2:00PM Water Cooler 4/5/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Life’s rich pageant in Politics today! –lambert


“One Trump Victory: Companies Rethink China” [New York Times]. “Whatever deal Washington and Beijing reach over the trade war, President Trump has already scored a big victory: Companies are rethinking their reliance on China…. The move, known as decoupling, is a major goal of those who believe the world has grown far too dependent on China as a manufacturing giant. As Beijing builds up its military and extends its geopolitical influence, some officials fear that America’s dependence on Chinese factories makes it strategically vulnerable. Now companies in a number of industries are reducing their exposure to China. GoPro, the mobile camera maker, and Universal Electronics, which makes sensors and remote controls, are shifting some work to Mexico. Hasbro is moving its toy making to the United States, Mexico, Vietnam and India. Aten International, a Taiwanese computer equipment company, brought work back to Taiwan. Danfoss, a Danish conglomerate, is changing the production of heating and hydraulic equipment to the United States.” • Hmm.


“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


* New candidate

Biden (D) (1): Doubling down:

UPDATE Buttigieg: “Pete Buttigieg Governed South Bend Like a Republican” [Benjamin Studebaker]. Pete Buttigieg may speak a lot of languages, but he wasn’t that creative. His big idea was to threaten low income residents with fines if they didn’t pretty up their homes. Those who couldn’t afford the residential plastic surgery had their homes seized and bulldozed. He brags about this. He calls it “1,000 homes in 1,000 days”. South Bend became better looking by paying a blood price. Of course, once the city looks better, Buttigieg can claim to have “revitalised” it, even though large numbers of residents remain mired in poverty. Those residents don’t have much of a voice in the town, and their lives and interests are swept under the rug. He was re-elected by a large margin, just like many Republican mayors. In his second term, he got really interested in traffic, just like the Republican mayor in my hometown. Calling it “Smart Streets”, he widened sidewalks, added some trees, threw in some bike lanes, and–of course–built some roundabouts. Sanders housed more than a thousand people. Buttigieg bulldozed more than a thousand homes.”

Gravel (D)(1): Ouch:

Gravel (D)(2): “Going gaga for Gravel” [The Hill]. “Who else is going to say his campaign is about ‘forcing centrists to confront the immorality of our imperial projects,’ or that ‘singing about ‘unity’ and ‘love’ as your overarching ‘ideas’ usually doesn’t stop an international rising tide of fascism driven by economic deprivation and climate change’?…. Did I mention that I love this guy? As of this writing, Gravel was sitting pretty in second place in Democracy For America’s online poll. What are you waiting for people? Vote and propel him to No. 1! Give him $1 so that he can get to the debate stage and tell Beto O’Rourke face-to-face that his words are meaningless drivel.” • DFA?!

Sanders (D)(1): “Congress invokes powers to challenge Trump on war in Yemen” [Associated Press]. ” Rejecting a plank of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, the House on Thursday invoked never-before-used powers to demand that his administration withdraw support from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The Senate passed the same resolution in March with bipartisan support… [Two lawmakers] led the charge for the war powers resolution, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.” • I’m trying to bring to mind another Democrat presidential candidate who drove the legislative process to try to stop a war (which rules out Gabbard, though her heart is definitely in the right place). Here’s the Senate text: Sanders is the sponsor. To their credit, Warren, Gillibrand, Klobuchar, and Harris are all co-sponsors (this being another sign of how Sanders was dragged the Democrats left, at least nominally).

Sanders (D)(2): Bernie’s taxes:

* Swalwell (D)(1): “Eric Swalwell Is Running for President on Gun Safety” [The Atlantic]. “The California congressman and frequent cable-news guest on all things related to President Donald Trump and Russia will announce his presidential plans in an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. But he won’t be running on Russia, or on the continuing fallout from the Mueller report and the Barr letter. Swalwell will center his campaign on gun control.” • Swalwell is from California, so I’m not sure how Harris feels.

Swalwell (D)(2): Unmentioned in the Atlantic article: Swalwell is a CIA Democrat:

Trump (R): “Trump got no bounce from Mueller. That leaves him a narrow path to re-election.” [NBC]. “The president’s approval rating has been a flatline… Maybe when [the Mueller report is released and] voters learn more, the numbers will move, in one direction or the other. Or maybe this is just the latest and loudest example of what we’ve seen over and over again during this presidency: a gigantic news development, followed by suggestions that a critical turning point in his public standing may be at hand, followed by …. well, pretty much nothing. Is there a Democrat who can engage in months of direct combat with Trump and emerge with anything like the kind of popularity Barack Obama had in 2012 when a majority viewed him favorably?” • I guess we’ll find out…

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren wants CEOs to go to jail when their companies behave badly” [Vox].

A summary of the legislation released by Warren’s office explains that it would “expand criminal liability to negligent executives of corporations with over $1 billion annual revenue” who:

– Are found guilty, plead guilty, or enter into a deferred or non-prosecution agreement for any crime.

– Are found liable or enter a settlement with any state or Federal regulator for the violation of any civil law if that violation affects the health, safety, finances, or personal data of 1% of the American population or 1% of the population of any state.

– Are found liable or guilty of a second civil or criminal violation for a different activity while operating under a civil or criminal judgment of any court, a deferred prosecution or nonprosecution agreement, or settlement with any state or Federal agency.

Executives found guilty of these violations could get up to a year in jail. And a second violation could mean up to three years.

So now we have a way to get rid of the bad apples?

Warren (D)(2): “Elizabeth Warren Issues Her Strongest Indictment of the Filibuster Yet” [The Daily Beast]. Warren: “So let me be as clear as I can. When Democrats next have power, we should be bold and clear: We’re done with two sets of rules—one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats. And that means when Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama, and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster.” • As Obama and the Democrats should have done in 2009, for pity’s sake.

IA: “UnitedHealthcare is pulling out of Iowa’s private Medicaid management program” [Des Moines Register]. “UnitedHealthcare was paid about $2 billion in federal and state money to manage Iowans’ health care last fiscal year. It is the second Medicaid management company to bail out of Iowa since the state’s controversial decision to privatize its Medicaid system. AmeriHealth Caritas left the state in 2017 after complaining that it had lost hundreds of millions of dollars on the project.” • That should put health care front and center in the Iowa primary, along with privatization.

IA: “Socialism, but in Iowa” [The Atlantic]. “[Caroline Schoonover, co-chair of the Central Iowa DSA, and the other socialists I met in Iowa are not Upper West Siders from moneyed families, nor are they, for the most part, graduates of elite Ivy League schools…. Instead, the people I spoke with see the DSA as a vehicle for changing their own immediate circumstances. They want to build a movement that transcends individual politicians, whose positions are malleable and whose tenure is temporary. And while most establishment Democrats would like to distance themselves from the label, the trajectory of America’s newly surging socialist movement could ultimately shape the party’s future. Schoonover’s chapter, which has about 160 members, didn’t exist before 2016—none of Iowa’s DSA groups did…. All the members at the meeting had their own reasons for joining the DSA, but most of those reasons were rooted in personal financial struggle: They were drowning in an ocean of student debt, or straining to pay their rent or afford their insurance premiums.” And:

But more important, they say, working on behalf of a single candidate will only distract from their efforts to organize tenants and build power in their communities. “We don’t talk about Bernie,” Schoonover explained. “He’s not a factor in our organizing at all.” Most of them would certainly prefer Sanders to other Democrats in the 2020 field, and individual members can volunteer for him on their own time, Schoonover said. “But we’re not a Bernie Sanders fan club just waiting for our chance to finally knock doors for him.”

