2:00PM Water Cooler 4/19/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“China ‘regrets’ WTO ruling after losing grain import quota case brought by US” [South China Morning Post]. “China has promised to manage grain import tariff quotas within World Trade Organisation rules after losing an agriculture trade dispute case with the United States. A World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel decided that China’s system of tariff rate quota system for rice, wheat and corn violated international trading rules. China’s Ministry of Commerce said that it ‘regrets’ the ruling and that it would ‘seriously study’ the decision The Commerce Ministry’s response is ‘a statement of acceptance’ according to Tu Xinquan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.”


“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


Life’s rich pageant….

Biden (D)(1): Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Is Running for President” [Edward Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic]. “He wants this. He really wants this. He’s wanted this since he was first elected to the Senate, in 1972, and he’s decided that he isn’t too old, isn’t too out of sync with the current energy in the Democratic Party, and certainly wasn’t going to be chased out by the women who accused him of making them feel uncomfortable or demeaned because of how he’d touched them. Biden’s campaign will, at its core, argue that the response to Donald Trump requires an experienced, calm hand to help America take a deep breath and figure out a way to get back on track.” • “Take a deep breath.” Why, so I don’t throw up? (At the quality of Dovere’s prose, I hasten to add.)

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden rallies with striking Stop & Shop workers” [Boston Globe]. “‘What’s happening here is workers are not being treated across the board with dignity,’ the potential Democratic presidential candidate said from a podium outside the Stop & Shop at the South Bay Center in Dorchester. ‘They’re not being treated like they matter.'”

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Does everyone really love Mayor Pete? His home town has some answers” [Guardian]. “Should Buttigieg, a piano-playing polyglot bidding to become the youngest and first openly gay US president, remain a serious contender in the Democratic primary, his record on race relations in South Bend is likely to come under forensic scrutiny. Two in five African Americans in the city live below the poverty line, which is almost double the national poverty rate for African American households, according to a study by the city in 2017… Buttigieg’s focus on downtown has been criticized for coming at the expense of other neighborhoods. More than a quarter of the population still lives at or below the poverty line, well above the national average of 14%.”

Buttigieg (D)(2): “Buttigieg to fundraise in DC with major Obama, Clinton bundlers next month: report” [The Hill]. “Buttigieg will attend a May 21 event hosted by Steve Elmendorf and Barry Karas, two longtime Democratic donors who organized hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Clinton and Obama, respectively….. Invitations to next month’s fundraiser in Washington for Buttigieg range from $250 to $5,600 per person, according to NBC, and the event is billed as the mayor’s first visit to D.C. since launching his presidential bid.” • It’s always good to see a fresh face acting so…. fresh.

Buttigieg (D)(3): “IF I BECOME PREZ, CALL THIS BAND … To Play My Inauguration” [TMZ]. “Buttigieg was leaving NBC’s 30 Rock in NYC Thursday morn when we asked who his dream performers would be at his inauguration … seems he hasn’t really thought about it too much. TBH, that IS a looooong ways down the road. Still, our guy makes a suggestion — based on what we know about Pete’s musical preferences — and we’re thinking it’ll get some fans phired up. If [Phish is] interested, Buttigieg is too.” • Much as I dislike O’Rourke, I would bet he’d try to be up on the stage playing (albeit badly), as opposed to spectating.

Buttigieg (D)(4): “Pete Buttigieg’s Presidential Run Has Many LGBT Democrats Eager For Their Obama Moment” [Buzzfeed]. • What, they’re all going to lose their houses when Buttigieg doesn’t deal with the next foreclosure crisis?

Buttigieg (D)(5): “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg makes surprise stop in South Bend, drives around with Mayor Pete” [South Bend Tribune]. • From 2017, I believe this is from the time when Zuckerberg was thinking of running for President himself, so he was traveling about the country doing normal things with normal people. Maybe there’s some oppo in the videos, I dunno…

Harris (D)(1): “Sen. Kamala D. Harris expresses ‘regret’ over her California truancy policy” [WaPo]. “Sen. Kamala D. Harris, the former California attorney general whose prosecutorial record is drawing criticism from some as overly harsh, expressed “regret” on Wednesday for a truancy program she implemented and said she would not support expanding nationally if she becomes president. While district attorney of San Francisco, Harris tried to combat waning school attendance by criminalizing truancy. She was then able to use the threat of fines or jail time for parents of children who missed too many school days. Harris never sent a parent to jail while overseeing this initiative as San Francisco’s chief prosecutor. But when she became attorney general of California in 2011, she implemented the policy statewide. Prosecutors across the state took parents to court, and some were jailed.” • Didn’t poll well, I guess…

Harris (D)(2): “Kamala Harris takes early lead in the big-money race” [Politico]. “Hundreds of the biggest Democratic fundraisers in the past two presidential elections are already picking candidates for 2020 — and Kamala Harris has a significant early edge, while Pete Buttigieg and his from-scratch campaign has scrambled into the second tier. Harris has already received donations from 176 people or couples who raised at least $100,000, and sometimes many multiples of that, for Hillary Clinton in 2016 or at least $50,000 for Barack Obama in 2012, according to a POLITICO analysis of new campaign finance disclosures and “bundler” data from the Center for Responsive Politics. While the Democratic presidential campaigns have been focused on building small-donor armies this year, bundlers mine their networks for checks to pass along to campaigns six or seven-figures at a time, giving them a potentially massive role in a crowded primary.” • How odd that the 1% believes that it can simply pay to control the ballot.

Moulton (D): “Seth Moulton’s seaside video shoot could mean decision to enter 2020 race is imminent” [Boston Globe]. “The Globe has obtained a photo appearing to show Moulton taping what could be an announcement video with a film crew in Marblehead, the North Shore town where Moulton grew up… In addition to the filming, Moulton will also speak at the Politics & Eggs breakfast in New Hampshire next week, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics announced Wednesday.” • Readers may remember Moulton as a MILO who considered challenging Pelosi. From the right.

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders and the Science of Smears” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. ” I would counsel anyone who thinks Russia is responsible for the rise of Sanders or people like Gabbard or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should go out and interview voters around the country, especially in remote areas. The anger toward the political establishment that drives support for such politicians began to be visible over a decade ago, long before Sanders or Gabbard were factors in any kind in national politics. Those voters aren’t selfish, or hypocrites, or Kremlin favorites, and they’re not going anywhere. What a lot of DC-based reporters and analysts don’t grasp is that if you remove Bernie Sanders from the scene, there will still be millions of people out there mad about income inequality. Remove Gabbard, and discontent about the human and financial costs of our military commitments will still be rampant. Removing Warren won’t cancel out anger about Wall Street corruption. Covering personalities instead of political movements only delays things for a while.” • The problem is “outside agitators,” as the power structure of the segregated South well knew. Right?

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders gets endorsements from 7 black S. Carolina lawmakers” [Associated Press]. “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Thursday announced endorsements from seven black lawmakers in the critical early voting state of South Carolina, a show of force in the first place where African American voters feature prominently in next year’s primary elections…. Sanders, a senator from Vermont, has taken a different approach this time, working to deepen ties with the black voters who comprise most of the Democratic primary electorate in the state and pledging to visit South Carolina much more frequently. Our Revolution, the organizing offshoot of Sanders’ 2016 campaign, has an active branch in the state, holding regular meetings and conferences throughout the state. Sanders addressed the group last year.”

Sanders (D)(3): “The Impotence of “Stop Sanders” Democrats” [The New Republic]. “Sanders’s most vocal opponents in the party are an assemblage of establishmentarians and familiar Beltway hands, none of whom speak for a political constituency of any size or significance. Moreover, far from hurting Sanders, this impotent assault is self-defeating, fueling the narrative that party gatekeepers want, at all costs, to keep a political revolution from taking over the Democratic Party… Sanders has transformed attacks from the liberal policy advocacy organization Center for American Progress—run by Clinton loyalist Neera Tanden—and Brock into a fundraising bonanza. Fights with the Democratic establishment only bolster Sanders’s credibility with his base—along with the sense that the party is out to kneecap his campaign once again.”

Sanders (D)(4): “It’s Bernie’s World (And 2020 Democrats Are All Living in It)” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “We are too early in the game to start throwing around terms like “favorite” in this very wide open primary among the Democrats. But, Sanders has succeeded in a very important aspect of the game: thus far he’s been able to dictate the rules and the terrain in which it is set. The questions going forward are: 1) can anyone beat him at his own game?; and/or 2) can someone else rewrite those rules?” • Interesting…

Sanders (D)(5): “Bernie Sanders can’t beat Donald Trump in 2020: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina” [ABC]. Messina: “I think if you look at swing voters in this country they are incredibly focused on the economy. I think today you look at it and say that Bernie Sanders is unlikely going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues.” • Well, we’ll see how that goes, if we get to that point…

Sanders (D)(6): Digital team produces hyper-local content:

I’d like to see what they come up with for South Carolina.

Warren (D): “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” [Elizabeth Warren, Time (dk)]. “Her commitment to putting power in the hands of the people is forged in fire. Coming from a family in crisis and graduating from school with a mountain of debt, she fought back against a rigged system and emerged as a fearless leader in a movement committed to demonstrating what an economy, a planet and a government that works for everyone should look like. A year ago, she was taking orders across a bar. Today, millions are taking cues from her.”

Yang (D): “What I Saw at the Andrew Yang Rally in Washington” [The American Conservative]. “Yang’s popularity is a result of his appealing directly to voters who feel ignored by the two major parties, very much like the campaigns that launched Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump to near-folk hero status in 2016 and onward. Yang, however, has less of a track recordthan Sanders and Trump. Many former “Bernie Bros” were at the Yang rally, sporting “Math” baseball caps and Yang shirts—they never forgave Sanders for his endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016. One college student told me he was worried that his public support for Yang would prompt his removal from his school’s Democratic Socialists of America chapter, since the DSA has backed Sanders’ 2020 candidacy.”


Indivisible weighs in for impeachment:

Cancel my appointment with the Department of Schadenfreude:


Amazingly, Trump somehow selected staff who protected him by not doing stupid stuff he told them to do.

Realignment and Legitimacy

A counter-narrative on super-delegates. Thread:

“Nearly 100,000 Pentagon Whistleblower Complaints Have Been Silenced” [Truthdig]. • Sanders should hold a stadium rally for whistleblowers, with numbers like that.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of April 13, 2019: “This morning’s retail sales are lifting estimates for first-quarter GDP while this morning’s jobless claims are lifting estimates for the March employment report” [Econoday].

Leading Indicators, March 2019: “Following five months of soft readings, the index of leading economic indicators picked up the pace” [Econoday]. “Despite the strength, the report warns that, given prior weakness, the trend for the LEI is still moderate and suggests that U.S. GDP is likely to decelerate toward the 2 percent level through the year.”

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, April 2019: “A surge in new orders grabs the headlines in what is a mixed April edition of the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing report” [Econoday]. “A striking detail in the report, and one not consistent with rising activity, is a sharp reduction in April’s delivery times…. This points to clearing in the supply chain but may, on the optimistic side, hint at better production performance in the months ahead.”

Purchasing Managers’ Index Composite FLASH, April 2019: “Of all the anecdotal reports on U.S. business, those from Markit Economics have consistently been showing the least strength of any. That said, the flash PMI results for April are not a source of optimism” [Econoday]. “Weakness is where strength used to be centered in this report, and that’s in services where growth apparently is slowing abruptly this month.”

Housing Starts, March 2019: “The slump continues. Housing starts came in far below expectations in March” [Econoday]. “However strong the jobs market may be, residential investment was the consistent tail ender in last year’s GPD statistics and doesn’t look like it will be improving in the first quarter…. All regions in fact are in the negative year-on-year columns whether for starts or permits.”

