2:00PM Water Cooler 6/21/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, as Yves approaches escape velocity from New York, I will be taking on more posting duties for the next week or so, and so Water Cooler may appear at odd times; but today you get The Full Cleveland on time! –lambert UPDATE Well, almost on time. I had a household emergency, and didn’t quite have time to get the white golf cleats properly buffed. So give me a few minutes… 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 18: Biden down 31.9% (32%) and Sanders down 15.0% (15.2%). Warren steady 11.9% (11.9%), Buttigieg up 7.1% (7.%), others Brownian motion, though maybe not Harris, who just pulled even with Buttigieg. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point. Still, if one wished to construct a storyline for the whole chart to date, it might look something like this:

As usual with Biden, his first day was his best day, and after a quick rise, his balloon began to deflate. Interestingly, he immediately took votes from Sanders, whose decrease was in direct proportion to his increase. I would guess the voters who flipped would be those who go with the winner, regardless of who. I wondered what the effect of Sanders’ speech on socialism would be, and there was a drop, with the slack taken up by Warren (who seems to be taking votes from Sanders and Biden equally). That doesn’t bother me, with 500 days to go; it means the battle betweent the left and liberal is well and truly joined. Warren’s ascent on “plans” took three tries, but it looks like Sanders policy voters took a second look after the third try, and Warren picked up some of them.

As for Warren and her “plans”:

I looked up “Warren plan” in Google trends, and it looks like there are three peaks of interest; in a perfect world I’d see which plans were released at points #1, #2, and #3 (the one that “took”). I also find it interesting that the interest (searches being a proxy for interest) in Warren’s plans is greatest in two key primary states; that speaks well of her staff. However, the rating in DC is “100,” the highest possible, is greatest in D.C., meaning that Warren is doing very well in the invisible primary. Of course, the Beltway hates Sanders anyhow, so the high rating is not unexpected.

Further speculation welcome!

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Biden called Booker to quell tensions. Things only got worse” [Politico (UserFriendly)]. “Biden, however, didn’t apologize for his remarks at a New York fundraiser recalling that ‘at least there was some civility’ when he worked with segregationists in the Senate and that one of those senators ‘never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.”… ‘I find it remarkable that the surrogate talking points they were sending around, as they were trying to contain this, include no mention of the language the vice president used and instead tried to spin that the vice president is being criticized for working with people he disagreed with,’ a Booker aide said. ‘That’s nonsense and speaks volumes to what they know is true, which is, he should be apologizing for what he said.'” • GZF. Never change, Joe, never change! Anyhow, Biden worked with Obama, so what’s the issue?

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden is desperate to change the subject. The Iran imbroglio may let him pivot to foreign policy.” [WaPo]. Biden would much rather be trashing Trump on Iran than defending the leading role he played during the 1970s in partnering with segregationists to advance legislation that thwarted court-ordered busing of black children into majority-white schools as a means of integration. The barking dogs of war could thus represent a lucky break for Biden. For the first time since the start of the week, he won’t be the biggest story in the news today.” • I think Biden is losing the invisible primary; “desperate” is a word it’s never good to be tagged with.

Biden (D)(3): “Democrats want White House hopefuls to cool it on Biden attacks” [The Hill]. “It’s not lost on Senate Democrats defending Biden, however, that Booker is stuck at about 2 percent in national polls and needs to generate more attention for his campaign.” • Wait. Remind me what primaries are for?

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Back home in South Bend, Buttigieg faces ‘his nightmare'” [WaPo]. “A white police officer had shot and killed a black man early Sunday. Buttigieg canceled several days of campaign events — including an LGBTQ gala in New York — and rushed back to Indiana to ‘be with the South Bend community,’ in the words of a campaign spokesman. Instead of showcasing But­tigieg’s ability to lead through a crisis, however, the shooting is exposing what has long been considered an Achilles’ heel of his candidacy: his frosty relationship with South Bend’s black residents. Since arriving on Sunday, Buttigieg has alienated the family of the dead man, Eric Logan, 54, skipped a vigil at the scene of the shooting, and sought advice from outsiders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York.” • Perhaps the vigil wasn’t conducted in Norwegian?

Buttigieg (D)(2): “Still no decision on special prosecutor in South Bend police shooting” [South Bend Tribune]. ” St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says he is considering whether to ask for a special prosecutor to handle the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Eric Logan… Since the shooting, local faith leaders, community organizers and members of the South Bend Common Council have called for an independent prosecutor to oversee the case…. The St. Joseph County chapter of Faith in Indiana, composed of religious and community leaders, is one of the groups that supports an outside prosecutor. A leader of the chapter, Andre Stoner, who also works for Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc., in South Bend, said the call stems from a “lot of mistrust” in the local criminal justice system.” • A special prosecutor would be a less than ideal outcome for Buttigieg.

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders: Warren Is Surging Because She’s Got Ovaries” [Vanity Fair]. (The headline is the editor’s contribution, since the URL is “bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-woman.” From the article, what Sanders said: “I think that there are a certain number of people who would like to see a woman elected, and I understand that. There are people who would like to see somebody who is younger, and I understand that also. There are a lot of factors out there.” And the part that Vanity Fair left out: “Elizabeth is a friend of mine, I think she’s running a good campaign.” • So, if you practice identity politics, you are permitted to say it works. If you do not, you are not. (Note, I think a “good campaign” includes Warren’s “plans” but does anybody believe that if Sanders had said “a good, issues-based campaign,” that Vanity Fair’s story and the editor’s headline would have been different? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I have to sell you. The Clinton campaign only drove over it on Sundays.

Trump (R)(1): “Evangelicals go all in for Trump reelection” [The Hill]. “The Faith and Freedom Coalition will spend tens of millions of dollars on a voter mobilization effort that aims to register 1 million Christians in key battleground states and reach 30 million people nationwide. The group, which is led by conservative activist Ralph Reed, will pump literature into more than 100,000 churches across 18 states… [The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List] will pay more than 1,000 canvassers in eight battleground states with the aim of knocking on 4 million doors… At his 2020 campaign launch this week, Trump made it clear that he intends to paint his rivals as extremists on the issue, saying that ‘virtually* every top Democrat’ supports ‘ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb.'” • So, as I said yesterday, Trump is working to expand his base. (That such politics are even possible reflects an enormous strategic failure by the liberal Democrats version of feminism. It’s a debacle. And as is natural with liberal Democrats, there is no self-reflection on the matter at all, other than appeals for more funding.) NOTE * “Virtual” is a nice way to sow division….

Trump (R)(2): “NBC grapples with 20 candidates, 1 tweeting president in first Dem debates” [Politico]. “NBC executives had been preparing to handle 20 presidential candidates over two nights of debate when the current occupant of the Oval Office introduced a new twist by threatening to live-tweet next week’s Democratic face-off.” • And I am sure NBC will take the ratings boost!

