2:00PM Water Cooler 7/10/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

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 July 5: Biden down at 27.1% (27.3%), Sanders up at 15.3% (14.9%), Warren down at 13.7% (13.9%), Buttigieg down at 5.0% (5.3%), Harris having jumped, flat at 15.0% (15.0%), others Brownian motion. Sanders, Harris, Warren now clustered, Biden having rebounded in the past few days, putting the busing controversy behind him, I’m guessing.

* * *

2020

Fundraising numbers summarized:

Sanders’ 1,000,000 people certainly contrasts with Warren’s 384,000, let alone Mayo Pete’s 294,000.

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden earned $15.6 million in the two years after leaving the vice presidency” [WaPo]. “The vast majority of the former vice president’s income — which totaled $11 million in 2017 and $4.6 million in 2018 — came from book payments and speaking fees, according to newly released tax returns and financial disclosure forms required of federal office-seekers.” • So I guess Biden looked at what Hillary Clinton did, and said “What a great idea!” Come on, man.

Harris (D)(1): “Kamala Harris Has a Distinguished Career of Serving Injustice” [Truthout]. “arris’s prosecutorial record, however, is far from progressive. Through her apologia for egregious prosecutorial misconduct, her refusal to allow DNA testing for a probably innocent death row inmate, her opposition to legislation requiring the attorney general’s office to independently investigate police shootings and more, she has made a significant contribution to the sordid history of injustice she decries.” • This is a very good article, with detailed examination of several cases.

Sanders (D)(1): “How to Give Away $420 Million: Cheryl and Haim Saban on Hollywood Philanthropy, Israel and 2020 Politics” [Hollywood Reporter]. “‘We love all 23 candidates,’ Haim says, then pauses. ‘No, minus one. I profoundly dislike Bernie Sanders, and you can write it. I don’t give a hoot. He’s a communist under the cover of being a socialist. He thinks that every billionaire is a crook. He calls us ‘the billionaire class.’ And he attacks us indiscriminately. ‘It’s the billionaire class, the bad guys.’ This is how communists think. So, 22 are great. One is a disaster zone.” • Somebody should ask Steyer if he agrees with Saban.

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez pressure Congress to declare climate change a national emergency” [CNN]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont teamed up with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Oregon’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday to unveil a new resolution that would declare climate change a national emergency. ‘There is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes,’ the bill’s authors wrote. While it does not call for specific action, the legislation states in sharp terms that climate change is a human-made problem that threatens the fortunes of millions of Americans and demands immediate political action.”

Sanders (D)(3): Thread on Sanders’ time as Mayor:

2016 wasn’t the first time Sanders took on an entrenched Democrat machine. Nor 2020.

Steyer (D)(1): Launch video:

Lucky squillionaire wants to share the weatlh!

Steyer (D)(2): “Billionaire and activist Tom Steyer announces run for president” [USA Today]. “Steyer recently gained national prominence at the helm of progressive advocacy groups like Need to Impeach, which organizes pro-impeachment grassroots efforts and claims to have an email list of over 8.2 million Americans, and NextGen America, a climate-oriented advocacy group. In January 2019, he said he would not be joining the presidential race, saying he would instead be ‘strengthening my commitment to Need to Impeach.'” • Well, at least we know a lot of consultants’ kids are going to be able to afford college.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Wins Respect in Unlikely Place—Wall Street” [Fortune]. “‘If she ends up being the nominee, I’d have no trouble supporting her at all,’ said David Schamis, chief investment officer of Atlas Merchant Capital, where he’s a founding partner alongside former Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond. While Warren isn’t Schamis’s top choice, he said: ‘I think she is smart, hardworking, responsible and thoughtful. And I think she thinks markets are important.’…. It would be ‘just wrong,’ Warren told CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ in March, to call her a democratic socialist: ‘I believe in markets. Markets that work. Markets that have a cop on the beat and have real rules and everybody follows them.'”

Warren (D)(2): “Elizabeth Warren shuns conventional wisdom for a new kind of campaign” [Politico]. “The campaign has gone without an outside polling firm, and says it has no plans to hire one, even though it is standard operating procedure for most serious candidates. Instead of initially stockpiling resources for a homestretch TV ad blitz, she’s amassed a payroll of 300-plus staffers in the early months of the campaign — overhead that could deplete her coffers if her fundraising ever falters. And now, the campaign told POLITICO that it is shunning the typical model for producing campaign ads, in which outside firms are hired and paid often hefty commissions for their work. Instead, Warren’s campaign is producing TV, digital and other media content itself, as well as placing its digital ad buys internally. Taken together, Warren’s approach is a rebuke of the consultant-heavy model of campaigns.” • And her staff doesn’t seem to be making the news, either. Which is good.

Warren (D)(3): You may have to click through to see the graphic:

I don’t like Warren’s thought process. Membership in the Cherokee tribe is civic. It’s not by blood. Hence, Warren’s 123andMe test — suggested by Pod Save America hosts though it was — was irrelevant. Worse, it shows her relying on a technocratic solution from her own in-group, instead of asking the Cherokees. Of course, if she’d attended DAPL….

2019

Festival of Pelosi v. AOC:

AOC throws a match on the gasoline Pelosi spilled in her Maureen Dowd interview:

(Note that’s a theory of change, and not Sanders’ theory, either.)

And she wasn’t done:

Ouch!

“Why is Nancy Pelosi slamming AOC and helping Trump?” [CNN]. “What makes Pelosi’s remark so stunning is that it flies in the face of her often-repeated philosophy that she has espoused to House Democrats since taking control of the chamber in the 2018 midterms. ‘Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power,’ she wrote last November.”

“Why Is Nancy Pelosi Going After AOC?” [Jonathan Chait, Benjamin Hart, Eric Levitz New York Magazine]. It took three? Chait: “The conservative media has done more than any other force to elevate the AOC squad. So, from Pelosi’s perspective, continuously pointing out that they’re four people is fighting back against conservative propaganda. The campaign to elevate the squad is so successful that news reports frequently portrayed the Democrats’ freshman class on the whole as more progressive than the party, when the opposite is true.” • Very true, for one. AOC is getting in the way of Pelos’s plan to appeal to wealthy suburban Republicans!

“Tensions Between Pelosi and Progressive Democrats of ‘the Squad’ Burst Into Flame” [New York Times]. “‘This is an inevitable tension between a few progressives with one priority, which is their ideology, and a speaker with many priorities, including preserving the majority in the House, electing a Democratic president against Trump, and responding to the consensus of her caucus,’ said Steve Israel, a Democrat and former representative of New York. ‘To the extent that it distracts from Donald Trump and becomes a circular firing squad among Democrats, it can be lethal.'” • First, Steve Israel is a horrible human being and was a wretched DCCC chair. Second, all of the coverage seems to take the composition of the Democrat caucus for granted (including the new prominence of Blue Dogs). But those candidates were groomed and chosen, as the worksheets I did for the midterms showed. That the cetner of gravity of the Democrat Party moved right, despite the presence of the “Squad,” was not accident.