Retail Sales, March 2019: “The optimists weren’t quite optimistic enough as March retail sales, across all major readings, came in just above Econoday’s high estimates” [Econoday]. “this report is not about weakness but about strength, and the results are certain, like yesterday’s trade data for February, to give a lift to first-quarter GDP estimates. The economy’s soft patch so far this year isn’t as soft as it once looked, but questions remain.”

Business Inventories, February 2019: “What seemed to have been an alarming build eased in February though extending overhang is nevertheless a risk” [Econoday]. “Whether or not inventory growth gets out of hand will be determined by the strength of ongoing and future demand which, based on the health of this morning’s retail sales and jobless claims data, looks mostly solid and healthy.”

The Bezzle: “Here Are Sears Holding’s Five “Fraudulent Transfers” and Why “Culpable Insiders” Lampert, Mnuchin, et. al Got Sued” [Wolf Street (EM)]. “The lawsuit (110-page court document) alleges that “Lampert and the other Culpable Insiders” have systematically stripped many billions of dollars’ worth of assets from the retailer for their own benefit, and to the detriment of the creditors. This asset stripping was done in various ingenious ways, involving scores of insiders.” • What fun!

The Bezzle: “Have We Reached Peak Lyft?” [n+1]. “LAST FRIDAY, Lyft became America’s latest decacorn with an initial public offering that valued it at $24.3 billion; analysts expect Uber’s IPO, scheduled for later this year, to fetch $120 billion. These eye-popping valuations are bolstered not by profits—Lyft lost nearly a billion dollars in 2018—but by narrative.”

The Biosphere

“Notre-Dame fire: Bees on roof survived, beekeeper says” [The Connexion]. “The 200,000 bees that live in the hives on the roof of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris appear to have survived the fire disaster that led to the collapse of much of the roof and spire, it has emerged. Beekeeper Nicolas Géant, who manages the Notre-Dame hives, said that he hopes to see the bees and continue to care for them ‘next week’, after learning that they had survived the incident and had been spotted emerging from their hives in the cathedral in the past few days… He said: ‘The bees are alive. Initially I thought that the three hives had burned away, and I had no information. But later I saw that this was not the case, and the spokesperson at the cathedral confirmed to me that [the bees] were coming in and out of the hives.’ In case of fire, bees usually gorge themselves with honey and seek to protect their queen bee as a priority, he said.” • Keeping bees on rooftops in the city has never occurred to me. Do we have any readers who do this?

“Landowners are earning millions for carbon cuts that may not occur” [MIT Technology Review]. “Under a California program aimed at curbing climate pollution, landowners across the US have received hundreds of millions of dollars for promised carbon dioxide reductions that may not occur. The state has issued carbon offset credits to projects that may overstate their emissions reductions by 80 million tons of carbon dioxide, a third of the total cuts that the state’s cap-and-trade program was expected to achieve in the next decade, according to a policy brief that will be released in the next few days by the University of California, Berkeley.” • Hoo boy. Who would have thought that a market-based solution would be gamed?

“Seeing “Evolution in Real Time”: Mice Blend in to Survive” [PBS] (original). “The work of Barrett and his team, published today in the journal Science, highlights how the stresses of the natural environment can directly alter the fate of one gene—all within the span of a single generation. In light of our rapidly-changing world, these findings underscore the idea that, even against the complex backdrop of nature, one small shift can permanently tip the scales for an entire population. ‘This is a beautiful study,’ says Obed Hernández-Gómez, an evolutionary biologist and geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley who was not involved in the study. ‘Recently we’ve looked at genes and understood that evolutionary processes act very quickly. To see that confirmed in this study, and not in a human-mediated environment… This could end up being one of those prominent examples we use to teach biology students in the future.'” • It would certainly be a shame if mice adapted more efficiently than humans (“How are you gonna pay for it?”)

“Climate Change and the Federal Reserve” [Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco]. “With regard to financial stability, many central banks have acknowledged the importance of accounting for the increasing financial risks from climate change…. These risks include potential loan losses at banks resulting from the business interruptions and bankruptcies caused by storms, droughts, wildfires, and other extreme events. There are also transition risks associated with the adjustment to a low-carbon economy, such as the unexpected losses in the value of assets or companies that depend on fossil fuels. In this regard, even long-term risks can have near-term consequences as investors reprice assets for a low-carbon future. Furthermore, financial firms with limited carbon emissions may still face substantial climate-based credit risk exposure, for example, through loans to affected businesses or mortgages on coastal real estate. If such exposures were broadly correlated across regions or industries, the resulting climate-based risk could threaten the stability of the financial system as a whole and be of macroprudential concern. In response, the financial supervisory authorities in a number of countries have encouraged financial institutions to disclose any climate-related financial risks and to conduct ‘climate stress tests’ to assess their solvency across a range of future climate change alternatives…. Some central banks also recognize that climate change is becoming increasingly relevant for monetary policy…. For example, climate-related financial risks could affect the economy through elevated credit spreads, greater precautionary saving, and, in the extreme, a financial crisis.” • Not sure what “heading for the exits” looks like in climactic terms. The Mars missions seem a little sketchy; the New Zealand bunkers are far away. and nobody likes a crowd. The earth is round, after all. Where would the exits be?

“New Wave of Satellites Could Pinpoint Greenhouse Gas Offenders” [Bloomberg]. “More than a dozen governments and companies have or are planning to launch satellites that measure concentrations of heat-trapping gases such as methane, which is blamed for about one quarter of man-made global warming. They are looking to track nations, industries, companies and even individual facilities to identify some of the biggest contributors to climate change…. The information may reinforce shareholder pressure on companies to disclose and reduce emissions.” • Or, I dunno, throw some CEOs in jail?

“How air pollution is doing more than killing us” [BBC]. A useful round-up of studies on air pollution and behavior changes. The conclusion: “If we all begin to monitor pollution levels ourselves, we then might start making it a habit to avoid certain activities, like outdoor sports, or even commuting on the most polluted days. Our bodies, brains, and behaviours will benefit.” • Adapt, consumers!

“Plastic bag bans are spreading. But are they truly effective?” [National Geographic]. “Yet as bag bans spread around the globe, their effectiveness—despite Wakibia’s sunny appraisal of Kenya’s effort—remains an unanswered question. Bag bans have spawned bans of other plastic products, including plates, cups, cutlery, straws and bottles, as part of an expanding effort to reduce single-use plastics, which make up about 40 percent of the plastics manufactured worldwide. But whether bans can significantly reduce plastic waste, which leaks into the oceans at an average rate of 8 million tons a year, remains to be seen‒especially when considering that plastic production is forecast to double by 2040, and may account for 20 percent of the world’s oil production by 2050.”

“Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action: A Framework for Sustained Assessment” (PDF) [American Meteorological Society]. “A key recommendation is establishing a new non-federal “climate assessment consortium” to increase the role of state/local/tribal government and civil society in assessments. The expanded process would: (1) focus on applied problems faced by practitioners; (2) organize sustained partnerships for collaborative learning across similar projects and case studies to identify effective tested practices; and (3) assess and improve knowledge-based methods for project implementation. Specific recommendations include: evaluating climate models and data using user-defined metrics; improving benefit-cost assessment and supporting decision-making under uncertainty, and accelerating application of tools and methods such as citizen science, artificial intelligence, indicators, and geospatial analysis.” • This is important, and I hope GND advocates are paying attention, particularly to the citizen science part, which meshes neatly with a Jobs Guarantee.” • This is important, and I hope GND advocates are paying attention, particularly to the citizen science part, which meshes neatly with a Jobs Guarantee.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“In ‘Stony the Road,’ Henry Louis Gates Jr. Captures the History and Images of the Fraught Years After the Civil War” [New York Times]. “‘Stony the Road’ offers a history lesson on connivance, or, in today’s idiom, collusion, by cataloging in words and pictures the white supremacy at the highest levels of American politics, including President Woodrow Wilson’s praise for ‘The Birth of a Nation,‘ a Negrophobic hymn to the Ku Klux Klan that was shown in the White House in 1915. By recreating such potent scenes, Gates makes clear what early-20th-century blacks were up against, and ‘Stony the Road’ seems to encourage us to take hope. The book’s devastating inventory of cruel, ugly stereotypes, lynchings and torture puts our current era immediately in context.”

Class Warfare

Filing this under class warfare as opposed to The Biosphere. I like the Trillbillies:

“Johnny Cash to replace Confederate statue on Capitol Hill” [WaPo]. “The current statues of Uriah Milton Rose, an attorney who sided with the Confederacy, and James P. Clarke, a governor of the state who held racist beliefs, are not being removed because of their controversial past, but rather because of a decision by the state ‘to update the statues with representatives of our more recent history,’ said [Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)].” • And then there’s the fact that Cash is a great artist:

Filing this here for the lyrics…

“Opinion: Even 75% of Americans in the best 401(k) plans won’t have enough to retire” [MarketWatch]. “Three of every four participants in the best corporate 401(k) retirement plans won’t have enough to cover their post-retirement living expenses.” • Oh well…

News of the Wired

“Pig brains kept alive outside body for hours after death” [Nature]. “[T]he team never saw coordinated electrical patterns across the entire brain, which would indicate sophisticated brain activity or even consciousness. The researchers say that restarting brain activity might require an electrical shock, or preserving the brain in solution for extended periods to allow cells to recover from any damage they sustained while deprived of oxygen.” • Paging Mary Shelley…

“Look What the Cat Dragged In: Parasites” [New York Times]. “After comparing nearly two dozen studies from around the world, researchers found that outdoor cats were nearly three times more likely to contract a parasitic infection than indoor cats. The findings add support to one side of a debate about where pet cats should be allowed to roam, suggesting that to protect your pets, wildlife and even the health of your family, keeping cats inside is less risky.” • Where will cats — who are predators — lead their best cat lives?

“Help! My garden is out of control” [Financial Times]. “In the 19th century our house was called Brock Leys and so we should have been ready for a continuous badger party along the lines described by the FT’s Robin Lane Fox in his new year columns. The wretched creatures push aside the lumps of concrete, rock and wood I shove into the holes they have made under our boundaries. My strategy is to ask all human male visitors to relieve themselves on the boundaries. I do too, and both types of urine seem to keep brocks at bay.” • This is a strategy for deer as well!

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

Flowing Health writes: “Here is a pic of my dog with some trillium which loves to grow in the shade of doug fir trees which we have plenty of here in the PNW. Please credit his Instagram account: @duzzthedog.” Leveling up my dog game!

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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. Synoia

    Keeping bees on rooftops in the city has never occurred to me. Do we have any readers who do this?

    Sorry No. I lack the necessary Cathedral in my back yard. /s

    1. Janie

      Orange County CA has several business places with hives on the roofs for five it more years. I used to buy honey from hive owners at farmers’ markets.

      1. c_heale

        I think it’s also popular in Seoul. There’s definitely an urban beekeeping movement here and a lot of flat roofs.

    2. Pavel

      It’s quite popular these days in Montreal, and there are a few stores which sell the honey. Very nice to support local beekeepers and the different locations have different flavours.

      (I haven’t used processed sugar as a sweetener in decades, but lately I take about 1/2 a teaspoon full of honey each day on the theory that the gut flora like it :)

    3. Dallas C. Galvin

      Rooftop bee keeping is secretly popular in New York City. There are urban bee keeping clubs and courses — as well as fairs where one can sell the honey.

