2:00PM Water Cooler 5/29/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

atient readers, I believe I have been assaulted by the dreaded butterfly keyboard roblem. My “” key does nothing when ressed. Hoefully, I will be able to sot every examle of a missing “”, and use the Ale virtual keyboard, instead of the hysical one, to tye the letter that would otherwise not be resent, but if not, I aologize. lambert (dashes, too. Also semicolons, colons, and close arentheses. erhas it’s all for the best all that unctuation simly makes one’s sentences overly comlicated.


“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 (34.8% 38.3%) and Sanders (16.4% 17.7%) stabilize. Warren, Harris, Buttigieg et al. do Brownian motion, as of May 28.

* * *


Festival of Biden:

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden’s campaign of limited exposure: How long can he keep it up?” [WaPo]. “But after a short burst of activity in the early primary states, his schedule the past two weeks or so has mostly involved fundraisers, which — while publicly announced and attended by a pool reporter — are far different from open campaign events. It’s not clear how long Biden can continue to limit his public exposure in this way…. Some Democratic strategists say Biden, 76, may be limiting his participation in freewheeling campaign sessions partly to play down the fact that he is older than the figure they may remember.” • Or perhaps there’s another reason…

Biden (D)(2): “Where’s Joe? Biden taking it slow in early campaign days” [Agence France Presse]. “[S]ince officially launching his White House bid in April, the veteran Democrat has made fewer than a dozen campaign stops, and his team has routinely offered a daily update to reporters: “Joe Biden has no public events scheduled.'” • And buried at the very bottom, the lead, which is or ought to be: “Biden held a 10-year-old girl by the shoulders at the teachers’ town hall after she asked him a question and he told her: ‘I bet you’re as bright as you’re good looking.'” • More on that–

Biden (D)(3): Biden takes a very personal, hands-on approach:

If the people in the back are Biden staffers, they look like they’re ready to whack him with a rolled-up newspaper:

Lambert here: Again, Biden’s handiness was oppo. And if #MeToo were a principled tendency among liberal Democrats — just hear me out — instead of purely instrumental, “any stick to beat a dog,” we would have expected that oppo to be disqualifying, as it was for Gary Hart. Yet Biden putting his hands on a young girl again looks — so far — like throwing gasoline on a damp squib. Now, if there were a feral, low road-type Democrat out there running, what they’d be having their surrogates say is that after Biden knew his handsiness was an issue, and after he’d issued a non-apology apology for it, he went right out and did the same thing again.

That speaks to character. So such a hypothetical Democrat would say, although perhaps in more palatable words, that just goes to show that [genuflects] Obama’s Vice President is lazy, stupid, and doesn’t learn.* But that’s not happening, is it? It’s not happening — at least as of this writing — because, IMNSHO, neither the Democrat nomenklatura nor their assets in the press can accept that Biden is damaged goods, and goods that were shoddy to begin with. (I mean, you saw above how AFP buried the lede. So far, the only story I can find on this is from [cough, spew] Brietbart.) NOTE * Then again, never interrupt your enemy when they are in the process of making a mistake. Nothing wrong with a little masterful inactivity.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Pete Buttigieg was Facebook’s 287th user. Now he says the company has too much power” [Mercury-News]. “But unlike Sen. Elizabeth Warren, [Buttigieg] hasn’t endorsed breaking up the tech giants, instead suggesting ‘a spectrum’ of regulation that could include fines, blocking new mergers or splitting up companies.” • Of course not. And read on for the most Mayo Pete quote ever: “‘What they’ve done to revitalize the city is pretty remarkable,’ marveled Matt Rogers, the co-founder of the smart* home company Nest and an investor who’s been to the city multiple times at the mayor’s invitation. ‘You go out to dinner in South Bend and the streets are full of millennials, and there are great restaurants that feel like you’re in San Francisco.'” • Wowsers. I bet you can even get a soy latté! NOTE * There’s that word…

De Blasio (D)(1): “De Blasio Among Gloria Steinem’s Top Choices For President” [Patch]. “‘Mayor de Blasio is among my top four choices for president and the only male human being who is on that list,’ Steinem said Tuesday at a news conference where she endorsed de Blasio’s proposal to require businesses to give employees at least two weeks of paid personal time. Steinem didn’t say who is competing with de Blasio for her backing.” • So there are maies running who are not human?

O’Rourke (D)(1): “Can Beto Bounce Back?” [The New Yorker]. “He vowed to visit all two hundred and fifty-four counties in Texas, and he did, usually driving himself. “We went to places so red you could see them glowing from outer space,” he says. “Places that went ninety-seven per cent for Trump. Nobody had bothered to visit those people before. I learned so much. If you want to serve people, you gotta listen to them.” He live-streamed his travels on Facebook. He never hired a pollster or a political adviser. He refused donations from political-action committees and corporations. And the campaign gained traction. Volunteers started liking, sharing, leafletting, knocking on doors.” • Because O’Rourke had a team of 2016 Sanders operatives working for him, that’s why.

O’Rourke (D)(2): “Democrat O’Rourke unveils “community-based” immigration plan” [Reuters]. “Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke proposed a new immigration plan on Wednesday that will allow churches and local communities to sponsor immigrants to the United States in becoming American citizens. O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman from the Texas border city of El Paso, said the plan would also give citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants living in American faster than previous plans, which have all failed to get through Congress.” • At first blush, not such a bad idea.

Sanders (D)(1): “Legislative Package Introduced to Encourage Employee-Owned Companies” [Bernie Sanders]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced two pieces of legislation to help workers around the country form employee-owned businesses. The WORK Act – modeled on the success of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center – would provide more than $45 million in funding to states to establish and expand employee ownership centers, which provide training and technical support for programs promoting employee ownership. The bill is also co-sponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and was introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). The second bill would create a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank to provide $500 million in low-interest rate loans and other financial assistance to help workers purchase businesses through an employee stock ownership plan or a worker-owned cooperative.” • Note the Warren campaign: A “plan” is not the same thing as legislation.

Sanders (D)(2): “Democrats worry Bernie Sanders could play spoiler” [The Hill]. “The aide said that when it comes to Sanders, there is a concern among Biden supporters that ‘this guy is going to play spoiler again.'” • I don’t have time to dig out the laudatory Clinton campaign quotes about how hard Sanders worked for them in 2016 (or this year’s quotes trashing him for using a private plane to make the scheduie they set). And apparently one loyalty oath to the DNC and another to Indivisible isn’t enough for these people, so it’s not clear would would be enough. And isn’t it just a little early for the Biden folks to be picking out the drapes for the Oval Office?

Trump (R)(1): “Trump’s 2020 plan to target black, Hispanic and suburban female voters” [Axios]. “Trump was elected in 2016 with just 8% of the black vote and 28% of the Hispanic vote, per Reuters. Though it’s worth noting that he performed better among these groups than Mitt Romney did in 2012.” • Pretty amazing, when you think about it. And: “Given his policies, rhetoric, Fox News obsession and Cabinet picks, Trump knows older, white men are probably the key to any win. He just can’t get his clock cleaned with every other group.”

