2:00PM Water Cooler 4/9/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“U.S. Moves to Impose Tariffs on $11 Billion of EU Goods” [WSJ]. “The Trump administration moved Monday toward imposing tariffs on about $11 billion in imports from the European Union, saying the move was justified by the bloc’s subsidies for European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.”

“Trump proposes tariffs on Airbus; EU likely to retaliate against Boeing” [Leeham News]. “The European Union is likely to seek stiff tariffs against Boeing and other US exports in retaliation for the Trump Administration’s announcement yesterday it proposes $11bn in tariffs against Airbus and European exports. The Trump tariffs are proposed in connection with a World Trade Organization appeals finding that Airbus failed to cure illegal subsidies for the A380 and A350. Last month, the same WTO appeals process found Boeing and the US failed to cure illegal tax breaks to Boeing. Airbus claims at least $15bn in harm from these in lost sales. Neither the US nor the EU may impose the tariffs in advance of yet another round of WTO proceedings. The disputes already have gone on for 15 years.”:

Politics

“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

2020

Biden (D)(1): “In a shifting party, Biden maintains strength with SC’s black Democrats” [McClatchy]. “Activists point to his role as vice president to Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, his friendships and relationships in the state that date back years, and his vast experience in government compared to the rest of the field. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina told The New York Times in January that ‘if Biden gets in the race, everybody else would be running for second place.’ ‘He has been very, very much endeared to the black community in a number of ways,’ said Dot Scott, the president of the Charleston branch of the NAACP. ‘The fact that he served as vice president for the first African-American president and was able to form the kind of bond that seems to have existed between the two of them, that’s another signal to the black community that there must be something special about that man.'”

Booker (D): “Cory Booker plans to introduce reparations bill to Senate” [North Jersey Media Group]. “On Monday, Booker said he plans to file a bill in the Senate that would form a commission to explore reparations proposals for African-American descendants of slavery, according to a statement. The bill is a companion version of a House bill introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. The bill was first introduced in 1989 by Rep. John Conyers.” • So, a Senate version of HR40. Sanders should co-sponsor.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Why Pete Buttigieg is bad for gays” [Jacob Bachrach, The Outline]. Final paragraph: “In a recent interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mayor Pete avowed himself a capitalist but called himself a ‘democratic capitalist.’ The moderating and equalizing force of democracy, he said, must hold in check the tendencies of capitalism toward inequality, concentration, and corruption. But it is hard to escape the way that American capitalism and American democracy have worked in tandem both to dissipate and to assimilate the radical democratic energies of queer liberation by giving a very circumscribed sort of gay a conditional membership to the club.” • Well worth a read.

Buttigieg (D)(2): “Pete Buttigieg ‘is a terrific candidate,’ says longtime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett” [Yahoo News]. “Valerie Jarrett, a longtime adviser to former President Barack Obama, weighed in on the 2020 presidential race in a new interview, calling 37-year-old South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg a ‘terrific candidate’ and predicting that former Vice President Joe Biden would ‘make a compelling case’ on the campaign trail.” • Two signals to the donor class….

Buttigieg (D)(3): “Why You Love Mayor Pete” [David Brooks, New York Times]. “This is the biggest star-is-born moment since Lady Gaga started singing ‘Shallow.'” Um. More: “[H]e is a localist and a Washington outsider, but he carries no populist resentment and can easily speak the language of the coastal elites.” • I dunno about this “localist.” South Bend, besides having been deindustrialized, is a college town: Notre Dame. And Buttigieg speaks the language of the “coastal elites” because, well, he worked for McKinsey. For pity’s sake. Anyhow, read and have fun.

Buttigieg (D)(4): “Democratic megadonor sends fundraiser invites for Buttigieg” [Politico]. “Susie Tompkins Buell, a Democratic megadonor, has begun sending out invitations to a fundraiser for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential bid. On Thursday, Buell, who in the 2020 presidential cycle has been an early backer of Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign, emailed friends about the April 11 fundraiser in San Francisco. ‘I have had numerous conversations with many engaged, caring and deeply invested individuals about the Democratic prospects of winning back the White House in 2020. One thing stands out from these conversations — people are intrigued by Pete Buttigieg.” • “Deeply invested.” I’ll say. Gawd help us all. And we certainly don’t seem to be hearing a lot about Harris these days….

Buttigieg (D)(5):

That’s not Beto. It’s Buttigieg.

O’Rourke (D): “Why two former Beto O’Rourke staffers now say they’re with Bernie Sanders” [Texas Tribune]. “Young and Lanning, both 18 years old and first time voters, soon woke up to a sort of political hangover — disillusioned with O’Rourke and convinced he was not the true progressive they had imagined. ‘We were definitely very, very caught up and invested in it,” Lanning said. “It was after the election that we started being like like, ok his voting record actually is horrible.’ From oil policy to health care, these two young Beto exes said they never took the time to pore over votes and policy positions. Once they did — and O’Rourke went from Senate hopeful to presidential wannabe — they abandoned him and are now supporting reliable liberal Bernie Sanders in the race for the White House.” • Too funny.

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders to roll out updated ‘Medicare for all’ proposal Wednesday” [The Hill]. “Sanders, who is again seeking the Democratic nomination for president, will unveil the bill alongside Senate co-sponsors, some of whom are also candidates for president…. A spokesperson for Booker said he would again cosponsor the bill, but Gillibrand, Harris and Warren’s offices did not reply to requests for comment…. The updated version will also include long-term care, such as nursing homes, which is currently not covered by the Medicare program.” • Good for Booker, who (give credit) seems capably of occasionally doing the right thing, even against interest. (For example, his marijuana legalization bill included amnesty, obviously the right thing to do, when the (mostly black) people in jail built the industry, while the (mostly white) people in suits are about to cash in.

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders set for five-state Midwestern swing” [The Hill]. “Sanders has stops planned in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio. President Trump won all of those states in 2016. The Sanders campaign said in a statement that the Democrats’ ‘strongest path to victory in 2020 runs through the upper Midwest’ and that Sanders is ‘by far the best-positioned candidate to win these states and defeat Donald Trump.'” • I left out the lazy and ubiquitous “white working class” framing.

Sanders (D)(3): Thread:

Trump (R): “Democrats face minefield if they get Trump’s tax returns” [Politico]. “[Trump’s] returns will still be protected by strict confidentiality laws — it is a felony, punishable by up to five years, to improperly disclose private tax information…. That means there will be a period, possibly lasting months, when Democrats will have finally seen the president’s long-hidden taxes — and they will be inundated with questions about what’s in them — but they won’t be able to talk about them. If they let anything slip, Republicans will surely jump, demanding an investigation by the Justice Department.”

CA: “California Focus: Moved-up primary is reaping benefits” [Sonoma Index-Tribune]. “Because most California delegates are elected in proportional-vote contests within each congressional district, it behooves presidential hopefuls to campaign everywhere in the state. All 53 congressional districts will elect delegates, between four and six per district depending on how strong the recent Democratic vote was in each place. So Democrats who campaign in Republican districts can win delegates without getting very many votes – if they get out of the big cities and visit places like Placer and Shasta counties. But to earn delegates, a candidate must win at least 15 per cent of Democratic votes. This may eliminate some lesser-known candidates. Others will be weeded out by the high cost of advertising here, but candidates who concentrate on rural areas can get around that.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Yep:

“The Center-Left Wants to Pass the Baton, but What 2020 Candidate Will Take It?” [Robert Borosage, The Nation]. “Democratic primary voters are being asked to consider a dizzying number of presidential candidates, and it must be difficult to sort and prioritize their various policies and records. Brad DeLong, a distinguished economist, former economic adviser to the Clinton and Obama administrations, and author of a feisty blog, suggests one standard: Do the candidates have a clue about the lessons of the Obama years? DeLong, a self-confessed ‘neoliberal shill’ and ‘Rubin Democrat’—a reference to Robert Rubin, former Goldman Sachs head, big Democratic donor, Clinton Treasury secretary and Obama mentor, and Citibank executive disgraced in the financial collapse—created a stir when he admitted that his set had gotten it all wrong. ‘The baton rightly passes to our colleagues on our left,’ DeLong wrote. ‘We are still here, but it is not our time to lead.'” • Kudos to DeLong, indeed, but does anybody really believe that the “dizzying number of presidential candidates” has anything to do with passing the baton to the left?

Stats Watch

Factory Orders, February 2019: “Very soft is the factory sector’s current run” [Econoday]. “But positives are scarce in this report with February durable goods orders down…. Directly facing the slowdown underway in global cross-border trade, the U.S. factory sector started to stumble late last year and, judging not only by this report but by two straight declines in manufacturing production (part of the industrial production) as well as a host of private and regional reports, has yet to find its footing so far in 2019.”

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, March 2019: “The small business index remains flat, little changed in March” [Econoday]. “Job readings remain the most important positive in the sample though further gains in March were limited.”

JOLTS, February 2019: “February not only saw a sharp slowing in job growth but also a sharp slowing in job openings” [Econoday]. “Quits are also watched in this report especially by Federal Reserve policy makers and they held steady… Slowing growth has been the theme for global economic data the past several months and the U.S. JOLTS report is now part of this picture.”

