2:00PM Water Cooler 6/25/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, as Yves approaches escape velocity from New York this week, I will be taking on more posting duties, and so Water Cooler may appear at odd times, although today will be on-time (and, as I play catch-up, mostly about the biosphere and politics, because the debates are approaching). –lambert

Politics

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

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of June 18: Biden up 32.1% (31.9%) and Sanders jumps to 16.5% (15.0% ). Warren up 12.4% (12.1%), Buttigieg down 7.0% (7.1%), 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.

* * *

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Why Did Obama Pick Biden As His Veep in the First Place?” [New York Magazine]. “Team Obama was looking at Biden strictly as a veep, and perhaps as someone who could help out with congressional relations and international matters — but not as any sort of heir apparent or successor as leader and shaper of the Democratic Party. The assumption that Biden would be too old to run for president in 2016 is rather interesting now that he’s running four years later. But it does help explain why there was little apparent worry over Biden’s touchy history on racial issues. The Obama–Biden ticket had more than enough biracial bona fides to cover a multitude of old sins and associations.” • Oopsie.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Tensions boil over at Buttigieg town hall after recent violence” [The Hill]. “As a moderator asked the audience to be respectful of Buttigieg’s schedule, a man in the audience yelled back, ‘You gotta get back to South Carolina like you was yesterday?'” • Ouch.

Sanders (D)(1): “Jane Sanders and the Messy Demise of a Vermont College” [New York Times]. • As readers know, I have little sympathy for college administrators. That said, since the FBI apparently hasn’t felt the need to talk to either Sanders, isn’t a nothingburger?

Sanders (D)(2): Last week’s controversy, but debate fodder:

Sanders (D)(3): Owning The Blob,” and more debate fodder:

Sanders (D)(4): “The Bernie Sanders paradox” [Michael Tracey, The Spectator]. “In 1988, for instance, he was one of the vanishingly few white elected officials of any prominence to endorse the presidential candidacy of Jesse Jackson, who had also been regarded in many quarters of the party as an inconvenient ‘interloper.’ I asked Sanders for his recollection of that time period after an event this Saturday in Columbia, S.C. ‘My memory is that Jesse Jackson has played an extraordinarily important role in the fight for justice in this country, and I think he doesn’t get the credit that he deserved,’ Sanders told me Jackson was widely regarded as a factional black candidate whose principal goal was to foment division within the party. So incensed were some of Sanders’s constituents by his support for Jackson that one of them actually physically attacked him. ” • Thank gawd for President Dukakis, is all I can say! Oh, wait…

Sanders (D)(5): Sanders campaign manager:

More debate fodder.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren thinks corruption is why the US hasn’t acted on climate change” [Vox]. “Warren isn’t making climate change the centerpiece of her agenda, nor placing it in an ‘environmental’ silo. Instead, she is using different parts of her agenda to address the climate crisis. She is making the policy case that climate change is a national security concern, an economic threat and opportunity, and the consequence of a violation of public trust. That’s because Warren doesn’t see climate change itself as the central problem; rather, the problem is money in politics. ‘The reason the United States is where it is on climate is corruption,’ Chris Hayden, a spokesperson for the Warren campaign, told Vox. ‘We need to rein in the economic and political power of Big Oil to get serious about addressing climate change — which is why the first thing Elizabeth would do as President is pass her anti-corruption bill which would end lobbying as we know it.'”• Hmm. Capital would still seek to grow exponentially, were it pure as the driven snow (if any).

Warren (D)(2): “Elizabeth Warren: ‘I Created Occupy Wall Street'” [Daily Beast]. From 2017. The headline exaggerates. “Elizabeth Warren is running for office in the most high-profile race in the country not involving Barack Obama. It’s a position that calls for some tact. So what does she think about the Occupy Wall Street protests that are roiling the country? ‘I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,’ she says. ‘I support what they do.'” • I think the anarchist contingent would snort on reading the headline. That said, this is an interesting story from the time before the scrutiny of Warren’s bio really heated up.

“The Top Tier Versus Trump” [Cook Political Report]. “Two weeks ago, this column took a stab at winnowing the 23-candidate Democratic field of presidential candidates down to a plausible Elite Eight and Final Four. The suggested Elite Eight was made up of former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar; and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke. It then speculated that the Final Four might look like Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, and either Sanders or Warren in the left lane. Obviously with eight months to go before the first ballots are cast, much can and undoubtedly will change, but this lineup gives us a fairly good baseline from which to begin.”

Les tricoteuses:

I think this is important. Not only are there a lot of knitters out there, knitting at a high level is an arduous mental activity (knitters are “smart”).

Debates

“As first debate nears, Democratic National Committee is still wrestling with demons of 2016” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘It’s a never-ending push and pull between the outsiders and the party establishment,’ said Stephen Medvic, a professor of government at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. ‘And the party has to walk a fine line. There are no more smoke-filled rooms. It’s got to figure out how to maintain some modicum of control and still be open and democratic.'” • The DNC’s lawyer said that smoke-filled rooms were AOK. So.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Don’t be evil:

I am here for the DSA Cat Caucus:

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, May 2019: “A big reversal for the production component made for big improvement in the national activity index” [Econoday]. “The gain for production in this report may already be distant history for monetary policy makers given Jerome Powell’s warning last week that strength in manufacturing, due to slowing global trade and softening business sentiment, may now be in question.”

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, June 2019: “Texas manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in June” [Econoday]. “Today’s survey from Dallas joins other regional reports pointing to emerging trouble in manufacturing this month and will likely strengthen expectations for a rate cut at the July FOMC meeting.””

Retail: “Toys ‘R’ Us, Back From the Dead, Will Open U.S. Stores in 2019” [Bloomberg]. “About a year after shuttering U.S. operations, the remnant of the defunct toy chain is set to return this holiday season by opening about a half dozen U.S. stores and an e-commerce site…. It remains to be seen how much of a boost the retailer’s comeback will provide the toy industry, including giants such as Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. The original Toys ‘R’ Us, the only national toy chain, left a huge hole when it went under. It had been generating about $7 billion in sales a year in the U.S. through more than 700 locations, including the Babies ‘R’ Us brand.” • And yet private equity managed to suck it dry and kill it….

Tech: “Amazon gets U.S. patent to use delivery drones for surveillance service” [Reuters]. “Amazon.com Inc is exploring using drones not just to deliver packages but also to provide surveillance as a service to its customers, according to a patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office…. The delivery drones can be used to record video of consented user’s property to gather data that can be analyzed to look out, say for example, a broken window, or a fire or if a garage door was left open during the day, the patent described.” • “Consented.” Of course, of course.

Tech: “First Spotify, now Slack: Wall Street may be losing its iron grip on Silicon Valley” [Recode]. “With Slack’s apparently successful ‘direct listing’ on Thursday, Silicon Valley scored another win in its tug-of-war with Wall Street and raised more questions about whether tech companies need the traditional support of big banks… If you want to see Wall Street have less control over the American economy, that’s a good thing. But if you’re worried about hubristic tech companies discarding some of the traditional guardrails that have been behind a decade-long bull run in the stock market — and centuries of IPOs — that’s a bad thing.” • Yes, and more hubristic than big banks!

Concentration: “Comcast broke consumer protection law nearly half a million times, Washington state judge rules” [Inquirer]. “Comcast must pay a $9.1 million fine and refund thousands of customers for breaking Washington state’s consumer protection law more than 445,000 times, a judge ruled last week…. Comcast charged $5.99 per month for the plan that allowed customers to avoid charges for certain service visits. Between 2011 and mid-2016, Comcast earned more than $85 million in gross revenue from Washington alone in monthly fees for the protection plan, according to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. More than a third of Washington customers enrolled in the plan by phone were signed up without consent between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016, the judge found.” • Who’s running Comcast? Wells Fargo expats?

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

“How to design a Green New Deal that really works, for every industry in the U.S.” [Fast Company]. A series. “Though [the AOC/Markey] resolution lacks specific mandates, the concept of a Green New Deal is firm in its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the next decade, creating millions of high-paying jobs for all, providing equal access to necessities like affordable housing and healthy food, and promoting justice for the historically marginalized people in the transition to a new economy. ‘Climate change is the greatest challenge we face,’ Markey tells Fast Company. ‘Every industry and every business will be compelled to respond.'” • You may not be interested in climate change, but climate change is interested in you….

“Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene” [PNAS]. From 2018 and linked to when published, but still highly germane. “The knowledge that human activity now rivals geological forces in influencing the trajectory of the Earth System has important implications for both Earth System science and societal decision making. While recognizing that different societies around the world have contributed differently and unequally to pressures on the Earth System and will have varied capabilities to alter future trajectories (4), the sum total of human impacts on the system needs to be taken into account for analyzing future trajectories of the Earth System.”

“The global transition to clean energy, explained in 12 charts” [David Roberts, Vox]. Summary of the “Renewables Global Status Report.” “[A] few background facts. First, we’re still moving in the wrong direction. Global carbon emissions aren’t falling fast enough. In fact, they aren’t falling at all; they were up 1.7 percent in 2018. Second, we’re still pushing in the wrong direction. Globally, subsidies to fossil fuels were up 11 percent between 2016 and 2017, reaching $300 billion a year. And third, the effort to clean up is flagging. Total investment in renewable energy (not including hydropower) was $288.9 billion in 2018 — less than fossil fuel subsidies and an 11 percent decrease from 2017. This is all bad news. The public seems to have the impression that while things are bad, they are finally accelerating toward something better. It’s not true. Collectively, we haven’t even succeeded in reversing direction yet. Despite all the progress described below, we’re still struggling to get ahold of the emergency brake.”

“The poisons released by melting Arctic ice” [BBC]. “The permafrost – up until now, permanently frozen land and soil – is thawing out, and revealing its hidden secrets. Alongside Pleistocene fossils are massive carbon and methane emissions, toxic mercury, and ancient diseases…. The organic-rich permafrost holds an estimated 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon…. The rapid change in North American permafrost is equally alarming. “In some places in the Alaskan Arctic, you fly over a swiss cheese of land and lakes formed by ground collapse,” says Natali, whose fieldwork has moved from Siberia to Alaska. “Water that was close to the surface now becomes a pond.” Many of these ponds are bubbling with methane, as microbes suddenly find themselves with a feast of ancient organic matter to munch on, releasing methane as a by-product. “We often walk across the lakes because it’s so shallow and it’s like you’re in a hot tub in some places, there is so much bubbling,” says [Sue Natali of The Woods Hole Research Center, Massachusetts].” • “Bubbling”… This is a must-read, more important than the clickbait headline.

