2:00PM Water Cooler 6/10/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this Water Cooler may end up a little light because I was finishing up my second post on Midwest flooding. I’ll flesh out the the politics section in a few minutes. –lambert UPDATE All done.


“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] (average of five polls). As of June 6: Biden up 33.6% ( 33.5%) and Sanders up 17%(16.7%) stabilize. Warren down 7.8% (8.2%), Buttigieg climbing, others Brownian motion. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden will probably lose Iowa” [Bleeding Heartland]. “Ronald Reagan sought the nomination in 1976 and was arguably the natural GOP nominee. Walter Mondale had been Jimmy Carter’s vice president. George Bush held that position in the Reagan administration. Bob Dole was a former nominee for VP. Gore was a two-term VP. Every one of those candidates was over 40 in Iowa at this point. Biden is at least 16 points behind them. As I noted in March, only one of the last four front runners in Iowa who were under 30 percent early on went on to win the caucuses. After all of the national publicity he has received since his announcement, the two-term vice president in Barack Obama’s administration cannot break 25 percent.” • Ouch.

Biden (D)(2): I can’t even:

Gravel (D)(1):

He’s not wrong, is he?

Trump (R)(1): “Why Trump may have an unexpected weakness with rural voters in 2020” [McClatchy]. “The Democratic analytics firm Catalist recently published a review of the 2018 midterm elections using data gleaned from voter files, a state-by-state report that offers the most detailed look yet at turnout in last year’s races. The findings were startling: When comparing the 2016 presidential election to 2018 House races, the biggest increase of support for Democrats came not in the suburbs (which received the most attention) but in rural areas. According to the analysis, Democrats recovered slightly more than half the vote in rural areas that they lost between 2012 and 2016, a net gain of about six percentage points in the region. By comparison, Democratic gains in suburban areas were roughly a point or two lower.” • Interesting. Also: “Crucially, in data Catalist provided to McClatchy, the shift in rural America was in large part because voters who didn’t support Democrats in 2016 switched their allegiance two years later, a dynamic present in other parts of the country as well, the analysis found. The party’s vote share increased by five points, from 30 percent to 35 percent, among rural voters who voted in both elections, gains that were concentrated among younger and single [gasp] white voters.” • So all the essentialists moaning and pearl-clutching by liberals that rural voters were essentially racist and should never be appealed to was just wrong. I’m shocked. And all the “Blue Wave” propaganda drowned it out.

Trump (R)(2): “I Helped Obama Win in 2012. Now Trump Is Using the Same Playbook.” [Ben LaBolt, The Atlantic]. “Presidents who have recently won reelection seeded their victories not in the final sprint before Election Day, but by executing a two-year campaign to exploit a contentious primary on the other side, reconnect with their base of supporters, and define the election as a choice, not a referendum. I served as the national press secretary on President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, when we used that strategy to great effect. Now I’m watching President Trump executing the same strategy that powered Obama to reelection, while the Democratic organizations that could answer him have left an open playing field in the battleground states where the election will be decided…. Simultaneously, Trump has begun to hold rallies in battleground states across the country, dipping into media markets where he can fire up his base, such as Panama City, Florida, and battleground markets, such as Green Bay, Wisconsin. Many of these visits lead to localized polling bumps that last for weeks…. Meanwhile, neither the Democratic National Committee nor any of the major Democratic super PACs are live with any notable broadcast or digital-advertising budget in battleground states targeted toward general-election swing voters. The 23 Democratic presidential campaigns are naturally focused on proximate targets, such as winning early states and meeting the DNC’s fundraising thresholds… If Democrats don’t act now, the Trump campaign will define the general election on its own terms, before we can even choose our nominee.”

Warren (D)(1):

The comments on this thread are very good, too.

Warren (D)(2): “Warren’s nonstop ideas reshape the Democratic presidential race — and give her new momentum” [WaPo]. “At multicandidate forums — most recently, one by the California Democratic Party — Warren is regularly earning the loudest cheers. Her ‘I have a plan for that’ slogan has become a recognizable meme, featured on the campaign’s popular T-shirt.” • However, as Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Or as Mike Tyson is paraphrased as saying: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” So, the tactical question is: Who will be the one to punch Warren in the mouth? (In Iowa 2004, Dick Gephardt punched Howard Dean in the mouth, but John Kerry was the one who benefited.) And the strategic question is: “Who is Warren’s enemy?” Who has prevented her plans from coming to fruition already? Another way of saying that would be: “What is Warren’s theory of change?” I’m not sure Warren has an answer to either question. Sanders’ answer to each is clear: The billionaires are the enemy, and “not me, us” is the theory of change. Agree or disagree, at least Sanders is clear.

Warren (D)(3): All Warren had to do was check in with the Cherokees:

Williamson (D)(1):

Good for her!

IA: “Iowa Democrats 2019 19-presidential candidate Hall of Fame: sights and sounds” [Des Moines Register]. It was a chaotic scene at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Cedar Rapids on Sunday, as 19 presidential candidates converged for the state’s largest caucus event so far this cycle. Many of the campaigns and their supporters arrived early in the morning to line the street to the hotel, chanting and hoisting signs.” • And then there was this:

And not to pile on, but:

“An early look at the Biden and Sanders coalitions” [Carl Beijer]. From a CNN poll, with chart:

1. Age is still the most important dividing line. As it was in 2016, age remains the most significant divide in the Democratic primaries. This is the only demographic where Sanders has an actual lead: he beats Biden among voters under 50 by 2 points, and among voters until 45 by 7 points. Biden, however, holds enormous advantages among olds: he has a 35 point lead among voters over 45, and a 45 point lead among voters over 65.

2. Centrists like Biden; liberals like Bernie. Biden has a remarkable 25 point lead over Sanders among moderates and conservatives; among liberals, Sanders is only down one point. On a probably related note, Biden also has an 18 point lead among self-identified Democrats, but that lead shrinks down to just 4 points among Independents (which presumably includes leftists who do not identify as Democrats).

3. The more money you make, the more you like Biden. Biden has a 19 point lead among voters who make more $50,000 a year or more, but that lead shrinks to just 8 points among people who make less.

Throwing the Democrats into buckets:

Where’s the goth? Is there no goth?

2018 Post Mortem

“The Untapped Power of Rural Voters” [LaTosha Brown, New York Times]. “From 2012 to 2016, Democrats lost 11 percentage points in rural areas overall. But those same rural areas trended in a Democratic direction from 2016 to 2018 and ended up about six points more Democratic. There’s room for growth in rural America for Democrats…. In rural areas, small investments can create stunning victories. In a 2016 my organization spent about $2,000 on basic needs like food for volunteers and vans to take people to the polls for a race in Americus, Ga. As a result, we helped win back a seat in the state legislature for Democrats. The district was 66 percent African-American, and entirely winnable, but it had been ignored for years. There are easy wins like this all around the country.”


“Hillary Clinton’s Russia collusion IOU: The answers she owes America” [John Solomon, The Hill]. • In essence, a foreshadowing of the case that Barr and Trum will be making for the coming election cycle, and worth a read for that. This is a good request: “Please identify each person in your campaign who was involved with, or aware of, hiring Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele.”


IA: “Iowa Poll: Likely Democratic caucus participants split on Donald Trump impeachment question” [Des Moines Register]. MoE: ±4.7%. Sample: 600. “Forty-eight percent of Iowa voters who plan to attend the caucuses in person say Congress should continue to investigate the president, but should not move ahead with formal impeachment proceedings… ‘My reasoning is: I don’t want it to fail,’ said Iowa Poll participant Dorothy Oliver of Urbandale.” • Lol, Democrat voters don’t trust the party leadership not to screw it up. With good reason.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Axios on HBO’ poll: 55% of women prefer socialism” [Axios]. MoE and sample: Not stated. “A Harris poll for “Axios on HBO” finds that socialism is gaining popularity: 4 in 10 Americans say they would prefer living in a socialist country over a capitalist one…. 55% of women between 18 and 54 would prefer to live in a socialist country than a capitalist country.” • If the Clinton campaign debacle, and the latest abortion rights debacle, hasn’t convinced you of the bankruptcy of bourgeois feminism, perhaps this will do it.

