2:00PM Water Cooler 4/8/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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


Readers, I had so much collected over the weekend, I couldn’t make sense of it all! –lambert

Biden (D)(1): “No Joe!” [Andrew Cockburn, Harpers]. Massive takedown. “[T]here is not the slightest sign that Biden used his influence to encourage pursuit of the financial fraudsters [after the Crash]. As he opined in a 2018 talk at the Brookings Institution, ‘I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.'” • Read the room, Joe.

Biden (D)(2): “Lucy Flores and Amy Lappos Speaking Out About Joe Biden’s Alleged Inappropriate Touching Matters” [Teen Vogue]. “I would argue that some of Biden’s defenders implicitly ask what is the cost, really, to girls and women, to let someone touch you for a minute, if they mean well and it makes them happy…. The actions of some powerful people, and powerful men, in particular, occupy a space in between typical greetings and sexual assault. When someone puts a hand on someone else’s thigh or makes an attempt to move past a person by putting their hands on their hips, they may not be offending everyone, and it can be unclear if the intent is to sexualize or demean — or if there was any intent at all…. What matters most is not what Biden may have intended; what matters most is the effect his alleged actions may have had on someone much less powerful than him.”

Buttigieg: (D) (1):


Gravel: (D) (1):

Except only the first type employs the #Resistance hash tag.

O’Rourke (D) (1): “Reality bites Beto after high-flying kickoff” [Politico]. “O’Rourke has seen little movement in polls since he announced. He posted an impressive — but not first-in-class — fundraising total for the first quarter of the year. Another young, relatively inexperienced politician, Pete Buttigieg, has emerged as the Democratic upstart of the moment.” • It’s almost like a Gish Gallop, isn’t it? Harris, then Beto, then “Mayor Peter”… Who’s next?

O’Rourke (D) (2): “Map: Here’s what 2020 contender Beto O’Rourke’s Saturday swing through Des Moines looked like” [Des Moines Register]. “When O’Rourke arrived, he spoke to a group of over 150 that encircled him in the Des Moines backyard. He stood on a black wooden box, rotating throughout his speech to see everyone attending. Eventgoers asked him about a variety of issues from his views on Israel and Palestine to the late Sen. John McCain. The yard faced a busy Des Moines street — and drivers noticed the presidential candidate from the road. O’Rourke waved back at passengers who shouted ‘Beto!’ from passing cars.” • See a guy standing on something and gesticulating, it’s O’Rourke; hence the honking. I don’t know if O’Rourke is an idiot savant, or a genius. Certainly his answers to questions from citizens are nothing special.

O’Rourke (D) (3):


Sanders (D) (1): “Bernie Sanders says he does not support open borders” [Politico]. “The attendee also claimed the Vermont senator is ‘an advocate for open borders.’ ‘I’m afraid you may be getting your information wrong. That’s not my view,’ Sanders said. ‘What we need is comprehensive immigration reform,’ he continued. ‘If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world. And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it. So that is not my position.’… Sanders has backed the 2013 comprehensive immigration legislation proposed by the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators.” • That will be highly unpopular with the wage-fixing Silicon Valley donor class, who rely on H1B visas for a compliant and inexpensive workforce, and would like the same happy outcomes with their yardmen and maids. The tone police are already out in force on this one…

Sanders (D)(2): “Bernie Sanders Is the Most Popular 2020 Candidate Among Hispanic Voters” [The Intercerpt]. “The polling, which was done by Morning Consult and shared with The Intercept, shows that Sanders’s support among Hispanic voters is at 33 percent, though those results are not broken down by age, which could be a determining factor in the primary vote. Sanders generally performs best among young voters, and a turnout of young Latinx voters would likely benefit him more than if older Latinx voters show up to the polls. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also considered a leading candidate despite not having declared his run for office, is the only contender who comes close to Sanders’s level of support, with 24 percent…” • Only one poll, of course, but it least it shows that Sanders is not deeply unpopular. Of course, 574 days is a long time and politics, and plenty of people will be working on that….

Sanders (D)(3): “Young Latinos convert parents into supporting Bernie Sanders” [MSNBC]. “English is not [Lidia] Rodriguez’s first language. And like many parents who are new immigrants, she sought election guidance from her children, who tend to be more politically engaged and better assimilated into American life…. And so when [her daughter] Brenda said that Sanders was the strongest candidate for their family, Rodriguez didn’t bat an eye. She would support him, too. ‘It’s because you’re a trusted messenger, for everything — reading documents, translating, etc.,’ Brenda said her mother later told her. Their family is not alone. The clear enthusiasm among young people for the Sanders campaign is slowly having a double return within the Latino community— fired-up millennials with immigrant roots are going home to their families and convincing them to buy into Sanders’ revolution.”

Sanders (D)(4): “For many voters, it’s not what’s new about Bernie Sanders– It’s what’s the same” [Quad Cities]. “‘A lot of them are saying what he was saying four years ago. I think he’s been saying this whole life and I believe him that he means what he’s saying,’ says Tom Post. ‘What he wrote in his book is what he said then and he’s saying it now,’ says Rex Grove…. Sanders credited the people of Iowa for ‘starting his revolution.’ He says they helped normalize what many others thought were radical ideas back in 2016.” • Wait, what? I thought insulting and blaming voters was what Democrats were all about. Did I not get the memo?

Sanders (D)(5): “A 2016 hangover: Some Bernie Sanders supporters still upset” [Associated Press]. • Hey, remember when AP called the primary for Clinton the day before the vote? Good times…

Sanders (D)(6): Not to be a squeeing fan boy:

But who said Sanders doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Warren: “Warren places third in 2020 Massachusetts poll” [The Hill]. “In a poll of likely Democratic primary voters in the state, 14 percent picked Warren as their preferred Democratic nominee for president. Sanders led the field with 26 percent of support, followed closely by Biden, who had the support of 23 percent of likely Massachusetts voters. According to Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson Polling, “This is a concern for Warren who at this time does not have a firewall in her home state, and her rival Sanders has a strong base in the Bay State.”

“Primary debates should be a Democratic bulwark against Trump tirades” [Daily Kos (RH)]. Many assumptions about Democrats and the Democrat nomenklatura I don’t share, but here’s an interesting nugget: “The second 2019 Democratic debates have been announced for July 30 and 31 in Detroit, a month after the first debates in Miami. What isn’t said in the email sent to the [DNC’s] members announcing the debates is that [the DNC] through contract negotiations with CNN and others, have informed them they will penalize networks who run any non-DNC-sanctioned debates… Uncertain to members of the DNC is whether or not candidates would be penalized for participating in non-sanctioned debates.” • DNC thuggishness is more and more open, isn’t it?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Research is vital to the moral integrity of social movements” [Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Economic Policy Institute]. “One of the quickest ways for a movement to lose its integrity is to be loud and wrong. We’ve seen too many movements that have bumper sticker sayings but no stats and no depth. Researchers help to protect the moral integrity of a movement by providing sound analysis of the facts and issues at hand. Armed with this information, we’re able to pull back the cover and force society to see the hurt and the harm of the decisions that people are making.” • This is a must-read.

Service project:

Good PR, concrete material benefits, just like brakelight clinics. What’s not to like?

Textbook controversy: Thread:

Holy moley. I was lucky enough to miss all this when I went to school!

“Stacey Abrams to keynote annual Mackinac Policy Conference” [Michigan Advance]. “Joining Abrams as announced speakers at this year’s Mackinac Conference are Republican former governors and presidential candidates Jeb Bush of Florida and John Kasich of Ohio. A number of prominent political pundits also are slated to speak at the conference. They include: Democratic former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile and Matthew Dowd, a Michigan native and former President George W. Bush adviser.” • Quite a line-up!

Stats Watch

Commodities: “A Million Tons of Copper Is on the Way: It May Not Be Enough” [Bloomberg]. “Giant mines currently under construction will churn out an additional 1 million tons of copper through 2023, but that won’t be enough to fully close an expected gap between supply and demand in the next few years…. Trade negotiations between China and the U.S. and the impact that tensions could have on Chinese demand for the metal are likely to be at the center of conversations during the gathering in Santiago. China is the world’s largest buyer of copper and it consumed more than half of the estimated 23.5 million tons of copper produced in 2018, according to Chile copper agency Cochilco…. ‘Brokers including myself are generally positive on a near term view,’ [Colin Hamilton, managing editor for commodities at BMO Capital Markets] said. ‘In my view the difference is the near-term outlook for China.”

Finance: “You Pay for Netflix and Spotify Monthly. What About Financial Planning?” [Quartz]. “In a region where people have adopted mobile payment systems, mobile money, and mobile communications so easily, could it be that mobile payments for financial advisory, investment advisory, and project advisory is just around the corner?” But: “If you pay for those things the chances are you won’t have any money and so the only advice should be: stop paying for crap tv and music subscriptions.”

The Bezzle: “Gaming will be a key differentiator in autonomous vehicles” [Business Insider]. “As AVs become more widespread, they’ll free up riders to consume media and content while on the road. We expect US shipments of semi- and fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) — nearly all of which will come with embedded internet connectivity — to rise from a half-million today to about 2.6 million in 2023. In the absence of needing to drive the car, consumers will be free to engage in various activities of their choice, which could include everything from working to streaming media and other entertainment experiences.”