This is good reporting from the Atlantic, which will not surprise NC readers; see Water Cooler on Central Iowa DSA back in March. (Note again, from Pittsburgh, how fast a DSA chapter can go sour. But one does wonder what the class composition of Pittsburgh was; Studebaker describes “the clique,” but not the membership.)


Holy moley:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed (Part 1)” [Ray Dalio, LinkedIn]. “I think that most capitalists don’t know how to divide the economic pie well and most socialists don’t know how to grow it well, yet we are now at a juncture in which either a) people of different ideological inclinations will work together to skillfully re-engineer the system so that the pie is both divided and grown well or b) we will have great conflict and some form of revolution that will hurt most everyone and will shrink the pie. I believe that all good things taken to an extreme can be self-destructive and that everything must evolve or die. This is now true for capitalism. In this report I show why I believe that capitalism is now not working for the majority of Americans, I diagnose why it is producing these inadequate results, and I offer some suggestions for what can be done to reform it.” • Splits go all the way to the top; see, e.g., Philippe Égalité.

“What the heck does Steve King do all day?” [WaPo]. “For the most part, the successful members of Congress wake up early for some fundraising over breakfast, commute to work (while fundraising), meet with some lobbyists and constituents in their office, yuk it up with colleagues during votes on bills that rarely become laws, then it’s off to happy hour for some quick fundraising before finally settling down with some of their closest donors for dinner, dessert and fundraising.” • It’s all about the benjamins ?…

“You elected them to write new laws. They’re letting corporations do it instead.” [USA Today]. “Each year, state lawmakers across the U.S. introduce thousands of bills dreamed up and written by corporations, industry groups and think tanks. Disguised as the work of lawmakers, these so-called ‘model’ bills get copied in one state Capitol after another, quietly advancing the agenda of the people who write them. A two-year investigation by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic  and the Center for Public Integrity reveals for the first time the extent to which special interests have infiltrated state legislatures using model legislation. USA TODAY and the Republic found at least 10,000 bills almost entirely copied from model legislation were introduced nationwide in the past eight years, and more than 2,100 of those bills were signed into law.” • This is excellent reporting! Here is a tweet-storm on the methodology. Thread:

“‘A Network of Alternative Campaign Infrastructure’: Progressives Dismiss DCCC Threats on Primary Challengers” [Common Dreams]. “A decision by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee late last month to blacklist vendors that support primary challengers over party incumbents drew a line in the sand against the potential progressive overthrow of the party’s established order. In response to the new policy, 14 progressive groups Thursday announced the launch of the DCCC Blacklist—a collective of left wing vendors that are bucking the Democratic campaign arm’s directive.” • Quotes from the usual suspects, including Justice Democrats, but this is interesting: “”We reject the DCCC’s attempt to hoard power, which will only serve to keep that talent pool—and Congress itself—disproportionately white and male,’ said [Indivisible’s María Urbina].” Yes, identity politics, but would have put Indivisible on the DCCC’s side.

“Bill and Hillary Clinton to embark on star-studded speaking tour” [The Hill]. “Bill and Hillary Clinton will be joined by a slew of big names on their forthcoming speaking tour — including Ben Stiller, Jordan Klepper, and ‘Scandal’s’ Tony Goldwyn.” • So that was the problem with their book tour: Not enough stars!

“Chelsea Clinton on talking to kids about the environment and what’s going on in the world” (interview (oh gawd)) [Los Angeles Times]. “Not with my 2-year-old but with my 4-year old, we talked about the family separations at the border and how fundamentally wrong it is that any child would be taken away from their family. And my daughter, thankfully has this visceral reaction, ‘That’s just so bad. Like why are there bad people that do that?’ I say, ‘Well, I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that the way we try to answer that is to stop it from happening.'” • No.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, March 2019: “It’s back to normal as nonfarm payroll bounced back to trend… near the top of the consensus range [Econoday]. “The unemployment rate remains very low, unchanged at an as-expected 3.8 percent with the pool of available workers lean and drawn down slightly…. The payroll breakdown is mixed and highlighted once again by professional & business services…. But the strong takeaway from today’s report is very positive. The labor market remains the nation’s central source of economic strength at the same time that wages have room to move higher. For monetary policy, it’s wait-and-see with no need at all to raise rates yet also no need to further stimulate demand.” And but: “March 2019 BLS Jobs Situation – Internals Are Poor But Headline Numbers Are Good” [Econintersect]. “The establishment and household surveys seem to have come from different dimensions. For the second month in a row, these surveys which are the basis of the monthly jobs report do not match with one actually contracting and the other growing significantly. The economically intuitive sectors contracted. The rate of growth of the establishment survey was lower than one year ago. The year-to-date growth remains under last year and worsened….[T]his report makes me uncomfortable.” And but: “This was strong enough to alleviate recession fears (no worries!), but not too strong to change the Fed’s view of the economy (stay on hold)” [Calculated Risk]. “Note that sometime soon the overall participation rate will start declining again due to demographic factors. The overall participation rate has been moving sideways for several years, as the expansion has offset the demographics factors.”

Manufacturing: “Navy eyeing discounted Boeing 737s” [Duffelblog]. • If we need to bail out Boeing, that’s how to do it…

Tech: “‘Beyond Sketchy’: Facebook Demanding Some New Users’ Email Passwords” [Daily Beast (JCC)]. “Facebook users are being interrupted by an interstitial demanding they provide the password for the email account they gave to Facebook when signing up. ‘To continue using Facebook, you’ll need to confirm your email,’ the message demands. “Since you signed up with [email address], you can do that automatically …” A form below the message asked for the users’ “email password.'” • Facebook has stopped this, but how on earth did this make it into production code? Did Boeing’s MCAS programming team move on to Facebook?

Tech: “Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender” [Economist]. “HUD’s lawsuit also accused Facebook itself of discrimination against minorities through the algorithms it uses to run its advertising business. These are the same ones that Facebook uses to maximise click-throughs and views, and therefore revenue.” • Exactly as the town of Ferguson maximizes its revenues by arresting black people for minor traffic violations. Because they can.

The Biosphere

“Why 5G Makes Me Reconsider The Health Effects Of Cell Phones” [Wired (Krystyn Walentka)]. “I’ve been impatient for years with people complaining about the health effects of wireless communications. The phrase “tinfoil hat” leaps to mind, I readily concede. But I am learning that hundreds of scientists and tens of thousands of others believe that the intensity of 5G represents a phase change and that 5G’s effects on mankind should be studied closely before this technology is widely adopted.” • It is true that no species has ever had to adapt to pervasive “very-high-frequency radio waves at high power levels,” at least not on our planet’s surface. As with so much “innovation” — especially innovation that is not Jackpot-ready — saying “no” is a reasonable default position.