Warren (D)(1):

Notice how “stand up to Iran” snuck in there as a desideratum. Why do we have to do that? One of the few things Obama did that I consider an unalloyed good was the Iran nuclear deal, and what Warren could have said is that she wanted the deal reinstsated. But she didn’t say that.

Warren (D(2) “Warren’s big applause line — abolish the Electoral College — gets picked up on the campaign trail” [Yahoo News]. “It is among Warren’s biggest applause lines, as she tells audiences from one state to another that the current system makes it likely they will be ignored.” • Liberal Democrats would rather focus on Constitutional amendments or interstate compacts — or, for that matter, die — than appeal to rural voters programmatically.

“Democrats tighten requirements for second round of primary debates” [Los Angeles Times]. “The Democratic National Committee is upping the ante for its second round of presidential primary debates, doubling the polling and grass-roots fundraising requirements from its initial summer debates… The DNC’s outline for its September debate — the third of at least a dozen promised matchups during the 2020 nominating contest — decrees that candidates can participate only by reaching 2% in four approved polls released between June 28 and Aug. 28 while also collecting contributions from a minimum of 130,000 unique donors before Aug. 28. That donor list must include a minimum of 400 individuals in at least 20 states. The qualifications would remain the same for an October debate, though the party hasn’t set the deadline for measuring fundraising and polling.” • “Decrees.”

2000 Post Mortem

“Bush Finds Error In Fermilab Calculations” [The Onion] From 2001, still germane: “‘It’s true, I dabbled in the higher maths during my Yale days,’ said Bush, who spent three semesters as an assistant to Drs. Kasha and Slaughter at Yale’s renowned Sloane High-Energy Physics Lab. ‘But I didn’t have the true gift for what Gauss called ‘the musical language in which is spoken the very universe.’ If I have any gift at all, it’s my instinct for process and order.’ Continued Bush: ‘As much as I enjoyed studying physics at Yale, by my junior year it became apparent that I could far better serve humanity through a career in statecraft.'” • Back when The Onion was truly the The Onion (although they have regained form since they got their union), earning here a brilliancy prize for the most elaborate version of the “Republicans are stupid” talking point ever. Still, liberal Democrats have been using that talking point for at least 2019 – 2001 = 18 years, and it hasn’t served them very well, has it?


“Robert Mueller Makes First Public Statement on Russia Election Probe” [Bloomberg]. “Mueller said he was authorized to investigate obstruction of justice. ‘If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so’ but also did not determine that the president did commit a crime.” • Oh.


“Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump’s impeachment” [The Hill]. “‘I’m confident that if you read volume two, you will be appalled at much of the conduct. And I was appalled by it. And that’s why I stated what I stated. That’s why I came to that conclusion,’ [Amash] said. ‘We can’t let conduct like that go unchecked.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

About those phone polls:

Sure, there are statistical techniques. But I dunno….

I am here for the DSA Dog Caucus:

Stats Watch

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, May 2019: “Fifth District manufacturing activity growth slightly picked up pace but remained moderate in May” [Econoday]. “Looking ahead, firms reported growth in spending and positive overall business conditions and remained optimistic though slightly less so than previously about growth in the coming months.”

State Street Investor Confidence Index, May 2019: “Global institutional investors continued to reduce their exposure to global equities but were less risk averse in May” [Econoday]. “[W]hile institutional investors are still wary and remain entrenched in risk-averse territory as they have been all year due to mounting global trade protectionism and growth concerns, the solid uptick in May indicates that some are buying the dip in risk assets experiencing the weakest performance of the year. ”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of May 24, 2019: “Purchase applications are not showing any acceleration but levels are still favorable” [Econoday].

Tech: “The end of mobile” [Benedict Evans]. “There’s an old joke that the career of an analyst progresses from Word to Excel to Powerpoint. That’s pretty much what’s happened here over the last 20 years: first we discussed what might happen (“imagine if everyone had a phone!”), then we tracked the numbers of what was happening, and finally we draw diagrams and bullet points of what that means. That’s where we are now – we try to work out what it means that almost everyone has a phone or a smartphone… But this also means that now we go back to the beginning: I’m not updating my smartphone model anymore. The next fundamental trends in tech, today, are probably machine learning, crypto and regulation. I can write about those, but it’s too early to make charts.” • I wonder what China’s developers think, if David Harvey’s picture of several dozen Silicon Valley’s, none impeded by intellectual property rights, is correct. (Personally, I think machine learning will reify (in the vulgate, freeze) all our current bad tendencies into unmaintainable black boxes that every so often lose their minds or blow up. Maybe there’s opportunity there. Not jackpot-ready opportunity, though.)

The Fed: “N.Y. Fed Loses Top Officers Including Potter in Rare Double Exit” [Bloomberg]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said two of its top officers are departing — including Simon Potter, who oversees its strategically vital trading desk — in a rare double exit from the senior ranks of the U.S. central bank…. “I’m very surprised that both of them would do this on the same day with three days’ notice,” said Tom Simons, a senior economist at Jefferies in New York. Simons said Potter’s job, as head of the central bank’s open-market operations, is “arguably more important than being president of the some of the regional Fed banks.'” • Odd. Can anyone, er, speculate?

The Biosphere

“The Military Is Locked in a Power Struggle with Wind Farms” [Wired]. “‘We need the space above the ground unimpeded so we can fly low to the ground,’ says Goana, commander of the 80th Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base. ‘Sort of like driver’s ed.'”

“EPA Ready to Scrap Biofuel Market Reform in Bid to Boost Ethanol” [Bloomberg]. “The EPA had been considering numerous possible restrictions to the holding and trading of renewable identification numbers, or RINs — the credits refiners use to prove they have fulfilled annual biofuel-blending quotas. … The RINs modifications are bundled together in the same regulation as a measure that would allow sales of gasoline containing as much as 15% ethanol during the summer… Although the EPA is backing off aggressive reforms as part of that rule, agency officials will continue to evaluate other market changes that Trump ordered them to consider to prevent price manipulation.” • I don’t think it’s ever made sense to turn oil into corn so as to make gasoline. Those RINs are intriguing, thogh!

Class Warfare

“Moving Into and Out of Patriarchy” [Grassroots Economic Organizing]. “The human heart in conflict with itself is the story of our coping poorly with the intense pain of the loss of deep connection. And it is clear that when Maggie is in the pleasure of connecting, she is in the same vulnerability as she is in her loss. The awesome power and the awful risk of being in our vulnerability described by Brené Brown in her TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” Our lives are the struggle to manage this polarity. To the extent that we do this it can generate democracy; doing it badly generates patriarchy. Gilligan and Snider lay out the psychology of how both options play out.” • This is well worth a read. It’s humane, and not schematic or reductionist at all.