Obama Legacy

About those open borders:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why are reparations for slavery being made an issue in the 2020 US elections?” [WSWS]. “The demand for monetary reparations has the unpleasant odor of a financial scam. Figures like Coates and Booker do not speak for the working class, but for a layer of the upper middle class who are seeking to affect a more equitable distribution of wealth at the top of society. If a racial reparations program ever did get passed through Congress, one can be certain that it would only benefit upper middle class African Americans and leave workers scrounging for crumbs from the table. It has, moreover, the clear character of a political scam. Under conditions of growing class struggle internationally, its purpose is to divide workers against each other and preserve the social and economic system, capitalism, that is at the root of all the ills, including racism, confronting the working class as a whole.” • If enacted, reparations would certainly signal a power shift between the old Black Misleadership Class and a new class of aspirational “voices” (see Adolph Reed, “The Trouble with Uplift“) from academia and the media; one will not have delivered the goods; the second will have.

“The most important pledge Democratic presidential candidates can make” [The Hill]. “[H]ere’s the most important pledge each and every candidate should make: To rebuild the Democratic Party from the state house up. Here’s why: The party that controls state legislatures after Election Day in 2020 will redraw congressional districts for the next decade. As President George W. Bush’s senior political advisor Karl Rove wrote, “He who controls redistricting controls Congress.” If Democrats fail to turn key state legislatures blue, the next Democratic president will be stuck with a conservative, gerrymandered Congress for another decade. That means no health care reform, no tax reform, and no gun reform for the next ten years.” • This is, of course, an implicit criticism of Obama, who lost the House in 2010 with his feckless approach to the Crash, and then left the Democrat Party with no bench after eight years in power.

“Give War a Chance” [The New Republic]. “Democrats discussing society’s ills are almost pathologically averse to putting a name to the face. I remember hearing once about a young Democratic congressional staffer who was carefully admonished by a veteran aide never to call out drug companies by name when talking drug prices. The Democratic Party will acknowledge problems, but not villains…. At the heart of this predilection for the flight over the fight is a tacit ideology that is wildly out of step with the political reality of Trump’s America, where villains abound with almost comic ubiquity. And it is an ideology that, for the first time in living memory, is being challenged by an invigorated populist left, not only out of principle, but also out of a sense that the old way is naïve and ultimately self-defeating.” • This is an excellent piece, though painting “Pod Save America” as in any way insurgent is a false note.

“RE: Polarization 2” [Grassroots Economic Organizing]. I’m finding this hard to excerpt, though it’s worth a read. Here is the conclusion: “For me, putting both principles together—universality and self-questioning—embraces what I call transformative politics. It is a politics asserting that personal and social transformation are inseparable, something that was a major discovery for Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider in their new book, Why Does Patriarchy Persist? And for me, Phillips is providing a bridge across a chasm I had accepted as a fact of life. I don’t know if the Better Angels organization is as far out-of-the-box as Phillips is, but his voice is powerful enough to reach across that chasm.” • Damn, another book to read (and perhaps the answer to why the abortion fight has been such a debacle for liberal Democrat feminists. Gilligan is the author of In a Different Voice, which I read years and years ago.

Stats Watch

Existing Home Sales, May 2019: “Less strong than the headline might suggest but still very favorable” [Econoday]. “May’s gain is still a relief… New home sales have been doing better than resales but both are climbing.”

Purchasing Managers’ Index Composite (Flash), June 2019: “Barely crawling forward is the report from June’s PMI samples” [Econoday]. “In contrast to most global PMIs, there is no sharp split between weakness in manufacturing and strength in services as both in the US are nearly as flat…. This report had been stalling going into today’s results but has since been joined by sudden breakdowns in this week’s Empire State and Philadelphia Fed reports both of which are for manufacturing. For the Federal Reserve, who warned on Wednesday it’s specifically concerned about manufacturing, today’s report is one more weight on the rate-cut scale.”

Concentration: “The Wave of Terror in American Commerce (Big issue 6-21-2019)” [Matt Stoller, Big]. “Anyone who has worked in policy around antitrust will have experience with the little guy expressing terror at something his or her dominant supplier or buyer might do, along with the frustration at not being able to say anything in public for fear of retaliation. This is the core argument against monopolization, which is that it prevents citizens from exercising their right to participate in the public square…. Fear is pervasive across the economy at this point, and most of the people who will speak up are those who have left their companies.” • Stoller then goes on to discuss Obama’s betrayal of Iowa chicken farmers, who might as well have been indentured to Big Ag. But surely Stoller does not mean to imply that going into business is the only way to participate in the public square?

The Bezzle: “Tesla Model 3 Spoofed off the highway – Regulus Navigation System Hack Causes Car to Turn On Its Own” [Regulus]. “Tesla model 3 was successfully spoofed in several attack scenarios. The navigate on autopilot feature is highly dependent on GNSS reliability and spoofing resulted in multiple high-risk scenarios for the driver and car passengers. Tesla Model 3 spoofing during navigating on autopilot led to extreme deceleration and acceleration, rapid lane changing suggestions, unnecessary signaling, multiple attempts to exit the highway at incorrect locations and extreme driving instability. This test proves beyond doubt the crucial dependence on GNSS for any level 2+ autonomous navigation and the high threat spoofing poses to drivers and passengers utilizing these features.” • Yikes. Let’s call in the MCAS programmers, and see if we can fix this.

The Biosphere

“Climate Leadership And Community Protection Act Sets Ambitious Goals” [WAMC (MT)]. “The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act sets the goal of reducing all greenhouse gas emissions from all sources, including cars, by 85% by 2050. 100% of the state’s electric power sources must be carbon-free by 2040. And 35% of the state’s energy funds, used to install clean energy sources, will be reserved for disadvantaged communities that have been adversely impacted by pollution. ‘I want New York to have the most aggressive climate change program in the United States of America, period,’ Cuomo said on June 18th. The remarks are a change from several days ago, when Cuomo said he thought the legislature’s bill was a “political placebo” and that its goals were unrealistic.” • It’s Cuomo, so of course there’s a catch (though to give credit, Cuomo came down on the right side with fracking).


“The hunt for PFAS turns to Michigan farms using human waste as fertilizer” [MLive]. “The hunt for PFAS in Michigan is turning to farm fields, where concerns are growing about possible contamination in treated human waste used as fertilizer. This month, scientists are analyzing test results from more than a dozen state agricultural sites that received the fertilizer — known as “biosolids” — from wastewater treatment plants that were flagged in 2018 for high concentrations of the chemicals flowing into their systems from industrial sources or landfills.” • Word of the day: Biosolids.

The 420

“The Environmental Downside of Cannabis Cultivation” [JSTOR]. “New research has linked production of the once-verboten plant to a host of issues ranging from water theft and degradation of public lands to wildlife deaths and potential ozone effects.” • A lot of this stems from illegality, which makes regulation impossible. One thing the article does not discussion is corporate marijuana plantations, sadly.