The Bezzle: “Sunday Strategist: Tesla Engineered the Perfect Demand Curve” [Bloomberg]. “In the Model 3, Tesla managed to engineer an economist’s dream: a near-perfect demand curve. It was launched in 2016 as a $30,000 car. But with demand far outstripping any reasonable supply for years, the company smartly pegged starting prices at almost double that level by prioritizing production of fancier, more high-end configurations. Musk is plenty irreverent about Detroit, but this is an auto industry trick as old as the carburetor. Any time a new vehicle is launched, manufacturers order up an inordinate share of the big-money trims to capture those most “willing to pay,” as the dismal scientists say. The front-loading usually lasts a quarter or two, but without formal model-year designations, Tesla was able to keep the hype up for over a year before so much as hinting at bare-bones iterations of the car. The problem with a $60,000 starter Tesla is that there’s another one that costs only slightly more, the Model S. The No. 1 rule in price segmentation — clumping customers by willingness to pay — is make sure the affluent folk don’t trade down. (This is why the service in coach is so salty and the seats so small). It appears that would-be Model S buyers have trickled down to the cheaper option. And why wouldn’t they?”

Tech: “Why New Technologies Take Decades to Change the Economy” [Barron’s] (original). “Whenever a new technology arises that has the potential to change the world, we see the invention in terms of its improvement on what came before. So electricity gives cleaner and better light than kerosene lamps. Yet it is never a particular invention, but a new ecosystem that arises, that transforms the world. Consider that in the mid 90s, computers had been around for half a century with little or no impact on economic productivity. Yet when that technology combined with the Internet and computer engineers started collaborating deeply with subject matter experts to create industry and function specific applications, that drove a productivity boom. Once again, it is not so much new inventions, but new ecosystems that drive advancement.” • I really resist that “ecosystem” metaphor. It smells of synergy.

Tech: “Google shuts down AI ethics council after controversy over members” [CNET]. “Google said Thursday that it’s pulling the plug on its newly announced artificial intelligence ethics council, after more than a week of outcry over some of the members the search giant had chosen for the group. The group, called the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), was comprised of AI experts outside of Google. The goal was to help guide the company in its work on AI projects and address thorny issues like facial recognition and bias in machine learning. But the council was slammed with controversy from the very beginning. Some accused one member, Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James, of being “anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant.” On Monday, a group of employees called Googlers Against Transphobia and Hate published a petition demanding James be removed from the group. More than 2,000 Googlers have signed it. Another member, Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral economist and privacy researcher, had already dropped out of the group.” • Well, on the bright side, we have the Heritage Foundation to thank for the ObamaCare mandate. So there’s that.

Tech: “What happened with Amazon, and decoding ‘tasteful”‘” [Tiny Nibbles]. “Just so there’s a public record of my recent experience with Amazon Associates, I’m putting it all on one place below. The short version: Amazon terminated my Associates account with vague language about unsuitable content on one of my websites (this one). After reaching out to tell me it was a mistake, but asking me to change a few images, and then going unresponsive, Amazon eventually reinstated my account just over a week later. I discovered that Amazon is doing random, somewhat automated reviews on Associates accounts, but they are fine with nudity on partner website — as long as it is ‘tasteful.'” And: “Imagine being an author, and Amazon doesn’t like you, won’t do business with you, or has put a mark on your record somewhere. You can’t imagine it because it’s not really possible if you want to survive as an author, let alone be successful.” • If your business depends on a platform…

Manufacturing: “China Aircraft Leasing suspends orders for 100 Boeing 737 MAXs: report” [Reuters]. “China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings has put its order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX jets on hold, until it is assured of the aircraft’s safety…. The Hong Kong-listed lessor, which is controlled by the state-owned conglomerate China Everbright Group, [had] placed an order for 50 aircraft in June 2017.”

Manufacturing: “Japan’s IHI finds over 7,000 cases of improper inspections for jet engine parts” [Japan Times]. “A scandal over improper maintenance work at jet-engine maker IHI Corp. deepened Monday as the company said it has found over 7,000 cases of flawed inspections in the process of making engine parts during the two years through January…. The heavy-machinery maker, known for supplying engines to Boeing and Airbus, stated in a press release that the affected products meet the specified size, strength, functions and performance and have no technical problems.”

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Oil Supply/Price. “The oil prices have risen with new demand” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 179. Still below the 180 floor. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

“Succulent plant diversity as natural capital” [New Phytologist Trust]. “Drought‐tolerant plants are increasingly recognized as a resource to mitigate the consequences of climate change. Succulent plants use stored water to sustain metabolism during regular droughts; succulence is a highly successful adaptation that has evolved in thousands of species throughout the plant kingdom…. This review highlights research needed to develop desert succulents as a sustainable resource in a carbon economy…. [X]eromorphic succulents endemic to arid and semi‐arid regions could be at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and exploitation, while others could become invasive if introduced outside their natural range, thus compounding an existing problem of invasive succulent plant species.”

“Concerns over glyphosate pass from human health to the soil” [Politico]. “Soil experts, academics and scientific studies are also establishing clear links between the use of substances such as glyphosate with drops in soil fertility and the collapse of microbe ecosystems essential to healthy soil… [French farmer François Peaucellier], 30, no longer measures success just by the bounty of his crops, he says, but by the number of worms he finds living in the soil beneath them… He pierces his own land with a yellow spade. The soil is marbled with healthy decomposing roots, crawling lice and squirming earthworms. ‘These animals do so much more work than any fertilizer will do,’ he says. ‘But you need one, two, three years to bring back the life.'” • Wait, what? You can’t extract rent from an earthworm! What’s wrong with this guy?

Cute couple:

“The big lie we’re told about climate change is that it’s our own fault” [Vox]. “That same IPCC report revealed that a mere 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of global climate emissions. These people are locking you and everything you love into a tomb. You have every right to be pissed all the way off. And we have to make them hear about it.” • “There are not very many of the Shing.” And it’s almost as if putting capital under democratic control is the way forward, not changing consumer behavior.

“People Are Getting Sick From A US Steel Factory That Is ‘Grossly Violating’ Health Standards, Experts Say” [Buzzfeed]. “‘When I was a child, I thought the coke works were a cloud factory,’ said Meade, looking down onto the Clairton coke works. ‘When I was older, I learned better.” ● The “union way of life” really shouldn’t have to depend on children getting asthma. But — I would imagine as in Houston — that’s where we are.

UPDATE “Designing a Green New Deal” (September 13, 2019; Philly) [EventBrite]. “Designing a Green New Deal intends to bring a broad array of voices together, placing economists, historians, and designers in conversation with journalists, organizers, elected officials, and other parties engaged in organizing for climate action. This event will serve as the launch of a broader, Green New Deal and the built environment research initiative in The McHarg Center.

Our Famously Free Press

“Slow down, read up: Why slow journalism and finishable news is (quickly) growing a following” [Nieman Labs]. “A pack of burgeoning ‘slow journalism’ startups is trying to find out. With taglines like ‘Slow down, wise up’ and ‘We prioritize knowledge over speed,’ these digital-first outlets place their bets on two converging trends: a growing need to elude what has been labeled ‘content overconsumption,’ ‘information overload,’ and ‘news is noise’ in favor of more ‘finite,’ ‘manageable,’ and ‘digestible’ news apps and content; and the factual or perceived shortcoming of the media that it is great at telling us what has just happened, but less good at explaining significant developments.” • The media — see under RussiaGate — is not “great” at telling us “what has just happened.” We don’t have an “information overload” problem, but a mis- and disinformation overload problem.

“Last year’s headlines are in danger of disappearing forever” [Columbia Journalism Review]. “Between March 2018 and January 2019, we conducted interviews with 48 individuals from 30 news organizations and preservation initiatives. What we found was that the majority of news outlets had not given any thought to even basic strategies for preserving their digital content, and not one was properly saving a holistic record of what it produces. Of the 21 news organizations in our study, 19 were not taking any protective steps at all to archive their web output… When we asked interviewees why they believe news organizations are not archiving content, they said repeatedly that journalism’s primary focus is on ‘what is new’ and ‘happening now.'” • Agnotology.

“Great Hill Partners Acquires Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion from Univision Communications Inc.” [BusinessWire]. “Great Hill Partners, a leading growth-oriented private equity firm, today announced it has acquired the Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion, a collection of premium digital content producers, from Univision Communications Inc… G/O Media brands reach more than a third of all Americans online each month, attracting approximately 100 million unique visitors. The Company’s collection of digital-first brands serve young, diverse influencers with content that reflects their values and passions, including category-leading sites focused on technology (Gizmodo), car culture (Jalopnik), modern women’s interests (Jezebel), sports (Deadspin), life tips and hacks (Lifehacker), gaming (Kotaku), and African American news and culture (The Root), and The Onion, which includes The A.V. Club and ClickHole.” • Well, I wonder how long it will take for Great Hill Partners to crapify them. After it unionized, The Onion almost regained its dolf form. They react:

The Times is for fans. The FInancial Times is for players:

Class Warfare

“Socialist Principles Have Always Been Part of Black American Tradition” (interview) [Z, Truthout]. Z: “Our organization [Black Socialists of America (BSA)] reflects the ethos of Peter H. Clark’s iconic 1877 speech, “Socialism: The Remedy for the Evils of Society” — Clark was the first Black Socialist of America, by the way. Our organization is building off of the work that Ella Baker was doing with the Young Negroes’ Cooperative League back in the 1930s and fully embodies her nonsectarian, non-dogmatic approach in using socialist theory in a human-centered way. Baker was also an open socialist, by the way, so let’s be clear on that. Our organization is committed to the anti-capitalist internationalism described in Huey P. Newton’s ‘Intercommunalism‘ works and reflects the revolutionary, anti-capitalist, feminist intersectionality that bell hooks was talking about way back in the early ’80s before liberals co-opted the terminology.”

“Towards a critical defense of ‘identity politics'” [Socialist Worker(DB)]. “Identities, then, are constructs, and products of historical divisions and conflicts. But saying identities are constructs doesn’t mean they are therefore “fake” — any more than saying race is a historical construct wipes away the realities of racism. Identity plays a big role on the level of consciousness, self-perception and self-pride for oppressed groups — and often opens up a path to understanding oppression as part of a system. Identity has at least two aspects: a name or category that a person chooses for themselves, and a box that a person is shoved into when they enter the world. In fact, the two are inseparable.”

