2:00PM Water Cooler 5/27/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is Memorial Day, which I would normally take off. However, I’m going to be doing some traveling later in the week, so you get a Water Cooler today to make up for the open threads you’ll get later in the week. –Lambert

Trade

“Port Report: Maersk issues downbeat outlook on world trade” [Freight Waves]. “‘The moderation of container demand growth reflects a broad-based slowdown in all the main economies, following the recovery of 2016 and 2017, as well as negative effects from fast-forwarding of U.S. imports in the fourth quarter 2018 when retailers prepared for a tariff hike,’ Maersk said in a statement.”

States Trump is unlikely to win (NY, CA, IL) or are a lock (TX):

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 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Biden (38.3% 34.7%) and Sanders (18.8% 17.7%) both drop, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg up, as of May 23.

* * *

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Choosing Battles” [Amber A’Lee Frost, The Baffler]. “If you are among those Democrat voters who find Biden’s actions damning, you are likely a part of a progressive feminist-minded cultural minority—one that is overrepresented in entertainment and media, but whose cultural values don’t resonate with the vast majority of Americans—men or women. The elusive subjectivity of the professional managerial class is a recurring theme of their political failures. Just look at all the high profile women who found Hillary Clinton ‘inspiring’ and assumed every other woman would do so as well. Liberals often have little to no understanding of the political landscape. They emphasize categories like ‘women’ when what they really mean is ‘a few specific women.'” • Somebody should take out a business model patent on creating category errors.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Buttigieg pushes for massive fundraising haul to cement top-tier status” [Politico]. “Buttigieg is encouraging moneyed supporters to juice his campaign’s fundraising with a new bundling program, details of which were recently circulated to some donors and obtained by POLITICO. Members at different levels of the program pledge to raise anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000 for Buttigieg over the course of the primary campaign and receive special perks, including briefings with the candidate and senior campaign staff.” • Ooooh, perks!

Gravel (D)(1):

Sanders (D)(1):

Sanders (D)(2):

Good move by Sanders going on this show (here’s the YouTube).

Sanders (D)(3): “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tours the River Region, decries inequality across the area” [Montgomery Advertiser]. “His first visit brought him to the doublewide home of Pamela Rush, a woman living in Tyler, Alabama in rural Lowndes County. She has straight-pipe plumbing, where the sewage from her home that drains directly onto the ground outside — an issue that the Montgomery Advertiser wrote extensively about in a series last summer.” • Scroll down to the end for the photo at the Mt. Zion AME Church in Montgomery, AL (on a Monday, not a Sunday). Sanders looks to be getting a not unfriendly response from the people behind him; I can’t judge whether its enthusiastic by the standards for the congregation. I also don’t know the layout of the church, so I don’t know who the people behind him are: the chorus, the vestry, a Committee, organizers of the event… Nonetheless, a smart and well-advanced move by the Sanders campaign.

Sanders (D)(4): “Sanders, ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Pushy’. I am ‘Scum’: A Pulitzer Winner Speaks” [John Halle]. “So universal is the hatred for Sanders among the elite media class that the poster simply assumed that he could issue his one word attack [‘disgusting’] and receive universal approval in the comment thread. When I failed to deliver it, he referred to me as not being ‘house broken.'” • Well worth read for the detail. Lotta venom being carried around in those NPR tote bags.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It’s Time to Break it Open” [Black Agenda Report]. “In 1916 a socialist ran for president of the United States…. The 1916 socialist candidate got 600,000 votes, about 3% of the total…. In 1920, another socialist, Eugene Victor Debs ran for president. By then a widespread crackdown on socialists in public life was underway, and Debs was imprisoned for his opposition to World War 1. Debs got 900,000 votes, 4% of the total cast from his cell in a federal prison in Indiana…. In 1924 another socialist, Robert LaFollette ran for president on the ticket of the Progressive Party and got 5 million votes, one sixth of the total votes cast for president that year. The establishment was in a sort of panic. The lords of capital, the bankers, the industrialists, represented today as they were a hundred years ago by the Democrats and the Republicans were not about to allow themselves to be simply voted out of power. So they passed a briar patch of restrictive laws on the state level to make it increasingly difficult or impossible for socialist candidates to get on the ballot in the first place. These barriers to ballot access are so high,and have been in place so long that the left has for the most part accepted them like laws of gravity, unspoken, immutable, unchangeable and unnoticed.” • Very good (and this is where I picked up that Howie Hawkins is the presumptive Green candidate for President in 2020. Good!)

I had no idea that non-citizen voting was ever a thing. Thread:

Somebody in the US should copy this:

“Stop the nonsensical generational warfare” [The Week]. “Such generalizations are nearly always nonsense — motivated by a desire to score points in a present-day ideological dispute by assigning all of the people born between certain years to one side of a fractured political debate.”  • Yep. A way of signaling about political outcomes without thinking about how to build the political power to achieve them.

Stats Watch

There are no statistics today; the markets are closed.

Commodities: “In Malaysia, a snag in US search for alternative to Chinese rare earths” [South China Morning Post]. “[T]he extraction of these important elements is a dirty business that brings environmental damage many countries are unwilling to tolerate, and the squabbles born from this ‘not in my backyard’ attitude are being seen in Malaysia…. The US-China trade war, said the current chairman of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, Tan Bun Teet, had put pressure on Lynas to find solutions in a short space of time. But in February, Lynas auditors flagged a material risk to the business after the firm said it would not be able to export the water leach purification residue by September 2, the date its licence expires.” • The article includes some photos of a rare earth mine in China. The working conditions look awful, and I’m sure contamination is high, too.

Tech: “Let’s make laptops from radium. How’s that for planned obsolescence?” [The Register (Vlade)]. “Still, the principle of manufacturing products from fast-degrading materials could, to coin a phrase, strike two politicians with the same milkshake. Rather than wasting all that R&D expense on coming up with better hardware – or at least PR expense tricking customers into believing that’s what you’ve done – manufacturers could design products that actually need replacing. No more thinking up hidden ways for your branded kit to slow down and eventually stop working! Just build them so they physically fall to bits after a pre-determined period!”

Tech: “Opening the machine learning black box” [Bank Underground]. “We have seen that machine learning models can be evaluated and communicated very similarly to linear regression models using the Shapley regression framework. This is likely to help decision makers to make the most of the advantages of these models. On a broader level this may also help to accelerate advances in AI research. Particularly in the presence of ever larger and richer datasets (Big Data), this approach can help to make state-of-the-art models more transparent and reduce or even avoid biases.” • I can’t evaluate this article technically. But perhaps we have some banking experts — that’s the field to which the “the Shapley regression framework” will be applied — can chime in.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on earthquakes. “An 8.0 quake hits South America” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. (It’s been awhile since I looked at the Rapture Index; it’s still hovering just above the 180 floor.

The Biosphere

“Exploring the Origins of the Apple” [Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History]. “Several recent genetic studies have demonstrated that the modern apple is a hybrid of at least four wild apple populations, and researchers have hypothesized that the Silk Road trade routes were responsible for bringing these fruits together and causing their hybridization. Archaeological remains of apples in the form of preserved seeds have been recovered from sites across Eurasia, and these discoveries support the idea that fruit and nut trees were among the commodities that moved on these early trade routes. Spengler recently summarized the archaeobotanical and historical evidence for cultivated crops on the Silk Road in a book titled Fruit from the Sands, published with the University of California Press. The apple holds a deep connection with the Silk Road – much of the genetic material for the modern apple originated at the heart of the ancient trade routes in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kazakhstan. Furthermore, the process of exchange caused the hybridization events that gave rise to the large red sweet fruits in our produce markets.”

