2:00PM Water Cooler 6/19/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of June 18: Biden up 32% (31.5%) and Sanders down 15.2% (15.8%). Warren down 11.3% (12.8%), Buttigieg steady 7.8% (7.8%), others Brownian motion. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point.

* * *


Biden’s latest eruptions are so mind-boggling I had to take a minute to think. We are in some other universe than “gaffe,” here. –lambert UPDATE Here they are:

Biden (D)(1): “” [Bloomberg]. The menu: “The hors d’oeuvres included lobster, chicken satay and crudités.” The attendees: “Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman,” among others. Biden:

BIDEN: Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people. Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money. Truth of the matter is, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done. We can disagree in the margins. But the truth of the matter is, it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change. When you have income inequality as large as we have in the United States today, it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolution. It allows demagogues to step in [and blame what’s wrong in voters’ lives on] “the other.” You’re not the other. I need you very badly.

The reporter, Jennifer Epstein, notes drily hat “most of [them] were wearing suits.” What I don’t understand is why on earth she was allowed to report on this stuff. Biden, like Trump, is saying the quiet part out loud. Is his staff OK with this? Have they given up?

Biden (D)(2):

Here’s a taste of James Eastland. At least we know Biden has a strong stomach:

This WaPo link has much more. I’m starting to think that Biden is losing the invisible primary. The liberal Democrats had to give him a shot, because it’s his turn and also because [genuflects] Obama, but Biden seems to give zero fucks about, well, norms.

Sanders (D)(1): Boldly go….

Readers, I didn’t have time to look at this. Any gems? Was he trolled?

Sanders (D)(2):

Sanders (D)(3): “Sanders and Warren Are Heading for a Standoff” [Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic]. From 2018, still germane: “”Senators often look and sound different as presidential candidates, so we really don’t yet know how she—or any of her Senate colleagues—would run. The exception is Senator Sanders. We’re open to everybody except for him,” said Third Way’s senior vice president, Matt Bennett.” • He welcomes your hatred.

Trump (R)(1): “The Billionaire Mercer Family Has Reportedly Bailed on Trump for 2020” [New York Magazine]. “Among the 20-plus candidates vying for the presidency, the incumbent’s campaign has raised the most money: In the first quarter of 2019, President Trump raised a self-reported $30 million, with an additional $46 million thrown in by the Republican National Committee. Still, Trump family members are reportedly frustrated that the party’s major donor class isn’t stepping up and they’re worried that the campaign won’t reach manager Brad Parscale’s goal of $1 billion by Election Day… At this point, it would be a severe mistake for Democrats to assume that because Trump might have a major donor problem, the campaign is financially vulnerable. It’s not. Not only did the president lead all Democratic candidates in the first quarter, he reportedly has raised $150 million since the inauguration. In 2016, Trump needed only $531 million to secure the Electoral College, compared to Clinton’s $969 million [ouch]. Even if the campaign falls short of Brad Parscale’s billion-dollar goal, the campaign won’t have to waste money on the primary, where candidates spend tens of millions of dollars to secure the nomination.” • No, William Weld hasn’t caught fire.

Warren (D)(1):

A special place in hell, eh?

Warren: (D)(2): “18 Questions. 21 Democrats. Here’s What They Said.” [New York Times]. Question 2: Would your focus be improving the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with single payer?” Sanders: “Clearly we need to replace it with a popular system, and that is Medicare, and expand Medicare to all.” Warren: “‘There are a lot of different ways to get there. ‘Medicare for all’ has a lot of different paths.” Warren is still crawfishing. I’ll take that as a no.

“Warren, Beto, Biden, and Bernie Get Center-Stage Positions at First Democratic Debates” [New York Magazine]. “Using the same methodology that generally gave Donald Trump the central position in debates during the crowded 2016 Republican presidential-nomination contest, NBC has determined the stage assignments for the 20 Democratic candidates…. [O]n night one, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas will be in the middle, while night two will feature former Vice-President Biden and Sanders, the Vermont senator, standing side by side at center stage.” • A steel cage death match! More: “It’s unclear how much stage placement really matters in these events. … Proximity can matter, though, if candidates get the opportunity to mix it up.” • Biden has a tendency to lean in, and Sanders has a tendency to opine with finger raised. So the opportunity to “mix it up” is there. (Sanders also has priceless reaction shots.)

“Black voters want 2020 candidates to talk about the economy. At the Black Economic Alliance Forum, they did just that” [Vox]. “Four presidential candidates — Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — were in South Carolina for the Black Economic Alliance Presidential Forum, which was dedicated to discussing the significance of “work, wages, and wealth” in black communities…. While their focuses on Saturday differed, the candidates’ proposals all fit into a set of larger goals: ensuring that black people have access to capital and ending a growing racial wealth gap that has left white families with 10 times the wealth of black ones.” • Ah, access to capital.

Obama Legacy

There is in fact criticism of Obama. On Black Twitter:

(“Slavemaster hymn” is “Amazing Grace.”) This from an energetic splinter group in the ADOS faction who, to give credit, seem to be making the running on interesting policy ideas in a way that the CBC, say, isn’t (agree or not).

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Poor People’s Moral Budget: Everybody Has the Right to Live” (PDF) [Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Poor People’s Campaign]. From the “Findings”:

The United States has abundant resources for an economic revival that will move towards establishing a moral economy. This report identifies:

  • $350 billion in annual military spending cuts that would make the nation and the world more secure;
  • $886 billion in estimated annual revenue from fair taxes on the wealthy, corporations, and Wall Street;
  • and Billions more in savings from ending mass incarceration, addressing climate change, and meeting other key campaign demands.