“Why does the Left sneer at the traditional working class?” [Unherd]. “It was a straightforward political point. ‘Labour comes out in favour of keeping free movement – an utter betrayal of traditional working-class people, the majority of whom oppose it and voted to end it in the referendum. The party will pay a heavy, but deserved, price for this at the ballot box.’ This was my tweet after Labour had declared its support for the Common Market 2.0 proposal earlier this week. Cue hordes of offendotrons, utterly certain that my use of the term ‘traditional’ was really a euphemism for ‘white’.”

UPDATE “Teach For America — except for California” [Politico]. “Backed by powerful teachers unions, Democrats are pushing to ban Teach For America from California amid a wave of teacher’s strikes and a heated debate over charter schools in the nation’s most populous state.” • Good. They’re scabs.

News of the Wired

“Two Tolkiens, One Better World” [The American Conservative] • Ugh, TAC seems to think that Tolkien’s horrid lapse of style between the victory over Sauron and the Scouring of the Shire should be emulated: “Upon Amon Gwareth, the Hill of Defence, the rocky height amidst the plain, was built Gondolin the great, whose fame and glory is mightiest in song of all dwellings of the Elves in these Outer Lands. Of steel were its gates and of marble were its walls.” What horrid, fustian stuff. No.

“On the Hunt for Japan’s Elaborate, Colorful Manhole Covers” [Atlas Obscura]. “In Japan, many manhole covers are works of urban art—elaborate, curious, distinctive, even colorful. They have become a tourist destination unto themselves, and attract a legion of dedicated manhole enthusiasts who travel the country to visit some of the thousands of unique designs…. Typically, “local manholes” or “design manholes” feature elements special to a particular location: a town emblem, landmark, event, or official bird or flower. For instance, Takasaki, 60 miles northwest of Tokyo in mountainous Gunma Prefecture, has manhole covers that commemorate the city’s popular summer fireworks festival. Local mascots (known as yurukyara, such as Fukaya City’s adorable rabbit-deer Fukkachan) and cartoon characters also appear. In Tokyo’s Tama ward, home of the Sanrio Puroland amusement park, one can find covers featuring the ever-popular Hello Kitty.” • Why the heck don’t we do this?

* * *

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 (Carla):

Carla writes: “Spring snow.” Lovely!

Readers, I’m still a bit 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. Carey

    New piece from Alistair Crooke:

    Got an email from Mike Gravel with this heading:
    ‘I’m running to lose the Presidency in 2020 and I need your help today!’

    “This morning, I officially announced that I’m running for President of the United States and that I have zero intention of winning. Instead, I’m going to make it to the Democratic debates and present a truly progressive vision of America that challenges the military-industrial complex and our growing plutocracy. I’ll put American imperialism on trial and force the establishment Democrats to go on record on issues like healthcare, illegal wars, and marijuana legalization. Then, I’ll drop out.

    In order to qualify for the debates, I need 65,000 individual donations from people in 20 states across the nation. It doesn’t matter to me how much money you give — one dollar is just as good as one thousand — but I need your help now. We have a little over a month until the deadline, and we’re going to need all the support we can get.”

    Link to donate here:

    Good to see the Glyphosate piece, Lambert.

    1. diptherio

      I predict they won’t let him in, even if he meets the requirements, on the basis that he’s already declared he isn’t a serious candidate.

        1. UserFriendly

          I don’t doubt they would want to but doing that after he meets the predetermined requirements would be just asking for a bunch of people to not support the eventual nominee. If they look like they are trying to control things too many people will just say F*** it .

          Speaking of them though, they are doing an AMA on reddit now.

          Mike Gravel 2020 Campaign AMA – Gravel Teens Tell All
          Hey all, this is David Oks (@DavidEOks) and Henry Williams (@humford). We’re managing Sen. Mike Gravel’s 2020 campaign and are the two teens doing his tweets. David is a high school senior in New York; Henry is a physics student at Columbia. Our goal is to get 65,000 unique donors to qualify Mike for the debates so that he can critique American imperialism and push the Overton Window to the left from the debate stage. If you’re interested, you can read about Mike and his platform at MikeGravel.org, and we urge you to donate at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mikegravel2020?refcode=chapoAMA&amount=1.

          We’re eager to hear any questions on absolutely anything any of you might have, and if you have questions for the senator we’ll call him up and ask. We will do our best to answer all questions.

          All responses will be signed: “-Henry” “-David” “-Mike Gravel” (Ben Church another Columbia student, who went to California with Henry, will also be answering!)

          Watch our new launch ad: https://youtu.be/0770rsZIaFc

      1. Roger Smith

        He’ll be on the untelevised 4th string debate with Gabbard held off site at the Motel 6.

        1. Carey

          ..but if Sanders chose to attend as well, say, it would instantly become the Place To Be.
          It’s going to be interesting.

          phase change

          1. Roger Smith

            Nah, Google will just have people shutting down any live streams. Bezos will be happy to help on the Twitch end too. Isn’t this new technological world great?!

      2. Mark Gisleson

        I think these kids doing this should be the new Media Whores Online. I am so enjoying these tweets as much for their honesty as the pithiness.

    2. Tim

      “This morning, I officially announced that I’m running for President of the United States and that I have zero intention of winning.”

      Gravel needs to be careful. A platform like that can have unintended consequences, like winning.

    3. Carla

      I sent him $3. Does anyone know how Tulsi’s doing in terms of qualifying for the debates? The Grey Lady ran an opinion piece about women running for president and didn’t mention her — made me so mad!

      1. nippersmom

        I had an email from her campaign on Saturday that said she was over 62,000; they were hoping to “surprise” her with news she’d met the 65,000 threshold when she returned today from her National Guard weekend.

    4. Randy

      My wife and I just threw some money his way and I’m messaging friends to do the same. Thanks for the link.

    5. Summer

      Shouldn’t there be a push away from financializing the debates?
      Neoliberalism is insidious.

      1. kurtismayfield

        Now that money is speech, this is what these people think of as “supporting your candidate!!!!” I agree with you, having everything being a transaction is tiring.

        1. Carey

          “..having everything being a transaction is tiring.”

          Just the way the Few want it. They can be made irrelevant, though, and it could happen quickly.

          1. Carey

            Adding: in my region I’ve met a significant number of people who’ve recently had a “wait a minute…this is all bullshit!!”, lightbulb moment.

            Might mean something; we’ll see.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Money may not “be” speech, but it is the one-and-only-currency by which one buys Speechfront Property. Those with the most money buy up the most and best Speechfront Properties. Some of them may then rent very narrow pathways to a little bit of Speechfront Property Access.

          And enough separate people giving money to the Gabbard Campaign is the only way we have to gain Gabbard any access to the Medianopolized Speechfront Property. However tiring it may be, this is the battlefield our enemies have created for us to fight on.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Shouldn’t there be a push away from financializing the debates?

        Yes, there should. Having the debates reflect the class interests of (on the whole and on the average) the 10% is not a great improvement on having them reflect the class interests of the 1% on up.

        The whole system should be gutted, starting with the idea that money is not speech, and ending with public financing of all campaigns, a greatly truncated campaign season, prohibition of digital advertising, including TV (and that’s a subsidy for local newspapers, and so what), prohibition of polling (not just publication, actual polling) for some lengthy period before the vote, and optimizing for one-on-one physical presence with voters, a la Lincoln Douglas debates.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I threw a buck in her hat. I want to see her on the stage at the debates. Her voice is needed.

        I did the same for Gravel. The establishment would love to lock the both of them out. I think if people hear their messages, they will resonate and cause real trouble for the neocon status quo.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Olivers a hilldawg, corporate tool, but at least i know where he stands.

      All season long its clips of CNN, MSNBC, and Trump with only about 10 seconds of Bernie Sanders.

      1. diptherio

        Yeah, I usually give him a miss for just those reasons, but this segment is very good on it’s own terms.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          I thought the ‘Wrestlers Need A Union’ segment last week kicked ass.

  2. ambrit

    Why don’t we do ‘Designer Manhole Lids?’ Because it diverts money away from executive bonuses! Get with the program Consumer!
    Plus, I’ve just been reminded, such a phenomenon is conducive to devolution and regionalism, the ‘Sworn Enemies’ of Globalization.
    As the Seven Sages said: “All Manhole Covers are Local.”

    1. JBird4049

      Why the heck don’t we do this?

      Why do we bowl alone? Our sense of community has been killed as ain’t profitable.

      1. EGrise

        Additionally there will be local a**h***s screaming about wasting their tax dollars that are more properly spent on police and cameras.

        1. Darius

          In Japan they do a bonsai pruning job on all the street trees every year. Oh, the labor costs! In the US, we plant them and forget about them until they die from neglect in the crucial first year, or fall over and kill someone.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      New Orleans manholes are very desirable.

      Had a Yuppie, Tulane frat bro friend of mine wreck his jeep, drunk, with 2 stolen manholes in his trunk. Needless to say, he hid the manholes before the NOPD arrived.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        “New Orleans manholes…”

        Lol Should specify im talkin bout sewer manholes.

        1. todde


          I went to a bar in Chicago called the Manhole.

          Guy working the door was a 6 ft 8″ bald headed man with a goatee wearing a black dress in heels.

          “Man, I think we’re in the wrong place.”

          “You’re alright boys, I’ll even let you in for free. ”

          “Family blog it, Free is free. Let;s go”

        2. ambrit

          We get you loud and clear pard! We used to encounter those “sewer manholes” down at Lafittes in Exile and the Circus.
          When I was young and a waiter in the Quarter, the come on line from the out of town chickenhawks was; “Are you available for private parties? Hmmm…?”

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        I don’t know if they’re still around, but many years ago downtown Seattle had some very nice manhole covers, offen with NW Native American motifs.