“Push to legalize recreational pot fails in New York” [ABC]. “Despite broad support for legalization and polls showing its statewide popularity, lawmakers couldn’t agree on the many details of legalization, such as how tax revenue should be spent, whether past pot convictions should be expunged, and whether local communities could opt out of hosting dispensaries or instead would have to opt in. For supporters who had hoped the nation’s fourth-most populous state would soon join the growing list of states where recreational pot is legal, the failure of the bill was a significant disappointment.” • Of course “past pot convictions should be expunged.” Even Cory Booker understands this.

Health Care

Elizabeth Bruenig owns a troll:

A usual caution:

“An examination of surprise medical bills and proposals to protect consumers from them” [Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker]. ” For people in large employer plans, 18% of all emergency visits and 16% of in-network hospital stays had at least one out-of-network charge associated with the care in 2017. We also examine state and federal policies aimed at addressing the incidence of surprise billing. Our analysis finds a high degree of variation by state in the incidence of potential surprise billing for people with large employer coverage, who are generally not protected by state surprise billing laws if their plan is self-insured. For people with large employer coverage, emergency visits and in-network inpatient stays are both more likely to result in at least one out-of-network charge in Texas, New York, Florida, New Jersey, and Kansas, and less likely in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Maine, and Mississippi.” • So, as usual, some people go to Happyville, some people go to Pain City, and it’s all random.

“Colorado’s Ski Towns Could Fix the High Cost of American Health Care” [Bloomberg]. “[R]eining in spiraling costs across the U.S… has proven elusive in Washington…. The discussions that followed led to an initiative set to reduce premiums by as much as 20% next year in Summit County, according to the Peak Health Alliance. That’s the name of a newly formed group of employers who have banded together to negotiate directly with the local hospital and insurance companies. Peak Health will represent about a fifth of Summit County’s 31,000 year-round residents. It will include workers from large government and private employers, small businesses, and individuals, creating the bargaining power to drive down health-care prices.” • So why not think it through, and have the biggest dog of all, the Federal government, handle the bargaining power with single payer?

Guillotine Watch

I debated whether I should file this under “Health Care,” or here:

But here, definitely. Because what does a “VIP” have to do, to earn a “Loyalty Experience”? Probably nothing good…

Class Warfare

“Beyond the Great Recession: Labor Market Polarization and Ongoing Fertility Decline in the United States” [Demography]. From the abstract: “In the years since the Great Recession, social scientists have anticipated that economic recovery in the United States, characterized by gains in employment and median household income, would augur a reversal of declining fertility trends. However, the expected post-recession rebound in fertility rates has yet to materialize. In this study, I propose an economic explanation for why fertility rates have continued to decline regardless of improvements in conventional economic indicators. I argue that ongoing structural changes in U.S. labor markets have prolonged the financial uncertainty that leads women and couples to delay or forgo childbearing. Combining statistical and survey data with restricted-use vital registration records, I examine how cyclical and structural changes in metropolitan-area labor markets were associated with changes in total fertility rates (TFRs) across racial/ethnic groups from the early 1990s to the present day, with a particular focus on the 2006–2014 period. The findings suggest that changes in industry composition—specifically, the loss of manufacturing and other goods-producing businesses—have a larger effect on TFRs than changes in the unemployment rate for all racial/ethnic groups.” • Falling birth rate, declining life expectancy — everything’s going according to plan!

“Psychology of wealth: Do rich people deserve to be rich?” [Financial Times]. “[I]nequality is growing in many western countries, concern about it is not. In fact, according to new research by Jonathan Mijs, a sociologist at the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics, inequality and belief in meritocracy may go hand in hand. The more unequal a society, the more likely people are to believe the rich have earned it…. Pointing to the CIA’s World Factbook, Mijs argues: ‘You only have to look at Latin American countries to see how much further inequality can go.'” • On the bright side, cheap servants. So, open borders it is!

“Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift pay for nearly 40 million workers” [Economic Policy Institute]. “The minimum wage increase would disproportionately raise wages for people of color—for example, black workers make up 11.8 percent of the workforce but 16.9 percent of affected workers. This disproportionate impact means large shares of black and Hispanic workers would be affected: 38.1 percent of black workers and 33.4 percent of Hispanic workers would get a raise.” • In other words, universal benefits disportionately benefit those farthest below the baseline established by such benefits. Who knew? To be fair, one doesn’t need to set up and solicit funding for an NGO to determine who’s most deserving of whichever benefit is in play. So that’s a real disadvantage.

News of the Wired

“Resetting these smart lightbulbs is so dumb it’s funny” [Mashable]. • The Internet of Shit continues its wave of conquest….

“GDPR latest: People’s homes stop working as new data rules devolve into chaos” [The Independent (Richard Smith)]. I asked Richard Smith if the Internet of Shit was as shitty in China, and he sent me the link. “One Chinese smart device manufacturer, Yeelight, sent a message to users that its light bulbs no longer functioned properly as a result of GDPR compliance. ‘According to GDPR, we will not be able to continue to provide this service to you,’ the message stated. Individual light bulbs were still functional if they were switched on one at a time, but no other features.” • Switching on light bulbs one at a time! Oh, the humanity!

* * *

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 (DK):

DK writes: “This is the yucca blooming right outside my front door.” Yuccas “have a very specialized, mutualistic pollination system“! They also host various species of skipper butterflies.

* * *

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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. Carey

    ‘Why the UAW Lost Again in Chattanooga’:

    “..Based on conversations with dozens of pro-union workers, it’s clear that the union did not organize a high-participation, in-plant campaign capable of withstanding a strong boss fight.

    While the union spent tens of thousands of dollars on radio and television ads, it also had no substantive campaign to bring community pressure on the company. Nor did it attempt to organize and leverage the much smaller number of workers at Volkswagen’s nearby parts suppliers, where a well-placed job action could bring the whole VW plant to a halt..”


        1. polecat

          Gauntlet .. it’s most definately an invisible gauntlet ..
          .. and as always, to be cast into the faces of the mopes with little power to evade the slight !

      1. a different chris

        No they actually showed up. How many national seats do the Dems not even contest?

        Like I said, errors aside, you gotta be ready to lose lose lose before you get even a minor victory. The article is spot-on, I’m sure, but failure is the best teacher.

        1. Tom Doak

          Failure is only a good teacher and motivator if you actually want to win. Others use it as proof that There Is No Alternative.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Labor Notes seems to be making two distinct arguments at the same time:
      1.The UAW didn’t deserve to win, and so the workers at VW made the right choice, because it doesn’t know how to stand up to a strong boss. After all, why should workers vote to join a union that won’t or doesn’t know how to fight?
      2. If only the union had run a better organizing campaign, the workers would have made the right choice.

    2. flora

      From the Matt Stoller thread linked below by JohnnyGL:

      “10. It gets worse as you go down the chain. Volkswagen told workers at their Tennessee factory that it would close the company if they voted for a union. The unionization vote narrowly lost. Devastating. Fear. Always, everywhere, fear.”

  2. Stormcrow

    The two best articles I have seen about the ominous situation with Iran are this one by Elijah Magnier and the one posted today in Moon. (Apologies if these have already been posted.)