The below comparisons demonstrate that policymakers have always found resources for their true priorities. It is critical that policymakers redirect these resources to establish justice and to prioritize the general welfare instead. The abundant wealth of this nation is produced by millions of people, workers, and families in this country and around the world. The fruits of their labor should be devoted to securing their basic needs and creating the conditions for them to thrive. At the same time, policymakers should not tie their hands with “pay-as-you-go” restrictions that require every dime of new spending to be offset with expenditure cuts or new revenue, especially given the enormous long-term benefits of most of our proposals. The cost of inaction is simply too great.

This is, if not MMT, at least MMT-adjacent. It focuses on resources, not money, and it wants to drive a stake into PayGo’s heart-equivalent-if-any. The report is also a useful baseline for Democrat presidential candidates.

“Jamaal Bowman, Bronx principal and vocal opt-out supporter, launches primary challenge for Congress” [Chalkbeat]. “Bowman announced Tuesday a primary challenge for New York’s 16th Congressional district, pitting him against 16-term incumbent and powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)…. Though the odds may seem long, Bowman has the backing of the Justice Democrats, who are hoping for another upset after successfully supporting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s insurgent bid for office.” • “Opt-out” means to “opt out” of Bush/Obama’s horrid “high-stakes testing,” designed to gut public schools in favor of charters.

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of June 14, 2019: “After unusually sharp gains in the prior week, both the purchase and refinance indexes fell” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year, the purchase index remains in the plus column.”

Marketing: “The hired guns of Instagram” [Vox]. “Kyle Clouse, head of marketing at the gun safe company Liberty Safe, refers to influencers as “the goose laying the golden egg” for the firearms industry. Influencers skirt the rules and restrictions platforms impose on official businesses that want to advertise guns or gun-related services and accessories. This makes gun influencers more directly, tangibly important to the businesses they partner with than perhaps any other type of influencer in the bloated influencer economy…. There are dozens of women (it is mostly women who are gun influencers) making partial or complete livings off Instagram grids full of guns and perfect smiles…. They’ve done something that the companies in the firearm industry cannot do on their own: make the gun lifestyle as attractive and aspirational as all the others on Instagram.” • “Assault-weapon-centric lingerie photo sessions.” Alrighty then.

Retail: “Amazon.com Inc. is investing heavily to get its domestic air-cargo operation moving faster. The e-commerce giant’s agreement to lease another 15 Boeing Co. 737-800 jets will give the company sharply more capacity in its next-day delivery network…. an important step as it ramps up services for its Prime customers and takes stronger control of its own logistics operations” [Wall Street Journal]. “The converted 737s, which will be purchased by the aircraft-leasing arm of General Electric Co., will link 20 Amazon facilities to smaller cities.” • Say goodbye to the last of local retail! Also, isn’t Bezos missing an opportunity? I bet he could pick up some 737-MAX’s for cheap!

Food: “National food production stabilized by crop diversity” [Nature]. “Here we evaluate a complementary possibility—that greater diversity of crops at the national level may increase the year-to-year stability of the total national harvest of all crops combined. We test this crop diversity–stability hypothesis using 5 decades of data on annual yields of 176 crop species in 91 nations. We find that greater effective diversity of crops at the national level is associated with increased temporal stability of total national harvest. Crop diversity has stabilizing effects that are similar in magnitude to the observed destabilizing effects of variability in precipitation. This greater stability reflects markedly lower frequencies of years with sharp harvest losses. Diversity effects remained robust after statistically controlling for irrigation, fertilization, precipitation, temperature and other variables, and are consistent with the variance-scaling characteristics of individual crops required by theory8,9 for diversity to lead to stability.” • Monocultures aren’t stable. Who knew?

Shipping: “Logistics costs have been eating up a bigger share of corporate spending as companies scramble to take advantage of U.S. economic expansion. The latest State of Logistics Report from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals paints a stark picture of the soaring freight costs that hit shippers in capacity-constrained networks last year” [Wall Street Journal]. “Analysts say retailers and manufacturers are still coping with the aftermath in a highly uncertain 2019 economic climate. The report says transportation and inventory-carrying costs jumped at a double-digit pace last year, and the logistics-spending 8% share of total economic output matched the highest level reported in the past decade. Several shippers say spending in areas such as warehousing remain high even in a cooling economy, with many still coping with the overhang of last year’s rush to get goods into the U.S. ahead of new tariffs.” • Bricks and mortar may have their own advantages….

The Bezzle: “Waters calls for halt to Facebook’s crypto plans” [The American Banker]. “”Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” the California Democrat said in a press release.” And: “The cryptocurrency market currently lacks a clear regulatory framework to provide strong protections for investors, consumers, and the economy. Regulators should see this as a wake-up call to get serious about the privacy and national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks that are posed by cryptocurrencies.” • Readers, I have a Libra round-up post in queue, so if you have anything you feel I should include, please leave it in comments. Thank you!

The Bezzle: “Facebook’s Libra: blockchain, but without the blocks or chain” [FT Alphaville]. “look a little closer and you soon realise that Libra coin isn’t really a cryptocurrency at all, and that the “Libra Blockchain” — which is, notably, always written with a capital “B” — isn’t really a blockchain. What’s more, it isn’t at all clear why you would possibly need a blockchain, or anything calling itself a ‘cryptocurrency’. Given that Facebook simply appears to be trying to build a global pseudo-banking and payments network, there doesn’t appear to be any good reason why you would want to do this using blockchain tokens, which as the authors point out themselves in the documents, have so far proven volatile and difficult to scale. China’s social media-turned-payments giant WeChat Pay — who Facebook is surely trying to compete with on a global level — doesn’t use the blockchain. Nor does PayPal. Or Venmo. Internet money doesn’t need to be blockchain money. Which is maybe why Libra coin isn’t really blockchain money in any meaningful sense of the word. Could it be the blockchain stuff is mainly PR . . .?” • Or, more precisely, a way to keep share prices high? Because “innovation” will do that….