Obama Legacy

Regardless of what you think of #ADOS, they are certainly willing to call out Obama. Thread:

Identity Politics

“How magazines made Asian America” [Columbia Journalism Review]. “The term “Asian American” was devised in the late 1960s by students at the University of California, Berkeley, as a way to harness collective action against the chauvinist racism of the Vietnam War and express solidarity with other racial groups. Inspired by the Black Power movement, students of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean heritage who had previously thought of themselves as distinct communities imagined a pan-ethnic collective defined from within. ‘Asian American’ would be a rallying cry. It would be a way to reverse the dehumanizing stereotypes contained in the colonialist term ‘Oriental.'” • An ascriptive identity in the process of formation…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Appeals court dismisses Emoluments Clause lawsuit in win for Trump” [The Hill]. “The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia alleging that President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, finding that they did not have the standing to sue the president.” •  Hat tip to J-LS, who called her shot on December 21, 2016 (and it was a lonely call, too).

Stats Watch

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, July 2019: “[I]nflation expectations at the business level are not increasing” [Econoday].

Wholesale Trade, May 2019: “Inventories at the wholesale level rose” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year, inventory growth is at 7.7 percent and well beyond only a 0.4 percent rise for underlying sales in a mismatch, like the rise in the stock-to-sales ratio, that points to the risk of unwanted inventory growth.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 5, 2019: Rose [Econoday].

Tech: “Android apps are harvesting your data even after you tell them not to, says study” [CNN]. “Thousands of popular apps from the Google Play Store are able to bypass permissions to collect user data, according to the nonprofit research center International Computer Science Institute, which partners with University of California, Berkeley. The apps work around restrictions by finding ‘side channels’ or ‘covert channels’ such as taking data from apps that do have those permissions, potentially affecting hundreds of millions of Android users.” • You’d almost think Google designed Android that way.

Tech: “Amazon has asked for permission to launch 3,200 broadband satellites” [MIT Technology Review]. “Amazon has asked for permission to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit as part of Project Kuiper. It says it wants to connect the tens of millions around the globe who don’t have broadband internet access. ‘Amazon’s mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and the Kuiper System is one of our ambitious projects to fulfill this mission,’ the filing states.” • Farewell, astronomy!

The Biosphere

“Climate change: Water and green energy produced by a single device” [BBC]. “The scientists adapted a solar panel that not only generated power, but used some of the heat energy to distil and purify sea water. They believe the idea could make a major difference in sunny climates with limited water supplies….. Similarly, producing water for humans via desalination in countries with water scarcity is a huge consumer of energy. It’s estimated that in Arab countries around 15% of electricity production is used to produce drinking water…. “It can be used for coastal areas as long as you are not talking about delivering drinking water for a city of over one million people,” said [lead author Prof Peng Wang from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia’.”

“Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It” [The Atlantic]. “[T]he legal framework governing American life enforces dependency on the automobile. To begin with, mundane road regulations embed automobile supremacy into federal, state, and local law. But inequities in traffic regulation are only the beginning. Land-use law, criminal law, torts, insurance, vehicle safety regulations, even the tax code—all these sources of law provide rewards to cooperate with what has become the dominant transport mode, and punishment for those who defy it. Let’s begin at the state and local levels. A key player in the story of automobile supremacy is single-family-only zoning, a shadow segregation regime that is now justifiably on the defensive for outlawing duplexes and apartments in huge swaths of the country. Through these and other land-use restrictions—laws that separate residential and commercial areas or require needlessly large yards—zoning rules scatter Americans across distances and highway-like roads that are impractical or dangerous to traverse on foot. The resulting densities are also too low to sustain high-frequency public transit.”

Not to be a squeeing fan boy, but she’s righrt:

And a plug for victory gardens!

Water

“New database: Water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe chemical levels” [McClatchy]. “More than 610 drinking water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe levels of chemical compounds that have been linked to birth defects, cancers, infertility, and reduced immune responses in children, according to a new database compiled by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University. Using Pentagon data released last year and recently obtained public water utility reports, the researchers now estimate that more than 19 million people are exposed to water contaminated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.” • You’d think this would be a bigger story than it is.

Health Care

“Medicare for All: Would Patients and Physicians Benefit or Lose?” [MedPage Today]. Well worth a read, especially considering the venue; this caught my eye: “What about physicians? When Medicare was first introduced in 1965, practitioners complained loudly that the program would lead to a loss of autonomy and price controls. But in 2019, most physicians have lost any meaningful sense of autonomy, and are fully accustomed to having no control over their price structures. As Michel Accad, MD, has eloquently described, most physicians now simply serve as subcontractors for the insurance industry. Their decision-making capacities are limited, and they are plagued with administrative chores. Their ability to practice high-quality medicine is severely impaired. This is causing an extraordinary burnout rate (30-50%) and a frightening rate of suicide. Given the opportunity to practice high-quality medicine in a low-stress environment, more than half of physicians now embrace the idea of a single-payer system as the best outcome for future payment reform. Any reduction in revenues that results from a shift to Medicare-level payments would be more than offset by savings and job satisfaction benefits that would accrue from being freed of administrative burdens and costs.”

“So You Want to Overturn Obamacare. Here Are Some Things That Would Be Headaches.” [Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times]. • Great to-do list for an intern in the Sanders White House to follow through on, ffs.

Guillotine Watch

“Millennial couple in Kansas needs help making ends meet on $500,000 a year” [MarketWatch]. “‘My wife and I are in our early thirties. We live in Kansas. I’m a CTO of well known startup, and she’s a model,’ he wrote. ‘As you can see, each year we have a large deficit. Currently, we add that to our mortgage each year. We’ve been doing this for 2 years. I’d appreciate any advice on how to reign [sic] our situation in.'” The monthly budget:

Four hundred bucks a month for “party supplies”? Really?

“The Battle of Grace Church What happened when Brooklyn’s oldest nursery school decided to become less old-fashioned? A riot among the one percent.” [New York Magazine]. “It seems that sweet Grace Church understood how best to prepare its children for a cruel, competitive world all along.” • This is brilliant, like Balzac. Episcopalians!

Another triumph for bourgeois feminism:

Class Warfare

“A strong endorsement of the $15 minimum wage from the Congressional Budget Office” [Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times]. “The CBO’s latest analysis makes clear that the benefits of a $15 minimum wage would heavily outweigh the downside. The ratio of those who would experience a higher wage vs. those who would lose their jobs or hours is about 21 to 1 (27.3 million winners, 1.3 million losers). The net gain for all workers would be $44 billion.”

“Pain Meds and Bathroom Dashes: A Philly Author’s Time Working at Amazon” [PortSide]. “The workers Guendelsberger talks to tell her that it’s [Amazon warehouse work is one] of the best jobs a person without a college degree or specialized skills could land. The thing that does upset them is ‘being treated like a robot,’ she said. ‘Their complete lack of agency’ on the job. The Amazon jobs, Guendelsberger finds out, are designed so that no worker can make a significant decision about how to do the job.”

News of the Wired

Korean zombie movie. Thread:

Does anybody know where the phrase “in my feelings” originated? Surely not a Drake song?

* * *

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 (Peter):

Once my favorite flower, but now I realize I have more than one favorite!

* * *

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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.

177 comments

  1. Mark Gisleson

    This remark died on Twitter so I might as well use it here as well:

    “If you need a reward for a lifetime of public service, you weren’t serving, you were just bidening your time.”

    No applause necessary, I’ll leave by the side door.