“Nobody Wins if Graduate Students Can’t Organize” [Chronicle of HIgher Education]. “College administrators face a choice, however: This is not merely about siding with the Trump administration against their own employees, students, and (if we’re being aspirational) colleagues. It’s about choosing to respect the authority of decision makers at the [National Labor Relations Board] who do not understand higher education, do not care about it, and could not really be much bothered to learn. It’s about willingly submitting to a ruling that determines the rights of graduate workers purely on the basis of their status as pawns in a larger labor-management game.” • If I’m a college administrator, I’m saying “Choice? What choice?”

News of the Wired

I don’t mean to pile on, but:

And toilet paper: Should be hung so the tissue rolls over the top or comes down close to the wall?

* * *

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 (KH):

KH writes: “Here’s Hawaii’s flower of spring: the passion fruit or lilikoi as it’s known here.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Cal2

    Had the same problem.

    Substituted the ` key, top left,
    under the Esc key on Mac.

    “Here’s Hawaii’s flower of spring: the passion fruit or lilikoi as it’s known here.”

    That’s the basis for Hawaiian Punch, or at least it’s chemically synthesized flavor.

    1. ambrit

      ‘Round here, we have a look alike flowering vine we call “Passion Flower.” This being the Buckle of the Bible Belt, that is a reference to the ‘Crown of Thorns’ of the ‘Passion’ of Christ. There’s lots of numerology involved in the numbers of petals, sepals, the sub-parts of the stamen and pistil, etc. etc.
      I never saw any fruit associated with our version. Hmmm…..

    2. UserFriendly

      For a mac: http://www.keyboardmaestro.com/main/
      For windows: https://www.autohotkey.com/

      Autohotkey doesn’t have any good tutorial vids not by gamers but I don’t know what I’d do without it. I have 3 different sets of keys that do alt+tab, 3 seperate clip boards, 3 letters types my whole email address, the right arrow key broke on one keyboard so as long as num lock is off the 0 on the number pad works as right arrow.

  2. Samuel Conner

    Re: “Obama’s Vice President is lazy, stupid, and doesn’t learn.”

    Well, at least he’s not “stupid and diligent”. That would be scary in a presumptive nominee!

    1. Roger Smith


      Well, he definitely wants to touch and be uncomfortably close to children (and women I assume when the opportunity again knocks). Nothing gets in his way, not even pesky criticism of his socially, physically, and morally inappropriate behavior. Biden shouldn’t have even made it this far. The Democrats are determined to blow up their chances at winning simply to prevent a Sanders ticket.

      1. Brindle

        If you look closely at the video Biden appears to be gently massaging her shoulders. The guy is a creep and uses his position of power to set-up instances wher he can touch young girls.
        …and yes, the Neera Tanden corporate Dems would rather have a Trump presidency than a Bernie Sanders one.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          The guy is a creep and uses his position of power to set-up instances…

          Is there a metoo for that? I think that’s a serious question.

        2. lambert strether

          I couldn’t find the video I saw again, or I would have posted it. Assuming what I saw was authentic, what creeped me out was the way Biden buttoned and smoothed his blazer after he was, er, finished.

      2. richard

        I think he is sending us a message. It’s not that he won’t “learn” (the 10%, where every sin and failure is a professional development opportunity), it’s that he has power and enjoys power and enjoys abusing it in full view. His jokes about this, his non-apology apology, all this gives me the sense that joe really wants you to know who he is. He really wants you to know, that he’s going to continue to grope women of all ages, and to sexualize minors, because it’s a generational thing, or some other shite (it’s all about power of course). He just wants us to know that and be okay with it.
        I just can’t feature how this skates in a dem primary. I know everyone has signed loyalty pledges or whatever, but for glob’s sake!

    2. Isotope_C14

      I don’t know what the big fuss is.

      He’s just having a “Senior” moment.

      When Gravel has a “Senior” moment he forgets the name of some war-criminal who should have been tried for war-crimes. Admittedly with the number, it is hard to keep them straight.

      When Sanders has a “Senior” moment, he just doesn’t have any clue what the presidential income amount is, or someone told him in 1984 and he thinks that is still the case.

      When Biden has a “Senior” moment, he gropes the nearest 11 year old he can find, sniffs their hair, and proceeds to creep out just about everyone in the room.

      Now the smartest thing to do would be, to cause absolutely no more “bipartisan” laws that further the agenda of the 0.001%, is to either elect Sanders/Gravel/Gabbard, and do it the proper way, or if the DCCC has their way, we do scorched earth.

      We fill the Whitehouse 24/7 with high-school girls (with their consent of course) and arrange round-the-clock photo-ops. Biden would be powerless to sign any bill into law. He would be in a constant state of euphoria inhaling the fresh Shampoo and latest pop-culture perfume.

      This plan, will work. We just have to have a constant stream of award ceremonies for every possible day. It’s not a perfect plan, but I don’t see any other option.

      1. ambrit

        This system was in effect during the Bill Clinton presidency and had almost no effect on agenda building of either wing of the Property Party.
        Substitute “nubile young intern” for “high school girl” and you get the picture. However, Jocular Joe seems intent upon ministering to pre-pubescent females, which should bring up some serious reservations amongst, at the least, the olde guarde feminists still in power in the DNC.

        1. John k

          They’re conflicted until they remember their donors saying, ‘if sanders gets in, you’re out.’
          Pelosi stays on message.

        2. Procopius

          Jocular Joe seems intent upon ministering to pre-pubescent females

          Ah. Not unlike Judge Roy Moore, then. At least he waited until they were in their mid-teens.

  3. JBird4049

    Still, liberal Democrats have been using that talking point for at least 2019 – 2001 = 18 years, and it hasn’t served them very well, has it?

    Depends by what you mean as serving them well. As a general meme, it has driven away many, but as a means of inoculating the Faithful from the mental viruses of ungood thoughts, it has done them well, don’t you think?

    1. lambert strether

      Good point. I’ve managed to eradicate the concept that liberal Democrats have consistent principles from my thinking, but I keep falling back into the habit of thinking they want to take power, as opposed to simply holding office. My bad.

  4. Stanley Dundee

    For fans of Lambert’s code is law thesis,Matthew B. Crawford’s Algorithmic Governance and Political Legitimacy advances the argument:

    For the past several years it has been common to hear establishmentarian intellectuals lament populism as a rejection of Enlightenment ideals. But we could just as well say that populism is a re-assertion of democracy, and of the Enlightenment principles that underlie it, against priestly authority [as embodied in utterly opaque AI algorithms]. Our politics have become at bottom an epistemic quarrel, and it is not all clear to me that the well‑capitalized, institutional voices in this quarrel have the firmer ground to stand on in claiming the mantle of legitimacy—if we want to continue to insist that legitimacy rests on reasonableness and argument…The ideal being articulated [by Google] is that we will inte­grate Google’s services into our lives so effortlessly, and the guiding presence of this beneficent entity in our lives will be so pervasive and unobtrusive, that the boundary between self and Google will blur. The firm will provide a kind of mental scaffold for us, guiding our intentions by shaping our informational context. This is to take the idea of trusteeship and install it in the infrastructure of thought. Populism is the rejection of this.