“Don’t Be Fooled by Fossil Fuel Companies’ Green Exterior” [Kate Aronoff, Rolling Stone]. “[A]fter decades of spreading disinformation, fossil fuel interests the world are shifting into a different strategy: carving out a greener, friendlier image for themselves and appearing to embrace a progressive climate stance — as they continue to try to shape legislation to their benefit. The London-based think tank InfluenceMap found the world’s five largest oil companies have spent $1 billion rebranding themselves as ‘green’ since the Paris Agreement, all the while pushing aggressively to access new supplies of oil and undermine climate rules and regulations.” • Oy. A billion is real money, even today.

“Solar, Wind, Batteries To Attract $10 Trillion to 2050, But Curbing Emissions Long-Term Will Require Other Technologies Too” [Bloomberg]. “Deep declines in wind, solar and battery technology costs will result in a grid nearly half-powered by the two fast-growing renewable energy sources by 2050, according to the latest projections from BloombergNEF (BNEF). In its New Energy Outlook 2019 (NEO), BNEF sees these technologies ensuring that – at least until 2030 – the power sector contributes its share toward keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.” • If we have the minerals…

“Palm Oil Importers Won’t Meet Zero Deforestation Goals by 2020” [Bloomberg]. “European palm oil importers are unlikely to be able to ensure that the products they sell are ‘deforestation-free’ by the self-imposed goal of 2020, according to analysis by the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition… While about 98% of the palm oil imported into Europe by the survey respondents can be traced to the mill it came from, thanks to efforts by producers, only about a third can be traced to the plantation it came from, the report said. That makes it hard to determine if third-party suppliers had destroyed forests to grow palm trees or if they used child or forced labor at some point in the supply chain.” • And you can bet that local oligarchs have in both these aspects of “third-party supply.”

“The Trade War’s Latest Casualty: Trees” [Bloomberg]. “Shifting soybean purchases from the U.S. to other countries such as Brazil, which since 2011 has been China’s largest supplier, raises a different threat: rampant deforestation…. [And] Chinese companies have historically paid less mind to the environmental costs of local agriculture than reputation-conscious multinationals…. Deforestation accounts for as much as 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, thanks to their ability to capture carbon dioxide, restoring forests could provide as much as 30% of the mitigation required to prevent catastrophic climate change.” • Good to see Bloomberg has put forests on the list of topics to cover.

“Mess with a Texas pipeline now and you could end up a felon” [Grist]. “Damaging a pipeline in the Lone Star State could get you a decade in prison and $10,000 in fines starting in September. Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act into law on Friday, further criminalizing protests of pipelines, oil tanks, and drilling sites. It makes knowingly damaging them a third-degree felony, on par with indecent exposure to a child. Trespassing with the ‘intent to damage’ or ‘impairing or interrupting operations’ will be punishable with up to two years in prison.”

“The Sand Sentinel Program” [Public Lab]. “The Sand Sentinel Program is aimed at creating an easier way for people to collect and file reports on suspected permit violations by frac sand mining companies.” • Needs a map. Get in the way of anything that makes it easier to get carbon out of the ground!

The 420

“Special report: Weed, Inc.” [Axios]. “Venture capitalists are investing record sums in marijuana startups, growing twice as fast as 2018…. These investments are a bet that marijuana will be legalized in the U.S. at the federal level, as it has been in Canada…. There’s a catch: Legalization would expand the total addressable market, or TAM, for growers, but could render the related startups obsolete. For example, why would growers need cannabis-specific transportation companies if FedEx began working with them? Why would dispensaries need specialized financial facilitators, once banks could handle their accounts? And why would dispensaries or specialty retailers be needed at all, once neighborhood pharmacies and gas stations could handle the stuff?”

“Legal Weed’s A Growing Danger To Dogs, So Keep Your Canine Out Of Your Cannabis” [Kaiser Health News]. “”Dogs will get into anything and everything,” said veterinarian Dorrie Black of the San Francisco-based veterinary clinic Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services… As weed has become easier for people to get, it has also become a hazard for dogs. Black said dogs ingest marijuana by eating the remainder of a joint, or getting into someone’s edible marijuana, either at home, on the street or in parks.” • Plus other details, including the word “poop.” (Has that word become so prevalent because of our increasing homeless population?

Games

Not strictly about games, but anime and games seem to overlap….

“Neon Genesis Evangelion is the perfect story for this moment in history” [The Verge]. “Neon Genesis Evangelion has returned for a second life on Netflix, legally available for the first time in a couple decades. Watching Neon Genesis Evangelion in 2019 is fascinating for a number of reasons — namely, seeing what a new generation of people will make of the show — but the most interesting is the new world it’s been released back into. The anime was always apt, but in the two decades since the original series was first broadcast on TV Tokyo, it’s become the ideal anime for our time; thematically, the series is about the awful courage needed to stop an oncoming apocalypse, and what the people charged with protecting everyone else are obliged to cope with.” • Seems a propos

“Animé or Something Like it: Neon Genesis Evangelion” [InterCommunication]. The lead”

Basically this is the absurd story of a meaningless battle that takes place while riding on a puzzling machine against an equally puzzling enemy. The scene is the near future of 2015 in the 3rd City of Tokyo which is located at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The beings called “Angel” who were each crowned as Old Testament angels, relentlessly go on the offensive against the 3rd City of Tokyo. The purpose of the offensive and the true identity of the angels are totally unknown… Each [protagonist] has a trauma and not being adept at communicating with others humans, rather than humanity, etc. they consider internal existential questions such as “Why do we do battle with the Angels?, why do we ride [Evangelions]?” more imporant. Therefore the production mainly focuses on character psychology.

That’s about as far as I could make sense of the post, though I read a lot more. Animé fans can translate. What I did manage to get is that the series seems to change partway through, in a way that Evangelion fans take as seriously as the changes in the last episodes of Game of Thrones.

* * *

“Zork And The Z-Machine: Bringing The Mainframe To 8-bit Home Computers” [Hackaday]. The conclusion: “If you haven’t played Zork in a while, or ever, give it a spin and then have a look under the hood. It’s not a stretch to say that a group of hackers at US universities during the 1970s have very likely defined the world of video gaming and interactive story telling.” • Real software engineering. Totally neat!

Guillotine Watch

“Literature Review: Conservative Philanthropy in Higher Education” [Urban Institute]. • “Philanthropy” my Sweet Aunt Fanny. More like philonomisma (a word I just coined). Making sure money grows, taking care of it, grooming and buffing it, and so forth.

Class Warfare

“The Masses Against the Classes, or, How to talk about populism without talking about class” [Nonsite.org]. One nugget: “A new black bourgeoisie, headed by improvers such as Booker T. Washington, were equally unenthusiastic about the prospect of poor blacks revolting against their superiors. As they saw it, such action endangered the precarious peace secured by the 1877 ‘New South’ settlement, which allowed for black improvement in the margins. At his educational institute in Tuskegee, Washington pleaded to Southern blacks to “keep out of politics (and) make any concession consistently with manhood….Let the white men know you are glad you are a Negro. Don’t push, but be proud of your blood.” Black elites’ reticence to assist black working-class agitation had a fatal effect on the 1891 Cotton Pickers’ Strike.” • Sigh.

“The “Right” and “Wrong” Kind of Artificial Intelligence for Labor Markets” [Conversable Economist]. “Do we need to view the effects of technology on jobs as a sort of tornado blowing through the labor market? Or could we come to understand why some technologies have bigger effects on creating jobs, or supplementing existing jobs, than on replacing job–and maybe even give greater encouragement to those kinds of technologies?” • Useful examples of machine learning.

“New Texas law protects rent-to-own customers against criminal prosecution” [Texas Tribune (MF)]. “Texans who sign rent-to-own contracts to lease furniture, electronics and other household items will receive new protection against being arrested or criminally prosecuted if they renege on the terms… ‘Folks were getting charged with felonies when they weren’t really aware’ that was a risk, [state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco] said. ‘You have a $500 couch, $600 couch or something on that order, and you end up with police knocking on your door.'”

News of the Wired

Epic Trolling (1):

Epic Trolling (2):

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Re silC):

The paving on that road isn’t all it could be….

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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.

133 comments

  1. RopeADope

    Sanders (D)(1): “Jane Sanders and the Messy Demise of a Vermont College”

    A reminder that it was the GOP that blew the giant real estate bubble which collapsed and caused an enormous hole in the college’s financial projections. It is always amusing when right-wing nuts attack Sanders on something they themselves caused.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      If by right wing nuts you mean Clintonites and water carriers for the Democratic establishment, I might concur, as that’s who keeps recycling the Burlington college story at the national level, without even the excuse of new information.

      Reply
  2. Cal2

    Oil companies rebranding?

    If one has made a lifelong commitment to Boycott Exxon Until Alaska Is Clean,
    please note that Valero is the legal fiction rebranding attempt at that.

    Reply
  3. ambrit

    Nice antidote! That standee reminds me of Squidward from “Spongebob Squarepants.”
    The ‘second growth’ plantation behind the ‘Gatekeeper of the Underworld’ reminds me of lots of places I’ve seen all over the Deep South.
    The usual drill here is for some Rentier Capitalist to buy some timber acreage and clear cut it to sell the timber. Next, put in some gravel roads and deed rights of way for utilities on said roads. Next, survey and subdivide the acreage. Finally, sell the land at whatever above cost one can, thus recouping the invested funds. The funds from the sale of the timber are pure profit.
    Over a period of time, the vegetation regrows, slowly, but, for poor folks, any regrowth is a net plus. Plus, one can decide what layout of vegetation one desires long term and plant accordingly.
    As for the implications of the Gatekeeper standee, well, I’d make it plain that the sign indicating the location of the Nether Region was pointing away from the homestead. The implication to any and all encountering the Gatekeeper from outside the homestead should be obvious.