“Cost of flood buyouts has been rising over past decade” [Associated Press]. “The residents of [Mosby, MO, a] small riverside town have become accustomed to watching floods swamp their streets, transform their homes into islands and ruin their floors and furniture…. Finally fed up, [Elmer] Sullivan and nearly half of the homeowners in Mosby signed up in 2016 for a program in which the government would buy and then demolish their properties rather than paying to rebuild them over and over. They’re still waiting for offers, joining thousands of others across the country in a slow-moving line to escape from flood-prone homes….. Over the past three decades, federal and local governments have poured more than $5 billion into buying tens of thousands of vulnerable properties across the country…. The AP analysis shows those buyouts have been getting more expensive, with many of the costliest coming in the last decade after strong storms pounded heavily populated coastal states such as Texas, New York and New Jersey. This year’s record flooding in the Midwest could add even more buyouts to the queue. The purchases are happening as the climate changes.”

“Climate change can drive animals into vulnerable state of low genetic diversity” [Earth.com]. “An international team of researchers led by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has discovered that the alpine marmot has the least genetic diversity of any known animal to date. A genome study revealed that the species lost its genetic diversity during extreme climate events and has never been able to recover… ‘Our study shows that climate change can have extremely long-term effects on the genetic diversity of a species. This had not previously been shown in such clear detail,’ explained Dr. Ralser. ‘When a species displays very little genetic diversity, this can be due to climate events which occurred many thousands of years ago. It is remarkable that the alpine marmot managed to survive for thousands of years despite its low genetic diversity.'”

Water

“‘Avoid’ PFAS foam, new Michigan signs warn” [Mlive (MN)]. “The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is posting signs about the foam in advance of Memorial Day weekend [Van Etten Lake shoreline adjacent to the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda]. The signs follow a DHHS warning last month that people should avoid touching the foam, which is known to contain high PFAS levels… Pushback against health advisories is not new to Oscoda, where signs posted in 2012 warning people not to consume fish due to PFAS have been stolen or shot full of bullet holes.”

Game of Thrones

“Anarchist Arya Stark: This Game of Thrones Meme Breaks Down Characters by Political Organizing Tactics” [Teen Vogue]. I think this is the best one: “Speaking of Dany (Emilia Clarke), she doesn’t fare much better in this meme than her character does in the show. Dany is ‘The Nonprofit Executive Director’ who ‘Lets her ego drive all her decisions … [then] burns out.’ The analogy here is to someone running a major nonprofit organization who might be in it more for themselves than for the cause — something that rings true with Dany.” • Ouch!

“‘Game of Thrones,’ War Crimes, and the American Conscience” [Foreign Policy]. “Audiences were horrified when, in the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen, a leader often portrayed as a human rights defender, torched a city full of terrified civilians from astride her dragon…. Like survey experiments, pop culture—and audiences’ reaction to it—can be a window into a society’s values. What Game of Thrones has revealed more clearly than any survey is that most Americans care more about fighting wars justly than some political scientists would have us believe…. In a working paper recently presented at the International Studies Association, we asked 2,250 Americans whether or not they agreed with the statement that targeting civilians in war is categorically wrong. Eighty percent “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” with this statement…. Respondents were also asked to explain their answers: Why is it wrong to target civilians? The results were striking. Many of those who strongly agreed that targeting civilians is wrong refused to even answer. They declined to weigh cost-benefit calculations or consider the moral culpability of the civilian population or even invoke such explanations as the Geneva Conventions. ‘It’s just wrong,’ they said in their open-ended comments. Or: ‘You just can’t.’ One wrote: ‘Why would you even ask such a thing?’… [W]atching beloved characters turn into war criminals will always be deeply disturbing for American audiences.” • Good thing the Presidency isn’t a television series, eh? I have mixed feelings about this piece. On the one hand, for a country whose population doesn’t like to burn cities from the air, we’ve certainly done our fair share of it. On the other, it makes sense that moral thinking about war among the general population would be more nuanced than academics expect; and the since we live in an oligarchy, it’s unlikely that “the better angels of our nature” have a voice where it counts.

Health Care

“Washington state to offer first health ‘public option'” [Detroit News (MS)]. “A set of tiered public plans will cover standard services and are expected to be up to 10% cheaper than comparable private insurance, thanks in part to savings from a cap on rates paid to providers. But unlike existing government-managed plans, Washington’s public plans are set to be available to all residents regardless of income by 2021…. Instead, the state will dictate the terms of the public option plans but hire private insurance companies to administer them, saving the state from having to create a new bureaucracy – and guaranteeing a role for the insurance industry in managing the new public option.” • We tried this in Maine with Dirigo Health Care (folded into ACA): ” Insurance companies were expected to trim their costs, negotiate better rates with providers and reduce overall cost growth so that a fee assessed on insurers could be absorbed by cost savings and not passed on to premium payers…. As a result, the industry succeeded in allowing the fee to be passed on to premium payers.”

Our Famously Free Press

We are ruled by Harkonnens:

“Local-newspaper giant GateHouse Media is laying off journalists across the US in cuts their CEO is calling ‘immaterial'” [Poynter Institute]. “Over 115 layoffs have been documented at 45 local newsrooms in states including Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, California, and Massachusetts, with potentially more to come…. When Business Insider talked to Mike Reed, CEO of GateHouse’s parent company New Media Investment Group, he downplayed the cuts, calling them “immaterial,” without providing a specific number of cuts but denying the 200 number, calling it ‘a lie.’ ;We have 11,000 employees, a lot to me is 2,000,’ he said… But posts on social media and local journalists are telling a different story. Reporter Andrew Pantazi of the Florida Times-Union, a GateHouse publication, is the unit chair of the paper’s guild and is tracking the layoffs in a spreadsheet. He says through Twitter DMs, emails, and texts, that he’s confirmed at least 115 layoffs…. Also on Thursday, New Media Investment Group announced that it would extend its $100 million stock buyback program for another year.” • Lol. Priorities!

“More Ohio Journalists Slashed as Gatehouse Media Continues to Purge” [Cleveland Scene]. “Dispatch editor Alan Miller wrote in a column Friday that the paper ‘lost several colleagues on Thursday to layoffs resulting from the significant pressures on the newspaper industry.’ These significant pressures, which undoubtedly exist, have been used to excuse the disemboweling of the American press by get-rich-quick investors like Gatehouse’s New Media Invesment Group, a company that has grown in infamy for its acquisitions and ensuing staff reductions. ”

“GateHouse Media lays off journalists across the country” [Poynter Institute]. “This is the second round of layoffs for GateHouse in 2019. Around 60 were laid off in January and February amid first-quarter losses… The company ended 2018 with a $18.2 million profit on revenues of $1.53 billion.”

“The Ponzi scheme of marauding news conglomerates” [Jim Rich, Medium]. “Just what the hell is the end game or business model for these companies as they continue to cut their newsrooms to oblivion? The answer is simple, if painful, and the business model is as equally straightforward: A small group of executives at each corporation finding a way to maintain the ability to draw enormous, disproportionate salaries from these conglomerates. How do they do that? By showing shareholders/Wall St. that these newspapers are eking narrow profits.” • “Jim Rich is former Editor-in-Chief at the NY Daily News & Executive Editor at HuffPost.” And here he is, posting at Medium. Anyhow, the whole article is worth a read; the vultures wouldn’t be picking over the carcass of the news business if Silicon Valley (Google, Facebook) hadn’t already destroyed it.