        Another item to put on the list of prospective neo-CCC projects under a Sanders/Gabbard administration.

      3. ArcadiaMommy

        So weird, my father flew home from a family wedding with a manhole cover from Jackson MS in his luggage. No idea why you would want such a thing.

    3. Shonde

      In my former California city, the manhole covers showed the name of the city and then “Made in Mexico”.

    4. chuck roast

      I was in Seattle a few years ago on business and with the exception of the water ferries the coolest things in town were the manhole covers.

  3. Brindle

    AOC vs Jamie Dimon ?

    Hopefully it will be televised.

    —:”Who do you think would win in a smackdown between Jamie Dimon and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

    We may just find out this Wednesday when CEOs of the nation’s largest banks CEOs — headlined by the JPMorgan CEO — testify before the House Committee on Financial Services. That committee’s star member is Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old Democratic Socialist known as AOC.”—


      1. richard

        As M.Ali once growled to G. Foreman:
        “We don’t get along, so let’s get it on!”

        1. Carey

          Did Ali win that fight? I’m a big fan, but to this day wonder if his opponent was made an offer he couldn’t refuse.

          1. richard

            Actually, I think you may be thinking about Sonny Liston, which is who Ali beat to win the title in the early 60s. iirc, their rematch was tarnished by a so-called “ghost punch” that knocked down liston (ali’s glove never appeared to hit him), and he did have “mob ties” as they say.
            If you haven’t seen it, there is a great documentary about the ali-foreman fight, When We Were Kings.

            1. Carey

              No, in this case I’m talking about Ali-Foreman. Foreman looked
              very sloppy, and something *was not* right. Plus, I lost five bucks to my HS classmate on the fight- we both bet against our guys!

              1. richard

                hmm, I’ve never heard that george took a dive in that one. It certainly was an upset!
                I was in elementary school when they fought, so I don’t remember seeing it,
                though the doc. sort of postulates (through Mailer and Plympton) that foreman seriously punched himself out in the early rounds, which he dominated.
                That plus Ali was simply in fantastic shape, absorbing tremendous punishment and recovering to knock out a fighter most thought unbeatable. His fitness regimen was shown to be rather more intense than foreman’s.

              2. Michael Fiorillo

                There was also a fantastic concert tied to the fight, with each and every performer absolutely on fire: Mariam Makeba, James Brown, the Fania All Stars with Celia Cruz, Bill Withers, the Spinners, et.al.

                Watching this amazing music performed in the darkened soccer stadium, the African American and Afro-Caribbean musicians giving everything they have to the African audience, is very powerful stuff.


                As for the fight itself, Ali won because of his strategic brilliance and the exceptional shape he was in. He hung back, absorbing punishment and letting Foreman exhaust himself, while also getting his own licks in until the end, when he opened up on Foreman.

                Epic stuff, all around.

    1. Tim

      There’s a saying “Old age and treachery beats youth and ambition every time.”

      Dimon’s gonna clean her clock, from an image point of view, if she tries to challenge him. To clarify, she will have the solid ground for her arguments, but that will be overlooked for the soundbites which are going to make her look ignorant.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        In the meantime, I think she is doing one fine job representing the econ department at BU. Don’t know if they think that.

      2. a different chris

        It’s just a saying. Mostly promulgated by old people. She hasn’t looked “ignorant” in these situations yet. And Dimon is the perfectly coiffed, expensive suit wearing j-ass that can easily come off as the worst of the 1%.

        So let’s not make any predictions.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The goal of this attitude is to silence AOC. After all, Dimon lost a war of words with Trump.

      3. Grant

        If she gets into the particulars of banking, yeah. If it is wider macro-issues, I don’t agree. I have never been impressed with his comments about macro-issues, and there are some things about private banks that he will have no response to. Whether or not AOC feels comfortable having that particular conversation, I don’t know. But, I would love to have Michael Hudson challenge him in the same way. That would be fun to watch.

    2. John

      Her first question should be, “Mr Dimon, heard that you’ve become a billionaire
      since you burned down our economy in 2008 which cost tens of millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and their life savings and then extorted 500 billion from the American taxpayers to bail out JP Morgan Chase.”

      Do you still stand behind the old saying “crime doesn’t pay”?

  4. toshiro_mifune

    Great Hill Partners Acquires Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion from Univision Communications Inc.
    Maybe they can uncrapify the changes. The Gizmodo acquisition of AVClub really wrecked what was one of the best sites and communities on the internet.
    Edit: By that I mean the AVClub just became a rehash of gawker, which is certainly wasn.t before, and they monumentally destroyed the commenter section.

    1. ChrisS

      +1 on this – I loved the structure and design of the old AV Club site. It was a sad day when they switched to the format with sponsored content mixed in with the actual articles. Very customer-is-the-enemy.

    2. richard

      the commenter section at av club was a 10 on a scale of 10. It was the best thing about the place, though the writing was really good too in the aughts

  5. Michael Fiorillo

    As an fyi for the NC readership, the International Socialist Organization, publisher of the Socialist Worker (linked to in today’s Water Cooler) has voted to disband.

    The decision is the result of a membership vote, stemming from discord in the aftermath of rape allegations in 2013 that were covered up/mishandled by the group’s leadership.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Big News down here amongst us Cajun Marxists. The guy who radicalized me was in the ISO and hooboy was he a purist. Im like hey lets bring everyone on the left together…

      The infighting is very frustrating.

      RIP ISO

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Actually, as a member of an opposition caucus in the NYC teachers’ union that was effectively destroyed by a devious ISO fraction, I’d like to say “Good Riddance.”

        I’d like say that, but the Trots ain’t goin’ nowhere, and are likely flooding into DSA at this very moment, ready to cause their predictable brand of sectarianism and divisiveness.

  6. Summer

    Re: DNC and debates

    So it is obvious that what is needed is unsanctioned debates.
    Start sceduling them and don’t tune in to anything they “sanction”.

    1. Roger Smith

      Let’s see some Rocky V style debates. I know everyone hates that one, but it might be my favorite film of the series.

      1. Summer

        A Rocky like theme? The DNC would make them like Rocky IV…the Russian connection, remember?

    2. Carey

      Agree. What if the pro-people and anti-war candidates held their own, and
      boycotted the corporatist Dems’ debates?

      Sanders, Warren, Gabbard, Gravel… quite a bit of people-power there.
      Who’d want to listen to the legacy party’s stuff, really?


      1. Carey

        Thinking about it a little more, there’d be no need to boycott the DNC’s pony
        show; just the independent example would be more than enough.

        “here’s what we got.”

        People Power

  7. JBird4049

    “Bernie Sanders says he does not support open borders”

    That will be highly unpopular with the wage-fixing Silicon Valley donor class, who rely on H1B visas for a compliant and inexpensive workforce. The tone police are already out in force on this one…

    I just love the stories from both extremes of the open/close borders “debate.” If you are not suicidal in your compassion then you are a racist creep and if you believe in the Rule of Law and treating everyone like human beings you support the illegals.

    How about strong borders, with firm but fair, compassionate, just treatment of anyone trying to immigrate here without either the job stealing, poverty creating, union busting open borders, or the concentration camps full of children, whose parents are fleeing the economic Hellscapes that the United States helped to create?

    There is a middle way between the neoliberal economic pillaging with added identity politics or the racist America Über alles neofacism.

    1. flora

      That will be highly unpopular with the wage-fixing Silicon Valley donor class,

      Also, highly unpopular with the meat packing industry, the construction owners industry, and the fast food industry.

      this quote from the Micheal Hudson interview series caught my eye:
      “MH: Yes, especially Servius Tullius. There was a great flowering of Rome, making it attractive to immigrants by making the city livable for newcomers. They did this because at that time, in the 6th century BC, all societies had a shortage of labor. Labor was the factor of production in short supply, not land. Not even in Athens was land in short supply in the 6th and 5th centuries. You needed labor, and so you had to make it attractive for immigrants to join your society instead of having your people run away, as they would in a society run by creditors reducing clients to bondage.”


      Now, in today’s neoliberal world, if you have plenty of local labor but want to drive down the wages of labor, then opening the borders to unchecked immigration by desperately poor and frightened people would be just the thing. (what a fortuitous (for neoliberals) coincidence that desperate migrants from the ME are trekking to the EU, and desperate migrants from S. and C.A. are trekking to the US.) my 2 cents.

      1. Cal2

        “That will be highly unpopular with the wage-fixing Silicon Valley donor class..”

        But, highly popular with normal working class Americans who cannot withhold their labor and pressure employers to raise wages, and also with the same who expect to earn a livable wage, both conditions made impossible by an endless ant-line of voluntary slaves willing to do anything at very low wages and despicable working conditions.

        Read about the average daily wage on the Mexican side of the border and then tell Americans that they should be overjoyed to have to “compete” with that when it’s found in their communities.


      2. jrs

        I don’t hear it argued in order to drive down wages. I think that’s the case in some industries (H1Bs, construction). Of course Trump lately seems to be all in favor of *legal* immigration so he may be the exact same as silicon valley there but with uglier rhetoric. But for many industries wages are already down, there’s not much blood left in those rocks at this point anyway.

        But anyway the arguments I hear lately are more like need for population growth for GDP etc. (as if GDP isn’t literally going to kill us all), in order to cope with declining population (as if that wasn’t the only good environmental news out there – the decline in 1st world population), in order to fill jobs (as if we didn’t have any unemployment) etc..

        And the beneficiaries are lots of industries, everyone employed in an industry serving largely immigrants, and that’s lots of them (schools, etc.).

        I know there are people very sincere in their compassion and concern for migrants of course (but hard to take seriously if their hearts don’t also bleed for the poor), but seriously there’s a whole trend in not compassion-based but outright neoliberal arguments for immigration lately. I feel like I’m bombarded with “won’t somebody please think of the GDP!”