  2. Cal2

    Hypocrisy much?
    “A key player in the story of automobile supremacy is single-family-only zoning, a shadow segregation regime that is now justifiably on the defensive for outlawing duplexes and apartments in huge swaths of the country. Through these and other land-use restrictions—laws that require needlessly large yards—zoning rules scatter Americans across distances and highway-like roads that are impractical or dangerous to traverse on foot. The resulting densities are also too low to sustain high-frequency public transit.”

    One doesn’t need high frequency transit in the suburbs, just adequate, which has to do with funding it, not mandating the building of transit oriented Soviet style high rises, each apartment having a parking place, BTW.

    “Growing your own food is very satisfying. (on an apartment window ledge?)
    We like to pop outside, pluck some greens, &throw them on the pan after a rinse.
    It’s WAY better for the environment, too. Gardens can sequester more carbon than lawns. Plus: no mowing (&no gasoline)!
    Let’s bring back victory gardens🌱 https://t.co/GjgocVMYnI

    Suburbs are the key to healthy living, not dense cities, even if they do benefit the developers.
    David Holmgren on Retrofitting the Suburbs for the Energy Descent Future
    https://holmgren.com.au/retrofitting-the-suburbs/

    1. Summer

      Suburbs don’t have to all be McMansions is most of the beef. I think there should be more alowances for smaller complexes where the single-family zoning has had a lock. Apartments don’t have to be giant towers or hundreds of units.

      1. Cal2

        Most suburban homes are single story single family homes. The advantage of McMansions, where they exist,is that like the big homes built in the 1890s through Roaring Twenties, they can be subdivided into boarding houses, as happened in the Depression and War production years.

        Caveat: McMansions aren’t nearly as well built and may already be crumbling. A self eliminating problem. If you have Netflix, watch “The Queen of Versailles” for the worst example.

        I have no problem with smaller units. I do with attempts to use them as demographic fulcrums to destroy intact communities by bringing in low income people from out of state, or overseas, handed the units through lotteries, or using them to deliberately promote “equity” and “diversity,”, i.e more profits for developers, car salesmen and political carpetbaggers, fleeing the cities they destroyed, as they move out into the suburbs and who have little chance of election with present populations of voters who built and paid for the infrastructure and local institutions through decades of their property taxes and volunteerism.

        1. Summer

          Low income could be a health care assistant or the server in the suburban Starbucks. Why shouldn’t they be able to live close to where they work?

          1. Cal2

            Agreed. Low income Should absolutely be someone valuable like that, but someone from the community, for whom the units are built, rather than some economic immigrant from Latin America, or the east coast who decided to move to California and displaced a local low income worker.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > . I do with attempts to use them as demographic fulcrums to destroy intact communities by bringing in low income people from out of state, or overseas, handed the units through lotteries, or using them to deliberately promote “equity” and “diversity,

          Um, where is this happening? Particularly the lotteries? And is not the current system of property totally organized round demographic fulcrums? How else was redlining organized? And what else, with an admixture of class + political tribalism, is The Big Sort?

          1. Cal2

            Two of dozens of examples of lotteries for low income units:

            https://www.marinhousing.org/2018-bmr-lottery-drawings.html

            https://www.nj.com/hudson/2018/07/lottery_open_for_affordable_units_in_jersey_city_a.html

            No saving units for locals if there is one cent of loans, which triggers 1964 Civil Rights law on national origin.

            I’m not sure if privately funded projects with no loans would be subject to this, but how many of those are there? And if so, they would probably be market rate.

            https://www.gblafairhousing.org/national-origin/

            Redlining was in the past. New policies and laws are in the present and future.

            “Fulcrum” is my word choice…isn’t English grand?

            More like “tidal waves” of returning veterans…

      2. Adam Eran

        The missing, key concepts here:
        1. Mixed use. Stores and/or offices among the residences. For good measure: mixed income (apartments among the suburban homes).
        2. Pedestrian friendly streets

        #1 to provide destinations for pedestrians (crucial if you want to have working transit, too, as is density), and #2 so the pedestrians can get to those alternative destinations. This can reduce vehicle miles traveled by more than half…so good for the warming globe. It also has tremendous market acceptance. Buyers often pay premiums for it.

        This is variously called “New Urbanism,” or “Traditional Neighborhoods,” or “Transit-Oriented Development.”

        “Use-based” (rather than “form-based”) zoning itself is a scam, and as practiced it could not possibly be implemented, except in service to plausible deniability. In Life and Death of the Great American City Jane Jacobs says “Modern planning is positively neurotic in its willingness to embrace what does not work and ignore what does…It’s a form of advanced superstition like [19th century] medicine that believed bleeding patients would cure them.”

        The thing suburbs discount almost completely is public space. Never mind streets designed exclusively for autos, so pedestrians don’t have a comfortable place to meet, all the public spaces are turned into (private) malls, or they are in discarded land (e.g. flood plain).

        The suburbs are the design embodiment of what has happened politically to the “public” portion of public policy.

        1. Monty

          You are so right. This is exactly the problem with west coast / sunbelt type cities. You cant walk to a store, or a bar, or the market from your home. It sucks! Spend some time in a nice European town or city and the quality of life is just so much higher. Wander out into a nice space full of trees and people in the a.m. and go to a bakery for a coffee and a fresh pastry… or sit alone in your car and drive thru Starbucks US style. Go and sit with friends to relax in a nice plaza and enjoy a few drinks and some good food for the evening in Europe… or drive thru a Burger King and watch TV in US…

          No contest.

          1. Expat2uruguay

            I’ve lived three years in Uruguay and this is my favorite part of the transition, being able to walk for most of my Transportation needs. But when it’s too far or the weather is too miserable for that, the bus system is adequate, frequent, and inexpensive

    2. Big River Bandido

      Not at all hypocritical. In many cities, “Victory Gardens” were community gardens where apartment dwellers could have a patch of garden to tend for the season within a larger communal space dedicated to the purpose. Boston had one in the Fenway when I was a student in the 1990s; I presume it was a holdover from the war. It’s probably still there.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Hypocrisy much?

      Unless you tell me where, I don’t know. It’s possible to grow quite a lot of food in a small space. Yards didn’t have to be large.

  3. hemeantwell

    re ““Amazon has asked for permission to launch 3,200 broadband satellites.” This sets off my One World Government reflex. Who/what is going to step in and, if not prevent this from happening at all, at least prevent it from becoming a rerun of the railroad competition fiascoes of the 19th century? Bye bye Orion, hello Bezusk. Is Klaatu in the house?

    1. KevinD

      I hope they don’t take the city scooter approach and just shoot them into space and wait for any repercussions.

      Corporate America is free-wheeling it these days as they have no one to answer to, at least no one who is paying attention. We are at their mercy.

      1. Dwight

        Yes, and 5G without environmental reviews or local input is another example, courtesy of the Feckless Corporate Captive.

    2. Summer

      “Farewell astronomy.”
      I assume that is a reference to the satellites blocking or interrupting the view for astronomers. Guess there isn’t any more concern about asteroids hitting earth.
      And if it blocks views of astronomers, maybe Bezos doesn’t want people seeing what he’s doing on the moon – if that trip starts…ha!

    1. Geo

      Why buy a $2M+ home if you’re not going to have some fun parties there? $400 barely covers a few decent bottles of wine and munchies.