Democrat control over ballot acces; quite a story. Thread:

“A Moment of Silence: The case for keeping new organizers offline.” [The South Lawn]. “New organizers (regardless of age) should be advised to stay away from social media organizing until they have fully grasped the concept of winning and losing a campaign. If they want to Instagram their lunch (which is likely volunteer pizza or stale donuts) –that’s fine — but they should not be organizing around hashtags, online petitions, or Twitter storms because even successful social media organizing can give organizers a false sense of winning…. At the risk of sounding like a “brocialist” or “brogressive,” I think this bears repeating. Organizing is about winning. If your community does not win its demand, the campaign lost.” • Sanders campaign, listen up!

Stats Watch

JOLTS, April 2019: “April job openings [were] higher-than-expected [but] down 25,000 from March” [Econoday].

Shipping: “Slumping coal exports threaten rail and ocean shipping demand” [Freight Waves]. “In the first four months of this year, long-haul exports to the top four Asian destinations totaled 10.8 million tons, down 2.5 million tons or 19 percent, whereas shorter-haul exports to the top 13 Atlantic Basin and Mediterranean destinations (in Europe, South America and North Africa) totaled 16.5 million tons, down 570,512 tons or 3 percent. The much steeper drop to Asia was driven by volume declines to India, South Korea, and China (which instituted a retaliatory tariff on U.S. coal last year), partially offset by a jump in volume to Japan.” • Flooding is also a factor, apparently, since coal travels to the ports both by rail and barge.

Shipping: “Port Report: Los Angeles bakes in box slowdown for upcoming budget” [Freight Waves]. “The Port of Los Angeles expects cargo volumes to dip in the coming fiscal year due to the fall-off from last year’s front loading of containers and the potential impact of new tariffs…. The Port of Los Angeles expects cargo volumes to dip in the coming fiscal year due to the fall-off from last year’s front loading of containers and the potential impact of new tariffs.”

Gentlemen Prefer Bonds: “All bark but no bite? What does the yield curve tell us about growth?” (charts) [Bank Underground]. “The slope of the yield curve has decreased in the US and the UK over the last few years… This development is attracting significant attention, because the yield curve slope (i.e. the difference between longer term government bond yields and shorter term government bond yields) is a popular business cycle indicator, and a fall of longer term yields below shorter term yields (i.e. an ‘inversion’ of the yield curve) has historically been considered as a powerful signal of recessions, particularly in the US… In sum, since the 90s, the slope of the yield curve has indeed become less efficient in predicting GDP growth over time in both the US and the UK. More recently however the yield curve slope appears to have regained some of its predictive power, as policy rate expectations are again positively and significantly associated with future GDP growth while the term premia has stopped obscuring their signal. This suggests that while the warning sign from the yield curve slope should be taken with caution, it should not be discarded completely.” • Oh.

The Bezzle: “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be!” [Elon Musk Today]. “49 days since Elon Musk said there will be a million fully autonomous Tesla robotaxis in a year.” • And so forth and so on.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 180. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.


“The economic virtuous circle at the centre of MMT” [Morning Star]. Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, does not accept MMT. But: “Claims that MMT would precipitate capital flight and a currency crisis leading to ‘the UK facing conditions even worse than the austerity inflicted by the Conservatives and Lib Dems since 2010’ are fanciful, scaremongering hyperbole. Japan gives the lie to such apocalyptic proclamations with its public debt-to-GDP ratio standing at around 250 per cent, together with its decades long substantial deficits. Yet Japan has maintained interest rates and bond yields at around zero, and in some cases bond yields have gone negative, without creating the kind of economic cataclysm the MMT critics predict. The truth is that like Japan, the Bank of England would always be able to control yields in the bond markets. As for a currency crisis, it is of course possible that speculators could dump the pound to create difficulties for a radical Labour goverment. But that is just as likely to happen with or without the fiscal credibility rule because, as Jonathan makes clear in his article: ‘nobody should be in any doubt that Labour is opposed to austerity.'”

The Biosphere

“Your Bowl of Rice Is Hurting the Climate Too” [Bloomberg]. “Global rice farming, it turns out, could have the same detrimental effect on global warming in the short term as 1,200 average-sized coal power plants, according to the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund advocacy group. That means the grain is just as damaging over the long term as annual carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. combined…. As the sheer size of the staple food’s carbon footprint becomes clearer to scientists, companies including the maker of Uncle Ben’s rice and Olam International Ltd., the world’s second-biggest rice supplier, are starting to source more of the grain from farms that aren’t flooded, a widespread cultivation technique that releases methane gas into the atmosphere.”

“As Hurricane Season Begins, ‘Green’ Flood Control Finds Support in Texas” [City Lab]. “‘Engineering companies want to do the most expensive thing they can do,’ complained Susan Chadwick, executive director of Save Buffalo Bayou, a local advocacy group. Her group argues that chopping down trees and vegetation reduces the land’s stability and potential to absorb water and capture pollution; adds to repair and maintenance costs; and has a negative impact on residents’ wellbeing. The detention project feels like a compromise between natural and artificial flood-control techniques. ‘After Harvey, they needed to bring some stuff off the shelf and show they are ready to do something,’ Chadwick said. She is skeptical that a city that used concrete to conquer swamps, marshes, and prairies can learn to restore green spaces—or just leave them alone.”

Health Care

“California lawmakers agree to health benefits for immigrants” [San Francisco Chronicle (JS)]. “The agreement means low-income adults between the ages of 19 and 25 living in California illegally would be eligible for California’s Medicaid program, the joint state and federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled.” • Which is rational policy from the standpoint of public health. But: “But to pay for part of it, the state will begin taxing people who don’t have health insurance. It’s a revival of the individual mandate penalty that had been law nationwide under former President Barack Obama’s health care law until Republicans in Congress eliminated it as part of the 2017 overhaul to the tax code.” • Cool, cool. A direct transfer from citizens to non-citizens. (If, IIRC, the ObamaCare individual mandate was surprisingly ineffective, that would make the revival of the penalty even more of a fig leaf, since the penalty was never fit for purpose.)

Guillotine Watch

“I gave the University of Alabama $26.5 million. They gave it back when I spoke out about abortion.” [WaPo]. “My love for Alabama is exactly why I was so horrified to watch its lawmakers trample over the Constitution last month. The ban on abortion they passed wasn’t just an attack against women, it was an affront to the rule of law itself… I expected that speaking out would have consequences, but I never could have imagined the response from the University of Alabama, which on Friday said it would be returning my gift and removing my name from the law school.” • Lol. Culverhouse lied like a rug.

“Culverhouse, UA feud was about ego, power and money, not Alabama’s abortion law” [AL.com]. “The university has now released email exchanges between Culverhouse and university officials showing the dispute as something else entirely — a bitter, personal feud between the University and one of the institution’s biggest donors. Those emails show Culverhouse trying to influence hiring decisions, admissions and scholarships — and threatening to take his money out of the school when he didn’t get his way.” Here is one of the emails:

One can only wonder if there’s some institutional factor at WaPo that would lead them to grant a demi-billionaire instant deference and credibility. Will WaPo retract Culverhouse’s Op-Ed?

Class Warfare

“Food emergency” [Oklahoma Gazette]. “Nationwide, dollar stores now outnumber Walmart and McDonald’s locations combined, with the number of locations reaching 30,000 in 2018, according to Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). Dollar stores have also surpassed Whole Foods in feeding Americans… ILSR reports that a Dollar General’s arrival typically cuts a small town’s supermarket sales by about 30 percent. Additionally, dollar stores are not necessarily less expensive; they simply offer more single-serving quantities, many of which actually cost more per ounce. ‘Our research suggests that they often target African American neighborhoods,’ reads the report. ‘Their strategy of saturating these neighborhoods with multiple outlets can make it nearly impossible for new grocers and other businesses to take root and grow.'” • Single servings would be the food-store equivalent of selling loosies.

“Tommy Douglas, Canada’s Great Prairie Socialist, Wasn’t Always So Beloved” [Jacobin]. “Douglas’s consecrated status has come at a cost, with his avowedly socialist politics either stripped away or cast aside altogether. It is a testament to his legacy that one reason for this is the continued popularity of Canada’s health care system: now such an integral part of the country’s political consensus that even most conservatives have abandoned dreams of its outright abolition. Nevertheless, few these days remember Douglas for who he really was: a populist radical who spent his life as an outspoken critic and adversary of capitalism. So depoliticized has Douglas become that a cabinet minister in Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s hard-right government recently evoked him in a farcical effort to justify austerity.” • Rather like what’s been done to the legacy of MLK.