        1. jrs

          Also apparently “there are not enough workers for jobs, and so how can industry keep growing?” (the jobs, GDP etc. focus).

          Really do they *want* people to vote for Trump, because keep up with this nonsense of “not enough people for jobs” when people can’t find work, or can’t leave their bad job because they can’t find anything else and wth. Of course Trump will also be going on with his big lie about the “good economy” as well, because he has to run on that. I mean what else does he have?

          Well I just have 3 words: Labor Force Participation.

          1. JBird4049

            Well I just have 3 words: Labor Force Participation.

            It is odd that neither the more accurate U-6 unemployment measurement or the labor force participation rate is never mentioned when the pontificators talk about how great the economy is. Only the U-1 rate, which gives the most sunny number, is used.

    2. jrs

      OTOH isn’t immigration reform of the sort that grants mass amnesty what most Dems really support? So Sander’s is mainstream Dem here and probably utter undifferentiated from the pack in this particular stance (which is fine, he can differentiate himself on MFA and the like).

      I don’t mean some shrill advocate somewhere might not support open borders, I mean the actual Dem party who might be likely to hold actual power.

    3. Summer

      This is the opening Bernie should use to change foreign policy.
      Frame it like the foreign policy and trade issue that it is.

        1. Chico

          “But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow in the waters that was soon lost in the West. There he stood far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-Earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart.”

          Gotta disagree with you on this one, Lambert

        2. ChrisPacific

          The Gondolin passage, much like Lovecraft’s Dunsanian fantasies, gives me the urge to rewrite it in the style of a Terry Pratchett parody:

          Of marble were its walls, not the greeny or pink kind, but the white kind with lines that go sort of up and down. And of steel were its gates, that shone like a mirror and were handy for guards who needed to check on their hairstyle. Of porphyry were the pillars, at least I think it was porphyry, and of chalcedony were those little odd-shaped things that you find in rows above the windows, you know the ones. And of chrysoprase were the door frames, which frankly didn’t really work with the overall color scheme at all, but the architect wanted them, and you have to admit chrysoprase is a great name!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I can’t decide whether O’Rourke is empty or full of it. Decisions, decisions.

      (To be fair, he does sometimes say some good things. But his record is decidedly mixed, and the regular servings of word salad don’t help.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think he’s a local government dope who advanced because of money, but he’s in the “give back” stage, not the money. He might have been raised in a better environment so he says good things on occasion, but I’m not sure he’s removed from Howie Schultz in the long run.

      2. Carey

        I don’t know either, but he sure seems to like that role (today’s quote), and pointing that out seems like a good idea.

    2. The Rev Kev

      That image of O’Rourke – anybody else here reminded of self-elected president Greedo from Venezuela? That same lean and hungry look?

        1. Isotope_C14

          I’m convinced that he’s Keanu Reeve’s cousin.

          The headline should be: “Beto and Ted’s Excellent Election”.

          Genius. The Genius of this movie of this Genius Democracy, is Genius.

    3. John

      Apparently a lot of Dems believe that the man (O’Rourke), who lost to the man (Cruz),
      who lost to Trump can now beat him.


  8. Matthew G. Saroff

    In related news, Peter “How the F%$# Do You Pronounce His Name?” Buttigieg has come out against free college tuition, and he is using the same argument that Hillary Clinton did, that it cannot be universal, because some well off folks might benefit:

    Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don’t. As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidize a minority who earn more because they did.

    So you end up with a less inclusive, more expensive, more politically vulnerable, and more humiliating system, because, “I am not in favor of making college free for Donald Trump’s kids.” (Actual Hillary quote)

    It’s really about making sure that the upper middle class managers (Hillary’s and apparently Buttigieg base) have continued employment opportunities.

    1. Cal2

      Forget the name pronunciation. How about the correct label?

      “The CIA, Military Intelligence, Establishment, McKinsey, Military Industrial Complex Corporate Profiteer, with no policy positions beyond a shopping center suburb mayorship, designed to rob Bernie of votes and delegates and help keep Tulsi off the stage?”

    2. rd

      I am not a fan of free college and university as I think there should be some cost so it is not just a place to hide out.

      However, it should not be expensive and there should be real grants for poor and low middle income folks so that they can attend for free or near free without coming out with massive debt.

      Community college @ $3k/yr tuition, state university tuition & fees @ $6-15k/yr depending on program should be very affordable for much of the population. Here is the University of Western Ontario (a top university in London, Ontario) tuition schedule for Canadian residents for 2018-19 as an example of how university works in a “socialist” society: https://www.registrar.uwo.ca/student_finances/fees_refunds/pdfsfeeschedule/Fall%20Winter%202018-2019%20UGRD%20fee%20schedule%20CDN.pdf

      So Canadians can have big mortgage debt but not much student loan debt.

      1. jrs

        It’s not even feasible at this point to increase the college population unless we build more colleges. Something like relatively affordable state colleges would be best. But again not even feasible without expansion of the existing infrastructure (some could maybe be moved online).

        1. jrs

          I mean having more of the population go to college is the end goal being aimed at right? However, physical colleges (legit ones) are already overcrowded …

          1. Chef

            Personally, I think we need to stop pushing every one to go to college.

            Instead, I wish we had more trade schools and opportunities for apprenticeship.

            I could have read the same books I have read since graduating without the millstone of debt around my neck.

            I would also be getting paid more (with better bennies), and again, no debt.

        2. kurtismayfield

          If we need more college students… There is a reason why Hampshire college is being absorbed by UMASS… There aren’t enough college students in this country to fill the seats.

          College students have been dropping since 2010

          By the beginning of December, both undergraduate and graduate fall-term enrollment declined by 1.4% to 19.01 million students, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit education organization. The drop represents a 1.59 million student decrease, compared to 20.6 million in 2011 when enrollment peaked.

          We don’t need more colleges, we need less.

      2. jonhoops

        Your straw man argument about people hiding out in free college is kind of ridiculous. It’s not like anyone is proposing to make college free, plus pay for all living expenses. In Germany where college is free you still have to pay for accommodation, food and transportation. The skin people have in the game is the time and effort they put in.

    3. a different chris

      But insert a few ellipses and don’t you have today’s America: “a majority who earn less … subsidize a minority who earn more”?

      Anyway this doesn’t even make sense. Sub-21 year olds don’t make much much money, they are basically a decimal point in the overall earnings sense. So you are making older people pay for education past the normal K-12. Which seems well overdue, actually. How do you teach everything in the modern world there is to teach in 12 years?

      Man what passes for smart people these days completely eludes me.

  9. JimTan

    “Why New Technologies Take Decades to Change the Economy…….Consider that in the mid 90s, computers had been around for half a century with little or no impact on economic productivity.”

    I disagree with this statement on so may levels.

    First, those ‘computers’ which were around for ‘half a century’ actually evolved from house sized vacuum tube filled boxes in the 1940’s, to transistor filled hand wired boxes in the 1950’s, to basic integrated circuit driven machines in the 1960’s, to microprocessor driven machines in the 1970’s, to software integrated home PC’s in the 1980s. Most people would’t recognize any of these iterations except for the 1980’s personal computer, which incidentally was the only version to have integrated software which could support anything approximating a web browser. These web browsers didn’t exist until the 1990s, and the computer networking routers which make possible our modern internet weren’t invented until the 1980’s.

    No one was sitting on this infrastructure and consumer ready technology until someone magically figured out we should combine them in ways that form the modern internet. It was a gradual evolution that had distinct technological innovations over the decades of its timeline. And each of these innovations resulted in scientific or productivity booms that advanced society.

    The space program, communications satellites, medical imaging equipment, fiber optic telecommunications, laser printing, miniaturized radios, electronic calculators, electronic watches, and computer softer companies all leveraged the computer technologies that predated our modern internet. The productivity advances of these pre internet computers displaced legions of typists, secretaries, draftsmen, clerks, bookkeepers, and human computers who used to fill entire departments in large corporations.

    I think nowadays it only seems like the next big technology will take decades to realize because of our shocking lack of recent innovation. The 2000 ‘teens are beginning to look like a lost decade or dark ages with regard to meaningfully new technological innovation. To better highlight this, I think it might be helpful to list a short timeline of commercial innovation over the last few decades:

    First Commercially available Microprocessor Computer Chips
    Gene Splicing / Recombinant DNA ( the Central Technology behind Genetic Modification & Genetic Engineering )
    CT, MRI, and PET Medical Imaging Devices
    Fiber Optic Telecommunications
    Balloon Angioplasty
    Color Photocopiers & Laser Printing
    Hand Held Electronic Calculators

    Home PC Computers
    Computer Networking Routers
    Space Shuttle
    DNA Fingerprinting
    MiR Space Station
    MagLev Trains
    Computer Software Companies
    Computer Gaming Companies
    Consumer Handheld Video Cameras
    Home Video Cassette Recorders

    Commercial Internet
    Mobile Telephones
    Commercial Release of Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Batteries
    International Space Station
    Mapping the Human Genome
    First Cloned Animals
    Thin / Flat Screen Television and Video Monitors
    CDs / DVDs

    2000 – 2010
    Film-Less Digital Cameras
    Wireless Data Networks and Technology ( Wi-Fi & Bluetooth )
    Touch Screen Smartphones, and Music Players
    Tablet Computers
    Commercial GPS
    USB Flash / Thumb Storage Drives
    Text Messaging
    Digital Video Recorders

    2011 – Now

    1. Howard Beale IV

      Pretty much spot-on. As was said in the Star Trek episode “Assignment:Earth” with the titular character “Gary Seven” got into an argument with his computer about stating what he was doing there-namely, to make sure that Earth would become a peaceful place and not devolve into the Mirror Universe….

    2. Summer

      2000 – 2010

      See how you qualified GPS with “commercial”
      Wireless, Wi-Fi, touchscreen, and a host of other things may not have been available widely doesn’t mean it didn’t exist as a tech invention before 2000.