    Reply
  4. katiebird

    I go to Ravelry as often as I come here. It is a fantastic place. But I haven’t spent much time in the Social Forums (I tend to be looking for discussions on certain patterns, designers or tools) So I haven’t read anything about politics or news there … But I can imagine that the site administrators have been dreading the new election season. So coming up with a clear policy is good. I think … Although I have seen a lot of talk about deplorables in my Facebook feed (in threads about this policy) and I wish there was a way to discuss policy without insulting people.

    Reply
    1. LaRuse

      I too don’t frequent the forums on Rav terribly often but the backlash has been so terrible. I was initially uncomfortable with the ban on Pro-Trump posts, but as I watched one Pro-Trump protester after another immediately fall back on name calling and using extremely derogatory language to lash out against the policy, my discomfort ratcheted way down.

      Reply
      1. katiebird

        I have deliberately stayed away….. I moderated a blog during the 2008 election that was hammered by trolls …. we could hardly keep up on deleting their posts. So I get the need for a policy. It’s just depressing that it’s necessary. And from what you say, proving to be necessary

        Reply
    2. polecat

      I hope that Ravelry remembers how to do a reverse stitch … before they un-Ravel …

      Honestly … is Everything like the DNC ?

      Reply
      1. clarky90

        Re; “….. is Everything like the DNC?”

        James O’Keefe (Project Veritas)
        @JamesOKeefeIII
        BREAKING: YOUTUBE/GOOGLE HAS REMOVED OUR GOOGLE INVESTIGATION as it was approaching 50K likes and a million views. IMPORTANT: Please download it on @bitchute and repost it.

        https://www.bitchute.com/video/re9Xp6cdkro/

        “• Insider: Google “is bent on never letting somebody like Donald Trump come to power again.”
        • Google Exec Says Don’t Break Us Up: “smaller companies don’t have the resources” to “prevent next Trump situation”
        • Google Head of Responsible Innovation Says Elizabeth Warren “misguided” on “breaking up Google”
        • Insider Says PragerU And Dave Rubin Content Suppressed, Targeted As “Right-Wing”
        • LEAKED Documents Highlight “Machine Learning Fairness” and Google’s Practices to Make Search Results “fair and equitable”
        • Documents Appear to Show “Editorial” Policies That Determine How Google Publishes News
        • Insider: Google Violates “letter of the law” and “spirit of the law” on Section 230″

        Reply
    3. Tenar

      I also use ravlery, but generally only to find patterns and as I’m in the middle of a project I only found out about this here – one of the many reasons why I love this site so much.

      I’m not surprised to hear about this move by Ravelry and the knitting community in general. Back in January there was quite a heated debate on racism among knitters after a well-known knitting blogger posted about her upcoming trip to India in a way that many found to be insensitive. See here: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/2/25/18234950/knitting-racism-instagram-stories

      While I didn’t follow that particular debate in close detail, one of the things that I have personally noticed in the knitting community is a not so subtle elitism when it comes to buying ethical products. Depending on where it was sourced, spun, and dyed, yarn can be very expensive ($30 per skein – for context, it can take 3 – 5 skeins to make a sweater). While I think it’s great to support small, independent producers, many people cannot afford $30 skeins and those that are able to can be quite insensitive to others who can’t. One of the most common things knitters talk about is the yarn they are using. I’ve been to more than a couple of knit nights where the conversation fell silent or abruptly changed when a person was asked where they bought their yarn and said Michael’s or some equivalent.

      Lambert, I’d also like to mention a funny moment when I bought a French-language knitting book and instead of referring to knitters as les tricoteurs the book specifically stated les tricoteuses. This was very odd give that, in French, if you have a group of individuals of any size and just one of them is a male the group will be referred to in the masculine form. So the author was assuming that there were literally no male knitters anywhere!

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        “Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

        Reply
  5. PKMKII

    Important thing to note about Neon Genesis Evangelion, or Eva for short, is that the series creator, Hideaki Anno, was going through a major depression when he was making it. A lot of that had to do with unresolved issues with his cold, distant, critical father. So the show takes on this multi-layered meta wherein the Godly forces are fighting the humans who don’t understand why, which is mirrored in Shinji’s strained relationship with his father Gendo, which is a mirror of Anno’s depression. The show works on a personal, introspective level; reading it as a metaphor for larger systemic conflicts and crisis is trying to find something that isn’t really there.

    Reply
    1. anon y'mouse

      Personally, i can find at least one parallel with our times:

      Sending traumatized people into batlle simply retraumatizes them, potentially to the point of psychosis.

      Also, the pressure cooker of war might not be the best place for non-adults, who need to discover/explore their identities, including sexual identitites.

      But that might have been just me.

      Reply
    2. False Solace

      Most anime aims to entertain and maybe tell a good story, nothing else. The subgenre of shounen (“youth” / “young man”) anime makes use of common tropes like giant robots and tournament fights to give their heroes something visually interesting to do on the path to becoming admired by society and pretty girls. It’s pure escapism, wish fulfillment in digital ink, and there are tons of series today that aspire to nothing more. Eva borrows the same tropes and executes them better than its competitors. Then it inverts the wish fulfillment by making its hero a coward. This is why the fandom is so divided over Shinji. Is he likeable? Is he a hero at all? The closest thing I can think of is Watchmen, which inverted its genre by revealing that the superheros we all admire are psychologically damaged vigilantes who get off on violence.

      What does it feel like to be a teenage hero forced to save the world? We get to experience Shinji’s inner terror and anxiety, his desperate need to connect, and the rejection he faces from the adults around him — the familial and authority figures who put him in that dire position. The adults in Shinji’s life give him the opportunity to become a hero. They endanger his life while shaming him for his fear. It isn’t possible for the adults of Eva to connect to Shinji on a personal level while sustaining the storyline that allows Shinji to fulfill the voyeuristic needs of Eva’s audience. Imagine, a hero who buckles under the pressure. In this respect Eva already towers over most of the genre. And then things get weird….

      On my first watchthrough, when the show began to reveal where things were going, the cartoon violence which hadn’t affected me before suddenly landed like a body blow. You can debate the show’s mythology — it can be criticized, absolutely — but I can’t think of any other series that affected me the same way.

      Basically this is a show with psychological depth no one expected or asked for, which leaves just enough gaps in its narrative structure and universe building to keep people poking and picking at it decades later. Not everyone likes all the characters. They’re not meant to be totally likeable. Not everyone enjoys the show, but most agree the “normal” episodes are head and shoulders over most mecha anime.

      There are other types of anime. The shoujo magical girl subgenre saw its own inversion with 2011’s Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which received almost universal praise. A contrast to Eva, where the main characters are hated by sizeable chunks of the fandom. But then the loudest fans and the largest market belongs to shounen. Their hero fantasies weren’t personally attacked by Madoka Magica….

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        There actually weren’t a lot of individual elements in Evangelion that were new. Anno is usually the first person to say this: he cribbed a lot from things that came before. Ultraman, Space Runaway Ideon, Devilman, Zambot 3, probably some Getter. What he did do that was new was bring a bunch of disparate elements together into a cohesive, masterfully directed, and very extravagantly produced whole.

        I like Madoka well enough, but there really isn’t much depth to it. Like you say, it’s an inversion. Not a deconstruction. And certainly not any kind of critique of the subgenre or its fans. It’s not anything more than “magical girls but what if it were dark?”. I would actually be really interested to see a genre deconstruction of mahou shoujo; the baked in acceptance of consumerist femininity would be ripe for skewering.

        Also, it should be pointed out that anime is a medium, not a genre. It just means Japanese cartoons. Every imaginable genre (and probably a few most people haven’t imagined) is represented within it. Because it’s relatively cheap to produce (and probably getting cheaper thanks to the influx of usually awful CGI in recent years), there’s a lot of creative freedom to try new things (and also lots and lots of copying and conformity, make no mistake).

        Manga, Japanese comics, are even cheaper to produce, and things can get really wild there.

        Reply
        1. eg

          For sure — including relatively silly stuff like Battle of the Planets and outright silly stuff like Samurai Pizza Cats

          Reply
    3. Plenue

      Speaking of Anno, this is a good excuse to talk about the 2016 Shin (New) Godzilla movie he wrote and directed. It’s awesome. Forget the Hollywood nonsense (the 2014 one is basically a Pentagon propaganda film with occasional monsters), this was a proper return to form for everyone’s favorite nuclear lizard. In fact it’s more true to the original than most of the post-1954 films.

      Godzilla was originally explicitly a vehicle for social commentary (maybe social isn’t the right word; the point is he was a metaphor for nuclear weapons), and the 2016 movie is that cranked up to 11. There’s so much going in that movie, including an explicit critique of Japan’s relationship with the US (at one point the US unilaterally decides it’s going to bomb Godzilla, in the middle of Tokyo, without telling the Japanese government. The bombers are already in the air as the Japanese government hastily goes through the steps of formally requesting US assistance after the fact to give the appearance of cooperation).

      There’s also a lot of what is pretty obviously criticism of how the government handled Fukushima, as well as a larger critique of how Japan has been handled by a dominant party and bureaucracy for over half a century. It does this while not outright vilifying the existing order; the old guard and the bureaucracy genuinely does some good before, spoilers, Godzilla incinerates them entirely, clearly the path for a younger generation with original ideas to take control.

      Reply
  6. dearieme

    Trump is pathetic. He’s been in office two and a half years and he hasn’t started a war yet. Hillary would have started four by now. That’s Dem productivity for you.

    And she’d have won re-election on the sympathy vote after Slick Willie had been assassinated. By whom would remain a mystery of course.

    Reply
      1. John k

        Yes. But a blockade is a big step up in war making from sanctions. And Iran thinks if they can’t ship their oil, nobody can.
        Saudi doesn’t understand their vulnerability. Their oil fields are a hundred miles from Iran missiles.
        First would be an announcement their side of the strait is closed, and any ships not carrying Iranian oil will be sunk. This makes the waterway a war zone, shipping will stop. Only options are to attack Iran or end the blockade, our fearless leaders won’t back down. Iran then sinks our ships and sets saudi oil fields on fire. Only way we could win is with nukes… but after the win not much oil comes through the strait for years.
        500+ oil. Im old enough to remember the no congestion freeways when you couldn’t find gas. Or couldn’t afford it.
        I’m trying to learn about deep out of the money calls.