      It’s that ludicrous home they bought that seems to be the reason they aren’t able to keep up. But, you can’t pull off the image of being a successful tech titan with a model wife if you live in a modest lil’ one million dollar shack. /s

      1. kevin

        The whole thing is a giant humble brag. They’re doing fine. They “spend” 2k more then there income each month, but that spending includes 4k to a brokerage account and an additional 1.5k to a 401k. Their mortgage is a 10 yr, so theyre building up equity extremely fast

        1. RMO

          Several years back there was a similar article about how it was impossible to live a “middle class” life in Toronto on a similarly high income. It all boiled down to “yeah, half a million dollars may sound like a lot of money but once you spend it all there’s really not much left.” In that case I recall that aside from expensive private schools and several flights to exotic vacation locales per years there was also the cost of replacing one of their two high end cars every year.

          Someone should also point out to the lady of the family that if she’s spending her own money on clothes being an “infuencer” she’s doing it wrong.

      2. Procopius

        I dunno. I didn’t go to the link, just the list here, but $3,000 a month for food — is part of the party supplies here? Do they eat at a classy restaurant (in Kansas?) twice a day? I love mac and cheese and ramen noodles, but maybe if I had $500.000 a year I wouldn’t.

        1. pretzelattack

          I usually spend about 160-200 a month on food, if you don’t count coffee (which is even more necessary than food imo). I have no idea how somebody spends 1500 a month on food.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      The whole thing is just the latest example of “Suckers! Thanks for the publicity!”

      Lies and manipulation.
      That’s all anything that “goes viral” is.

    3. ForFawkesSakes

      That’s a great price for cocaine, if so.

      That is about the right price for a quarter pound of mid grade weed in that region.

      According to my friend, that is.

    4. Massinissa

      “Four hundred bucks a month for “party supplies”?
      Weed? cocaine?”

      My friend, who has much more experience with these sorts of circles than I do, assumes its mostly wine. He says it costs at least $100 for a ‘mediocre’ bottle of wine , more if you want to actually impress your bougie guests (And lets be honest, this couple probably doesn’t buy ‘mediocre’ anything), so if you want to serve wine to rich people at a party, the wine costs add up very quickly.

      1. Jen

        If $100 is mediocre, I’d be sorely tempted to pour some 3 buck chuck into a decanter, give it a fancy name and price and see what happened.

        1. Oregoncharles

          It’s been tried, I think by an economist back east. You’re right: nobody could tell.

          Could be quite a trade in fancy labels – to be stuck on cheap bottles. $10 wine can be very good.

  4. Wukchumni

    She claimed to be of the Cherokee nation
    Despite never having spent a day on the reservation
    A lawyerly way of life
    Abandoning truth, in lieu of lies
    Spoke with forked tongue
    And did it when she was young
    And the 1/1024th she claimed
    Makes a mockery of her game

    Cherokee people, Cherokee tribe
    So proud to be included, so proud to lie

    She included herself in the Indian nation
    Without reservation
    Though she’s worn out this line
    Still claims to be one deep inside

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWVEM1idBj0

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know I’m Cassandra on this minor (until it isn’t) piece of oppo, but I really, really don’t like Warren’s thought process. Faced with an issue, talk only to one’s (professional) network, and adopt a technocratic* solution that’s insulting to the very people you most need on your side. Considering that’s exactly what the Obama administration did with the Crash, and we’re looking at a “First time as tragedy, second time as farce” situation when the Warren administration faces a similar situation. And remember there was no time pressure on this (or only moderate, pre-campaign launch pressure). And yet the whole process was clumsy and stupid. What happens in a real crisis?

      NOTE And Silicon Valley [***cough*** donors ***cough***] oriented, too.

  5. Geo

    Three more detention centers were opened since passage of that funding bill. Here’s AOC’s Twitter response:

    DHS & ICE are flagrantly violating Congressional orders, just as we said they would.
    Yet it was @IlhanMN, @AyannaPressley, @RashidaTlaib & I that were wrong to oppose throwing more money to abusive agencies, right?
    https://twitter.com/aoc/status/1148795563988664326?s=21

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was reading how the democrats were promoting a hearing on the effects of President Trump’s border policies on children and one photo that they used in a tweet to do so showed children in cages sleeping under foil blankets. Then they had to yank the whole tweet when it was realized that the photo dated back to 2014 when Obama was President. Do’h!

      https://www.rt.com/usa/463874-house-democrats-delete-tweet-obama/

      1. marym

        This happened at least once before in the early days of protest against Trump’s policies. It was acknowledged and deleted promptly at the time. The photo re-appears regularly now in responses by Trumpians to criticism of Trump policy, so it’s careless of Dems that the error keeps recurring.

        Dem/Obama supporters, at least in the random areas of twitter where I browse, do acknowledge the dark side of Obama’s immigration policies more than they have in the past. That’s helpful in exposing the institutional depth of the problems. The recurrence of the photo error doesn’t invalidate the criticism of the substantially expanded scope and harshness of current policies, the openly acknowledged cruelty of the intent, or the point the 4 Congresswomen are making.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          This is all true, but “rolling back immigration to an earlier time that was less cruel” is a little disproportionate to the level of virtue signaling that we’re seeing, IMNHSO. Especially when the only policy alternative with any traction, at least in the Twitter, is “open borders.”

          The Democrats built the goddamned car. Trump was given the wheel, and drove the car in a direction Democrats don’t like. True for immigration, true for much else. Maybe the problem was building the car, or — more likely — how the car was designed and built?

          1. Oso

            “The Democrats built the goddamned car. Trump was given the wheel, and drove the car in a direction Democrats don’t like”

            thank you Mr Strether. this is exactly the problem for many of us who struggled to keep our people safe during the Obama administration. ICE is very real and terrifying to us, it’s not an issue, its life and death. those who downplay what the Obama administration did basically are MAGA in the sense that they want to return to a time where a more genteel individual in the White House destroyed black and brown communities.

  6. Lous Fyne

    So the implication of the Warren piece is that Wall Street thinks Warren can be lobbied. (Unlike Sanders?). Sounds like Obama 2.0, just saying.

    State Street and Fidelity are HQ’d in Boston. Doubt Warren wants to cook those golden geese….and anything good for STT/Fido is good for Wall Street.

    1. Geo

      Add to that the Haim Saban piece where he hates that “communist” Bernie but is cool with the rest and it’s clear who the best candidate is.

        1. Geo

          One more thing of note: Seems Sanders took a veiled swipe at Warren in this recent release of anti-endorsements:

          Sanders tweeted: “We can propose all the ideas and plans we want, but any agenda that guarantees basic human rights for all Americans will be opposed by the most powerful forces in America. Real, fundamental change is only possible if we have the guts to take them on.”

  7. todde

    Party supplies for people who make over $500k a year is cocaine.

    Stop the cocaine use.
    Eat at home.
    Don’t invest $5,500 a month if you want to consume.
    Quit flying.

    1. Summer

      I saw that article the other day and wondered about the $400 per month party supplies.
      I was just dumbfounded that the people in question were dumbfounded about where to begin the budget cuts.
      “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.”
      Rick James

      1. Laughingsong

        Not to mention $1000 a MONTH for clothing? Sheesh. I thought models were lent clothing by the designer?