    Iran and Trump on the Edge of the Abyss


    Trump Likely Never Approved the Strike


    See also the one noted this morning in Links by Carolinian.


    1. Olga

      And this would be a third:
      “For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open. As I previously reported, shutting down the Strait of Hormuz would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world’s $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.”
      Somebody must have remembered derivatives…

        1. Phil in KC

          Or the mysterious explosions at the Shahid Rajaee Oil storage facility west of Bandar Abbas two days before that?

          1. Ignacio

            The “Maine” moment is getting closer. It looks that they –the military– will try to neutralize the Iranian ability to block oil tankers traffic and possible attacks on Saudi oil pipelines. I expect something soon after summer, meanwhile, accumulate more and more excuses or provocations: another dron here, a boat there…

            Politically the attack might be used also to neutralize dem candidates that oppose the attack as pacifists and ensure the nomination of Biden, the guy that Trump can beat easily.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Nice thread that if anything understates the role of fear and uncertainty in people’s lives. One huge blind spot for economists – only kind of called out by Stoller – is how inefficient fear and uncertainty are. If you are insecure in your job and/or your life, you need a lot more resources in order to achieve the same quality of life than if you are secure in your job and your life. Medicare for All and Social Security that provided a “living wage” retirement would be huge efficiencies compared the the jerry-rigged systems we have to compensate for the fact they don’t exist.

      Corporate monopolies are part of the problem but only part.

  3. Brindle


    Dem eltes/centrists circling wagons around Biden. On MSNBC Morning Joe today they (mostly old white guys) were in Full Joe Protection Mode they basically repeated Biden’s assertion that he doesn’t “have a racist bone in his body”. Interesting that on twitter last nite Obama/Clinton loyalist Joan Walsh was blasting Biden—-so there is some division among the Dem insiders.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yes, I think that Biden’s stumbling around like a moron is exposing more rifts than I might have thought were there.

      With the pathetically failed Pelosi putsch at the start of the year, it was clear there was an insurgency of sorts on the right, but it never amounted to much. Now, there’s a gap between the old guard (Feinstein, Pelosi, Hoyer, even Durbin) and the younger centrists like Harris and Booker.

      I’m starting to think all this screaming pressure for unity might be covering for something and not just solely about kicking the left-ish base (though, that’s surely part of the goal here).

      Also, is anyone else amused at the smearing attempts to act like there’s a fight (and a yearning to provoke one) between Warren and Sanders’ camps? Both of them are too savvy to get pulled into a real spat.

      I know in these parts, there’s a preference for Sanders (I prefer him, too), but I think the centrists’ flirting with Warren shouldn’t be over-stated. It looks like they’re trying to trigger twitter fights among supporters of each, in the hope that the voting public gets turned off by the nonsense and they both get dragged down. The two have been rising when viewed together. Warren’s rise cut into Biden, Harris, Buttigieg, mostly, as shown above. She only cut into Sanders a small amount.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think about a divide. Its a country of 300 million, and the Democratic Party was largely dominated by the lackeys of a couple from Arkansas.

        As far as these centrists go, AOC showed Crowley, Speaker in waiting, was replaceable. No one is clamoring for Claire McCaskill to run again. She lost in a year Missouri voters raised the minimum wage and legalized (maybe just medical) marijuana.

        Centrists are terrible people, but when Pelosi and Biden are stumbling around saying the quiet parts loud, it hurts the more practiced “Centrists.”

          1. Carolinian

            Frontline buries the lead.

            In this strategy, Sam Walton was playing catch-up. Sears, Kmart, Target, and JCPenney all had established procurement networks in Asia long before Wal-Mart arrived. Wal-Mart’s decision to arrive unfashionably late was deliberate, according to the retired executive. “In going to Asia and then into China,” he said, “department stores always beat us. A lot of people were there long before we were. But it was part of the strategy to let them go through the initial tortures. [Wal-Mart would] step in when all the groundwork had been laid.”

            But at least it’s in there somewhere. So where did this outsourcing drive first take off? Wal, yes–as in Broad and Wall most likely. Natch Frontline–which once was a good show–prefers to talk about the hicks.

            The Clintons didn’t really get their grift going until they went national. Everything they did in Ark. was small potatoes.

  4. WheresOurTeddy

    “This is, of course, an implicit criticism of Obama, who lost the House in 2010 with his feckless approach to the Crash, and then left the Democrat Party with no bench after eight years in power.”

    I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a liberal (non-progressive) democrat – think idPol virtue signaling with Third Way economics – and genuinely asked him:

    “If you were a Republican strategist between 1980-1990, and you wanted to infiltrate and destroy the Democratic party from within, can you imagine a better possible outcome than the one that has transpired? Clinton-wing democrats and Third Way 10%er types are either painfully stupid about the politics of the country they purport to want to govern or are actively complicit; for those of us not in the ruling class, it hardly matters which it is.”

    He makes about 80K a year so I was probably tilting at windmills anyway; nonetheless he didn’t really have a response. Knee-jerk anti-socialists who can’t be bothered to educate themselves will be the death of this country.

    1. JohnnyGL

      You mean you can’t trust the paper that claimed the Russians hacked a VT utility company and didn’t actually contact the company for comment?

      Of course when asked, “were you hacked?”, they company quite clearly said, “no, nothing happened”.

      1. Olga

        And the said computer was not even connected to the internet… according to the utility.

  5. djrichard

    As of today, looks like the yield curve is un-inverted. Most of it due to the 13 week yield which dropped significantly after the Fed Reserve read out on Wed.

    That said, the 10Y yield has dropped quite a bit the last month and if it stays on trend, the yield curve will re-invert (assuming the 13 week doesn’t fluctuate too much further).

    At this point though it’s hard to gauge if the market is even sensitive to this anymore. The tender ministrations of Fed Reserve jaw boning seem to be levitating the markets all by themselves.

    1. martell

      That would be a first for Coates. In his original case for reparations, he raises the question of how this would work in practice and then immediately dismisses it, claiming that it’s a problem requiring further study. He does go on to explain what he means by reparations, and says that it’s a matter of Americans acknowledging their collective biography and the consequences of that. In short, he’s vague and evasive. His case itself fails to deal with the issues that any serious argument would have to address: principles of intergenerational retributive justice, conditions of collective responsibility, and the limits of the responsibilities of states. Instead, his case amounts to a long list of historical injustices. He needed to argue that, given what happened in the past, we are now obliged to enact a reparations program. That is something he fails to do.

      1. turtle

        Right, so I saw someone argue here yesterday that African-Americans were obviously disproportionately much more broadly afflicted by poverty as a legacy of slavery and other racist policies (in other words, they deserve reparations to undo this injustice). While I agree that they were disproportionately impoverished by those practices, the thing is that it follows directly from this axiom that African-Americans would then also be the ones that would most benefit (as a percentage of their population) from a program designed to help raise the maximum possible number of people out of poverty.

