2:00PM Water Cooler 7/15/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, I got a late start. I will expand the Politics section shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!


“China’s economy just posted its lowest growth rate in 27 years” [Business Insider]. “China’s economy has grown at its slowest pace in the past 27 years after the effects of President Donald Trump’s trade war outweighed the Chinese government’s efforts to stimulate the economy…. Most of the decline came from weakening exports because of the additional tariffs places upon Chinese goods.” • Not sure how this affects the social contract in China. I guess we’ll find out!


“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 14: Biden up at 27.3% (26.8%), Sanders down at 14.8% ( 15.2%), Warren up at 16.3% (15.2%), Buttigieg up at 6.0% (5.3%), Harris down 14.3% ( 15.0%), others Brownian motion.

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Festival of Biden:

Biden (D)(1): “Biden unveils health care plan: Affordable Care Act 2.0” [Politico]. “”I understand the appeal of Medicare for All,” Biden said in a video posted Monday morning. ‘But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare. And I’m not for that.’… Biden’s plan also takes aim at health care providers, suggesting that he’ll try to tackle problems like unexpected large medical bills and health care market concentration, although the details released by the campaign are sparse. Biden also would double investment in community health centers, arguing that the centers help reach underserved populations.” • Those would be the community health centers Sanderts extracted from Obama as the price of his support for the ACA.

Biden (D)(2): “Bidencare System Will Kill 125,000 Through Uninsurance” [People’s Policy Project]. “Even if you suppose that Biden’s estimate is right and the uninsurance rate does go to 3 percent, that still implies an enormous amount of unnecessary death caused by a lack of insurance. One commonly-used (e.g. by CAP) estimate states that 1 unnecessary death occurs annually for every 830 uninsured people. This means that during the first 10 years of Bidencare, over 125,000 unnecessary deaths will occur from uninsurance.” • Everything’s going according to plan!

Biden (D)(3): Callout culture comes for Joe Biden:

What the Biden campaign is showing us is how many Democrats, well, take Biden seriously.

Biden (D)(4): “How Durable Is Biden’s “Electability” Message?” [Cook Political Report]. “The nice folks at Quinnipiac sent me the cross-tabs for the April poll to compare to the most recent poll. What you see is that Biden has lost support among all demographic groups. But, what jumped out to me was the precipitous drop Biden saw among ‘somewhat liberal’ Democrats- from 57 percent in April to 35 percent in June — and those age 50-plus — from 61 percent in April to 46 percent in June. This suggests that Biden’s hold on the ‘traditional’ Democratic voter (older and not overly liberal), is more tenuous than conventional wisdom suggested. Still, a solid majority of self-described moderate to conservative Democrats (which Quinnipiac estimates will be 43 percent of the Democratic electorate), see him as having the best chance to beat Trump.” • For not “overlly liberal,” see the snippets above.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Pete Buttigieg goes on hiring spree after top fundraising quarter” [CNN]. “Buttigieg’s once tiny campaign now has more than 250 people on staff, an aide said Friday, making the South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s campaign more representative of a top fundraising candidate. Buttigieg’s operation is flush with cash after raising what is expected to be the most of any other 2020 Democratic candidate in the second quarter…. Buttigieg has largely dismissed the lack of growth in the polls, telling reporters that he believes his fundraising haul proves he has a message that, once voters hear from him, will resonate.” • The donor class is a proxy for voters? Really?

Gravel (D)(1):

Harris (D)(1): “Kamala Harris: Kaepernick backlash was ‘not a thing’ until Russian bots ‘started taking it on'” [San Francisco Chronicle]. Harris: “Remember the heat that ended up around the ‘bend the knee’ and Colin Kaepernick? Many smart people have said it actually was not a thing, the Russian bots started taking that on.” • There’s that word…