      2. Fiery Hunt

        “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you have too much money.”

        -Robin Williams

      3. pretzelattack

        as others have mentioned, that sounds more like weed or booze than coke. they could demonstrate foresight and prudence by driving to colorado, but then their gas (and risk of unwanted legal bills) would go up some.

  8. Monty

    “Millennial couple in Kansas needs help making ends meet on $500,000 a year”

    I didn’t see line items for hbo, netflix, internet, amazon prime, xbox live, mosquito spray or utilities, and only $40 for phone. Maybe they were understating their spending?

    Over 50% of their annual budget was reinvested. Actually quite prudent compared to many!

    1. Summer

      I wondered about the phone bill just being $40 along with the other items you mentioned…I believe he said his wife was a social media influencer (hence all the spending for clothes).
      She’s not doing any influencing on a cheaper “dumb” phone.

        1. Summer

          They should stop that at Marketwatch.
          The same claim was made about an article they wrote about the guy who lived in Manhattan on $40,000 a year and retired in his early 30s.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      That couple is richer than the average millennial.

      Richer than the average genXer.

      Richer than the average boomer, actually.

    3. richard

      well, the math doesn’t add up to a deficit even. it shows them saving 7,000 a month
      which supports NTG’s hypothesis
      because trolls hate to add s%^ up

      1. richard

        oops, i made the rookie error of not opening the whole tweet
        now i did and it does add up
        apologies
        I do sense a put on, but can’t prove it

    4. Anonymous Coward

      What’s with the $10,000 monthly mortgage … in Kansas? That’s a lotta house, even if you roll in property taxes and HOA fees, etc. into that number. That’s a whole lotta house. Maybe such a ginormous estate is beyond their means and if they had simply a million dollar mortgage instead of a multi-million dollar mortgage …

      1. Baby Gerald

        Guessing that, in keeping with the put-on that this article is, they’re aggressively paying down a mortgage that, if stretched over 20 or 30 years, would be far less that $10K/month. Great move if you can afford it.

        1. Monty

          If you think mcmansions in Kansas are going to appreciate for the next 30 years, I’ve got a nice bridge in Brooklyn you might want to invest in.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    I know Pelosi is probably sitting on her mole hill and trying to justify her pathetic legacy (who wasn’t riveted by the investigation into steroid usage by baseball players in 2007? This was an important issue), but it is possible the other members of the caucus are under pressure. AOC’s positions are Sanders except she officially wears the Team Blue jersey and matches the next iteration of moving from non-white to white (Sanders is Jewish, so its not quite the same but he’s still a post-JFK Senator) living out the rhetoric of the fraudulent token identity “centrists.”

    1. dcblogger

      opinion seems to be shifting very fast, Pelosi is becoming more unpopular by that day. Anyone from San Francisco here? What are Shahid Buttar’s chances of beating her?

  10. Pat

    There are only two of them. That millenial couple should 1.) eat at home, 2.) cut back on the clothes purchases and 3.) stop putting money in an education savings account for a child that doesn’t exist. And only travel and have a party two times a year.

    According to my calculations that alone should save them approximately $6300 a month. Now I’m going to take out $300 of that because I’m pretty damn sure they spend more than $40 a month on phone and or internet, I also bet the gas and insurance numbers are low. But figure just staying home and not being stupid could cut your costs by $6000. No one who can do that has any reason to complain about how they don’t make enough.

    (And no I don’t care that the wife has illusions of being an internet influencer. If she were doing it right, people would pay her AND provide the clothes. It is an excuse to just pull out the plastic because she is bored.)

    1. Summer

      There only saving grace is the amount they are turning over to someone else (hopefully) to invest. If he’s managing his brokerage account it may all be weed stocks.

    2. aj

      When I lived in Kansas, my mortgage on a 100% financed 1,500 sqft home was $800/mo. $10k/mo in Kansas is going to buy you one hell of a McMansion. Maybe you don’t need that much home for two people.

    3. Inode_buddha

      These people need to get a frame of reference. I get by in NY state on 3K a month or less (usually a lot less)….. what comes to mind is the phrase “They know the price of everything and the value of nothing”

    4. Hopelb

      I think he wrote it just to provoke an overwhelming response that she cut down on the clothing expense.

    5. Procopius

      Your advice is sound, except I would bet neither one of them knows how to boil water, so eating at home is an exotic and unrealistic option. On the other hand I find all kinds of “how to do it” videos on YouTube, and I’ll bet a couple hundred dollars could hire a tutor who could teach them the basics of cooking. Even if it took $1,000 that would be a one-time cost that future savings would cover fast.

    1. petal

      Well, can’t name it “Spot”….When I saw the pic I was so happy! First thing I thought of was his foster Ginger. They’d have a sure fire hit on their hands even if all they showed was him cuddling or playing with a dog.

    2. Hopelb

      There is a goofy song they play on wyep with the lyric, “ my mum got a dog. She named it Cat. She’s funny like that.”

  11. SerenityNow

    From the author of the Atlantic article, in the original paper “Should Law Subsidize Driving?”:

    Yet in adopting the 1916 law, the nation’s largest city was testing a revolutionary concept: what if the police power could be deployed to regulate private property not merely for public health and safety reasons, but to protect the property values and personal preferences of the wealthy by legislating undesirables out of their neighborhoods?

    Zoning is still about protecting value, at the cost of enough housing for everyone else.

  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    Let’s bring back victory gardens?

    Suburbia is THE place for victory gardens. Suburbia has the on-site population density already right there to be able to do the kind of high-detailed high-density gardening, micro-farming and micro-orcharding that will make its practitioners majorly self semi-reliant for food.

    One wonders if both the victory-garden attrition/reduction of petrochemo corporate Big Food and its attendant carbon skydumping . . . and the actual skycarbon-suckdown achieved by serious eco-bio-correct carbon gardening . . . . could offset the carbon skydumped by personal transport to and from suburbs.

    Then again, if a mass quantity of Suburbistanis were able to reduce their food-buying expenses through food-growing in place, they would have the money to support micro-shuttle systems circulating throughout Suburbistan shuttling people to pickup points from which mini-shuttle systems could gather and move these first-stage-collected Suburbistanis from the micro-shuttle gathering points to the macro-shuttle ( mass transit) systems.

    The micro-shuttle and mini-shuttle distances might be small enough that the micro-shuttle busses and mini-shuttle busses could be all-electric.

    1. Wukchumni

      One thing that would be good in regards to victory gardens, is it would teach people patience, in that there’s no way you can rush a carrot into being ripe in a few weeks after being planted.

      And greed isn’t good either, if you don’t thin them out.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        There is another thing that would be good in regards to victory gardens, which is that if the victory gardener in question learns to grow good quality high nutri-dense produce, he/she will learn what good quality high nutri-dense produce should look, smell, feel, smell and taste like. Such a good quality high nutri-dense victory gardener would then be in a position to seek out and preferrentially buy product ( if he/she couldn’t grow it hermself) and buy it.

        https://permies.com/t/9893/high-brix-gardening

        https://fixmysoil.com/

      2. Oregoncharles

        There are tools for dropping single seeds of various sizes. None work perfectly, but easier than thinning!