        Addressing poverty at this point on a racial basis would be racist itself and would unleash all kinds of nasty effects in many unpredictable ways. So watch the establishment push for this as the way to make sure that no one gets anything.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Why is there no talk of reparations to native Americans then? They would have a pretty solid case to make. But it’s not like you could give back all the land taken from then, could you? Maybe they are being saved as a spoiler to the reparations argument until it is the ‘proper’ moment.

    1. dearieme

      There are no international waters in the Strait of Dover. Nor in the western end of the Strait of Gibraltar nor the Turkish straits. There are still international rights of passage.

      WKPD article on the Malacca Strait: it is also one of the world’s most congested shipping choke points because it narrows to only 2.8 km (1.5 nautical miles) wide at the Phillips Channel (close to the south of Singapore).

  6. VietnamVet

    Vox: “The US military could go ahead with the strike on Friday”. Tomorrow morning, we will see if the USA is in a shooting war with Iran or not. Matt Stoller’s tweet is not just about big tech. To get more orders, military hardware must be used. Or, as stated here on NC, democracy and globalism are incompatible. Elizabeth Warren has plans. If the Democratic candidate, I will vote for her but like all “paid for” politicians she avoids the basic problem. The free flow of people, capital, goods and services only works in an autocracy. If the earth is to remain habitable, democracy must be restored and decisions made based on what is best for the people and the environment.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Countries big enough to allow the people of those countries to meet their own brute survival needs without any crossborder trade of any kind . . . have the potential power to disengage from the World Forcey-Free-Trade System and Autarkify their single-nation-scale National Survival Economy. But a National Autarky movement would have to conquer government in such a country and change its economic policy direction to Autarky In One Country. If several big countries did this at the same time, they could destroy the whole Forcey-Free-Trade system and much of the Corporate Globalonial Plantation economy it supports.

  7. martell

    The article from WSWS makes several good points, especially concerning the details of any reparations program. I don’t think it’s helpful, though, to assert that American society is fundamentally divided by class rather than race or gender. I’m sure that’s not an empirical claim for which the author has some test. Seems more like insistence that everyone look at things the way Marx did and speak accordingly.

    I think the author also missed some opportunities for criticism. I finally got around to reading Coates’ case for reparations, and there’s not much of a case to be found, partly because Coates is unwilling to tell the reader much of anything about what he’s proposing. When he raises the question of how reparations are supposed to work in practice, he immediately dismisses it, claiming that this is a issue that needs to be studied. Later on, he does claim to clarify what he means by ‘reparations,’ and he tells the reader that it’s a matter of Americans coming to acknowledge their collective biography and the “consequences” of that. So, he’s not exactly clear or forthcoming about what he’s after. To make matters worse, he doesn’t bother to address the issues with which any good argument for reparations would have to deal: intergenerational retributive justice, collective responsibility, and the responsibilities of states. His lengthy article is almost entirely devoted to listing historical injustices, and, while that’s quite informative, it doesn’t by itself tell us anything about what’s to be done about those past injustices.

    One more point: the case for reparations to North American Indians is much, much stronger, since there are treaties, parties to those agreement still exist, and terms of the treaties have been violated (quite clearly in some cases). Somehow, people like Coates manage to overlook this point when arguing for race based collective retribution. Perhaps they are wise to do so. If the Indians were given their due, there probably wouldn’t be much left for anyone else.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And Black Reparationists would have to pay some of the Indian Reparations, since the wealth and money that Black Reparationists want was/is all made from economic activity on Indian land.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      On the one hand, it’s hard to see how it is that the interned Japanese, or the survivors (and descendants) of the Holocaust deserve and managed to get reparations, and American descendants of slaves do not and cannot, especially when the damage is so evidently transgenerational and persists to this very day (Ex 34:7: “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Slaveowner descendants are, I think, must also be damaged, but in very different ways, and I wish there were a book on that.)

      On the other, the project is of the scale of #MedicareForAll, and just in terms of process, they’re not remotely comparable. #MedicareForAll has PNHP, there is actual legislation, etc., etc. Darity’s original paper had an order-of-magnitude arithmetical error, there aren’t deliverables in terms of talking points, which PNHP has in abundance, even HR40 will be withdrawn for reworking, and the social base seems to be thin (top down from academics and media figures, like Coates).

      I’m willing to agree there’s justice in the cause, but it’s all handwaving and unicorns until there’s at least model legislation.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I could be wrong, but I think the only survivors of the Holocaust who got reparations were the survivors who went to Israel. And they didn’t get any reparations directly and it wasn’t called reparations. It was called Refugee Resettlement Assistance or some such, and it involved money paid by West Germany to the Israel government which the Israel government then used to pay for aspects of settling and supporting and etc. the living refugees from the Holocaust who were in Israel.

        Of course my knowledge is very limited and I could stand correctable.

        And I’ll bet that co-perpetrators of the Holocaust ( the various EuroNazi Hitlerian Fascist Allies all over Fascist Europe) who happily helped kill Jews and Gypsies have never paid any reparations at all, to the best of my knowledge. Again, I could stand correctable.

        This Black Reparationism is a cynically crafted Apple of Discord, designed by the COW Left to destroy the recovering PE Left by either extorting the PE left to enter the sewage lagoon of Black Reparationism or be accused of racism for declining to enter it.

        And in this election cycle, it is specifically designed to destroy the Sanders campaign by either making him be seen in public to give in to Ray-cyst Pursunz Ov Culur extortionism and get thereby rejected by millions of poor and near-poor White people who owe zero Black Reparations . . . or to reject Black Reparations extortionism and be buried under a sewage-tide of accusations of racism
        and un-Woke-ness.

        If Sanders gives in to RPOC extortionism, I will vote for him anyway, because I want my New Deal agenda. So he won’t lose my vote. But he will lose the election bigly. Which is exactly what the Catfood Democrats want to engineer for him if he wrestles the nomination away from them. And which is why the RPOCs and the COW leftists and the Clintonite Black political elites are picking this particular time to make Black Reparationism a Litmus Test for the Democratic Nomination.

  8. dcblogger

    My sense of the Warren campaign is that it really took off when she came out for impeachment and then when she refused to go on Faux. All over Democratic twittersphere peopel were thrilled.

    Also Bernie needs to do something to turn this around. Those of us who support him would be well advised to get active.

    1. Brindle

      I think Bernie is doing ok. He is walking picket lines–he is focusing on issues. The MSM generally despise him and are pushing the meme that his campaign is floundering. The first caucus (Iowa) is a long way off.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Bernies doing way better at this point in 2016.

      Chill. Its still hella early.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      You could be right. I thought Warren’s argument for not going on FOX was so tribal and stupid I could hardly believe it. So perhaps it played well with the Clinton 2.0 crowd. Ditto impeachment. I don’t see either as appealing to our better angels.

      I agree that Sanders had best get moving. 500 days is “a long time in politics.” But I think it is a short time for a movement.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I hope Sanders keeps going on Fox as long as it is relatively uncensored town-hall-meeting type things.