Meanwhile, somebody’s got to get the paper out:

Class Warfare

“The Massive, Overlooked Role of Female Slave Owners” [History]. “Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, a history professor at the University of California-Berkeley, is compiling data on just how many white women owned slaves in the U.S.; and in the parts of the 1850 and 1860 census data she’s studied so far, white women make up about 40 percents of all slave owners… Slaveholding parents ‘typically gave their daughters more enslaved people than land,’ says Jones-Rogers… They bought, sold, managed and sought the return of enslaved people, in whom they had a vested economic interest. Owning a large number of enslaved people made a woman a better marriage prospect. Once married, white women fought in courts to preserve their legal ownership over enslaved people (as opposed to their husband’s ownership), and often won. ‘For them, slavery was their freedom,’ Jones-Rogers observes in her book.” • Sheds new light on the United Daughters of the Confederacy and their invention and propagation of the Lost Cause myth (comparable in its insane destructiveness to the Dolchstoßlegenden).

“It’s Never Been Easier to Be a C.E.O., and the Pay Keeps Rising” [New York Times]. “Despite all the structural forces aiding companies’ bottom lines and stock prices, boards continue to act as if C.E.O.s have unique powers to deliver better returns — and have gone to great lengths to compensate them. The most prominent example: Tesla approved a pay package to Elon Musk valued at as much as $2.3 billion. It’s not just the highest sum for last year; it’s the biggest ever, according to compensation experts…. C.E.O. pay increased at almost twice the rate of ordinary wages.”

“Book Review: ‘A Theory of Imperialism’ shines light on the history of capitalism and way forward” [Ajit Singh, Medium]. “Examining historical data for several countries, primarily India, the Patnaiks marshal extensive evidence to demonstrate that increasing use of the tropical landmass to satisfy metropolitan demands, in terms of exports, results in declining in per capita foodgrain output and availability in the periphery. Decreasing foodgrain availability has the effect of increasing absolute poverty, in the form of declining per capita caloric and protein intake over time. The income deflation and immiseration imposed on working peoples of the periphery so that the metropolis can obtain increasing supplies of tropical commodities while warding off the threat of increasing supply prices and ensuring the stability of the value of money under capitalism, is an essential feature of imperialism — a feature that capitalism cannot do without.”

About living in your car in Silicon Valley. Thread:

Why I have a soft spot for Felix Salmon.

News of the Wired

“End the Plague of Secret Parenting” [The Atlantic]. “Thankfully at least some research exists on what you might call ‘secret parenting,’ even if much of it is more qualitative than strictly data-based. One example is a 2014 paper in Gender, Work & Organization based on interviews with 26 mothers of small children. The women returned again and again to the issue of secrecy: “Hiding being a mother and engaging in strategies for secrecy were ubiquitous themes in our interviews,” the authors wrote. ‘Many women who had gone back to work tried to conceal that they had small children or pretended that their children’s interests were of little importance to them.’ Thankfully at least some research exists on what you might call ‘secret parenting,’ even if much of it is more qualitative than strictly data-based. One example is a 2014 paper in Gender, Work & Organization based on interviews with 26 mothers of small children. The women returned again and again to the issue of secrecy: ‘Hiding being a mother and engaging in strategies for secrecy were ubiquitous themes in our interviews,’ the authors wrote. ‘Many women who had gone back to work tried to conceal that they had small children or pretended that their children’s interests were of little importance to them.'”

For some reason, the Twitter thinks this image may “contain sensitive material”:

I’m balking at pie charts.

The most neoliberal business model ever (you have to keep watching):

“‘Wow, What Is That?’ Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects” [New York Times]. Caption of the video: “Videos filmed by Navy pilots show two encounters with flying objects. One was captured by a plane’s camera off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 20, 2015. That footage, published previously but with little context, shows an object tilting like a spinning top moving against the wind. A pilot refers to a fleet of objects, but no imagery of a fleet was released. The second video was taken a few weeks later.” • Checking to see if the quarantine should stay in place, is my theory.

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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 (CR):

CR writes: “Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 4/27/19.” Oooh, snow melt!

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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.

105 comments

    1. Wukchumni

      Me too, enjoyed the ‘Tour de Mormon’ part, funny.

      On that tangent, i’m about halfway through “Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders” a book about Mark Hofmann, a fellow in SLC who was quite the forger of antique Mormon & other documents, that killed a few people and maimed himself with pipe bombs in 1985.

      An enjoyable ‘true crime’ read.

      Reply
  1. Wolf

    ““If you are among those Democrat voters who find Biden’s actions damning, you are likely a part of a progressive feminist-minded cultural minority—one that is overrepresented in entertainment and media, but whose cultural values don’t resonate with the vast majority of Americans—men or women. ”

    Wow, just… i think the attempt here is to minimize those people who DON’T like Biden. They go on to describe Hillary supports as the same people. HAHHAHAHAHA actually those Hillary supporters are BACKING Biden not criticizing him. Your just trying to minimize a VALID complaint for, well… women who don’t like being creeped on.

    Reply
    1. Nakatomi Plaza

      I don’t entirely agree with her either, but Amber A’Lee Frost is hardcore. She’s not playing games with identify politics anymore; she’s all about Bernie, and she’s awesome.

      And Biden getting handsy at public events isn’t a big deal for most Americans. The more progressives focus on that non-story the less they’re focusing on what a horrible public servant Biden has been in almost every respect.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        His vote to invade Iraq partially responsible for the dead Americans being honored today.

        “Public service” indeed.

        Chris

        Well spoken, but why not use your voice to pull down the fakes posited by the Democrats to thwart Sanders?

        What do you think of voting for Trump, should Bernie not be nominated, as a means of punishing and reforming the Democrats for the next go ’round?

        How do you think he got elected last time?

        Reply
        1. Chris

          I can’t in good conscience vote for Trump. If Biden is nominated, I can’t in good conscience vote him either. I’m in no position to punish anyone. I don’t have the time to waste on that kind of malice.

          No one who is profiting from the current system, or who is invested in the current system, is going to listen. Arguing on the Internet will get you blacklisted, talked about, you’ll lose friends, clients will potentially find out about what you’re saying and stop doing business with you, your kids will be treated poorly, etc. there is no way to win this battle. There will be no one who remembers you fondly for fighting for your position in public. And if you prove to be correct, people will hate you more.

          So I choose not to fight.

          I will protect my own. And help those who ask for it. That’s really all any of us can do. But if you think you can do better… I wish you luck and success.

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I don’t entirely agree with her either, but Amber A’Lee Frost is hardcore. She’s not playing games with identify politics anymore; she’s all about Bernie, and she’s awesome.

        I think one can distinguish the ugly reality of Biden’s actions from their effect in the Democratic primaries (which is my primary concern). From a purely technical perspective, the videos and photos are oppo. And the oppo doesn’t seem — within the primaries — to be getting much traction. Why? Well, who exactly is the oppo meant to persuade? The broad electorate? Frost adduces instances of women, especially black women (“Listen to black women!”) who think that Biden’s behavior isn’t all that bad; perhaps repetition will change their minds; perhaps not. If not the electorate, then the base, especially party apparatchiks (and allies in the press)? That’s not working either. Frost mentions “the elusive subjectivity of the professional managerial class.” I don’t think it’s all that elusive. Liberal Democrats are not going to leap over a block (Bill Clinton) and stumble at a straw (Biden) because their attitude to actions like Biden’s is purely instrumental; does it advance their candidate (and class interests), or not? If Biden nobbles Sanders, then a little handsiness is a small price to pay. Anyhow, the sunglasses! The car! The sincerity!