Commodities: “Shale companies that helped build the U.S. energy boom may end up paying later for today’s rapid growth. Frackers from Texas to North Dakota have been managing their wells to maximize short-term oil production, … effectively jumping on a treadmill and ratcheting up the speed. That’s created an increasingly fragile cycle, with small and midsize shale companies rapidly drilling new wells to sustain production and growing more dependent on new capital to keep the oil flowing” [Wall Street Journal]. “That contrasts sharply with the methodical approach big companies like Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. are undertaking, efforts they believe will yield bigger results over a longer period. Suppliers like trucking companies and frac sand providers may hope the steady developments by the oil majors ramp will pick up by the time the wells from hard-charging smaller operators peter out.” • “May hope.”

Retail: “[Walmart Inc. is ] expanding its use of robots in stores to help monitor inventory, unload trucks and even clean floors… as the company looks to reset its workforce and operations to serve online business” [Wall Street Journal]. “The country’s largest private employer said at least 300 stores this year will add machines that scan shelves for out-of-stock products. And Walmart will more than double to 1,200 the number of conveyor belts that automatically scan and sort products as they come off trucks. Walmart wants to save money even as it raises wages, but the effort is also aimed at flexibility. The retailer says automation at truck dock doors can cut the number of workers there from eight to four, allowing for more hiring targeted at expanding e-commerce efforts.”

The Bezzle: “The S.E.C. Takes On Elon Musk’s Tweeting, Again” [The New Yorker]. “After everyone had spoken, [Judge Allison] Nathan indicated that she had something decisive to say. ‘Court orders will be followed,’ she said sternly. ‘I don’t care if you’re a small potato or a big fish.’ However, she went on, she had concerns about the S.E.C.’s decision to file a contempt motion—a very serious move—without first trying to find a compromise with Musk. ‘My call to action is for everyone to take a deep breath and put their reasonableness pants on and meet for at least an hour to work this out,’ Nathan said. It was a blow for the S.E.C., and a boon for Musk’s Twitter account.” • Somehow, I don’t think a small potato would get the same deference from the Court that Musk did.

The Bezzle: “The crowd-sourced, social media swarm that is betting Tesla will crash and burn” [Sidney Morning Herald]. “While activist investors have been around for years, the networked nature of this research and publicity campaign is new, said Byoung-Hyoun Hwang, a Cornell University finance professor who’s studied social media’s effect on financial markets. ‘The diversity of perspectives, not just a diversity of opinions, could be very valuable,’ he said.” • For example: “It’s after dark. Model 3s by the hundreds are parked inside a lit-up three-level parking garage. The cars are covered in dust. According to the man, some have been in there for months… Such storage practices are ‘extremely unusual’ in the auto industry, said Bill Hampton, a Detroit veteran who runs AutoBeat Daily, an online industry newsletter.” • And off goes the photo to the Twitter….

Tech: “The Robocall Crisis Will Never Be Totally Fixed” [Wired]. “As with email spam, the most important step you can take is staying vigilant.” • The focus of the article is on consumers. What I don’t get: Why would anybody pick up the phone if they don’t know who’s on the other end? The best outcome is some sort of cold call, and who wants that?

Transportation: “China’s Electric Cars Hit Some Potholes” [Bloomberg]. “For several days last week, the often distressingly poor quality of China’s electric cars was a leading topic across Chinese media. According to one survey ricocheting across the web, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they regretted buying a new-energy vehicle (NEV)…. In 2018, Chinese manufacturers recalled 135,700 NEVs for a crushing 10.8 percent industrywide recall rate. Already this year, another 23,458 electric vehicles have been recalled…. he most common Chinese complaint about NEVs is that battery performance on the road doesn’t meet what’s advertised. New standards for certifying, testing and marketing batteries — and new resources devoted to enforcement — would help. Likewise, new industrial standards for key components such as fire-prone wiring harnesses would assuage fears that one’s new car might, you know, suddenly burst into flames.”

Manufacturing: “Caterpillar is hoping that monitoring service and the added sales of parts and repairs that it generates will build a steadier revenue stream than highly volatile sales of new equipment. That pushes Caterpillar into a growing field of manufacturers looking for growth through services and bigger slice of an extensive and often lucrative supply chain that begins after new equipment changes hands. Caterpillar is using technology to bind itself more closely to customers, with connected machinery alerting miners and builders to maintenance needs. That will also bring in revenue through connection charges and service contracts” [Wall Street Journal]. • Not quite sure how that meshes with right-to-repair….

Manufacturing: “Lufthansa CEO reveals the biggest change in the airline industry caused by the Boeing 737 Max scandal” [Business Insider]. “‘When it comes to the certification, it’s going to be interesting to see how the European authorities react to what has happened to the Max,” [Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr] said. ‘Historically, if the FAA certified the aircraft, it was basically ‘copy and paste’ for the European authorities.’ ‘Overall, foreign authorities will be more thorough in accepting American certifications,’ Spohr added. ‘I think that for me is one of the outputs of these terrible events in Indonesia and Ethiopia.'” • First slowly, then all at once…

Manufacturing: “China Aircraft Leasing says has not put Boeing 737 Max order on hold” [CNBC]. “China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC) on Tuesday said it has not put its order for 100 Boeing 737 Max jets on hold nor had it suspended payment, rebutting an earlier report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper. The SCMP attributed its information to comments from CALC Chairman Chen Shuang. The Hong Kong-listed lessor said Chen was misquoted.”

The Biosphere

“Particulate pollution in the air we breathe kills hundreds of thousands a year, study finds” [CNN] (original). “Air pollution is deadly: A new study links exposure to it to more than 107,000 premature deaths in the United States in 2011. It isn’t just killing us; it cost the country $866 billion… This study focused on the harm caused by the tiniest particulate matter, PM2.5. It’s so tiny –1/20th of a width of a human hair — that you cannot see it, and it can travel past your body’s usual defenses. Instead of being breathed out, it can get stuck in your lungs or go into your bloodstream. The particles cause irritation and inflammation and can lead to respiratory problems. Long-term exposure can cause cancer, stroke and heart attack…. The highest damage happens in high-population areas such as Los Angeles.” • Less of that post-Jackpot, I would assume. So there’s an upside!

“Mud and guts: Europe’s forgotten environmental crisis” [Politico (!)]. Picking out one nugget of information: “An investigation into earthworm populations released in February reveals sharp decreases on British farmland, showing that some 21 percent of the acreage under study have no surface-dwelling worms, while 16 percent have no deep-burrowing ones. “The results indicate widespread, historical over-cultivation,” according to Rothamsted Research, the Hertfordshire-based institute that conducted the study. It went on to say that fewer worms would mean fewer birds, a knock-on effect.” • This is a must-read, especially for soil fans.

“Toyota’s optical sensors might help farmers raise crop yields through quick soil analysis” [Japan Times]. “Toyota Motor Corp. has started testing a service that analyzes farm soil with optical sensors, allowing farmers to strategically distribute fertilizer to increase crop yields… By clarifying soil composition and offering suggestions on fertilizer amount and other important factors needed to make the best soil for growing crops, Toyota hopes to make it easier for farmers to pass their expertise down to younger generations. ‘We hope that digitizing the experiences and intuition of artisan-like farmers, and offering cultivation guidance based on that data, will lead to solving the problem’ with farmers lacking successors, said Takeshi Kanamori, head of Toyota’s agriculture support division.”

“Ecological limits and hierarchical power” [Real World Economics Review]. “According to Robin Dunbar (1992), the size of the human neocortex makes it impossible to maintain stable personal connections with more than 150 people, give or take (Dunbar’s Number)…. The historical solution to this coordination problem is hierarchy (Turchin and Gavrilets 2009). In a hierarchy, each person has a limited number of personal connections – one superior above and a few subordinates below. The modular nature of these connections makes it possible to combine them into huge vertical organizations of almost any size (think of a country like China). From this viewpoint, hierarchical power is a means of harnessing more energy. Societies that wish to increase their standard of living can do so only by accepting more hierarchical power structures. Without such vertical structures, they would be unable to coordinate on a scale large enough to harness the energy they need. But there is a flip side to this argument. In their paper, ‘Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power’ (2017), Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan argue that much of the energy harnessed by hierarchical societies does not go to wellbeing at all, but rather to building, fortifying and sustaining power hierarchies as such.” • Hmm.

Class Warfare

“The Farmworkers Who Pick Your Halo Mandarins Just Organized a Massive Labor Strike” [Civil Eats]. “The The Wonderful Company [is] one of the largest agriculture businesses in the entire state…. [The owners,] Stuart and Lynda Resnick, say they’ve spent $50 to $80 million on philanthropic efforts (not all of it in Central California), and tout themselves as progressive Democrats…. On January 11, 2019, the company announced, through its contractor field supervisors, that it would reduce farmworkers’ pay by 12 percent. In response, about 1,800 nonunionized farmworkers, the majority of whom were undocumented, spontaneously walked out of Wonderful’s citrus fields outside of Bakersfield. The workers… joined what became one of the largest non-unionized, undocumented labor strikes in recent history, and one of the largest farmworker strikes since the heyday of the United Farm Workers (UFW) in the 1960s and ‘70s.” • Shocking.

It’s good to see Chris Arnade back on the Twitter:

News of the Wired

“The New Science of How to Argue—Constructively” [The Atlantic]. “Erisology is the study of disagreement, specifically the study of unsuccessful disagreement. An unsuccessful disagreement is an exchange where people are no closer in understanding at the end than they were at the beginning, meaning the exchange has been mostly about talking past each other and/or hurling insults. A really unsuccessful one is where people actually push each other apart, and this seems disturbingly common.” • Hail Eris!

“The Standard Model of Particle Physics” [Symmetry Magazine]. • I don’t pretend to understand it, but it’s an elegant graphic.