“House Democrats Voted for a Natural Gas Future, and Nobody Noticed” [Walker Bragman, Paste]. “Ocasio-Cortez had been one of 224 House Democrats to back a bill that, if passed, would allocate roughly $580 million in federal funding over two years to public and private energy development projects in Europe and Eurasia, including natural gas infrastructure…. H.R. 1616 was introduced by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-AL) early last month. Disguised as a measure to crack Russia’s energy dominance in Europe and Eurasia, it passed the House easily on March 25 with a margin of 391-to-24 and no Democratic opposition—though 10 Democrats did not vote, including six members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The bill’s true intention, however, seems to be opening up new energy markets to American fossil fuel companies, enabling the easy export of liquid natural gas.” • As above, “no.” Leave it in the ground.

“30×30: A Blueprint for Ocean Protection” (PDF) [Universities of York and Oxford]. “Ocean sanctuaries are a key tool for protecting habitats and species,

rebuilding ocean biodiversity, helping ocean ecosystems recover and maintaining vital ecosystem services. By initiating an international legally binding instrument to enable the protection of marine life and habitats outside national jurisdiction, the United Nations has an opportunity to put in place robust structures to create and govern ocean sanctuaries on the high seas. Scientists are calling for at least 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected as ocean sanctuaries, and this study charts how this 30% figure could be achieved to protect the full spectrum of marine life on the high seas.”

“Backyard chickens hit hard by a long-gone, extremely contagious disease” [New Food Economy]. “In California, backyard birds are in lockdown. County fairs are canceling their poultry shows. Veterinary hospitals aren’t accepting chicken appointments. Local 4-H leaders are telling chicken owners to keep their birds sequestered. Some poultry breeders are even worried their birds will need to be euthanized. The issue? Virulent Newcastle Disease, or VND, a disease thought to be long gone from the United States—until new cases emerged in May of last year… As of presstime, one million birds have been euthanized in this current outbreak—including poultry at three large commercial egg-laying facilities. … Both the current outbreak and its most recent predecessor in 2002 have been linked to backyard poultry (legal and illegal alike). And it’s likely that without modified behavior from owners regarding animal health and disease transmission, we may be seeing more outbreaks in the future.”

“The Big Business of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms” [Bloomberg]. “An estimated 63 million people travel to and within Japan to view the bloom, spending around $2.7 billion (301 billion yen) in the process, according to an analysis from Kansai University. With the bloom currently underway and the number of tourists up in the first two months of the year, a record number of visitors is expected again.”

“Rolex Unveils New Diving Cuckoo Clock Capable Of Working Up To 3,000 Meters Underwater” [The Onion]. • Big seller in Miami!

Our Famously Free Press

Virtue is its own reward:

UPDATE “‘Boom!’: an autopsy of the media after the Mueller bombshell” [Spectator USA]. “Easy as it might be to pooh-pooh Maddow as some zany outlier, the undeniable reality is that the sick conspiratorial mindset she embodied was thoroughly mainstream: it infected virtually every sector of elite American culture, from journalism, to entertainment, to the professional political class. Rachel is just the tip of the rotten iceberg. Take, for instance, Keith Olbermann…. ‘We are at war with Russia,’ Olbermann gravely proclaims. The inauguration of Donald Trump, he prophesies, will mark ‘the end of the United States as an independent country.’ Anyone who rejects this analysis is a ‘traitor’ says Olbermann, and in league with ‘Russian scum.’ His recommendation is to thwart Trump via some harebrained Electoral College scheme where electors are intimidated into violating their duty to vote according to the election outcome in their respective states and districts. I covered this attempted coup at the time, which failed, but was supported by leading Democrats ranging from Hillary Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri to Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe; as well as Michael Moore, Lawrence Lessig, Peter Beinart, DeRay McKesson, Paul Krugman, and Neera Tanden. Prominent liberals had been melodramatically whinging for months about how appalled they were by Trump’s alleged propensity to violate ‘norms,’ but the next minute they turned around and demanded that all norms governing the centuries-old Electoral College process be thrown out the window. The wild propaganda promoted by Olbermann had become the standard, mainstream view among American liberals: fundamentally corrupting their capacity to view subsequent political events with any semblance of rationality.” • Yep. See NC here, December 13, 2016.

Class Warfare

“Big Tech’s Original Sin” [New York Times]. “ig Tech’s problems are indeed dizzying and manifold, but the last few years have taught us that there’s an Occam’s razor quality to any explanation of the toxicity of our online platforms. The original sin, it seems, isn’t all that complicated; it’s the prioritization of growth — above all else and at the expense of those of us who use the services.” • Hilariously, the deck reads: “Greed. It’s about greed.” But the word “greed” doesn’t appear in the text, and seems to have been replaced by “growth.”

“Crime has the power to reproduce itself”:

News of the Wired

“A Growing Trend with Men, Vasectomy Procedure Plans” [Gomerblog]. “Recently a new trend has been spreading like wildfires throughout urology and family medicine clinics in the US…Vasectomy Procedure Plans. Many men seeking sterility are taking the advice from numerous pregnant women who develop extensive and thorough birth plans that spell out every last detail of their birthing experience. GomerBlog recently interviewed Jeremy Brinkenship who was about to get a vasectomy and he wanted it to be a magical and unforgettable experience. Jeremy is also requesting a ‘delayed vas clamping’ which seems to be the new popular thing to do.” • With copy of Jeremy’s plan!

But where are the notes:

* * *

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 (via):

Grantham Ecologist: “The first few flowers beginning to break bud on the blackthorn shrubs above #Grantham this week – looking forward to seeing these shrubs filled with brimstones and early spring bees!”

Readers, I’m running short on plants. Maybe time for some shots of spring? Or at least mud?

* * *

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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. NotTimothyGeithner

    I wonder if Madelaine Albright and Gloria Steinem have any thought about Touchy Feely Joe!

    1. John A

      Well, pace Albright’s comment about half a million children killed in Iraq due to American actions, no doubt she would say ‘it was worth it’.

    2. hamstak

      There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t appreciate Gropin’ Joe’s affections.

  2. Fiery Hunt

    Creepy Joe really doesn’t get it, does he?
    No way he gets past this. Stick a fork in him. He’s done.

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving Joe. Or a more deserving Resistance… :)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden gets it. He’s telling everyone to stfu because a man is speaking. He yells at kids. The man is stupid, but he’s just a scummy guy who believes he is owed because he is a former Senator or something.

      “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, -Joe Biden

      Obama has the approval of an old white guy.

      1. Carey

        I think Lambert’s interpretation of Biden’s behavior hits the mark:
        a public display of dominance. “I’ll touch you, and your role is to *like it*.”

        No wonder elite Dems love him.

        Biden: #keepthepartygoing2020

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think Carey must be referring to this comment (it’s nice to be remembered) in response to a comment by alert reader Lemmy Caution:

          > I’ve tried to put myself in Biden’s position and try to imagine acting the way he has. It is inconceivable to me that upon meeting a woman for the first time, I would put my hands on her shoulders, press my forehead against hers, smell her hair, rub noses with her, whisper into ear, or do any of the other things Biden has been getting away with for years. I just can’t imagine thinking I had any right to invade someone’s space like that. In my opinion, his behavior goes way beyond offering comfort and support — it’s invasive, disrespectful and just flat out creepy the way he uses the dynamics of social situations to get his hands on women.