        Reply
        1. Summer

          “Only way we could win is with nukes…”

          That’s actually using nukes due to not winning. But the nuke stockpile was always the option for losing a war.

          Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I’d only spot her starting one war. But the Missile Crisis and the firing of the Blame Cannons would surely be operatic.

      Reply
  7. JohnnyGL

    Floating a new theory here…feel free to critique and trash as you will!!!

    There isn’t 1 democratic primary….there’s 2.

    Primary 1: Biden vs. Sanders ~ 50%-60% of electorate
    – More culturally conservative, more working class, possibly more willing to overlook racism/sexism
    – Though it may seem contradictory, this group may also be more open to more radical ideas
    – Vote more on character and trust
    – Name recognition, electability, and history are big
    – Fight is over change vs. continuity and way to beat trump

    Primary 2: Warren vs. Buttigieg vs. Harris (Beto, Booker look to be out) ~ 30% of electorate
    – More educated, richer, more comfortable with status quo
    – Involves more of the party apparatus, pundits, donors, media
    – Values diversity more
    – Values specific, nuanced policy
    – Resume race….who’s ‘qualified’ and ‘experienced’

    Additional points….
    crowd in primary 2 doesn’t believe in Biden, thinks he’s an accident waiting to happen (he is), and also hates Sanders
    crowd in primary 1 isn’t impressed by punditry and gaffes, which is why Biden seems bullet-proof, for the moment
    crowd in primary 1 has a problem with Warren’s Native American stuff, because it’s about trust for them…which is why she comes up short in the head-to-head vs. Trump. But right now she’s riding high in primary 2, which gets outsized attention because that’s where the pundits are.

    Biden is winning primary 1, Warren is winning primary 2.

    Now, of course there’s crossover between/among the two pools, and at least, say 10%-20% of the electorate that is still up for grabs.

    Here’s my sources:
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/2020_democratic_presidential_nomination-6730.html
    https://theintercept.com/2019/06/21/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-progressive/
    https://morningconsult.com/2020-democratic-primary/

    Looking at 2nd choice for Morning Consult and watching how the trends move in RCP made me think we’re not really watching 1 primary.

    Also, it’s a theme in this recent Naomi Klein piece:
    In fact, both have dramatically expanded that flank, drawing on different parts of the U.S. electorate. Sanders’s base is younger and more multiracial; Warren’s is older, whiter, and wealthier, according to a CBS News poll and one from Fox News. Sanders galvanizes traditional nonvoters and is more likely to peel off some Trump voters down the road; Warren is more able to shift former Hillary Clinton supporters to the left.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Could it be said that Primary #1 is the Political Economy primary? The PE left against the PE right?

      Whereas Primary #2 is the Coalition Of Wokeness primary? The COW Leftists all revel in their Social Diversity Justice Identy Virtue?

      ( And I begin to wonder whether Warren is running in the wrong primary? Or is she, too, diverse-y enough for the COW left?)

      Reply
    2. Cal2

      The message for Democrats should not be

      Pick the best candidate that reflects your financial, class, sexual and and grievance interests,”

      but rather pick the ONLY candidate that can beat Trump;

      Bernie Sanders.

      Reply
      1. Anarcissie

        They don’t know that. In any case, the Democratic Party is presently riven from stem to stern. No Biden voter will vote for Sanders, no Sanders voter will vote for Biden (or his replacement). There doesn’t seem to be anyone with a foot in both camps. The bad blood from 2016 has not washed away, and the Democratic Party wasted two years pursuing fables when they should have been attempting to find some kind of positive common ground. ‘We’re not Trump’ is not a policy or a program.

        Reply
    3. JohnnyGL

      To clarify a couple of points…

      1) Obviously, this split primary scenario can’t go on indefinitely. Someone’s going to have to put together a strong enough coalition to win. But, for now, it’s an interesting split within the party. I’m starting to think that there’s a left-centrist split between the more working class base (created by Bernie), in addition to a left-centrist split in the upper echelons in the party (which is being created by Warren).

      2) I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea for Warren to be running where/how she is running. Winning over the party apparatus can certainly be a path to victory. It usually is, historically speaking.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Banks hate her, they will do everything possible to stop both Bernie and warren.
        I doubt dem elites see her as much beyond usefully splitting the progressive vote.

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          You’re quite right, I suspect. Naomi Klein’s article suggested that’s what the media have been up to, lately.

          However, it seems like Warren’s playing this game, right now, not in direct zero-sum competition with Bernie, but in a somewhat parallel, complementary fashion.

          She’s making a lot more headway with true blue team dem party officials and activists. She’s getting a lot more traction among older, educated, richer, and female voters. Those are all demographics where Bernie’s struggled. She also seems to be squeezing out Buttigieg, Harris.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The simple formula to have Dems win for a generation. Make it about two things: War and Class.

            Tulsi is doing a nice job by saying “Foreign policy IS domestic policy because that’s how we get the money to do what we need to do at home”.

            And make the unemployed white Christian redneck truck driver living in Tennessee and the black gay single Mom living in Oakland realize that *economically* they have *everything* in common and you’ll coast to victory.

            Instead all we get are divisions, divisions, and more divisions. The 1% could not script it any better.

            Reply
    4. richard

      I think this is really interesting!
      thanks for putting it together
      #2 will evolve into warren vs. harris
      buttigieg it turns out is a really s*(&^ mayor of a medium size town
      so he can go &*^% right off
      #1 bernie vs. joe biden
      Sanders dancing around now, gloves out
      jab jab weave
      med4all crowd roars
      down goes biden! down goes biden! down goes biden!

      Reply
  8. John Beech

    Lambert left off 737 MAX today but recently a pal with immense experience flying wrote the following. Me, a pilot with less than immense experience? Totally concur. There’s a tiny bit of pilot speak but overall, more than brief, it’s readable and understandable.

    Let’s go back to “square ONE” on the MAX. The 737 is a great airplane,
    built like a brick shithouse. Lasts a long time and generates a lot of
    revenue.

    Engines morphed into more powerful for less fuel, ie, bigger fan sections.
    Boeing wanted to hang “just one more” higher thrust engine on the 737. The
    only way to do that was to extend the MAX engine forward. All (or at least
    “all” I’ve flown) airplanes with pod mounted engines have a pitch-up moment
    with more power (I just fly the damn things, don’t design them). I assume
    that’s a good and logical thingy. If you are “balls-to-the-wall” with power
    it probably means you want to go up, and visa versa.

    Problem with the MAX is there are some conditions like being clean at full
    power and low speed where the pitch-up moment is troublesome. Boeing chose
    to solve the problem with software v hardware (sheet metal). Not optimum
    but “no harm, no foul”. HOWEVER comma they ‘forgot’ to tell the pilots.

    Third world pilot competency is an issue but less so in the second MAX
    crash. The Captain on that one was well trained and respected by his
    American friends he flew and trained with over the years. That said, they
    did not reduce power. Reducing power solves the problem.

    Two solutions. Just like a light twin wants to roll on its back at Vmc, the
    MAX wants to pitch-up clean and low speed. Reducing the power reduces the
    pitch-up moment. The dead pilots were not trained for that event and didn’t
    know it was an issue.

    Note to Boeing; “Boeing, if we wanted AirBus BS logic we would have bought
    a ‘Bus!”

    Boeing f-ed up.

    . . . this is pretty simple. Nothing wrong with the plane – but – FAA bureaucrats will drag their feet, newsies who don’t know shat will demand their pound of flesh, and otherwise, things will drag out. Meanwhile, this is hurting America. Wait until it shows up in jobs figures. Jobs that pay net taxes. Or keep up the drum beat dissing an American Champion.

    Note, if you’ve no clue what Vmc means, it’s related to maneuvering speed of an aircraft. Specifically the minimum control speed – this usually lateral following engine failure in multi-engine aircraft. Thus, when the pilot above wrote about Vmc and light twins it’s because they usually roll on their backs following inept rudder input and enter a spin (inverted) almost always all the way to the ground. This is a known characteristic pilots of light twins are specifically trained to stay away from. Ditto pitch up on application of power with underwing pod mounted engines, e.g. commercial jetliners, with which the pilot above has flight hours measured in the tens of thousands as experience from which to comment.

    Reply
    1. katiebird

      I have been planning a trip and have noticed the 737 listed on a lot of flights. Is there a difference between 737 and 737 Max?

      Reply
      1. jo6pac

        Yes, the 737 original in one of the safest planes ever, the 737max well you know the story. There are some still flying 737max in the world so be careful if flying outside Amerika.

        Reply
      2. RMO

        The pre-MAX 737’s don’t have the MCAS system with it’s non-redundant angle of attack data that causes the problem. You’re about as safe in the earlier versions as in any other mainstream jet airliner.

        When they do approve the MAX for flight again there are two ways to look at it, 1: are you going to trust the same company that screwed things up in the first place to make things right? or 2: with all the attention on them at the moment Boeing should be going all-out to ensure the aircraft is right. Past commercial aviation history shows that things could go either way.

        Two of the types of gliders I’ve done a lot of hours in have been grounded due to wing spar failure and I’m confident the airworthiness directive and associated fixes resulted in them being safe to fly again. But then again, I always wear a parachute too…

        Reply
    2. a different chris

      >Nothing wrong with the plane

      But your quote literally said:

      >is there are some conditions like being clean at full power and low speed where the pitch-up moment is troublesome…. The dead pilots were not trained for that event and didn’t
      know it was an issue.

      “Troublesome”?? I had a old truck once with bias ply tires, for some reason at about 45 mph the front wheels would start bouncing around like mad and the truck would start swerving. The solution was, yeah, to slow down.

      That didn’t mean there wasn’t a problem. It was pretty obvious, since every other vehicle I ever drove or have driven since didn’t do that.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        The Seattle Times story linked here the other day had a pretty good explanation of Boeing’s thinking. The gist is that MCAS came about after wind tunnel tests suggested unusual handling in a rare power turn maneuver. Originally there were two sensors as a G force sensor was included. Then they decided to also activate it during slow speeds and dropped the G force sensor but kept the ‘non critical’ designation. They also rushed testing of the new plane to get it to market. So the error was due to greed but also due to engineering errors that are perhaps seen in most new planes. The carelessness came about in part because they thought the handling “patch” would almost never activate.