    Some might hear echoes of Christopher Lasch’s critique of progress from The True and Only Heaven.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        —must remember to wrap my fone in foil–

        my youngest(13, male) accompanied me to the dump/feedstore.
        we took dirt roads(easier to remedy any flying debris that manages to escape), so i had a chance to hold forth regarding his iphone addiction.
        bagged and tagged…constantly monitored…helping AI to train…brainwashing…reality tunnels.
        when i admitted that I know that i tend to be like a firehose on these excursions, he laughed.
        but the message got through, i think.
        so much of it is merely background noise…like not being able to hear the crickets any more, after 20 years in the piny woods.
        and much more of it is so esoteric….a black box of not even wires any more….doing magical things that most people simply don’t understand.
        i want no part of google’s vision for humanity.

        1. Cal2

          Amfortas, one way to drive that home is to ask him for all his passwords. Seems objectionable? What do you think all the providers, their contractors, who they sell the data to do with it?

          Not just Google.

          To all your contacts with Gmail, Bing, Yahoo, or other ad-driven, data selling “free services”, send this email:

          Dear xxx,

          I Will be happy to send meaningless fluff to your Gmail account, but as to important things and personal details, not yet copyrighted or trademarked information, or any trade secret, I refuse to provide them to Google.

          I urge you to get a privacy protected email address, with no data mining and no ads from the following providers:


          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i don’t really use email, ‘cept to comment and stuff.
            and, i’m way behind the tech curve. (for instance, youngest uses something called snapchat for goofing with his buds(mostly fart noises from what i can tell. monetise that, mr google))
            I council them ad nauseum to watch their backsides with all the intertube type things.
            our suspicions of all that has rubbed off at least a little.
            but what can one do, short of keeping them disconnected on the farm?
            (it may come to that,lol)
            it has been my policy from early in my internet experience that none of it is “secure”…none, zero, zip.
            anything i say online is something i’d say on the town square.
            that takes care of nsa, et alia to my satisfaction.
            all this commercialised data mining and stuff is another matter.
            i am as a babe in the woods/
            …albeit a babe with no credit card, no credit score, and an average of $5 in the bank at any given moment,who avoids “imperial entanglements” like a pox, and who does very little online that could be of use to the Big Eye.

  5. V99

    An extract from Steve Grand’s programming diary: (emphasis below is mine)

    6/23/17 I really wish I’d tried to get a research fellowship or something to do this. I’m still having SO many new ideas and insights, and in a research context this would be fantastic – each one a new paper. But as far as product development goes, I just need answers, pronto, not whole new avenues to follow up. Then again, half the reason I’m sitting here on my own in America is because it was a fucking nightmare trying to get people in a traditional context to support my work. Way too ambitious and flaky for academia, way too risky and (ironically) unambitious for business grants. I wasn’t interested in IPOs and ROI, so the business people wouldn’t touch me – nobody’s interested any more in businesses that actually make things people want to buy and then make a profit from the sales. And academia claims to want ambitious, high-risk ideas, but they don’t really. They want people who can find grants to pay PhD students. If I gave this problem to PhD students, what would be the point of my 40 years of unique experience and intuition? I can’t teach this stuff to people – it’s too intuitive – so I’d just be the one writing the grant proposals while other people got no further with it than anyone’s doing already. There’s no shortage of people already working on this stuff. So it never happened and was part of the reason I had a crisis. So instead I’m broke, worn out, and desperate for the new ideas to stop, so that I can actually finish it. I don’t want to be standing at an intriguing fork in the road – just a nice one-way street with no choices to make!

    7/7/17 At last Gloop is up and about, instead of just lying there and only understandable via brain scanners! What he does is often nonsensical and his executive cortex is stuffed full of bugs, but now that he’s active again I can go ahead and start cutting regular builds. I don’t think things will break as badly any more. I just want to add some more emotions and drives and then I’ll see if it works when I do a standalone build. It’ll be ready some time next week, I’m pretty sure.

    BTW, huge thanks to those of you who donated some extra cash! You know who you are.

    In other news, GM is sinking billions into autonomous vehicle research. Note that what Grand is working on is autonomous decision-making in neural networks…gee, can’t imagine what you’d want to use something like that for.

    1. V99

      Egad, it only just occurred to me that I could easily be read as insinuating that the aforementioned cash came from the auto sector.

      It almost certainly came from one or more of Grand’s Kickstarter backers, I was trying to highlight the searing irony of piles of money getting squandered on dead ends, when the guy who seems to be the only one making any real headway on the very problem that everyone’s supposedly desperate to crack is forced to live off donations like some sort of Buddhist monk.

    1. Oregoncharles

      All you have to do i eat at the computer, and the ame fault jut wander around.

  6. Summer

    Re: Buttgig

    “You go out to dinner in South Bend and the streets are full of millennials, and there are great restaurants that feel like you’re in San Francisco.’”

    Keep it up and get the streets filled with people living on them – THEN it will be like you’re in San Fran.

    1. Isotope_C14



      Of course the apparent adjustment of the predominant weather cycle indicates that the eternal deluge in the mid-west will leave the sidewalks in South Bend without the vast amount of human feces as is normal in SF.

      Perhaps the Buttgig will come up with a “jobs” plan to place plastic feces made from recycled plastic that China will no longer accept? They can put these every six-feet or so to really do the SF comparison some justice.

      On a completely unrelated note, I’ve notice a striking similarity between articles here and https://www.reddit.com/r/collapse/

      I’m a recent subscriber there, and the cross-post similarity is pretty surprising.

      1. MichaelSF

        South Bend needs to add an awful lot of dog feces to the mix if they want the sidewalks to be like SF. I’d put the ratio in my area out near the beach/GG Park at dog/human 399:1 (actually, I think I’ve only seen human a couple of times over the years). Other neighborhoods will have different metrics.

    2. Clive

      Yes, re: “Matt Rogers, the co-founder of the smart* home company Nest”. I’ve disabled all the smart features of my smart home thermostat by Nest because of it’s annoyingly dumb habit of frying me in bed as it turns the heat on early as its AI can’t, apparently, get its head around how English weather works and just because it’s a little chilly one day, it doesn’t meant the system needs to come on an hour earlier the next morning to compensate. Or that here you might get a passing shower where the temperature drops a degree or so but that doesn’t mean we’re about to be subjected to an arctic plunge so kicking in the second stage of heat is a little overkill.

      Matt, if you ever dare show yourself round my neighbourhood, be prepared to have your smart appliances shoved where I suspect your brains have ended up.

      And Mayor Pete was a Facebook early-adopter? Am I alone to be thinking that is either an unbelievable demonstration of prescience, or else suggestive of something else a little more unsavoury that I can’t quite put my finger on?

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        My exgf signed me up in Dec 2004, 8 months after coming online.

        Alot of my original posts/pics have been deleted.

      2. lambert strether

        > And Mayor Pete was a Facebook early-adopter? Am I alone to be thinking that is either an unbelievable demonstration of prescience, or else suggestive of something else a little more unsavoury that I can’t quite put my finger on?