The Bezzle: “Facebook employees are not as happy with Mark Zuckerberg as they used to be” [Recode]. “The Facebook CEO saw his ranking among top US CEOs plummet this year, from No. 16 in 2018 to No. 55 this year, though he does have an approval rating of 94 percent, according to new data from Glassdoor, a site where employees can anonymously rate their jobs and their CEOs. His approval rating was 96 percent last year.” • Like Uber, run by crooks and rotten from top to bottom.

Tech: “Artificial intelligence could revolutionize medical care. But don’t trust it to read your x-ray just yet” [Science]. “Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to upend the practice of medicine, boosting the efficiency and accuracy of diagnosis in specialties that rely on images, such as radiology and pathology. But as the technology gallops ahead, experts are grappling with its potential downsides. ‘Just working with the technology, I see lots of ways it can fail,’ says Albert Hsiao, a radiologist at the University of California, San Diego, who has developed algorithms for reading cardiac images and improving their quality. One major concern: Most AI software is designed and tested in one hospital, and it risks faltering when transferred to another.” • Let’s put the MCAS programmers on this.

Intellectual Property: “Texas court says photographer has no recourse against university copyright infringement” [Houston Chronicle]. “In a closely watched case in creative and publishing circles, Olive, who has made a career out of getting difficult and dangerous aerial shots from open helicopters, sued the University of Houston two years ago with a novel argument that using one of his photographs without compensation or permission was an unlawful ‘taking’ under the Texas Constitution, which prohibits government agencies from taking private property without adequate compensation.” He lost. “Olive discovered the university’s business school had been using one of his aerial skyline photos for four years. He sent the university a bill for $41,000, which included $16,000 for the frequent use of the photo and $25,000 for stripping off his credit line when the university allegedly provided a copy to a national magazine for a story about the university’s ranking. Within days, the University of Houston removed the photo from its website and later offered to pay $2,500, according to court documents. When Olive threatened legal action, the university said it was immune from federal copyright lawsuits under the common law principle of sovereign immunity.'”

The Biosphere

“Oregon truckers plot strategy as historic cap-and-trade bill inches closer to passage” [Freight Waves]. “If HB 2020 becomes law, the legislation would set of goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2035 and to at least 80 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2050…. ‘It’s a been a concern because there is no plan to help our industry to transition to cleaner fuels,’ said [Oregon Trucking Association’s (OTA) president Jana Jarvis]. Trucking, she noted, hauls 88 percent of the freight in Oregon. ‘The legislation won’t do anything to reduce carbon but will do a lot to increase costs,’ Jarvis said.” • Jarvis could be right that “the legislation won’t do anything,” too. California or readers or climate mavens may correct me, but it looks to me like the results of California’s program are at best equivocal.

“Ozone mystery laid to rest” [Nature]. “Although ozone molecules do not remain trapped in ice and snow, oxygen molecules do. Yeung et al. therefore measured the amounts of the common oxygen-16 isotope and of the much less common oxygen-18 isotope in oxygen molecules trapped in polar ice and snow. The production of ozone in the atmosphere changes the proportion of these isotopes in atmospheric oxygen molecules. The isotopic record of trapped oxygen molecules therefore contains a history of ozone concentrations over the past 150 years.

Yeung and colleagues’ analysis shows that the increase in tropospheric ozone over that period was around 40%, much smaller than the increases indicated by the nineteenth-century observations, and consistent with the numbers predicted by models. It therefore seems likely that interference from sulfur dioxide and other gases had indeed artificially lowered the ozone concentrations recorded in the historical measurements.” • See “Guillotine Watch.” Checks and balances….

“‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria May Be Spreading to Beaches Once Thought Off-Limits. Here’s Why.” [LiveScience] (original). “‘Flesh-eating’ bacteria that live in the ocean may be spreading to previously unaffected beach waters thanks to climate change, according to a new report. The report authors described five cases of severe flesh-eating bacterial infections in people who were exposed to water or seafood from the Delaware Bay, which sits between Delaware and New Jersey. Such infections have historically been rare in the Delaware Bay…. With rising ocean temperatures due to climate change, V. vulnificus may be moving farther north… V. vulnificus lives in ocean waters that are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).”

Health Care

“Poll shows Medicare for All is confusing to most Americans” [CNN]. “A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday found that majorities of those polled have mistaken views about the government-run program backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who is a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. Nearly seven in 10 Americans think they would continue to pay deductibles and co-pays under Medicare for All, Kaiser found, when in fact they would not. And some 54% wrongly believe that individuals and employers would continue to pay premiums. Almost the same share think those who currently get health insurance through their jobs or buy it on their own would be able to keep their plans, when in fact the current proposals would essentially do away with private insurance altogether. But there is one aspect of Medicare for All that the vast majority of those polled understand very well: Some 78% say that taxes would increase for most people under such a plan, which is in fact likely to happen.” • In other words, the liberal Democrat campaign against #MedicareForAll is succeeding. (Note lack of agency in “is confusing.”)