          Inconceivable to me, too. I am not a candidate for sainthood, but this mentality is beyond me. I don’t understand how anybody could come to believe this was OK. And of course I’m deriving considerable schadenfreude from watching the “Listen to women!” brigade of liberal Democrats contort themselves into trying to justify it.

          Of course, if you take the view that bourgeois feminists like Pelosi and Gillibrand are all about reinforcing patriarchy, then everything falls into place: Vice President Biden can extract his personal brand of jouissance from a dominance display because he’s a patriarch: A powerful, alpha male, to whom they regard themselves as subservient.* We even have a parallel case: Workplace abuser and rapist President Bill Clinton, also much beloved by the same crowd.

          NOTE * For bourgeois feminists, then, the problem with ambush groper Franken and exhibitionist masturbator Louis CK would be not that their behavior was invasive, but that they were weak. Same thing with Kavanaugh: Ineffectual, and couldn’t do the deed.

          I’m hoisting the whole comment because I was rather proud of it. On reflection, it also occurs to me that Harvey Weinstein was “weak”, too; he required erectile drugs and penile injections. No “Big Dog*” he!

          NOTE * See “Let the big dog out” in Salon, October 20, 2000, hilariously from Joan Walsh. Note how Walsh fawns over Clinton’s dominance display:

          For the first time in this campaign, Vice President Al Gore looked a little like an alpha dog Tuesday night, towering over Gov. George W. Bush literally and figuratively during their last televised debate. He invaded Bush’s personal space and made him look like an itty-bitty man (literally and figuratively), a jug-eared, twitchy incompetent, a handsomer Ross Perot. Gore was masterful on the issues, exuding a self-confidence and a readiness to be president that was physical, almost carnal. He bonded with the audience. He wore no orange makeup.

          Hoo boy.

      2. dearieme

        “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, -Joe Biden

        That’s the only intelligent quotation I’ve ever seen attributed to Biden. And then people mock him for his frankness.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago was articulate and bright and clean. But he was a rough-looking guy. From what I remember reading, he basically had to spend his first term beating the Aldermen led by “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak into assuming a posture of co-operation with the Mayor.

          After getting re-elected with big majority, he died of a heart attack very soon after. All the achievements to come left unachieved.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Broke my heart at the time. But no, he wasn’t clean like Obama: he didn’t talk like he was “white”, probably cuz he was raised in a Black family.

            1. ambrit

              Jackson, Mississippi, a decent sized city, recently had a Black mayor who was associated with an African Pride movement.
              Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chokwe_Lumumba
              A good, solid, for the People sort. Sadly he died pretty soon after being elected, supposedly from heart disease. Conspiracy Theorists have had a field day with the fact that the County Coroner refused to do an autopsy.

                1. ambrit

                  As far as I can tell from a distance. (We’re about 90 miles away.)
                  The ‘Black Mis-leadership’ problem is a ‘thing’ around here. The Black ‘leadership class’ hereabouts is heavily enmeshed in the Meritocrat, Credentialed class. Similar to the Democrat Party, which most of the local black mis-leadership class is a subset of.
                  Lumumba was, to all appearances, a genuine populist, which sounds right because Jackson is a heavily Black city. Not, as far as my interlocutors have asserted, a ‘Chocolate City,’ but solidly Black. City Data shows Jackson as being 81.9% black.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Well, he was just as clean and articulate as Obama. But yes, not in the “whitelike” style and manner. So Washington would not have provided any psycho-cultural validation to a creature like Biden, who did not consider Blackclean and Blackarticulate to be ” clean and articulate.”

              And Washington certainly looked more like John L. Lewis than like Robert Redford.




        1. Roger Smith

          You know what? My money says that there’s a 90% chance Biden DID NOT ask that kid for permission. He used the kid for a political quip at the child’s expense. I also going to put my foot down and say there’s a 15% chance that isn’t even that kid’s name. I think it’s time for some to take tough guy Joe ‘behind the barn’, or whatever that horribly dumb tough guy nonsense quote was.

      3. The Rev Kev

        He thinks that he has gotten away with it. After a flurry of accusations, the man goes onstage and jokes about it and even flaunts it to everybody as in in-your-face. He knows that the political establishment has his back and will not hold him to account. He knows that the Democrats will especially have his back too. The same crowd that never held Bill Clinton to account for making trips on the “Lollita Express”. And as far as the Washington crowd are concerned, he is probably right. And as far as all those women that intensively supported Hillary Clinton over the years are concerned, I am willing to bet that they will also give Biden a free pass here “for the good of the cause” i.e. he is against Trump.

        1. jrs

          Maybe Dems think it is to their advantage to run an arrogant jerk. It’s a bit hard to argue with, as there is a part of the country that will vote arrogant jerk again and again and again, these are the core Trump supporters. The like to see power executed without apology by those who it “rightly belongs to” (white males naturally) and see it executed against the less powerful without apology. Take no prisoners. Shut up you snowflake, and know your place. The only question is this authoritarian voting block the Dem’s to win?

    2. Andy Raushner

      Sorry, but 2 Sanders supporters tried to make this a “issue” and it is flopping. Nobody cares and the end result is noticeable. Sure he gets past it, people are already moving on. If anything, its a bad sign for Sanders, who can’t control his flock.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Aww…gee…is everyone moving on because Holy Joe Biden said so…I know as VIce President he couldn’t be actively destructive, but his record in the Senate is gross to say the least. I think you will find Joe Biden isn’t going to move up in the world. His ceiling is limited to people who are proud they can name a Vice President and former Vice President because his record might appeal to rabid Republicans, but its so far removed from being a generic Democrat.

          1. ambrit

            I think the term of ‘Venery,’ “flock,” refers to a grouping of Christmas Trees.
            “Gaggle” if I remember correctly, refers to a group of Interns under a desk. Particularly a Politico’s desk. I feel too sorry for Monica to continue in this line. It looks too much like character assassination, until I reflect on the total lack of ‘Good Character’ possessed by her exploiter.

      2. voteforno6

        If anything, its a bad sign for Sanders, who can’t control his flock.

        You really don’t get it, do you? Thinking that his supporters are a “flock,” and that he can, or would even want to, control them is why you people are going to lose.

      3. Chris

        Can’t control his flock?

        Do you think Sanders’s is some kind of messiah who is expected to deliver opinions and norms of behavior to his supporters from on high? Sorry. I think you’ve got the wrong candidate. I’m sure you have the wrong ideas about his supporters.

        Perhaps you should try expanding your horizons beyond people named Clinton and Obama…

        1. foghorn longhorn

          You guys should really cut the village idiot a little slack.
          He needs those nickles so he can buy his Spam.

      4. Big River Bandido

        Control his flock??? Your choice of language indicates you don’t understand American politics in the slightest.