“Fighting for Her Life” [New York Review of Books]. “[L]ike her fellow radical authors, [Andrea] Dworkin also put forward a vision of what a nonsexist society might look like. For her, it was a world without gender polarity. There’s plenty of evidence, she argues, suggesting that male and female are not two cleanly separate and opposed categories: the existence of intersex people, essential similarities in male and female genitals, and variation among men and among women in gender expression. ‘The words ‘male’ and ‘female,’ ‘man’ and ‘woman,” she writes, ‘are used only because as yet there are no others.'” • Hmm.

News of the Wired

For the urban planners among us (via DK):

“The Human Body As A Tube Map” [Londonist]. • Just went I think the London Tube Map meme is played out.

The perils of international tourism:

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ML writes: “Very old (####) palm in my hood. Keep up the good work!!” Not sure what “(####)” means, but I thought if I left it in, I might find out!

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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. Joe Well

    Regarding Elizabeth Warren’s indigenous/American Indian/Native American identity/ancestry/DNA thing: has there been a good explanation as to how someone so brilliant and so well-informed about so many things could have been so ignorant on this issue? And all the advisors around her, did no one have a clue or did they try to talk her out of the DNA test fiasco and other such things and failed?

    I don’t have any deep knowledge on Native Americans. I am only someone who took a few American history courses and even I understand how she has been ridiculous. If she really didn’t understand and didn’t have anyone around her who did, she might have visited the Wampanoag cultural centers in the state that she represents. Or walked over to the History department at Harvard.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m stunned by it, because it’s such a self-own. Apparently, she was on “Pod Save America” (Deray and Jon Favreau), they suggested it, and she thought it was a good idea. So (a) Trump got inside her head on the issue, and (b) she bought into advice from the liberal Democrat wing without doing any due diligence. It’s just not a good look. These are not good mental habits. And say what you will about Sanders, the chances of Trump getting inside his head are zero. And ditto for Deray and Favreau.

      1. Joe Well

        The Pod Save America guys suggested that horrible DNA test??

        OK, I know even less about them and their milieu than I do about indigenous Americans, but I had thought they were steeped in IDPol. And wouldn’t the one saving grace of IDPol be that it teaches some wealthy Harvard professor to act with a little humility and actually consult with members of the relevant ID grouping? By which I mean, ask anyone at all with a tribal affiliation what they thought about this?

        This whole episode makes me feel like there is another gaping hole in my understanding of how our elites work and think. I am not surprised that a white American of Warren’s…ahem…birth cohort would fall for the DNA testing scam because there is apparently an entire mini-industry built around that particular type of ignorance, to judge by the TV commercials. But all the people around her?

        1. jrs

          I kind of think she could make up for it by visiting tribes and taking up some of their issues as hers if they align with her values (liberalism, I mean if some of them have conservative ideas, then don’t as those aren’t her values, but surely she could take on some issues, tribal poverty, water protection etc.).

          But in this crazy identity politics “gotcha” world, where the Reps literally disenfranchise native Americans and yet Trump can win points against Warren, who the heck even knows. Maybe only the “gotcha” matters. I mean “gotcha” points aren’t won because Trump voters and especially the R party care about native Americans. They don’t.

          1. Joe Well

            This is one case that is not just gotcha. She evidently was NOT listening to her Native American constituents or they would have told her how awful all this was.

            It points up dramatically that Democrats are only just somewhat less bad than Republicans.

        2. ChrisPacific

          Something one of my friends used to say to me was that minority politics in the USA (the ancestor of IdPol) was only applicable to a small number of highly visible and politically active minorities. His ethnicity apparently wasn’t considered a minority because there weren’t enough of them.

          So while in theory you are right, IdPol (a) has a strong performative element to it and (b) tends to follow in tracks that are already well established. If you are a black American, or differentiated based on sexual orientation, you count, because there is an established narrative. Native American, American Samoan, even Puerto Rican? Not so much. Yes, it was a massive gaffe by Warren, but I think it’s unlikely that most of the others would have done any better in her situation. (Maybe Tulsi Gabbard, who has a position on native Hawaiian rights and is also of American Samoan descent).

      2. barefoot charley

        I’m so old I remember when 30 million (white) Americans bragged that they were part Cherokee, like Liz Warren (who’s my age). The Trail of Tears had left good numbers of ‘wild Indians’ behind across the South, and many more made it to Oklahoma where they interbred.

        A very strange offshoot of PC behaviors is a now-general acceptance/confusion of official tribes, with their famously political member rolls, with simple blood lines. Tribes understandably insist that only they can be and define Indians (as their federal rice bowls are at stake). Hence anyone they drop from their rolls isn’t an Indian, kind of. Now, twenty percent of Oklahomans have Indian blood. Apparently it’s no longer permissible to say so. But it doesn’t change blood, or pride. I’m stunned that no one defends Warren with these once-common facts. (Full disclosure, I’m a Berner)

        1. sleepy

          I’m pushing 70 and also remember when many whites in the south (including my grandma–always the “high cheekbones”, not color) claimed Indian ancestry and it was always Cherokee considered one of the “civilized tribes”.

          Could well be true for all I know, but it’s a phenomenon that seemed to die out some fifty years ago. Never hear of it anymore. Some of it most likely had to do with the civil rights movement and the defense I heard that “blacks should quit griping, the Indians had it much worse”, etc. Just speculating.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Im 34 but my Grandpa (Dr. Joe Park Poe) told me i had a great great Aunt who was a full blown Choctaw…Or was it Cherokee? I saw a picture once when i was young i think. He was born in Little Rock and went to Central HS only a couple years before desegregation. I asked him what the atmosphere was like. He told me that at the time no one thought about it. He later went on to Columbia and eventually retired Professor Emeritus at Tulane. He never talked much and seemed to be uncomfortable at Faculty Functions…

          2. The Rev Kev

            Things have change a lot since L. Frank Baum, the guy who wrote “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, said the following in 1891-

            The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extirmination [sic] of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.

            Oops! Does that mean that we have to ban his books now for a wrongthought?

        2. Harold

          That’s what I thought. My late step mother and my DIL were/ are both 1/4 Indian and proud of it — though they would never claim to be Indian on an official document, such as a college application.

    2. R

      Is it also possible that someone who was a republican until the age of 40 might actually not be that brilliant.

  2. WheresOurTeddy

    Warren inching up, Biden inching down, Sanders holding steady…

    Elizabeth Warren looks like a well-intentioned policy wonk with no army or way to twist arms. The GOP cannot be shamed into doing the right thing. In the even she gets the nomination and wins, can we expect any progress on her agenda with a likely GOP senate or

    Sanders is no knife fighter either (unfortunately…my kingdom for a Progressive rattlesnake like Mitch McConnell!) but I can’t shake the feeling that Elizabeth Warren’s best case scenario looks a lot like a single term of Jimmy Carter.

    I hope the recession hits while Trump is still president.

    1. Pelham

      Nice summation of what I’ve been thinking about Warren. Are there many others out there with a similar view?

      1. Brindle

        I have a little more positive view of Warren. Her twitter presence/campaign is stronger than that of Sanders and her constant policy proposals show that some voters like that kind of stuff–actual policies rather than the usual “word salad”.

      2. Mike Mc

        Yes. Bernie/Tulsi for the win. Warren for Secretary of the Treasury. Great ideas, great at explaining complex topics but Trump is Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York and Liz is Polly Purebred from Underdog.

        Not impossible for her to grow a spine of steel, but Bernie and Tulsi are real fighters already and don’t need to learn that particular skill.

        1. anon in so cal

          Yes, Sanders / Gabbard!

          Warren is a NeoCon. She’s wrong on Venezuela, Iran, Syria, etc.

      3. richard

        She’s shown no willingness to take down the health insurance industry. Strike one, and you’re out actually, ‘cause that one counts for 3.

  3. diptherio

    That Nepali woman is righteously angry. For the record, $1 US equals 111 rupees. So this woman tried to bargain a shop keeper down from $1.35 for a cup of tea. And as the Nepali woman points out, they are in a mountainous region where all outside supplies have to be carried in on the backs of porters. So this oblivious Brit tries to bargain her down, no doubt because she got a cup of tea for Rs. 50 in Kathmandu and she’s been told that bargaining is part of the culture. Of course, she doesn’t get that you don’t bargain over the price of a cup of tea, and certainly not when you’re a tourist in a remote area.