      The hindrance to urban bee keeping, in my case, is that my building is owned by a university. The bureaucrats fear lawsuits from any potential victims of a bee sting, ergo, no can do. More’s the shame since where I live is abutted by three major and one quite small park. The flowers and the trees would love company, I feel sure. . .

    4. MoBee

      Very popular in San Francisco. At least ten downtown hotels have hives, and our downtown newspaper building does, too.

      ETA: As a Sherlock fan (he is a well-known literary beekeeper), I was excited to see the CBS show Elementary have their version of Holmes be a NYC *rooftop* beekeeper.

  2. Carolinian

    Bernie Sanders was in my fair city yesterday evening. Here are a couple of links from our local media outlet with the details.



    The event was billed as a two hour townhall on education and criminal justice but there may have been some miscommunication as Sanders left after giving his speech (taking some of the audience with him). As for my take, a couple of points:

    –His reception was enthusiastic, even raucous in the reverberant auditorium. This was fun. The audience was about one third white with young people and (near me) some older northern transplants discussing what cities they had moved here from. Security was light and it was all rather casual.

    –While listening to the various local politicians introduce he looked tired, even old (sorry) at this late in the day meeting. However when he got up to speak after a rousing introduction from Nina Turner (a real talent) he was energetic and even impassioned. If he can keep this up for 18 months then it will be hard to challenge his vigor or sincerity. The sheepdog charge–at least–seems dubious as it eventually did in 2016. Nobody goes through this much work just to shill.

    –And finally as to the message, much of it is familiar from around here and perhaps boils down to a return to 60s era Great Society goals and attitudes with some job guarantee thrown in. The Millenials want what the Boomers had (without the draft presumably) and who can blame them? Of course the Great Society is what the right has spent the last few decades tearing down so it will be a fight should he get the nom.

    –Bottom line: Bernie was well received and gave a good, well argued speech. But he did look a bit pooped.

    1. JerryDenim

      Thanks for the report from an ex-Carolinian! (Hailing from the north side of the border though.)

      By “one-third white” I take your crowd report to mean two-thirds not white, which I believe bodes well for the good Senator’s chances in the 2020 primary. Did you happen to attend any Sander’s rallies or events in the 2016 season that could be used as a point of comparison?

      Being a multi-generational southern raised in the south I feel that most Americans outside of the south really underestimate just how conservative the southern black community can be, but that being said, I still have a hard time believing Clinton really beat Sanders as badly as the results indicated in several deep south primaries where the Democratic vote is nearly synonymous with ‘the black vote’. I suspect foul play (electronic voting shenanigans) by allied Clinton forces seeking to run up the delegate score in states where they knew the Sanders campaign wasn’t genuinely competing to win or paying close attention to the process.

      Care to offer any speculation or personal anecdotes?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Name recognition matters. You and I might like Sanders, but how long have you known who Sanders was? I’ve been aware of the guy since he was mayor, but my mom was born in Burlington and I’m a nerd.

        If your first interaction with Sanders was the 2016 primary which is what it most likely was unless you listened to the Tom Hartmann Show (????), how different was a Sanders volunteer from an Obama volunteer?

        To a certain there is a method to the perceived madness. Jim Clyborn preyed on this phenomenon with his “I haven’t seen Bernie” routine, but many African Americans only see Democrats when they see their votes. Along with the media blackout, it was very hard for Sanders to compete in the South against political operation that comes from the South in its first try.

        1. Carolinian

          Think you mean Clyburn.

          And my impression of black politics, at least around here, is that it is largely transactional. Sanders may be getting more attention this time around because he is currently front runner just as Hillary won the primary because she was expected to become president

          1. nippersdad

            I agree. I know a friend of mine who was a longstanding member of the NAACP (now deceased) liked Bernie very much, and she said that she was not alone in that. The biggest obstacle for his campaign here was that so few had heard of him due to the media blackout of his campaign prior to Super Tuesday.

            It wasn’t inherent conservatism so much as a lack of awareness of his campaign that got him here.

            1. JerryDenim

              Here being South Carolina or somewhere else? I wasn’t surprised that a well established, very well known name like Clinton was able to best Sanders in the south. Not surprising at all. I was surprised and suspicious of the margins. South Carolina was very early in the nominating process and the results were rather unsurprising, but the rest of the southern states had primaries later in the calendar, after Sanders had received quite a bit of press. Generally speaking Sanders outperformed his poll numbers slightly for the primaries and Clinton unperformed. But in certain deep south states like Mississippi and Louisiana, states that were know to be Democratic ‘lost causes’ for the national election, Clinton was able to hold Sanders to less than 20% of the vote and radically outperform her poll numbers. I found that particular quirk of the primaries suspicious.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I had thought it was John Lewis who did that. Was it Rep. Clyburn all along? Or was it both at different times?

      2. Carolinian

        While he did receive some endorsements and a good reception at this “black church” I don’t have much insight into how his arguments play with the black community. One of his biggest applause lines was that felons and even inmates should receive the right to vote (I agree, totally) and also for statements denouncing unequal police treatment of the races. Also in my state black and white politicians may be chummier than in some others. I learned from one of the introductions that my town is almost evenly split 48/52, black and white. One of our Republican senators is black.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      introduce he looked tired, even old (sorry)

      I can’t speak for recently, but Sanders commits an unforgiveable sin of cupping his balls in public. I’m not sure why no one has told him to stop, but he needs to stop. It makes him look weak. Obama never did it. I don’t think Biden does. The men who have been President are rarely ball cuppers. If you don’t know what to do with your hands, use your pockets. Sanders needs to stop cupping his balls. Give him a binder to hold or something

      1. Carolinian

        Got the snark, not your point. You might want to blurt it out for we simpletons.

        Presumably the point of an eyewitness account is to tell what you saw.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          In general, men shouldn’t hold their hands together like they are protecting their balls from a penalty kick. Sanders does this. It make him look weak. Captain Kirk would never do this. Jean Luc never.

          https://media.salon.com/2016/02/sanders_hillary_debate3.jpg Weak

          https://media.npr.org/assets/blogs/politicaljunkie/images/2010/04/debate-a9bee647aebe55d8fcb7b15dfe323aed339f8551.jpg Weak. This isn’t that beach picture of Obama.

          http://www.trbimg.com/img-56bdbf9a/turbine/ct-clinton-sanders-debate-20160211 Strong despite a stupid expression.

          In the ball cupping pictures, Sanders looks like the kid sent to the principles office. Its a Superman versus Clark Kent appearance thing. Sanders often doesn’t carry himself well when he has nothing to do. This is largely why there was so much speculation about HRC’s health. She knows how to project strength and confidence, where to look when speaking to a crowd.

          1. Carey

            I agree that it makes him look subservient. He should have his
            hands at his sides, even if he looks like a wooden Indian.

            There are a lot of people backing Sanders,
            and it’d be better if his physical stance
            reflected that. “Not me; Us.”

            Sanders / Gabbard 2020

            1. richard

              Hmm. This seems to matter to a lot of smart people on here, so I’ll defer. I must say I could care less where his dang hands are. But I also just do not tune into that very well, and I do understand it affects what some people think of you.
              Then again, Sanders is kind of mr. anti-charisma, policy only, “white paper with elbows”, and a lot of people seem to respond to that now. I wouldn’t mess with that too much. But maybe just cup his balls less, I guess. lol

              1. Tom Bradford

                I’ve come across this “I must say I could care less (where his dang hands are)” any number of times in NC comments and it puzzles me. In my neck of the Anglosphere the phrase is “I couldn’t care less”, which seems to be the correct dismissal of the subject. To say you could care less is to say that you do have some care (where his dang hands are), to a greater or lesser extent.

                1. Donald

                  I could care less about the idiom. Seriously I could care less, because I generally say I couldn’t care less. But I don’t care much.

                  1. Mattski

                    Second that; I could care even less. We don’t polish the idioms, the hive mind does. And in the U.S. people could care less.

                    1. Lynne

                      Maybe in your part of the US. In this part, it’s couldn’t care less.

                      “could care less” is like nails on a blackboard.

          2. Carolinian

            It was 5:30. According to my above link he had already had an event that day and presumably an airplane trip. My theory is that he showed up expecting to make a speech and found out he was billed as being on a two hour panel with local politicians and hence the expression of irritated bewilderment in my photographs. After a half hour of all these players being introduced he did take the floor and rose to the occasion with a very good 25 minute speech.

            Don’t think my above tempest in a speculative teacup amounted to much with the crowd which loved him.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            If you try telling someone that after this long a life already lived not knowing, do you crack their confidence and make them all self-conscious and artificially simulating “must project strength” body poses? Could that be even worse?

          4. Lambert Strether Post author

            Yikes. Yes, his staff needs to fix this (though to be fair, he doesn’t do this when running, or walking around in debate. It seems to be his resting posture).

            Hard to change body language, though.

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              This takes me back to my college debate days, when a nervous speaker would put a hand in his pocket…

              Point of order Mr Speaker! I fear for the safety of this House! The delegate appears to be fondling in his pocket a concealed weapon… albeit of *small* caliber.

              One way to cure awkward hands without distracting oneself too much is simply to hold a (capped) pen in one hand. Of course, that can also become distracting if waved about like a baton, but I don’t think excess talking with hands is Bernie’s problem. FWIW

      2. nippersdad

        I’m not sure I would have put it that way, but I have to agree with you that someone needs to talk to him about his body language. While first admitting that I seldom notice body language, during that Fox townhall he looked to me to be in a consistent defensive crouch which was only exacerbated by the several times he cupped his ear and asked to have the question repeated.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy, but if even I noticed it then he could definitely use a little coaching. For the very little it is actually worth, I would have told him to stand up straight, shoulders back, look them in the eye and tell them to speak up so everyone can hear them. And, for God’s sake, ask them if they were taught to interrupt others or if that is their “special talent.”

        Bret Baier and whatshername were just incredibly rude.

        1. dcrane

          I can only imagine how difficult it would be to un-learn such behaviors, especially late in life. We may have to hope that, in this political environment, appearing less polished is less of a handicap than we might expect. Bernie’s strength lies in his earnest straight talk about the issues that matter to regular people, and the striking contrast between that and what almost everyone else is doing.

          1. Carolinian

            Right. Plus Donald Trump is not exactly what you’d call ‘couth. The man is barely housebroken. BTW Alex Cockburn used to refer to Sanders as the “brass lunged senator from Vermont.” His voice is his calling card.

            However I do think Sanders’ age could become an issue. The same would apply to Biden of course.

          2. nippersdad

            Let me be the first to stipulate that all of that is very true, and Carolinian is spot on that his primary opposition is barely housebroken. I had only ever seen him behind a podium before, so maybe that is why I was so struck by his body language out in the open.

            That might be his best strategy, to always have a podium.

            I do, however, think that the elder statesman figure is so classic that it shouldn’t hurt him much in the pols. People have been electing elderly people in this country forever,* and it was never seen as a problem. IIRC, Strom Thurmond was a hundred years old and they had to drag him out of the Senate by the heels lest his last filibuster close the Senate to business in perpetuity.** Were he to make a VP selection that was comparatively youthful, one who augmented his political appeal it would be a non-issue IMHO.

            * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest-living_United_States_Senators

            **Only a slight exaggeration.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > only exacerbated by the several times he cupped his ear and asked to have the question repeated.

          I can see FOX messing with the sound equipment. And the Sanders campaign better have somebody by the soundboard for the Democrat debates, too. And the lighting.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Right wanted to go much deeper and tear down much more than the Great Society.