“Cutting-edge procedure mends Jagger’s ‘heart of stone'” [Agence France Presse]. • Clickbait headline, but progress to avoid invasive surgery.

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

WB writes: “You’ll never be ‘short’ on plants with Sequoias, at Cavaleras Big Tree State Park.” Oh, Dad…

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.

156 comments

  1. Grant

    “‘The fact that he served as vice president for the first African-American president and was able to form the kind of bond that seems to have existed between the two of them, that’s another signal to the black community that there must be something special about that man”

    Yeah, his record? Was he special when he was opposing bussing, or throwing lots of black men in jail with horrible crime bills? What has been his record on issues impacting communities of color, the poor and working people? Can him and Obama being close make it so that there won’t be lead in the water in communities like Flint? Will it get people healthcare, reduce inequality, help us to at least mitigate the environmental crisis?

    I have little hope with lots of voters, especially in the Democratic Party. They will almost certainly choose someone that will not address our largest problems, and I have no doubt that “leaders” will do in 2020 what they did in 2016, follow the money and power. Trump can be beaten, but you don’t defeat Trumpism unless you radically change policies and change the context that produced him. Biden won’t, but maybe lots of people not paying attention don’t care. Or, maybe the polls showing strong support for him do in fact over-sample older voters.

    Reply
    1. ChrisAtRU

      The #BlackMisleadershipClass has got to be one of the cheapest dates in (the political) town. Just show up once every four years, walk the streets of their largely economically disadvantaged districts and attend services at a Black church. Oh, and play sidekick to the greatest fraud of them all. Sadly, with that, you’ve won their vapid fealty.

      Reply
      1. Grant

        Naturally, just as King would do, right? Surely he would just ignore Biden’s actual record, mountain of horrible comments and his worldview. Sure, he was disinvited to Johnson era White House functions after he started to fight against the Vietnam War, but there was no one with the magic of Biden back then. Biden is that magical. He hasn’t proven it with his actions, but he’s only approaching 80, so be realistic and give him some more time to work his magic. At some point, he will support the structural changes, unlike the president he served with, that will actually benefit black communities. Seen that clip of Obama in Flint, where he sipped the water and horrified everyone in the audience? Was that not a bit tone deaf and disconnected? Oh well.

        Like I said, I have no faith in Democratic voters. They are likely to produce a dud.

        Reply
        1. Darius

          Quite remarkable that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder gave off the Jamie Dimon powerful but moderate white guy vibe that triggered Obama’s ass-kissing impulse. Even though Snyder triggered the crisis with his neoliberal cost cutting. Mild mannered businessman. Just Obama’s favorite mentor type.

          I’m sure Snyder gave him the pat on the head he craved and told him what an impressive young man he was.

          Reply
      2. Anarcissie

        Actually, there is more to machine politics than that. People on the lower rungs of the social order often feel, with some reason, that they need the machine. The machine produces favors for at least some of them, materially useful favors for actual individuals. In return, they give the machine their votes. I was reminded of this recently when a young Black woman of my acquaintance, an intelligent, aware, politically conscious person, professed great love for Mr. Biden. Someone had been joking about Mr. Biden’s famed creepy touching, and she said, quite heatedly, ‘Why don’t they leave that man alone? Every politician does that!’ Then she went on about her feelings. Then she huffed off. This sort of thing is beyond ideology and material interests; it’s like familial loyalty or feudalism. And it mostly works for the people who practice it, just as it did for my Irish ancestors back in the day.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          Well, large segments of the population don’t vote. They don’t vote because they don’t feel the machine benefits them, and it doesn’t. The macroeconomic trends, going back decades, show that the machine nationally and in many big cities doesn’t benefit large segments of the public. In mid-term elections, in some races, the winning candidate enters office with support of 15% or so of eligible voters. We can see how resistant the system is to change, as well as the Democratic Party internally. I don’t know you or the woman you are referencing, but I tend to not rely on anecdotes. I have my own. I taught undocumented youth from Central America for a few years, was a union rep, worked for a group that fought against austerity at the state level. I realize that my own experiences are not the same as others.

          I am from Chicago, the system doesn’t work for many, many people there. Many people want things to change, but they feel hopeless. The machine is extremely powerful, all encompassing and often impervious to change. The neoliberal era has also gone a long way in getting people to stop thinking of a different world, alternatives. Any vision that departs from the present status quo is dismissed and if it has any chance at gaining power, both parties, the media and lots of private interests come down hard.

          Maybe the system works for some people, but it clearly doesn’t for most, and it is leading us to collapse with the environmental crisis. It is possible to imagine alternative futures, how a different economic system or society might work, but it is also hard to imagine the system allowing needed changes to happen without people raising hell. If you look at who votes and who doesn’t vote, it seems to reflect who the system does work for right now. Class does matter though, so it is possible that my perceptions are different than yours because we aren’t in the same economic class.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Actually, there is more to machine politics than that. People on the lower rungs of the social order often feel, with some reason, that they need the machine. The machine produces favors for at least some of them, materially useful favors for actual individuals.

          Yes, and the liberal Democrat-adjacent NGOs are part of that (or part of the party itself, depending on how you think of a party).

          Reply
  2. Robert McGregor

    Why would anybody pick up the phone if they don’t know who’s on the other end? The best outcome is some sort of cold call, and who wants that?

    A lot of people–including me–run businesses from their cell phone, and we have to answer unknown callers, because they might be prospects. It’s quite a drag to several times a day or more–get a b.s. call from robot.

    Reply
        1. MichaelSF

          That’s true for me too. The mobile is an emergency backup that is checked 1-2X a month to see if anyone I know left a message there by mistake. When you are in the house near the regular phone 90%+ of the day (including sleep hours) then there isn’t a lot of need to incur extra charges on the mobile (which in any event I find is more difficult for me to hear a caller than the landline handset).

          Reply
        2. nippersdad

          We absolutely love our old iron phones, but I have to say that the nicest thing about the cheap handheld system we also have is that one can screen callers. Best thirty bucks we have ever spent on telephone equipment.

          Reply
        3. marieann

          We only have a landline and no cell phones. We find that recently we are getting fewer junk calls, we do have caller ID but it does not always work…giving an unknown number and it could be overseas family calling, so we always answer.

          Reply
        4. LifelongLib

          My wife and I keep our landline because there’ve been a couple times when it was the only way to get through, but we don’t plug the phone in unless we need it. Too many robocalls. We get them on our cellphones too but at least we can see the caller’s (supposed) number.

          Reply
    1. KevinD

      Ditto here.

      It is especially frustrating when they are able to disguise themselves behind our work number prefix.

      When the people who bitch and moan about “Big Government” hand the reins over to “Big Corporations”: this is what happens. they write the rules and we pay the piper.

      When will we learn there is an equilibrium where two seemingly disparate entities can work in harmony. I remember when unions and corporations played well together – the country as a whole kicked butt then….

      Reply
      1. Adam Eran

        Nice to know I’m not alone in getting conned by candidates (“condidates?”)…

        My observation is that the essential political skill to have is for politicians to make their audience feel good for about five minutes. After that, you’re on your own.

        BTW, in real estate, you’re called a “sophisticated investor” if you’ve been had…

        The U.S. is full of “sophisticated voters…”

        Reply
    2. Lepton1

      It’s always a gamble when I get a call. If it is from a far away or rural town I ignore it. If it is local I take a chance as it could be a doctor or other person I am dealing with.

      Reply
  3. aj

    RE: “Why two former Beto O’Rourke staffers now say they’re with Bernie Sanders”

    Similar thing happened to me back in early 2000’s with Claire McCaskill. Only after making several hours worth of volunteer phone calls and reading over this woman’s positions (she wanted to build a border wall even back then) did I realize I actually didn’t like her very much. That was the onset of my disillusionment with politics.

    Reply
  4. Angie Neer

    “Put their reasonableness pants on?” Small potato vs big fish? Could someone at least teach that judge to mix her metaphors in Latin so they’ll sound more official?

    Reply
    1. richard

      I couldn’t find who you were referencing in Lambert’s notes, and I want to because putting on one’s “reasonable pants” seems full of comic potential.

      Reply
  5. human

    Tone deaf politician of the day: “Fighting To Stop Domestic Violence.” The message subject of an eMail I received from my Congressman, Jim Himes.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Sort of like “Strike a Blow for World Peace.” Or “Taking Aim at Workplace Violence.”

      I could go on, but I’ll stop right here.

      Reply
      1. richard

        lol
        I have to add mine please
        Stand Up Against Movie Blocking!
        Speak Out Abruptly Against Interrupting!

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And this was treated seriously by liberals:

          “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.” Clearly, somebody with a taste for pwnage wrote that…

          Reply
  6. Quentin

    The African-American president goes to Germany to charm Angela Merkel while trashing progressives and Medicare for all. Doesn’t that dim wit know that (almost) everyone in Germany is insured and that, per person, Gemany pays half as much as the US, regardless of where the money come from (taxes, individual insurance). And why does he do this in Germany and not in the US. Is this man a piece of work or not?