        I don’t take orders from political candidates. Period. As far as I’m concerned, politicians are the servants of the public, not their masters. I’m quite sure most voters feel the same way about their own vote.

          1. Big River Bandido

            The Russians have diesel??? My internet connection is powered by tiny troglodytes pedaling bicycles…

            1. ambrit

              Yea and verily! It beats the absolutely Victorian Steampunk Internet the Big Difference engine supplies we Supplicants of the Glorious Western Empire.
              The “richest” country on Earth can only ‘afford’ to make it’s helot classes pay fifty bucks and up per month for dial-up speed internet connections?
              Pull the other one, it has emojis dangling from it.
              Speaking of Glorious Western Empires; I would be sleeping now, one thirty in the morning, but a flurry of gunfire pretty close by woke me up. Say, twenty to thirty shots, in two distinct calibres. Funnily enough, we live in the shabby genteel inner ring suburb of a mid sized Southern Mintropolis. Right after, sirens galore, so not the cops ‘shaking down’ the local hoods.
              We live in “Interesting Times.”
              How’s Gabriel? I’ve had to “put down” several pets over the years. It never gets ‘easier;’ still painful as H—.

              1. Svante Arrhenius

                I used to joke that before her death, my mom could discern an Ingram MAC-11 from a Tec-9 at 3-4 blocks by sound alone; whereas my thoroughly citified then girlfriend thought a Mini14 being fanned through a nearby window into somebody’s party, was “fireworks?” Well, not exactly, the “ha-ha” kind of funny.

                1. ambrit

                  Ha! The old Tec-9. Firepower for the ‘cheap seats.’
                  Your Mom must have lived in a better ‘class’ of neighborhood. Around here, it’s AK’s and Hi Points.
                  Really though. The gunfire from last night seems to have been a shoot out between two characters in the parking lot of a local ‘Juke Joint.’ The only reliable information available is that two people presented at the local ER with gunshot wounds early last morning.
                  Everything else is pure rumour. The local coppers, newshounds and ‘Public Servants’ do not find the task of informing the public about incidents like this to be at the top of their ‘To Do’ lists.
                  This is one solid instance of the deleterious effects of the “downsizing” of local news institutions. With the ‘consolidation’ of the news dissemination apparatus into nationally oriented forms, local news gets ‘lost in the hustle.’

      5. Fiery Hunt

        Ummm, the Daily Show called this out 4 YEARS AGO. And it’s been known for 20 years…

        But you go on with your Party line bull and blame Sanders.

        Same ol’, same ol’.

  3. Gary

    I just gave a buck to Mike Gravel. Julian Castro could use a buck too. It would be great to see these guys in the debates. Of course, I remember Kucinich made it to the debates and they acted like he was invisible.

    1. JohnnySacks

      I still use the term ‘Kuciniched’ as a verb, 2016 being a prime example of someone managing to get past first base without ‘being Kuciniched’.

    2. ChrisPacific

      My worry about Gravel if he reached the debates would be staying on brand. It’s the kids that are writing his social media feed, not him. Granted he says he approves it all and they are aligned with his views, but it still doesn’t read like something an octogenarian would write. In the event that he does get in there, he’ll need to use his own script while still delivering on the expectations of the people that put him there. It’s a tough ask, although it would certainly be a good problem to have.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        Search youtube for his 2008 democrat debate highlights. In this link, he is scathing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBcMUZAXMW4).

        I don’t recall ever seeing anything like it. However, if he makes it now, I’m sure he’ll get the Ron Paul treatment – at most 1 question, placed on the end, usually out of the camera’s view.

    3. Big River Bandido

      There’s not a ray of sunlight separating Castro’s history and positions on issues from those of, say, O’Rourke or Obama. Like O’Rourke, Castro went all in with developers on schemes that ripped off the poorest and most vulnerable home owners in their respective hometowns.

      I wouldn’t give him a dirty old dime.

    4. Massinissa

      Sorry, but Castro is not in the same league as Gravel. Hes more like… You know, all the other candidates.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    I’m trying to bring to mind another Democrat presidential candidate who drove the legislative process to try to stop a war (which rules out Gabbard, though her heart is definitely in the right place).

    His amendment lost in the Senate, but George McGovern joined Republican Mark Hatfield to propose the McGovern-Hatfield Amendment in 1970 that would have terminated American military operations in Vietnam by the end of 1971. On the date of the vote, the Senate was full, and this is what McGovern said:

    Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. Every Senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval and all across our land—young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes.

    There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.

    So before we vote, let us ponder the admonition of Edmund Burke, the great parliamentarian of an earlier day: “A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.”

    1. barrisj

      Sen. Wayne Morse is another true hero of the Vietnam War era…tirelessly speaking both in the Senate and at anti-war rallies against LBJ duplicity and lies…Time has served his opinions well, but the craven stupidity that drove war policy then continues apace today…yet again: plus ça change….

  5. Hameloose Cannon

    Mike Gravel. Because Bernie Sanders is not quixotic enough. Because parents just do not understand. Because the bulls-eye against which the forces of greed and malice will tee-off is not quite big enough, yet.

  6. savedbyirony

    Any other basketball fans and especially women’s college basketball fans out there? Two great games tonight (Baylor vs Iowa and the headliner, a rematch of last year’s double overtime semi, Uconn vs Notre Dame). But that is not the big talk this year at the women’s final four. This is:

    and that is fine because the women’s NCAA division 1 tournament has grown into a fairly big sporting event and an import platform for both the athletes to shine and the problems women and girls face in sports to be talked about.

      1. ArcadiaMommy

        That is awesome! Did not know (too busy with tax season).

        And when is Sean Miller going to get fired?

      1. The Rev Kev

        And women’s cricket has come roaring out of the starting blocks down in Oz. After being ignored for decades, they have been given time on TV screens and are getting fantastically popular. There are not enough places for all the young girls lining up to take part in amateur cricket. International women’s cricket matches are taking off in TV screen time as well as people want to see more.


      1. Savedbyirony

        You are so right! My apologies to the fantastic three point shooting Ducks and their fans. I think I made the mistake because I will so miss watching Iowa’s Gustafson in the final four, though the Duck’s Ionescu is no slouch either.

        1. Tim

          Ionescu set the record for most triple doubles in NCAA history this year, I guess she doesn’t suck. /sarc

          I’m looking forward to the game. It should be great!

    1. sleepy

      I love basketball, especially good defense. It’s like watching ballet.

      Having said that, go Huskies!

  7. savedbyirony

    Any other basketball fans and especially women’s college basketball fans out there? Two great games tonight (Baylor vs Iowa and the headliner, a rematch of last year’s double overtime semi, Uconn vs Notre Dame). But that is not the big talk this year at the women’s final four. This is:

    and that is fine because the women’s NCAA division 1 tournament has grown into a fairly big sporting event and an import platform for both the athletes to shine and the problems women and girls face in sports to be talked about.

  8. Tom Stone

    I know quite a few people who would love that Trump songbook.
    “Trump’s Treason!” is a matter of passionate faith for many well educated liberals, I have been careful where and to whom i mentioned my doubts out of concerns for my personal safety
    It is one big ugly can of worms and it’s not going away soon, if ever.