    I got to witness a very similar scene while on the Annapurna Base Camp trail with my father. Some guy European guy decided he was entitled to more papad, as in the city that’s pretty common. The shop proprietor explained that as we’re in the mountains and supplies are limited, they did not offer extra papad (although they could have as much rice and lentils as they wanted). The Euro guy got fiesty and the proprietor’s son, already a little in his cups, decided he’d had enough of ungrateful tourists and decided to let him know loudly, from a close distance, punctuated with shoves and threats. Thankfully, no blood was spilled, but keeee-rist people can be real d-bags when they’re travelling.

    1. diptherio

      I should explain better: papad is a fried tortilla kind of thing that’s like a little crunchy treat with dinner (which is always rice and lentils). We were all having dinner and this guy kept demanding more croutons (essentially).

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Twitter is fun:
      Original Commenter: “Trying to rip the locals off, disgusting..”
      British apologist: “It’s called haggling. Us Brits, for better or worse, tend to do this everywhere. Doesn’t warrant being threatened with sticks and rocks.”
      2nd Commenter: “touché, you brits do have a history of going to countries and feeling entitled to everything for cheap”
      British apologist: “Sure. Because only Brits haggle.”
      2nd Commenter: “ha, you think this is just about haggling”

    3. Swamp Yankee

      As the turistas pour into the littoral of Cape Cod Bay down here, I feel a great commonality of spirit with the woman from Nepal. I remember thinking that Summer People were a kind of colonialism a decade ago, and I thoroughly agree with Lambert’s notion of “internal colonies” here in the US (and elsewhere).

      I think we’re probably going to have to end tourism as we know it (air travel alone is pretty bad, and it’s not the half of it!), and once again stay near where we are born and live and die if we are to have any hope for the future. In terms of both carbon and colonialism.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t think it’s the locality that’s the issue; I think it’s the nature of tourism. When I visit a foreign country, I try to think, and feel, and act as if I were living there, and not visiting. Honestly, walking down an ordinary street full of shophouses and foodcarts is absolutely as vivid and interesting as visiting a tourist site, at least to me.

        And for pity’s sake, don’t beat down the locals! I tip generously, for example.

        Also, the tourist woman seeks solidarity with the Nepalese woman because of her son. Well, it’s a thousand to one the Nepalese has family to take care of and that’s what she wants the 111 rupees for, ffs. I found that when I started thinking that way, all my worries about getting the right price, and cheating, faded away (modulo obvious places where cheaters prosper, like tourist traps and bars). So the cashier sneaks a few rupees out of my change. Honestly, who cares? I’ve got a lot, and she needs it. All within reason, of course!

        1. Joe Well

          But just the presence of so many people is a problem outside the largest cities.

          The worst examples I have ever seen was Cuzco (former capital of Inca Empire and jumping-off point for Macchu Picchu tours). It was basically destroyed except for the buildings. Bakers, barbers, and green grocers for locals, which had been there for centuries, were replaced with souvenir shops, cafes, art galleries and yoga studios for tourists because that’s what makes money.

          I think the same has happened in other hyper-touristed places like Venice. The intangible heritage of a community’s culture is destroyed in the process. At that point, none of the tourists can possibly learn much of anything by visiting the place. Why not just do yoga and have a latte back home?

          We need to sprinkle tourists around all over the place, not fire-hose them onto specific spots. In Peru, there are literally thousands of important archaeological sites starved for funds and getting looted by vandals. Why can’t we spread the tourists around?

          1. vlade

            That’s because most tourists don’t go to these places to learn something, but to get the instagram pictures, FB posts and in general bragging rights.

            I’ve met so many British guys who said to me “I was in Prague, but can’t remember much outside the first pub and then the airport” that I lost count. That’s what you get with beer at 30p in supermarket and less than 2GBP at even very touristy places.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          As a Bartender/Server down here in the French Quarter, British People suck at Tipping. Same goes for Aussies and Canadians.

          No offense

          1. Redlife2017

            That’s because we don’t tip bartenders or staff at pubs. I asked this very question when I moved here. The answer: But the bartender is doing his/her job. Nothing more nothing less. Of course it’s more complicated in the US as you don’t even make minimum wage in jobs and have tips to make it up.

            In the UK, we tip people when they give full table service. And average is 10% (people get minimum wage, not minus minimum wage + tips). Also Brits don’t like butt-kissing service. It’s quite uncomfortable for them, so it’s not like the service here is, uh, as “robust” as expected in the US.

            I’d also like to note that Japanese don’t tip at all. It’s insulting from what I can tell. The service staff are paid to give good service and that is the expectation. From the Japanese perspective why do you have to pay more for what is expected (and yes, I understand how it works in the US, see my first paragraph above)?

        3. vlade

          “tip generously”. Well, that’s a bit of a problem, TBH.

          Because then you get touristy locations in countries where tipping is normally not done at all, or done say as just rounding to the nearest something (which can get quite complicated as to what’s ok, what’s too little, what’s too much), you get tourist prices (up to twice what you can get elsewhere for the same), and they expect you to tip like the US does. I’ve seen this in Carribean, where I won’t be going back anytime soon, as I don’t really like to be seen as a walking wallet (compare to say some off the beaten track Fiji islands, where I preferred to buy stuff in a local market to bring in the money to leaving a daily tip in the hotel just because).

          So “as if I were living there” should go hand in hand with “and learn what the tipping expectations are”.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The first time I went to China in the mid-1990’s a waitress in a bar gave me a furious look when I gave a tip – I later learned that tipping staff – especially a young woman – was considered to be demeaning and a sort of come-on (sometimes money could be left with the cashier for staff, but never handed to an individual).

            Unfortunately China has now largely ‘caught up’ with much of the rest of the world and tipping is expected in urban areas, at least from westerners.

            Tipping is very much a US tradition which has gradually infected most countries via tourism. Nobody tipped in Ireland when I was young, it simply wasn’t expected. Now its the norm.

          2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Coming from a society in which I regularly get ripped off by banks, corporations, & it seems just about everything else, i have never worried about being taken for a few quid while abroad by people who really need as much as they can muster.

            Be nice as my Mum always said & just spending time talking with staff if they get a minute has always been highly rewarding.

        4. Procopius

          Tipping is not done in Thailand (note: Bangkok is not Thailand). If you leave a tip on the table when you leave in some place like Phanat Nikhom, Kamphaeng Phet, Saraburi, even Sattahip, probably a server will run after you to return the money you forgot. Maybe not. I imagine in places with lots of tourists like Sukhothai or Kanchanaburi (the Death Railway) they have learned the concept, but even in Bangkok I never tip. Restaurants pay a living wage. Not much of a living by Western standards, but quite sufficient.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        I feel the same way about deer season out here.
        it’s like an invasion
        to be fair, it has kept this area afloat since peanut subsidy went away, but still.
        but for my neighbors, i’d consider digging up the road up close to the highway.

      3. KevinD

        How about a GoFund me page to bring this Nepalese woman and her knives here and let her loose in the White House.

      4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Paul Theroux (who should know) said that “tourism is a mortal sin”.

        He didn’t mean “travelling”. Where you go to a place and take the time to get inside the rhythms and systems they have in place.

        He meant tourism. Where your brief visit takes place inside systems that crop up over the top of what the people already have. Out-of-whack demand drives local prices up. T-shirt and souvenir shops pop up and hollow out the culture. Buses full of people arrive and overwhelm local roads and parking.

        My worst experience of this was at the Ile St. Louis in Paris, I lived there for a year back in the day, patronizing the local butcher and cafe. I was accepted and became a part of the neighborhood. When I returned 15 years later the butcher shop was gone, replaced by an “assemble your own doll” franchise. With a chain muffin shop next door (no the French do not eat muffins). I was devastated.

        I know it’s a fine distinction but worth ruminating over. Been too many places (Venice etc) that just have become cartoon caricatures of what the locals had made over centuries.

        1. Joe Well

          >>Been too many places (Venice etc) that just have become cartoon caricatures of what the locals had made over centuries.

          Me too. Though I think Venice has been given over to tourism for centuries at this point.

          >>He didn’t mean “travelling”. Where you go to a place and take the time to get inside the rhythms and systems they have in place.

          Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine. Just look at your visa. Does it say “student” “resident” “worker” “business” or “tourist”? There is no such thing as a “traveler.” The only “travelers” I have met are pretentious tourists, often the kind who want to go to tourist places and then complain about it not being authentic enough and the prices being too high.

