on them. For $35 ea, I can get two pair, they last a ton longer, I’m not always searching for my only pair of glasses and I’m still saving a ton. I’ve already had the two pair I wear a year longer than my old expensive ones. Highly recommend zenni.

  15. Tomonthebeach

    “Harris, Booker and Gillibrand — along with Joe Biden, John Kerry and Terry McAuliffe — all share a common bond of receiving Trump family donations.”

    If you drank the poison kook-aid, you have colluded with the enemy, and you are unfit to run. Simple politics.

    One might speculate that HRC walking off the state might have been motivated by the donor class complaining that they were confused as to who the “right” candidate is.

    1. jrs

      that’s the problem with running against Trump as an ideology. He doesn’t have one. He was supposedly a Dem, now he listens only to the Federalist society. You can’t run against that incoherent jumble as an ideology (you can run against the present Trump administration’s bad policies of which there are plenty).

      Now one may ask what Trump got in return for the donations, but Trumps are always in it for themselves in a very narrow sense.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s sort of like the induction problem in logic.

      Those who have not received Trump family donations may or may not receive in the future. There is no way of knowing.

  16. dcblogger

    Yesterday afternoon there was non-stop talk about House Resolution condemning Antisemitism and pointed at Omar, now that talk has evaporated. Omar Twitter following is growing 100K a day, and Eliot Engel, the Democratic Rep who started it all has a primary challenger who was previously unknown, but now has links all over reddit. This is NOT going the way AIPAC anticipated.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Not that I’m trying to overlook AIPAC in this, but I have a feeling the Democrats didn’t need much prodding and simply were looking for a chance to stomp on the left. Being out of touch and fairly stupid, they aren’t necessarily capable of assessing the situation beyond goldilocks politics and bipartisan feel goodery. Omar and AOC present direct challenges to the cries of fraudulent identity politics.

      1. Phenix

        AOC collapsed when challenged on Israel and has found a Jewish ancestor. Her comments on Omar were tepid at best until it became acceptable on twitter to show her support and even now its maybe lukewarm. She is not defending Omar just stating that its unfair to attack her if they are not going to attack everyone. Bernie on the other hand has had Omar’s back from the start. I am not on board with this AOC is the messiah movement or leader of the left.

        1. Carey

          AOC is an interesting person. I’m going to see how it goes. The uber-photogenic, blanket MSM coverage make me wary.

          1. Milton

            AOC, pulling the Democratic party to the left leftward, towards the center. One day we may have real discussions about what role government can have in our lives.

        2. Geo

          I don’t think anyone with any sense is claiming AOC is a messiah and to say so is the same dismissive framing used by anti-Bernie efforts to brand supporters as mindless sheep.

          You may not be a fan but name one other Democrat who has done as much in the past decade to advance progressive ideas as she has in the past six months alone?

          Is she capabke of living up to the ideal we each have inside our minds? No. Is she moving the narrative goal posts back to the left a bit? Yes. What more could any of us ask of a Democrat right now?

          1. Phenix

            Are you serious with this? His name is Bernie Sanders and all the people who came with him. Her campaign was based on the Sanders’ campaign. Her fundraising model was based on his model but she may have added a little HRC in there as well. We’ll find out if her Silicon Valley friend tried to disrupt campaign finance.

            Omar may have just broken AIPAC. Jayapal may break apart the insurance industry. Hell Michael Moore’s movie have probably reached more people. We will add in Nina Turner because I love her. She may not have a GND but her speeches are amazing.

            AOC did not emerge out of nowhere. The path was laid out for her. AOC has managed to get a resolution past. It is a resolution. She did not pass a law. She has also had some good moments on youtube. I do not expect purity from her. I do however expect her to have basic arguments down against the Israel occupation. I expect her to be able to argue for the progressive causes she championed as an activist. Instead she has backed down. I still remember hearing private public partnership and those tweets about Omar are cringe worthy.

            She is not a messiah but name one person who does more for the poor and downtrodden of America.

            1. Geo

              I asked if you knew of another Democrat. Sanders is an independent. The others you mentioned you had to preface with “may have” so, again, name one Democrat that has done as much as AOC?