    Reply
  7. Grant

    “Ecological limits and hierarchical power”

    I don’t know how I feel about that article. On the one hand, I think that a much greater role for economic planning is needed in response to the environmental crisis. The idea that autonomous individuals and institutions can operate freely without any coordination and planning and still aggregately operate within sustainable limits is unrealistic. However, the experience with economic planning shows that it needs to be democratic and decently decentralized planning, to the greatest extent possible. Hierarchy and domination led to lots of problems in regards to planning, as good, accurate information is needed for planning to work. Good and accurate information is one of the casualties of authoritarian planning and extreme hierarchies. Elinor Ostrom’s work on the commons shows that people can in fact manage common pool resources in a wide range of contexts, some of them employing bottom up and democratic governance. Her work also challenged Mancur Olson’s ideas on collective action problems. That article reminded me a bit of Olson’s arguments. If the argument is over direct versus representative democracy, I think that the size of groups will make one more appropriate than another. Smaller groups can employ more direct democracy, larger some form of representation, although there can be a hybrid system. On the other hand, the idea of us dealing with the environmental crisis in a very hierarchical society, with as much inequality as this one, should give people pause. Besides, who would sit atop the hierarchies?

    It seems to lead to what Peter Frase calls “exterminism”:

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures/

    But what if resources and energy are simply too scarce to allow everyone to enjoy the material standard of living of today’s rich? What if we arrive in a future that no longer requires the mass proletariat’s labor in production, but is unable to provide everyone with an arbitrarily high standard of consumption? If we arrive in that world as an egalitarian society, than the answer is the socialist regime of shared conservation described in the previous section. But if, instead, we remain a society polarized between a privileged elite and a downtrodden mass, then the most plausible trajectory leads to something much darker; I will call it by the term that E. P. Thompson used to describe a different dystopia, during the peak of the cold war: exterminism… Such a genocidal telos may seem like an outlandish, comic book villain level of barbarism; perhaps it is unreasonable to think that a world scarred by the holocausts of the twentieth century could again sink to such depravity. Then again, the United States is already a country where a serious candidate for the Presidency revels in executing the innocent, while the sitting Commander in Chief casually orders the assassination of American citizens without even the pretense of due process, to widespread liberal applause.

    Reply
    1. Nat

      I would agree. The thing that gets me is the claim, limited meaningful interactions for humans = hierarchy necessary. That does not follow at all. It just means interactions need to mostly grouped, but after that there are many ways to connect groups together into larger functional units in ways that involve little or no hierarchy.

      As for “much of the energy harnessed by hierarchical societies does not go to wellbeing at all, but rather to building, fortifying and sustaining power hierarchies” that I can believe. I would also add some of the energy thus spent includes perpetuating the propaganda that strict hierarchies are the only way to organize human-mental-capacity-sized-groups into larger functional units.

      Reply
      1. Grant

        Well said, and I agree. I don’t agree that coordination and cooperative decision making equals hierarchy. There are large worker owned cooperatives around the world that have done very well, even when the cooperatives employ lots of people. As I said, many common pool resources can at times be managed by large groups of people in a democratic way, and there are various forms of participatory planning the world over. The famous one was in Brazil, but there are domestic examples of this. There are also countries that have successfully employed things like national referendums, mechanisms that could actually recall politicians and overturn legislation by popular referendum. These things aren’t perfect and often have a mixed record, but they have also been proven to work too.

        Reply
    2. Harold

      As I understand it there are non-violent ways to bring down the population. If everyone had less than two children, or even if some people had two children and others had none, the population would start to decline fairly rapidly, as rapidly as it had previously risen, in fact. There would be proportionally more old people, but hopefully, also more healthy and productive old people.

      Reply
      1. Grant

        The problem I have with Malthusian arguments is that there is never a discussion as to who exactly should have less children. The data shows that the top 10% or so of worldwide population consumes over 80% of resources, and generates the overwhelming majority of pollutants, and has since the industrial revolution. So, if we are talking about reducing population, we should focus on the rich. We should convince the Koch family, the Clintons, the Bush family, the DeVos family, the Dimon family and the Latin American oligarchies (to name a few) to have few children. But that won’t be the groups we focus on. Who will have a larger carbon footprint and will consume more resources over the course of their lives, a baby born into a Vietnamese peasant village, or a baby born into a rich family living in Beverly Hills?

        I look at the IPAT formula and while I agree that population is certainly a factor on the overall environmental impact, so is per capital consumption, which is highly inequitable. Seems that Malthusian arguments are often given by people that don’t want to touch the consumption of the rich individuals and countries. In other words, leave capitalism as we know it out of it.

        Reply
        1. WJ

          This is a very good point that bears repeating. When lots of people think of overpopulation, they think of all those brown kids running around India and Africa and Central America. All those brown kids are much less of a problem resource-consumption wise than one American kid born into a brownstone in Boston.

          Maybe poorer people in these places who don’t fly in jets and go to malls and drive to work enjoy having more children. Arguably, the fear of having (more than one or two) children is a very recent and distinctly Western phenomenon.

          I realize that historically Western feminism has been linked to reproductive control, and that’s not accidental. But the relation between the two is not *necessarily* analytic, given a suitably supportive society. de Beauvoir recognizes these complexities very well.

          I get suspicious when people start talking about population control because it *is* always the poor brown people who always get screwed by the implementation of such programs.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Another factor to be considered is that in more basic economies, it is your children that will support you in old age. This was true in the west once in the days before social security as without grown children to support you, you either died in poverty or in the poorhouse. You had to have several children as disease and the like would carry off some of those children born and the more children you had, as they were growing up they would help the family economically whether it was labour on the farm or doing piece work in the cities. That is a reason why you had multi-generational households. The grandparents would raise the grandchildren while the young healthy parents went off to work to support the family. We in the west have just forgotten that this was the way that it typically was.

          Reply
        3. Procopius

          I can’t remember where I read it, but a rebuttal of Malthus claimed that even in his own time it was known that the standard of living had improved over time even as overall population was rising. I think we’ve reached the limit on that, but I believe most “advanced” countries already have birth rates below the replacement level. If we survive long enough, say another couple hundred years, perhaps all the other cultures will adapt to the reduction of childhood death rates so women don’t have to bear seven children to make sure two or three survive to adulthood.

          Reply
      2. marieann

        When I check the obituaries every day I have been looking at the number of children and grandchildren the deceased has.I have been doing this for about a year now.

        With the younger folks say 60-70 there is 2 or 3 kids and most times 2 or 3 grandkids. I sometimes see 6 kids then I read a few with no kids.

        I wonder if the people will voluntary reduce the population…..of course that will still be too late

        Reply
    3. Steve H.

      Nowak presents hierarchies as a cooperative method of conjoining competitive cliques. [arxiv.org/pdf/1805.12215.pdf]

      If you look at the equations [science.sciencemag.org/content/314/5805/1560.long], cooperative behavior among large groups needs an enormous ROI to be effective if there is any significant cost to the individual. It implies cooperative behavior breaks down to small groups, which hierarchies can facilitate. Multi-level (group) selection seems to require foes to function, to drive internal coherence, and in older times, to provide the ROI by looting (see Rome).

      A couple of spin-off points. Consider where the energy for those hierarchies comes from; currently the large structures require fossil fuels to provide the ergs. Consider that cooperation models, from what I’ve seen, require at least zero-sum outcomes, but climate change provides a massively negative-sum scenario. The only way to drive large-group cooperation is by having a high total number of groups, which leads to divide-and-conquer scenarios. Something I’m considering is that the models assume the number of groups cannot be greater than the number of individuals, but the rise of intersectionality may provide combinatoric levels of groups; on the one hand, more-division-more-conquer, on the other, does a benefit to a person benefit all the groups they are a part of?

      Reply
      1. Grant

        Well said, although I think this points to the need of planning and coordination. I remember in Keen’s book, Debunking Economics, him talking about how many combinations an individual has to consider simultaneously if they were to be perfectly rational as economists define it, if they have to consider even a relatively small amount of variables. It is unrealistic to think that individual consumers or producers can be expected to deal with the environmental crisis as individuals in isolation (as some so called free market economists like Terry Anderson says they should in his model) unless they are effectively supercomputers, and even then, a supercomputer that needs to take into account the decisions of other supercomputers and to factor in how all of the behavior adds up at the system level. It isn’t possible, realistically. The question is what type of coordination is best. I prefer democratic coordination and planning.

        But a good person to read, who I mentioned above, is Elinor Ostrom. She wrote a lot about how groups of people cooperatively decide on how to manage the commons, and sometimes the groups can in fact be large, and decisions are often done in a democratic manner even in large groups. Some commons that she studied were of that variety and have survived for a long time, centuries in some instances. It seems though that when you get to larger groups, that representational democracy tends to dominate, as not every decision in complex settings can realistically be done in a direct and participatory democratic manner.

        This is a great paper from her that touches on stuff like this: http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/bitstream/handle/10535/8102/Elinor_Type%20of%20Good%20and%20Collective%20Action.pdf?sequence=1

        Reply
        1. Steve H.

          ” In the paper I will examine how attributes of groups – particularly
          their size
          – affect the likelihood of groups organizing to provide themselves public goods. ”

          Thank you, Grant, looking forward to reading this!

          Reply
      2. Procopius

        I recommend a book by Robert Wright, NONZERO: The Logic of Human Destiny. His thesis is that an observable trend in anthropology has been a historical increase in institutions that increase the possibility of trust. He cites many societies that passed through similar types of hierarchical structure as their populations grew. He tries to make clear that he’s not claiming there was anything inevitable about this, but that improved trust offers more possibly positive outcomes, and that this is better for more people, as opposed to the mostly zero-sum possibilities when those institutions do not exist. I wish I could find more examples of how developing societies changed, but cultural anthropology seems to have dropped out of “popular science” literature. The second half of the book tries to apply the hypothesis to biology, and I don’t think it works as well.