      Bill Clinton tore down the Great Society through such things as Welfare Reform and outsourcing governmental functions to profit taking private contractors. Clinton wanted to join the right in tearing down parts of the New Deal, specifically Social Security. But apparently Monica Lewinski derailed Clinton from being able to carry off his conspiracy with Newt Gingrich to destroy Social Security. ( If Sanders gets elected, I hope he awards Monica Lewinski that highest-level civilian medal there is, for saving Social Security. And all the Clintons should be invited to the ceremony.)

      The Right wanted to tear government down all the way to before Teddy Roosevelt’s “Square Deal”. The Right ( acting under cover of Trump) wants to “deconstruct the Administrative State”. The goal is so that drug companies can put any old thing in the bottle after they put aspirin on the label. The goal is so that self-styled “drug companies” don’t even have to be real drug companies.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    Something I haven’t seen discussed RE: the Mueller report yet –

    The conclusion seems to be definitive in that there was absolutely no evidence of Trump colluding with “the Russians” whatsoever, which would indicate that the entire investigation was baseless to begin with.

    Mueller was not definitive in saying there was no obstruction which is the straw the Russia-gaters continue to grasp at.

    Let’s for the sake of argument say that Trump did obstruct the investigation. Can a person actually be in legal jeopardy for obstructing an investigation that was baseless to begin with and should never have started?

    From a non-legal standpoint, it would seem that anyone obstructing such an investigation would be doing the public a favor.

    1. Bill Smith

      Yes, one can be charged and possibly convicted for obstruction even if the underlying crime didn’t occur. But it is more difficult.

      Since the underlying crime didn’t happen it is possible to view some of Trump statements as a reaction to a lot of baseless accusations against him.

      1. Donald

        That doesn’t make any sense. But maybe I am wrong and we should investigate you for the murder of Julius Caesar.

      2. Bill Smith

        Baseless from Trump’s point of view. He (Trump) knew he didn’t collude.

        Once Mueller concluded that there was no Russian collusion he could see that Trump’s statements were not covering up Russian collusion as there wasn’t any. At that point a case could be made that was instead Trump was responding to baseless accusations against him.

  4. Allegorio

    I have kept Bees on the roof of an out building in my yard and they did very well up there and you don’t have to mow around them. They thrive on the warm temperatures up there. Then over the years all the bees in my fields disappeared, even the wild ones. I believe due to the prevalent use of glyphosate in adjacent corn fields.

  5. McDee

    Re Joe Biden: “He really wants this. He’s wanted this since he was first elected to the Senate in 1972.” ….So it’s “His Turn.” Alright then. That will sit as well with me as Kamala’s “regrets” and Mayor B’s platitudes in three languages or Beto’s singular claim to fame of LOSING to the odious Ted Cruz or the accomplishments of all the corporate toadies in the 2020 race. I’m a registered Dem only so I can vote for Bernie in the closed New Mexico primary next year. After that, I’m an Independent again.

    1. WJ

      Biden 2020: Ain’t No Woman Gonna Chase Us Out!

      Biden 2020: Holding Our Breath

      Biden 2020: Time for An Interregnum

  6. floyd

    re: 401K

    I always wonder about those studies. Do researchers even make a basic attempt to get the whole picture of people’s retirement savings/plans. How many will receive pensions? How many anticipate selling a business or have real estate holdings? How many have spouses with huge balances? Probably sponsored by Fidelity or others with a vested interest in scaring the government to do something that will be hugely beneficial for them.

    1. Bill Smith

      For my part I’ve wondered that we been seeing these stories in one form or another for 40 years. What happened to the people in this boat 30 years ago? 20 years ago. 10 years ago. They downsized? How much?

    2. Another Scott

      I looked at the Kellogg article and it said that ” The team had access to a large anonymized dataset that offered an unvarnished glimpse into how people working at 296 firms saved for retirement over time. That dataset, which came from a financial management company, included detailed data on employee age, salary, and tenure with the company, as well as 401(k) account balance, portfolio allocation, and other attributes.”

      There is no mention of IRAs. When you change jobs, it’s often a good idea to rollover your old 401k into an IRA, which you have more control over. If these savings are not included, then any savings from past employers are not included, and that’s before discussing any additional IRA contributions that people might have made.

    3. Arizona Slim

      The finger wagging about not saving enough. Oh, how that gets to me. Perhaps people don’t have enough money left over for saving.

      1. Anonymouse Coward

        As I see it, the 401K crisis is a disaster caused by the end of the traditional defined benefit pension, not by a failure to save. This was no secret among retirement professionals, lawyers and consultants. During the time of conversions from pensions to 401Ks there was a common joke in the industry: what four letter word starts with F, ends in K, and lets you screw your employees? 401K.

        People don’t or can’t or won’t save. That is why defined benefit (annuity) plans like pensions and social security virtually eliminated elder poverty. Poor houses used to be very real. It’s also why 401Ks have created a retirement crisis in this country that will be hitting us shortly. Perhaps we will see a return of the poor houses.

        Your point is well taken. It isn’t about individuals not saving, it’s about policy.

      2. Oregoncharles

        If everyone “saved enough,” the economy would come to a screaming halt. Which would be a good thing from an environmental POV, but not economic.

  7. YAHOO!

    Have a niece who works/ed for a firm/group that managed roof top hives in NYC…….several boroughs.

  8. Pat

    I would be a sucker for whatever duzzthedog wants. That look from Duzz, irresistible. Thank you for the picture, Flowing Health.

    Lambert, yup that ups the dog game!

  9. Lee

    The findings add support to one side of a debate about where pet cats should be allowed to roam, suggesting that to protect your pets, wildlife and even the health of your family, keeping cats inside is less risky.” • Where will cats — who are predators — lead their best cat lives?

    In your house well stocked with cage free canaries and mice.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s way too late for intervention here, the catiphate was recently seen with a gopher clad in an orange jump-suit, torturing it for information about troop movements underground, and then beheading said captive in a somewhat daily display of carnage asada.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      If my granny had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

      –Checks internet– Yay, the Ig Noble Prize is still going!

      Meanwhile, I can’t help but recall the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals.

      1. rowlf

        What a bio! Are we a great county or what? We need more of this and that recently passed nun-fighting tool-and-die guy!

        …the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals (SINA), was Abel’s most elaborate hoax.

        “Abel once ran for Congress on a platform that included paying congressmen based on commission; selling ambassadorships to the highest bidder; installing a lie detector in the White House and truth serum in the Senate drinking fountain; requiring all doctors to publish their medical school grade point average in the telephone book after their names; and removing Wednesday to establish a four-day workweek.”


  10. JerryDenim

    Biden officially in the running-

    In light of recent allegations against Biden the hand metaphor was off-key and elicited involuntary mental images of creepy man hands doing inappropriate things. The unfortunate prose also seemed to be inviting parody;

    “requires an experienced, calm hand to…. (you fill in the blank)”


    1. ewmayer

      Ha, the same thing occurred to me – creepy Uncle Joe is so bad, even the metaphors his boosters use about him are handsy!

  11. Pat

    I wonder who Messina thinks IS “going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues”? Biden? Buttigieg? O’Rourke? Harris?

    Short of Warren, they haven’t got anyone who can go toe to toe with Trump regarding the economy EXCEPT Sanders.

    Oh, wait, I thought Messina was actually interested in what the voters want….nevermind….

    1. Cal2

      “Kamala Harris takes early lead in the big-money race” [Politico]. “Hundreds of the biggest Democratic fundraisers in the past two presidential elections are already picking candidates for 2020 — and Kamala Harris has a significant early edge…”

      AND Republicans too, Steven Mnuchin donated to Kamala:

      From IndyMac to OneWest to Sears Holdings, Steven Mnuchin continues to score big as “one of the most notorious bankers in America.”

      “Mnuchin was present for every recent major banking innovation, including those that brought the country to the brink of economic collapse,” writes New Republic’s David Daven.

      “Critics have raised many questions about Mnuchin’s financial dealings, from a lawsuit over pocketing profits in the Bernie Madoff case to his suspiciously quiet exit from the Hollywood production company Relativity Media just before it took huge losses and filed for bankruptcy…to his chairmanship of OneWest Bank, a major cog in America’s relentless foreclosure machine.

      “Even among the many bad actors in the national foreclosure crisis, OneWest stood out. It routinely jumped to foreclosure rather than pursue options to keep borrowers in their homes; used fabricated and ‘robo-signed’ documents to secure the evictions; and had a particular talent for dispossessing the homes of senior citizens and people of color….

      Meanwhile, the color-coordinated candidate Kamala flaunts her shoulder’s chocolate chip as she cashes in hers with the big money donors…

    2. Grant

      When I saw that video of Bernie in WV last year or whenever it was, and the recent Fox News townhall, it hit home how out to lunch Pelosi, Schumer, Tanden, Mayor Pete and the like are. To think that they are more in touch with those people and can prop up someone that would better connect with them, and that these people are adamant at keeping the system as is, is delusional. When I see turnout for most races, the overwhelming majority of races result in large amounts of people not voting, but those in power don’t care at all. Sure, we could imagine other candidates winning by focusing on those that don’t vote (low income groups vote less than middle and high income groups, communities of color vote less than white people, the young less than the middle aged and older people) and having the system work for them, but they don’t want that. The system works for them, it is theirs, so are the political parties. They might be many things, but they aren’t stupid, and they surely have access to plenty of data on how people feel about issues, the system, the establishment, the dominant institutions in our society, etc. So, when they talk about who will win, it is who will win while relying on the same donors, operating within the same narrow range of policy options, using the same consultants and the same media strategies. That is radically different than winning by running radically different campaigns, aimed at different groups, funded in different ways, and pushing for structural changes that are more popular and would work far better for most people than what those in power are willing to consider. And they don’t care if their ways of doing things makes a Trump victory more likely. He doesn’t pose an existential threat to them, and that is all they care about.

      Messina is a lobbyist and a good example of all that is wrong with this system. I would run in the opposite direction of anything he says.

      1. Pat

        Oh, I get the system all right, and that Messina doesn’t begin to want that system to change. I suppose my problem with that statement was not just the absurdity of it, but that any respectable journalist could quote him without pointing out how of all of the candidates Sanders was the best the Democrats have on the economy regardless of how little Messina likes him or wants him to lose.

        And yes, I do have an issue with anyone not in the FIRE and Tech sector buying that Sanders is weaker than any of the more mainstream Democratic contenders from a failed campaign consultant and lobbyist particularly someone who is supposed to report on the issues not just rubber stamp propaganda.

        Every once in a while I lose my cynicism and get mightliy p*ssed at the state of journalism today.

  12. Samuel Conner

    News I can use:

    “. My strategy is to ask all human male visitors to relieve themselves on the boundaries. I do too, and both types of urine seem to keep brocks at bay.”

    I wonder if this keeps rabbits away from rare milkweed.

  13. crittermom

    >”Help! My Garden is Out of Control” (FT)

    Tho’ I couldn’t read the article (paywalled), I tried this strategy at my former home.

    After I was awakened one night by the yipping of coyotes and a dog, I jumped in my vehicle and raced through the pasture to investigate, only to find a neighbors dog standing over the remains of my poor goat (coyote had run off as I approached).

    The next morning I discovered a hole nearby under the fence, so after filling it with rocks I got the idea to urinate on them since most critters are either attracted or repelled by smell.

    It seemed to work, as the rocks were never disturbed, evidence that nothing more had encroached upon the property via that route.

    1. dearieme

      Proceed as follows. Copy the title of the article.

      Open a “private window” or “incognito mode” or whatever your browser offers. Paste the title into the search bar of your search engine (in my case I used Safari and Google).

      When the search engine coughs up its list of choices just click through to the FT article. (I found it worth a read.)