          If you want to go to Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, Venice, the Coliseum, the Pyramids, the Forbidden City, Angkor Wat…that is fine, but you are a tourist, and a pretty unimaginative one. You will not learn anything about the “rhythms of life” in those places because virtually the only activity there is tourism. If you want to learn about the rhythms of life in a foreign country, go move there an live in a normal middle class neighborhood in one of the cities where most people live, and commute every day to your normal local job.

          Of course, most people don’t really want to experience real life, and who can blame them? But let’s just be conscious of the high-impact activity we are engaging in and try not to mess things up.

          1. Procopius

            I’d say if you want to learn “the rythms of life” you have to live there at least six month and have some sort of connection that forces you to be in step with local workers. Probably six years is more like it, and you pretty much have to have a native spouse. I’ve lived in Thailand 37 years, lived in the country, even one year planted rice ( for about an hour — it’s really hard work, stoop labor), and I still don’t know what the season is for planting rice.

        2. Dita

          Traveler vs tourist – The boom in travel over the last 30 years especially has erased that distinction, if there every really was one.

        3. sd

          I loved Ile St. Louis in Paris. There used to be a window that sold the most delicious lamb with french fries on a baguette wrapped in paper and then nearby an ice cream/gelato shop. Long gone now, I assume.

        4. polecat

          Isn’t neoliberal progre$$ Grand .. mall !!

          If I was a local, and some 1st world tourista made unreasonable demands of moi, I’d certainly pitch a fit !

    4. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I’ve seen tourists try to bargain for all sorts of things in an inappropriate way (yes, there are situations where its normal and acceptable). But to try to negotiate for a cup of tea is… well, very arrogant. Especially in an area where people are so obviously very poor and without many options.

      I have run into blatant examples of ‘you are a rich tourist, you can afford anything, this banana is $5’ (this is definitely a ‘thing’ in Vietnam), but the correct response to that if you don’t want to pay is just walk away.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        At a temple in remote Thailand I mistakenly tried to bargain with the woman selling sparrows. You get to release the sparrow to freedom on the temple grounds to gain karmic merit.

        She angrily protested and then repeatedly drew her hand across her throat.

        I learned later that she was mimicking the ancient punishment for bargaining (or cheating) anyone or anything religious. Oopsie.

      2. Dita

        Bargaining is common but I wonder if generations of tour guides and trip advisor recs saying bargaining is part of a country ‘s culture is creating a backlash?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Sometimes its just cultural misunderstanding – most market traders in tourist areas know full well the different types of tourists and respond accordingly (I was told by one that Germans always liked to be assured ‘this is expensive, but its high quality!’ while British like to be told ‘its the best value, you pay 5 times this much for the same in London!’). Some tourists bring their own haggling norms – Israelis are notorious in parts of Asia and are often expressly not made welcome because of their insistence on haggling over everything. I’ve seen ‘No Israeli’ signs on Indian hostels and its nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

          Of course, some young backpackers genuinely are ‘poor’ in that they are travelling on very low budgets so can’t afford to spend more than a few dollars equivalent a day. But there is no excuse for not recognising that local traders need to make a living and maybe charging a bit more for tourists is one way of doing this.

          1. Alexa Samples

            In my experience living in SE Asia, haggling over tourists trinkets is fine, given the markups. I never bargained for food though, ever. For food, if its not written, you ask the price beforehand. If its an obvious gouge, go somewhere else. People selling basics have low margins, whereas t shirts etc are bought in bulk for pennies and sold 8-10x price. Also, haggling in the local language always gets you better deals. Nobody’s culture is to haggle in English….

    5. Lee

      A good example of how it is unwise for a lowlander to piss off and then try to outrun a genetically adapted highlander on her own turf. From her panting I thought the Brit’s heart might explode while the Nepalese wasn’t at all winded after the chase with lung power left over to deliver a fitting tirade.

  4. Fiery Hunt

    RE…health care in CA

    After a trip to the ER (tooth exaction gone sideways) I got a $4932 bill for a 3 minute ekg and a prescription of antibiotics. As frustrating as that is, it’s somehow worse to know that even if I paid for health insurance, it wouldn’t have covered a dime…the cheapest deductible I was looking at was $6,500.

    And now they want to re-enact the financial lashing of Obamacare to pay for …wait for it….illegal immigrants’ health coverage.

    It’s really, really clear that I, as a middle-aged, 4th generation Californian, white, sole proprietor of small business guy who barely makes enough to live in the SF Bay Area am absolutely despised by the Democrats.

    And I despise them right back.
    Bernie or Trump, that’s my call.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s classic. Liberal Democrats see it as their role to separate the worthy from the unworthy (their favored tool, as here, being complex eligibility requirements), and to give benefits to the worthy, and deny them to the unworthy (here, those who won’t buy health insurance). Oddly, however, the wealthy are almost always worthy (and how could they not be, this being a meritocracy?)

      I also just figured out that, at least as I read it, the illegal immigrants are not themselves subject to the individual mandate (and it’s hard to see, administratively, how they could be). So they are just given the benefit that everybody should get, universally, and which these same liberal Democrat gatekeepers are working hard to prevent. Somebody should ask Harris what she thinks of this; California is her oligarchy, after all.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        the Vichy Dems just keep proving how crappy they are for anyone below that proverbial 20%.
        I’ve got a file of links to a million such stories…and keep a lot of them in my forebrain, at the ready.
        yet the dems i know can’t hear it, see it, taste it or feel it.
        the Kat Brezler twitter story…using a mad dog gop operative to sue her like that…should be another obvious indictment of a thoroughly corrupt organisation(not a political party, per the statements of their lawyer, back when,lol)
        that it’s not, with so many, is discouraging, to say the least.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        What shocks me here is the blatant division of, as you put it, worthy and unworthy.
        They had to know they were literally going with the “illegals good, citizens bad” narrative.

        The howls are going to just keep getting louder but I’m now convinced that they hear them and just don’t care.

          1. Summer

            No, you had it right the first time – “illegals good, citizens bad.”

            They are totally overboard with it. Turned the corner on ridiculous.

      3. jrs

        OF COURSE that’s not the intent. The intent in having a local mandate (as with the ACA mandate) is to try to avoid only sick people having health insurance and that particular death trap. As someone paying for my own health insurance, as someone who knows people paying for their health insurance, anything that keeps rates lower isn’t all bad.

        Healthcare for illegals is really a separate issue, funding should probably not be tied.

        1. Pat

          None of it is going to keep rates lower. There are no real price controls in ACA for a reason. Healthcare and health insurance costs have not dropped or stabilized in the years since it was passed. They have increased at a far greater rate than inflation. This is despite supposedly so many more people being insured until recently. The mandate was never about health care, it was always about a captive customer base with no real power to effect change in that mandated system that might reduce profits.

          And choosing to supposedly fund immigrant health care by taxing the uninsured is about faux virtue signaling and picking on a group who largely cannot fight back. At least in the short term. (As more and more people cannot afford insurance, the sheer numbers will make them powerful.)

          1. jrs

            I think the state is just trying to make the trump @#$#show with healthcare less bad. Because things, never great anyway with the original ACA, have gotten worse with Trump. Already silver plans have extra fees CA added to them due to Trump etc..

            States have limits in what they can do, state-level single payer was projected to require a doubling of taxes and more problematic, there is no clear way to prevent very sick people in other states moving to any state that implemented it for the healthcare.

            States fight back against Trump the best they can, it’s contingency planning, if things were much better on the federal level or ever got that way, it wouldn’t have to be left to states to manage as best they can. But with fervent hope, but no certainty they ever will, it’s not clear these policies aren’t the best they can do to manage the fallout of the lack of decent federal policy as best they can.

            1. JBird4049

              States do not issue their own money unlike the United States. So, yes they are much more constrained, but California is not Alabama or Mississippi. Unlike the two poorest states in the Union, who understandably might be unable to fund it, California, by itself, is the Earth’s eighth largest economy. If my state’s legislature cannot find a way to finance this expansion of healthcare, without stiffing native Californians, there is something really wrong here.

            2. Pat

              Really? You go from the tax penalty being to prevent only sick people having insurance to the state doing the best they can to fight Trump to justify a decision guaranteed to increase anti immigrant sentiment AND punish many of the people already left behind by the complex and utterly inadequate piece of excrement that is the Heritage Foundation healthcare plan as made worse by Obama.