        The real Boeing crime is that they didn’t ground the plane immediately after the first crash which almost certainly occurred because of that single broken sensor. This would have been bad for business but not as bad as what happened afterwards. Even now they won’t admit they made a serious mistake which makes you wonder how many other mistakes are being made and covered up.

        Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          which makes you wonder how many other mistakes are being made and covered up

          Anywhere that I look at the big picture, I can’t shake the feeling that everything is being run by a bunch of duped bagmen who think they espy some greater fool.

          Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        I’ve noticed that people who work in dangerous fields will often respond this way to reports of an accident, especially if it’s close to home or involves people they know. What did the victims do right and what did they do wrong? Is there anything they could have done differently that would have changed the outcome? If I find myself in the same situation tomorrow, would I be able to stay safe and keep others safe, and what would I need to do to accomplish it? How do I convince clients/customers/friends/family/myself that they are/I am safe?

        It’s not that systemic problems aren’t important – they are – but they take time to fix, and in the meantime you still have to get up and go to work tomorrow. If it seems like pilots, for example, are focusing excessively on the pilots in question and what they did wrong or could have done differently, you might just be seeing this mental defense mechanism in action.

        Reply
    3. flora

      Thanks for this real-world comment. One question. You write:

      FAA bureaucrats will drag their feet,…

      Do you mean the FAA will drag their feet in regulating Boeing and the MAX 737 for real world safety (as they should have done but did not) ? Or do you mean something else?

      an aside: Having companies self-regulate – an oxymoron – seems like having students grade their own tests and the teachers signing off on the grades with no checking.

      Reply
      1. Robert Valiant

        an aside: Having companies self-regulate – an oxymoron – seems like having students grade their own tests and the teachers signing off on the grades with no checking.

        Capitalism is supposed to be for capitalists. Duh!

        Reply
  9. dearieme

    Seen in the blogosphere:

    Bernie Sanders still has strong support, but most Democrats realize he’s fake. His role is to keep Democrats from moving to the Green Party, to generate excitement for the Democratic party, to do nothing when cheated at the polls, then throw his support to the corporate candidate for the party, just like last time.

    Oof!

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      1. “The blogosphere” is pretty vague. Not exactly a confirmable, reliable source. One also sees climate deniers and flat earthers on “the blogosphere ” on a daily basis.
      2.Many Sanders supporters aren’t Democrats, so what “most Democrats” know is only marginally relevant, even if that dubious assertion were an accurate representation of Democrats opinions.
      3. Anyone who watched or read a transcript of Sanders’ Democratic Socialism speech who thinks he is sheep dogging really wasn’t paying attention. He did not spare the Democratic Party establishment.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        “Many Sanders supporters aren’t Democrats” – which explains why it’s hard for him to get the Democratic nomination. I don’t know how many states have closed primaries, like Oregon, but it seems to be enough. Furthermore, non-Democrats are less inclined to vote in the Democrat primary, even if they can. And many of them are in fact Greens, who will not transfer to the main election if Bernie isn’t nominated.

        That’s potentially a threat Bernie could use behind the scenes, but the party apparatchiks care more about internal control than about winning – as far as they’re concerned, “Woke!” is just a slogan. That’s the Iron Law of Institutions, especially decadent ones.

        Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      1) very few dems moved to green party. No one moves to the green party.
      2) the cheating at the polls, wasn’t, in his view, enough to swing the election…but it did help pad HRC’s lead. The clearest, most well-document registration purging was NY, where it might have padded HRC’s lead by maybe 5 points (from 10 to around 15).
      3) he was really INEFFECTIVE at ginning up support for HRC, judging by his inability to get crowds together for his pro-HRC rallies. He did a ton of events.

      I’ve seen these sorts of comments since 2016. They’re kind of ridiculous.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        He barely even endorsed HRC at all, and IMO it was pretty telegraphed that he did it more out of obligation than genuine belief or support in HRC.

        And it certainly didn’t stop me from voting Green.

        Reply
        1. Geo

          If you were in his position how enthusiastic would you have been to endorse HRC? He fulfilled his promise and did a ton of campaigning for her. Can’t blame him for trying to avoid the Nader stigma and playing nice with the Dem Party in an effort to retain relative good standing (as much as they’ll ever give him). If he’d gone back in his word and joined the Greens he would be relegated to the same banishment from mainstream media as Nader.

          I voted Green as protest vote against Hillary (as I did against Obama in ‘08 as well) but I don’t pretend the Greens are anything more than that – a protest vote. They are not a real party. They put no effort into lower level elections where they could build up from and instead seem solely focused on Presidential delusions.

          Thanks to NC’s insights I’m much more a fan of DSA now and their efforts to become a party with real world impact and not just run some Hail Mary candidate every four years.

          Reply
          1. Massinissa

            Nonono you entirely misunderstand me. I am GLAD he endorsed her with the bare minimum of enthusiasm, and glad that he DID endorse her but only so much as he needed to.

            And like you I vote Green only because I don’t see the point in choosing from between two space aliens. I honestly think the “His role is to keep Democrats from moving to the Green Party, ” sentiment is pure bollocks.

            Reply
      2. Cal2

        The Greens committed political suicide with their inclusion of hysterical human rights hoopla, instead of just being an environmental and financial party that might have had a chance in some local races and even governorships.

        See Geo’s Green scorecard below.

        Well, they did get the mayor’s office in Richmond, California for a while.

        Reply
      3. richard

        re 2) the cheating at the polls
        along with the purging important to remember
        super delegates
        closed primaries
        dnc with finger on the scales
        msm ignoring or slandering sanders, almost nothing else
        there is more than one way to “cheat” the outcome
        and dem party hacks explore them all
        the whole thing was a cheat
        from beginning to end
        clinton anointed where have i heard that before

        totally agree, the idea that bernie is working to undermine the greens is laughable
        occams razor dawg
        there are much simpler ways to explain why greens don’t win anything

        Reply
      4. Plenue

        I didn’t move to the green party. I voted for them as a protest after Sanders was sabotaged though.

        Reply
      5. Oregoncharles

        I can only speak for Oregon, but 1) is misleading. In 2016, about half of our registrants switched to Dem before the primary, in order to vote for Bernie. Once he lost, MORE THAN THAT, quite a few more, came back, including some valuable activists.

        That matters because Greens generally get about 2% statewide, pretty much regardless (and over twice our registrations). That’s enough to swing a close election – if there’d been a Green in the race the first time Merkley ran for Senate, he would have lost. I personally talked someone out of running for the Senate that year, mostly because it’s difficult and he was a tyro. Merkley’s been a pleasant surprise.

        And 2016 was very close, a good example of a race where a small party could make a big difference. Probably not – I’ve yet to see clear numbers – but possible. Furthermore, “affiliation” numbers with both major parties have plummeted; both are down around 30%, not really a major party. The scepter is rolling in the gutter; someone’s going to pick it up, maybe not next year but fairly soon. Then all bets are off. Party systems in the main European countries, including Britain, have collapsed; we aren’t far behind.

        Reply
    3. Massinissa

      Uh. If neither Sanders or Gabbard win the primary I’m voting green, so I don’t see how its ‘keeping me from moving to the green party’.

      I voted Sanders in the primary and Green in the general in 2016. Pretty sure other Green leaning people did the same.

      Reply
    4. Geo

      The Green Party is not a real party.

      Seats in the Senate 0 / 100
      Seats in the House 0 / 435
      Governorships 0 / 50
      State Upper House Seats 0 / 1,972
      State Lower House Seats 0 / 5,411
      Territorial Governorships 0 / 6
      Territorial Upper Chamber Seats 0 / 97
      Territorial Lower Chamber Seats 0 / 91

      Why would anyone want to join a party that can’t get a single elected representative into office?

      They’re like a high school drama club trying to win a Tony award and blaming their lack of consideration on Meryl Streep for not joining their club.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        I joined the Green Party once and all I got was MORE literature from the Cali Dems.
        Probably a message in there….

        Reply
    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Have you found out yet whether that woodpecker that you or somebody saw on the ground sometimes is a green woodpecker?

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        I replied at the time. If I remember rightly you put up some photos. My Officer i/c Woodpeckers inspected them and declared that they were indeed the spitting image of the birds she’d seen molesting our lawn. Green with a flash of red.

        Reply
    6. Darthbobber

      Seen in “the blogosphere” from the beginning. So the same people are saying the same thing they’ve been saying for 4 years. Unsurprising.

      Reply
  10. diptherio

    The Youtube algo just started throwing this up in my feed:

    Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis

    Released by HBO, for free, in May. I’m only 3.5 minutes in and it’s already atrocious. A hagiography for Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson, et al. Sorkin sets the tone by assuring us that “The good news is the economy recovered, the bad news is how the public understands and thinks about what happened.” FFS.

    Reply
  11. a different chris

    I don’t play vid games, never really did even in my younger years… but somebody my age (Boomer Easiason) was on Teh Radio this morning saying the dumbest thing about them I ever heard. He goes something like:

    “If you fail, you just reset and try again. That’s what is going to be a problem in real life, you don’t get a second chance and they aren’t learning that. They expect instant gratification”.

    WTF, Boomer? You never were told by your parents, which were born like before electricity was invented, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again!”. And “instant” gratification? The best players take 4 hours to “conquer” a game, and most “normals” take several evenings. Or mornings, if the Crap Economy has gifted them with a night shift.

    If you can get that sort of focus on any problem at work, it would make the boss really happy.

    I often think everybody my age should be pushed off shore on a raft. If not everybody, at least the white male proportion.

    Reply
    1. Plenue

      The focus for big budget, triple-A gaming these days is big, long, robust experiences. An expansive open-world filled with things to collect and do is anything but instant gratification. And lots of people are into very grindy, tedious online games. Again, anything but instant.

      Reply
  12. Tyrannocaster

    Ravelry: big deal. Every forum I have ever subscribed to and posted on (except those few that are explicitly political) has banned comments on religion and politics. Why is Ravelry getting such applause?