        I would go for the latter.

    3. Baby Gerald

      As dcblogger mentions, BootyJudge has a less than positive record regarding homelessness in South Bend. The new issue of Jacobin [not online yet, or I’d share a link] is called ‘home improvement’ and is dedicated entirely to housing. It features an article by Luke Savage entitled Mayor Pete’s War On The Homeless. I’ve not read it yet, but a quick scan doesn’t show Pete in a good light on this at all. For instance, an inset states that evictions doubled between his 2012 election and 2016. This could just be bad timing on his part, but if he’s doing the old Giuliani shuffle and exporting his homeless out of town to other locales as dcblogger mentions above, well, that shows just what sort of guy he is at heart: openly gay, closet conservative.

    4. eg

      I’m guessing that you can get a drink in most San Francisco restaurants, unlike so many in South Bend.

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      Our old city was great through the 90s, if actually Bohemian isn’t a bringdown. Downtown has been razed for Courts and Parking Garages. The University side is filling with high rise foam clads so fast I keep thinking about the animations from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

      I don’t care about tourists. I’m figuring a pre-fifties city will end up on the right side of the curve. Bummer about the Westside.

  7. Pavel

    The most generous interpretation of Biden’s latest gaffe is that he is so senile that he can’t remember his own pledge of a few weeks ago that he would avoid such behaviour in the future. Or is he just trolling us all to see what he can get away with? Christ the repubs already had a boatload of videos and now he gives them this, *after* all the previous fuss. WTF, Uncle Joe?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible Biden’s trolling.

      How many not-paying-daily-attention voters will see this criticism as some sort of Rorschach test response?

    2. Synoia

      A grope a day keeps the Democrats away.
      A grope an hour keeps the Republicans sour.

  8. ptb

    Re: Sanders as spolier (vs Biden, implicitly)?
    If that is what keeps the DNC up at night, then maybe they should rig the nomination process in favor of someone better, wouldn’t you think?

    Re: Mueller / Impeachment
    Impeachment now, with Repubs controlling the proceedings in the Senate would not go well for Democrats. (Post 2020, with Dems taking the Senate, it might make for some decent media fodder, but little else). Do suggestions of obstruction still have the ability to sway younger less-partisan voters in PA? Doubt it. This show is for an audience whose vote is already locked in.

    1. djrichard

      Everybody keeps thinking the crisis is a crisis of democracy. It seems to me that the crisis is more significant than that: this is a crisis of manufacturing consent. In the good old days of empire, manufacturing consent was a no brainer. Just find some evil doers to throw under a bus and isolate those that would stand up for the evil doers so that they would shrink from their responsibility to speak up.

      Now instead we have Mueller shrinking from his responsibility to manufacture consent. How could our empire even let this happen? Congress is now left to do all the heavy lifting on its own. Which would be fine if they could leverage Mueller’s “testimonial” to their good ends and natural gifts of demagoguery. But Mueller has even poisoned that well, rendering some kind of solomon-like decision. Instead of equipping us to isolate those who would speak up for the evil doer of Trump, now they’re emboldened. And believe you me, there were plenty on the GOP side who didn’t even want to speak up for Trump; they just wanted political cover. So much for that; the whole shebang is effectively sabotaged. By Mueller. Sad thing is, he probably doesn’t even realize it; in his head he thinks he tried to do the right thing. The sadder thing is when our empire can be undone by a rogue free agent like this.

      So what’s our good empire to do now? Seems about the only thing it can do, manufacture consent through the pathways still open to it: the election process. Or as those who orchestrate this theater call it, WWF wrestlemania!

      1. JBird4049

        Congress is now left to do all the heavy lifting on its own.

        Why not? Congress did most of it for a 150 odd years.


  9. cnchal

    The Fed: “N.Y. Fed Loses Top Officers Including Potter in Rare Double Exit”
    . . .
    Can anyone, er, speculate?

    On three days notice? To get some distance between themselves and an imminent collapse of some kind that could be pinned on them, or simpler, rats abandoning ship.

  10. Summer

    RE: Democrats / Fund raising debates

    Oh, I see they have people rallying around the cry of “get money out of politics.”

    Now you see the real reason for the clown car of 30 or so candidates. A good deal of the cash will flow back to the DNC or their preferred candidates. They will find a way.
    Thay is why I give $0 to candidates.

    1. Eureka Springs

      I asked one of the top dogs of Move to Amend on twitter last week which prez candidates have endorsed them. Answer: Gabbard.

      1. jrs

        A good signal but practically meaningless, as there is not a chance of that happening.

  11. JohnnyGL

    I saw some clips from Biden’s event in Houston with the little girl.

    He looks really old and tired. Much more so than Trump, Sanders or Warren. Or even Pelosi or Feinstein. He wanders off-topic and then catches himself and finishes his point. I’m starting to wonder if this is 2nd term Reagan territory.

    Trump’s shots at Hillary for not having the ‘stamina’ were just creepy and kind of sexist. Dropping that against Biden is exactly correct. Just like Trump hitting him over the ’94 crime bill. Which, as Lambert pointed out yesterday, sends the former Obama staffers into fits, with them crying out to the media to “please, shoot the messenger!!!”

    If Biden were an incumbent running for re-election in a safe state…no problem, he could pull this off. I can’t see how he’s going to keep this going while running for president.

    1. Pavel

      Not to mention it is still May (albeit just barely) of 2019. He’s got a long way to go just to Iowa and NH and SC let alone debates with Trump in October 2020.

      Whatever legacy and good will he had with the public may go up in flames. That TV performance today was just mind-boggling stupid, or pathetic to be kind.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      As I have said consistently Biden cannot possibly win the nomination let alone an election for POTUS. The idiots running the anti-Sanders cult will have to find someone else. There are plenty of other candidates. We’ll just have to find out in the “debates” who the cameras like best among the centrists currently running.

    3. Brindle

      I noticed also. He seemed a little bit out of it. On the vigor scale he is last behind Bernie (1st) and behind Trump. MSNBC has already given the nom to Biden—starting to look like a 2016 re-run.

    4. jrs

      who even knows, maybe the clips are as fake as those of Pelosi (talking about the fake recording of Pelosi circulating recently, not policy which is where there is plenty of room to criticize).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden was like this in 2007. He won election in 1972 has run as an incumbent of a small state, one party state with the exceptions of when he was the under card on the Presidential ballot. No one chanted “Obama-Biden.” Campaigns are tough, and Biden hasn’t been in one or worked for anything beyond water carrying for Big Finance in years. His Iraq Federalization plan was a joke that might have been cooked up by middle schoolers. Beyond parroting a few right wing talking points Democrats like to use to show how they are going to out tough Republicans by kicking the poor, this is his only policy.

        That Biden is taken seriously speaks to the level of discourse within Team Blue elite circles.