              She ain’t perfect but for a Democrat she’s doing fine enough. Curious why you have such a grudge against her. Seems you’re the one looking for a messiah instead of accepting that all elected leaders are fallible.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is a practical side to Ocasio-Cortez.

          She pushed back the other day that she had to fly while want to reduce or eliminate most of that.

          “I also fly and use A/C.”

          Here, she is indirectly defending Trump against the charge that he hired foreign workers while wanting to change the system.

          “Your flags were made overseas.”

          With real world experience, as we age and go through life, it becomes harder to maintain position purity.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Position okayness is good enough for me, as long as the positions are okay positions.

            As an American Okayness Ordinarian, I have to say that okay is okay with me.

    2. Summer

      And even if a lot of people don’t know the ins and outs of the Palestinian situation, you can’t discount some just wanting elected representatives to represent the constituents in this country first and foremost.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      She will not be censored? I’m glad to hear that.

      I had a brief fantasy about the charges being brought in Congress. In my fantasy, Omar responds by saying, “I will admit all charges and accept your punishment. Furthermore, I offer you my life in exchange for extending the same courtesies to the people of Gaza.” She then kneels in the well and offers her neck to Nancy Pelosi who just happens to have an ax with her.

  17. DonCoyote


    Andrew Yang should lead that list as Yang is shorter than Harris, and he has announced.

    Deval Patrick and Michael Avenetti have also announced they won’t run.

    And Richard Ojeda already announced, resigned his current seat, and dropped out of the race. But is still accepting donations to retire his campaign debt.

  18. Jack White

    re: 100000 deaths. Thomas J Moore, in his book Deadly Medicine, estimated that 60000 had died early from flecainide alone.

  19. Oregoncharles

    “It’s been 2 years since we started DSA Eugene.
    It took 1.5 years to get a bank account.
    It took 1 year to get incorporated.
    It took 6 months to become a chapter.
    We get zero help from national.”

    I live 40 miles from Eugene, so this caught my attention. And I was just in a phone meeting including 2 people from Eugene – one an active DSA member. (Quite a few Greens are – there’s no contradiction.) I’ll just say it’s a lot easier than that to set up a Pacific Green Party chapter, and the state party will help (chapters are a state, not national responsibility – but I don’t think there’s a state-level DSA). The hard part is setting up a bank account – but 1.5 years?

    The hard part is maintaining a chapter – people have to actually show up occasionally.

    1. turtle

      So, when I went to my first DSA meeting a few weeks ago, I discovered something interesting that I had not previously known. In most cases, none of your national dues go to your local chapter. I say in most cases because later someone added some explanations and qualifiers that if you choose to pay for your national membership monthly some unspecified amount might go to your designated local chapter. Needless to say I don’t have many details.

      I say this just to point out that it’s not a major surprise that a local chapter (even an official one, like the one I attended) would have taken that long to open a bank account. They most likely didn’t (and still don’t) have much money to speak of, since there is essentially zero regular income. Apparently the money for actually running the local chapter and supporting its actions comes out of the members’ pockets, whatever they can contribute. Most bank accounts cost money too. Some chapters institute local dues to resolve this situation, and I heard that this topic will (maybe? don’t remember how certain it was) be addressed at the next DSA convention.

      I suppose that selling T-Shirts, buttons, etc for whatever someone can afford, even nothing, brings in some money too. Couldn’t they sell socialist newspapers or something? Seriously though, I’m not sure what else they do to fund the local organization. This stuff is really mostly still very new and in a fast growth phase.

  20. Oregoncharles

    ” This is precisely what ‘slaves’ were, they were hostages of capitalism which turned human beings into assets and liabilities on the balance sheets of wicked traders”
    This is untrue on its face: slavery far, far precedes capitalism. Heck, the NW Coast natives kept slaves. They were hunter-gatherers, albeit stationary. It does apply, in a way, to the slave TRADE – because it was a trade. But that, too, far precedes anything we should call capitalism.

    Capitalism is a problem, but it isn’t a universal villain and it’s a relatively recent invention (the Renaissance, at the earliest).