Police State Watch

“Floridians Are Suing a Cop Fired for Planting Drugs in Their Vehicles” [The Appeal (JBird4049)]. “Thanks to the diligence of one assistant state attorney, 119 cases were thrown out and the officer is under state investigation.” And this: “In August, she flagged a February 2018 video of Wester pulling over Teresa Odom for a faulty brake light, and allegedly finding a baggie of methamphetamine in her truck. Looking closely, Pumphrey had noticed something hidden in Wester’s hand as he initiated the search.” • Which is why DSA’s brakelights clinics provide concrete material benefits to the working class!

Guillotine Watch

“What universities can learn from one of science’s biggest frauds” [Nature]. “From 1996 to 2013, Yoshihiro Sato, a Japanese bone-health researcher plagiarized work, fabricated data and forged authorships — prompting retractions of more than 60 studies in the scholarly literature so far….. At the World Conference on Research Integrity in Hong Kong from 2 to 5 June, [Andrew Grey’s] team described its years-long efforts to clean up Sato’s literature…. Grey says their findings provide evidence to support a growing view in the academic community: that university investigations into research misconduct are often inadequate, opaque and poorly conducted. They challenge the idea that institutions can police themselves on research integrity and propose that there should be independent organizations to evaluate allegations of research fraud should [sic].” • Yet another fishing equilibrium — “If a system enables fraud, there has already been fraud” — in the professional classes…

Class Warfare

Peak neoliberalism:

News of the Wired

So Instagram isn’t all gunz and lingerie:

Winning the Internet for several days. Thread:

* * *

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 (FM):

FM writes: “A neglected curbside tree in Portland, Oregon’s Old Town/Chinatown.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click this donate button:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Carolinian

    re slavemaster hymns

    Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by others’ reactions to what they took as his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed (conscripted) into service in the Royal Navy, and after leaving the service, he became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748, a violent storm battered his vessel off the coast of County Donegal, Ireland, so severely that he called out to God for mercy, a moment that marked his spiritual conversion. He continued his slave trading career until 1754 or 1755, when he ended his seafaring altogether and began studying Christian theology.


    And Warren’s FP sounds like Hillary without the cattle futures. Wake me when she’s over

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I’m moving from the view that Warren is merely wonky in a kindly, Library Lady kind of way to the view that she is absolutely toxic. Madeleine friggin Albright indeed as her foreign policy advisor. M4A. Israel. Iran. Assange. How many flavors of Wrong does she get to be?

      1. Pavel

        Thanks HAL

        I’ve viewed the recent Warren policy positions with increasing disgust and alarm. This Albright “praise” pushes it to eleven [pace Harry Shearer et al].

        Though to be honest ever since 2016 when she endorsed HRC I lost all respect for her.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      used to be a republican
      pro-Syria war
      pro-Venezuela coup
      doesn’t support M4A
      capitalist to her bones

      Warren is Hillary Clinton with an econ degree

    3. RWood

      But, “Amazing Grace” – Obama’s song

      Wikipedia cont’d.
      “With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God….”

      prolly hummed it with Joe Schmoe

  2. lyman alpha blob

    We have a recent immigration issue in my area with a couple hundred refugees from Africa showing up largely unannounced. I have no problem helping people out, but what I do have a big problem with are claims that the newly arrived will help to solve our area’s shortage of labor. This “labor shortage” has been repeated for a few years now here in Maine which depends way too much IMHO on tourism for its livelihood, and this supposed shortage is largely touted by those in the hospitality industry. I don’t remember being asked if I wanted my view of the coastline blocked by the hotels catering to wealthy tourists from away that are popping up everywhere. I don’t remember being asked if I wanted housing prices to skyrocket as existing stock is converted to illegal hotels (aka Airbnb) so tourists can mess up my neighborhood.

    Last I checked the entire planet was severely overpopulated, and most of the large scale problems can be directly linked to this, so this notion that there is a shortage of workers is complete nonsense. Rather than a shortage of workers, it would seem we have an overabundance of businesses trying to compete for the dollars of wealthy tourists. If there is shortage of labor willing to wipe those peoples’ butts while they’re on vacation, I’m not going to lose much sleep over it.

    1. Summer

      There’s been a slave labor shortage since the 19th Century. Seems like everything about this global economic system is highly upset over that and working overtime to correct it…like turning up the heat on a frog in a pot.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I don’t know what nextdoor is but that was a good rant – thx for posting.

        1. BobW

          Just today got a letter from Nextdoor inviting me to join. Did a little search on it and think I will pass on the offer.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: Biden–

    So as Joe is laying out his outstanding record of working with people of all political persuasions, Eastland and Talmadge included, I’d be very interested to learn how often he’s worked with groups like Occupy, Black Lives Matter and Code Pink. Was he the Obama administration’s point man for interacting with those groups?

    I thought not.

    1. Carey

      It’s occurred to me that Mister Biden is really a perfect figurehead for the USian ruling class; just perfect: senile, out of touch, grossly entitled, authoritarian, peremptory…

      It won’t be long now, I think.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “It won’t be long now, I think.”

        When you’re running a low-information, stay-out-of-sight campaign as Obama’s white friend(tm) whose path to victory has to look like Clinton’s in 2016 (aka win all the conservative southern states that never go blue in the general anyway), the segregationist stuff is nitroglycerin.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t even make it to South Carolina.

  4. Off The Street

    Oregonians can look forward to higher costs and more danger on their freeways. Oregon was known for allowing semi trucks to haul two trailers instead of one like other states, notably California. That came as a surprise to travelers leaving the Goldenish State and seeing longer behemoths.