        Reply
    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      As Fraser says, the term “exterminism”* was originated by the great E. P. Thompson (The Making of the English Working Class, Whigs and Hunters, etc.). See “Notes on Exterminism, the Last Stage of Civilization (Part 1)” and part 2. Thompson writes:

      I am offering, in full seriousness, the category of “exterminism.” By “exterminism” I do not indicate an intention or criminal foresight in the prime actors. And I certainly do not claim to have discovered a new “exterminist” mode of production. Exterminism designates those characteristics of a society — expressed, in differing degrees, within its economy, its polity and its ideology — which thrust it in a direction whose outcome must be the extermination of multitudes. The outcome will be extermination, but this will not happen accidentally (even if the final trigger is “accidental”) but as the direct consequence of prior acts of policy, of the accumulation and perfection of the means of extermination, and of the structuring of whole societies so that these are directed towards that end. Exterminism requires, of course, at least two agents for its consummation, which are brought into collision. But such collision cannot be ascribed to accident if it has long been foreseen, and if both agents have, by deliberate policy, directed themselves upon an accelerating collision-course. As Wright Mills told us long ago, “the immediate cause of World War III is the preparation of it.”

      And:

      But the more apposite concept, which is employed by some peace researchers, is that of isomorphism: “the property of crystallizing in the same or closely related forms,” or “identity of form and of operations as between two or more groups.” Viewed in this way, the USA and the USSR do not have military-industrial complexes: they are such complexes.

      And:

      Isomorphic replication is evident at every level: in cultural, political, but, above all, in ideological life. In a notable letter addressed last year to the California Board of Regents, Gregory Bateson, the social scientist, employed an analogy from biological systems: “The short-time deterrent effect is achieved at the expense of long-time cumulative change. The actions which today postpone disaster result in an increase in strength on both sides of the competitive system to ensure a greater instability and greater destruction if and when the explosion occurs. It is this fact of cumulative change from one act of threat to the next that gives the system the quality of addiction. Frustrated aggression “backs up” until it permeates whole cultures.

      This is a very interesting series of articles and I don’t have time to do it justice. However, if “exterminism” be a category — and so useful as the elite response to climate change! — then everything’s going according to plan, if you look at decreasing life expectancy and decreasing birth rate. Not for nothing is “Go die” Rule #2 of neoliberalism, and not just for health care policy, either.

      NOTE * Adding, “exterminate all the brutes,” for the connection to imperialism, colonialism, or what have you.

      Reply
  8. allan

    Re: “The Farmworkers Who Pick Your Halo Mandarins Just Organized a Massive Labor Strike”

    From a 2016 Rolling Stone article referenced in the link:

    … With all this newfound wealth, the Resnicks have ratcheted up their philanthropic profile. At first, it was classic civic gifts: $15 million to found UCLA’s Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital; $35 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for an exhibition space designed by Renzo Piano and dubbed the Resnick Pavilion; $20 million for the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech, which focuses on making “the breakthroughs that will change the balance of the world’s sustainability.” …

    Like Sacklers, but for water-intensive yuppie foods.

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      More on them and their influence in the state government and even U.S. foreign policy: Iranian pistachios are much better, but they are sanctioned and we get inferior ones from California watered with fracking waste…

      https://www.mintpressnews.com/how-the-resnicks-snack-food-fortune-is-fueling-the-assault-on-iran/252501/

      https://story.californiasunday.com/resnick-a-kingdom-from-dust

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/movies/water-power-a-california-heist-review.html

      Reply
      1. jrs

        I’m hard pressed to believe shipping things around the world when it’s avoidable is ever better, or a substitute for good environmental regulation.

        Reply
    2. Gary

      Paying your workers a living wage is not philanthropy, it’s just decency. What ever happened to shame?

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        “What ever happened to shame?”
        There is no money in it. Now, promoting shame in others can be hugely profitable. See: Identity Politics, Political Correctness, “Sanctioned” Social Justice Warfare, etc. etc.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If different California Orange-Lords pay their workforces different payscales, and if all the oranges were forced to say what the orange-workers involved were paid; would anyone pay more for an orange which paid its orange-workers more?

        If anyone would, then they would be “leading the money around by the nose” and living the principle that every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat. Forcibly mandating total revealment of what orange workers are paid would be useful here.

        Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Sometimes there isn’t a Union, even if/when we on the outside wish there were one. If there is, it should certainly be listed. ” Look for . . .the Union Label”. But if there is no Union to be mentioned on the oranges, the Rate Of Pay is the very least that should be mentioned.

            Reply
      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Shame exists because of pressure. Living wages exist because of political pressure brought on by popular pressure. Decent people will be driven out by by the indecent. The decent employer needs unions almost as much as as anyone.

        Henry Ford didn’t pay good wages because he was “decent.” He needed people to stay in mosquito hell holes around the Great Lakes for shipping and dealt with plenty of union activity.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Henry Ford didn’t pay good wages until he was forced to by unions. The myth about him paying $5 a day should be debunked. He had restrictions on the offer and very few people qualified. It was a PR stunt to get OTHER employers to pay their employees more so they could buy his cars. He had an army of thugs on his payroll. Look up Harry Bennett. Ford was an evil and despicable person.

          Reply
    3. Kurtismayfield

      You cannot have a worker shortage and cut their pay by 12%. Either this whole farm worker shortage story is BS, or these workers are completely captured and cannot leave.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the Resnicks’ orange workers are illegal aliens, the Resnicks can threaten to turn them over to ICE if they object to a 12% pay cut. The Resnicks can threaten to rat them out to ICE if they quietly leave.

        So, yes, if they are illegal ,they are captured and cannot leave.

        ” This is your Democratic Party on parade.”

        Reply
        1. Stadist

          Thanks for this link, I almost choked on my food chuckling to this quote:

          ” ‘I knew it would help a little bit, but I had no idea that it would solve our labor problem,’ Christopher said.”

          Reply
  9. bun

    “The Standard Model of Particle Physics” [Symmetry Magazine]. • I don’t pretend to understand it, but it’s an elegant graphic.

    Let me try: The H in the middle is the Higgs, which is a thing that permeates all space (even the spaces within atoms) and works to privide what we call ‘mass’ to all elementary particles.

    the ring outside the Higgs are the ‘force particles’ which work to stick the elementary particles together. the best known is the photon (greek letter gamma at 10:30) which mediates, among other things, magnetism. The ‘gluon’ (2:30) glues together the quarks (se below) to make heavier composite particle called ‘baryons’.

    the top half of the outer ring are the elementary particles, called quarks, that get stuck together to form the heavier particles, like the protons and neutrons in the centre of atoms. For everyday life, the only ones that matter are the stable ‘u’ (“up quark” at 9:30) and the ‘d’ (“down quark” at 12:30). the combination (uud) = proton and (udd)=neutron. The others are created in high-energy particle collisions and can stick together but only very briefly, before decaying eventually into either a proton plus photons and electrons and neutrinos, the only stable particles. The quark balls called protons and neutrons stick together to make the centre of atoms (‘nuclei’) e.g. oxygen has 6 protons and 6 neutrons.

    the bottom half of the outer ring are so-called ‘leptons’. Some can stick to protons and neutrons to make atoms: the best known is the electron (6:30), which is stable and creates our normal atoms by orbiting nuclei. the ‘muon’ (7:30) can also create atoms in the same way, but only lives 2.2 microseconds or so before decaying into an electron. Cosmic-rays reaching earth are mostly muons, and millions pass through your body every second. The ‘neutrinos’ (lower right quadrant) weigh almost nothing, are stable, interact extremely^2 weakly and don’t do anything really but carry away energy when particles collide or decay. the latter are the biggest puzzle at the moment. Billions of neutrinos from the sun are passing through your body every second, but you’ll be lucky if one actually ‘hits’ you during your lifetime.

    Oh, there is a complementary ring of anti-particles, but let’s leave that for now. And before someone asks, we don’t know where, or if, ‘dark matter’ fits into this picture.

    But pretty cool nonetheless. everything that we are made of, on the front of one t-shirt.

    Reply
    1. Intergalactic Joe

      For anyone interested in physics, I have to recommend Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog, Backreaction. She’s a working theoretical physicist and excellent writer with a well-developed ability to break things down for laypeople.

      I’d be hesitant to boost another blog here, except for her arguments against building a next-generation particle collider. Basically, she says it’d be a self-licking ice-cream cone; with the standard model complete, we don’t have a good reason to believe reasonably-feasible higher-energy colliders will give us much besides the ability to measure physical constants to a few more decimals. Research funding is better used elsewhere, and particle physicists are over-hyping future colliders like their careers depend on it, a pattern NC readers should be familiar with by now.

      Here‘s here on the standard model, here‘s her on why a new generation collider isn’t a good investment, and here‘s her refuting the arguments for one. I certainly think it’s worth the RSS subscription, but please decide for yourself.

      Reply
      1. bun

        mesons are unstable quark-antiquark bound states, typically living nanoseconds, or fractions thereof, before decaying. the ‘best known’ is the pion (pi-meson) which acts like the glue binding the protons and neutrons together in the nucleus.

        (left it out because of the anti-matter bit, which takes a little ‘splainin’)

        Reply
  10. mle detroit

    Oh, for cryin’ out loud. I didn’t know this, bet few people do. Shout it from the rooftops. And thanks, Dorothy.

    As a US Senator, Bernie Sanders’ financial disclosure reports are available to the public since the passing of the STOCK Act. These reports are far more detailed than income tax returns and go back to 2012. https://efdsearch.senate.gov/search/

    And paste this to your mirror or “vision board”:

    I’m tired of folks reading:
    “working class” as white
    “rural” as white
    “suburban” as white
    “Appalachian” as white
    “rust belt” as white
    “undecided” as white

    Reply
  11. Roger Smith

    So, a Senate version of HR40. Sanders should co-sponsor.