        1. Procopius

          It’s always worked for me using Google and Chrome. As you can see I do not particularly care about privacy issues because I ignore all ads anyway. I’ll try Duck Duck Go next time, though.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          You must clear your cookies. Most modern browsers allow you to search on cookies to delete selectively. Removing “ft.” cookies works for me in Opera. (OTOH, nothing ever works with the WSJ.)

    2. Lee

      Canadian author and environmentalist, Farley Mowat, in his book Never Cry Wolf, relates how wolves he was observing respected his urine marked camp boundary. They would detect his marking and then pee near his spot on their side of the boundary. Good borders make good neighbors.

      Speaking of boundaries and borders:

      April 23
      Farley Mowat, Canadian Author, Denied Entry into U.S.

      The administration of President Ronald Reagan launched a “war on ideas,” designed to keep out of the U.S. writers and political activists who disagreed with its policies. On this day, it denied a visa to Farley Mowat, a successful Canadian writer who is most famous for his best-selling book Never Cry Wolf (1963).

      Mowat was never told why he was denied entry into the U.S., other than to say that he might have violated any one of 33 American laws. The publicity over the government’s action was so embarrassing that the Reagan administration reversed its position and issued him a visa. He declined to accept it.

  14. dearieme

    I long assumed that The Buggers would just shoot Trump; maybe They will find it easier to shoot Sanders.

    Anyway, were I a Yank and a Dem I’d vote for Tulsi. So she has no chance, then.

  15. Frenchguy

    There are bee hives on several big buildings in Paris (public but I seem to remember at least one, private, commercial center having some). You can even buy the honey from the hives of the opéra:


    I saw a TV report on that someday and it was saying that actually not only are there lots of flowers in the city (gardens, balcony…) but they are also quite diverse so bees can thrive in the city.

  16. Wukchumni

    “How air pollution is doing more than killing us” [BBC]. A useful round-up of studies on air pollution and behavior changes. The conclusion: “If we all begin to monitor pollution levels ourselves, we then might start making it a habit to avoid certain activities, like outdoor sports, or even commuting on the most polluted days. Our bodies, brains, and behaviours will benefit.” • Adapt, consumers!
    Sequoia NP and environs is atypically one of the smoggiest NP’s in the country, although it doesn’t have the feel of the late 60’s L.A. awful (whose smog I feel inoculated me from ever feeling the effects of future foul air, or at least that’s my pipe dream, delivered from one of seas of exhaust pipes ambling down the road) as we have fairly crystalline views of afar in the foothills, something not possible from my front porch growing up, where the San Gabriel mountain range was 25 miles away on a straight shot, and you’d see it 6x a year.

    Get up above 9k here and look down though, and it has the feel of one of those snow-globes, where all the crummy air can ascend no further and stays stuck, along with everything below it, stirring the pot.

    1. JBird4049

      The smog cannot ascend any higher because it is trapped between the coastal mountains, the winds coming inland from the Pacific, and the cap of cooler, denser, heavier. When the Spanish came they found the locals suffering somewhat from their local campfires because of that frequent occurrence.

      No wonder LA had such horrific air in the 60s and even the 70s. Made my head hurt.

    2. MichaelSF

      I’d been to Ontario Motor Speedway several times to race in 1978/79 before I found out the San Gabriels were 6 miles to the north. Many times the far side of the facility was pretty hard to see due to the smog (which also made it difficult to take a deep breath without it turning into a wheeze).

  17. Summer

    Re: The Bezzle: “Have We Reached Peak Lyft?” [n+1].
    “The story goes like this: Uber and Lyft are upending how we live by reversing a century-long trend of ever-increasing automobile dependence, with its attendant deadening sprawl, omnipresent danger, and environmental harm. Their revolution will transform the $1.5 trillion business of selling cars into a $10 trillion “mobility as service” business, according to a report by Morgan Stanley (now the lead underwriter for the Uber IPO).
    “Ridesharing increases travel by automobile and increases the number of vehicle miles traveled.”

    Something about owning a car, knowing it’s there, could reduce travel. Sometimes I put off trips or errands and eventually find there was no need for it.
    The ride-sharing companies will seeking growth will have to increase rides and/or spending per ride. People dependent upon ride sharing could find themselves “incentivized” through manipulation of available cars (especially with the vision of automated cars) and hours of availability.

    1. Wukchumni

      The Producers 1968: Sell 25,000% of a play, hope it flops

      The Producers 2019: Sell 25,000% of a play, who cares if it flops?

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I evaluate any rental at how it compares to the fifty cents per mile I use to estimate cost of ownership. Turns out Google says I’m lowballing. Before car sharing showed up, I used a 15 year old truck for intercity trips. That’s the only thing I had it for, and that was no fun waiting for a problem.

      Back when people were incredulous that I did not have a car, I’d ask the person how much they paid for gas in the last year and they’d just derail. Now strangers say ‘oh really?’ when they find out.

      I’d be happy with just some light rail please. But Silicon Valley doesn’t really want the data slurp from those kind of commuters for some reason.

      1. RMO

        “Uber and Lyft are upending how we live by reversing a century-long trend of ever-increasing automobile dependence,” – By putting thousands and thousands of cars on the roads, selling rides at a loss and increasing automobile use… that quote shows a kind of genius. This is stupidity on a scale so grand that a run of the mill idiot couldn’t begin to conceive of anything a tenth so foolish.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Alex is both right and wrong.

      1) Very right on impeachment requiring courage to investigate, issue subpoenas, hold hearings, oppose corruption, oppose on policy. Dems don’t want to do anything like that stuff. They’re only nominally opposed to Trump. They just don’t like his tone, personality, or rhetoric and find him embarrassing.

      2) Alex is very wrong because the dems have boxed themselves in where having spent 2+ years betting the ranch of Mueller saving them from all their troubles and he delivered a fat goose-egg of NOTHING to help them in their absurd conspiracy theory. if they proceed with impeachment, even if they find genuine corruption, it looks like sour grapes.

      So basically, dems are agressively spineless and have made an environment so poisonous that it’s very difficult NOT to be spineless.

      1. Pat

        I would add that not only is it too much work for them as in it requires more than grandstanding before conducting an ill prepared hearing. (And much as I denigrate them, the Dems, some of them can count. Even if they manage to impeach him all that will happen is that it will die in the Senate and annoy a whole lot of people.) 2020 might change things, but I don’t see the Dems getting a super majority any time soon.

        But and this is the big reason, without a real and provable obstruction charge AND without Russia, they have got nothing on him that won’t come back to bite almost everyone of them in their privileged behinds. Trump would fight and in the process make sure the world knows how many of them have engaged in similar or identical behavior. Count on it.

        1. JohnnyGL

          “Even if they manage to impeach him all that will happen is that it will die in the Senate…”

          That misunderstands the point of pursuing impeachment. Ian Welsh helped lay it out awhile back. Impeachiment proceedings are not just about whether you have the votes or not and guessing that you’re going to fail makes it useless.

          When you pursue impeachment, you are basically holding a public trial. Your intended audience isn’t the partisan hacks in Congress, it’s the general public. If you’ve got truckloads of evidence of corruption, you issue subpoenas, you call witnesses, you hold hearings and you prosecute the president and make him look horribly corrupt and you prove it to the public.

          But dems can’t do that because they wasted 2 years on Russiagate and now we’ve got an election in 18 months.

          As ridiculous as it got at times, the endless hearings about Benghazi probably damaged HRC and the Republicans did that because they wanted to WIN.

          How different would 2016 have been if there was a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Benghazi, instead of the House Committee doing it themselves? Now imagine that this special prosecutor issued a nothingburger report and no indictments after republicans spent years saying that special prosector was going to DESTROY her.

          Repubs would have looked completely ridiculous, even to their own base! That’s how establishment dems look, whether they want to admit it, or not. I don’t think the reality has quite set in and that voters have made their minds up about how to process it. But, Trump’s poll numbers do look awfully perky, lately.

          1. Procopius

            If you’ve got truckloads of evidence of corruption, you issue subpoenas, you call witnesses, you hold hearings and you prosecute the president and make him look horribly corrupt and you prove it to the public.

            Ah, yes, and if your evidence of Russian “attacking” is a meme of Jesus warning against masturbation that’s really going to sell the public and have great political upsides. There are crazy people who think it’s obvious, anybody with eyes in their head can see it.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      It’s amusing to watch the dilemma that the Dems have put themselves into. After 2+ years of spook-aided gaslighting through MSDNC and other Dem-friendly channels, they’ve created a terrified base that believes Trump is a Manchurian candidate. Since there is no more waiting for the deus ex machina in the form of Mueleer, those poor, deluded, Democratic souls are now demanding impeachment, hoping that it will save them from the Russians cutting off their heat in the midst of another Arctic blast. (Don’t ask them for a causal chain because they won’t do any better explaining how Russia “hacked” the election with $100,000 worth of blackhatter ads.)

      And Duchess Nancy has absolutely no intention of allowing impeachment to happen.

      I don’t know why Elizabeth Warren laid down the gauntlet to Nancy today, but I am enjoying it.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      He does?!?

      I didn’t see anything in the article mentioning what he should be impeached for other than a general feeling that he’s corrupt. Show me five elected in DC who aren’t.

      Yeah there are the war crimes but do you really think Congress is going to impeach anyone over that considering most of them have supported war crimes on multiple occasions?

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Pareene: “a chance to take a moral stand against corruption and unaccountable elites.”

      Lol, no. I mean, come on.

      Nor does the article strike me as very coherent. Here’s the conclusion:

      Once again, we can celebrate a modern example of bipartisanship: a deep conviction, on both sides, that the only legitimate force in American politics is white grievance.

      Even if this is true, nothing in the article supports it. The conclusion simply appears. I don’t find the article impressive at all.

      * * *

      A couple of comments:

      1) Leaving aside the issue of whether an obstruction charge is appropriate in the absence of an underlying crime, I would, if I were Trump, urge that “obstructing” a soft coup by the intelligence community is exactly the sort of obstruction the country needs. (And it seems to me that with renewed focus on the Papadopolos affair, plus the Times walking back the Steele dossier, that’s the tack the administration will take.)

      2) I think the more important question is who wins? Clearly, impeachment will tear the country apart, but after that, what? If the result is to strengthen the liberal Democrat faction that regards “election meddling” as a casus belli, then, horrible as it may seem, defeating them is existential.*

      NOTE * What an ugly situation Clinton did create, to be sure. Here’s the tweet that convinced me that the political class really has — completely, madly, truly, deeply, 100%, no nuance, no correlation of forces — lost its collective mind:

      This lunatic, lowish-level drone works for mildly centrist Vox, and before that The Atlantic. I know I’m reasoning from small to large, but holy moley… The brain damage is bad, folks. This account works in the heart of the imperial capital, and I would bet anything her opinion is baseline normal, even if she is bughouse crazy. She’s not [family blogging] calling the manager because the barista didn’t drizzle the right kind of caramel in her latté, she’s calling for war with a nuclear power!

  18. DJG

    Buttigieg, still building the fan club. It is interesting that the Clinton wing of the party, which touted her as the Most Qualified Candidate Ever (except for, ohhh, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Grant, FDR) is now shilling for someone with no relevant experience except high SAT scores.

    And I keep getting sent back (including this morning by a commenter on the morning Links) to Current Affairs, All about Pete, by Nathan Robinson. The ethically troubling paragraphs:

    Every time the media talks about Buttigieg, if they mention anything other than his résumé, it’s his signature initiative to deal with “blight.” Buttigieg says that when he took office, there were “too many houses,” that the main complaint he received from residents was about the proliferation of vacant homes. His major policy goal, then, was to “repair or demolish” 1,000 homes in 1,000 days, a number his staff thought impossible. The council president called this an initiative to “right-size the city” (“right-size” is a euphemism from the business world used to make layoffs sound like the simple reasonableness of a corporate Goldilocks). Thanks to his diligent, McKinsey-esque management, Buttigieg blew past the goal.