    5. Elizabeth Burton

      You seem to be assuming Biden is the intended candidate. It is, and has been, the opinion of the Sanders/Gabbard set that Biden’s purpose is to use his name recognition among uninvolved voters to prevent Bernie from obtaining the 51% of delegates necessary for him to be nominated on the first ballot. Matters would then move to the second ballot, whereon the Superdelegates will decide who wins.

      As of this date, Biden has been pledged about two dozen of the SDs. Kamala Harris had four signed on within a week of announcing. The belief is that Biden will surrender his support to whomever is the Anointed for 2020, thus ensuring Bernie can’t win, as the SDs will once again be the final arbiters. Given the sudden support for Warren from odd quarters on social media, it may be the DNC is willing to bend far enough left to consider her for the nomination is she’s still polling high and has a sufficient number of delegates to be in the running. Or have her be VP.

      That may sound paranoid, but based on observed behavior from the DNC so far, it isn’t. And just this week there appeared a sudden flurry of alleged “Bernie supporters” attacking people who speak highly of Tulsi and/or Andrew Yang. Those of us with knowledge in that area are warning people they are being Astroturfed with the goal of turning the progressives against one another. Whether Yang qualifies as a real progressive is a question for another time. Meantime, we advise people to BOLO for the Astroturfers and call them out.

      Another favored gambit recently is comparing Bernie to Trump as being “two sides of the same coin”. The giveaway on that campaign is that the agents involved have to include very specific keywords in their posts to aid in tracking, so the repetition becomes glaringly apparent if you’re paying attention.

      I assume everyone is aware of the Politico piece about Bernie’s “wealth” that was redone something like 37 times but still came off appallingly anti-semitic. I commented it was clearly only a matter of time before one of the colluding media implied he was a neo-Nazi. Sure enough, someone posted on Twitter that Sanders’ body of enthusiastic young supporters reminded them of the Hitler Youth.

      The depths to which the establishment will crawl to prevent a Bernie Sanders presidency know no bounds. One can but hope they, in their desperation, will behave so egregiously bad some people will turn to Bernie out of sheer disgust at the way he’s being treated.

      Sanders/Gabbard 2020!

      1. Wombat

        Good Points, Thanks! Biden on his bow out can say, “I’ve decided that its time to pass the reins to the younger generation.”

        As for Yang, his support for UBI rather than a JG makes me wary that he is but another technocrat with good ideas…. but perhaps like you suggest, this debate can wait for later.

  12. ChrisAtRU

    #RCP – ‘Brownian motion”

    ;-) … thanks so much for the laugh #HighSchoolChemistryReminisce

    1. ChrisAtRU

      My record of making a typo whenever I go straight to “approved comment” continues … ;-)

      PS – no busted double-quote here BTW

      … should be “Brownian Motion”

    2. ChrisAtRU

      Can Beto Bounce Back?

      “Because this woman has just told me that her daughter spends four hundred forty-four dollars on her prescription, and I’m thinking that through as I’m leaving—like, How do I get her a better answer?”
      O’Rourke folded his hands. “So I think I’m learning the rhythm of that,” he said.


        1. Chris Cosmos

          Because when Biden falls on his face Beto becomes important once again. The PTB will give him the script and he’ll be ready to go.

  13. diptherio

    ESOPs and Worker Cooperatives are two entirely different animals. The tendency to conflate the two, or place them under a single heading of “employee ownership,” is not one that I approve of, and not something that benefits actual democratic businesses (i.e. co-ops).

    An ESOP is a tax-advantaged retirement plan that a business owner can offer to his/her employees. Being an employee holding stock in the company you work for grants you just as much say in day-to-day operations as anyone else owning stock in the company: none. I’ve known quite a few people who have worked at businesses with ESOPs and their experiences sure don’t support any revolutionary hopes for the model.

    Being a co-owner of a cooperatively owned and managed firm is, on the other hand, an entirely different thing. You have a vote, the same as every other owner, in business decisions. You have control, you have a voice. With an ESOP, you have a highly undiversified retirement portfolio. ESOPs are a neoliberal answer to truly democratized enterprises, just like Obamacare was to single payer.

  14. Robert McGregor

    Biden’s “staff” in picture above (going right to left):

    1) Young woman in white dress: “Please tell me I’m not seeing this.”
    2) Grandma in black dress: “Oh Jiminy, here it comes.”
    3) Woman in purple jacket: “Dammit, we told him not to do that. Is this really gonna work?
    4) Black man with arms crossed: “Brother Biden’s at it again. Ha ha. He loves to touch the ladies–whatever the age.”

    1. polecat

      5) People sitting in chairs: “OMG! It’s TRUE !!!” “Those ‘fake news’ bloggers were right afterall !”

      1. rowlf

        Could I suggest “We’re seeing fake news being created right in front of us!”

        (Yeah, I think the conditioning is so embedded that they wouldn’t believe their eyes. “His brain has not only been washed, as they say, it’s been dry-cleaned.” as Dr Yen Lo said.)

  15. freedomny

    “Patriarchy is a systemic social cancer.” is probably the best description I have ever read re patriarchy…

  16. dcblogger

    I am sorry to see Bernie slipping in the polls. I am comforted by the knowledge that he has other metrics for judging his support, how many people are watching his videos, visiting his website, signing up to volunteer, and how many supporters are being identified by the Bern ap. If all of those are continuing to climb Bernie is in good shape.

    1. cm

      Polls are utter garbage and the pols know it. Millenials aren’t answering their phones, so polls are skewed by Boomers.

      1. jrs

        then they won’t answer when phone bankers for Bernie call them either …

        it cuts both ways.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I experienced that while phone banking for Bernie in 2015-16. Many minutes would pass before I heard the “ding” that indicated that there was someone who actually answered the phone.

          Which made me wonder why the campaign kept exhorting us, the lowly volunteers to phone bank, phone bank, and phone bank some more. To me, it felt like busy work and nothing more.

          1. Chris Cosmos

            Trump showed us that public appearances work to make people feel they are part of something. It starts with arenas first the TV and YouTube shows.

          2. Eureka Springs

            I’m much older than those minimals and I despise a phone ring almost as much as an unexpected knock at the front door.

            Text me first… We can decide if we need/want to talk.

            1. BobW

              I’m a boomer who has quit answering unkown numbers because “your car’s service warranty is about to expire.” If you are not on my contact list, too bad – leave a voicemail or text.

              1. Arizona Slim

                And what about your Google listing? Is it up to date?

                I get frequent spam calls on that topic. And I let ’em go to voice mail. Where they die a quick death beneath my delete key.

            2. Lepton1

              Same here. Send unknown callers to voice mail. Lately I’m getting voice messages in Chinese. Very weird.

        2. cm

          Interesting thought. I believe millenials who are likely to vote wouldn’t necessarily be influenced by a blind phone call — instead more likely to be influenced by Reddit and similar (but not Facebook).