    Why? Reparations are shallow and not even relevant to the actual problems impacting the people who these fools want to throw cash at. Sure, if you can find some actual former slaves who happen to be alive, by all means give them some extra benefits. Otherwise this is a fools errand. Booker knows how stupid this is, which is perfect for him. Now he can ham up Identity Points for the cameras.

    Reply
    1. Tyrannocaster

      Reparations are the real Pandora’s Box. And damned if I’d even talk to somebody in America that thinks they should only be for black people. Oh, that’s right, Red lives don’t matter.

      Reply
    2. jrs

      Isn’t it people who would get reparations those who would be best equipped to say whether it would solve their actual problems? Is that you?

      Reply
      1. Tyrannocaster

        I’ll call your bluff.

        How many people do YOU know with NA ancestry? Answer: you have no clue, there are so many.

        Reply
      2. Roger Smith

        “My ancestors suffered at the expense of a deeply rooted social structure that exploited them and all I got was this lousy 4K Television and home stereo set.”

        This is what reparations will amount to, meaningless purchases that change nothing about the real problems in contemporary society. Instead it will make racial divisions worse as people begin to question why (in the typical understanding) their tax dollars are being given to other people who were never slaves for something for which the first person isn’t even responsible. And then as mentioned above, what about other groups? Certainly other people deserve money too? Native Americans, single moms, widowers? (Not even to mention foreign non-citizens whose families we’ve obliterated for decades) Maybe everyone deserves money. Yeah, if they are handing it out why can’t I get some?! I am a responsible citizen like any one else! Do you see where this leads?

        The reality is that you can never change what happened. History is something you learn from and while today is influenced by what came before, that doesn’t mean it’s the same.

        Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      This is reparations done in bad faith to spike Bernies chances with Southern Blacks.

      This issue magically appears out of nowhere in Neoliberal MSM in time for the 2020 campaign.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        “Iet .. The Distraction Games .. Begin !”

        Shouts the Imperial Senate, as Julius de Orange fiddles his twitter feed ….

        Reply
      2. WobblyTelomeres

        In 2016, it was John Lewis acting as if he’d never heard of Bernie Sanders that spiked those chances. And an awful lot of people here in the South listen very closely to John Lewis. Which made a lot of people’s heads spin as we thought he walked on water. I don’t think that anymore.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          John Lewis’s mentioning of “never having seen” Sanders in any marches in the South was a masterpiece of Nixonian double-talking deceit. Of course Sanders wouldn’t have been “in the South” when Sanders was protesting and working in Chicago at that same time. And I suspect the two-faced Lewis knew all about every particular detail of this at the time.

          No reparations for slavery. Never! Ever! Let the Black people of today pay reparations to the Union Army families who lost loved ones fighting to defeat the Confederacy.

          There. How do you like them apples in your pipe and smoke it.

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            the slaves didn’t owe any reparations to the union army, and neither do their descendants. plantation owners and their descendants might.

            Reply
    4. nippersdad

      The big tell for me was the word “commission.” Ferguson has had commissions, Flint has had commissions, neither is much better off for them years later. There is a saying about that which is presently eluding me, but it really wouldn’t surprise me to hear that the black misleadership class would want to kick that can down the road. In a country as impoverished as our own, reparations bills will be a really slippery slope that only the most slippery would want to come anywhere close to. This sounds like a trap for the less devious denizens of our political classes.

      I think Sanders is probably right that it is better to uplift existing underserved communities of all kinds first before trying to engage with something as divisive as that would turn out being. We can’t get a decent minimum wage in this country, paying back centuries of discrimination just isn’t going to happen any time soon.

      Reply
    5. GramSci

      Here’s the thing: who should pay for the reparations? Those of us whose ancestors died fighting against the Confederacy? It’s the billionaires who should pay. And who is high on the list of deserving recipients? Yes, black usians, but perhaps more so I dive pus Americans and Haitians and our mother Planet Earth.

      Reply
    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      No. Sanders should NOT co-sponsor this bill. I hope Sanders is prepared to vote aGAINST it for reasons of No More Special Racial Extortionism. The Reparations which certain Black Racial Extortionists are demanding are to be composed of wealth made on Stolen Indian Nations Land. And would these Black Racial Extortionists themselves pay any Reparations to the Indian Nations? No, they would not. Would they pay any Reparations to the Resource Colonization Victims of Appalachia? No, they would not. Would they pay any reparations to all the Spanish Land Grant families who had all their land stolen after the American conquest of Northern Mexico? No, they would not.

      Would they be happy seeing the money going to various filthy hustlers like Barak Obama and grubby little operators like “Reverend” Jesse Jackson and “Reverend” Al Sharpton? Yes, they would. Because they are themselves the same sort of dirty grubby filthy little hustlers.

      If Sanders supports this, Sanders will be defeated, either in the primaries or in the general. If Sanders supports this I will still support Sanders regardless . . . . but with a heavy heart, knowing that he will have pre-defeated himself by walking into the Social Justice Warriors’ filthy little Clintonite Reparations Black Racial Extortionism trap.

      Reply
  12. barrisj

    Re: telephone scams…for years we’ve used (a), call-screening, (b), call-blocking, and latterly (c), NoMoRobo. The volume of BS calls has dropped dramatically, and those scam calls leaving messages are promptly erased. Your advice is most apposite: never pick up/acknowledge calls/messages from unknown parties.

    Reply
  13. Epynonymous

    To paraphrase MSM…

    Who is (previously unknown centrist canidate) and why are they so popular??

    Reply
    1. Pat

      And to think the Democratic party is discouraging people from trying to oust incumbents by primarying them.

      Reply
    2. John k

      Where does the term moderate come from? Is there another group of dems far to the right of this group described as extreme?
      And is it ok to slash military spending as necessary as we expand domestic spending… or tax the rich to pay for it all?

      Reply
    3. Procopius

      I do wish people would stop referring to that kind of Democrat as “moderate.” They are, at best, “conservative” Democrats. Maybe it would be better to use their own nomenclature from 1985, New Democrats or Third Way Democrats or Blue Dog Democrats. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) is defunct so we probably shouldn’t use that any more.

      Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      It’s a precedent that I don’t recommend trying to follow, especially in the age of social media and paid-to-say-cruel-things sports mouths.

      Maybe Tony Bennett and the UVa kids need to give a little Ted talk to the Democrat Party elites and especially the Clintons in how to handle a humiliating defeat. Start with taking responsibility for it.

      Reply
  14. Pat

    Regarding the dizzying array of candidates, I’m beyond amused that the identity uber alles party is not able to find the ‘right’ identity candidate. Now it may be one of the few times I am amused, but just weeks ago I got to hear about a professor going on a rant that an old white guy was getting in the race. I made a point of mentioning to the person who told me about it, that old guy was probably the first time a Jewish candidate had gotten so far. But the party does seem to be trying to find the right ‘identity’ for the masses while not changing policy and failing. It’s the black woman former prosecutor now Senator! No, it’s the guy with a hispanic nickname from Texas! They want an openly gay midwesterner, that’s the ticket! Unfortunately the front runner is the creepy old white guy with name recognition who is fading fast. And lost in the shuffle is white female professor, white female former conservative now moderate, hispanic former cabinet member, black senator former troubled city mayor, etc, etc, etc. (I admit my favorite deluded candidate isn’t about identity but is about privilege. No Bloomberg, you haven’t got a chance.) To be clear the real identity of all these candidates with a few notable exceptions is well let’s just call them Donor Toady 1 through Donor Toady infinity as the true goal is continuing the status quo.

    God forbid the candidates actually want to do the job, not the donor’s will.

    Reply
    1. WJ

      “[D]oes anybody really believe that the “dizzying number of presidential candidates” has anything to do with passing the baton to the left?” asks Lambert.

      Maybe few people believe that now, but that is because they haven’t read the 981 articles, opinion pieces, and journalistic essays I and my confreres plan to write between now and the CA Democratic Primary!

      We will repeatedly argue, assert, insinuate, and (best of all) simply assume the truth of which Lambert is not yet aware, namely, that the glorious multitudinous diversity of the 2020 Democratic candidates is proof that the party has *already* moved Leftward in response to the young progressive class elected in 2018.

      (Because of Sanders’ unfortunate record of race-baiting and misogyny, we don’t plan to include his 2016 candidacy in our narrative; in any case, his positions no longer have the allure they once did because now Democratic voters find themselves inundated with a smorgasbord of distinct and yet equally progressive policy choices offered by a diverse cast of younger, hipper, more attractive candidates.)

      Some rural voters, a plurality of Wall Street analysts, and most suburban women will prefer Beto’s Irish Nacho truck-straddling progressivism.

      Younger urban coastal voters will gravitate toward the Oxford button-down progressivism of gay (but you wouldn’t know it!) meritocratic professionalism.

      Women of color will understandably want to support Kamala Harris’ tough-love progressivism (because she is an African-American woman! running for President!).

      Lots of women (and some especially enlightened men) who once supported Sanders but have since repented of their self-hating misogyny will happily embrace Warren’s certified professional accountant progressivism, which (you will be surprised to discover) we will on the one hand liken to the feisty combativeness of a younger HRC and on the other hand will present as the “most radical” of the many diverse progressivisms on offer for 2020 Democratic voters.