    1. turtle

      I get it that “capitalism” as a proper concept and object of analysis and criticism may be relatively recent, but isn’t it just another name for a modern expression of something that has been around for much longer? Namely, the concept of the “haves” and “have-nots”. In other words, some people accumulating more wealth than others and then using that wealth to wield power over others?

      If we look at it that way, can’t “capitalism” be said to have been around since at least the time when humans settled down and started agricultural societies?

      1. jrs

        Is a concept that broad really of any use to understanding anything? I get wanting a more egalitarian society, just does using the term “capitalism” that way, when it’s already a really confused term at this point (and I don’t say that as a defender of capitalism) add anything? Hierarchy or something might be a more accurate term if we’re going back to the start of agriculture etc..

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Well I’ll chime in that I think we haven’t really resolved the private capital problem since the Bronze Age Collapse. It’s a problem. A problem with ten to fifteen year cycles where we occasionally realize that it’s probably a big problem.

      2. Harold

        No, I don’t think so. Capitalism: “An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”

        I think state control of trade was more the rule. Of course it depends what you mean by private.

    2. barefoot charley

      I think it’s fair to cavil that Renaissance *industrialization* of slave capitalism is what made it what we know it as. Immemorial slave raids aren’t comparable to soldiers building coastal forts to ship 4 million abductees from hundreds of miles away more thousands of miles away, where society will invent doctrines of blood purity that never entered the minds of immemorial slave raiders. Slaves had very commonly integrated into captor societies, where their offspring weren’t enslaved. All that changed when, for a North American example, slave property became the principle wealth of all the 13 colonies. They were worth 3/5th more representation for white people because where slaves lived was where the big money was. Slaves were money, and money was power. That was the deal that compromised the Constitution.

    3. Grebo

      It has occurred to me that it was the invention of Capitalism that made the abolition of slavery possible. It turned out that wage slaves were more profitable than chattel slaves.

  21. hemeantwell

    At least delay the decision until the National Convention in August — still more than a year away from election day. That just seems like a no-brainer

    My first inclination was to wait, but it’s not a no-brainer. The argument in favor of an early endorsement is that it will give DSA more impact in the Sanders campaign — e.g. DSA locals can serve as Sanders organizing nodes — and also bring DSA into contact with Sanders supporters earlier. Further, I think it is highly unlikely that Sanders will be replaced by a candidate who is more acceptable to the socialist left, nor is it likely that Sanders will take positions sufficiently different from those he’s already taken to warrant a repudiation. It is possible, I guess, that we might see developments on some front between now and then that Sanders would take a horrible position on, but that seems unlikely.

    The stronger arguments are to not endorse him at all, since he’s not a socialist and you don’t want to be devoting yet limited organizational strength to a campaign so well entwined with the Dems. However, chapters will be free to work out their level of commitment, so I don’t think an endorsement will be oxygen-depriving for other projects. That said, the objections have merit.

    1. Carla

      You say Sanders is “not a socialist” but I thought I heard him say he’s a card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America and saw him hold up the card. Was I hallucinating? Maybe I just dreamt it.

      Now, of course, lots of people say the Democratic Socialists of America are not REAL socialists, and DSA itself insists it’s not a political party, but that’s another matter…

      1. hemeantwell

        Please don’t make this out to be a lefty version of IDpol. Within DSA Sanders is regarded as strong on redistribution but very reluctant to endorse measures, beyond unionization, that would empower workers vis-a-vis employers, e.g. wielding serious power on a workplace council. He also does not push policies that would nationalize production, though he is in favor of a kind of using state funds to support industrial development. For these reasons Sanders is thought of as a credible FDR-era social democrat.

        Some members feel that defining socialism a’ Sanders misses an opportunity to get people to think thoroughly about political and social options. Dan La Botz, who wrote the National Political Committee position against endorsement, is a good example. Others believe that the time-honored notion of “critical support” is applicable. I’m inclined to the latter position. But a campaign against the “billionaire class” can turn into another version of an alignment between what I’ll loosely call “popular forces” and “progressive” sections of capital that would repeat the politics of the late 30s, when, as Thomas Ferguson has described, less labor-intensive capital was willing to support New Deal measures against more labor-reliant capital. If that starts to gel — and I think some version of that, framed more in Green New Deal terms is pretty likely — then an ideological horizon will tend to gel along with it. At the moment that sounds pretty good to me, but I can accept why some members are leery.