              Here is an idea how about taxing the heck out of the commercial agricultural and FIRE sector industries? Not for nothing, but a case can be made that they should be buying their “employees” insurance in the first place. If California were really interested in their citizens healthcare, perhaps they should try eliminating the abuse of employees classified as independent contractors forcing more people into employer plans as in getting the gig economy peons out of that often false situation.

              but no let’s attack poor people who don’t see the reason to purchase insurance that provides no insurance instead of housing or electricity and or food. And insurance that you cannot afford to use and if disaster happens will still leave you bankrupt provides no insurance. All to pay for some other group of people considered more important to have healthcare. I am making th a assumption that similar to my state where Medicaid provides far more care than bronze and lower cost silver plans, not even considering the deterrents of high deductibles and co-pays.

              1. jrs

                I think the proposal to add back the individual mandate in CA is much older than this latest proposal for spending it. I could be wrong, but I heard of it long ago. Yes, it’s an attempt to preserve Obamacare in the state.

                I doubt whether one has health insurance provided by an employer has much to do with independent contractor classification. Because many W2 contractors don’t have healthcare either.

                But as for the independent contractor classification, CA is already pushing legislation to tighten it.

        2. Fiery Hunt

          The intent is to keep insurance companies PROFITABLE, plus virtue signal to non-whites . And if they can stick it to a “deplorable” class member,… you know, not wealthy and not poor….well…

          they call that a win-win-win.

        3. Dwight

          According to Mercury News, “Lawmakers want to use an ‘extraordinary’ state budget surplus to expand health care options for undocumented people” and “Revenue from the mandate will fund insurance premium subsidies for middle income people.” https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/06/10/undocumented-immigrants-to-get-health-care-in-california-budget-deal/ An article in The Hill this morning left it unclear which of the two would funded by the mandate tax. Taxing people who may not be able to afford insurance to subsidize health insurance profits is not good.

          1. jrs

            It’s all rather confusing. But it seems that the undocumented people in the specified age group, will just be eligible for Medicaid under the same rules that U.S. citizens in CA of all ages are ALREADY eligible for it (under the expanded Medicaid under the ACA). So it’s not a benefit citizens don’t already have.

            It is confusing whether “middle income (up to 150k!) illegals are eligible. But it seems that might be a separate program, and the part applying to undocumented is just Medicaid, and then the answer would be: no, but “middle income” citizens might be eligible for some help.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Ummm….what about the mandate fine that CITIZENS had to pay if they were uninsured? Cost me nearly $5,000 over 4 years…can’t see illegals lining up to pay that one.

              Illegals can’t meet the obligations citizens have to…income tax, social security, workers comp….but are given the same benefits.

              Yeah. Never gonna convince me that’s the way to go.

        4. Oregoncharles

          jrs – sorry, just wrong. The ACA Mandate (blatantly unconstitutional, for one, despite Scalia) was INEFFECTIVE. Trump stopped enforcing it – one of the few good things he’s done – and NOTHING HAPPENED. (Sorry about the all caps, but some emphasis is called for.)

          So the justification for it was unadulterated bull-pucky, just as I suspected at the time. And everybody knows that now. So the Cal Dems have no excuse. You notice they are NOT taking the revenue (which is necessary for state gov’ts – easy to forget) out of a tiny surcharge on rich people or corporations. So they know who their real clients are.

      4. Summer

        “So they are just given the benefit that everybody should get, universally, and which these same liberal Democrat gatekeepers are working hard to prevent.”

        This is how the Republicans make a comeback in Cali…

        1. JBird4049

          If that party was the party of forty years ago okay, but the California Republican Party is just about a dumpster fire. Just like with the California Democratic Party, almost all the sane people are gone, so it is filled with reactionaries and libertarian ideologues. Well, there are sane people, but too many are sane grifters. The problem is really not with the different views on how we should govern ourselves, but rather the crooks, flakes, and determined ignoramuses.

          Both parties need to be burned to ash and re-built.

      5. Summer

        “the illegal immigrants are not themselves subject to the individual mandate (and it’s hard to see, administratively, how they could be…”

        That is why it needs to be challenged in court.

      6. Lee

        Wow! If the Dems actually do this, and Bernie loses the nomination, I’ll vote for Trump in a fit of electoral pique.

        1. polecat

          I will double-down and do the same ! .. as was the case the LAST time the blue demons commensed to screw anyone not a part of their cultish clique.

        2. Bernalkid

          I kind of think Trump might be the one. Better a re thug dumpster fire, I guess. Biden, I want to sniff your hair, are you as pretty as you are dumb?

      1. Lee

        Sneak into Canada. If you’re caught they will politely send you home.

        How come the U.S. is the preferred destination of asylum seekers in spite of being largely inhabited by racist xenophobes, and how come other countries in the hemisphere that aren’t putting out the welcome mat aren’t also being excoriated by the woke folk?

        1. Tom Doak

          You can’t walk from Central America to Canada, you need plane fare for that. And I can assure you , if you arrive in Canada without paperwork, youre going to be detained at the airport.

        2. JBird4049

          The United States is a vast country full of powerful corporations and businesses including farmers and build contractors that support the underground network of shadowy brokerages composed of employment agencies, shippers, and forgers. Once someone gets across the border they usually are able to find help getting work. For a very unreasonable fee of course. The temp agencies will find the company, or subcontractors, often separate companies will ship the worker to the destination of whatever hellish job he’s paid for. There are also communities composed of the nation, city, village, and even families that they come from.

          So let’s that the local Central American gang, the narcos, or the police cannot be paid off, want to “hire” you, or just want to kill you, or the business/farm goes under, you make some calls, talk to the neighbors or friends and away you go.

          If you don’t die on the Train of Death (its actually name), get enslaved or buried in some unmarked Mexican grave by the those gangs, narcos, and police, walk or take the local buses, are not abandoned by the coyotes, or die walking in the desert, and avoid the Border Patrol and ICE, you too can have a below minimum wage job with no mind paid to your safety and often shorted hours paid for.

    2. Tom Stone

      Testify, Brother!
      I had a week in the cardiac ward last spring ( I had excellent care at Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa)
      before Medicare kicked in in August and have had other serious health issues since.
      Sue me and I’ll file BK.

    3. anon in so cal

      In California, at least, this dynamic of prioritizing the needs of illegal immigrants over legal California residents plays out in several arenas, not just healthcare.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Came across this piece about the burgeoning boycott of the NY Post, by NYC bodegas and news stands (particularly Yemeni-owned), due to their biased and racist coverage of Ilhan Omar. Good on them.

    To put into a historical context, wouldn’t be the first time that one of the Digger’s papers was subject to boycott. I believe that to this day that The Sun has no market in Liverpool, going back decades to the Hillsborough disaster …

    … memorialized in Billy Bragg’s wonderful song “Never Buy The Sun.”

    First time I learned the term Scousers was in that song.

    1. MK

      Although they do quite a number on Hizzoner (whoever happens to be in the role). The current occupant can’t seem to get out of his own misplaced hubris.

      I have to imagine their online views vastly outnumber their paper copies any given day, but that is true of anything these days.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Apparently the Post has been a money loser for years. But losing money even more rapidly can’t help things. Somehow I missed the boycott until now.

        This stat surprised me and didn’t surprise me.

        “Yemeni-Americans own between 4,000 and 6,000 of the roughly 10,000 bodegas operating in New York City, according to the merchants association.”

        – NY Times

        That constituency has real teeth to it, if they show solidarity.

  6. Sharkleberry Fin

    Here, I did not expect to see castigation for Liz Warren’s mistaken claim of First Nation’s ancestry. There is a difference between “child-like” and “child-ish” beliefs. A young Warren, having stayed up way past her bedtime listening to elder stories, otherwise filled with wisdom, absorbed some bull butter explanation as too why the Warren’s were outsider dust bowl Okies to paper over some familial shame with a polite lie. Warren’s belief is a child-like hope a genocide was not absolute. Warren’s face-value acceptance of being a member of the oppressed is a sign of warmth, a natural disposition toward empathy, so rare among law scholars. To be rebuked in public, to be so wrong, that sting, is something so common to which ordinary folks can relate. Regarding, my own familial mythology, I wonder whether the Okrana was really after my great-grandfather for subversive activities against the Czar? Or was it a polite way to tell the little ones about a criminal past and to keep their yaps shut about from where they came?