        NOTE Also, similar oppo didn’t do the job against Trump, did it?

        Reply
    2. Chris

      It’s shaping up to be even worse in 2020 than it was in 2016.

      I do not go on social media anymore to look at anything besides my friend’s pictures of their kids. I do not post on FB or Instagram. I don’t talk about politics with any acquaintances. I never discuss it at work or in work adjacent situations. It is much safer and better to keep all my thoughts to myself. I dont even discuss these things with my family. Because everyone who is trying to make “Bernie the Bomber” happen, every journalist who refuses to discuss what is happening with Julian Assange, every pol who asks us to ignore “purity tests” is not going to accept the results of the next election unless they are the results that they want.

      I’m pretty sure we won’t see a soft coup attempt if Trump is re-elected. I don’t believe there will be a peaceful revolution if Biden or some other approved empty bag isn’t installed. Normalcy will be shoved down our throats until we sing the praises of Obama and Clinton like loyal slaves.

      I keep thinking that someone who can honestly discuss policies to deliver on less war, a better standard of living, cheaper medicine, and more jobs, should win by a landslide. But I also think that no one who can do so will be allowed to get to the general election.

      It is ever more depressing to know what is going on and not be able to change what is happening.

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      An individual’s ‘Pi’ chart indicates one’s ‘area’ of expertise. [Especially useful to “squares.” Hence, “Square, the Circle.”]

      Reply
    1. richard

      Yes, it was good to see a (relatively) strong anti-war video from bernie
      I still don’t think iraq was a “blunder”
      but apparently I’m wrong
      and “we” didn’t commit any “crimes”
      this really is like conducting psychotherapy
      with all the taboos and trigger words
      perhaps I should excuse him
      but I don’t
      I’d like him to distinguish himself even more as a peace candidate
      There are so many votes there imnsvfho
      It was a good quality vid too (though filmed in an elevator hallway, literally 10 minutes between things) and felt affecting
      though I’m rather easy to manipulate
      and maybe not a good test audience
      for instance, I always like when he seems just on the edge of getting really pissed off
      I could see being manipulated that way
      tangent, sorry

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        I understand your point of view, and I believe a lot of NC readers share it. However, the norms police have succeed in making displays of anger and straight talk borderline/actual deviance. Moreover, Sanders’ job if he is to win is to appeal to a broad swathe of voters, rather than being loved by his base or likely base members who will probably vote for him.

        Trump wasn’t even anti US military adventurism, he has just displayed an unusual degree of consistency (for him) in being of the view that the US can’t be at odds with China and Russia at the same time, China is the bigger and more powerful threat, and we therefore need to de-escalate with Russia (notice that Trump has in practice relented with the escalation of sanctions). Sanders has to have noticed what that got him. It may be that Sanders has become very cognizant that he’ll have to go after the war machine step by step, and making bold statements runs the risk of overpromising plus is self-defeating (they’ll be out to get him in a huge way).

        Reply
        1. Joe Well

          I would love to read an eventual longer-form analysis of how candidates can challenge the war machine.

          Reply
          1. Robert Valiant

            Finding acceptable/effective rhetoric to challenge the war machine is one thing; actually challenging the war machine once in office is something completely different (and likely impossible, IMO).

            Reply
            1. Chris

              I agree. There’s too much money for anyone in the MIC to give it up. They will resist any attempts to curtail the warmachine.

              Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > how candidates can challenge the war machine.

            Take away the war machine’s troops. Remember that Trump got applause at a military-ish rally in South Carolina for saying the Iraq was a mistake. Also high military casualties correlated to Trump votes. I would love to see Sanders take on the MIC in a full stadium in flyover where the troops come from; I think he would do well. At the same time, Sanders is a not-unsavvy strategist; if he thinks the country isn’t ready for that, I can defer to his judgment.

            In terms of concrete accomplishments, Sanders actually got a bipartisan resolution against the Yemen war passed by both Houses. I don’t see another candidate who’s achieved anything remotely similar.

            Reply
            1. Joe Well

              >>Take away the war machine’s troops.

              I’ve always thought about that. I grew up in a community where the military recruited heavily. Not flyover country! Greater Boston! Maybe drive-past-it-on-the-highway country…. I seriously considered ROTC. My father’s experience as a Vietnam vet, plus extremely generous financial aid that beat what ROTC would have given me, helped to convince me against that.

              However, upper-middle-class pacifists like the Quakers (who are wonderful people!) left me cold, even though it aligned more closely with what my parents said about the Vietnam War. Either they have to provide alternate jobs or they have to shut up.

              If we could just match up antiwar veterans with some kind of career counselors and send those vets back to their communities to do alternative recruiting, that would be key. You can’t just say “hey kids! don’t sign up with this person who wants to give you a full-time job, housing, food, travel, work experience and purpose! Have your parents send you to college like mine did!”

              >> I don’t see another candidate who’s achieved anything remotely similar.

              Amen!!

              Reply
        2. dearieme

          Trump … being of the view that the US can’t be at odds with China and Russia at the same time

          It ought to be astonishing that an oafish TV celebrity grasps this point while the whole of the “best and brightest” in The Swamp don’t. Ought to be.

          Or has The Swamp wanted to press Russia into alliance with China for some nefarious purpose of its own?

          Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    “Exploring the Origins of the Apple” [Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History].
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Nice article and I can relate to it here in applelachia, where hopefully the myriad of trees will last until around 2132, as apple trees are the longest lived of all fruit trees. I visited an orchard about 130 years old in Sequoia NP the other day @ a place called Traugers Creek just off of Mineral King road @ 4,600 feet, too late to see them blooming. (only around 10 of the 40 or so trees were in bloom when I saw them last year, the other 30 trees, the main trunk had long since died, and 3 inch wide non-bearing suckers had sprouted alongside, some 30 feet tall)

    The following link described just one tree, they didn’t go back far enough to find the orchard.

    Malus sylvestris (apple) is a 7 m tall deciduous
    fruit tree that has not been considered for
    ranking as an invasive species by CalEPPC. Its
    CalFlora distribution indicates a patchy
    distribution in southern and central California
    (Appendix G). The directed surveys found this
    species in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks
    along Traugers Creek. The notes of the survey
    crew suggest that a single tree from a residual
    planting is creating a population of seedlings in
    Traugers Creek. Animals and water disperse its
    seed.

    https://store.usgs.gov/assets/MOD/StoreFiles/PDF/230779_ofr02170.pdf

    Malus sylvestris, the European crab apple, is a species of the genus Malus, native to Europe. Its scientific name means “forest apple” and the truly wild tree has thorns.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus_sylvestris

    Apples of North America: Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks-by Tom Burford, is a wonderful book encompassing almost 200 varieties, all of which came about as a result of an apple seed being planted.

    Reply
    1. I knew Eugene Genovese

      Yes. But has it really come to the point that we have to start saying “enslaved people” rather than ‘slaves’?!?

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        One tries not to grind one’s teeth too much, especially when the scholarship is good.

        Incidentally, I’ve read both The Mind of the Master Class and Roll Jordan Roll, and I can’t recall discussion of significant slave ownership by (white) women in either. And in the former, there were plenty of letters and diaries quoted, from women. #JustSaying.