    2. Lee

      Having murdered our lawn some years ago, we grow some of our own produce. Being retired, I have the time. Since we are in the process of being engulfed by Sillycon Valley, we have a lot of very busy techies moving into the neighborhood, most of whom hire non-white Hispanics to maintain their yards. It would be interesting to see how the homeowners and their gardeners would respond to the idea of converting to vegetable growing. I’ll ask around.

      1. polecat

        Cherries and berries are in season at the polecat u-have-ta-pick-em .. although, due to our Julyuary rains, many are doin the splits .. and by extention, more than a few are transforming into grey moldering orbs of putrifaction. I expect some of the onion crop to take a hit too .
        That’s the thing about growing food .. Gaia’s gonna have her way with things, best- laid gardening plans aside. Always have a plan B. And learn how to can and dehydrate your windfalls !
        Food for thought …

        1. Lee

          There is a dearth of cherries this year in the SF bay area. For whatever reason, there are more Raniers than Bings, which is unusual.

              1. polecat

                Neodinosaurs have to eat too …. it’s that circle of life thing, you know.
                Who says humans are the only ones who should be allowed to pick the low hanging fruit !

      2. jrs

        the rich can afford to buy, but what do they care about their gardens? Hire a servant (or an illegal) and who gives a @#$#

        The poor might like to grow some food or even some flowers, but can’t afford property.

        Same as it ever was I guess.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          But there is also still a disappearing middle which could adopt serious suburban gardening as part of a survival-in-place strategy before they find themselves all the way disappeared.

          1. pretzelattack

            i don’t know if we can survive in urban areas, come the jackpot. but it would help till then.

      3. eg

        We struggle here in Southern Ontario with our little garden patch to keep the local fauna from eating everything we plant — we will get some tomatoes that survive, but everything else gets gnawed to death in infancy

    3. marieann

      I’m one of the suburbanites with a garden, I live in a small town next to a small city, so I do have a walkable neighbourhood

      The veggies are not doing well this year because of the rain….although I just brought in my first cherry tomatoes, however the fruits are exploding. The strawberries were wonderful…we harvested about 8lbs. The Robins left me a few serviceberries…they are so sweet and delicious. I brought in the last of the Red Currents today…I mix those with my homemade yogurt.

      The raspberries are just starting, I hope to get enough for jam and I’m praying that the birds don’t take too many elderberries but since the tree is loaded I should get my cut.

      There is nothing better than eating ones own produce.

    4. Dan

      Did someone say “carbon”?

      Do you smell a feeding opportunity? Remember what just happened in the Oregon legislature?

      “What’s left to monetize? It appears the answer is ‘very little.'”
      The Biggest Enchilada of all is left. Air. Specifically carbon dioxide, CO2. We just have to figure how to get the yokels to agree to pay for that which was formerly free. Got it! First we browbeat them into believing its evil and that we have to tax it to save all life on Earth.
      Then, following in the finest traditions of the degenerate late medieval Catholic Church, we’ll commission sellers of “Indulgences” to allow sinning at ever rising prices. a/k/a “Carbon Credit trading”.
      This doesn’t require any value added and the profits on “buy zero sell high” are limitless.
      This is the specific outline and the very same agencies that so love financialization of all kinds, $2 trillion dollar student debt to sustain obscenely paid college administrators and academics, endless academic credentialism and huge Hipster Cities sitting on container ports and mediating the China Trade, are all promoting this financialization of CO2 as hard as possible.”

      “the majority of CO2 is emitted by nations that have no interest in reducing CO2, nor will they pay carbon taxes or play Wall Street’s game of trading carbon credits.”

      Planting a trillion trees could be the “most effective solution” to climate change, study says.
      No profit for the parasites in that however.

      1. pretzelattack

        did somebody somewhere say carbon is evil? i must have missed it. so, you think it’s a plot by evil scientists to tax americans?

      1. Massinissa

        I don’t mean to be rude but… is this a joke? Do you know how large an acre is? Its 43 thousand square feet. Most gardens are a few square feet.

        1. Oregoncharles

          I think it’s a joke. Nonetheless: in Britain, a “garden” is what we call a “yard.” Estates can be very large.
          You know – ” 2 great nations separated by a single language.”

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      But, raised beds in the front yard at least. Especially older neighborhoods that got a lot of leaded gas products. But all car exhaust is pretty nasty.

      And check if you’re near a SuperFund site. The creek through our neighborhood passes through one.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if a mass quantity of Suburbistanis were able to reduce their food-buying expenses through food-growing in place, they would have the money to support micro-shuttle systems

      I’d like to see the math on that.

    1. clarky90

      Re; “…totaled $11 million in 2017 and $4.6 million in 2018 — came from book payments(???)…”

      It occurs to me that “book payments” are often a “clever” means of laundering bribes and payoffs to various corrupt officials.

      Really, how riveting and insightful are Joe Biden’s written thoughts? I have never read anything by him. Has anybody at NC curled-up with a Biden-Book?

  13. Lee

    Surveillance State (an anecdote)

    Please! Take my money edition

    It’s been awhile since I last went into my bank to execute a transaction. I was rather surprised when I was asked for photo I.D. because I was making a cash deposit in excess of $500.

    I asked why this was required after I had already provided my bank card and pin. I got a vague reference to “they”. When asked the teller responded, “the back office and the government.” I went into a brief rant, delivered sotto voce so as not to cause alarm, about large banks being involved in financing criminal operations such as money laundering, and we need not wait for the Chinese to conquer us as their system is being imposed upon us by corporations and our own government. I thought but did not say we will all soon being walking around with colonoscopes up our butts. “Really?”, she said, in a way that I took for genuine curiosity. Winning or at least unsettling hearts and minds one bank teller at a time. Either that or being taken for a slightly unhinged old codger. Hard to know.

    1. Wukchumni

      Any idea what the over/under is on codgerhood in terms of age?

      I can see the bank’s point though, you were within 1/20th of the actual reporting guidelines…

      1. ambrit

        A most estimable concept! A “spread” on Codgerhood! Take the area under the curve-d spine and expand into extra ‘dimensions.’

      2. Lee

        I’m not sure. But Leonard Cohen provides a guideline based on one metric.

        You start off irresistible
        And, then you become resistible
        And then you become transparent
        Not exactly invisible but as if you are seen
        through old plastic.
        Then you actually do become invisible
        And then, and this is the most amazing transformation,
        You become repulsive.

        But that’s not, that’s not the end of the story.
        After repulsive then you become cute
        And that’s where I am.

        http://www.leonardcohen.it/discografia/cant-forget-a-souvenir-of-the-grand-tour/stages/

        1. pretzelattack

          thanks for this, i don’t think i ever heard this song. i sent it to a friend, who some time ago remarked that he feels somehow less visible as he ages.

            1. pretzelattack

              it doesn’t bother me greatly, it’s like becoming a nonperson to people who don’t really matter to me. it’s certainly a feature sometimes.

    2. Geo

      Unhinged old codgers are our best hope for salvation. Bernie and Gravel are prime examples of that. :)

    3. Bugs Bunny

      I made a similar comment to the HSBC teller the day I closed my account and went to a bank that did not want to give me the rubber glove privacy invasion. I think we all need to speak aloud about this – it is quickly enveloping all aspects of life, public and private.