      Text messaging is a variation of email.

      Innovation of design and distribution vs actual tech innovation.

      1. JimTan

        While GPS was originally a satellite navigation system for naval ships, its integration into miniaturized commercial devices allowed people to find their location, relative to surrounding landmarks, without using a paper map. That sounds like a pretty significant advancement to me when you consider the before ( paper ) and after ( automated turn by turn directions ) of GPS. Same goes for wireless, touch-screens, smart-phones, ect. My previous point is simply that we used to consistently manage a pipeline of new scientific discovery, while translating existing ones into significant technological advances each decade.

        That has not been the case for a few years now.

        1. Summer

          “its integration into miniaturized commercial devices allowed people to find their location”

          I just consider that a design innovation.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Maybe our technological suite is getting too mature. A lot of stuff over the past few decades amounts to refinement of stuff that has been out there for years if not decades. Computers come to mind here. At some point, stuff that has been around for a long time and that has little room for development starts to have stuff added that makes it less useful than its predecessor. Maybe it is because commercial interests have more of an interest in exploiting and monetizing existing technologies rather than spend for research and development into new technological that might replace what is being used at the moment. Apple laptops come to mind here which is arguably worse than its previous versions from several years ago..

    3. Lepton1

      Computers in the 80s were just barely useful. It took a big box with a 150W power supply just to do arithmetic. We stored data on spinning floppy disks that held about one megabyte. Now I’m typing this on an iPad with 256GB of solid state storage, an LCD display and it runs all day on a battery.

      In 1990 Apple released a video about a device that looked a lot like a modern iPad. It took 20 years for technology to catch up to make it possible.

      In 1980 my company that sold a scientific product that took 8 and 1/2 minutes to process one spectrum. Today we profess about 10,000 spectra per second. It is mind blowing how far we’ve come.

      In the late 90s I could barely view a small online video. Now, on an iPad I can conduct a Face Time meeting. with 31 other people. Really amazing. It’s not that we didn’t have the ideas for these things in the past, it took a vast number of incremental improvements to this possible.

      1. JimTan

        I hear you. I’m just wondering aloud why these incremental improvements are currently not resulting in the same level of technological breakthroughs which we were able to achieve in prior decades ( see above ).

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          LIGO wasn’t a technological breakthrough??? I consider it equivalent to the first camera obscura. Oh, and did you see how Curiosity landed on Mars?

    4. boz

      Cloud computing
      Machine learning
      Neural networks
      Natural language generation
      Video and image recognition
      Drone technology

      Quite a few things adapting or applying existing technology, but in some cases veritable new technology is being produced.

      Machine learning in particular will create a new class of winners and losers. We are only just beginning to see it in some areas (eg amazon and retail).

      1. JimTan

        What products have been released using any of these technologies since 2011 and how precisely have they enhanced what they replaced?

      2. Gvq

        Cloud computing — mainframe computing with a stupid name.

        Natural language generation — 1980s technology.

        Drones — 2000s technology.

        Machine learning, neural networks, video and image recognition — different ways of referring to a single technology.

        The machine learning algorithms themselves have been around for decades, it was the appearance of affordable high-power GPUs that made them practical. The creators of those algorithms, for their part, have been very loudly criticizing the industry for throwing countless billions at finding assorted ways of applying them and at compiling ludicrously enormous training sets when they’re known to be vastly inferior to what is possible (biological intelligence can get comparable results from training sets six or seven orders of magnitude smaller).

        It’s like the aviation sector in some steampunk parallel universe throwing all its resources at building bigger and bigger Zeppelins while governments compete to control reserves of helium amid widespread speculation that control of that precious gas might make or break great powers in the future. A consensus of experts opines that it’s simply inherent to the nature of “artificial flight” that airships must be lighter than air, and that something ineffable and unique about living systems makes heavy-than-air flight possible for them.

        Some guy named Bernoulli claims that it might be possible to make a much smaller, faster, and cheaper sort of aircraft, one that wouldn’t need helium or hydrogen to stay aloft–but smart and serious financiers know better than to take heed of such nerdy speculations, and keep throwing money at Zeppelin startups.

        1. boz

          Hi Gvq

          Thanks for your comment. I’m keen to learn more about biological intelligence – have you got any links you could share?

    5. Kael

      Local angel group (Utah) recently backed artisnal pickle (no kidding) startup instead of my microbiota startup. Sigh.

  10. DJG

    Pete Buttigieg and the chief of police and the lawsuits-a-ganza: Come on, Lambert, Mayor Pete is just having his Sistah Souljah moment, as several of the commenters on the tweet-a-long quickly and obligingly inoculated him. So it’s a win-win-win situation. Mayor Pete, thoughtful voice of Third-way-ism. Black people shown their place once again. Democratic Party as a fan club ignoring its obvious untethering from reality.

    I am enjoying how everything Mayor Pete says is complicated and nuanced, and how all of his disciples agree that it is a very complicated and nuanced world, and how soon we can discuss what the meaning of “is” is.

    Where is William of Ockham when we need him? What could possibly go wrong?

    1. djrichard

      I don’t think his disciples quite understand that Mayor Pete is going to be rebranded. It won’t be his nuance and complexity that is played up. It will be his being “normal”. Or at least whatever the cartoon version of that is. Expect there to be a lot of messaging about what’s normal and how Mayor Pete embodies that.

      Because in the opposite corner of this wrestle mania marquee match is Trump, the “defiler of norms”. Trump will of course be willing to play that cartoon version of himself. So all the powers that be need is somebody to play the cartoon (simulated) version of “normal” in the other corner. And hammer on that til the cows come home.

      Why have this be about policy when the media worked so hard to make this not about policy. The stage is set – it’s just waiting for the players.

      Of course I don’t think Mayor Pete himself quite understands this yet. For instance, there was an article yesterday about how Pete seems to be fashioning himself to follow the well-worn democratic playbook of simulating JFK as the path to the presidency. But I think somebody will be reaching out to Mayor Pete pretty quickly and help him to understand the cartoon character he’s to play. In fact, you can’t get a more normal sounding name than “Mayor Pete”. This guy was made for this role.

      Pretty sure the ultimate message to Biden and Beto will be “thanks, but your services are no longer required”. They lost control of their cartoon version of themselves – they’re no longer normal.

      And of course the message to Bernie will be something along the lines of, “why do we need to make this election about policy when we have this guy right here who’s got the perfect marketing required, as being “normal”?”. “Honestly Bernie, are you normal?”

      I think Bernie understands the race is on – he needs to get the numbers to make his nomination irrefutable.

      1. Carey

        Is “normal” going to fly in 2020? Maybe within the 10%, but will they be able to
        manufacture enough consent in the rest of the citizenry? What I think I see is a
        coalescing of forces that the Few cannot be certain of controlling.

    1. Carolinian

      Was gonna say. If brother Alex would require a seance.

      The article makes much of Biden’s friendship with SC’s Thurmond.

      Months later, in front of a largely Republican audience in South Carolina, he joked that the only reason Delaware had fought with the North in the Civil War was “because we couldn’t figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way.”

      Of course Thurmond (I once sat on his lap at age six without, thank goodness, suffering any Dixiecrat cooties) had been a Democrat himself and the clear implication is that Biden was once a member of the cracker branch of the Dem party. Indeed, with these long ago quotes he’s practically admitting it. Here’s hoping for the Bidenistas that no pictures surface of him in blackface.

  11. DJG

    Tolkien and The American Conservative: What is truly going to shock the American Conservative, especially the columnists like Dreher of theological bent, is that Tolkien’s world is godless. There is no deity in the legendarium. The closest may be the ents, but then I’m partial to prophetic trees.

    It is one of the most remarkably and undiscussed topics: Unlike C.S. Lewis, whose boring oeuvre I was only able to deal with through a single slog through Out of the Silent Planet, Tolkien, devoted Catholic, gave up on god in his world. Yes, there is dualism. But religiosity? Hobbits worshiping taters is as ecstatic as it gets.

    1. DJG

      And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse: From the concluding paragraph:

      Now aged 94, Christopher must be praised mightily and in every way for his service not only to his father, but, frankly, also to Western civilization. After all, it would not be too much of a stretch to compare his father’s mythology to that of Homer, Virgil, and Dante.

      From the Andrew Sullivan principled-conservative school of argument and name-dropping. Are any of these guys at The American Conservative conservatives? At least he didn’t mention Ovid.

      1. Procopius

        I’m not sure they are “real” conservatives, notwithstanding one of the founders of the publication was Pat Buchanan. I find I agree with most of what they write, much to my consternation. I am a FDR New Dealer, after all, which is the extremest far left you can go without being hauled before the House Unamerican Activities Committee.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Tolkien’s world is godless.

      Err…this is why the eagles don’t just show up and solve the ring problem. They are servants of the good “M” guy. They happen to cross Thorin’s company and give them a lift but don’t go out of their way to drop them off at the lonely mountain, but like the fortuitous meeting between Gandalf and Thorin who both had the same dragon problem in a big world, was it chance or the work of other forces?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDo9Ez5qhgo The divine works more like this.

      But religiosity? Hobbits worshiping taters is as ecstatic as it gets.

      This is right. Gandalf, Sauraman ,and Sauron were lesser gods if they were labeled as “gods”. Durin was reincarnated periodically. I suppose its more a world where the gods are alive and there, so no proper religion exists. The downfall of ancient Numenor involved the worship of Sauron.

    3. neighbor7

      Nice observation! It never occurred to me, and I don’t think it’s called out in either the Zaleski or Carpenter books on the Inklings (both good).

    4. Summer

      Dreher is shocked that EVERYBODY has no desire to live exactly the same way and deaire the exact same things.