    1. divadab

      Well ya very nicely put but – taking the step of allowing your employer to assert your native ancestry to meet diversity targets seems a mite, shall we say, fraudulent? DIsqualifying, even?

  7. Jason Boxman

    I started to mostly avoid rice; I don’t need the carbs with an otherwise delicious meal of roast vegetables and possibly grilled chicken, and I also avoid ingesting heavy metals and arsenic. Of the grains available to eat, I think with rice you take the greatest risk of consuming heavy metals.

    Granted, these days, you’re probably eating poison no matter what you do.

    1. jrs

      of course most chicken has arsenic, less likely if it’s organic though, as chickens are deliberately fed arsenic. And chicken isn’t that low on carbon production either (better than red meat though for sure and dairy probably).

  8. Pelham

    “There’s plenty of evidence, she argues, suggesting that male and female are not two cleanly separate and opposed categories …”

    What about chromosomes? Aren’t they pretty cut and dried, either XX or XY?

      1. Acacia

        ‘The words ‘male’ and ‘female,’ ‘man’ and ‘woman,” she writes, ‘are used only because as yet there are no others.’

        But we already do have others: I.e., “Klinefelter syndrome”, “Jacobs syndrome”, “De la Chapelle syndrome”, etc. Or is the argument that there should be words, not phrases? Dworkin and others are of course free to come up with new words, but since we’re talking about cases that appear 1 in 1,000 or even 1 in 20,000, the new words won’t gain widespread currency. Dworkin et al then turn to rules (e.g. speech codes on college campuses) and legislation to try and force the new words on society (e.g. neo-pronouns).

        Imagine schools being denied federal funding unless they comply with teaching an ever growing raft of gender newspeak, as a tiny fraction of society “discover” heretofore unknown forms of identity which everybody else should “validate”. Of course I’m sure that could never happen ;)

  9. NotTimothyGeithner


    So this was 20 years ago…Moments after Valentine is given his early exit on the evening of June 9, the television cameras spy a lurker in the Mets’ dugout. In the strictest sense, this man is not in the dugout but on the top step connecting the dugout to the clubhouse tunnel. On his head, a black baseball cap with an indecipherable logo. He wears a Mets T-shirt that has the cheap look of a bootleg. His eyes are obscured by a large pair of aviator sunglasses. Below his nose, a laughably fake mustache is painted on with eye black. It is the kind of “disguise” a person would wear not to go undetected, but to be noticed.

  10. ewmayer

    “I Helped Obama Win in 2012. Now Trump Is Using the Same Playbook.” [Ben LaBolt, The Atlantic] … “If Democrats don’t act now, the Trump campaign will define the general election on its own terms, before we can even choose our nominee.” — Oh, I dunno, Team D could – and seems to be trying to – use the same approach it did in 2016: rig the primaries to force an establishment-approved career corruptocrat and America-is-already-great-(for-me-and-my-cronies)-er onto the ballot. Then Trump would be forced to define the general election in those terms! And if you really want to throw the Orange-Haired Satan a curve here, keep several Lefty Losers (I mean “loser” in the sense of the DNC election playbook) in play until the convention, where you make sure the first ballot is inconclusive, at which point you go to a brokered convention and spring HRH The Pantsuited One on the attendees, thus magnanimously giving voters a 2nd chance to Do The Right Thing. Throwing in a distracted referee and a sneaky folding-chair attack would add to the fun, and potentially peel off a few % of a major Trump constituency, suburban white professional … wrasslin fans.

  11. ewmayer

    “Fighting for Her Life” [New York Review of Books]. “[L]ike her fellow radical authors, [Andrea] Dworkin also put forward a vision of what a nonsexist society might look like. For her, it was a world without gender polarity. There’s plenty of evidence, she argues, suggesting that male and female are not two cleanly separate and opposed categories: the existence of intersex people, essential similarities in male and female genitals…” — OK, gonna play a bit of devil’s advocate here – So it’s a continuous distribution, as a result of which Dworkin wants us to focus on the distributional tails and ignore the TWO HUGE HUMPS centered on the ‘F’ and ‘M’. Similarities in genitals is just evolution doing its ubiquitous parsimonious “same essential substrate, elaborated differently during development” thing, whose inevitable outlier results Dworkin et al elevate into their societal desideratum. So ignore the dominant evolutionary/developmental modes and reshape society around your PC vision of a non-humped continuum where a penis is just a misbehaving clitoris, testosterone is an evil which must be banished, and everyone uses the same bathroom. Got it!

    1. Carl

      Let me just say that I love the repeated use of the word humps in this post; hasten to add, the main point of the post is well-taken.

      1. ewmayer

        Back to non-gendered re-education camp with you, you troglodytic sex-fiend!

        (I realize now that I not only used ‘humps’ but also ‘tails’, so I expect I’ll be joining Carl at PC re-ed camp shortly.)

    2. jrs

      Most people fall into XX and XY, but some of this stuff isn’t knowable without genetic testing. More people probably fall into OTHER than XX and XY categories than are aware of it, since most people have not had their DNA sequenced.

      Although intersex people specifically say they aren’t transexual, they are intersex, they don’t like the confusion between the two.

    3. Procopius

      I really don’t understand why separate bathrooms is such a big thing for so many people. I guess I got over the nudity taboo by being sent to swimming lessons at the Y in Akron and, later, in the Air Force and Army basic training. Here in Thailand it’s quite common for public rest rooms to have women janitors cleaning them, so I don’t worry about a woman sweeping or mopping the floor nearby while I’m using the urinal. I really find it hard to believe that there are lots of men who want to go into women’s rest rooms to rape them, and that doesn’t really seem to be a very widely used explanation anyway. Transgender women are fairly common here, especially in the “entertainment venues,” and I’d really rather they went to the women’t rest room anyway. The women here don’t seem to mind, even for the ones who haven’t had the surgery yet.

  12. Summer

    “But: “But to pay for part of it, the state will begin taxing people who don’t have health insurance. It’s a revival of the individual mandate penalty that had been law nationwide under former President Barack Obama’s health care law until Republicans in Congress eliminated it as part of the 2017 overhaul to the tax code.” • Cool, cool.”

    How’s that cool? Someone that can’t afford insurance for themselves being the ones to pick up the tab?

    1. Summer

      How about all the workers for the big corps -deep pockets with the rest of the country subsidizing their bargain basement rates – picking up the tab?

      1. a different chris

        Huh? My “bargain basement” is $200/person/month and every person has a 3500 deductible although the whole thing is capped at like 6500. I work for one of the world’s “big corps”.

        More bargains like that and I’m going to be wearing one of those washtubs from the 1930’s.

        1. Tom Doak

          Just wait a couple of years; your deductibles will be $6500 and $13k like the rest of us, and you’ll realize the difference.

        2. Fiery Hunt

          Try $700 premium and $6500 deductible and that’s after being taxed on it as income….your “benefits” aren’t taxed as income (in fact, your corporation gets to write it off as an expense)….but as a pass thru sole proprietor, it all counts as income to me.

          So yeah, you’ve got a bargain.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Sheesh, and here I’m complaining about Medicare copays and co-insurance – which is actually enough to keep me from having surgery. Maybe that’s just as well.

    2. Summer

      How about if soneone is “rolling in it” enough to have workers/employees of any kind they be required to pay for their health care? How about if you can’t make that mandate, you probably ahouldn’t be calling yourself “employing” anyone?
      Single payer is the answer if you don’t like that.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        How about instead of extending this benefit just to a select few illegal immigrants – the younger, usually healthier people who in aggregate don’t need the coverage as much – the CA Democrats extended the benefit to everybody in that age cohort for starters, as a step toward eventually covering everyone with a single payer system? (If young CA citizens do get the Medicaid benefit already I stand corrected, but the article doesn’t say)

        That’s what they’d do if they actually gave a damn about public health and had some coherent national strategy to win elections. This seems like a cynical ploy to win Hispanic votes in a state that’s going to go Democrat anyway, while at the same time not caring that they’re pissing off people in states they do need to win to unseat Trump.

        Right wingers have been making accusations for years, largely false, that illegal immigrants were getting special benefits that others don’t get. Now they have something real to latch on to.

  13. Synoia

    Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, does not accept MMT.