        Reply
  3. Summer

    RE: “In Malaysia, a snag in US search for alternative to Chinese rare earths”

    Looks like places like Malaysia have something to say about the “morality” of mass production – whether or not a country considers themselves communist, socialist, capitalist, democratic, or authoritarian.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder if Trump will put sanctions on Malaysia until they let Lynas mine and pollute to their heart’s content? Gotta have those rare earths and they are harder to get than some of those Pokemon!

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Ecologically, Malaya (West Malaysia) is already pretty heavily damaged. I fly over it regularly and see horizon to horizon monocrop palm oil in all but its most rugged central highlands and swampiest coasts. The rain forests, once as biodiverse as the Amazon, were logged and burned off (mostly by Chinese migrants) in the 1900s to create the Malaya rubber plantations. Before that it was tin mining in the red laterite soil.

        Reply
  4. Oregoncharles

    “A Theory of Imperialism’ shines light on the history of capitalism and way forward””

    Imperialism predates capitalism by 3 or 4 thousand years. The study results make sense, but don’t depend on capitalism.

    Arguably, some ancient empires were far more ruthless than modern capitalism. I think the relationship is that capitalism concentrates power, compounding imperialism.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      3 or 4 thousand years ago, people still had enough wits to survive in less developed areas and every piece of land wasn’t owned. There was somewhere to run, somewhere to hide.

      And if control freaks got unbearable in the group one was in then there was still more room to get away to or send the control freaks off to…

      Sometimes people ran unwittingly into the arms of one control freak to escape another…

      Then can the point where the control freaks created a God so control followed you wherever you ran and the God told them you were on their land.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        I would rather face a true believer almost anytime than the ancient Assyrian Empire at all. At least the believer is likely to leave you with something like your life for instance. I think it is not the system but the people using it to justify whatever they wanted that is the problem.

        Reply
      2. dearieme

        3 or 4 thousand years ago … every piece of land wasn’t owned.

        Perhaps depends on where you lived. There’s a pretty high chance that three thousand years ago every acre of Britain was owned.

        Mind you, until the mid 16th century there was one little patch of Britain that wasn’t owned and probably hadn’t been for several hundred years: the Debatable Land, a tiny buffer area between Scotland and England at the SW extreme of the border. The two realms had agreed that neither claimed it. How it was decided who had what rights to graze it I don’t know.

        Reply
    2. eg

      I mean, really, does it matter what model or name exploitation takes? Capitalism, Feudalism, Imperialism — the result is the same for the mopes.

      Reply
  5. Knifecatcher

    Re: “perks”, as mentioned in the Mayor Pete article…

    I made a pretty significant donation to Bernie in 2016 and have been getting the expected push to repeat – “as one of our biggest donors”, etc.

    That got me thinking about how they could improve their pitch. Maybe they could have tiered donation levels, and call the top tier something like “class traitors”.

    So here’s the pitch – every donor at the “class traitor” tier gets…

    Nothing. No rubber chicken dinner, no special meeting with the candidate, no backstage with a celebrity proxy, nothing. Because money shouldn’t allow you to buy a candidate.

    It would work on me anyway.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Just invite the neoliberal personal training video guy to the no-perks party. Then watch me write a big check.

      Reply
  6. marym

    Here are additional links for history of non-citizen voting:

    National Review 02/2019
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/noncitizen-voting-the-lefts-next-target/

    Noncitizen voting was actually the status quo for much of U.S. history. It wasn’t until 1926 that Arkansas became the last state to ban noncitizens from voting, and 1928 that the first federal election without enfranchised aliens occurred. Since Article I of the Constitution provides that those who can vote in elections for the most numerous house of their state legislature may vote in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives, many congresses in our history have seen members elected from constituencies with significant populations of alien voters.

    Time 07/2017
    http://time.com/4859478/immigrant-voters-history/

    Before the Civil War, Southern states were initially resistant to alien suffrage, given that many immigrants were abolitionists; the 1861 Confederate Constitution mandated a prohibition on voting by persons of “foreign birth.” But the region eventually relented after slavery was abolished, as the South needed as much cheap labor as it could get.

    Reply
  7. tokyodamage

    re: “Sanders, ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Pushy’. I am ‘Scum’: A Pulitzer Winner Speaks” [John Halle].

    I’m a Bernie person and hate pundits as much as the next person, so in theory I’m the perfect audience for this. But, ugh. What kind of ego do you need to do a whole blog about losing an internet argument? You’re not special, dude. Everyone’s been there, but we didn’t all need to write a novel about it.

    So, social media turns otherwise normal people into online psychos? Duh! Again, it’s not enough of an original thought to warrant a whole blog.

    Also: someone is a ‘confirmed anti-Semite’ just for one time saying Bernie is ‘pushy’? Yaaawn. I’m not exactly thrilled that the left is now joining the right in pushing bad-faith crying-wolf ‘AnTiSeMiTisM!11!!!’ arguments. . .

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      The sadly omitted point is that a non-pushy politician would be pretty useless. It’ an unintentional term of praise.

      I agree that the “anti-semitic” conclusion is not justified.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        “a non-pushy politician would be pretty useless”

        Once again proving Bernie isn’t a real Democrat. :)

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I agree that the “anti-semitic” conclusion is not justified.

        By current discourse “norms,” “pushy,” when applied to a Jew, most certainly is anti-semitic; like “cheap” it’s a well-known trope. Regardless of what you or I might feel, I would bet those or similar norms were enforced in Halle’s online milieu as well.

        Reply
    2. WJ

      I suppose it is worse to be “pushy” about x than to “fight for” x because everybody knows that claiming to “fight for” x is not really about achieving x, but being “pushy” about x is really about getting x, or as close to x as possible.

      Journalists hate principled politicians for many reasons, one of them being journalists’ inability to understand principle.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What kind of ego do you need to do a whole blog about losing an internet argument? You’re not special, dude. Everyone’s been there, but we didn’t all need to write a novel about it.

      I think you’re missing the point. Here it is:

      [T]he poster in question was not, unlike myself, a random internet nobody but someone who would be uncontroversially characterized as a media elite. Indeed, he is a Pulitzer Prize winner, having been employed for many years at the Washington Post among other prestigious outlets.

      This should not come as a surprise: mainstream, corporate media contempt, indeed, sheer hatred for Sanders has been obvious since his 2016 campaign began to pick up steam, anyone not recognizing it by this point being willfully blind. So universal is the hatred for Sanders among the elite media class that the poster simply assumed that he could issue his one word attack and receive universal approval in the comment thread. When I failed to deliver it, he referred to me as not being “house broken.”.

      The author is using an individual case to make a systemic point. That’s not unknown, and hardly “writing a novel.” Although, just as with a novel, you have to read to the end.

      Reply
  8. Joe Well

    The generational generalities are generally degenerating into stupidity. But the fact remains that, all else being equal, the younger you are in this country the more family-blogged you are, in socioeconomic terms, and the less likely you are to support regressive policies. We need to recognize this reality without making more of it than it is or coming up with fake groups like “millenials” and “Boomers”.

    In many unionized workplaces and academia, there is explicitly a two-tier system of worker-nobility and worker-peasantry, and the dividing line is mostly to do with whether you go in before the two-tiers were put into place, the older lording over the younger. And don’t get me started on housing.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      At the elite level, generational politics matter. JFK wasn’t simply a random guy who became President. He was the most prominent member of a class of non-WASPs who were entering politics.

      With the Democratic Party restricted to both control by Clinton loyalists, promptly put in charge by Obama, and 14 states where the GOP doesn’t really exist, the generation which runs Team Blue is atrocious. Larger groups such as teachers and soldiers (more of a drafted situation; Iraq will show up in various ways in the hierarchy as people simply left who might have stayed but they didn’t get shot at enough) get a more diverse set of applicants, but politically, generations matter within self selective groups.