    1. Carey

      I don’t think she’ll run, in the sense of campaigning.
      But, yeah.

      We’ve failed her twice…

      1. Pat

        As someone who remembers Clinton denying she was going to run in her Senate campaign, I won’t believe she isn’t running a stealth campaign to be named the nominee by acclimation at the convention until there is another nominee.
        But she would be rested and ready after sitting out the primary…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I tend to play it safe.

          The conservative* thing to do in this case is to not under-estimate your or our opponent.

          *so, sometimes, I can be conservative. You (plural) can too…in some cases.

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        As a media-owner and retired elected official he’ll garner more eyeballs and attention as somebody who can endorse another candidate. And that will be a lot less expensive than running. He’ll also avoid scrutiny of the Bloomberg business, and his personal charitable activities (which are probably more honestly run than many candidates’ organizations).

      1. Harold

        Looking at the article, he claims he knows how to fix education and end gun violence because and he did it in NYC. I’m not sure his methods are what anyone would like to emulate, to put it mildly, when I remember stop and frisk and charter schools. Oh, dear.

        1. Pat

          Pretty sure most residents of NYC would have no problem disputing both of those statements, especially education. Trump level unwarranted self congratulation, could rival the claim that Clinton was the most qualified person to run for President ever.

  22. Grant

    “Will they be driven out as insufficiently loyal to the cause — as tea party (and Trump) Republicans have done to their own centrist wing over the last decade? Or will liberals find a way to incorporate the views of their more moderate party members as they try to find a candidate who can oust President Donald Trump in 2020?”

    What a stupid and predictable framing. It isn’t really about ideology with many people. The question is, are our problems structural in nature, are things fine at their root, or not? Can we solve our big problems while keeping the system in place and tinkering around the edges? On that, it is clear that our problems are structural and that we require root changes. The healthcare system is not fine at its root, in need of only tinkering. It is fundamentally flawed. We cannot keep the economy and our society in place as is, with no structural changes, and avoid or at least mitigate the environmental crisis. What is called globalization is not okay at its root. It is undemocratic, it ties the hands of government in regards to protecting the environment, regulating finance, it undermines our democracy, in leads to inequitable outcomes and it was created by interests that benefit from the particular way it was designed. So, the “moderates” will be treated according to whether or not they can argue that the system is fine at its root (good luck), and whether or not they have actual solutions to our problems. I don’t think many people care about ideology as much as they want actual solutions and actual alternatives, since the system as is clearly isn’t working. What the “moderates” and conservatives can’t do is come up with actual solutions and they cannot come up with institutions and policies that people want. They are only still part of our political discourse because interests that benefit from their policies pay them to be in the middle of it, they own the damn media and because our system is corrupt to the core. The left does a good job of describing why our problems require structural changes, the left proposes actual solutions as a result and their ideas and policies are more popular. It isn’t for ideological reasons though. Many Republicans support single payer. Ideology cannot explain that.

    I am also tired of the polls on people identifying themselves as “moderate” or whatever. What does that word even mean? Polls on issues show that the left’s ideas are popular. Getting back the Republicans and single payer; given that a decent portion of Republicans do support single payer, I would be willing to bet that most of them identified either as conservative or moderate. So, what would you do to make sense of what would appeal to them? Certainly not calling yourself a word then pushing for inferior policies. If the public agrees with the left, if polls show strong majorities favor something like single payer, THAT becomes the centrist position.

    1. Summer

      “I am also tired of the polls on people identifying themselves as “moderate” or whatever. What does that word even mean?”

      95% of the time it means “I’m comfortable, don’t rock the boat.”

    2. Carey

      1) I appreciate your posts, and learn from most all of them

      2) it’s clueless-by-design Cillizza, obfuscating for the Few

      “it’s so confusing; whatever *will* we do???”

      No it’s not

    3. Daryl

      My first thought upon reading that was that — these people do not need to be driven out because they are not “local to the cause.” They need to be driven out because they are consistently unethical and cannot be trusted to implement any policy correctly, even the things they say they are in favor of.