    4. Jen

      So New Hampshire state law requires employers to notify employees of any and all changes to their compensation. My Ivy League employer had, prior to this year, relied upon an in-house solution to provide electronic notification. This year, upon receiving the usual email asking me to click here to review my salary information, I was taken to a site branded Equifax. Yeah. Equifax. You know, the credit rating agency with the ginormous security breach and less than zero ethics. They’re now involved in notifying our employees about changes to their compensation, which, I’m sure is not at all core to their business.

      I’m raising a major stink.

  14. Pelham

    Re the $15 minimum wage:

    Elizabeth Warren often tells how her mom more than 50 years ago had to get a minimum -wage job at Sears to support the family (of three at that time) and was able to pay the mortgage on the house, have health insurance and provide all the basics on that modest income.

    No one could do that today on $15 an hour. You’d need about double that for household-of-three support, even in Warren’s home state of Oklahoma. Doing the math, that would be $30 an hour.

    But wait a minute! US worker productivity over the past 50 years has more than doubled. So the minimum wage should actually be $60 an hour.

    I’m not kidding. Of course, there are all sorts of reasons that wages have dropped like a slick rock. But in principle, what am I missing here?

    1. Inode_buddha

      If the minimum wage was something like 30 an hour, the suburbs would be booming and people would be planting victory gardens. Because they could afford to.

    2. jrs

      maybe that the root cause is the growth in the cost of basic necessities (much more than inflation for some of them), so while wage increases help, something really needs to be done about the cost of necessities going up so much. The rent is too damn high iow.

      But yes I think $15 some places might not keep one out of homelessness.

      1. Summer

        Yep, it wouldn’t matter if they made $50 per hour if rents keep rising at the rates they have been.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            We no longer have sound money so of course people are going backwards. In 1965 the minimum wage was $1.25 per hour, or five quarters. Today the silver value of those five quarters is $17.50, which would be a decent minimum wage. Their face value of course would not be. Because silver (like gold) is scarce and expensive to mine (in other words *it requires labor to be put into circulation as money*) it has proved to be a reliable representation and store of labor value over time.

            How can you expect money that can be created at no cost in unlimited quantities *with no labor required* to be a reliable representation and store of labor?

    3. Pelham

      Replying to myself, another thought: A few years ago USA Today calculated the annual income needed to support a family of four with a minimal middle-class lifestyle. Nothing fancy, just the basics without going into debt. The figure was $130,000 — and that would come to about $65 an hour full-time. So maybe I’m not that far off with my $60-an-hour minimum-wage estimate.

      Still, I know it’s far-fetched. But we’ve lost so much ground little by little over the past half century that, perhaps, any factually reasonable figure in this context automatically sounds loony.

  15. Summer

    Re: “Joe Biden earned $15.6 million in the two years after leaving the vice presidency” [WaPo].
    “But because the form stretches back only through part of 2017, there are still several months of speeches whose specific payments remain unknown — although his overall income was listed in his tax returns. The Post found that during that period he delivered about 20 speeches.”

    The missing link in all these speech-for-pay stories is a complete rundown of exactly who is paying the politicians. Any overlap would be more than interesting. Some are garden variety commencement type appearances, but there are many that would be far more revealing.

    1. Geo

      Who even wants to listen to Joe ramble on in some meandering and vapid speech? The fact that they pay for the pleasure is proof it’s solely about buying access. Same was true with Hillary. She couldn’t give away tickets to her talk tour last year but somehow was getting a quarter mil to talk for an hour to executives?

      I wonder if Biden and the others are delusional enough to believe their thoughts are worth that much money or if they know the real purpose of the paid speeches and just play dumb assuming (rightly so it seems) that the masses won’t catch on?

  16. Wukchumni

    Libra Horrorscope:

    Today’s powerful internet phenomena will encourage you to develop your skill as a visionary currency, Libra, no matter what you do with your day Mark. You’re one of those rare people who can sense before anyone else the changes that will happen in the world. Let these feelings encourage you to make something that nobody wants. Use it to believe you’re in control of one more aspect of people’s lives.

  17. Summer

    Re: Libra

    One thing about floating this idea for Libra…it gets in record what many think about how money is created and circulated. If ever there comes a time to spin a new tale about “what happened to the money”….

    1. Synoia

      It would be interesting to demand in their license the end-of-life trash removal program.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      Yes to both Train to Busan and Host. A couple of the best movies in their genres to come out in a while.

      1. shtove

        Couldn’t get in to the Host coz of all the CGI. But Train To Busan is seriously good, and that twitter thread has drawn me in even more – I should have paid more attention during the slowish opening act!

  18. TonyinSoCAL

    “The campaign to elevate the squad is so successful that news reports frequently portrayed the Democrats’ freshman class on the whole as more progressive than the party, when the opposite is true.”

    LOL this guy, what a twisting and turning way to say that AOC and The Squad stand in the way of Pelosi’s neo-liberal wet dream. AOC needs to grow The Squad.

    1. Massinissa

      Honestly, I’m not even sure who could read that without being taken aback. I’ve never met a single person who thought AOC was ‘less progressive’ than Pelosi. I mean for gods sake, does anyone even think AOC is a centrist, much less a conservative?

      1. Big River Bandido

        The sentence construction is confusing. The writer is saying that first-term House Democrats are more conservative than the entire Democrat caucus.

        That, in fact, is true. Outside of The Squad, first-term House Democrats are a right-wing sack of dog mess. Elyossa Slotkin, Sharise Davids, Cindy Axne, Jason Crow, Abby Finkenauer and on and on…are all loyal machine functionaries. Soulless empty suits content to do the bidding of the DCCC and the nastiest SOBs in Washington.

        1. Massinissa

          Ahhhhhhhhhhh, fair enough. Thank you, I had misunderstood. Yes, in that case AOC is rather the exception rather than the standard of the new entrants.

    1. Jen

      Bernie Sanders Anti Endorsements

      “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
      – President Franklin Roosevelt

      “We can propose all the ideas and plans we want, but nothing will fundamentally change until we have the guts to take on the most powerful corporate interests in America.

      That is why I am proud to announce the modern-day oligarchs who oppose our movement. In the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.” We will overcome their greed and create an economy and a government that works for all, not just the 1 percent.”

      https://berniesanders.com/anti-endorsements/

      Hot damn. Just donated another $27.

      He needs to boost this on his website.

  19. Michael Fiorillo

    “Well, at least we know a lot of consultant’s kids are going to be able to afford college.”

    Plus orthodontia for the all the cousins & psychotherapy for the dogs…

  20. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Re Train to Busan

    S Korea is hands down making the best movies in the last 10 years.

    The Wailing…I saw the Devil…Gritty Urban/Rural n Japan/SKorea themes…

    1. shtove

      I love that scene in the Wailing where the strange girl tosses stones at the cop’s feet – good laugh!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I recently saw an excellent Japanese movie directed by Hirokazu Koreeda: The Shoplifters.*

      Not made in, or makeable by, Hollywood (as Stoller points out). A class reductionist perspective would be that it’s about the precariat, but it’s about much, more more than that.

      NOTE The IMDB synopses are terrible, but the comments will give you a much better sense of the film.

  21. RMO

    Anyone else find it amusing that Pelosi is dismissing social media as worthless when it comes to politics when she and her likes also want everyone to believe that a few grand (allegedly) spent by Putin on Facebook gave the election to Trump?