      I hope Sanders does not get involved in the Catfood Democrat impeachment thingy.

  9. DJG

    Further on reparations: I have run, by sheer luck, across two good sources for part of the motivation for the need for reparations: Confiscation of black wealth, especially the farms of black people. So the reparations aren’t solely for slavery but also for black people being driven off the land by share cropping, mechanization, discrimination by the USDA (resulting in the Pigford decision), and sheer intimidation. See Michael Twitty’s The Cooking Gene and the July issue of The Sun, interview with Leah Penniman (of upstate NY).

    The continuing confiscation of black wealth has gone on within the memory of this commentariat. And I notice that Mayor Pete was using the city code to confiscate black people’s houses in South Bend. Hmmm.

    1. Cal2


      My people were driven off their land by Ghenghis Khan. Can I get some reparations by court ordered seizure of Chinese ships in American ports? No political connections?
      Wasn’t the confederacy defeated with half a million Union war dead?
      Wasn’t that a form of reparations?

      5% of Southerners owned slaves, as did black people. Should we investigate their lineage and trace back who they were?

      Who, how and how much would black people get? From whom?
      Would African immigrants and mixed race people be exempt? Or, would they get a proportional share? Would reparations be taxable? Lump sum or an annuity?

      “motivation for the need for reparations” is a long way from checks being cut. How about Native Americans? Think of the real estate.

      1. Plenue

        Nice Lost Cause memes you got there. It starts to seem a lot less trivial when you rephrase it as 25% of southern households owned slaves.

    2. martell

      Interesting. I wonder if any of the land in question once belonged to the Cherokee. I wonder about this because I am perplexed by the fact that those arguing for race based reparations programs never seem to consider the situation of North American Indians, whose claims to reparations are in fact quite strong since they are based on treaties between sovereign nations that still exist. Come to think of it, people like Coates are probably wise to avoid this issue for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that there’d be little left to give to anyone else once the natives got their due.

      1. alex

        Reparations is a red herring used to distract from the real issues of class and poverty as awhole. It distracts part of the poor folks into patiently waiting out their check. Anyone who opposes it we can label as a racist. For those not included who might say “what about me? I’m poor too” we can tell them they don’t deserve it because they are the wrong color, regardless of their economic history. It also has the added advantage of increasing resentment in poor white folks which increases the rise of the alt-right which we can then use to point to how racist the country still is. Then if it does pass, we can use it as an excuse why we can’t have other nice things like a BIG or JG and universal healthcare that might lift everyone out of poverty.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the fact that those arguing for race based reparations programs never seem to consider the situation of North American Indians

        The same argument is made against ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) reparations advocates: Why aren’t you demanding reparations for the entire African diaspora? To which their response is, that’s their responsibility (they’re Americans, not Haitians). I think it’s a fair point.

        All in all, it would have been simpler if the Union had followed through on Sherman’s promise of 40 acres and a mule at the same time.

        1. JohnnyGL


          I recall Yvette Carnell was complimentary (can’t easily find the video clip) when the Navajo Nation launched their failed bid to purchase the gun manufacturer, Remington. The idea being that jobs would eventually get transferred to reservations where they would employ Navajo workers. She applauds attempts by Native Americans to improve their situation.

          She and Antonio Moore also frequently point out that no one denies that Jewish people deserved compensation for the Holocaust and no one tells Jewish people to make the case for any other oppressed group. Same thing with Japanese Americans after internment in WWII. We just accept that they’re organizing/advocating for themselves….and that’s fine.

        2. martell

          I brought up North American Indians in particular because the principles upon which Coates, et al. rely should be applicable in all similar cases. It’s not that every injured group must advocate for every other injured group. It’s that principles of retributive justice have to hold generally. It seems to me that applying the same principles to the Indian case would be extremely demanding, perhaps so demanding as to render the principles in question implausible.

          Also, the issue is retributive justice in particular, as opposed to distributive justice. Coates, after all, quite explicitly makes his case in terms of injury and guilt. If reparations advocates are seeking payback, then they need to identify responsible parties. But many if not most of the perpetrators of the injustices listed by Coates in particular are long gone. So, who’s left to blame? The most plausible answer, I think, is the US state (and states). States regularly assume responsibility for actions of citizens as well as for past acts of state. Thus, if I am not mistaken, the US government assumed responsibility for the internment of Japanese US citizens and made reparations accordingly. It seems that the West German government did likewise vis-à-vis victims of the Holocaust. So, if Coates and others want to hold the United States responsible, that would at least be plausible. Unfortunately, Coates makes his case for reparations in terms of “white guilt” and so it would appear as though he wishes to hold whites responsible. I think that view is indefensible.

    3. JohnnyGL

      Don’t forget about land giveaways like the Homestead Act, in which black americans couldn’t participate.

      FHA underwrote a LOT of home construction from WWII up through around the early 1970s. Black people were specifically redlined out of many neighborhoods. Especially, the ones that rose in value over time. Coates covers this ground well.

      Also, the subprime/foreclosure crisis gets underplayed….but that episode took median household wealth among black americans from around $10K, down to about $1K.

      1. DJG

        JohnnyGL: Thanks. You have even more facts at hand.

        A few years ago, as an adult, I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the most remarkable observations of Atticus Finch to his kids is: Never take away things from a black person.

        I’d venture that some of the comments here don’t take into account how much black people have been an economic caste, forced to work for less than their time is worth. Race is just the fantasy laid on top of four hundred years of economic exploitation.

        1. martell

          More facts won’t make the argument any better since (1) Coates isn’t clear about that for which he’s making a case and (2) he doesn’t explicitly state and defend the principles on which reparations are required. Statement and defense are needed, since the principles on which he appears to rely are suspect, to say the least. He seems to think that it is possible for someone to inherit responsibility for a crime that was committed by someone else. He also seems to think that every member of a group is responsible for the actions of any members of the same group, regardless of whether membership was chosen and regardless of whether every member has knowledge of or control over the actions of the other members. This is the logic of blood feuds. It seems to be Coates’ logic. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he and other reparations advocates are much more sophisticated. I wish they would prove it by stating the principles on which they would hold members of later generations responsible for crimes of predecessors and stating the principles on which they would hold every member of a group responsible for the actions of some members.

          1. JBird4049

            He seems to think that it is possible for someone to inherit responsibility for a crime that was committed by someone else. He also seems to think that every member of a group is responsible for the actions of any members of the same group, regardless of whether membership was chosen and regardless of whether every member has knowledge of or control over the actions of the other members. This is the logic of blood feuds. It seems to be Coates’ logic. But maybe I’m wrong.

            Well, it does smell of blood guilt. Several things I want to note.

            First, Blacks got it worse after the Indians. Indeed, the highest poverty rates, drug use, domestic violence, and suicides are all in the reservations which has been ignored for centuries as well as the continuing theft of resources like oil. I do not see anyone trying to stop the epidemic of rape committing by whites coming onto some of those reservations for some raping. Are they they still going to be ignored?