    5. Plenue

      Um…I’m not sure where you got this idea, but Tolkien’s legendarium is to a large extent concerned with the dealings of gods. The Silmarillion literally opens with a creation myth where a creator god first creates a pantheon of sub-deities.

      The Lord of the Rings is essentially a minor skirmish at the end of a very long timeline that involves these deities fighting Sauron’s boss, who is essentially Satan, eventually drowning an entire continent in the process.

      LotR itself doesn’t have many overt references to the larger metaphysics of the setting, but Gandalf and the other wizards are essentially angels, multiple Valar gods are mentioned by name, and it’s heavily implied Manwe, the sky/wind god, is indirectly involved in events, through his eagles if nothing else. When the elves leave they’re sailing to an island heaven where these gods live.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner


        Also elves live on a flat planet which is why elves could see farther from the same spot than men and dwarves who lived on a round earth.

        1. DJG

          Plenue and NotTim: Wowsers.

          I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (and Farmer Giles of Ham). None of these is theistic. The woo-woo-iest character is Lady Galadriel.

          Little did I know that you two had been admitted to the Elect of Minas Tirith. And now I will for sure avoid the Silmarillion. Yikes.

          [Okay, and I’ll admit to reading Islandia.]

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Don’t forget Tom Bombadil’s nature is discussed at the Council of Elrond. For all of the power of the One Ring, Tom can use it in a parlor trick to no ill effect. Was he the big guy himself? Maybe. Though he was a representation of the creative process for the writer and what didn’t make the final cut in a there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies.

            There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.

            Clearly, he means the CIA. Then of course, there is the obvious stands ins for the trinity and jesus as prophet and king as well as his more humble role as a carpenter in the cases of Gandalf, Aragorn, and Samwise. All of who had the opportunity and access to take the ring.

          2. ChrisPacific

            I do think it’s fair to say there is no (organized) religion in LOTR/The Hobbit.

            The Lord of the Rings period is described as ‘the age of men.’ The elves are bit players, albeit important ones at times, and are in the process of retreating from Middle Earth. Gandalf does have his larger than life moments, but by far his most effective power in the books is marshalling the forces of dramatic narrative to his ends. Examples include outwitting the trolls, helping Theoden throw off the curse, and rallying the troops at Minas Tirith, which would all be well within the capabilities of a sufficiently gifted mortal.

              1. ChrisPacific

                I may not have been clear. When I say there is no religion, I mean there are (mostly) no societal structures, organizations or rituals that are built around worshipping divine entities. I’m not saying that there are no divine entities in the story (there are) or that Tolkien wasn’t influenced by Christian themes (he almost certainly was). But I don’t believe there was such a thing as a church in LOTR, for example. The elves came the closest and, as noted, they were on their way out.

          3. Plenue

            “And now I will for sure avoid the Silmarillion.”

            What a bizarre reaction. You’d avoid a fantasy story for having standard fantasy elements in it? If you’re searching for a godless fantasy, you’re not going to find it coming from a Catholic author.

            These things are already in LotR. Again, the wizards are literally angels. They were sent by the gods as proxies to defeat Sauron. Sauron’s boss, Morgoth, the Satan analog, is mentioned by name. The Dunedain, like Aragorn, are the descendants of men whose island civilization was drowned Atlantis-style because they essentially turned to devil worship.

            “Little did I know that you two had been admitted to the Elect of Minas Tirith.”

            None of these are obscure details, especially not since the Jackson movies supercharged the franchise into a multimedia powerhouse. Pretty sure a lot of them are already covered to some extent in the appendices that come with most versions of LotR.

          4. Amfortas the hippie


            that’s the first book of the Silmarillion, in the whole of which, the gods…all the way to Eru Illuvitar Himself…are far from bit players.
            and Bombadil was prolly Aule(analog to vulcan/hephaestos/wayland smith/etc)
            it’s always astonishing how some folks can speak with both feet in their pie-hole.

      2. Tom Bradford

        I would propose that whatever ‘theology’ exists in ‘Tolkien’s world’ is very much drive by his scholarly
        researches into, expounding of and fascination of the Norse world.

        1. Plenue

          A lot of it is very Viking, but parts of it are also quite Christian. Morgoth being the creator’s first and best loved creation before rebelling and basically becoming Satan is probably the most obvious example.

    6. Carolinian

      Also sexless? For sure Tolkien doesn’t make concessions to many narrative mainstays.

      1. Plenue

        Not any more so than most grand myths and sagas, which Tolkien was consciously modeling after, which often tiptoe around the issue of sex and speak in euphemisms. For what it’s worth, The Children of Hurin plot revolves in large part around (unintended) incest.

        1. Carolinian

          ‘Fraid Game of Thrones is more my saga speed. Plenty of sex there. And aren’t many Greek and Norse myths fairly suffused with the topic of sex? Certainly Wagner would say so.

  12. timotheus

    Bernie & Hispanic youth: EXACTLY what I found when canvassing for Bernie in a Hispanic NYC neighborhood: “I don’t know much, but my kids will put me out on the street if I don’t vote for Bernie.”

  13. Summer

    Re: Quartz in financial planning promotion

    What’s going to be doing the financial planning for the masses?

    (Notice I didn’t ask who)

    1. Bernalkid

      Tech bros are developing an AI version of the shell game which will suffice to strip the investments from the proles. /s

  14. Summer

    “Our organization is committed to the anti-capitalist internationalism described in Huey P. Newton’s ‘Intercommunalism‘ works and reflects the revolutionary, anti-capitalist, feminist intersectionality that bell hooks was talking about way back in the early ’80s before liberals co-opted the terminology.”

    Note carefully how “gangsta rap” was and is promoted…

  15. zagonostra

    >Healthcare, Dean Baker @truthout

    How’s below for mind-numbing incrementalism? So representative of the high bar the Dems are shooting for…and on Truthout no less.

    If we accept that we are not likely to get to a universal Medicare system in a single step, the next question is: how can we find a way to phase in the system in a way that both minimizes disruptions and provides real benefits?

    …we can make the first step even more gradual. We can just add people when they turn age 64 instead of the current 65. At first glance, this would be a bit less than 4 million people.


    1. marku52

      Mind numbingly stupid. Way to pick up a few 64YO voters, and MASSIVELY PISS OFF people who are 62, 63, etc.

      These people are idiots, or are paid well to imitate people who are.

      1. jrs

        I’ve heard of lowering the age, the crowd it appeals to (freelancers over 50) is often hit with a double whammy of paying way too much due to age, and can’t get a job with benefits often due to age discrimination. But not 5 or 10 or 15 years but 1? Dean Baker is not usually an idiot.

        1. marku52

          This one looks stupid. One year? Why effing bother. It’s more insulting than anything else.

    2. John

      About as good of a plan as Senator Sherrod Brown’s plan to let cops and fireman on Medicare when they hit 55.

      But no one else.

      Thank god he decided against running for president.
      One less Medicare for Some candidate.

      1. John k

        Just how much do senators and reps pay for their gold plated healthcare, and what are their copays? And what about drugs? And what do they pay in retirement? And their families?
        We pay healthcare for thee, nothing for we.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “Last year’s headlines are in danger of disappearing forever”

    This digital stuff was supposed to last forever however when I check some blog posts I wrote several years ago, many of the links are dead, which is a quite common phenomenon.

    All the books I’ve bought over the years however are still on my shelf.

    And they haven’t been edited without my knowledge.

  17. Plenue

    >Textbook controversy

    Yeah, it’s bad. This is the kind of nonsense that dominates in home ‘schooling’. I remember the Christian astronomy textbook I had that outright lied over and over again. And what’s more, even I at all of twelve, or whatever I was, knew it was lying.

    Two of the of the choicest bits that I remember were that scientists only ‘believed’ in black holes because they emit x-rays, but lots of things emit x-rays, ergo black holes don’t exist. Little things like observing the massive gravitational influence of black hole on neighboring objects got nary a mention.

    The second thing I distinctly remember was the hilarious section chastising anyone for thinking aliens might exist for ‘believing in things unseen’, coupled with a Bible verse, in a hilarious display of a complete lack of self-awareness.

    1. Angie Neer

      Without disagreeing, and with congratulations that you were able to resist that crap, I’ll just point out that that is not the only kind of home-schooling out there. I know several home-schooling families who are not wackos and whose kids (now young adults) are actually well-educated. But of course, only a small fraction of people have the skills and resources to do that.

      1. Carey

        Hear, hear. We homeschooled our daughter for her second-grade year, and had
        a divorce not intervened, would have continued that through high school.
        Her going back to public school in the third grade was not a positive experience.

    2. WJ

      Why in the world does the textbook posit that black holes are incompatible with Xianity in the first place? Seems very like the god of Job to have flung some black holes hither and thither just for kicks.

      1. Plenue

        No idea. I guess this particular author was really upset by the idea of black holes for some reason.

  18. clarky90

    Re “”..new ecosystems that drive advancement.” …..It smells of synergy.”

    There is an old ecosystem (from 1860s) of “big sugar/grain” with “Health Food” and “Healthy Lifestyle” that is inundating the “news”, and replacing traditional food culture.

    “Incredibly, the Seventh-day Adventist Church have an overpowering influence over the establishment of dietary guidelines and dietary and medical education. From the beginning they established the guidelines ….”

    Is the EAT-Lancet (Vegan) Rule-Book Hijacking Our Health?


    “If you have been following me (Belinda Fettke) you know where the beans over beef messaging comes from! … Loma Linda University is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and they promote the Garden of Eden diet (fruit, grains, nuts and vegetables) as prophesied by Ellen G White in 1863 after she was told in a vision from God that meat made men violent and led to ‘self-vice’. Masturbation was considered the most heinous sin at the time and had to be avoided at all costs ‘for salvation’. Luckily, Kellogg’s invented Cornflakes at the Adventist owned Battle Creek Sanitarium, enabling the Sanitarium to offer a bland alternative to meat at breakfast! Hence, the anti-meat, pro-cereal/grain and soy messaging continues to be evangelised from Adventist health institutions world-wide. Even for Type 2 diabetes as shown here.