    No surprise. Harold Wilson’s Government had the problems described here in 1967, which resulted in the “Oversight” of the IMF, and Labor struggled in a succession of Governments up to the Thatcher revolution, and the floating (sinking in reality) pound.

    “The Pound in your pocket will not loose value” was the famous line from Wilson’s TV address.

    Is comparing the UK’s situation with Japan valid? Japan has had Trade Surplus and Deficits over times, (tradingeconomics.com/japan/balance-of-trade), While the UK pound has declined from $2.80 to about $1.30 now since 1967. Hass the UK experienced any annual surplus since before WW II, when it had and Empire ?

    I faintly recall, a statement that the UK Government had borrowed money since the Napoleonic Wars.

    What could change the UK Labor parties views on MMT?

    1. dearieme

      the UK Government had borrowed money since the Napoleonic Wars

      Good God, no: the state borrowed long before the Napoleonic Wars. All states borrow. In the 19th century the UK managed to pay off all its debt. I gather this is unique in history. Of course the first German War put a stop to that.

      I don’t suppose anyone expects any current country (of substantial size) to pay off its debts, do they?

      For most countries these debts, as conventionally measured, are pretty small compared to the liabilities promised by their welfare states. So those liabilities will presumably be defaulted on.

      1. Procopius

        The UK invented deficits and “public debt.” It was actually genius. Previously, going back at least to Knut (Canute) they borrowed from rich people and then had to scramble to find cash to pay them back. After the 17th Century they never had to pay the debt. Just keep selling new bonds, the bonds then become wealth, in fact an interest-bearing form of money, and everybody wins.

  14. TonyinSoCAL

    First quarter 2019 LTL tonnage per day decreased 5.8% at YRC Freight and decreased 7.5% at the Regional segment compared to first quarter 2018.

    Less than Truck Load trucking tonnage down 5.8% YoY

    Revenue up, but BNSF haul volume down 5%

    The revenue increase was partially offset by 5 percent decline in unit volume as a result of severe winter weather and flooding on parts of BNSF’s network, as well as . . .

    Too many trucks, not enough freight:

    Just when we thought spring had finally arrived, van rates cooled off again last week on the spot market. More loads moved than in any other week this year, but there are still plenty of trucks available, so load-to-truck ratios declined despite the additional volume.

    AAR: Rail traffic’s decline due to “combination of factors”

    Total U.S. carload traffic for the first five months of 2019 was 5,528,824 carloads, down 2.4%, or 137,995 carloads, from the same period last year; and 5,848,287 intermodal units, down 2.4%, or 145,245 containers and trailers, from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 22 weeks of 2019 was 11,377,111 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 2.4% compared to last year.

    CONCLUSION: Trump’s Economy Is Literally Coming Off The Rails

    The Association of American Railroads or AAR tracks U.S. rail traffic and releases weekly, monthly and yearly data. Monitoring this activity provides another indication on how the economy is performing.

    In its most recent release ending on June 1 it shows that total rail traffic is down over 2% year over year and has weakened as the year has progressed.

    [. . .]

    Also, the Petroleum and Petroleum Products category is the only one that is showing positive year over year growth. When its impact is removed the 2.4% decline deteriorates to a negative 2.9%.

    Speaking of those Pesky Petroleum Products

    U.S. oil price recently slipped into a bear market territory. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled at $51.68 a barrel on Jun 5, which leaves crude down 22% from its Apr 23 closing high of $66.30. And we all know that entry into a bear market is mostly defined by a drop of more than 20% from the most recent high. Some market pundits, in fact, now caution that oil prices might be echoing the pattern of a few years ago, when oil prices had tanked more than half, from $90 a barrel in November 2014 to $41 in January 2016.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Trump’s economy is coming off the rails, whom do we want to be President if/when it comes all the way off? Trump . . . . so it can be seen to be happening on his watch?

      Or some Catfood Clintonite, who will exactly what Obama did the last time the economy came off the rails?

      I will be voting for Sanders the New Deal Restorationist in the primary. If the DemParty nominates one of their own Catfood Clintonites, I am not interested in having it get itself elected President, so it can “pull an Obama” if the Trumpeconomy train runs of the rails in President Catfood’s Administration.

  15. The Rev Kev

    And in yet another case of one country trying to meddle in another country’s elections-

    “Clear-cut meddling? Mike Pompeo promises US will try to stop Corbyn from being elected”


    Meanwhile. Trump decides that he should ease of raising tensions with China and let diplomacy have a chance. Nah, just kidding. He ramps it up to 11 and threatens Xi with tariffs if he doesn’t show up for the G20 (why wouldn’t he?)-


  16. polecat

    Re. Democrats … uh .. ‘bucket’ list ..

    Why is there no Ferengi bucket ?? I count at least 8 who would, in my estimation, fit the bill !

  17. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have just begun reading that Helpful Syllabus put together just for Elizabeth Warren when a very interesting paragraph hit me right in the face. It is so interesting, and raises such an interesting question, that I will copy-paste it here and then offer an interesting thought which this interesting paragraph led me into.

    And here is the paragraph . . .

    ” In October 2018, US Senator Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test in an effort to prove her claims to Native American ancestry. Far from resolving the question of her supposed Cherokee and Delaware heritage, her actions distracted from urgent issues facing Indigenous communities and undermined Indigenous sovereignty by equating “biology” with culture, “race” with citizenship. In response, Indigenous scholars, activists, and the Cherokee Nation itself, rebuked the dangerous connection between DNA testing and Indigeneity”

    I would imagine that respectful EuroWestern Civilization people would understand that, respect that and accept it.

    How interesting that some of the very same EuroWestern Civilization people ( perhaps just the Lefto-Chauvinists among them) practice the very same exact same “biologism, Race-ism, and DNA-ism” against the JewIsraeli population of Israel. How do the Lefto-Chauvinists do that? By insisting that the “European” Jews don’t have any Original Judeo-Semitic DNA and therefor have no claim to Jewish Culture or Jewish Indigeneity or Judeo-anything else. And these are the very same EuroWestern Lefto-Chauvinists who claim to understand that ” DNA Blood Quantum” and etc. is not the measure of Indianicity.

    This is not to make any claims of the rightness or wrongness of how the proto-Zionist Movementeers founded Israel to begin with. It is merely to offer a cautionary note to the EuroWestern Lefto-Chauvinists who say they abjure the imposition of DNA blood quantum tests to determine Indianicity . . . . that the imposition of DNA blood quantum tests against Jews to determine Judeanicity should equally be abjured..

  18. anon in so cal

    “This morning, Moscow’s three main newspapers will run the same cover:

    “I / we are Ivan Golunov” in support of journalist currently under house arrest”


    “Wow! That’s the same headline the US and UK newspapers ran on their front pages the day Julian Assange was abducted from the Ecuador embassy and sent to prison immediately, without any kind of a trial, for 12 months. Those “I Am/We Are Julian Assange” were truly inspiring.”


  19. BobWhite

    Or as Mike Tyson is paraphrased as saying: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    It seems like Trump does not even have a plan, but then punches himself in the mouth…
    especially when it comes to tariffs and foreign relations.

    A bit simplistic, I know… but that is how it feels

  20. anon in so cal

    B, of Moon of Alabama, needs some support.

    From an interesting essay about his writing process:

    “It is also you, the readers, who make Moon of Alabama possible.

    Your writer and host lives alone and is quite frugal. My apartment is in a small town that has now became part of a big city. Everything I need is within easy walking distance. This is the ideal place to do such time consuming work.

    But there is also a need for income. I depend on you who read this to contribute to it.”


  21. VietnamVet

    The wonkiness of Elizabeth Warren is apex academia. This is credentialism getting wealthy by indebting its students with the total avoidance of reality. VP Joe Biden is triangulated to be the Multi-National corporate guy; war, corruption and more war. Bernie Sanders is Silent Generation’s last chance for universal healthcare. Tulsi Gabbard is the anti-war candidate. The rest are the moderate crowd.

    In the background ignored by corporate media is reality. The Caribbean and Central America are suffering from a prolonged drought. Unless addressed and a means found keep people at home, refugees and food storages will end civility across North America. There will be continued military escalation ending ultimately with a nuclear war unless the USA withdrawals from overseas to deal with its problems at home. Propaganda that ignores the truth always stops working. Democratic governments must re-seize control back from Global Cartels’ greed and short-term planning in order to preserve civilization and save humanity.

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