  23. Chris Cosmos

    Three great candidates were left off the list, of course, by whatever clone made the list. First may be the guy who might actually be the best President and that’s Andrew Wang–he has the experience and unlike most of the candidates listed has some ideas and data to prove his, particularly on UBI which I think needs to be discussed to open the Overton window a bit more. Also missing is the candidate all the media want to bury most and are doing their very best to do so for obvious reasons (she’s smart, attractive, well-spoken, a veteran who has seen war close up) and that is Tulsi Gabbard who seems to experience the attack of the savage war-mongering women wherever she goes, for example, on “The View” who accept pro-war government propaganda no matter how absurd. Finally, there is Marianne Williamson who features deeper spiritual and philosophical issues as well as reparations (though I disagree with her there, it is an issue that should be discussed).

    These alternative candidates all offer an expansion of the what is permissible to be discussed and contribute greatly what could well be a national conversation during the debates. Most of the other candidates other than Sanders and Warren just want more business as usual and want to go back to the corruption featured in the Obama administration.

    1. Carey

      Sent Gabbard a few bucks this morning to help keep her on the radar (thanks for the mailing address, Cal2).

    2. False Solace

      Bernie was out there in Brooklyn openly arguing for a Job Guarantee. That’s my candidate. I don’t agree with UBI except for people unable to work. (Caregivers have a job and they should be compensated.) If Yang supported the JG I would give him a look but as far as I know, he doesn’t. I have donated to Tulsi.

      UBI has been discussed on NC before. From what I’ve seen most people who support it tend to be techno-utopians who ignore the history and think self-driving cars are just around the corner. I’m not holding my breath. We need more candidates who support the JG. As Bernie said there’s a lot of work in this country that needs to be done. We don’t have people to waste.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        A high proportion of “work” is bullshit work, as Graeber has informed us and I can attest to from experience.

  24. Rojo

    Is it bad the socialists date each other? Certainly you want to keep predators out, but looking for love among a group of like-minded people doesn’t strike me as horrible.

    Shouldn’t socialists be social?

    I think this is just more of a growing Puritanism (along with Veganism).

    1. Carey

      Your reasoning makes sense to me. As for your last sentence, maybe the movements
      are not organic.

      seventeen intelligence™

      1. Unna

        Wasn’t it Donna Brazile who said this about the Clinton campaign:

        “During one visit, she writes, she thought of a question former Democratic congressman Tony Coelho used to ask her about campaigns: “Are the kids having sex? Are they having fun? If not, let’s create something to get that going, or otherwise we’re not going to win. I didn’t sense much fun or [having sex] in Brooklyn,” she deadpans.


        So, do all these young “socialists” wear a scarlet sash and belong to the Junior Anti-Sex League? If so, one can draw conclusions about them.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I smiled at the idea of disentangling sex and politics. But operationally yeah, so many people are clueless about gaslighting. Clear lines are the best defense.

  25. ewmayer

    “Why Misinformation Is About Who You Trust, Not What You Think” [New York Magazine]. … • 100,000 deaths seems like rather a lot.

    See, Lambert, you’re thinking about it the wrong way – it’s not “100,000 deaths”, it’s “100,000 patients with arrhythmias permanently cured.” It’s all a matter of perspective!

    1. John Wright

      One of the researchers, O’Connor asserts:

      ” If you look at Facebook in the lead up to the 2016 election, the Russian Internet Research Agency created animal-lovers groups, Black Lives Matter groups, gun-rights groups, and anti-immigrant groups. They could build trust with people who would naturally be part of these groups. And once they grounded that trust, they could influence them by getting them not to vote or by driving polarization, causing more extreme rhetoric. ”

      Perhaps this statement is grounded in some truth.

      But there is no measure of the significance of this possibly true statement in a measure of HOW MANY VOTES were changed/influenced and in what way.

      Or that other, never highlighted, groups may have done similar actions on Facebook to influence voters differently.

      O’Connor may be illustrating that even a supposed “expert” in detecting misinformation may be susceptible to accepting and promoting misinformation.

  26. WobblyTelomeres

    “NR must take [Sherrod] Brown a lot more seriously than, well, I do.”