    But news coverage of the plan makes it sound a little less savory:

    By leveling fees and fines, the city leaned on homeowners to make repairs or have their houses demolished. In many cases, Buttigieg said, the homeowners proved impossible to find amid a string of active and inactive investment companies. In other cases, he said, they were unwilling or unable to make repairs.

    Make repairs or have your house flattened? Wait, who were these people who were “unable” to make repairs?

    Tearing down houses. One thousand in a city of 100,000 inhabitants, which presumably would have about 35,000 dwellings. That’s 3 percent. Somehow, this reminds me of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians–use the housing code to declare the house illegal, fine the family into non-existence, bring in the bulldozers. No wonder Musical Pete couldn’t come up with a critique of Israel on his trip there other than “it’s complicated, like me.”

    Well, at least there’s no record of him uprooting olive trees, which is also S.O.P. in Israel these days.

    1. Bernalkid

      Reminiscent of driving the native Americans off “their holdings” supposedly negotiated with the federal authority.

    2. Another Scott

      Sorry if I should have posted this in yesterday’s article about him, but I still think it’s relevant in light of the coverage that the mayor of a city of 100,000 people is getting.

      Over the past few months, I’ve gotten to know the mayor of a neighboring city through some shared hobbies. The city is about two-thirds the size of South Bend. The conversations have been pretty light, and I’ve tried to avoid politics. Despite this, I’ve learned a few things that have affected my opinion of Buttigieg. First, being mayor is really hard work; he puts in long hours and constantly has to balance different constituent interests, even on things as simple as placing crosswalks and stop signs. Second (and related) is the amount of time that he devotes to supporting local charities and attending events; it’s multiple ones every week (often every day). These municipalities, no matter how small, always have too many charities to count that provide real, tangible services to the cities, especially those in need.

      Why does this matter for Buttigieg? For starters, there are real issues that mayors can address that don’t cross the minds of senators or governors, like making sure that children can walk safely to and from school. If the mayor’s flying to Iowa and New Hampshire, who’s going to address them? It’s not like he has a staff the size of one for Harris or Inslee. Secondly, how much good would the $7 million he’s raised do if it was given to charities in South Bend that provide food, clothing and vital services to the people of South Bend? A lot more than when spent on the beltway consultants who will surely vacuum up much of his fundraising.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Does all that rebuild all the houses he ordered torn down? And give them back to the people he tore them down from?

        1. pricklyone

          I took this to mean he should stay in SB and do the job he was elected to do.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      In a year when intergenerational wealth is a big topic with some black voters (context: reparations) demolishing houses that black people inherited would seem to have optical issues.

  19. marym

    Unregulated militia

    The Guardian 4/18/2019

    Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law.

    Several videos taken at the border in New Mexico this week appeared to show men belonging to a group that calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots approaching migrant families and children, ordering them to sit down, calling federal agents on them, and at one point potentially misrepresenting themselves by saying “border patrol” as they approached.

    1. integer

      I think Trump’s plan of placing undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities is a good one. Sanctuary cities have demonstrated a commitment and willingness to make sacrifices for the cause. I can’t understand why the D party leadership is against the idea, unless their plan is to use the issue of immigration for virtue signalling and political point scoring purposes, which would be unconscionable.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Particularly since moving undocumented immigrants from the farms and meatpacking plants of red states to blue “sanctuary” cities would lower the wages of yardmen and maids. What’s not to like about labor arbitrage?

      2. pricklyone

        Rightwing dogwhistling is the same “virtue signalling” phenomenon as the Dems, just signalling to a different base.
        Be a shame, and a real surprise if one was to follow the other…
        Does Trump intend to somehow keep them there?

  20. Keith Howard

    Of scent-marking. Once, backpacking in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness (part of the Black Range in SW New Mexico), I camped in open ponderosa woods — obvious black bear country. I made afternoon tea, as usual, and later sprinkled a reasonably wide perimeter of my camp, including part of the the footpath I had been hiking on. I rested well, but on rising and strolling the area while waiting for coffee water to boil, I found some evidence that made the world look a little newer, and eventually generated these lines:

    Was it rude habit brought you darkly here,
    O Bear who left this huge scat on the trail
    Not thirty feet from where I slept? How near
    To my dream did you sniff? and was the male
    Scent of my presence answered, leaving this
    Rare dawn of difference I couldn’t miss?

  21. Cal2

    “Landowners are earning millions for carbon cuts that may not occur”

    Separate idea: In a fair and equatable tax system, how about a yearly tax credit for every new tree that is planted on land that one controls?

    Trees would have to reach a mature size before credit kicks in and would be subject to audits, of course.

    Is there anything negative about planting trees where they used to exist, or never have before?

  22. chuck roast

    Thanks for the “Smears” article by Matt Tabbi. The highlight was the long rap he did on Dennis Kucinich as a precursor of this new “new left” movement. I never lived anywhere near Cleveland (except for a lost year in Cinn-City, but that doesn’t count), but I remembered his resistance to the swine who wanted to privatize Cleveland Public Power, and I always admired him for that and his subsequent positions against the Great Swine Herd.

    A demonstration that good journalists can be good historians who don’t throw yesterday’s news into the ash bin.

  23. barrisj

    Re: Mueller Report…amongst the many factors that stand out in Volume II (“Obstruction”) is how the sheer magnitude of Trump’s public statements and his myriad “tweets” informed much of the direction of the OSC investigations, and provided insight and leads that otherwise would probably have taken much longer to suss out. From the onset of the investigations, Trump was urged by WH Counsel and other legal resources to just STFU and let others carry the mail. He couldn’t do it, and continued to incriminate himself by his constant rantings, ignoring pointed legal advice at his peril.
    However – and if no impeachment proceedings are launched in the House – the upshot to all this is that Trump indeed “won”, as he to date has suffered no sanctions, legally or constitutionally, in consequence of Mueller’s carefully enumerated and annotated actions by Trump that could comprise – in their totality – obstruction of and interference with the course of justice. Trump surely now believes he is indeed “untouchable”, and any and all subsequent acts that he commits in the future would put him “above the law”. I can readily see Trump saying to Adler, Schiff, et al, “Fuck you and fuck your subpoenas, Mueller couldn’t get to me and neither can you chumps”.
    Mueller has indeed laid out meticulously a proper “roadmap for impeachment”, defining the relevant statutes governing obstruction of justice, Congress’s Article I prerogatives in setting out sanctionable presidential conduct under the separation-of-powers doctrine, and helpful definitions of corrupt-intent when applied to actions of a president that may constitute obstruction.
    The apparent position of the House Leadership that if the Senate won’t or can’t convict, then it’s pointless for the House to institute impeachment proceedings is, (1) a willful abrogation of their sworn duties, (2) an encouragement to further abuse of office by not only Trump but also his successors, and (3) a craven, pusillanimous response to conduct which has discredited the office of the president. The argument of “let the people decide in 2020” is a monstrous copout, and – for God’s sake – suppose Trump is re-elected…then what? Mueller has given Congress a loaded weapon, and they need to use it, and not just to shoot blanks at Trump.

    1. Pat

      For the record, the only thing that will annoy me is IF the House and the Dems waste their time impeaching Trump. I would rather they actually do things to put a real jammer in the works regarding his actions and those of his various apointments. Oh… but wait…they really don’t have much problem with most of those actions except to bemoan them. As Lambert says, “gridlock is our friend”. I haven’t seen much gridlock, just like I haven’t seen much actual opposition to Trump’s hideous Judge nominees, Cabinet nominees, and Military/State/Intelligence nominees. I recognize that the latter is the Senate, but apparently McConnell understands the rules of the Senate better than Chuck does since he managed to supposedly stop Obama from doing anything important and Schumer just signs off to go campaign.

      I want Congress to do their family blog job regarding legislation and governance. This includes the Democrats getting over their hurt feefees that they nominated the wrong and incompetent person and she managed to get beat by a snake oil salesman. Forget Trump they screwed up. THEY DID. But the Russia/Trump must be impeached/Saint Mueller failed us kabuki keeps everybody from noticing they aren’t actually doing anything important.

      1. barrisj

        My sense is that you haven’t really read in detail – in particular – Volume II of the Mueller Report, where Trump’s actions and behaviour repeatedly show contravention of his Oath of Office, and demand retribution. I hardly believe that holding Trump accountable for his disreputable and legally-flouting actions is “wasting time”, as such an argument could and was used by supporters of Nixon, until the evidence was so overwhelming that he was unfit to continue to serve that time was made for impeachment proceedings. Just exactly how far do you propose Trump carries on abusing his office, urging subordinates to disregard federal laws and court orders, for example, before action must be taken? The man takes no notice of norms, conventions, or indeed the rule of law, and if re-elected, you then would what – blame the voters…blame the Democrats? Let the Congress try to “take the time” to pass legislation that Trump simply vetoes? C’mon, man!

        1. ewmayer

          Re. flouting the Oath of Office – take a number, dude. POTUS is designated the chief law enforcement officer of the land, sworn to uphold the rule of law. So what does that make St. Obama for giving the massively crooked Wall Street fraud cartels a free pass?

          And please, “norms and conventions” is a tell – if you have a specific evidence-supported violation of law, bring it. The courts have already intervened in multiple instances, e.g. with regard to Trump administration immigration policy – so the rule of law appears to be working as it dd pre-Trump. When you don’t have anything, you either make sh*t up or invoke the “norms fairy” (h/t Lambert), as the Clintonite dems and their MSM minions have done. Or bring in a professional entrapment artist like Ferris Mueller, engage in a ridiculous 2+ year-long witch hunt for Reds Under the Bed, then when the subject of your little Deep State coup attempt has the temerity to push back, switch to “obstruction of justice”. “Obstruction of Injustice” is more like it.

          But you do make a good point – there are a lot of things Trump should be getting held to account for. But instead of going after him for *that*, Team D just spent more that half his term wasting everyone’s time and a huge amount of their dwindling political capital chasing a bogeyman of their own creation, evil ras-Putin who done conspired with Orange Doofius to rawb HRH Hillary – someone at least as corrupt as Trump, and that’s giving her the benefit of the doubt – of her coronation. So you’ll pardon those of us who are skeptical of this latest “*now* we finally have grounds to impeach!!!!” eruption.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          I asked above and I’ll ask again – how do you indict or impeach someone for obstruction of justice when what was being obstructed was a baseless investigation?

          Mueller’s schtick is entrapment. This whole investigation was an attempt to catch Trump in a gotcha moment. Trump’s refusal to stop tweeting his opinions is what saved him. Hard to claim he was working behind the scenes to obstruct anything when he broadcast his thoughts to millions of people. He said a lot of stupid crap but he didn’t actually do any of it.

          Rather than trying to gin up something to impeach Trump for in an attempt to prove their integrity (I almost choked writing that last bit – of course they have none), how about trying to pass some legislation that provides concrete material benefits for the majority of citizens? Even if the Democrats lose, and they will with a Republican Senate, that attempt might actually fool some people into thinking they gave a damn.