      2. polecat

        If Sanders joins up with Gabbard, I believe they will be unstoppable, debates or no …

        Too many plebes, both millenial and up, know the bloody corrupt DNC scorecard for what it is .. a gas-lit bag loaded with phony projection and hypocrisy.
        I would go further, and state that were an S&G ticket to switch into full-on ‘Independent’ mode .. as a reflection of intransigent DNC debate skullduggery ..that they would STILL win the hearts and minds of a majority of the public, who don’t do polls, many of whom don’t put much stock into the lying MSM megaphony, many of whom also know the democrat sycophants for the self-serving shills that they are .. siding as they are, with big Oligarch – butterer$ of unwholesome ‘bread’.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I hope that someone in the Sanders campaign is looking in to what would be required to get on the ballot as an independent in every state that is not a “lock” for DJT.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            The question is whether it would be possible to get on the ballot in all the states and territories, given the obstacles the legacy parties have in place to prevent it. If the Dems cheat again, Bernie and Tulsi would be better advised to take the Greens up on the offer they made last year and would hopefully make again, as they are battling to ensure they have just that presence in place by the deadlines.

            Whether they’d be allowed to change candidates is another question, but at least the foundation would be laid.

          2. cm

            Nope, this was discussed here ad nauseum in the last election. 3rd party has been intentionally made unviable in the United States thanks to R&D colllusion.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          What if Sanders were to start saying right now that ” If I am nominated I WILL select Tulsi Gabbard as my VP running mate”?

          What if Gabbard were to start saying right now that “If I am nominated I WILL
          select Bernie Sanders as my VP running mate”?

          Would that raise the number of people who might vote for either one in the primaries?

    2. JohnnyGL

      It’s a very small amount, mostly around the margin of error or so.

      Also, do keep in mind, Biden voters’ self-declared #2 choice is……still Sanders. No one’s better positioned to pick up the pieces of Biden’s fade.

  17. Pat

    I came late to yesterday’s Water Cooler, but my thought about Biden’s low number of public appearances was that 1.) He probably doesn’t have the stamina to do a full campaign schedule after six years, needs to work up to it and more importantly 2.) His staff wants that slow rate to continue as long as possible because he is terrible at it – between the groping, the inability to hold a thought and his being entirely out of touch with anybody but the donor class, the less the public actually gets to know him the better.

    Unfortunately, the press needs something about Biden, so they are left with ‘he’s not campaigning, lazy or cunning?!”

    1. Carolinian

      It’s 95 degrees here in SC. Biden probably turned on the Weather Channel and thought: “Rose Garden strategy” (or front porch strategy in the 19th cent. version). Harris was here last night and she was live and on MSNBC no less. The advantages of youth.

    2. Geo

      Same thing happened in 2015/2016 with Clinton doing very few public appearances and making the press angry. That worked out great.

      Not sure if it’s laziness or just entitlement. At their level they seem to think they don’t need to prove themselves anymore and are happier amongst their rich friends at posh locations doing fundraisers in their natural habitat rather than dealing with the dirty commoners or parasitic press.

  18. Pat

    That Mueller quote reminded me of an old adage about dirty campaign political propaganda. So let me redo it…

    Mueller said he was authorized to investigate whether Trump had stopped beating his wife. ‘If we had had confidence that the president clearly was not beating his wife, we would have said so’ but also did not determine that the president did beat his wife.”

  19. dearieme

    the authority of decision makers at the [National Labor Relations Board] who do not understand higher education, do not care about it, and could not really be much bothered to learn.

    That’s an everyday problem with government interference with x, y, and z.

    P.S. Bottygig: latte doesn’t have an acute. Oops, does that sound like an allusion to Hands-on Joe?

  20. Summer

    RE: “Robert Mueller Makes First Public Statement on Russia Election Probe”
    “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so’ but also did not determine that the president did commit a crime.”
    “In a key passage, Bannon is reported as saying he believes investigations of Donald Trump’s financial history will provide proof of the underlying criminality of his eponymous company.

    Assessing the president’s exposure to various investigations, many seeded by the special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Russian election interference, Wolff writes: “Trump was vulnerable because for 40 years he had run what increasingly seemed to resemble a semi-criminal enterprise.”

    He then quotes Bannon as saying: “I think we can drop the ‘semi’ part.”
    Let’s assume all of this is true. You mean all of the scams they didn’t bring up during the 2016 election, will get a hearing? The real problem is apparent. They’ve let too much financial fraud become the norm and they legalize as much of it as possible – especially with their buddy buddies from school or whatever cliques they crawl from under. That’s how far down the rabbit hole this mess is. (Look! Over there! A Russian!)

    And the Democrat’s answer is Sen. Biden* in the wings.

    *A Delaware Corporation

    1. Geo

      Juxtapose that with a list of journalists who got it right and how they were fired or their careers had a downward trajectory afterward.

      News media and politics seem to reward myth-makers and punish truth-tellers.

  21. Geo

    “Beto O’Rourke proposed a new immigration plan on Wednesday that will allow churches and local communities to sponsor immigrants to the United States in becoming American citizens”

    An interesting and potential smart plan. Would definitely get backing from churches who have dwindling recruitment in this country.

    1. crittermom

      I wouldn’t credit Beto with this as being a ‘new’ idea. (Has he even had any?)

      Churches have been involved in immigration for a long time, and still are.
      In this article from back in 2012, it offers charts but also recognizes the corruption that occurs as a result. (Follow the money)

      From the little I’ve checked, there are also legal requirements to actually ‘sponsoring’ someone.

      I see his idea as more of a ‘feel good’ point to campaign on and I must wonder if he has even researched the facts regarding it.

  22. John D.

    Re:: Biden’s latest, er, ‘gaffe.’ Is it oncoming senility? Or just plain old fashioned arrogance? Which is to say, he’s going to continue behaving whichever way he wants because he knows he can get away with it?

    And as for some feral Democratic rival going after him, hell, what about the Republicans? They’ll be overjoyed to use the ammunition that Biden’s practically handing them on a silver platter here. If he was physically capable of it, Trump would have done a somersault in mid-air out of sheer joy when he heard about this.

    1. John

      What is it that motivates Clarence Thomas to represent the cutting edge views of folks of a conservative bent in say 1890?

    1. Geo

      No birth control, no abortion… if a woman doesn’t “know her place” she will soon if these guys get their way. Barefoot and pregnant as they used to say.

      It took millennia for women to acquire systemic rights to self-agency. Hate to think they may lose them so quickly without putting up one hell of a fight. I wish I had any solutions in my feeble brain but only know there doesn’t seem to be any urgency about it right now.

  23. Sharkleberry Fin

    “Good luck with that, America,” says Robert Mueller, “you’re on your own on this one, compañero. Because I’m not wearing a helmet every single day for the rest of my life’s epilogue to avoid being concussed by the monsoon of bull butter that will rain down from a horde of ill-tempered gassy red-hatted baby-people. I don’t have to make a call, so I won’t. Let someone else’s face melt-off after opening that Lost Ark of Trump Family Moral Compromises. Episodes so toxic in their totality, but for their endless reiteration onto magnetic tape within the UNIVAC mainframe calculating “awful” to infinity that is the American political mediascape, you would swear that you’d been hit by a bus and your soul descended to a hellscape similar to a Boschian nightmare, only one less thought-provoking. – C’mon, use your noodle, people, you don’t maintain an opaque labyrinth for the Trump business model because you’re talented and ethical. – The obstruction WAS the conspiracy. Keep the information warfare going through 2020 and get paid on the backend. Booby Swan did not walk out of a murder jungle on his own two legs because he’s into waltzing through booby traps. Have a nice life, America. And remember, don’t think of your democracy as being in ruins. Think of it as your generation’s government resigns itself to living outdoors for the foreseeable future. So, pack a sweater.”