Harris (D)(2): “Making the White Guys Squirm: Kamala Harris’s Weaponized Identity Politicsd” [John Halle]. “In an Intercept essay from last year, Briahna Joy Gray defined weaponized identity politics as ‘the cynical emphasis on personal identity over political beliefs in order to advance candidates whose interests are inapposite to the needs of the groups they’re presumed to represent.’… A textbook example of Harris doing exactly that was recently provided by one of her supporters who noted in a Facebook comment that Harris’s African American identity ‘makes the old white guys squirm.’… What makes Harris tactic ‘cynical’ is that it is precisely African Americans to whom Harris has done the most damage to over the course of her career.” • Need a word a bit less mild than “inapposite.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders campaign: Media ‘find Bernie annoying, discount his seriousness'” [Politico]. “In the 2020 campaign, his team’s frustration has morphed, centering on what it sees as excessively negative stories and dismissive commentary. Even though he’s consistently near the top in the polls, Sanders’ staff thinks pundits write off his chances. And they’re unusually vocal in calling out coverage they dislike on Twitter and on the media channels they’ve created in-house, fueling frustration once again among the senator’s supporters about whether he’s getting a fair shot at the White House. On Sanders’ livestreaming show ‘The 99,’ three campaign staffers spent more than an hour last week discussing what they perceive as media bias, such as the tendency to focus on the shiny and salacious rather than Sanders’ decadeslong advocacy for the poor and working class. ‘Standing up on these issues over 40 years is not new and exciting for people,’ said chief of staff Ari Rabin-Havt.” • For example:

Sanders (D)(2): On reparations:

It’s a trip to see Sanders endorsing a Clyburn proposal. (See also “Adolph Reed on Sanders, Coates and Reparations” for a suitably jaundiced view.)

Sanders (D)(3): “Exclusive: Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Calls Hahnemann University Hospital Pending Closure ‘Insane'” [CBS Philadelphia]. “Sanders will be in Philadelphia adding his voice to a growing chorus of those condemning the hospital’s closure by its parent company.” Sanders: “It’s insane. If you look at this thing objectively and you say that in the midst of a health care crisis, a hospital is being converted into a real estate opportunity in order to make some wealthy guy even more money.” • Oddly, none of the Democrats at Netroots Nation, just held in Philadelphia, stuck around to help Sanders out.

Sanders (D)(4): “Campaign co-chair touts ‘Gospel of Bernie Sanders'” [SC Now]. “The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. South Carolina officially has no minimum wage but is bound by the federal law. ‘[Sanders] forged a coalition with the Fight for 15 folks, for example,’ Turner said. ‘Raising that minimum wage is going to help the residents here in the Pee Dee. But by example of how he can execute, it was the formation of that relationship with the Fight for 15 that he was able to get [everyone from] Jeff Bezos, for example, to Disney workers to increase the minimum wage.’ Bezos is the founder, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Amazon. She said even now Sanders has gotten around 400,000 workers a pay increase.” • Turner really is good, isn’t she?


“Scaling Wokeback Mountain” [MoDo, New York Times]. “Rahm Emanuel told me [AOC CoS DescriptionSaikat] Chakrabarti is ‘a snot-nosed punk’ who has no idea about the battle scars Pelosi bears from the liberal fights she has led.” • I can’t forbear from quoting this, because Rahm is famous for hippie punching. In 2009: “He brought his corporate centrism to the White House, pushing for a smaller-than-needed stimulus bill, urging Obama not to pursue healthcare reform, watering down the bill when he did and calling progressive activists who wanted to pressure obstructionist Democrats ‘f*cking retarded.'” I’m sure MoDo knew this when she dragged Rahm’s card out of her Rolodex, and it’s crossed my mind that her first (sh*t-stirring) column was written in order to write the second one.

“Trump and Pelosi And The House Democrats Agree” [Eschaton]. “This is unfair, of course, but Pelosi has been foaming the runway for this stuff by singling out these 4 women while letting a bunch of “centrist” white guys get away with much ‘worse’ if ‘shit talking the party’ is how we define ‘bad.’ So-called moderates have been running against the party forever. It’s why they are called ‘moderates.’ When they tried to unseat Pelosi, the lefties stood up for her.” • Do a favor, lose a friend. As I’ve been saying for years, liberals and conservatives have a common enemy: The left. And here, indeed, we see (liberal) Pelosi and (conservative) Trump ganging up on (left) AOC (and the rest of the Squad). For me, this is the most entertaining part of the whole contretemps.