        1. pretzelattack

          generally people who claim trump is a puppet of putin hate sanders, so the same group.

  9. Grant

    On the Bernie taxes thing; I agree, he should release them. However, he is not alone, most have not released their taxes. So, why focus only on him? Hm, I wonder. And, after they are released, then what? Is it then time to focus on policy? No, some other fake issue will take its place, because the Democrats in power offer nothing on policy.

    1. Summer

      I thought I read on NC that Bernie had prepared 10 years to show?
      If so, they are doing just what he expected.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Bernie needs Trump to take the bait and run with it for a while before he releases them. He bit on the Birther thing; he’ll bite on anything. Have any of the other candidates released theirs?

  10. Seth Miller

    On getting rid of the filibuster, IMHO Warren’s view is a little too conventional. She assumes that the majority leader is the one in charge. The Republicans are happy to indulge this assumption. But in 2020, if Trump loses but the Republicans still control the Senate, there is another option.

    The Republicans are “originalists” or so they say. Under the Constitution it’s the Vice President who is in charge of the Senate. What Obama could have done throughout his eight years is not just “go nuclear,” as conventional wisdom has it. He should have sent Biden in to overrule every move McConnell made. Wouldn’t have had to change any rules, just suspend them. It’s called exercising power.

    1. nippersmom

      That’s a great theory, however it would have required the Democrats to:
      1. have an actual interest in governing
      2. have a desire to enact (as opposed to give lip service to) legislation contrary to that endorsed by the Republicans and their joint corporate rulers.

    2. Carey

      I’m trying to think of any policy proposed by Warren that, assuming the legislation could
      be passed, wouldn’t be gamed in an instant; administratively, or otherwise.

  11. drumlin woodchuckles

    Sanders could offer to release his tax returns when Trump releases his tax returns. Deepening the funny.

  12. Tyrannocaster

    The Bernie tax problem is self-inflicted. You can’t say you’ll release them and then not do it. It makes you look like someone else…who dat now?

  13. allan

    Steuben County, NY, man charged with threatening to kill US Rep. Omar of Minnesota [D&C]

    A Steuben County man has been charged with threatening to kill Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar in a telephone call to her office.

    Patrick W. Carlineo, 55, of Addison, NY, is charged with threatening to assault or murder a United States official, a federal felony count that carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. …

    He is accused of calling Omar’s Washington, D.C., office shortly after noon on March 21 and saying to a staff member, “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a (expletive) terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull.” …

    Carlineo’s arrest marks the third instance in recent months in which Rochester-area residents have been charged in connection with threatens to harm Muslims.

    Four local men were arrested in January on charges they plotted to attack a Muslim enclave in Delaware County with bombs and guns. A Greece resident was charged Thursday with lying to the FBI in the course of a federal investigation into online threats to commit mass murder of Muslims as occurred recently in New Zealand.

    Stochastic terrorism, n.: The use of mass public communication, usually against a particular individual or group, which incites or inspires acts of terrorism which are statistically probable but happen seemingly at random.

    Which mass public communicators radicalized him? A question that will never be asked in the MSM.

  14. Carey

    A thought: the MSM really needs to be newly, more accurately named, since what is found there represents the interests and opinions of only the very few; these are anything but
    “mainstream” (Perma-war, healthcare), and this fact
    needs to be made apparent.

    “Elite media”?

    1. Big River Bandido

      Idiot though she is, Sarah Palin coined the best one with “lamestream media”.

      1. Carey

        “Lamestream media” is evocative for sure, and I like personally like it, but it
        sounds partisan, even if it’s not. Searching for that lightbulb term that can
        truly rally the *many v the few*…

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      CFP Media. The CFP stands for Corporate Fascist Pig. That’s an antique phrase by now. But maybe leading with the acronym CFP might get one in a hundred people to ask what “CFP” stands for. And see if any of the people who wait around for the answer are pleased or interested by the answer.

    3. ambrit

      “Master Media.”
      It gives that ‘certain cachet’ of “superiority” to the “Stenographic Estate.” It also posits a methodology and identity appropriate to the “Magisterial Meritocracy.”

    1. Andy Raushner

      Well considering Trump’s ties to jewish oligarchs in eastern europe is you know, pretty strong, maybe you just rephrase this post.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . he’s also tied to some Arab Oiligarchs in Saudi Arabia.

        Does that make up for the jewligarchs ( if they really are all that) in East Europe?

        1. ambrit

          Oh my. “Back in The Day,” the ‘axis of evil’ was the Jew/Communist Connection. Now it seems to be the Jew/Capitalist Oligarch Connection. Even Orwell got into the act by naming the “Enemy of the State,” Big Brother’s Adversary, Goldstein, though that association was done for effect by a writer of fiction.
          I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that anti-Semitism is so ubiquitous because it is so easy to do.

    2. ChristopherJ

      Great letter, barris. I think Trump knows he isn’t safe and that’s why he surrounds himself with people he thinks he can trust.

      Problem with the letter is that it’s about 10 times longer than Trump has the patience for.

      Assange is toast, they’re moving now before that dangerous lunatic gets into number 10.

      Ecuador was never big enough to withstand the power of the US. Should’ve sort asylum in the Australian embassy. Uh, no wait

  15. barrisj

    Attention lovers of nature and the natural world….David Attenborough is back, doing an eight-part series funded by and streaming on Netflix, called “Our Planet”, which differs from most of the other pseudo-nature programming by eliminating the “cuddly-cutesy” element while watching rapidly-disappearing creatures in their environment, and hits hard on planetary extinction issues. The Graun has the story:

    Our Planet review – Attenborough’s first act as an eco-warrior


    Where it differs from BBC shows is in no longer ignoring or minimising the threats facing all the environments and animals on display. Hamstrung by the idea that any mention of eco-problems would make audiences switch off, and the broadcasters’ preferred strategy of hoping that sharing incredible sights around the world would inspire people to save them, nature programming has been taken to task for avoiding the issue, and not using their power to raise awareness of the dangers facing us all. Contextless stories don’t inspire us to change, after all; they just allow us to continue in our comfortable, fatal state of denial. Producer Alastair Fothergill has expressed frustration that he wasn’t allowed to include more on the subject at the BBC.


  16. pjay

    Chelsea Clinton on family separations:

    I’d be very interested in Chelsea’s daughter’s take on the “separations” caused by Western bombs and Western-backed jihadists unleashed in Libya. Let me know when that story gets tweeted.

  17. flora

    So many good links in WC today; I’ve printed out several to read them long form on paper. Thanks.

  18. Massinissa

    I think the site with the vasectomy article is an onion-style site, like Duffel Blog but for medicine or something. Most of the article titles sound like jokes.

    It has articles like:

    Improving Gender Equality in Healthcare: Tips from Male Physician Leaders

    Newborn Nursery’s Infant Capacity increased by 50% by hiring former Tetris Champion

    EHR to replace Popups with Clickbait.

    Indecisive ER Doctor Still Hasn’t Chosen Specialty

    Yeah, I definitely think this is satire. Good stuff though.