    Some of that northbound trailer freight coming from southern ports will now be doubled up so motorists will have longer passes to make. If you liked the old 40′ and then the new 53′ trailers, just wait to see what will happen next. Australians (The Rev Kev?) could probably tell you a thing or two about their long outback haul trucks.

    Your car will need that turbo boost to get by in those passing opportunities. Oh, joy, now songwriters will need to add onto the 18-wheeler lyric list.

    1. Ranger Rick

      I was just in Oregon. They’re up to three trailers now, as long as they have the “long load” sign on the back. I camped out at Castle Crags before crossing the northern border, and while the train route may have been busy, the number of cars it could manage was dwarfed by the number of trucks passing by.

    2. Whoamolly

      We just drove through Oregon on our way back from Seattle. Saw many double trailers and a few triple trailers.

      They may be safe. I am not a truck driver so I don’t know. But they are scary. I generally tried to slot into the flow so we were at least 1/4 mile away from trucks.

      On the way South towards home we were 1/4 mile behind a semi when one of its rear tires exploded. Fortunately the driver was able to get the truck slowed and pulled safely off the road.

      Interstate 5 was mostly 75-80 mph except one notable 22 mile long backup in the northbound lanes approaching Portland. The corresponding backup on the Southbound side was a mere 10 or 12 miles of stop and go.

      Never found the cause. Nothing in the news. We just take this sort of thing for granted now, I guess.

      1. Wukchumni

        The stoppage was probably on account of a BEFNAR*, the usual culprit.

        *Brakes engaged for no apparent reason

      2. Jessica

        The bridge over the Columbia River (from Portland to Vancouver WA) is so inadequate that the traffic backs up all the way into Portland, mixes with Portland’s not-quite this, not-quite-that* infrastructure, and backs up all the way through Portland and out the other side to the south.
        The needed new bridge hasn’t been built because the political voice out of Vancouver, WA wants a cars-only bridge and the political voice out of Portland wants a cars+rail bridge. And there is no national agency to help fund a bridge for what is the major north-south trucking route along the West Coast.

        *Portland’s highways all feel obsolete. The highway money was used on mass transit instead. The basic idea was sound, but there wasn’t enough spent, so Portland has mass transit that works in some areas for some folks but isn’t adequate enough to pull enough cars off the obsolete roads. Also, it has just enough bike infrastructure to support heroic biking well, but not enough to make it truly safe.
        Heroic biking means biking by the few percent of mostly younger and/or particularly fit and/or unable to afford a car folks who are willing to brave dealing with cars. Cycling really helps transportation when you can get beyond that few percent, as in Copenhagen or even Davis, California.

        1. JBird4049

          So having triple 53’ trailers on under-maintained highways with speed limits of 75+ driven by (I assume) overworked and tired drivers is going to be the new normal for Oregon? Oh, I don’t see anything to worry about.

          After all the laws of physics are enforceable by the state of Oregon and funerals are good for local businesses like mortuaries and hotels.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Those doubles aren’t normal? They aren’t supposed to be out in daytime, last I heard.

      Oregon is a “low tax, low service” state, so cry me a river, trucking companies.

      Democratic Party control is so wonderful. I think people keep voting for Democrats in hopes they’ll actually make things better.

      2020 is a bill I support, though. Worth a try, anyway. There are a couple of other good bills this year, and a couple of bad ones that were rejected out of hand. No single payer, and no ranked-choice voting outside of Benton County.

  5. Darius

    Coining money is a function of the state. As I understand it, MMT says the primary function of money is to pay taxes. Facebook issuing its own money seems to be an action of a parallel state with no accountability. Then again, maybe Facebook Google and Amazon are the state and our “democracy” is the parallel and weak sister of the real state.

    1. Summer

      Facebook is “targeting unbanked” populations. Then you have all the ass clowns running around thinking this is some kind of “innovation.”
      Everybody knows what kind of predatory institutions “target” the unbanked.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Unless you can pay your taxes with it, it is not money. It is play money. Monopoly money if you want to be more accurate.

  6. Bernalkid

    At least we were able to maintain an insurmountable lead over the Soviets in production and deployment of cheesesteaks. The Communist system was incapable of uncovering the secret of Whiz.

    1. toshiro_mifune

      Only an agent of the Soviets would suggest using cheese whiz on a cheese steak ! j’accuse !

      1. pretzelattack

        this is how they take over our minds! and it’s an assault on a proud philadelphia culinary tradition.

  7. Wukchumni

    Happiness is a worn gun dept:

    Kind of a bad week to be in a SoCal Costco picking up a 6 pack of 128 oz ketchups or something else in bulk because it’s such a deal, with a couple of ‘influencers’ letting their index finger do the talking, the latest high velocity city: Chula Vista.

  8. Wukchumni

    Now that Sarah is on the free market, any rumors to the truth of a potential Sanders/Sanders ticket, but who’d be on top?

    Nice recap of the rally by Bernie, who suffered through it with me.

  9. Edward

    I have news for Biden; the United States is probably experiencing its worst epidemic of white collar crime in its history.

    1. nojoe biden

      No, no, I have no sympathy.
      Wait, what? Hey listen, I need you badly.
      Ireland? It’s a land of contrasts.
      There is no need to demonize
      nothing need fundamentally change
      eastland xoxoxoxoxo
      me-n-barry friends4ever

  10. JohnnyGL


    TYT sends one reporter to S. Bend Indiana and finds a litany of racial problems and serious abuses rampant throughout the S. Bend Police Dept.