      The Party has become so progressive so quickly, in fact, that lots of voters will be overwhelmed by the variety of flavors of Medicare for Most of Us Who Count proposals. Because we think that voters like to vote for candidates who they imagine are like themselves (I know! Funny!), we won’t spend much time describing in detail the differences of policy among these totally equally progressive candidates. We think that spending too much time on these things is divisive, and, in certain cases, probably racist and homophobic.

      We haven’t decided exactly how this story will turn out in the end, but a lot of us suspect that, given the emergence of so many equally awesome and inclusive styles of progressivism suddenly on offer in the Democratic Party, the voters (or the party leaders–many of whom, might I point out, are also people of color and/or gay and totally more progressive now than in 2016) will ultimately decide that what they *really* need is a neutral, older, whiter, sager, manlier, handsier, statesman to harness the power of all these progressivisms in the way that Obama might have done, had he not been opposed by a recalcitrant Republican Congress.

      Cue Uncle Joe.

      Reply
  15. roadrider

    “The Robocall Crisis Will Never Be Totally Fixed”

    Of course not – as long as the telcomms are making money off the robocallers it will only get worse. The “solutions” they advocate are ridiculous – it does no good to see calls labeled as “Spam” as Verizon does because it doesn’t eliminate the annoyance factor of having the phone ring time after time with these bogus callers. I have tried the call blocking feature on my landline (I’m not a cell phone user) to no avail as the answering system will pick up and then the robocaller will record that and they will keep calling back using a different number after I block them.

    So I end up having to repeatedly erase piles of unwanted messages consisting of only a dial tone from my answering machine. I’m trying Nomorobo now – I hope that will work better.

    But I think that the only real solution is to ban the auto-dialers. Sorry politicians, charities, etc but I don’t pick up for you anyway.

    Reply
      1. diptherio

        All words are made up, dude. What’s yer point? FNORD

        Librivox has a good audio recording of that Schopenhauer. That stuff is like rhetorical nuclear weapons….

        Reply
        1. skk

          Good to read somebody else mention librivox. A lot of them are on Youtube too now. I have insomnia so I “sleep” to these 8, 9 hour audios often.

          Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Erisology is a made up word? So what?

        Erisology is a perfectly cromulent new madeup word. Makeupping perfectly cromulent new words is how we embiggen the language.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Wait a minute there Consumer! This is a God Fearing nation and Eris is one of those Pagan nature spirits! You want to go the way of Socrates? (The Pedofinder General has been taking Classics classes lately. Beware!)

          Reply
  16. DJG

    It is interesting that Jacob Bacharach ends his article (which you can read, as neither Lambert Strether nor I have spoiled it) with:

    In a recent interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mayor Pete avowed himself a capitalist but called himself a “democratic capitalist.” The moderating and equalizing force of democracy, he said, must hold in check the tendencies of capitalism toward inequality, concentration, and corruption. But it is hard to escape the way that American capitalism and American democracy have worked in tandem both to dissipate and to assimilate the radical democratic energies of queer liberation by giving a very circumscribed sort of gay a conditional membership to the club.

    Having just finished Mario Mieli’s book, Toward a Gay Communism, which was just re-released, although originally published in the early 1970s, I am gratified to see that Bacharach has (maybe unintentionally) absorbed Mieli’s critique. And Mieli’s critique still disqualifies Mayor Pete and his aspirations of looking like guileless Uncle Joe on the porch of the Shady Rest in Hooterville (Illinois).

    It isn’t just sexual oppression, which may or may not have diminished in the last forty years, that is a trouble for gayfolk. Capitalism alternately coopts and oppresses gayfolk. And capitalism now shows no signs of righting itself, earnest young Petes to its rescue or not. And one can argue that it is in the nature of capitalism to oppress minorities so as to make the pie smaller and let said pie rise to the top (as it were).

    I suspect that Key and Peele, who have done some highly amusing video about gayfolk in society (maybe because both of them are “biracial” and “have issues”), can deal with Mayor Pete in one three-minute skit.

    Which reminds me that it has been a while since I’ve watched their extra-salty skit Georgina and Esther and Satan….

    Reply
    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I doubt it.

      Maybe Key cuz he kicked ass in The Predator, but Jordan Peele has overdosed on Identity Politics.

      Peeles “Get Out” is good but FFS it didnt deserve best Original Screenplay, and ‘Us’ looks like more of the same. Same with ‘Twilight Zone.’

      Bring back Chapelle please.

      Reply
  17. a different chris

    >What I don’t get: Why would anybody pick up the phone if they don’t know who’s on the other end?

    Arrrrgggghhhhhh I can answer that: Somebody who has, and never has before, bought property that needs many and varied construction projects done, which not only involves multiple bidders and for a while different banks but government utilities as well.

    It is horrible, I keep getting from a thousand different “local” numbers the same “you need to know about Medicare” (and I’m not even close to Medicare age) and I have to answer every one so I don’t miss the plumber call back.

    Sigh. I cannot wait until this settles down. Its about 3 out of 4 calls are BS but what can I do.

    Reply
    1. Randy

      With an iPhone you can put the unwanted caller in your contact list. Then block them. Then when another unwanted call comes in add that one to the blocked contact. Rinse and repeat and you soon have a contact with a list of blocked callers assigned to it.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      If there is an actual live person on the other end of the line, I answer with; “You have reached the Outreach Cadre of the Institute for Remote Viewing and Cognitive Capture, LLC. Please leave a prospectus after the sound of the scream and representatives will get back to you during your next REM sleep period.” Then I scream into the telephone. I’ve done it twice so far.
      It takes a dedicated, fearless telemarketer to call back after that.
      Also, several years ago, someone suggested that one obtain a recording of the ten second beep and play that in the background of any conversation with a telemarketer. Tell them you are recording the call. Some are spooked by the thought and figuratively flee in terror.

      Reply
    3. ChristopherJ

      Answer the phone.

      Hello?

      Is that Christopher … ?

      Could you hold the line, please?

      Sure…

      Put caller on mute/hold – most smart phones have this feature.

      Walk away.

      Come back in 1/2 hour.

      Had one call still open… You there?

      Yes?

      Sorry, can’t take your call at the moment. Hang up.

      I know, cruel, but if your not in my contacts, I don’t want to talk to you. That includes the government. Write to me if that’s the case.

      Reply
    4. JCC

      One trick I use when I’m waiting on a call (bids, contractors, etc.) is, when the number is unrecognized, I pick up but don’t say a word. If it’s a recording, which most of the spam calls are, the distant end doesn’t kick off the recording until you say hello. After 4 or 5 seconds it hangs up automatically and puts your number on a sh*t list. If it’s a human, they are, of course, confused and repeatedly say “Hello.” A quick apology and we’re off in conversation. Far more often than not it’s a legitimate call.

      Works about 99% of the time.

      Admittedly, one advantage I have is that my phone area code is not the local area code where I live, and most of the robocalls go after the same area code they are set to call from. The majority of robocalls I get are not on my contact list (on the cell phone), so I can safely ignore them with no worry.

      Reply
  18. a different chris

    “The moment that we’re in is kind of illegible in giving us much insight on what comes next. That really will be decided by what happens now. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to get in.”

    Because I have an almost preternatural ability to BS! So this is right up my alley!

    Man, when does AOC get to hog-roast the next set of bankers, again? She is so clear and to the point. What a contrast.

    Reply
    1. Brindle

      I find it takes a certain amount of effort for me to read any Buttigieg statement—like he is kind of a Spock without the logic.

      Reply
    2. ChrisPacific

      You know, we’ve had a lot of politicians who talk a big game, promise a lot, then don’t deliver. I think people are tired of that. I’m different, because I don’t promise anything! Instead I’ll take the time to figure some things out, and then deliver something then. Or maybe I won’t. Illegible moment, remember? Anyway, the important point is: our actions in the present determine the future. Don’t listen to the people who say it’s the other way around! That’s one of the reasons I’m running. I’ll stand up for principles Americans can believe in, like forwards causality.

      Reply
  19. Lee

    Maurice Moe Mitchell tweet:

    I’m tired of folks reading:

    “working class” as white
    “rural” as white
    “suburban” as white
    “Appalachian” as white
    “rust belt” as white
    “undecided” as white

    This flattening and reductionist thinking is lazy and racist. Do better or lose always in every way.

    Meanwhile, FWIW, over at Daily Kos there is a brand new hardline identitarian getting a lot of positive play going by the username blackidentityextremist. While the name is an ironic jab at FBI racist paranoia*, the poster is of a kind that showed up during the last primary season and seemed bent on sowing racial tension.** Then it was most often directed at Sanders and his supporters, I guess because HRC was such a stalwart friend to the black community.

    * The Strange Tale of the FBI’s Fictional “Black Identity Extremism” Movement https://theintercept.com/2019/03/23/black-identity-extremist-fbi-domestic-terrorism/

    ** White Male Supremacy and “The Culture War” https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/4/3/1847479/-White-Male-Supremacy-and-The-Culture-War

    White People, Collect Your Damn People Already https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/4/8/1848714/-White-People-Collect-Your-Damn-People-Already

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This seems so laughably extreme as to make me wonder whether it is satire? Or perhaps even a hidden-hand black-advance false-flag Trump supporter hoping to disgust some White readers over to the Trump side of the seesaw. And hoping to re-inforce the support and loyalty of any “unauthorised” White readers who might happen to eavesdrop on this material.

      And getting away with it because he hits all the Social Justice Warrior and Black Ray-cyst notes just perfectly. Or at least perfectly enough to food the Social Justice Warriors who are too dumm to know the difference.