    1. Eclair

      Thanks for the clarification, Massinissa! When I got to the part about, ‘he wanted it to be a magical and unforgettable experience,’ I thought it was a bit over the top, but, since they did not mention ‘carefully curated’ and ‘influencers,’ I did not spontaneously vomit in my mouth. Amazing what I am willing to believe these days.

  19. Geo

    Chelsea Clinton: with my 4-year old, we talked about the family separations at the border and how fundamentally wrong it is that any child would be taken away from their family.

    I wonder how Chelsea’s 4-year old would feel about Grandma’s bragging about her role in the Honduran coup and then deporting refugee children to “send a message” when many of them ended up being killed upon return?

    Many Hondurans are fleeing extreme violence at home. The homicide rate in Honduras skyrocketed following a 2009 coup d’etat.


    Leaked emails from Clinton’s private server which were published by WikiLeaks show that during this period, the US pushed the OAS to support new elections and sideline Zelaya.


    1. WheresOurTeddy

      how old does the kid have to be before they see grandma cackle “we came, we saw, he died”? I’m an adult and it still chills me to the bone how passe the oligarchy is about dealing out death and misery

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Old enough to work a keyboard or a smarty-phone touchscreen without Mommy watching or knowing about it.

  20. Tim

    So the global warming scientists are wrong after all.

    Humanity won’t be baked to death by global warming, but will instead be baked to death somewhere between 6G-10G wireless technology.

    Telecom and FCC will rationalize turning every cell into an ez bake mircrowave oven.

    1. ambrit

      The “baked to death” issue is a smoke screen. It can be easily “debunked,” thus handing an easy ‘win’ to the pro-everything electronic propagandists. (There are propagandists because so much money is at stake.)
      The “real” problems seem to be endocrine disruptions due to strong and pulsed microwave radiations.
      5G is going to be a game changer, on many fronts.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The 5Gists will try their hardest to roll out their 5G systems. Of course people should try obstructing them. Ideally, 5G would be banned from within the US or any of its Territories.

        In the meantime, 5G skeptics should start figuring out NOW how to live the most 5-less G-less lives possible, Faraday caging their houses and yards, wearing Faraday bee-veils and bee-suits everywhere outside the house and yard, etc. And of course boycotting as much as possible any and every 5G technology that is rolled out.

  21. jo6pac

    For those that might care Information Clearing House news.

    Please forgive the interruption in service. It has been necessary to relocate our website to a more secure hosting provider.

    The migration may take a couple of days and I ask for your patience as we strive to restore service.

    Peace and joy
    Tom Feeley

  22. Judith

    Roger Deakin on Blackthorn (from Wildwood A Journey Through Trees)

    “Down in the wood, I used a long-handled hook to cut back some of the blackthorn army that was slowly suckering its way out of one of the other perimeter hedges. I spared most of it, because blackthorn makes a magnificent show of snowy blossom when the cold north-east winds blow in late March, known as ‘blackthorn winter’….Blackthorn makes beautiful plum-dark walking sticks and gives deep cover to birds…I have learned to treat blackthorn with respect. Now and again it pierces my leather gloves like a snake bite. It is the viper of trees…Andy Goldsworthy collects the thorns of hawthorn or blackthorn to sew his leafy constructions together..It is.the fiercest of hedges: one of the few that stock will not simply eat their way through…the inside of a blackthorn thicket is the best place to be if you want to understand the value of such places as cover for wild mammals, insects, and birds.”

  23. urblintz

    Aaron Mate did very good work. But curiously he has refused to address what is perhaps the most critical element supplying oxygen to the Russiagate cultists – the emails. As Prof. Stephen Cohen says, without the meme of “hacked” e mails, then the entire narrative falls apart. And the Mueller inquisition used no forensics regarding the servers (the ones Donna Brazile admitted were destroyed and which the FBI never asked to examine). The Mueller inquisition simply pronounced they were “hacked” even though the VIPS crew (consortium news) of seriously credentialed CIA analysts (McGovern and Binney most prominently) used forensic analysis to conclude they were “leaked” (probably by an Democrat insider). I heard Mate with Cenk Uygur and when the issue was raised he equivocated. He offered no response to Cenk’s assertion of “Russian Hacking.” And The Nation, aside from Mate and Cohen, has published any number of Russigate articles supporting the conspiracy. Early on they published an article by Patrick Lawrence detailing the forensic examination by VIPS which concluded they were leaked… but then threw Lawrence, and the very article which they published, under the bus, allowing dissenting spooks to prevaricate about the so-called hacking. So yes, Mate deserves his award for good work… but it could have been better and more consequential now that it’s clear the xenophobic cultists, especially the Democratic party (mis)leaders, are going to “quadruple down” (Cohen’s phrase) on crazy.



    1. WheresOurTeddy

      it’s almost as if the entire thing were a deny-obfuscate-counteraccuse operation whose actual purpose is to deflect people from the fact that a party openly fixed an election against the populist candidate

    2. Bill Smith

      The VIPs stuff is interesting but they haven’t shown that the timestamps are tied to the DNC machines and not another one, like mine after I reset the time on it to be anything I want. Or to prove that the time stamps where changed by software after the file was originally built.

      In Stack Overflow there are discussions and code on this. There are utilities like BulkFileChanger and others that do parts of this.

      1. urblintz

        Meh. “Interesting?” And what evidence do the cultists offer to “prove” that the emails were leaked? Apparently none, they didn’t even look. Nothing in my comment asserts that the VIPS were absolutely right, but at least they made a real effort to discover the truth about an assertion that was the lynch pin of this ridiculous, bigoted and xenophobic attack on “Russia” and “Russians.”

  24. nippersdad

    Dems are apparently going to bypass the Heritage Foundation this time and design an ACA for a privatized savings and retirement program.:


    What would mandating a new tax which would disproportionately affect the poor do that couldn’t just as easily be achieved by raising the cap on SS and making benefits more generous? This looks like they are actively looking for things to shoot themselves in the foot with.

    1. jo6pac

      obombers grand bargain lives on, he most be so proud of this and his close friend little joey byden.

    2. Carey

      Are they shooting themselves in the foot? Their fundraising would benefit greatly from this proposed plan, so what’s the downside for Team™ Dem, here?

      1. nippersdad

        Presumably this is something that Klobuchar is going to run on. One can only imagine what kind of masochist she must be to propose something like this after nine years of Republicans running/fundraising against their own health care plan.

        I have no doubt that the money grubbers in the Party are gleeful about the treasure they will reap by implementing and defending yet more socialism for corporations, but for the people on the front lines having to defend the program from the very people it was supposed to help it is going to be just all kinds of decades from hell.

        Putting my tinfoil hat on, maybe this is meant to be a trap for Bernie in the debates. I can already hear the refrain of “Why do you hate Obama and the ACA? Why do you want our elderly poor to die in the dark without heat or running water?” I sincerely hope it is, because Bernie would have a field day tearing arguments like that apart in the debates.

        1. Carey

          I sure agree with your last paragraph. Looking forward to Klobuchar / Harris / Buttigieg (that last one is a clever devil though) v Sanders / Gabbard / Gravel in the debates.