    Reply
      1. polecat

        Maybe they’ve decided to cross-stitch towards clintonian intersectionality .. a macra-moir’e, if you will. ‘;]

        Reply
    1. Massinissa

      They’re not banning comments on politics: Only pro-trump opinions on politics. Anti-trump political comments are not censored. Which is what’s causing a stir. It would be a non-issue if they were banning politics completely, but that isn’t the case.

      Reply
  13. Massinissa

    I’m a resident mid-twenty-something who has been an Neon Genesis Evangelion fan for about ten years now. But honestly, I’m not sure how to explain it or describe it, because for better or worse (It has many detractors in the anime community, and the number of them has grown recently, whereas years ago it was essentially beyond reproach, and their reasoning is pretty reasonable, this show is NOT for everyone), its not quite like anything else. I could answer specific questions about it I suppose, because honestly I wouldn’t quite know where to start if I was to just start telling people about it.

    I can clarify at least one thing for Lambert though. To respond to this by Lambert: “What I did manage to get is that the series seems to change partway through, in a way that Evangelion fans take as seriously as the changes in the last episodes of Game of Thrones.”

    I’m not sure what the second half of the sentence even means, to be honest. The difference between Evangelion and Game of Thrones in terms of the change during the series is that the change was intentional (Well except maybe for the change in the last two episodes of the series, but I will get to that).

    The first half of the series sort of lures the viewer into a false sense of security, in a way. Despite having hints of darker themes and elements even in the first half of the series, the first half is much more like a ‘normal’ Super Robot anime, complete with Monster-of-the-Week enemies and humorous scenes and episodes largely absent later on in the series. At the same time, the first half also accomplishes alot of build-up in regards to characterization that is important later.

    The show changes over time though. For most of the show, the conflicts are not so much against the Angels that continue to appear even in the second half, but shifts to internal conflicts within the main cast. Shinji has to deal with his lack of confidence and internal motivation, as well as dealing with the childhood death of his mother and subsequent neglect by his biological father, Asuka has to deal with her declining ability to perform in Eva Unit-02 and her childhood trauma and Electra-complex-esque romantic attachment to an out of reach replacement father figure, and I don’t even know how to describe the seemingly-but-not-actually emotionless Rei without major spoilers. (Parents and relationships to them are one of, if not THE, major recurring themes of the show.).

    Maybe what Lambert was referring to was the last two episodes of the show, which are arguably the most divisive episodes of an already incredibly divisive show. Basically, the creators ran out of money to do the final two episodes they had planned for so they did something else. What they ended up doing was two episodes that took place inside the head of the main character, Shinji. And I don’t mean that this was a dream sequence (although the imagery is surrealist enough you could use that as an analogy), I mean that the last two episodes were intended to represent what was going on inside Shinji’s psyche. I honestly don’t know if I can explain it better than that, but personally I think the last two episodes are brilliant.

    And for all the fans that were unsatisfied with this non-ending ending, they later made a very excellent movie depicting the actual ending called End of Evangelion. It is an excellent movie, however as you can tell from the title it won’t make a lick of sense unless you have watched the original series.

    The show throws in a ton of Jung and Freud and… Kaballah, even. All sorts of psychological themes and barely relevant religious imagery get thrown into the mix.

    Theres infinitely more to say about the show, but I’m not sure what to say, exactly. I will do my best to answer some questions today if anyone has any.

    Lastly, would I recommend this show? I’m honestly not sure I would. I promise it would be unlike anything you have ever experienced, even if you have watched large amounts of other anime (its largely unlike anything else in that genre), but whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on personal taste. Evangelion is very much an acquired taste and is definitely not for everyone. Again, this is about the best explanation I know how to give unprompted.

    EDIT: I sort of have to agree with PMK’s comment above. The show does touch on existential angst and motivation and the like, but as PMK and I have both stated, its arguably more about interpersonal relationships, especially towards parents or the lack thereof.

    Reply
    1. Chris S

      +1 on this summary – I’m also a big fan of the show, and I thought it was a great depiction of how personal traumas both large and small shape interpersonal relations, and by extension, the common destiny of a society (similar in some ways to the 2000’s version of Battlestar Galactica).

      But I could see how the anime robot context and the intense melodrama could be turnoffs for some. Not to mention the last two episodes, which are pretty wild.

      Reply
    2. Plenue

      I’ve always viewed the last two episodes and the EoE movie as complimentary. EoE provides the larger context within which the last two episodes happen, with the episodes basically being an elongated version of the preview Yui provides Shinji of what the instrumentality gestalt will be like, which is only like ten minutes long in the EoE movie.

      I can understand fans being pissed at the time, but it’s been the better of twenty-five years now. We have easy access to both the series and movie versions.

      Reply
    3. Plenue

      Even just as pure spectacle Evangelion holds up. If you ignore everything else and just go into it for the giant monster fights, you’ll be well satisfied. They absolutely went over board in detail and framecount for a TV animation (which is why they ran out of money later). There are some downright classic scenarios contained in that show. The “we’re going to use all the electricity in Japan to power a sniper rifle to kill an Angel” one is a particular highlight, to the point that they expand it to be like 45 minutes long and the climax of the first Rebuild (which is a remake but also (maybe?) a sequel. Evangelion is complicated, don’t worry about it) movie.

      Reply
    4. Scipio

      This is a good summary and I’d agree with the sentiment previously stated that the show has almost no parallels to our current situation re environmental degradation and resource depletion.

      That said, if you are a fan of philosophical/psychological material and can stomach the at times extremely depressing nature of the show, it is an absolute masterpiece. When I first watched it, I wondered how they managed to get the green light on a mass media TV show that would have been more at home at an indie art festival (this was one of the first anime I’d watched so I wasn’t aware of the astounding artistic and intellectual quality of a subset of the form – thought it was just for maladjusted manchildren!)

      Just to add another interesting point that I haven’t seen anyone mention, as Massinissa notes, the show is and was controversial. One of the big reasons for that is that it is intentionally a critique of “otaku” (anime fan) culture. Essentially, Anno, the director, uses the show as a vehicle to denounce the escapism that was and still is rampant in anime viewership. It was/is a brilliant deconstruction of the “actiony” anime genre. People were not happy about this to say the least, and Anno even received death threats for the ultimate ending and message of the show.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        No overt parallels, perhaps. But one of the less appreciated aspects of Evangelion is the subtle world building. There’s a lot implied about it, but nothing is ever really stated. It appears to be a world that has stagnated, or even regressed, in the fifteen years since Second Impact. The Angels constitute an existential threat looming over a flooded world where at least consumer technology seems to have regressed. I came away with the impression that Tokyo-3 is an exception that the government has poured resources into. The rest of Japan, to say nothing of the rest of the world, isn’t as well off.

        Reply
  14. XXYY

    Venture capitalists are investing record sums in marijuana startups, growing twice as fast as 2018…

    It always strikes me that the amount of marijuana needed to supply, say, the United States, is not terribly large. Especially given the potency of modern strains, very little is needed for a recreational dose. A kilogram is enough to supply one person for many years, I would think.

    Commercial interests always seem to be talking about it like corn or cotton or something, but my guess is very little total acreage needs to be in production to meet actual needs, and that after an initial rush there will be a big crash due to oversupply.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      There may well become an excess of agri-bulk commodity junk-grade marijuana. There won’t become an excess of hand-grown artisanal marijuana.

      Agri-bulk commodity cannabis for non-drug uses will be a good thing. Cannabis for paper, fuel, fiber, etc.

      Reply
      1. Phenix

        No. Hemp and marijuana are not grown at the same rate per sq meter. Hemp is either 100 to 1000 per square meter while marijuana is 3 per sq meter. I am probably off on the numbers but the idea is clear. Excess marijuana will be made into other products or fed to livestock.

        Hemp legalization is important.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          ” Hemp” and “marijuana” are different varieties of the same species of plant . . . Cannabis sativa. If “marijuana” were to become fully legalized, “hemp” itself would be automatically legalized as well, because it is the same species of plant.

          Unless the elites figured out a way to write all the laws to specifically legalize “marijuana” but keep “hemp” illegal. And given the challenge hemp could pose to certain corners of the fuel industry, as well as to the wood-pulp-paper industry, the elites could very well try to keep hemp illegal to protect their industry friends and allies.

          Reply
  15. LaRuse

    Proud Ravelry member since 2008. A sort of companion knitting site, Knitty has joined Ravelry’s stance today. I am sorry to see the trolls coming out of the woodwork to bash one of the genuinely great gifts the internet has given us (and it has been truly ugly on Ravelry since Sunday), but I sent a cash donation today to Rav in support.
    Any other Ravelers out in the crowd? My Rav handle is the same as the handle I comment here under. Let’s be friends!

    Reply
  16. Jeff W

    Has this blog covered Sanders’s bill to cancel all $1.6 trillion student debt in the US? (I might have missed it in the Links or the Water Cooler.)

    Reply
  17. Summer

    “Legal Weed’s A Growing Danger To Dogs, So Keep Your Canine Out Of Your Cannabis…”

    LOL. Smokers would flip that….Dogs are a growing danger to your stash….

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      My last dog had no interest in beer, stole a bottle once and barely tied it. But if you were smoking, he had to have a huff blown at him. And would beg guests as well, until he gave a sneeze and wandered off.

      Reply
  18. Carey

    Completely OT:

    ‘It Doesn’t Matter’, a novella by someone named R. Lukens. Sherwood Press, 1984.
    This, to me, is an unknown masterwork; so good that I can only read a few sentences
    at a time, in fact.

    YMMV, of course. Thought a WCer might be interested.

    Reply
      1. Carey

        I got one on, ack, Amazon; the only place I could find it. Once I got into it, I went
        looking for more, and found a few copies through the aggregator addall.com, but they’ve disappeared now, it seems. If there are any more reasonably-priced copies
        to be had I’ll mention it in WC. Worth the hunt, IMO.

        Reply
  19. hemeantwell

    Re Warren and her claim that corruption is to blame for the lack of a response to climate change. I agree with your comment, Lambert. It’s like she’s suddenly drawing from the second-tier capitalist oligarchy playbook. From Brazil to the Czech Republic an anti-corruption campaign is the standard way to float above conflicts between state, capital and society in a search for bad apples that usually ends up emphasizing gummint crimes. We might think of it as a lawyerly precursor to Bonapartism, which is kinda the way it’s played out recently in Brazil.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      it seems down playing it for sure. Corruption may be one of the problems that must be dealt with to get good policy (some might say so is a Republican Senate).