            Second, I can easily find scads of homeless whites near me living on the streets, homeless encampments, or in their cars, which includes children (Yes, children.) or note that some white Americans including all their American ancestors have been poor. Appalachia anyone? What about them?

            Third, while I am so against reparations especially as will trigger civil unrest as well as given more money and power to our corrupt elites, the following is true. Blacks have been abused, robbed, exiled in all sorts of ways for over three hundred years in ways far too few Americans know.

            It is no accident that the once wealthy black farmers of the American West lost it all when the area that had been in for over a century became the Midwest; the black population after the Civil War was fairly wide spread over the United States and there were black senators and representatives as well as in local and state governments. After a deliberate campaign of intimidation and murder of several decades that stopped. Lynchings were often done on blacks because they were successful business owners. I can go on and on and on. There are plenty of depressing books on the subject.

          2. JohnnyGL

            Coates has tried/is trying to occupy a kind of untenable position.

            He wrote that essay and didn’t expect it to get a lot of traction. But it did. He’s openly said he just wants to be a writer and doesn’t want to lead the fight for justice with all the awful stuff that entails.

            Now, he’s popping up again to take shots at Biden (good ones, mind you). Maybe he wants to get in this fight, now? He’s been criticized for only partially being committed to the cause.

            The guy’s a talented writer, but his pro-Obama love-fest made no sense, even based on his own past writing. Obama was an a-hole to black america. Coates himself made the case…https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/05/how-the-obama-administration-talks-to-black-america/276015/

            Somehow, when you read “My President was Black”, it’s clear that Coates has lost his critical faculties and submitted to a love-fest of black culture (celebrities, athletes) as a substitute for real policies and results for black america.

            It should be clear to Coates that Obama had internalized plenty of racism towards black people, hectoring them with his ‘quit blaming white people’ and ‘pull up your pants’ type rhetoric. But, like many beltway writers, Obama and Trump have caused them to lose their minds….gushing over the former, and spitting venom over the latter. Coates seems to have become subject to this as much as anyone. He should know better.

      2. Yves Smith

        I met the first woman who got a mortgage in Connecticut on her own, as in, without a man co-signing. The bank even said to her face they didn’t want to give her the loan but couldn’t find a good basis for denying her.

        This was in 1971.

        Do women get reparations too?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          My people were slaughtered and chased out of France in the 16th century. Catholics were responsible. I’ll send through my bank details, I assume the wire transfer will come from Vatican Bank.

        2. crittermom

          Good point.
          As a woman now living on SS I’ve thought about the gender division, as well.

          Since we made much less than men in the workforce (like 72 cents an hour for every dollar a man was paid), we now have less SS to live on since it’s based on former earnings.

          So should women get an increase of 25%+ in our SS to make up for that?

          Reparations. A very slippery slope…

    4. a different chris

      >Confiscation of black wealth, especially the farms of black people.

      Yes we can figure out who they took it from. But, if recaptured, who do we give it to?

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      If we continue to run a culture based on confiscation by Hook or by Crook, any Reparations will be hoovered up by the 1% in under 5 years. It’s another bubble to blow with another money stream, because nobody is biting on giving them Social Security to play with.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        My thought for the worst case scenario is that reparations would end up working like Russian privatization vouchers. The money would immediately be cycled upward, laundered through the pockets of the 99%.

        1. JohnnyGL

          It’s definitely a danger. Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore have an awful lot of critique for the Black Misleadership Class.

          Yvette’s been taking shots at the CBC quite a bit of late. Of course….they’re still carrying water for Biden. They’ve built careers doing that sort of thing and they’re not going to stop anytime soon!

    6. anon in so cal

      Some Black farmers may have gotten some reparations?

      “Nearly 17,000 black farmers will each receive $50,000 plus $12,500 for taxes. In sum, the federal government will pay $62,500 in settlements for racially discriminatory practices that went on for many years. Nearly 30 years ago, I first experienced these injustices and led in forming the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA). Since that time we have traveled many rough roads. No matter how it is sliced, the $2.5 billion in payouts is historic in nature. In 1999, black farmers received a $1 billion payout in the first phase of settlement. In 2010 a $1.25 billion payment was made in a late filers’ lawsuit settlement.


      Other groups apparently felt slighted:


      Separately, there have been land-grab type issues in Benton Harbor, Michigan, for some time. (white developers confiscating lake-front property from African-American owners)


    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Mayor Pete was using the city code to confiscate black people’s houses in South Bend.

      So he was. But that’s “Mayo Pete.”

      Personally, my view is that this discussion founders for much the same reason that the forgiving college debt founders, and that the way out is to think bigger. As a universal Debt Jubilee is both more effective and more just than a jubilee for a particular subset, so putting capital under democratic control is more effective and more just than reparations for a particular subset. I don’t see why the working class doesn’t deserve reparations for exploitation, and one of the things I don’t like about the reparations movement is that it normalizes wage labor.

  10. DJG

    “How’s he handling it?” said Oliver Davis, the longest-serving black member of the South Bend Common Council. “Well, he talked to the media before the family. He skipped the family vigil, full of black residents. And then he then gave a speech to the police. So, how do you think that went over?”

    South Bend is a city of 100,000, covering some 41 square miles (about 5 x 8 miles). Where was Mayor Pete?

    As someone of Sicilian descent, I’m also wondering about his occasional claims of Maltese descent. You know, Malta, Sicily, near Tunisia, which is in Africa–yes, That Africa (!). And the occasional trotting out of his father, the scholar of Antonio Gramsci, an “authentic” martyr for freedom. But somewhere along the line, young Buttigieg decided that he is Alex P. Keaton, and his sense of basic identification and compassion seems to have gone awry. Is it ambition? Is he already out of his depth?

    As someone of impure descent, I’m wondering how Mayor Buttigieg, young Maltese-American, cannot figure out the difficulties of being black in America? Who else does he plan to neglect?

    But he collected some $7 million last month. Maybe that should go into a trust fund for tiny South Bend and its metro-sized problems.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Saw him getting savaged by Black Lives Matter activists on live TV. (CNN) At one time I believe his response to a shouted “You think black people gonna vote for you?” was “I’m not asking for your vote.”


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Check the rejoinder:

        Sick burn!

  11. Svante

    There is getting to be no way to post comments or whistle-blow, without immediately relinquishing even the most pathetic facade of anonymity. Petit bourgeois kids write the most stereotypical cliché, tropes and memes; as clickbait ledes bait burned-out victims, into exposing the utter horror one encounters: plant floor, executive office or independent contractors in our entrepreneurial worker’s paradise. Of course, the writer typically has absolutely no emperical knowledge, skill set to judge the veracity of any contradictory, astute or revelatory comment. But, this is academic, since nobody will read or comprehend what’s being disclosed, since many of the readers were nowhere near the travesty being described. Whistleblowing is just unresolved childhood trauma, vendetta or disloyalty? I’m wondering how CAPTCHA’s “Not a Robot” feature triggers your selfie camera and sends it to bossman?