    The Grace Preschool article is an amazing read. The most appalling thing in it though is dropped with little fanfare like it is a simple fact of life so obvious and natural it requires no comment:

    “A note or a phone call from a director could make or break the future for a 4-year-old”

    A 4-year-old

  22. Cal2

    “Kamala Harris Has a Distinguished Career of Serving Injustice”

    The author forgot? the Herbalife Scandal, where by tens of thousands of mostly black and Hispanic poor people were ripped off in a ponzi scheme and ended up with garages full of useless unsold products and debt.

    Harris’ husband worked as an attorney for the firm she refused to prosecute. Douglas Emhoff is Partner-in-Charge of Venable’s Los Angeles office and serves as the firm’s Managing Director for Expansion….
    https://seekingalpha.com/article/2735135-herbalife-and-the-1986-state-of-california-final-judgment-an-update

    She got political payoffs from people associated with the company:
    “…prosecutors in the San Diego office of the California attorney general sent Harris a lengthy memorandum that argued for an investigation into Herbalife and requested resources in order to undertake such an investigation. About three weeks after the San Diego letter was sent, Harris received the first of three donations to her campaign for the U.S. Senate from Heather Podesta, the powerful Washington lobbyist whose ex-husband Tony’s firm, then called the Podesta Group, had worked for Herbalife since 2013. Heather Podesta’s own lobbying firm, Heather Podesta and Partners, would soon be hired by Herbalife, too.”

    https://news.yahoo.com/kamala-harris-herbalife-accused-of-exploiting-latinos-090000896.html

    Kamala Harris was a disaster as San Francisco District Attorney. She continually sought more power without finishing a job. She failed as attorney general representing the people. She’s done nothing but grandstand as a senator and now she’s abandoned that to run for president.

    https://www.cision.com/us/2016/11/top-10-daily-newspapers-in-iowa/

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Just following the clinton blueprint, do nothing, take credit for everything.
      Accuse your opponents of doing the horrible things you are actively engaged in.
      Is it still 1992?

  23. nathan

    that bernie had one million donors in the past three months, almost as much as his other four money rising opponents put together isn’t mentioned by the nytimes, by cnn, by daily kos, etc. all that is mentioned is that warren raised a million bucks more than he did as if that means everything. oh, the narrative, the narrative!!! “they,” not just hail sabin, really don’t want him to win.

    and changing the caucus system in iowa and nevada from people willing to stand up all day for their beliefs to a system even less demanding than showing up to vote in a primary, i.e. just calling it in on the phone, not only empowers the lazy, it allowss for every form of hacking. berie out! bernie bad!

    1. Chris

      This just in, the DNC changes rules for debates so that you need more than 130,000 individual donors, but less than 1 million to participate in any future debates…

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Because with the money you can gaslight 1%-2% more of the voters than the other guy can into voting for you thinking you’ll do something to make their lives better!
        If the voters already support you because they don’t think you’re trying to gaslight them and genuinely think your policies will make their lives better, you don’t need as much of the money, and then…then…

        …socialism will destroy america and we can’t afford it and bernie is crazy! (Can I write for the NYT now?)

  24. McWatt

    “A key player in the story of automobile supremacy is single-family-only zoning,”

    Ha! This is something that started with the alleged “Transit Oriented Development Movement” by developers
    to give themselves cover for building huge out of scale developments in suburbs that would say yes. They also told people that if you let us add more multi-family buildings to your town your taxes will go down.

    Lies, lies and damed lies.

    Now comes the line that suburbs are the problem and the city is the solution. Good luck with that. The two suburbs that embraced multi-family developers here now have a citizenry that is over 50% multi-family.
    As a landlord and retailer I know these are a vast majority of transient people. Here for one to three years before their job or family circumstances move them elsewhere. They don’t shop local, although they attend the movies and restaurants, and the property taxes they generate do not cover their cost of service. Also they don’t vote local, so a very few people get to control the local elections.

    1. jrs

      It sounds to me like what kind of dwelling is built has nothing to do with the situation. If it is one to three years before job circumstances cause them to move elsewhere, then the problem is the precarity of the modern job market. Unless you are saying, people who have to work precarious jobs and there are many, aren’t the sort you want in the neighborhood …

      1. Oregoncharles

        They are renting instead of buying BECAUSE they’re temporary or precarious in that location. Buying might make sense even so if you have a lot of money, but certainly not when you don’t.

        And temporary residents have no reason for civic engagement.

  25. Huey Long

    Iranian boats attempted to seize British tanker

    https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/07/10/politics/iran-attempted-seize-british-tanker/index.html

    The Iranains were driven off by the Royal Navy without a shot this time around, but Iran has now raised the stakes.

    Now that Iran has shown they’re willing to seize tankers in the gulf and now the Royal Navy is committed to organizing and protecting tanker convoys for all UK bound oil. The problem here is that if they dare fire on the Iranians they risk losing a very expensive ship, its crew, the tankers, and not to mention face to an Iranian missile or sub attack.

    Hopefully cooler heads prevail, but I’m not liking the looks of this one bit.

  26. Durak Kniseley

    “An ascriptive identity in the process of formation…”

    I know that Reed’s mentioning of ascriptive identity in that 2012 Socialist Register piece on race/class is cited on WC often, and it’s helpful, but as a nerd and social theorist I want to raise my hand annoyingly and say that not all identity is ascriptive. Reed doesn’t cite it but I’m guessing the concept of ascription goes back to old Talcott Parsons’ pattern variables theory, which includes the dyad of ascription-achievement. Parsons talked about what’s ascribed and what’s achieved when interpreting/measuring the functions of stuff in society, particularly institutions, norms, and values. Identity can be achieved as much as ascribed, and I’m wondering whether the history of ‘Asian American’ in the CJR is actually the formation process of an achieved identity…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > as a nerd and social theorist I want to raise my hand annoyingly

      Don’t even worry about it. This is a necessary discussion to have.

      > Identity can be achieved as much as ascribed, and I’m wondering whether the history of ‘Asian American’ in the CJR is actually the formation process of an achieved identity

      I did think before tossing the phrase out. Anybody who has been to Asia or studied it even superficially knows that Chinese are not Japanese are not Koreans are not Vietnamese are not Laotians are not Cambodians are not Laotians are not Thais are not Malaysians are not Indonesians are not Filipinos, and so on, and also knows that none of these various national identities are monolithic, either. Plus, none of these national identities necessarily like the others, nor view them as having shared interests or even values. So, suddenly, in America, they all become “Asian Americans.” On what basis other than ascriptive identity can this possibly be done?

  27. Carey

    ‘Tracking the Agrichemical Industry Propaganda Network’:

    “Just four corporations now control more than 60% of the global supply of seeds and pesticides. Public oversight of their activities is crucial for a safe and healthy food supply. Yet all of these companies – Monsanto/Bayer, DowDuPont, Syngenta/ChemChina and BASF – have documented histories of hiding the health risks and environmental harms of their products. Since their records do not inspire trust, these companies rely on third-party allies to promote and defend their products..”

    https://usrtk.org/gmo/tracking-the-agrichemical-industry-propaganda-network/

  28. WheresOurTeddy

    AOC 2024 if Trump wins
    AOC 2028 if Bernie wins
    AOC 2024 anyway if a different democrat wins

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