    Mayor Pete’s fingerprints all over it. It seems clear that at the very least, he had no appetite to clean house at the Police Dept. there. Of course, there’s much worse interpretations to be had…

  11. NotTimothyGeithner

    I know two staffers for Biden, and I would use the word stupid. This isn’t how people might buy into bad ideas or are out of touch. These are just two dim individuals, and despite the clownish behavior of Neera Tanden, I can’t compare the Clinton people I know to those two. Not that I have any great love for the Clintons, but this is a night and day situation.

    I don’t know if Biden’s staff has given up as much as they are people who would live in politics and still be drawn to Joe Biden in 2019.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      As Biden’s people are to intelligence, Clinton’s people are to ethical behavior.

  12. Oregoncharles

    “Nearly seven in 10 Americans think they would continue to pay deductibles and co-pays under Medicare for All, Kaiser found, when in fact they would not.”

    They have good reason for thinking that: Medicare has been extensively crapified. Is “Neoliberalled” a word? It’s full of copays, and there’s “coinsurance” for things like surgery, which is large. $1400 is cheap surgery, but enough to make me very glad I put off that gall bladder surgery they were pressuring me to have (the stones went away).

    So “M4All” really isn’t adequate. You need “Improved, Decrappified” in front of it. Realistically, “IM4All.”

    1. Oregoncharles

      And it does require premiums, a hundred something a month. It’s STILL better by far than private insurance, which we couldn’t get anyway, but the illusions come straight from reality.

      1. sleepy

        Medicare as presently configured costs me over $300/month for full coverage–$150 of which goes to a private, blue cross supplement, c. $130 for Part B, and $25 for a cheapo Part D plan.

        It’s a comparatively excellent deal but still $600/mo is pricey for two married seniors.

        And yes, I understand the Sanders and Jaypal bills eliminate all of those payments.

        1. Inode_buddha

          thats quite a deal. As a single guy I pay ~750/mo for a “platinum” plan from one of the major companies. Sad to say the platinum plan is remarkably similar to what used to be the norm 35 yrs ago.

    2. Summer

      Indeed. The killer holes have to patched up.
      Then maybe:
      “Medicare For All: One Healthcare Plan That You Can Use Now”

  13. Carey

    ‘Electric aircraft manufacturers create buzz [heh] at Paris’:

    “..Bar-Yohay described the Alice as “a huge battery with a plance [sic] attached.” The batteries will weigh more than 8,200 pounds and will account for most of the carbon-fiber plane’s maximum takeoff weight of 14,000 pounds..”


  14. Kurtismayfield

    RE: Sanders Reddit AMA..

    It was fine, no trolling. He answered the questions he wanted, and didn’t answer the questions he didn’t want to. For example there was a long question on Basic Income and Job Guarantees that he didn’t touch. I wouldn’t have touched it either; it was from the moderator of a BI forum that is plainly in the BI/Yang camp.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Yang is a stealth libertarian. He was on a Youtube show recently where the libertarian host said “we can get finally rid of the social safety net and just give everyone $1000 dollars, and most people would choose the $1000, and eventually we just wouldn’t need the other programs.”

      Yang nodded his head and offered no refutation of this assessment.

      Sanders 2020

      1. Carey

        “We can buy off the proles for a grand a month, and we’ll take it all back from
        ’em anyway.”

  15. Oregoncharles

    Headline in the local paper, relative to the climate bill linked above: ” Oregon governor says she’ll use police if GOP walks out

    By SARAH ZIMMERMAN Associated Press Jun 19, 2019 Updated 35 min ago –

    The URL, minus a string of garbage I’m leery of: https://www.gazettetimes.com/news/oregon-governor-says-she-ll-use-police-if-gop-walks/. (If it doesn’t work, just search the headline; AP, so probably available elsewhere. You may have to answer a survey to read it.)

    1. Cal2

      Taxes, the price you pay for civilization:

      “The Good Life of Oregon Governor Kate Brown”

      “Our auditors analyzed some of the small-dollar credit card expenditures within the office of governor that are paid-for by taxpayers.
      Here’s some of what we’ve found:

      Having fun. Taxpayers covered the costs for Brown’s security officer trips to the movie theater, an afternoon at the aquarium, and pricey yoga classes. It’s important for the governor to stay safe during her downward dog.

      Taking an exotic trip. In August 2015, when Brown went to Canada to kayak for five days on a killer whale sightseeing tour, taxpayers paid $1,869 for her “Dignitary Protection Unit (DPU)” state police officer to go along, too. The five-day Robson Bight expedition at Wild Heart Adventures in Nanaimo, British Columbia cost taxpayers $1,003.10.

      Additionally, in preparation for the trip, taxpayers footed a $231.40 shopping trip at Andy & Bax, self-described as “Portland’s Oldest and Best Military Surplus, Whitewater Rafting and Outdoor Store since 1945”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL, chicken feed, you should look up the bill when Michele O. took the girls shoe shopping in Milan on Air Force One, that sucka starts at USD $200,000.00 per hour.

        Gore Vidal said America is not a Country, it’s a Country Club…where membership has its privileges. And of course the opposite is also true

  16. Tomonthebeach

    Medicare for All Confusion. Sanders clearly needs to explain how M4A will work. It strikes me as dim-dumb not to raise Medicare taxes to approximate the typical private premium adjusted for income level (as Medicare does now). Then assert that there would be no co-pays or other bleed-you-dry payments at point-of-service – something voters will immediately see as a household budget plus. Who pays for all the extras? Point out that the obscene profits of a health insurance industry that can pay a CEO over $80M/year would be applied to a) full-service care for currently insured individuals and families, and b) would cover the cost of extending to people now on Medicaid.