    But, the Adventist claim of meat causing diabetes makes no sense when you look at the figures Nina Teicholz shared in her tweet today,…”

    Here is a very good interview. It explains (imo) the diabetes epidemic.

    Why the War on Meat??? Find out here from Dr. Gary & Belinda Fettke


  19. ACF

    Re Biden’s Handsy-ness

    1. I don’t care whether Biden runs or not. My critique of his behavior and the defenses of it are not about whether the behavior is ‘disqualifying’–as Bernie said when Beto ran, it’s a free country.

    2. The most offensive part about this situation is the “it used to be ok before, but times have changed, personal space boundaries have changed, and Biden understands/will behave better in the future”

    a. At no time has it ever been ok for a man to pull the head of a woman that he is not close to forward so that her forehead touches his. That was never a gray area. At no time was it ok for a man to come up behind a woman he doesn’t know well close enough to smell her hair and kiss her head. Also never a gray area.

    b. Power is important. As a VP, as a Senator, as a Representative, he was always in a position of power relative to the ‘recipient’ of his behavior. That differential is inherently silencing. Even so, as the photos/videos show, the discomfort on the “recipients'” faces is palpable.

    3. To the extent that any of his conduct was in a social norm gray area, that gray area only exists among peers. The power differential changes everything, because the ‘recipient’ always has to weigh: well, that boundary crossing was only so far, the price of policing the boundary against such might be high, so I’ll tolerate it, but what does it mean for the future? Will he cross the boundary again in the future? If so will he stop at the same point?

    4. the alleged benevolence of intentions are irrelevant because:

    a. his boundary crossings were so outside the norm and highly visible they became part of what he was known for. That is, everyone including him understood he *was crossing boundaries outside the norm* and therefore he was intentionally crossing boundaries. It could also be thought that he knew precisely how far he could cross a boundary without repercussions. But that’s a statement of social skill, not social ignorance.

    b. The reactions of people on the other side of it make it clear that it didn’t always/maybe typically feel benevolent. What kind of person never notices that people perceive their boundaries as being crossed?

    c. similarly, this went on for years. What does “intentions” mean in that kind of generalized, pattern & practice kind of conduct?

    1. WJ


      I concur with all these points and moreover thought that they represented the consensus view on these matters. But apparently with Uncle Joe entering the race it’s suddenly the 1990s again.

    2. Wukchumni

      Skiing was subpar today, as it was too warm and lots of ‘Joe Biden Snow’ i.e. really grabby.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Yes. I don’t get what people’s problem is with Flores (well, maybe I do, since Biden is considered by many to be the party’s last best hope for defeating Sanders). All she’s done is describe what he did and how it made her feel. I watched the videos of him with the little girls and was struck by how exactly his behavior in them matched what Flores described (and frankly they didn’t look too thrilled about it either). So I’d say she is almost certainly telling the truth.

      His response also rings a lot of alarm bells for me. It’s a very close match for a number of other sexual harassment cases against a powerful public figure that I’ve seen. He shows no sign of awareness of the power imbalance factor, or remorse for it – in fact he’s still exploiting it, by using his public profile and platform to make sure his side of the story is the one that gets heard. He is charismatic, persuasive, and likable. He admits to some vaguely specified ‘problem’ (which could be anything) while denying any kind of personal responsibility or accountability. In private he responds with anger and a determination to find the party or parties responsible and make them pay. I’ve seen it all before, and it fits the pattern. All that’s missing is the out of court settlement and NDA which he then proceeds to breach at his whim by talking to the media while daring the other party to do the same, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if we see that as well before too long. I wouldn’t trust him.

  20. ChristopherJ

    re 737s. Even before the safety investigators have really started, the world seems to have concluded that the company put profits before safety. Had let the MBAs, instead of the engineers and pilots, run the business. Ties in well with the Ian Welsh piece on the decaying path the US has been treading.

    Boeing may as well refund everyone and scrap production of the Max because there are no airlines that want to fly it and there are zero passengers with trust to get on one.

    I would seriously forego my flight, if one of them pulls up to my gate unexpectedly.

    I’ve called the company toast, but what do I know given it is a major defense contractor and donor to many of the people in Washington?

      1. ChristopherJ

        I don’t think 737 Maxs will fly again.

        The contagion will flow on to the safer 737s and, eventually, the whole Boeing brand.

        Never a better time to buy a used jet

    1. marku52

      Nope. TBTF. Look at what a big piece of our exports is commercial aviation. Our unsustainable trade deficit would explode without it.

      Now there probably will be a lot more scrutiny of the FAA approved MAX “fix”. And any FAA “approved” aviation product in the future.

      1. Carey

        BA stock only down by 11%, last time I looked. A hit of a third might make one
        believe they’re not TBTF.

        high places

  21. WJ

    “When we asked interviewees why they believe news organizations are not archiving content, they said repeatedly that journalism’s primary focus is on ‘what is new’ and ‘happening now.’”

    Because Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

  22. Carey

    Seems to me that the corporate Dems are going to have another thing to worry about,
    especially if Mike Gravel gets into the debates: a humor and irreverence gap.

    “Real lefties have more and better sex”, et c. I wonder how the former group’s followers will take that kind of embarrassment?

    Not… well, I think. ;)

  23. allan

    Class Warfare: The Death of an Adjunct [The Atlantic]

    … To be a perennial adjunct professor is to hear the constant tone of higher education’s death knell. The story is well known—the long hours, the heavy workload, the insufficient pay—as academia relies on adjunct professors, non-tenured faculty members, who are often paid pennies on the dollar to do the same work required of their tenured colleagues.

    The position is often inaccurately described as akin to a form of slavery. Thea [Hunter], a scholar of rights, slavery, and freedom, would have been the first to say that is not the case. It is more like the lowest rung in a caste system, the one that underrepresented minorities tend to call home. …

    She was a black woman in academia, and she was flying against a current. Some professors soar; adjuncts flap and dive and flap again—until they can’t flap anymore. …

  24. allan

    A chicken in every pot and junk science for every tot.

    Bill de Blasio boldly makes a play for the anti-vaxxer-curious vote:

    “I understand there’s a debate out there about vaccination.”

    A brilliant stratergery that will have parts of Brooklyn, Rockland County and SW Washington State locked up
    before the primaries even start.

  25. VietnamVet

    I got out today. Between traffic reports, I had to listen on NewsRadio to a Washington Post reporter devoutly promote immigration and harangue Bernie Sanders for saying “there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world” (not to mention families forced to migrate by climate change, inequality and the forever wars). These “liberals” are just as divorced from reality as “Anti-vaxxers” or the Five Eyes Intelligence Community. It is tragic. Humans are imprinted to believe their own propaganda especially if you are paid member in good standing of the system. Since I was raised in another era in Seattle in the 1950s, I believe in public education, public health, public libraries, public utilities, public safety and the public good. Still, it is hard to watch these institutions under assault, withering away, so a few families can be wealthier.

  26. skk

    RE: “Why does the Left sneer at the traditional working class?” [Unherd].“It was a straightforward political point. ‘Labour comes out in favour of keeping free movement – an utter betrayal of traditional working-class people… Cue hordes of offendotrons, utterly certain that my use of the term ‘traditional’ was really a euphemism for ‘white’.”

    That was an excellent article. Thanks for posting. I took one look at the illustrative photo and I said – I bet that’s from the Grunwick strike . And indeed it was and indeed if ever there was a case of a picture is worth a 1000 words that’s one of them. I remember the strike well. I was gobsmacked as I watched that hit the news and unfold and it was part of my beginning to understand what class means. So many stereotypes were bust by that dispute – female Kenyan Asian ( mostly Gujarati then ) workers striking. And the co-owner of the company ? Also sub-continent origin ! And the way, after fits and starts, the (white leadership) unions rallied round to support them wholeheartedly.
    Then the picketing. I attended a couple of mass pickets. An amazing experience.

    So for those who interpreted traditional working class to mean white working class – shame on them indeed. they don’t seem to know much about the working class. How the heck can they even be Left then ?

    1. windsock

      Except free movement in this case is solely limited to the confines of the EU. Which enables British workers to go find work elsewhere within the EU if they want to… as many did in the 70s. Remember “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”?

      What most voters don’t realise is we still have control over immigration from the rest of the world. Leaving the EU means we shall import thousands more of poor brown people to undercut the wages of poor UK people because they won’t have the same rights attached to the movements of poor EU people within the EU. Poor UK voters have been sold a pup by those on the capitalist gravy train who haven’t told them about the tsunami of foreign workers who will be admitted to the UK to work in poorer conditions, with poorer pay and shrunken workplace protections and rights, all to keep a moribund economy ticking along with any money saved being funneled to the top.

      So that tweet is totally disingenuous and should have been shredded as such.

      And Labour hasn’t backed the free movement of people anyway, so WTF?

      1. Yikes

        Yes, and UK was already in Philippines trying to recruit Nurses. A bit late in the game, as most of the good ones are already poached by the Gulf States, Singapore, and Hong Kong, so what they found was most of the candidates could not pass language test. No worries, the test will be dumbed down eventually, neo-liberalism** will out.


        **Stealing the resources of another nation.

        1. windsock

          You’re right. I have met a lot of lovely Filipina nurses in the NHS. They are really good at taking blood! They should, of course, have the opportunity to earn decent wages at home and use the training they received in the Philippines for the benefit of Filipinos. But that would need our short sighted government to encourage the study of nursing in the UK by UK residents, without lumbering them with £00000s of debt.

  27. Carey

    I like today’s antidote-photo very much. Reminds me of times in Sweden, not so long ago.

Comments are closed.