      Reply
      1. Joe Well

        I see people who grew up in very similar circumstances to mine, or with even fewer advantages, who availed themselves of opportunities that are unimaginable to me because they were born a few decades earlier. For an entire generation of Americans, being a tenured university professor, or a lawyer, or a career journalist or an artist or whatever, without family connections, is like becoming an astronaut. And those same tenured university professors and lawyers want to go preaching and it grates.

        And their “progressive” criticism of business is especially grating because you have a lot better (though still bad) chance of breaking in there.

        Birth cohort is absolutely one of the fault lines of inequality, like race, sex, education, disability, etc. The anger is real and it is entirely justified.

        Reply
        1. Joe Well

          I’m feeling this very strongly today because a European friend visited. They’re going through the same issues there more or less but with free healthcare and almost-affordable housing).

          We are both approaching 40. I gave up on academia early on first for the public sector then the business world, he stuck with it right through the postdoc level. He is looking for a full-time job literally anywhere on earth. He had a poorly paying job at a “progressive” nonprofit but there was so much dishonesty he couldn’t take it anymore. He asked me plaintively if there were any other outspoken leftist academics in the US with tenure, like Chomsky. I told him as far as I knew, there were, but they were all close to Chomsky’s age.

          Like me, his older family members ask him why he doesn’t get one of the marvelous academia jobs people of their generation got. It eats at your soul.

          We agreed that in retrospect we would have been better off as plumbers but it seems likely that somehow plumbers will be gig-economied out of existence within our working lives.

          And we are the fortunate few who don’t live in flyover, and can travel, and aren’t crushed by student debt!

          Reply
    1. clarky90

      Re “The extraction of these important elements is a dirty business….”

      I can identify most old/older cars by sight. An old Ford was distinct in form from an old Citroen, Lada or Datsun. Now, cars look the same. A Great Wall pickup (Chinese brand) looks the same as a Mercedes pick up.

      Cell phones also all look the same to me. A $2000 Apple phone has the same form/utility as a $200 Xioami phone.

      I see a developing confluence of cars and cell phones. Soon, cars will predominantly be battery powered, and essentially, unfix-able. Today, a dropped or flooded a cell phone is tossed and replaced. A phone that is more than 3 or 4 years old is often just abandoned because of a worn out battery, jacks or “archaic” software.

      Watching Scotty Kilmer’s “How cars work” channel
      https://www.youtube.com/user/scottykilmer

      Modern cars are full of computers, and irreparable. They are designed to last for about 100,000 miles and then be thrown away. (for instance, the Mercedes Benz now has a plastic (!) inlet manifold). If the car is in a flood or crash before 100,000 miles, it becomes a write-off from that point.

      My small 1997 Toyota has no computers in it. It has already driven 200,000 miles. It is a well built, economical car that is inexpensive to service and repair. I will keep it going (God willing).

      The idea that electric cars are environmentally sound is a myth. (as opposed to permaculture, which is an actual solution). I walk around my little city and the rubbish bins are overflowing with pizza boxes, bags of fast food detritus……. I predict a future of piles of abandoned, worn out, out of date electric cars. Cars will be the new cell phones.

      I am an environmentalist. The gulf between “theory” and “practice” is widening. In practice, most environmental theory is, ultimately toxic to the environment.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        “Now, cars look the same.” Agreed, but that is because of aerodynamics, fuel standards and safety requirements.

        No car can be imported into the U.S. without many being destroyed in safety tests, which obviates the importation of a couple dozen odd beauties.

        Travel in Africa, South America or Europe and you will see unusual and beautiful small production number cars, new and old.

        Keep your beater. Anything with a screen is to be avoided, especially a Tesla, for which there are no replacement parts available, once it’s out of warranty.

        https://www.thedrive.com/news/27945/a-single-component-can-brick-older-teslas-and-tesla-wont-fix-it

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          No, cars in the US look more alike than they used to for other reasons. Notice the lack of colors? When I was a kid, you’d see blue cars, even robin’s egg blue. And green! Dark and almost lime. The first car I drove (the family’s second car, a Datsun, was the one I got to use regularly) was a perky green. And more shades of red….and fake wood panels!

          Reply
            1. Pespi

              A non boring color is often $1,900 to $2,500 on even a small sedan. The automakers put a premium on this small deviation from the norm, and that was that.

              This is the second comment I’ve read in a few days about the lack of car color, maybe the plants blooming has put a notion that color is good back into our minds.

              Reply
            1. drexciya

              Well, I don’t know about hard proof, but my driving teacher mentioned this once. She told me that the company she worked for, explicitly choose to drive white cars for driving lessons. And she implied that people do react differently to cars which are red.

              Reply
      2. RMO

        I hate to be the one to give you the bad news clarky90, but your 1997 Toyota actually does have computers in it.

        Many cars and trucks have also been equipped with plastic intake manifolds (with varying degrees of success when it comes to how long they last) since the early 90’s too.

        Any car in a flood is a write-off – with the possible exception of a really high-value classic or vintage car where the market value is high enough that rebuilding it from the ground up is economically viable. In that case, magic can be wrought, up to the level of what is known in the aviation world as a “two-rivet rebuild”

        Reply
  9. martell

    Regarding GoT, I’m not surprised that many US citizens oppose targeting civilians. In my experience with college students, most just don’t know about double tap drone strikes, double tap air strikes in the Korean War, the targeting of Korean refugees during the same war, the complex geopolitical situation at the time of the atomic weapons attacks on Japan, the fire storm creating attack on Dresden, etc. Once they know, they’re shocked and, in the case of double tap drone strikes, no one defends those actions.

    I am also pleased by the unwillingness to even attempt to argue that targeting civilians is wrong. I think Adorno says somewhere that it’s a mistake to even begin to argue against torture, since that is already conceding too much. Yes, reasons have to end somewhere, but it is better they come to an end at some points rather than others.

    As for the politics of the various players in the game of thrones, I can’t help but think of The Prince, Machiavelli’s book about how to get ahead and influence people in the game of monarchs. Machiavelli was himself a republican in the classical sense, and so I’ve long thought that The Prince is really also a clever indictment of the whole monarch game. “They, the princes, are all devils,” he tells us; “indeed, they have to be. Let me show you.” Good players in the game, moreover, are good at managing appearances so as to win something like consent from the ruled. He shows us how they do this, and it’s largely a matter of playing to our prejudices.

    And that explains why I like Daenarys’ story. She was threatening to murder people, friends and foes alike, from the moment she took power. Her strongest claim to the throne was always that she had sole control over the world’s only nuclear weapons arsenal. Even boasted about it: “Mother of dragons.” Her life story parallels that of the other mad queen. Lots of hints that she was just another player. But viewers couldn’t see the end coming. Why? Some bad writing, to be sure. But they also saw her victimized at the start, and so she was a sympathetic figure. She expressed a kind of moral certainty that, given it’s content, many viewers found flattering. Didn’t hurt that she was young and pretty and a woman. And so she appeared good. But she wasn’t, and the problem isn’t just personal. It’s the game itself.

    Reply
    1. Phacops

      Since the time of William Tecumpseh Sherman it is recognized that “civilians” represent a resource that allows a nation to support its armed forces in the field. As such, that resource is a legitimate target during war.

      GOT notwithstanding, castles and fortified cities were war machines of the times, making their population subject to military action.