      Reply
  20. PKMKII

    The Arnade tweet reminds of a small strip mall in Indianapolis that years ago (may have changed by now) had consisted of a pawn shop, a liquor store, a tobacco store, and a gun store.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Years ago we were on an Alaskan cruise that stopped in Juneau, and sandwiched inbetween a couple of high end jewelry stores on the main drag that the cruise ship lines operate, was the Juneau Soup Kitchen.

      Reply
  21. John

    I have quite deliberately not been paying attention to the Democratic cattle call in progress. Bernie Sanders is the only person who appears to me to be serious and to have thought out positions on domestic affairs. He says little about the wider world and that is vital to me. No one else except Tulsi Gabbard has made a coherent statement as far as I know. O’Rourke looks like more of a neophyte than was Obama. The senators are captured by one corporate interest or another or one billionaire or another. In other words who cares? We have been down that road. We are still on that road and it leads to ruin and perdition for the country as a whole while the obscenely rich stuff their pockets. I see no solution that does not lie far to the left. I suppose it is necessary to run all this candidate fluff each day. I can scroll past it with the best of them, but for heaven’s sake; the mayor of South Bend is the hottest candidate at the moment? Perhaps that’s not a bad thing because given the cannibalistic nature of this process, he will have been ground up by late summer at the latest. There seem to be a host of others like the vanity entries in the Kentucky Derby who go off at odds of 80-1 and trot fetchingly at the back of the field. Wake me in a year.

    Reply
  22. DonCoyote

    more on PM 2.5 and post-Jackpot:

    NY government web site

    PM2.5 is also produced by common indoor activities. Some indoor sources of fine particles are tobacco smoke, cooking (e.g., frying, sautéing, and broiling), burning candles or oil lamps, and operating fireplaces and fuel-burning space heaters (e.g., kerosene heaters).

    So post-grid, there may be less PM2.5 outside but more inside.

    Reply
  23. michael biddy

    peaceout!

    on a windy morning i received a call on my land line’s answering machine from an elderly woman for whom i have done tree work over the years…. or so i thought….
    i dialed her number, and we had a warm conversation which included her being surprised at my having called her, and her very clear denial of having dialed me up!
    not the only time i have received robocalls allegedly from phone numbers of people i know.
    another way to circumvent the national do not call lists.

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      Have had that happen also, have also been called by others asking what I wanted.
      The real kicker was when I was called by my own number.
      As referenced above, a few second pause before saying hello is quite effective.

      Reply
  24. Soundbite

    Regarding Pete Buttigieg’s faux “outsider”, local mid-westerner persona: He didn’t just choose to work for McKenzie. For his very first job out of Harvard, he chose to work for the Cohen Group, which is the consulting firm of Clinton’s hawkish ex-Secretary of Defense, and is staffed primarily with retired generals. He then joined the Navy and went to Afghanistan as a military intelligence specialist. This is all in Wikipedia. You can google the Cohen Group; it’s enlightening.

    The neoconservative Washington Post columnist, Jennifer Rubin, effusively praised in him a column.

    Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    Isn’t it odd how the various Unabankers never did any time in the all-bar motel a decade ago, as their losing wagers on Wall*Street were made whole…

    While celebrities et al laid out some very serious money of their own to get their progeny into the right college, and are looking @ potentially decades in prison.

    Reply
  26. Foomarks

    The major similarity I see between Buttigieg and Obama is that they both served elected offices without establishing major policy successes or failures. Without any major standouts or pock marks, I wonder if this enables voters and pundits to apply whatever projection they want onto the candidate like a blank canvas.

    It will be interesting to see how far Buttigieg gets without having the kind of policy track records as the other candidates.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My guess is he won’t go far. Whatever else Obama is, his two primary assets were not being a Clinton and having milquetoast opposition to the Iraq War. This mattered. The DC elites don’t want to recognize this, and I doubt Obama personally does either because it means his candidacy wasn’t so much about him.

      The DC elites who don’t want or can’t admit the appeal of Obama might see Obamaesque qualities in Buttigieg, but despite people projecting onto Obama, he had major selling points that Buttigieg doesn’t have.

      Reply
      1. richard

        I agree he won’t go far. What I find a little maddening is how many on the booty gig bandwagon assume that another obama is what usians are looking for. The man may be personally popular, but his policies most surely are not, and they never were.
        I often wonder in cases like this how much of it is poor faith argumentation, and how many people are sincerely lost.

        Reply
    2. Soundbite

      Buttigieg, in fact, had huge failures during his short time in office. He fired the town’s first black police chief on the basis that the chief was being investigated by the FBI for illegal recording of conversations by his officers. But the chief was being investigated because the white police officers who had been recorded complained to the FBI. The tapes that were recorded are alleged to contain very racist remarks made by the white officers who complained to the FBI. And the FBI DROPPED THE INVESTIGATION.

      The city council was furious that Buttigieg didn’t consult them. The black community was furious. There was talk of recall. There were big settlements payed out by the city and the issue is still being litigated.

      This guy was NOT even a successful small town mayor.

      Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Half the state level GOP was tied up in an oil scandal. If memory serves, she was promoted because there weren’t many alternatives without losing the state legislature, so the state GOP had to dig deep for a local level Republican who wasn’t part of the scandal.

            Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Actually Obama scored some very major policy successes. Consequential policy successes whose echos will linger down the Halls of History for decades to come.

      He immunized and impunified the FIRE sector perpetrators. He immunized and impunified the Cheney-Bush War Criminals Against Humanity. He retro-legalized torture in functional terms by immunizing and impunifying its practitioners. He broke new ground in the casual assassination of American citizens overseas and the recreational drone-murdering of wedding parties etc. He found the Bush Tax Cuts ready to sunset after a pre-legislated interval of time . . . and conspired with Boehner and McConnell to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent and the new normal. He made Black America poorer than it had been for several decades and he did everything he could to make sure they stay that way. He established a standard of getting away with smooth brazen lying over and over and over again . . . a standard to which Trump can never hope to rise.

      He burned down all hope of hope. He left behind enough unhappy dissatisfied people that Hillarichelle Clintobama got defeated by promising more of the same. Obama brought us Trump.

      Never let it be said that Obama did not make Achievements of long-lasting Consequential importance. He did.

      We just have to remember who he was really working for during his entire time in office. ( Hint: its the people who are beginning to pay him off now. ” Workin’ for those big Tubmans” .)

      Reply
      1. Foomarks

        I just realized I forgot to be specific about the comparison: I meant that Buttigieg and Obama share the same lack of track record in public office *before* becoming president.

        If Obama had been around 2002 to vote for the Iraq War, I wonder how that would have affected his campaign in 2008.

        Reply
  27. Stephen Tynan

    California primary: consider the source.
    The Sonoma Index-Tribune, along with most other news outlets in Sonoma County are owned by lobbyist and power broker, Darius Anderson (business partner of Doug Boxer, son of former Senator Boxer and ex-brother-in-law of Tony Rodham). It’s not what you know.
    Here’s a bit of what they get up to in their spare time, which you’d never know if you relied on the local press:
    https://www.bohemian.com/northbay/graton-expectations/Content?oid=7290271

    Reply
  28. anon in so cal

    PM2.5 particular matter pollution:

    Apparently, some main culprits for Los Angeles’ particularly high levels are residential wood burning, road dust, vehicle gasoline and diesel emissions.

    Reply
  29. anon in so cal

    AIPAC targeting Bernie Sanders in Facebook ads in key states:

    “SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, who could be the first Jewish president of the United States two years from now, is currently the target of a pressure campaign on Facebook paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group known as AIPAC.

    The sponsored post urges Facebook users to add their names to an online petition telling Sanders that “America stands with Israel.”

    According to data from Facebook’s Ad Library, three versions of the sponsored post paid for by AIPAC are currently running across the country, focused mainly on users in three important Democratic primary states: California, Texas and Florida.”

    https://theintercept.com/2019/04/09/aipac-targets-bernie-sanders-facebook-ads-focused-key-democratic-primary-states/

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Hopefully tens of millions of people will keep filing by paper then. Hopefully enough “turbo-taxers” would be offended enough by this to go back to paper themselves to cause Turbo-Tax some genuine pain. Though I don’t know what the chances of that would be.

      Reply
      1. CWalsh

        Got bait and switched by TaxAct after using them for 11 years. My taxes are simpler nowadays anyway, but the “free efile” made it worth using for the federal return. Did them by hand, and will (hopefully) continue to do so.

        Reply
  30. stevelaudig

    “”There’s no silver bullet. You build tools and protective capabilities and mitigation techniques,” ATIS’ McEachern says. “This is not a problem that you solve.””

    I call bullshit.

    Make it a crime with the punishment to be fines and imprisonment.
    Both calculated by the victims’ number of minutes wasted. Add the minutes up.

    If the company makes 10,000,000 calls and each call takes a minute, the imprisonment is 10,000,000 minutes in jail and a fine of 10,000,000 divided by 60 [an hour] multiplied by the minimum wage, say $15/hour.
    Let’s do the math 10,000,000 minutes divided by 60 = 166,666 hours divided by 24 = 6944 days = 19 years jail time for company executives. Remember that is how much other people’s time they wasted. Now 166,666 multiplied by 15 = $2,499,990 [seems light to me but that’s the math]
    That is the minimum value of the other’s time wasted.
    That’s the math, that may be the justice.
    Value for value.

    [I won’t swear by the math]
    https://www.wired.com/story/robocalls-spam-fix-stir-shaken/

    Reply

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