          1. barrisj

            Mueller’s report is replete with references to the “take Care” clause of Art. II Sect 3, ( e.g., pp 385 et seq) which states that the President
            take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, which Trump demonstrably failed to do in trying to undermine the legally constituted proceedings of the OSC and related activities (Grand Juries, testimonies to federal investigators, etc.).
            Also, and important here, Mueller discusses (p. 369) “obstruction of justice cases [that] involve the attempted or actual cover-up of an underlying crime.”. Mueller then goes on to state, “Proof of such a crime is not an element of an obstruction of justice case…[O]bstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment.. Mueller concludes by stating, “[T]he injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless whether a person committed an underlying wrong.”
            There is much dense legal analysis in Vol. II that support all of Mueller’s assertions and conclusions, and there is no doubt in the OSC Report that Trump has traduced his Oath of Office and that Congress must put it right.

              1. Pat

                Well yes if you take Mueller’s explanation of Trump’s obstruction and why he couldn’t do anything but he really wanted to at face value. Personally I don’t buy that obstruction of his investigation really does fall outside the parameters of his investigation. If cooler heads aka everyone around him had NOT ignored Trump’s tweets and demands that someone rid him of the meddling priest (hat tip to Lambert and Dan Snow), I’m pretty sure we would be having a very different discussion about indictments. Instead Mueller is handing a case that he knows would fall apart and be a huge loser if really tried over to a court where conviction is not the ultimate goal or even possible. Not that impeachment can achieve what barrisj or JohnnyGL want from it.

          2. VietnamVet

            A People’s Party would provide material benefits to the 90% such as universal healthcare. Corporate Democrats can’t because the only way to pay for it is by reversing the flow of wealth to their donors and stop blowing up people, towns and cities and spend the money for projects that are economic multipliers such as stopping sea level rise. Adam Schiff is McCarthyism reborn. Democrats restarted the Cold War in order to have Russia as the designated scapegoat to keep the War Profiteers’ Benjamins flowing to them.

        3. Pat

          Trump offends you. Got it. You want his hide. Got it.

          Like JohnnyGL above you want Congress to waste masses of time and money on what is essentially a publicity campaign to convince the public that Donald Trump is corrupt.

          Here is a news flash for you No Benghazi did not change masses of Americans from liking Hillary Rodham Clinton to distrusting her. They were preaching to the choir. Impeaching Trump is not going to make people who think he is being hounded suddenly believe otherwise. It is once again preaching to the choir. I know Trump is corrupt, I knew it decades ago. BFD, so is Obama, Clinton and both Bushes.

          And if Andy Cuomo had done his job rather than ignoring the crimes of the FIRE sector when he was AG of NY there is a good chance that Trump would never have been in a position to run for President. Instead he positioned himself to run for governor asking Trump and other corrupt jerks to donate.

          Once again I want Congress to stop the pointless posturing and work on making things better in this country. Jobs, healthcare, education, end of wars addressing climate change, the increasing opioid epidemic and the growing deaths of despair especially among our youth are all more pressing and important than impeachment for show. And that is what impeachment is when there is no chance of conviction.

          As for your disgust with Trump learn to suck it up. Admittedly I had eight years of practice with Barack Obama, but there comes a point where you understand that the jerk is a symptom not the disease. Same thing with Trump.

  24. AdamCoppola

    I have been on/off associated with Stop & Shop since 2017, but I am no “insider”. Some eyewitness notes:

    Timeline. Since last summer, Stop & Shop and the UFCW have been locked in a contract negotiation. The primary sticking points, or at least the ones mentioned by union reps, are wages and benefits at the lowest tiers. Since February, union reps have been sharing negotiation updates. The first updates painted Stop & Shop as cold, uncommunicative negotiators. The are owned internationally (Ahold Delhaise) and don’t seem to have any respsect for UFCW. The UFCW voted unanimously to approve a strike at the end of February. The started calling people out on strike in early April, after S&S sent a “final offer”, which still included major cuts.

    Organizing. Union representatives are organizing via text and word of mouth. It’s hard to know if any progress is actually being made, though it is clear that the shelves and stores are relatively empty. The major rallies took place in South Bay, but I believe most of Stop & Shop’s stores are more rural MA. I can only imagine the amount of coordination and courage it takes to strike a town’s primary grocery store.

    Impact. Most product distributors (which account for up to a quarter of the products on the shelf) have no problem crossing picket lines. also, Stop & Shop was easily able to bring in scabs at their Freetown distribution center. So, store shelves are emptier, but not by much. With auto checkout, customers can still easily go through the whole experience, without seeing a worker indoors. I hear some prefer it that way.

    1. jhallc

      Here in my suburb NW of Boston there is a small group of striking workers outside the Stop &Shop every time I drive by. A friend is the strike coordinator. People have other options to shop in town and are staying away.

      1. bassmule

        The Stop & Shop in Northampton MA is empty, except for the pharmacy and the in-store bank branch (Citizens). There are usually about a dozen people at the entrance to the parking lot with signs. They’re getting waves and honks from passing cars–all friendly. There may be deliveries, but I don’t know how they’re dealing with that since basically nothing is selling. I’m beginning to wonder if Ahold will just close it.

        1. chuck roast

          There is a big S&S on Connell Highway here. I bought the strikers another box of coffee yesterday. They are in good spirits, but some of them are really concerned for their brothers and sisters who have unemployed spouses. There appeared to be nobody shopping.

          Support your Local!

    2. Cal2

      Self-Checkout= job destroying technology that gets customers to do the work that employees used to do with no pay, which also allows more massive data mining;
      Your credit card number+exactly what you buy+when you shop+your picture sometimes…

      I offer this in response:
      “Anyone who pays for more than half of their stuff in self checkout is a total moron.”


      Oh, but what about morals? “Corporations are people my friend…”Mitt Romney, corporate raider parasite….
      Except when it comes to dying of old age, exercising personal responsibility, doing time in prison for crimes committed, being able to write off their ‘personal expenses’, writing off advertising, raising children and educating them and paying personal income tax levels…often paying no tax at all and even getting refunds.

      Those poor corporations….

  25. Carey

    ‘US Legal Claims over Glyphosate Health Damage Set to Reach $31 Billion’:

    “..Reville explained that they’d reached these sums by monitoring litigation concerning the substances and tracking the growing body of scientific literature being published about them over time. From this they were able to understand the potential for “latent injury” that leads to “mass bodily injury” and the subsequent litigation and claims..”


  26. Wukchumni

    Like many traders, Johan Aguirre makes a daily check on his holdings’ ups and downs across an electronic spreadsheet.

    Aguirre, however, isn’t analyzing stocks, bonds or cryptocurrencies. He specializes in an increasingly tradable asset class — sneakers — on his favorite shoe reseller platform, StockX. Sometimes, he’ll pick up only one pair; at other times, he’ll buy in bulk.

    “If it’s a shoe that I know I can sell,” he said, “typically I’ll buy the whole inventory that’s presented to me. And from the moment I know the sizes and the styles and the product code, I list it on StockX and it’s live right away.”


    A market based on limited edition sneakers that can never be worn?

    You’ll only get my circa 1982 Dunlap Plimsolls from my cold and clammy feet…

    1. skippy

      Good thing Volleys are still good value and a ladder, trestle, and plank monkeys best friend.

  27. ewmayer

    o “Sanders (D)(5): “Bernie Sanders can’t beat Donald Trump in 2020: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina” [ABC]. Messina: “I think if you look at swing voters in this country they are incredibly focused on the economy.” — What paid shill Messina conveniently omits is that said voters are not narrowly focused on “the economy” as per the metrics beloved by establishmentarians, i.e. how-are-the-stock-indices-doing or how-low-is-the-fake-unemployment-rate, but rather that many of the same folks who supported Sanders in 2016 and/or voted for Trump were motivated by the issue of economic justice. Which is of course a taboo subject for teams Obama and Clinton to even mention, because their heroes embody its precise opposite. Upton Sinclair to the courtesy phone, please…

    1. edmondo

      In February 2016 Jim Messina said that “There was one sure thing about the Republican race for president. Donald Trump will NOT be the Republican nominee.”

      On October 26, 2016, Jim Messina said that he was confident that Hillary Clinton would be elected president because she was the only candidate who understood both “Big Data” and “Little Data” and her get out the vote operation was second-to-none.

      Why does anyone care what Jim Messina thinks?

    2. c_heale

      Imo the economy is about to go into the crapper. The world economy is highly interlinked and they never fixed the problems we had had in 2007-8 just did loads more quantative easing which caused massive house price inflation and overdevelopment. Now the world’s housing markets are at the inflection point or on the way down. When the shit hits the fan, what price Bernie (or the next Hitler)?

  28. allan

    In today’s edition of stochastic terrorism:

    South Florida Man Arrested for Threatening to Kill Democratic Lawmakers, Including Ilhan Omar

    Lately, Donald Trump fans have enjoyed attacking left-leaning Americans. Last year, for instance, Miami-area resident Cesar Sayoc sent pipe bombs to prominent liberals across the nation and went to jail. Today another South Florida man was arrested, this time for allegedly threatening to kill four Democrats.

    Federal authorities today announced that John Kless, a 49-year-old resident of Tamarac in Broward County, called three Democrats at their Washington, D.C. offices April 16 and left voicemail messages threatening murder. The lawmakers included California Congressman Eric Swalwell, Detroit Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

    In all three messages, Kless referenced his hatred for Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar — repeatedly calling her a “towel head” and a member of the Taliban. In his message to Tlaib’s office, Kless referenced Omar’s recent “some people did something” comments about 9/11 — a statement Omar made to argue that all Muslims should not be punished for the actions of the few who committed the attacks. …

    Because family blog, you’ll need to go to the link to read the highly civil messages that this fine but economically anxious citizen left on voicemail. The Murdoch family’s media empire is America’s Radio Rwanda,
    and one of these days the poison they spread is going to make something very bad happen.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > this fine but economically anxious citizen

      Allow me to quote a Water Cooler entry from April 10 in its entirety:

      Neoliberal Epidemics

      “The Impact of Student Loan Debt and Student Loan Delinquency on Total, Sex‐, and Age‐specific Suicide Rates during the Great Recession” [Sociological Inquiry]. ” The results of the present study found one aspect of the Great Recession, student loan delinquency, contributed to higher suicide rates in the United States. The results support past research that showed economic indicators such as financial debt and foreclosure was associated with negative mental health outcomes… The results of the present study suggest that increasing student loan delinquency during the Great Recession increased the total, male, age 20–24, and age 35–44 suicide rates within states, but had no effect on any type of suicide between states. Thus, unobserved factors not related to variables in the statistical models are needed to explain differences in suicide rates between states. Examples of these factors could be gun availability, culture, and protective resources related to mental health treatment. Nonetheless, the results reported in this study support past theoretical and empirical studies that explain suicide rates as a function of economic frustration related to the inability to achieve desired social and economic outcomes (Durkheim 1951; Henry and Short 1954; Yang 1992). The study establishes an association between student loan delinquency and suicide rates during the Great Recession.” • So maybe all those [glass bowls] snickering at “economic anxiety” can STFU now?

      I believe it was the quite comfortable Matt Yglesias who first deployed the sneering “economic anxiety” trope, but it seems, as we say, to have taken on a life of its own.

      1. allan

        There was plenty of racism back in the 50s and 60s when the economy was doing quite well.
        No one (that I know of, including Yglesias) is claiming that the economic stress that has been building
        (or rather, has been built) for the last 40 years is completely irrelevant to the rise of “populism”.
        It’s absurd to think that racism would go away even if we had Medicare for All, free tuition
        and a jobs guarantee, and it’s criminal (or should be) for politicians and major media
        to fan the fires of hate.

        1. JBird4049

          Racism is a cancer or disease deeply woven into America that flares up when the economic and social conditions are bad. When life is hard people tend to go autopilot and return to their deepest impulses because they don’t have the energy to do anything more; opportunistic wealth and power seekers will use that to acquire it; the elites will manipulate those impulses to destroy the inevitable reform movements that arise from hard times.