      And now, with American forces of occupation in so many nations, where some elements of the indigenous population object to American troops and bases, I cannot accept the designation of resistance as terrorism, since by Sherman’s definition, attacking America’s civilians is wholly legitimate as we make occupation possible.

      Americans need to ponder what the ramifications of war entails for our country when there is no such thing as innocent civilians.

      Reply
      1. Joe Well

        After the war, white Southern historians flooded the profession rewriting history with ugly myths. One of them was that the Union army and Sherman in particular were especially cruel toward civilians and they used the photographs of destroyed factories and train stations in Atlanta to argue their point.

        In reality, Sherman targeted transportation and industrial infrastructure because it was being used for the Confederate war effort, and his army treated civilians as mildly as could be expected. That is the majority view of today’s historians. Sherman’s “total war” did not mean killing civilians. The Union’s sanctions and coincidental droughts probably killed many more civilians.

        Reply
    2. eg

      There appears to be a level of ignorance of facts on the ground with respect to civilian deaths at the hands of US military (and para-military) forces which allows for the disconnect from public attitudes towards it as was evident in a similar disconnect itemized a while ago between the level of income inequality that the US public would prefer and that which actually obtains there.

      As usual, those who profit from such ignorance are loathe to see it remedied.

      Reply
  10. George Phillies

    ““The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It’s Time to Break it Open” ”

    The Libertarian Party has been working on this for 40 years. Progress has, gradually, been made.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      As have the Greens, for not quite so long. Eg. it was a Green Party lawsuit that knocked down the draconian ballot-access law in Georgia. Similar laws in other states would succumb to the same treatment.

      Reply
      1. Joe Well

        I liked the Water Knife and the Drowned Cities, too. I think this story (haven’t read it yet) is more or less the same “universe” as Water Knife.

        Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    When eventually a UFO lands and the occupants come out, will their first words be:

    …Lead me to your takers?

    Reply
    1. Hopelb

      The drip drip of these leaked ufo stories reminds me of the beginnings of the anti-Russia stories, which predated the coup in Ukraine. Maybe, their next move is to use fear of aliens to unite/manipulate us into getting behind some new endeavor?

      Reply
    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Ok Wuk, while I occasionally burn out on your Sierra wisdom, this brilliant pun could be NC’s answer to the pretentious ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’ masthead of the Daily Bezos. +1000

      Reply
  12. Summer

    RE:“Stop the nonsensical generational warfare”

    It’s right at home in the political arena since the adverstising industry settled into it with the marketing of candidates like products. Boomer, Gen X, Millennial, Gen Z are marketing terms to sell products to a group, mainly from teenage (another marketing term) years to about 40. Adolescensce, puberty, and adult are the terms developed by medical and social science for age groups.

    The ad agencies perfected generational division and co-option in the 60s and 70s.

    If you ever see pictures from a real revolution or mass movement that chanes the status quo, you will see people of all ages participating.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      It will soon be in clear focus to Millennials on how this works.
      For the advertisers and marketers, they are already crossing out “millennial” on their powerpoint presentations and writing in “Gen Z.”

      But we all know that already, don’t we? Who in their job, no matter what age, has not been assigned a task with “capturing” the hearts and minds of “Gen Z?”
      At this point, I don’t even think a lot of it about selling products as much as it is re-inforcing consumerist behavior and ideals.

      Gen Z values “authenticity.” Heard that? Raise your hands?
      So you are tasked with pre-planning out all kinds of things to make them FEEL authenticity is all around them.
      And I swear, if my memory is correct, it has been claimed at one point or another, during their prime-being-marketed-to-years that Boomers, Millennials, Gen X, Teenagers are all craving “authenticity.”
      And it’s not the only descriptor being rehashed in some way. It’s wash, rinse, repeat marketing. The only bad news is that they have a clue that personality based marketing will actually do more for a bottom line over time (no matter the age of a person) and that is why they want all the data now.

      Reply
      1. Joe Well

        What is annoying/disappointing to me is that so many leftist media people like Chapo Traphouse buy into this generational nonsense so passionately. They want “millenials” to take to the barricades without realizing how few people identify with that and that “millenials” are pretty much not young anymore anyway since they’re almost all over 25.

        Reply
          1. Joe Well

            Your brilliance just illuminated my mind :)

            Maybe Chapo Traphouse and other profitable left media use marketing categories because they’re fundamentally businesses…not sure if that is what you were implying…

            Reply
  13. RMO

    “For some reason, the Twitter thinks this image may “contain sensitive material”

    All I can think of is that Twitterbot thinks it may be one of those school blackboard prank Venn diagrams where it’s made to resemble penis-and-testicles? Which, incidentally is what Toyota’s current logo reminds me of whenever I see it. Even harder to not see once it was pointed out to me is that the Ram trucks logo looks almost identical to just about every drawing of the female reproductive system used in 50’s-70’s textbooks and classroom films.

    Reply
  14. ewmayer

    Re. Commodities: “In Malaysia, a snag in US search for alternative to Chinese rare earths” [South China Morning Post]. “[T]he extraction of these important elements is a dirty business that brings environmental damage many countries are unwilling to tolerate, and the squabbles born from this ‘not in my backyard’ attitude are being seen in Malaysia…” • The article includes some photos of a rare earth mine in China. The working conditions look awful, and I’m sure contamination is high, too. — As with waste disposal, this – in addition to the strategic-material-sole-sourcing-risk aspect – is in fact a powerful argument for re-onshoring. By moving the pollution from our consumption overseas to sh*thole countries (hey, if we treat them as such, we might as well be honest in our naming) we “out of sight, out of mind” the effects of same. Having to deal with the environmental costs in one’s own backyard makes one keenly aware of same. IOW, it’s the ethical thing to do. Similarly for garbage, ‘recyclables’ and e-waste. If you can’t safely extract it and dispose of it at end-of-life, you should rethink building a major consumer market and industrial supply chain around it.

    Reply
  15. ewmayer

    “‘Game of Thrones,’ War Crimes, and the American Conscience” [Foreign Policy] … “What Game of Thrones has revealed more clearly than any survey is that most Americans care more about fighting wars justly than some political scientists would have us believe…” — LOL, what a ludicrous assertion. Fantasy wars conducted by model-actor beautiful people, maybe. Generalizing to the real world, it’s all about maintaining that Potemkin village of cultural pretenses – we pretend to be a democracy, nay, not just any democracy but the Greatest Democracy Evah, we pretend to care about spreading our great democratic governance model to the benighted, which ‘education’ usually occurs at bombpoint, and we pretend that the millions who die and suffer in the resulting neverending campaigns of imperial slaughter – on the rare occasions when we acknowlege said horrors, rather than studiously ignoring them or blaming them on the victims – are ‘regrettable mistakes’. And when we want to pretend to be introspective about some particular aspect of this sorry imperial/genocidal history, our dear propagandists and maintainers of cultural pretenses in Hollywood make a Tom Hanks movie about it. For example, 2015’s Bridge of Spies. NPR tote-bag liberals coming out of that one were probably saying to each other, “gosh, the U.S. really did go regrettably overboard during the Cold War … I mean a lot of the stuff we did was almost as bad as the commies!” Good thing we learned that lesson and well and truly buried McCarthyism, eh? Oh, wait…

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    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe “Game of Thrones” as a story would make more sense as a series called “Mafia Families: But with boobies and dragons and without the sense of honour”.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      We pretend everything works, and they pretend to pay attention to us. (with apologies to the Soviet Union…)

      Reply
  16. UserFriendly

    God, talk about useless maps. You mean that 4 out of the 5 states with the largest populations (and the one that makes airplanes) will lose the most jobs in the trade war? I would have thought Wyoming would be topping the list.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      I don’t think population is the story. New York imports mass clothing and such
      https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/state/data/imports/ny.html
      Texas is petro products and cotton exports
      https://www.uschina.org/reports/us-exports/texas
      and cali is semi conductors and ag exports
      also the big concentrations of 10%er high consumption households
      see the blue in the impacted states.
      https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2019/02/28/an-interactive-exploration-of-the-geography-of-prosperity/
      Financial services is strangely missing…a rounding error in the ny data so hmmm to that

      Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        Population isn’t the only story, but it is far and away the leading component. Obviously CA and TX with the most jobs total will lose the most, but if you aren’t telling me how many jobs they lose relative to how many they had to begin with you aren’t telling me very much. The only thing that graphic tells me is that Washington is getting way more screwed than any state with a population larger than it and Florida is less screwed than states similar in size. That is precisely all of the information available in that graphic.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          I noticed that re washington. I just don’t think the losses are at the jobs level, it’s at the commodities level, but that singles out washington again because planes and apples so I could be wrong.