    Interesting. I was in a (mostly senior) discussion group yesterday where all the Fox and Friends Fans were seriously discussing Brown as the only threat to Trump in 2020, largely because of his rust belt bona fides and his beating his Republican opponent by a significant margin “in a red state”. The echo chamber denizens have their opponent picked out, it seems.

    I was spent from arguing with a self-declared monetarist about MMT. I thought they were gone, but apparently not. Zombie economists?

    1. Carey

      [Even] looking at pure power relations, I can’t see Brown going anywhere at all.
      Wonder what his function is.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Brown is believe it or not one of the best Senators, not that this is a high bar. Kaine was a co-chair of the Lieberman 2004 campaign.

          Part of me things Brown is stuck in the 90’s despite having good values. Kaine is an advocate of public private partnerships, ran the DNC in 2009 and 2010, and is an all around crummy guy even if he is very polite.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Brown as Kaine 2 meaning he will be Hillary’s running mate when she reluctantly gets drafted after Bernie gets robbed again. The thinking being Brown will win the trust belt for her.

            Dark thoughts, but Carey asked.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Brown would be an improvement on HRC. Kaine joined a long list of running mates whose best attribute is demonstrating the top of the ticket could really be worse.

  27. John k

    The clown bus… have to say I’m surprised Biden doing so well in the polls.
    Who will still be on it when primaries begin?
    Biden, sanders, Harris, warren, booker? Beto?
    Who will be on it After S.C.? (Probably when donors write checks.)
    Biden, sanders, plus S.C. winner?

      1. John k

        Status quo Clintonites plus those nostalgic for Obama that aren’t more attracted by Harris or booker.
        I’m surprised sanders isn’t polling above 25%, unless they’re once again missing young uns on cell phones.

        On the plus side, four years brings in around 16 million new voters while removing around 10 million older ones. Maybe significant if you forecast another close race between old guard and a progressive, since the swing is about 10% of 260 million electorate.

        1. Carey

          WRT polls- pollsters have constituencies, too.

          Will the mcVotes be accurately counted, and will there again be states without exit polling, as with California and others in 2016?

          1. richard

            I don’t get how we know anything is above board without exit polling
            like most of this world
            I don’t get how it’s even legal
            to not have exit polls

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Only if the new voters vote. And that would require someone who inspires them to come out and vote for that someone.

          Unless we can give them someone they could hate so much that they would come out to vote aGAINST that person. A Nominee Biden could be that hate object . . . especially if his role in student debt slavery for the young people were baldly revealed to all those young people.

    1. urblintz

      I thought “doing well in the polls” had lost all meaning after HRC… just sayin’…

  28. Pat

    While it doesn’t account for the absurdly high numbers, nobody should forget that a great deal of support for Israel by Republicans is fueled by the Religious right’s desire for Armageddon. Something that has been linked to Israel for at least my lifetime.

    I have never understood the appeal.

    1. Acacia

      The appeal of Armageddon… isn’t it like the appeal of an ultimate moral high ground (i.e., you were right, you will be saved, while all those other a**holes fry), and by desiring it you’re already kind of half way there?

      1. urblintz

        if Armageddon means all those awful believers vanish into their heaven then I’m all for it…

        might be the answer to a sustainable planet!

    2. Geo

      The appeal of Armageddon? It’s that there’s no fun being chosen unless others know they have been excluded. It’s all ego driven. Revenge fantasy turned up to eleven.

    3. Wukchumni

      Wouldn’t it be disappointing to those hellbent on a dieaspora to learn that this good Earth was in fact heaven?

  29. anon y'mouse

    rumor & speculation alert!!

    i have a room mate who recently went to apply for a line of credit. this person has had no difficulty in obtaining various consumer lines of credit in the past, including car, credit and other. they were turned down because there is suddenly a 90 past due student loan being listed for nonpayment, which dropped their credit below the number deemed acceptable by the bank.

    this person never received notification of this debt in writing, and it did not seem to have been on their credit 6 months ago when they last checked themselves.

    after handwringing, and examinations of the past, this person does remember a student loan being taken out. and they have not heard anything about it for all of these years. and it is a government backed (or even government provided) loan. they signed into the fedloans page for loan managment (after creating the profile which would prove that they are indeed who they claim) and saw it there.