          In good times people have the energy to not be so easily manipulated into their worst natures.

          Racism is strong because people have fed it and used its strength to divide people, destroy the institutions and people that are obstacles, and acquire the prestige, power, and wealth they they want to have; this has been going on for over three hundred years.

      2. Matt

        ‘sneering “economic anxiety” trope’

        I have been struggling for a way to express this sarcastic use of “economic anxiety” and I think that’s exactly how I”ll describe it from now on.

  29. flora

    re: Sanders (D)(1)

    • The problem is “outside agitators,” as the power structure of the segregated South well knew. Right?

    Lambert, my compliments on this deadly accurate comparison. imo.

    1. barrisj

      Claudio Abbado or Sir Colin Davis recordings…don’t do Nazi sympathizers as von Karajan.

      1. JBird4049

        It true von Karajan was not exactly opposed to the Nazis, but I am getting annoyed at the movement to stop listening too, banning, or even doing a damnatio memoriae of anyone who did bad things. Where should it stop? Most of the large historical figures have had some bad flaws and we would erase much (most?) of them for being human and from that distant country called the past.

  30. remmer

    “Amazingly, Trump somehow selected staff who protected him by not doing stupid stuff he told them to do.”

    Also amazing is that one of those staff members was White House counsel Don McGahn, who was the most partisan and obstructionist of the Republican commissioners when he was on the FEC.

  31. ChrisAtRU

    “Bernie Sanders can’t beat Donald Trump in 2020: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina”

    I think David Sirota has the best assessment of this thus far.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      “Indivisible weighs in for impeachment”

      I guess they missed the memo from the #PatronSaintOfShade … #EyeRoll

    1. MichaelSF

      I think MILO=Military Intelligence/Law Officer, an occupation that many of the new Democrat candidates seem to have in their background.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes. When I did the worksheets looking at the 2018 Democrat ballots, it was clear candidates in the MILO bucket were the ones the Democrat establishment preferred. Hence, despite individual voices like AOC and Omar, the conservative tilt of the class of 2018. Rahm Emannuel (and Pelosi) did exactly the same thing in 2006, squandering (for some definition of squander) the last Blue Wave. (This was an explicit extension of the “CIA Democrat” analysis, which rings true when you think about it, because actionable intelligence requires action by the military, or law enforcement.)

        It’s also a reference to Milo Minderbinder of Catch 22:

        This time Milo had gone too far. Bombing his own men and planes was more than even the most phlegmatic observer could stomach, and it looked like the end for him. … Milo was all washed up until he opened his books to the public and disclosed the tremendous profit he had made.

  32. notabanker

    As a follow up to the twitter thread a day or two ago on Aetna and CVS screwing over their customers yet again, I received my letter in the mail today. No more 30 day prescriptions, they will not be covered, and any prescription filled at not CVS is also not covered.

    First of all Aetna, my prescriptions were 90 days. YOU changed them to 30. Now I have to call my Doctors and change them back, then I have to transfer them all to CVS.

    This stuff is out of control. It is not going to end well.

  33. Oregoncharles

    ” It would certainly be a shame if mice adapted more efficiently than humans ” Mice can adapt much more quickly, because they have several generations in a year (in case you wondered why there are so many). Humans adapt quickly, when they do, via culture.

    In biological time, civilization is a very new thing – something we’re trying out. It’s been around for a 100th of the time there’ve been humans. And global civilization, in which everyone’s at risk at the same time, is even newer and less tried. Since it’s visibly collapsing around us, putting our very lives at risk, I think there’s a strong case that it was an unmitigated mistake. Much the same may apply to civilization in general. 500,000 years as foragers at the top of the food chain; 4,000 years of civilization, already threatening to kill us all.

    How many planets do we have to feed the ravenous maw?

    1. Wukchumni

      Putting all of the world’s eggs in one economic basket could be crushing when push>meets<shove, for in the past, collapses were all localized, nobody in Europe knew the Mayan society went tilt, or the Chinese peaking & collapsing a number of times. Aside from the 'doesn't matter' 3rd world, we're a money monoculture crop interlinked by one long fuse.

  34. The Rev Kev

    “Johnny Cash to replace Confederate statue on Capitol Hill”

    The State says that they were very proud to put the injustices of the past behind them by removing statues of Civil War figures and replacing them with a figure of the musician Johnny Cash. They further stated that as soon as black people were able to also make a contribution to the development of American music and culture, that they would be pleased to put a statue of that person up there as well.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I wouldn’t worry about attributing it as I stole it from something I read years and years ago. The original said, if I remember right, that they will honour black musicians – just as soon as they contribute to fields of music such as soul, jazz, blues, etc.

  35. Oregoncharles

    “Where would the exits be?”

    Up, or toward the poles, or both. Remember, mountain top communities can easily be “stranded”, with no way to go north.

    All told: Alaska is probably a good bet, and the more elevated portions of northern Canada. A recent disaster flick showed thousands of USian climate refugees huddled at the Canadian border.

  36. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg makes surprise stop in South Bend, drives around with Mayor Pete”

    For those who follow American politics closely. It might be wise to map out Zuckerberg’s listening tour of America from not long ago and see who his contacts were. It may be a coincidence but him and South Park Mayor Pete hanging around together? To be followed by his entry into the Presidential race? Data points like this get my neck hair up. So the question is this – was it a listening tour or was it a recruiting tour?

  37. Lambert Strether Post author

    Dull normals on RussiaRussiaRussia:

    Sort of amazing Warren’s going ahead with an impeachment call. I would have thought that this was because former Clinton voters formed a disproportionate part of her base, but the question figures belie that. So it’s her personal, class-based bubble of “serious people,” the ones who are trying to get us all killed.

    1. Mattski

      Disagree. (I think AOC has also made the call.) Trump has committed no end of high crimes and misdemeanors, even if Russia has little or nothing to do with it. The Dems need to slow-play impeachment hearings through the next year and a half, orchestrating a groundswell of disgust with Trump* even as they create a vision of real change that all of us can unite around.

      Oh wait, they are controlled by the likes of Jim Messina and David Brock. Nevermind.

      *start with money-laundering, work your way down

      1. Yves Smith


        You are exemplifying why Trump will win if the Dems go down this path.

        First, you don’t understand what money laundering is. It is converting the proceeds of a precedent crime into a deposit in the banking system. Drug dealers making ginormous repeat deposits in boxes made to max out the opening of a teller window (Wachovia) is money laundering.

        There is no money laundering, nada, when real estate developers sell property, even when the buyers are crooks, when the payment was made through a bank. The bank got the deposit from the crook. The bank is responsible for the money laundering check,which should have occurred when it took cash from him.

        The only way any real estate developer could have engaged in money laundering is if he took payment outside the banking system, like in gold or diamonds.

        Second, you can’t impeach a President for stuff he did before he was President. It’s high crimes and misdemeanors while in office. It was no secret that Trump was dirty. He was in real estate and casinos (the latter is super crooked), dated swimsuit models, and was widely known to have used prostitutes a lot when he owned the Plaza, even if he was careful and paid for them in a way that was mistress-like and therefore not prostitution under the law (as in negotiated $ for each sex act).

        An example: the Saturday Financial Times had the Dem subpoena for the unredacted report + Warren’s impeachment call as the lead story. The FT has more American readers than British ones, and their comments on Trump stories are typically very negative (the see his trade and international policies as destructive and aren’t too keen about his wall either).

        The comments on this story were overwhelmingly critical of the Dems. And they looked organic (the FT allows only subscribers to comment and I recognized a couple of names). The tenor was, “Stop doubling down, you lost.” One reader who knew case law also pointed out that no way would a judge back Congress because the full report included grand jury testimony, and the secrecy of grand jury testimony is a bedrock of the judicial system (now the Dems could come back later and try to get a report with only grand jury material redacted, but that’s not where they started out).

        Later, one Dem defender came in and left lots of comments, so optically, the balance looked less Dem-unfavorable later, but it was easy to see the Dem support was largely from one guy who on top of that wasn’t very good.

        1. Mattski

          The eye-rolling. . . not sure it always serves you, Yves. But you are right–if the courts or prosecutors had cared to investigate Trump’s many undoubted illegal activities they could have long ago.

          I disagree about impeachment, though. As a political instrument, artfully wielded, it could be enormously useful. I would not personally seek to impeach, but to keep the spotlight on his actions while attending to the more important business of building a campaign and movement for change as the elections approached. The Dems are not capable of it.

          Thanks for the heads-up about money-laundering. There is a great deal of talk out there, as you may know, about Trump real estate sales to drug-dealers and right-wing ex pats, especially from S. America.

          1. lambert strether

            > As a political instrument, artfully wielded, it could be enormously useful. I would not personally seek to impeach, but to keep the spotlight on his actions while attending to the more important business of building a campaign and movement for change as the elections approached. The Dems are not capable of it.

            So if the only conceivable force that could “artfully wield” the “political instrument” is “not capable” of doing that, why on earth recommend it? I would also think that putting an irrendentist, vengeful, McCarthyite, and warmongering Clintonite faction back in the saddle — after an election they fought and lost on Trump’s fitness for office! — should chill the marrow.

            “Rule of law,” “our democracy,” yadda yadda yadda. Bush should have been impeached (WMDs; Fourth Amendment). Obama should have been impeached (Fourth Amendment, whacking a US citizen without due process). At this point, none of that steaming load of West Wing crap matters.

            NOTE Incidentally, it has occurred to me that Pelosi, as a member of the Gang of Eight, would have been read in to whatever intelligence operations the Obama administration and the intelligence community were running against Trump. Perhaps that’s another reason why she’s reluctant to impeach? That whole Mifsud/Popodopolous thing just screams it.

            1. Mattski

              I meant that ideally they would slow-play impeachment toward the election without bringing it to a formal head–can see that I was unclear.

              Agree re: Bush, Obama. The failure to challenge Obama is the biggest moral failure by liberals in recent history. From there liberal America could only move to politics as pure worshipful religious belief. He prepares the ground for an empty suit like Beto.

              Don’t know much about the Mifsud/Popodopolous affair; will check it out. Taking impeachment OFF the table was a serious error–at least let the threat linger. The calculation may be that an aroused Trump Black Shirt faction storms the polls or Congress. .. . dunno; she strikes me as a little feeble, and I am mystified by the adulation for her. Failing to fight back has kinda been a mistake when fascism was on the rise in the past.

      2. lambert strether

        > orchestrating a groundswell of disgust with Trump

        If that were going to happen, it would already have happened.

  38. Mattski

    Can’t afford healthcare, but we spend twice as much per capita than any other nation. Got it.

    Meanwhile, the Obama consultant in the headlines this morning saying Sanders can’t win because of economic issues (!) also shills for Teresa May and rounds regularly on British Labour. THAT is how far right the wealthy Dem establishment has drifted.

    1. lambert strether

      > how far right the wealthy Dem establishment has drifted.

      I don’t think they ‘drifted. I think they pointed the boat in that direction and floored it.

  39. Fern

    I just want to make sure that everyone has seen this excellent new article on Buttigieg’s firing of South Bend’s first black police chief.

    It turns out that Buttigieg’s largest donor was a friend and supporter of one of the white officers who was allegedly recorded making racist remarks and who complained to the FBI. Buttigieg said the feds asked him to fire the chief. The reporter talked to someone in the feds office, and they said that was absolute poppycock. The feds dropped the case. Buttigieg subsequently fired a city attorney who was working with a citizens’ police oversight committee and failed to stop the committee for asking the Indiana State Police for an investigation.

    This article came out last Sunday. It’s a must read:


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