          Reply
    2. UserFriendly

      Also, in 2016 TX was closer than IA or OH. The only reason dems don’t consistently carry TX is turnout. TX has 9 more congressional districts than FL but more people vote in FL than TX.

      If TX had the voter turnout rate of MN, 4 million more people (the entire population of Oregon) would have voted. And that is using voting eligible population so not counting felons or undocumented.

      A while ago I looked at the most and least votes it took to get into congress. In 2018 MT (which will have 2 CD’s next census) the democrat that lost got more votes than all but 20 congressmen that won. Jaypal (WA-7) got far and away the most votes total 330k, Pocan WI-2 was the only other person to break 300k, but he was unopposed. The top 11 vote getters were all Democrats. John Lewis and Pelosi coming in at 5 and 6. Ilhan Omar and Barbra Lee coming in at 8 and 9. (all > 260k votes)

      On the low end… Cox D-CA-21 won with just 57k votes total, beating his opponent by just 800 votes. 8 candidates won with less than 100k votes, the 7 with the least were all Dems 4 from TX, 3 from CA, the Rep at 8 was from WV. CA and TX dominate the bottom with WV, AZ, and NY getting honorable mentions. AOC (110k votes) only got more votes than 19 other people who got elected, only 2 of them were republicans. Sadly, almost every republican got more votes than she did.

      (side note, in FL if the candidate is unopposed they don’t even put the race on the ballot which messes it up kinda)

      Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      I think the 2020 vote revolves entirely around Ag. They’re getting bailed out by the tariffist this year in spite of a bumper crop, and it looks as if the 2020 crop is really late, maybe too late to be planted.

      This would solidify China’s reluctance to deal with us not only on account of trade wars, but stay with their new supplier/s as they used instead of U.S. this past year. Even if the farmers get bailed out again in 2020 hindsight, they know in their minds, they’re screwed unless they keep him in office, as yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

      Reply
  17. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – Re: the Mt. Zion AME church. The area behind the speaker is for the choir during services. Look at the fourth picture down for a better view of the sanctuary, although still not all of it.

    The pews hold between 10-12 people on each side and there are probably at least 20-25 rows, so the capacity is probably 450-600, or more, including the choir. It looks to be mostly full, I see only a couple of empty spaces.

    It’s very difficult to gauge enthusiasm from a single picture, but the fact that most of the people are standing (I would guess the old man on the right is unable to stand easily) in the last photo is a very good sign, it looks like a standing ovation.

    The people behind the speaker are either the event organizers, or, more likely, the officials and deacons of the church.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks, that’s good info. You’re right, the deacons* would be in the place of honor and the organizers in the back (which is where they would want to be anyhow, out of sight and ready to handle emergencies).

      So if the deacons are applauding and happy, that’s a good sign.

      NOTE * I speak Episcopalian, hence “the vestry.”

      Reply
  18. VietnamVet

    Mike Gravel’s tweet of the chart of the aggregate household wealth is a tale of three groups; increasing wealth of the Top 1%, the Next 9% holding steady and the decline of the 40%. Or in other words, the rich are getting richer at the expense of the middle class with the help of the credentialed class. Hillary Clinton’s contempt of Deplorables or PBS’s Jeff Greenfield blaming Russia for Donald Trump’s election have the same root cause; the denial of their complicity in the greatest theft in history; the bail out of Wall Street plus all of the subordinate financial scams from student loans, skyrocketing health care, unsafe 737 Max(s) to the Forever Wars. The costs are becoming too great to ignore any more. Political change is sweeping across the West as a result. As long as Elite and their senior staff believe their own propaganda, there is no way this can turn out well.

    Reply
  19. MichaelSF

    I’m curious why I see so much duplicate text in the WC/Links segments, such as (from above):

    Commodities: “In Malaysia, a snag in US search for alternative to Chinese rare earths” [South China Morning Post]. “[T]he extraction of these important elements is a dirty business that brings environmental damage many countries are unwilling to tolerate, and the squabbles born from this ‘not in my backyard’ attitude are being seen in Malaysia…. [T\he extraction of these important elements is a dirty business that brings environmental damage many countries are unwilling to tolerate, and the squabbles born from this “not in my backyard” attitude are being seen in Malaysia….

    There seems to be some glitch point (malformed HTTP?) in the work flow, as things like that seem to show up not just pretty much every day, but multiple times a day.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Somewhere in the copy/paste man/machine interface there is a glitch with the Mac. Over the years, I have become so accustomed to copy/paste working that I don’t even check to see that it’s successful. In the relatively recent past, it seems that a new copy does not “take,” and so I will paste in the old, previously copied material. This seems to come and go. I don’t know if my touch is too light, if the keyboard is glitchy, or even if there’s something in software. (Occasionally you will see a broken link in Links that has the headline text where the URL should be, which you can see by hovering over the link. The cause is the same.) And I seem to be in a cycle where this is happening again, hence the dupe. I do try to catch things on proofing them, but in Water Cooler I move very very fast, and so occasionally miss things. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The format is:

        [<source><redit>?] where <credit> = [“, (” + <alert reader initials> + “)”]

        Hence, “MN” is the initials of the alert reader who submitted the link. If I want to comment on the source, for example by explaining what state Mlive* is in, then a parenthetical will follow the source.

        NOTE * Gawd, how I hate the the abandonment of time-honored and rich newspaper names for stupid generic “media group” branding. “MLive” for “Detroit News” and the other gobbled papers, “Syracuse.com” for “Syracuse Post-Standard,” “Philly.com” for the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” etc. More thanks to the goddamned MBAs….

        Reply
  20. RMO

    I don’t believe I’ve come across links to these 737MAX articles here even though they’ve been posted awhile back. There’s some fairly deep delving in some of them and one did address some questions that arose in my mind reading the relevant FAA Airworthiness Directives and their recommended procedures. One point in the single article I’m going to link to also provides a discomfiting reason why making the system use both AOA sensors for redundancy right from the start could have defeated the marketing led drive to sell the aircraft as requiring no type specific transition training:

    https://www.satcom.guru/2019/03/regulations-around-augmentation-systems.html

    Reply
  21. Robert McGregor

    @VietnamVet, I like your summary description! My conclusion: The Political Establishment is “History.” They just don’t know it yet. Of course that’s what the hippies thought in the 1960s–they thought, “The Center will Not Hold.”. It DID hold then, but I don’t it will in the 2020s.

    Reply

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