  12. Summer

    RE:“GDPR latest: People’s homes stop working as new data rules devolve into chaos” [The Independent (Richard Smith)]. I asked Richard Smith if the Internet of Shit was as shitty in China, and he sent me the link. “One Chinese smart device manufacturer, Yeelight, sent a message to users that its light bulbs no longer functioned properly as a result of GDPR compliance. ‘According to GDPR, we will not be able to continue to provide this service to you,’ the message stated. Individual light bulbs were still functional if they were switched on one at a time, but no other features..”

    A “high tech” big war would be a comedy of errors – side splitting laughter really… but only comedy if bombs and guns didn’t actualy kill people.

  13. BCD

    RE: Regulus Navigation System Hack Causes Car to Turn On Its Own.

    The issue discussed is the result of a long known weakness with GPS not specific to Telsa’s Autopilot. The very same issue has not only been discussed and demonstrated for years in relation to aircraft guidance systems, its also a problem that was fixed a long time ago. The European GPS implementation named Galileo includes anti-spoofing improvements which anyone can use for free. If you look up Regulus you’ll find they sell expensive devices that mitigate GPS spoofing which makes the article an advertising campaign trying to get people to buy their device.

    1. a different chris

      Amazing that “Artificial Intelligence” needs satellites to get where it’s going, but stupid humans can do it better with no uplink at all.

      Not really that amazing. What’s really amazing is that they get to call it “intelligence” without being laughed off the planet.

      1. Synoia

        The trouble with implementing “Artificial Intelligence” is it needs to be firmly rooted in “Real Intelligence.”

        I’d note that Implanting Intelligence in our offspring takes many, many years. In one sex it appears only to flower, after parenting, under the influence of the other sex.

      2. Briny

        Not quite. The estimate, should GPS go down worldwide, is billions of dollars lost per day as the stupid humans.can’t operate without it either. Heck, the military has gone back.to teaching celestial navigation because of the spoofing problem.

        [While in the military I qualified as a.navigator even though it was tangential to.maintaining and testing the equipment.]

        1. rowlf

          Since I was a junior member of the Curt LeMay club I have been fascinated by aircraft astro navigation units. Due to past experience with nav aid spoofing Strategic Air Command liked to use internal navigation only, such as celestial, radar and inertial navigation systems.

          I don’t miss wrestling Delco Carousels around avionics compartments.

          Astro navigation units:


    2. Briny

      Spoofing applies to any GNSS system (GPS, GLOSSNAS, etc.). The Russians seem to have been using on an adversarial basis for a few years now. A problem is that the equipment to pull it off keeps getting smaller and cheaper. Short of built-in self-checks.against maps and consulting with a human, I don’t see a solution as AI/ML just isn’t that good. Theory and practice, once again.

  14. djrichard

    Falling birth rate, declining life expectancy — everything’s going according to plan!

    We’re turning Japanese. Their fertility rate is still worse than ours. But we’ve now eclipsed them on suicides by males.

  15. DJG

    Polarization: Not so remarkably Phillips and Johnson are saying something that is a byword among the commentariat here: Everyone in, no one left out. (Which means having to deal with everyone and everyone’s baggage.)

    As for this:

    It is a politics asserting that personal and social transformation are inseparable, something that was a major discovery

    This is a major discovery? Maybe in upper-middle-class America. To be political means taking part in one’s polis, neighborhood, city. One’s personal and social interactions will then evolve, change, become more effective. Look at the “old” anarchists, the people in movements like leftist politics and unionization. Sheesh.

    So this major discovery is that Thatcher was wrong: There is society. There are individuals. Society nurtures us, and we have to give back by participation and transformation.

  16. Cal2

    “Partnership For America’s Healthcare Future”

    What a revealing difference a few letters make.

    “Partnership For America’s Healthcare Lucre

    I propose a new word for the medical parasites feeding off the American people:


    1. Hopelb

      Perfect! For signage and general conversation. Disseminate it to reddit. I will. Calls to mind, Paul Craig Robert’s term, “presstitutes” , for the msm.

  17. crittermom

    We’re off to the races! Egads…

    I was watching a very popular show while packing to move and saw my first ad against M4A. WOW!

    It showed various people holding ‘handmade’ signs saying “MRI: 23 weeks” and other such nonsense for tests depending on what procedure was needed, saying how bad socialist medicine would be and how horrible the delays would be.
    I think it also mentioned something about how many millions would lose the ‘good’ health insurance they have now through their employer, IIRC.

    It was a direct hit against M4A and will be very powerful to those who don’t know better. Especially among the elderly who watch so much teevee (and yes, many vote).

    Although I know Bernie has been traveling the country to get his message out, I strongly believe he needs to get teevee ads out debunking those ads. A small percentage actually see or hear his message in public appearances in comparison to those ads. A MUCH smaller percentage.

    Otherwise, I fear he will definitely lose the older crowd, as well as others who believe that BS.

    501 days to go and it’s gettin’ real ugly already.
    Bernie needs to fight back with teevee ads since the MSM refuses to give him airtime.
    Too many already believe M4A is bad.

    1. Cal2

      It is important to counter their propaganda, which is carefully scripted to be memorable and to make people (voters) identify with it. They spend billions creating “profitganda”.

      e.g. If someone says or repeats to you:
      “Socialized Medicine: ‘Taking medical decisions away from your doctor and you…'”

      Don’t argue with that line, add to it, thus piggybacking on their ad campaign and the money they have spent.

      “your doctor and you…???”
      More like taking them away from an insurance corporation DEATH PANEL.”

      Anyone with medical insurance can identify with that.

      Bernie or bust.

      1. crittermom

        Even Bernie, in all his travels, can’t reach everyone.
        I do try to educate those I meet and seem to have turned on a few lights, but that message needs to be debunked in a much more public view–like teevee, where the bad seed has already sprouted.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      Curious to know where that counter attack ad is airing? Red state? Swing state? Any body else seen something similar?

      1. crittermom

        I’m currently living in New Mexico and saw the ad on CBS during Wheel of Fortune.

        I would’ve loved nothing more than to see a Bernie ad following it, debunking it.
        He needs to get out in front of this bs, and personal appearances just don’t reach enough people.

  18. Fern

    This is the THIRD scandal involving the South Bend police in Buttigieg’s 6 years in office.

    A small-town mayor’s biggest job is usually managing the police force well, and assuring that police/minority community relations run smoothly.

    He has tended to stonewall and resist outside reviews. He would have been run out of town on a rail in my city.

    Honestly, he might be one of the worst small-town mayors in the country. He’s definitely not a successful mayor.

    I’ve posted these two articles before, but I think they should be getting more attention than they are. The articles are in-depth investigative reports about Buttigieg’s previous two police scandals:



  19. Pat

    Buttigeig and the South Bend police…
    But but but “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American Gay American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” a front who knows who is important and should be taken care of. (with apologies to Joe Biden for stealing his description.)

    There is a reason I call him Obama Jr. And the donor/supporter list cross over is only part of it.

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