    now, this comes along at the same time that many articles are in the news over the federal management of student loans being a total fiasco, and how many people are now behind in their payments. coincidence?

    someone is clearing up their paperwork, and rediscovered a loan even my friend had forgotten he’d made.

    just a warning. this crap is coming back to haunt you(us all), and because of the student loan issue, it will never go away until you pay it off. even if you weren’t aware it was still an issue (this person obviously had never been dunned to pay, so had forgotten about it entirely in the 10+yr interim). this person plans to do that ASAP (the loan is a relatively small amount), but it is holding up other areas of their life and may come to bite if they NEED to do something like rent an apartment or anything else very soon.

    1. Acacia

      Something similar happened to a friend.

      He had student loans. The banks holding the loans sent paperwork constantly. Every week a letter. He tried to “go green” but they wouldn’t do it. So, the letters ended up in a pile. He would open them from time to time, and check the status of his account: payment deferred until after graduation.

      He graduated, launched into the job market, took a breath, and then opened the latest letter, only to discover the bank was telling him that his loan kicked into repayment and it was overdue. He phones them immediately, and is informed that the loan has already defaulted. “Err, but the letter this week said it was less than ninety days overdue,” he queried. “Oh… sorry…,” the loan officer replies, “seems there was an error with the system … *really* sorry about that, but anyway your loan has defaulted.” To correct this and rescue his credit rating, he had to pay $5000+ to “rehabilitate” the loan. His conclusion: the bank was scamming borrowers with this “system error”, leading them to believe their payment was overdue but not too overdue. After all, how could the borrower protest that they were square with the lender?

  30. Joe Walsh

    How is it possible that O’Rourke manages to keep getting called by an alleged nickname far more so than any other politician? That’s quite a PR coup. Klobuchar keeps trying to go by just “Amy” but it’s not sticking and even Bernie gets called Sanders a lot more often.

    Basically, how could someone get people to call him Joecito with a straight face, at least when it’s politically convenient? Asking for a friend…

    1. Carey

      Friends in high places, as with Harris/ Booker/ Biden et al?
      He’s O’Rourke to me.


    2. ewmayer

      Prediction: Trump is gonna use his evil genius at devising derogatory-but-memorable nicknames and start calling silver spoon Robert Francis O’Rourke “Beto male”.

  31. Wukchumni

    I declare a lessatorium on mentioning HRC henceforth, as she’s spayed it forward.

  32. allan

    Nuclear nonproliferation with Trumpian characteristics:

    North Korea rebuilding long-range rocket site, photos show [NBC]

    North Korea is pursuing the “rapid rebuilding” of the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility, according to new commercial imagery and an analysis from the researchers at Beyond Parallel.

    Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s only operational space launch facility, has been used in the past for satellite launches. These launches use similar technology to what is used for intercontinental ballistic missiles. …

    Asked for comment, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “We don’t comment on intelligence.” …

    Oddly, or not, the “intelligence” is publicly available commercial satellite imagery.

  33. HopeLB

    Beautiful Lambert,
    What was the name of that Tree book that you recently commented upon? I’m a tree nut, and haven’t been able to unearth it from reviewing the comments.
    Thank You for Generously Sharing your Hilarious and Singular Expertise with us!

    1. len

      The book is: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I am reading it now and my walks in our forests on Vancouver Island in British Columbia are much enriched with the new insights. Thought provoking book and makes me a bit sad.

  34. Literate

    Lambert: “I rarely watch video, preferring transcripts…”

    Thank you for that. I expressed a similar opinion on another website in regard to podcasts and I was slapped right down. I may be old and in the way but I can still read a hell of a lot faster than people talk and it strikes me as the height of egotism that someone would expect me to take the time to listen to them when there already aren’t enough hours in the day. OK, I’ll grant that there might be situations — extended driving, for example — when listening can actually be a sort of ‘force multiplier’ but, in general, if you want me to pay attention to your message, write it down!

    1. Yves Smith

      I share Lambert’s preferences. And aside from saving time, another reason for preferring transcripts is it is often much clearer than when watching a presentation or discussion to see how a speaker has been evasive or shifted grounds.

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