          1. Cal2

            Buttigeig, the CIA candidate. Rhodes Scholar, just like good ‘ol Bill Clinton. A mystery man with no positions is promoted from a rural backwater to step forth and derail real progressives.

            After Buttigieg graduated from the University of Oxford with a Rhodes scholarship, he worked for three years at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company focusing on energy and economic development.
            He served seven months in Afghanistan. In the Naval Reserve? A landlocked country?

            Sorry, Major Gabbard has 15 years of experience over there, on land.
            6 years in Congress, and as a member of the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs Committees, versus a come out of nowheresville developers’ pawn mayor. Maybe he could run with “Beto”, birds of a feather…?

            Here’s Gabbard’s voting record in the house. And Buttgeig’s?

            It’s Sanders/Gabbard, or Trump that gets the majority of America’s votes, in that order.

            This election is up to the Democrats to win in the nomination process, not the general election.
            Maybe once again, they’d rather lose to Trump than to run a real Democratic candidate?

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Maybe Gabbard could find a way to ambush Buttiegeig on camera by pretending to want to reminisce about active duty and service and trade War Stories. She could drop a load of arcane acronyms on him . . . the acronyms known to all warfighters in the field but maybe not known to a “REMF” ( which is an acronym I read somewhere).

              If she could get him to humiliate himself in the eyes of real veterans by clearly not knowing the relevant acronyms, perhaps she could get Butteigeig to turn himself into a self-immolating ice cream cone.

    3. Dwight

      This sounds like the Teresa Ghilarducci/Tony James (Blackstone CEO) plan in their book “Rescuing Retirement [Wall Street]”, which was promoted by Center for American Progress.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Interesting article. Thanks! It seems to confirm my hypothesis that conventional economic wisdom is similar to medieval conventional religious wisdom. It’s obviously not true, but the powers that be feel that that they need to perpetuate the myth because the alternative would be chaos.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “One Trump Victory: Companies Rethink China”

    I would have thought that this was inevitable even without Trump. The article itself says that wages for the Chinese have improved and when this has happened in other countries, international corporations start looking for the next cheap, low-wage country to export. When wages go up in that country, then they move onto the next one.
    People scream about all the technology that China has picked up from the west but what is of more importance is all the expertise that the Chinese have picked up across the board. That you cannot buy that off a shelf. Not only technical expertise but how to set up and run large projects whether it be social, business, technical or whatever.
    The Chinese Revolution has failed but not the one that you might think. The idea that a class of billionaires would arise in China and take political power that would turn China into a neoliberal paradise while they sold every bit of it down the Yangtze river has failed. The Party still rules and their billionaires have been kept in line. And now they have all that technology and expertise.

    1. VietnamVet

      This is why Brexit is so crazy. The one sure thing that climate change, resource depletion and feudalism will do is kill cheap transportation. By default the global economy is going to break up into regions. Donald Trump is just speeding up the process. Within the trading blocks, ultimately the middle class will restore democracy. If not autocracy will reign with all the problems of succession, inequality and revolts which is deadly in the nuclear age.

  26. allan

    Boeing throttles back on 737 output as suppliers were speeding up
    [The Air Current]

    In 59 days, Boeing’s production freight train was set to accelerate. Instead … the company is slowing down [from 52 to 42 per month] … The output had been slated to grow by 5 more per month [to 57] … the production rate change comes as airlines and lessors are reporting increasing challenges with their financial performance and concerns of industry overcapacity. …

    Sounds BITTER (Boeing Induced Transportation Technology Economy Recession).

    1. ambrit

      Cut silicon Valley some slack! /s
      Nanobot pollinators!
      A Von Neuman Machine solution beckons.
      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-replicating_machine
      Now to mandate that Congresspersons take a Turing Test to be seated.
      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test
      Indeed, now that I think about it, I can see a class of Turing Test where a Congressperson is matched up against a ‘K’ Street Lobbyist and the relative “intelligence” of the two is measured. Talk about a “double blind” experiment!

  27. Quentin

    Here are two stunning nineteenth-century American views of the US (big city) press which are of especial interest in the light of the Russiagate deception, personified by Rachel Maddow. The quotes were posted by Tom Welsh on craigmurray.org.uk on April 2, 2019 at 14.14.In 1851 Robert Lowe, an editorial writer at The Times, could write:

    “The first duty of the press is to obtain the earliest and most correct intelligence of the events of the time, and instantly, by disclosing them, to make them the common property of the nation… The Press lives by disclosures… For us, with whom publicity and truth are the air and light of existence, there can be no greater disgrace than to recoil from the frank and accurate disclosure of facts as they are. We are bound to tell the truth as we find it, without fear of consequences – to lend no convenient shelter to acts of injustice and oppression, but to consign them at once to the judgment of the world”.

    But only a few decades later, the Scottish-American journalist and newspaper publisher John Swinton (1829–1901) told a gathering of journalists that:

    “There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes”.

  28. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: Pittsburgh DSA

    Studebaker’s astute piece on the disintegration of the Pittsburgh DSA because of two difficult individuals highlights the level of challenge facing us if we are to organize our way out of our mess. In that light, I’m going to recount again some advice delivered by Staughton Lynd on organizing.

    I was part of an IWW branch that invited the Lynds to address our group. Around two dozen of us had a meal together, then held a business meeting prior to hearing from the Lynds. Staughton began his talk by noting that he had never joined the IWW even though he had addressed the national convention a few years before. The reason, he said, was that the IWW was too hung up on rules and motions and procedure. He believed there was another way to work together as a group, and he told a story from back in his days as a organizer and trainer for the Mississippi Freedom Summer in ’64. Lynd was at Oberlin College in Ohio training college students to head down to Mississippi when the news arrived that three Freedom Summer workers were missing.

    Questions swirled in their heads. Would they send a team down to Mississippi to look for the three since there was little confidence that local authorities would make a serious effort (local authorities were, in fact, responsible). Was it responsible to send more students down into this dangerous situation? Lynd noted that the group did not call a meeting to order and begin making motions. Instead, they gathered together, joined hands and sang “Kum ba yah.” (Staughton went on a digression here about how he despised Tom Brokaw’s repeated ridiculing of “Kum ba yah” as naive.) When the singing ended, after a long silence (lots of Society of Friends folks in the group), people began to speak up. Stokely Carmichael volunteered to organize a group and quietly go “through the backwoods” to find what they could learn about the civil rights workers. The trainees spoke up and insisted on still going to Mississippi. Others volunteered to call contacts who might be able to help. Everyone ended up being mobilized.

    Studebaker is right. Political groups always draw their share of especially troubled folks along with a potentially fatal dose of infiltrators. How can the group deal with these individuals humanely in the case of the former and effectively in the case of the latter? Lynd’s answer is that successful groups are built on trust and common purpose, and those things cannot be built with motions and Robert’s Rules. An emotional, even spiritual connection is required. Rapid growth can be an hindrance to that.

    We have lots of difficult challenges ahead of us.

  29. Procopius

    I thought Sarbanes-Oxley was supposed to do what Warren’s legislation is supposed to do. Hi, there, Jon Corzine. How’s your certification that MF Global’s financial controls were sound affected you? Oh, it hasn’t? Well, I guess we need to try again.

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