  24. Chris

    Sharing in case people want to go back to primary sources for all of the ridiculous “He voted for the Iraq War!” “NO HE DIDN’T” discussions blowing up the Twitters lately.

    Sanders voted against the Authorization for War in Iraq when he was in the House in 2002.


    This “Bernie the Bomber” stuff is enough to drive you crazy.

    1. lambert strether

      Rove’s main principle was to attack his enemy’s strength. Looks like Brock (or whoever) is an apt pupil.

    2. CoryP

      I think the argument is that he later voted to fund the Iraq war. But I’ve noticed the CounterPunch guys harping on this on twitter constantly. They have a real hate on for Bernard, but it doesn’t seem they have any reccomendation for an alternative.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “The Military Is Locked in a Power Struggle With Wind Farms”

    The military can go pound sand. There are whole regions of the United States that they own that they can do their low-level training in but insist that they have to do it where there are wind farms? If they are training for war, then what if they come up against a country that is full of wind farms? Wouldn’t they need training in how to deal with them? Or would that be the equivalent of a country full of barrage balloons so, off limits. Next thing you know the Chinese will be installing wind farms in the South China Seas.

  26. martell

    If I understand what the authors are saying in “Moving into and out of patriarchy,” we tend to get either democracy or patriarchy depending on how we deal with vulnerability. Remain open to the pleasures of connection, thus embracing our vulnerability, and we get democracy; close ourselves off to connection, thus denying our vulnerability, and we get patriarchy.

    That doesn’t seem to match the facts where democracy is concerned. It was created by 6th and 5th century Greeks, mainly poor Athenians, through a variety of means: threatening open war against the few rich, installing tyrants who enacted policies and laws favorable to certain segments of the demos (the many poor as opposed to the few rich), as well as just killing off a lot of oligarchs down at the Piraeus. Doesn’t sound like embracing vulnerability to me. Also, I’m pretty sure that “fellow members” of the Delian League would have had a lot to say about the idea that the Athenians had opened themselves up to the pleasures of connection. Same goes for the Melians (but only the women whom the Athenians sold into slavery – the Athenians murdered all the men). Finally, Athens was not only the most democratic of the Greek democracies, it may have been the most patriarchal. In any case, it seems clear that Athenian women typically had far less power than the women of decidedly anti-democratic Sparta (the only polis, to my knowledge, that conquered and permanently enslaved a neighboring Greek community).

    1. Massinissa

      Yeah, it also doesn’t make sense to me when considering certain autocratic countries that had high amounts of rights for women. Pharaonic Egypt was not democratic in any way yet women had property rights, divorce rights, and many other rights that few women in ‘democratic’ Greek states possessed.

      I suppose this means you could separate ‘patriarchy’ and ‘autocracy’ and say you could have a non- or less-patriarchal autocracy, but that would result in the articles point of trying to establish a link between democracy and the feminine entirely moot.

      1. martell

        What’s that saying? “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”? Gilligan has been at this kind of thing for a long time. First made a name for herself by criticizing Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, a theory according to which Kantian ethics is the very summit. Gilligan claimed that Kohlberg’s account was male biased, and that her own research demonstrated that women take a quite different developmental path, one culminating in an “ethics of care.” If memory serves, her data was drawn from a sample consisting of mostly white, college aged, female, Ivy league students. So, take your pick of confounding factors. It seems too that her findings have not been replicated, which, given the methodological flaws, should surprise no one.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      …Athens was not only the most democratic of the Greek democracies, it may have been the most patriarchal.

      There was Aspasia who had the ear of Pericles, but she was arguably the exception that proved your rule.

    3. lambert strether

      If I am not misreading/oversimplifying, the idea of patriarchy as protection/insulation against loss was my takeaway. I think it’s natural that there would be a an awkward conceptual seam between patriarchy and political structures. I should go back and reread Federici, I suppose.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Yes, it’s that patriarchy puts us at the bottom rung of the hierarchy of the autonomic nervous system, where we are disconnected, shut down, paradoxically protected from loss since we are isolated with nothing to lose.

        When we get angry enough to mobilize, we move up the ANS ladder from shutdown to activity: fight-or-flight mode. But this is a driven, reactive state, one in which we are seeking safety, constantly scanning the environment for threats.

        It is only through ANS coregulation (as in the mother and baby video) or attachment that we experience the safety and connection that allows us to utilize our higher capacities of empathy, fear modulation, attuned communication, insight, response flexibility, and moral awareness.

        So the argument is that this individual ANS hierarchy is reproduced in human society writ large. We cannot just react, protest, burn it all. We must build something new, and the only way to do that is together.

        See Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal Theory. It’s mind-blowing!

  27. ewmayer

    Random kleptocrats-in-unexpected-places sighting: happened to catch the end credits for the 2016 remake-sillyfest The Legend of Tarzan – yes, the film for which no fewer than 865 people listed under “Visual Effects” on the Full Cast and Crew page helped bring us that cheesy CGI of heavy-bodied gorillas swinging from vines through the forest, very realistic! – and caught sight of “Producer: Steven Mnuchin”. Say whaaa??

    Yep, *that* Steven Mnuchin. And he’s got no fewer than 44 Producer credits. I wonder if he slept with Harvey Weinstein?

    1. JBird4049

      Gah, Mnuchin and Weinstein making out. Thank you, oh so very much for that lovely mental image.

  28. ChristopherJ

    Toilet paper should hang down off the roll so your hand can go on top and easily start it.

    If you have boys, hang the rolls the other way. Way harder for them, buy save you 50 per cent of the right way.

    Also depends on whether you scrunch or fold. I use 20 per cent of Lovey’s needs.

  29. michael johnson

    Three suggestions on interpreting the meaning of democracy in Gilligan-Snider context and in the context of my review of their book. One, forget about Greece and focus on our times. Second, focus more on the cultural dimension of democracy as Tocqueville did, not on its governing dimension. That is, democracy as a way of living and relating.

    Third, keep in mind that culture drives structure (or, “Culture eats structure for breakfast.”) We have a patriarchal/democratic culture in which the patriarchy part is very strong, but the democratic part is still quite active. The battle is for which one will be dominant. The disconnection patriarchy drives undermines the kind of basic human connection that makes democracy work well. (Tocqueville’s “art of association.”) Gilligan said it this way: “Leaving the psychology of patriarchy intact, we are unlikely to get rid of its politics. Leaving its politics in place, its psychology is easily mistaken for nature.”

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