      But corruption is a hard problem just by itself. And climate change is another different *really* hard problem.

      Reply
    2. Grant

      Her attaching herself to capitalism is telling. Yes, corruption is an issue, obviously, but so is capitalism. The non-market nature of the crisis? How do you hold on to a market as she does if most environmental and collective impacts have no market values? If you try to price those things, realistically there are limits to doing so, everything would go up in price, which would in turn call for more radical changes. Carbon is embodied in most everything, right? So is water, among other things. How does capitalism stay in place when we have reached the limits to growth in throughput and pollution generation, and how do you also hold on to capitalism realizing that the growth of the financial sector doesn’t have those limits? How does the size of the economy shrink relative to the biosphere we draw resources from and use as a sink for wastes without some form of comprehensive economic planning?

      We are faced with an economy that uses markets far less and in radically different ways, that operates in a no-growth environment and necessitates a comprehensive form of economic planning. If you want to call that system “capitalism”, fine, but it’s then just a word. You could also call it Swiss cheese if you want. Whatever pleases the folks scared of words they don’t really understand but are told are really scary.

      What would Warren be polling at if we negated the Clinton types using her cynically as a weapon against Bernie, who is clearly a much better match up with Trump than she is? Is the argument that she could go to Michigan and PA and make a case against Trump better than Bernie could? Seems that the centrist types see her as a weapon against Bernie for now (if he were gone, the knives would come back out), and if she by some miracle were to win, they maybe see them playing some roll in her administration. No chance if Bernie wins, and they know it.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Bernie takes a risk in attaching himself to democratic socialism (assuming the goal is to win an election and not just somehow advance the socialist cause – which actually is not a good idea because 1) he has a shot at winning 2) the term is way too ill defined to go all out for, concrete policy which of course he has, might be a hill worth dying on, but not the stupid term socialism – getting a some more DSA members is good, but hardly a hill worth dying on either).

        But Warren attaching herself to capitalism is just why? Really why? She didn’t need to weigh in on the semantic debate at all, she doesn’t need to say “Hey folks, I’m a socialist!”, so why, why go all out to attach yourself to a system that’s so clearly failing us.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          Yeah, I was going to point out your second paragraph’s point in response. Why was Frank Luntz recently telling right wing politicians to avoid the word capitalism and to not explicitly defend it? I dont buy that in 2019 that one term is clearly worse than the other. Women 49 and younger, for example, prefer socialism to capitalism. So do the young, communities of color (according to recent polls, black people were much more likely to support socialism than white people) and many Democrats. The voters it does work with are predominantly older voters, and they are largely not supporting him as is at this point. One of his clear strengths relative to everyone else is motivating people that dont vote in large numbers (lower income people, the young and communities of color). Think they care about the word socialism? I think they fear existing capitalism. Those same elderly voters largely not supporting him right now want their socialism to not be replaced by more capitalism. They dont want us to do to SS what Chile did to its system, they dont want Medicare dismantled, or the VA. Everyone knows what he is anyway, and he does just as well versus Biden nationally and almost certainly would do better in key states. Times have changed.

          The term itself is poorly defined, which was the actual reason he went out of his way to define it. The truth of the matter is that people like lots of socialism and want more socialization. Bernie identifies as a democratic socialist and has for decades. So, why run from what you are? Besides, would he gain more votes than he loses by doing so? Using what logic? The entirety of the propaganda about socialism is ignorant and ahistorical. I dont support Bernie to run from fights, especially one that is winnable. The decades of propaganda is already coming undone, in large part because of existing capitalism, and in part because working people across the ideological spectrum do in fact want more socialization. Maybe liking him and his platform but not voting for him because of a word, one you admit isn’t even clearly defined, is irrational in the extreme and clearly calls for the need to discuss the stupidity of the propaganda people have been fed. If the situation is that absurd, maybe we need a conversation on the word, not running from nonsense forever.

          By the way, if the people that really like capitalism and hate socialism can explain how actual capitalism can survive the environmental crisis, I am all ears. Let them define capitalism, let them cite the studies showing what is coming for us, let them design policies that change what needs to change and let them explain how capitalism has any chance of surviving on. Please, let’s have that conversation.

          Reply
      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        How does capitalism stay in place when we have reached the limits to growth in throughput and pollution generation, and how do you also hold on to capitalism realizing that the growth of the financial sector doesn’t have those limits?

        I think that is really well put. Everything we are promising ourselves is not physically possible.

        Reply
  20. drumlin woodchuckles

    If cannabis is all-the-way federal-legalized in America, why would we need specialty dispensaries or boutique cannabis stores when drug stores and gas stations could handle it?

    Because drug stores and gas stations will only handle the basic utility-grade marijuana, just like they handle the basic utility-grade coffee now. And with all the drug stores and gas stations handling basic coffee, there is still a whole industry of multiple niche-loads of goor-may boo-teek coffee. And so there will be for marijuana.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Overheard @ a gas station mini-mart in the future…

      “I’ll have a pack of Winstoned 100’s, a Slim Jim & a horoscope, please.”

      Reply
    2. polecat

      If it becomes legal, nation-wide, why not allow people to just grow their own .. rather than corporatize it ?? Do away with the intermediaries !

      Reply
        1. Bernalkid

          Have you looked into the seed situation, super expensive currently? Of course once you get going, can grow your own seeds.

          Reply
          1. JacobiteInTraining

            It’ll be just like tomatoes, herbs, or other standard plants are currently – I mean yeah, the really dedicated/crafstmanlike peeps can sprout their own seeds and save a buck or two, but the majority will just go down to the local nursery (or grocery store, or home depot or whatnot) and get 4 or 5 quart-pots of already-started-kickass-weed-hybrids-from-cuttings to jump start their home grow.

            Heck, even when it was illegal in oregon in the mid 80’s during my youth, I (as a casual stoner) had any number of options to get good cuttings from indoor grows such that I had no interest in starting from seed.

            Can’t wait until Territorial catalog has a plethora of varieties to be delivered :)

            Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I agree. Legalize it for people, not just for business.

        ” Business ARE people, my friend!” –who said that?

        Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Seems like a lot of effort /wink

      Have these Big Data people worked out whether there are enough aficionados of dope to fill out that kind of market? ‘Tea’ is not everyone’s cup of tea. When I was fifteen, pre-Reagan, everyone knew that pot would be legal in a few years. I’ve always assumed that the black market was able to supply enough core demand that it was not attractive for corporate exploitation and the changes in attitude that brings. I’d be surprised if the regular users for mary jane is much more than half that of cigarettes. Pleasantly surprised.

      I would not be surprised by capital entering a market with impossibly thin margins these days.

      Reply
  21. Summer

    Tech: “First Spotify, now Slack: Wall Street may be losing its iron grip on Silicon Valley”

    Rather than how an IPO has bankers sell new shares to clients and other well-connected Wall Streeters on the night before the first day of trading, a company instead lets its existing shareholders decide if they want to sell their shares on the “free market” (quotations mine!!) after the opening bell.”

    Hubris meets hubris.

    “Rather than how an IPO has bankers sell new shares to clients and other well-connected Wall Streeters on the night before the first day of trading…”

    I criticize the “tech” companies alot, but that give the well-conneced first dibs doesn’t sound that great either…
    If they have a problem with the valuations of these start ups, they shouldn’t have encouraged it with continuous investment.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      There’s not too many innocent enough looking hobbies with ad hoc weaponry such as what knitters have going on to garrote bad thought.

      Reply
    2. Adam Eran

      Bruno Bettelheim once interrupted his lecture to comment to a young woman knitting in the audience. “You know that knitting is a substitute for masturbation, don’t you?” he asked. She replied: “Professor Bettelheim, when I knit, I knit.”

      Reply
  22. Plenue

    If anyone feels interested in trying Evangelion, avoid the Netflix release. It’s an abomination; they couldn’t get the rights to the previous DVD release script, so they hired some weirdo hack to retranslate it and it’s just not very good. They also couldn’t get all the music, so the soundtrack is incomplete.

    Reply
  23. martell

    “The Masses against the Classes” illustrates a way of being confused about the concept of class that’s typical of Marxists. By the 19th century, many inhabitants of Western European cities could be seen to fall into two or three distinct social groups. Distinguishing features included dress, manners, living quarters, mode of travel, associates, way of making a living (e.g., with one’s hands vs with one’s head), speech patterns, dialect (in some places), and even religion (in some places). These distinctions were readily apparent (no Theory needed) and participants in these societies had to take them into account on a daily basis (they had to know their place). Over time, terminology had been worked out for talking about the distinctions, including ‘proletariat’ and ‘bourgeoisie’. Marx’s theory in Capital is supposed to explain why capitalist societies are characterized by these social distinctions. His theory explains the distinctions by reference to functionally distinct positions in the relations of production. Members of distinct groups supposedly occupy different positions. Whether it was Marx’s intention or not, his followers have read him as identifying the classes that were apparent to everyone with the positions posited by his theory. Thinking that Marx captured the essence of capitalism and that capitalism still exists, his followers go on to find the proletariat and the bourgeoisie everywhere. They have confused a palpable social reality with a dubious theoretical construct.

    In any case, I would have to see what amounts to anthropological evidence to convince me that the social distinctions of Paris at the beginning of the 19th century are identical to those of the American mid south at century’s end. Marx’s assurance is not enough. The author does in fact present some evidence of this kind, but it points both ways. Black agricultural laborers were willing to tolerate the racist attitudes of white populists for the sake of economic interests perceived to be common. But then racists of both races undermined efforts to jointly pursue those interests. Perhaps, then, it would be best to say that there would have been a proletariat in 1892 in Arkansas, but for the fact of race.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      How did we get the 40 hour work week, safe working conditions, child labor laws, a public pension system, the right to form unions, Medicaid, Medicare? How are movements pushing for single payer, the fight for 15? How did Canada get Medicare, the UK the NHS systems, how was Nordic social democracy developed? Why were fundamental economic rights central to the civil rights movement and why did those movements and prominent leaders continuously critique capitalism and imperialism? Class was central to all of that. It isn’t a coincidence that leftist movements, parties and politicians pushed that all through, and class is often the dominant factor in determining what policies people support now. The poor and middle classes support single payer, for example, far more than the rich. I agree that class is often complex, that class solidarity can break down because of racism, sexism or social conservatism. Orwell talked about that a lot, but all actual social advancements occured when that was overcome. A recent book Marxists actually touched on this. Forgot the authors, but the book is called Managerial Capitalism.