    I have not run any numbers (not my field), but simple logic suggests that such a scheme would not put a strain on the national debt once also factoring in increased service-provider efficiencies of only one set of claim forms.

    Oh, and 2 more things: (1) reassure FoxNews and Alex Jone fans that there would be no death panels, and (2) reassure the 1% that they may still pay out of deep pockets for concierge care over an above the Medicare taxes.

    1. Summer

      I wish it was only about the money.
      What you describe that should be done is only half the mind @!#& that needs to be overcome.
      But yes, it is a good start.

      People are going to shocked at the types of ads the private health care will support when the battle gets heated…

      1. JBird4049

        I get being against statehood for D.C. as it’s just a city, but Puerto Rico is plenty big enough.

        Perhaps the full bore socialism comes from the fact that as state the island can tell all the vulture capitalists and Congress to drop dead as a well as gaining control of its economy since the Spanish conquest.

        Still, saying democratic representation is full bore socialism is interesting.

    2. Cal2

      “there would be no death panels.”

      WTF you think this is?


      “Your child is a 9 month old boy who was diagnosed with a high grade brain tumor. Your child was treated with surgical removal of his tumor at Stony brook Hospital. After your son was discharged you enrolled him in a clinical trial at St. Jude’s hospital. The principal investigator has requested medications including methotrexate, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine in combination with an investigational medication, alisertib. This combination of medications is not the standard of care for this type of cancer, and is considered experimental and investigational at this time, as evidence-based guidelines do not exist to confirm its effectiveness for his brain tumor. Therefore, this request for clinical trial treatment at St. Jude’s hospital is not medically necessary and is denied.

      “If you decide to have this service, you may have to pay it yourself.”

      “An Oklahoma jury has awarded $25.5 million to the family of a cancer patient denied coverage by Aetna, with jurors saying that the insurer acted “recklessly” and that the verdict was meant as a message for Aetna to change its ways. The award is believed to be the largest verdict in an individual “bad faith” insurance case in Oklahoma history, one court observer said, and could have major ramifications across the country for a form of cancer treatment called proton beam therapy.”


    3. dearieme

      All medical systems for most people will have “death panels” of one sort or another – there’s no choice. An infinite demand for costly stuff that other people are expected to pay for cannot be satisfied.

    4. Whoamolly

      I recently saw the Canadian system in operation.

      Canadian residents:
      1. Walk in doctor office.
      2. Present card.
      3. Get treatment.

      Foreign visitor (me)
      1. Walk in doctor office.
      2. Pay $70 Canadian up fromt (about $50 US)
      3. Get treatment.
      4. Pick up meds at pharmacy, pay $30

      1. Cal2

        San Franciscan system at General Hospital:

        Undocumented person or homeless guy with no I.D.
        1.Get ride to hospital in ambulance.
        2. Get free translator.
        3. Claim no I.D.
        4. Get treatment.
        5. Pick up free meds at pharmacy.
        6. “No hope of recovery”= “Free”.
        Even though “no I.D.”, massive numbers of homeless are registered to vote through non-profits, for local supervisors who continue the gravy train. Illegals can now vote in local elections.

        American citizen with insurance
        1. Walk in hospital.
        2. Spend half an hour proving I have insurance.
        3. Get treatment.
        4. Get bill for hundreds of thousands because they “are out of network.”


        A state bill is in the works to ban this. However, taxpayers will still provide free care for indigents and now, per a new state law, not only illegals in emergency rooms, but all illegals under 26 get full insurance coverage, paid by taxpayers. So glad I pay state income taxes and have to buy expensive insurance.


        Bernie or bust

  17. NotTimothyGeithner


    It’s 2019 & @JoeBiden is longing for the good old days of “civility” typified by James Eastland. Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal & that whites were entitled to “the pursuit of dead n*ggers.” (1/2)

    Someone just dropped the mic. I assume Biden will refuse to apologize; although the mayor is a man on the other hand.

    1. Blowncue

      It really takes some effort to put Bill de Blasio in a position where he can actually, credibly, be the purveyor of derision as opposed to its object.

      1. Pat

        Considering the real record of Buttigeig and Harris plus the clear intentions of Yang, there are a few others de Blasio could credibly deride.

        Just saying the Democratic clown car is filled with sociopaths that deserve far more scorn than de Blasio. It may be a low bar, but still true.

  18. Tom Stone

    About those female gun influencers…
    The biggest growth in firearms ownership over the last 10 plus years has taken place among women.
    Some of those women compete nationally in a variety of gun sports, they are athletes of the first order and many are quite attractive.
    Spend a few minutes with google and check out Julie Golob, Kirsten Joy Weiss, Michelle Viscusi, Tamara Keel or a dozen others.
    If I were younger I’d definitely take up 3 gun after moving to a State that allows it, partly to meet women like these.
    But mostly because it’s a lot of fun.

    1. Cal2

      Burglars and rapists hate women with guns.
      Wonder if women are allowed to own guns in Saudi Arabia?

      1. Massinissa

        Burglars are usually smart enough to target homes with no-one home.

        And as far as deterring rapists, isnt a taser enough?

        1. ambrit

          As poverty is spreading, the intellectual stature of the average petty crook, at least around here, is dropping precipitously.
          Seasoned burglars do indeed target empty houses, and usually during the day. At least that was what I was told by some of the semi-underworld characters I encountered when I worked construction.
          The more severe response to rape is due to it’s being a crime against people. “Stuff” can be replaced or forgot. Personal self-respect and sense of safety and well being can be damaged and lost entirely when rape is involved. Theft of property is a crime. Rape is an evil.