      I would add that class and ownership are central to debates now. That is what people are discussing and debating with automation, the internationalization of production, the various forms of negative environmental and social externalities created by private owners and paid by us all, low wage workers, the environment and future generations, the privatization of knowledge, the commons and the commodification of nature, as well as the discussions about various forms of public and cooperative ownership and management. Does it not matter what classes are represented when deals like NAFTA are created, or institutions like the WTO are created? Who owns and controls things is just as relevant now as it ever was. The rich and corporations realize that obvious reality. We cannot really deal with the environmental crisis if we ignore class.

      Reply
      1. martell

        Perhaps there is a misunderstanding. I don’t deny the existence of something called class. How could I? The term ‘class’ could be defined by income levels so that we would be able to “find” as many classes as we like: two, three, dozens, thousands. That’s the beauty of stipulation. My point is that the Marxist categories are theoretical constructs which tend to get confused with the real groups that they were intended to explain. Even if the theory in question isn’t any good, it might still make a lot of sense to go on using the terms ‘proletariat’ and ‘bourgeoisie’ if groups so described were very much like the groups to which those terms once actually referred in ordinary, non-theoretical language. But relevant similarities would need to be established. We can’t just assume that there still are such groups, let alone assume that an ongoing conflict between them somehow explains all of the historical events you mention.

        Reply
    1. Bernalkid

      Worth reading, spoiler last paragraph or so:

      To me, it’s far more likely this is the beginning of a much-needed and really interesting conversation about the role of money in the modern world. That’s the right discussion to be having in Washington, and Libra is a big enough initiative to put it on the agenda.

      For that reason, as much as I’m wary of Facebook, in this case, I for one welcome our new crypto overlords.

      Not sure about how great the conversation will be among the morons in DC.

      Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    John Oliver’s segment on Mt Everest was really good…

    The gist of it is virtually no westerners could climb Everest if it wasn’t for the Sherpas schlepping everything for them.

    My world is just the opposite from a crowded landscape as Everest, 6 of us were out for almost 5 hours off-trail on Saturday and didn’t see another soul, nor did we expect to. It would’ve been a surprise. Aside from the odd bit of historical ‘trasherfacts’ such as a broken rusting steam donkey circa 1900 which was utilized in dragging down a cut Sequoia from above by winching it down via cable & some rusty metal relics, clean as a whistle, the route. No modern trash, or leftover oxygen bottles or hardly endangered feces, or frozen food Donner entrees, eat al.

    I couldn’t imagine not shouldering my load whilst wandering aimlessly afoot in the High Sierra, although my wife & I have both expressed to each other that in the future when we can’t bear the burden, how nice it’d be to do ‘spot trips’ with a horse/mule packer bringing in your gear to somewhere where you can hang for a week with enough adjacent eye candy and destinations to dayhike to, and then having the packer pick your stuff up, and back into the frontcountry you come with just a daypack.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bchx0mS7XOY

    Reply
  25. VietnamVet

    Senator Warren’s “ending corruption” is a good campaign pledge. Restoring the rule of law and jailing corporate criminals will fight climate change. But it misses a core problem. Even though the USA has not bombed Iran yet, it has established a blockade that is uses the US Dollar as a military weapon. Boeing consciously ignored safety in order increase its profits. Both are fundamentally stupid in the long term. Except, the ruling ideology says there is an invisible hand that guides everything. “Greed is good.” However, to effectively fight climate change and end the forever wars, democracy must be restored along with long term planning that is for the good of the people and environment. “Quick bucks” the wealthy few must be eliminated.

    Reply
  26. Cal2

    The construction, bond and finance industry continues its stranglehold on the California legislature, in the name of “equity”, “fighting global warming” and a “housing crisis.”

    Sen. Wiener uses ‘gut and amend’ maneuver to introduce legislation to help move housing projects along; SB50 is still on hold [after furious opposition]

    “Representative Scott Wiener, D San Francisco, last week used what’s known as a “gut and amend” maneuver to completely rewrite a bill unrelated to housing, SB592, substituting language that he says will close loopholes in the state’s Housing Accountability Act. The original SB592 addressed licensure for barbers and cosmetologists.”

    https://padailypost.com/2019/06/17/sen-wiener-uses-gut-and-amend-maneuver-to-introduce-legislation-to-help-move-housing-projects-along-sb50-is-still-on-hold/

    The State Senate Bill would allow a four- to five-story market rate apartment building to be built in any neighborhood, statewide, within a half-mile of a regular bus route or light or heavy rail transit.

    Reply
  27. John k

    Good discussion at Hill rcp of why biden isn’t electable because like hillary, he promises no change and will protect his donors.
    How stupid is that? The winning examples are Obama and trump… at least promise hope and change, even if you have no intention of doing anything of the kind.

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      As stated in this morning’s links….Biden’s not very good at politics. Never had much success running for president, previously. Ingratiated himself into a very chummy, comfy political culture in Delaware that never really challenges its political class.

      He’ll fade….but he’s a shining example of just how far you can get in a presidential race with team dem’s backing, with name recognition/brand fumes, and a pleasant disposition.

      Prior to 2016, I don’t think I realized what an EASY time the elites really had when they wanted to manufacture consent. There’s more pushback, now, but it’s not nearly enough.

      Reply
    1. Plenue

      Good for them. Though the cop may have backed down because he was ordered to use a light touch, which to Chicago police means ‘just don’t do anything ever’.

      Chicago PD needs to be completely disbanded. Not ‘reformed’; it can’t be reformed. It needs to be burned to the ground and completely rebuilt from scratch, with zero involvement of anyone currently attached to it.

      Right now there’s something of a crime epidemic because the political leadership has ordered the police to go hands off. This was apparently the only way to stop them from constantly being abusive monsters. Chicago pigs don’t know any other way to police other than the curb stomping fascism model. This is the police force that was literally operating a black site (hell, maybe they still are). It’s completely binary with them: either they’re gestapo, or they don’t do anything. They’re incapable of nuance or restraint.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        They’re incapable of nuance or restraint.

        Don’t you mean that “they’re incapable unwilling of to use nuance or restraint?”

        I think that while many police are unjustifiably, but still sincere, in their belief that homicidal paranoia is required for their survival and also many more are overly stressed (it can be a very stressful job) a large number are just violent man-babies who think being that they are too important to be an adult.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          I think too many people are being allowed to be cops who are literally incapable of things like deescalation. A lot of them are ex-soldiers, and a lot emulate soldiers. I’m really getting sick of seeing crew cut and literal skinhead cops.

          Reply
  28. Mo's Bike Shop

    Stupid is not the concept. It’s underpants.

    For the true believers, Hillary did not lose to Trump. Biden will prove this to the unbelievers by repeating Trump, Trump, Trump all fall and snarling at policy questions as impertinence.

    And everyone knows that no one would ever vote for Trump! Boom! Win! Just like the last time. QED

    Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    ““Legal Weed’s A Growing Danger To Dogs, ”
    My somewhat limited personal experience: back when I was in college, my roommate’s little terrier ate his entire stash. Doggie slept all afternoon, which wasn’t at all like him. Otherwise unharmed, as far as we could tell.

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  30. Oregoncharles

    Update, email from Ryan Grim (I”ll include his pitch at the bottom, by way of making the copy legit):


    Cabán!!!!!
    She did it.
    Jun 26 Public post

    As election results in the Queens district attorney race began coming in this evening, it was looking quite good for Melinda Katz, the Queens borough president who has the backing of the famous Queens machine, as well as every local member of Congress (save one), including the most famous ex-member, the one-time King of Queens, Joe Crowley.

    Crowly lost his seat in a stunner a year ago tomorrow, and a shock was in store tonight for Katz. As the votes continued to be tallied, Tiffany Cabán, running on a radical decarceration platform, surged into the lead. She held it through the night, and declared victory with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, holding on to a lead of 1,090 votes. The outstanding precincts were all in Jackson Heights, a Cabán stronghold, and there don’t appear to be enough absentee ballots outstanding to swing the election. Katz has not conceded.

    Nausicaa Renner was at both watch parties for The Intercept, and her dispatch, with Akela Lacy, is here. I did an explainer on the race for TYT, which you can watch here.

    It was a tense day on Capitol Hill, too. Democrats have been negotiating an emergency spending bill for the border crisis. Democrats, of course, want no part in Trump’s immigration policy, particularly the element that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others have accurately dubbed his concentration camps. But at the same time, children are suffering, and the money, with conditions attached, could improve the situation for desperate people.

    Over the past few days, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been debating internally how to approach the spending bill. On Sunday, they held a conference call that three dozen members of Congress joined to debate whether to push for a tougher bill or support whatever party leadership came up with. They met on Tuesday and the conversation got heated, with Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman arguing that Democrats should vote for whatever comes up and CPC co-chair Pramila Jayapal pushing back, making the case that by standing together, they could at least demand concessions before going about the ugly act of voting to fund Trump’s border policy, however reformed by the conditions. Enough CPC members stuck together that they were able to win some concessions, particularly a condition that any private contractor not meeting safety and sanitation criteria within six months will lose their contract and be unable to bid for the next one. “It’s ridiculous but that’s the first time we’ve been able to get that in,” Jayapal told me.

    Earlier on Tuesday, activists from the Sunrise Movement attempted to occupy the DNC’s headquarters, protesting the party committee’s refusal to host a climate change debate. Aída Chávez and I were there. Here’s her report.

    If any of these insurgent victory are coming as a surprise to you, that must be because you haven’t read my book yet. You can fix that by getting it here. And the good news is it’s now available at Barnes and Noble for $12.40, which is a steal, and I hope it means I still get some royalties, but who knows.

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    © 2019 Ryan Grim Unsubscribe
    1875 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006

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