      2. ambrit

        I don’t know about firearms, but, from what I have read, in Saudi Arabia, women are owned. Patriarchal slavery.

    2. Carl

      Come to Texas, Tom Stone, and you’ll fit right in. During my brief time exploring something called a “dating app” following my divorce, I was astounded at the number of women who posted photos of themselves with their guns and cammo gear.

    3. a different chris

      “women like these”

      — look closer, especially into their eyes.* Every one is a creepy attention w(family blog)e. Some people think Dana Loesch is/was pretty, look how fast she fled when the NRA stopped looking like a good paycheck. And — what makes them “athletes of the first order”???!!?? Michael Moore was a champion shooter, and man was he ripped – not.

      The prime aspect of gun accuracy seems to be the ability to – and I’m not actually criticizing, I actually admire the special skill of top shooters – go near brain-dead for a second or so. Does not sound like a fun date.

      *All but one, and that one I’m not sure, have blue eyes. Weird.

    4. fajensen

      F.W.I.W. – I was pretty good at shooting, but, once one gets the hang of it, I find that it’s a boring activity.

      I switched to Airsoft and Paintball shooting because is so much more fun than real guns: One can shoot up ones friends or colleagues and keep them around for a beer after!

      Those pellets / balls hurt like hell so the adrenaline really gets going, it’s important to find a team who are not over competitive assholes, though.

      Today, I mostly want tranquility so I run, hike or go on “expeditions” with a tent and canoe.

      PS —

      There are attractive women to meet Everywhere, even way out in the forest!

  19. Cal2

    “Elizabeth Warren cited Madeleine Albright as her principle foreign policy adviser…”

    Talking about sanctions of medicine, food and hospital supplies to Iraq,

    Lesley Stahl, of 60 Minutes: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

    The hideous Albright lump of flesh said; “…the price is worth it.


    Right up there with SOS Hillary cackling about Libya: “We came, we saw, he died!

    Now we have the situation; “How much is that slave for sale in the window?”

    Bernie or bust.

      1. dearieme

        Whatever you say about the Law Squaw at least she’s not Hillary. Heavens, even the absurd Biden isn’t Hillary. Remember that your President is Donald J Nothillary.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Really tiresome to hear the idea that we should continue to choose our leaders based on what and who they are NOT

          1. John k

            You bet.
            Let the dems go the next hundred years without the presidency if they continue nominating what were at one time conservative right wing reps that never saw a war they didn’t like.
            Consider Albright and her students.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Her campaign site says that she is for bringing troops home and cutting defense spending and a very dovish foreign policy. If she liked a war mongering monster like Albright she certainly is not following her lead. I saw no fear mongering on her site and no support for the usual Democratic Party brand of imperialism. We’ll just have to see where she goes.

      1. Carey

        That sounds too much like Pelosi’s “we need to pass it to see what’s in it” bit.
        Dubya Bush made dovish sounds in his 2000 campaign, too, and we know
        how that turned out.

        Not buying what she’s selling.

        1. RWood

          Speaking of Pelosi:

          The Democrat controlled US House of Representatives just voted 253-175 against a bipartisan amendment that would have finally reined in some of the government’s most egregious mass surveillance practices. The Amash-Lofgren Amendment would have closed notorious loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that the National Security Agency (NSA) has abused to conduct warrantless surveillance of American citizens’ emails, SMS messages, and Internet activity. More Democrats voted against the bill than Republicans.
          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 18, 2019
          Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

  20. turtle

    One point of confusion for Facebook’s Libra currency: “Libra” is the word for “pound” (as in British Pounds) in both Portuguese and Spanish, and very close to the word used in Italian (“Libbra”). Confusing a pretty significant portion of your potential users/customers (speakers of at least two widely used languages) seems like a poor branding strategy to me. I wonder what kinds of scams this might also make possible in the countries that use those languages.

  21. NotTimothyGeithner


    Responding to criticism over his remarks about friendships with segregationist colleagues, @JoeBiden cites his civil rights record and then says, “Apologize for what? Cory [Booker] should apologize. He knows better. I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”

    At the rate Biden is going, Trump might make him part of the current Administration by tomorrow. Donald has not announced a running mate (unless he did last night). I’m just saying Biden has experience as VP.

  22. ambrit

    If I remember correctly, that laboratory under the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago where Fermi supposedly “created” the ‘charred’ hotdog was where the first working nuclear reactor was built and tested. So, what was the source of that “charring?” Did those ‘dogs’ glow in the dark?
    Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Pile-1

  23. JBird4049

    Had you seen this quote from James Eastland before you fondly recalled how he called you son?

    Yah know, I am an extremist when it comes to the First Amendment and free speech, but reading those tweets about killing n*****s kinda wounded, if not killed, a tiny bit of my heart.

    I feel like vomiting.

  24. XXYY

    Which is why DSA’s brakelights clinics provide concrete material benefits to the working class!

    I assume “brake light being out” means the filament in an incandescent brake light buld has reached the end of its life and failed. Incandescent bulbs fail frequently, especially if they are switched off and on a lot, as brake lights are.

    Note that newer cars have LED running lights, which should last as long as the car. So in the next couple of decades we should see an end to this particular pretext for pulling people over.

    Note that it’s also easy to get LED replacements for existing incandescent brakelights; maybe the DSA should be focusing on this so that the people they help will never have the problem again. This could also become a proactive program to replace the bulbs before they fail.

    A rare case of a technological solution to a social and political problem.

Comments are closed.