“CBC lawmakers rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries” [The Hill]. “Congressional Black Caucus members are furious at Justice Democrats, accusing the outside progressive group aligned with firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) of trying to oust lawmakers of color, specifically African American lawmakers…. In a statement, Justice Democrats’ executive director, Alexandra Rojas, defended the group’s strategy, noting that it has endorsed several candidates of color. One of them is Cori Bush, a registered nurse and Black Lives Matter activist who is taking on [10-term Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.)] for the second time.” • I don’t think these Justice Democrat types understand that elective office is a tenured position.

“House Democratic Caucus rebukes Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff” [The Hill]. • And he came into work Monday morning, didn’t he?

“Trump intensifies attacks on progressive congresswomen despite outcry” [Politico] • “Progressive congresswomen”?! #SayHerName, for pity’s sake!

“Exclusive poll: AOC defining Dems in swing states” [Axios]. “Top Democrats are circulating a poll showing that one of the House’s most progressive members — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — has become a definitional face for the party with a crucial group of swing voters. Why it matters: These Democrats are sounding the alarm that swing voters know and dislike socialism, warning it could cost them the House and the presidency. The poll is making the rounds of some of the most influential Democrats in America.” • Goodness, I wonder who those top Democrats are. Note that even Celinda Lake thinks this is a terrible poll (see thread here).

* * *

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security” [The New Yorker Radio Hour]. The interview, David Remnick, is odious as only an NPR tote-bagger can be, but AOC is really interesting and engaging. Well worth a listen with your morning coffee:

Realignment and Legitimacy

I am not a member of any organized political party:

This is a nice formulation. One of its advantages as that one can now concieve of NGOs, assets in the media, assets in the intelligence community, etc., as actual party members; one isn’t restricted to the actual machinery of ballot control. That said, professional associations have actual credentials and actual dues. Is there an equivalent?

“Writers and Historians Explode Myths Surrounding Tammany Hall” [Fordham News]. “While Tammany was corrupt, the organization procured food, jobs and other assistance for new immigrants who were shunned by established society, the panelists said at ‘Big Apple Politics and Catholic New York: 1845-1945,’ the 12th annual Russo Family Lecture. No one can truly understand the nature of Tammany without viewing it in the context of the Irish Famine of 1845 to 1851, said writer Peter Quinn, author of The Banished Children of Eve (Viking Press, 1994). ‘The Famine imprinted the lesson that the first priority of power is getting it and keeping it out of the hands of those who would use it against you,’ Quinn said.”

“The Validity and Usefulness of the Term ‘Black Misleadership Class'” [Black Agenda Report] (from 2018, still germane). “‘Black Misleadership class’ is not a ‘scientific’ term. It is weaponized political terminology, with specific meaning based on Black historical and current political realities.” • Only an old-school blogger could have written this piece.

“Blue-Collar Workers: Let’s All Support the Green New Deal” [Labor Notes]. “Fellow workers in the trades and other blue-collar workers, do not front for them! If we do their dirty work, who will support us when they attack us even more directly?… At present, workers will continue performing fossil fuel-based work, but we and our unions should not promote that work. Instead, we should advocate for a just transition through the Green New Deal. We can protect union members while also protecting our children’s and grandchildren’s future.”

Stats Watch

Empire State Manufacturing Survey, July 2019: “After a dramatic breakdown in June, the Empire State index mustered a mixed recovery in July” [Econoday]. “[D]espite the spots of improvement, this report, especially orders and employment, will not do much to ease concerns at the Federal Reserve, expressed last week by Jerome Powell, that the nation’s factory sector, facing slowing exports and slowing global growth, is at the risk of breaking lower.”

Banks: “One Way Banks Aren’t Ready for the Next Crisis” [Bloomberg]. “Now the economy is far into a long expansion, and signs of excess are again appearing, this time primarily in corporate lending. So are the banks better prepared? Although they do have more capital, it still isn’t enough to weather a severe crisis. And they don’t appear to be protecting that capital by creating bigger loan-loss reserves. As of March, reserves at the largest U.S. banks (those with more than $500 billion in assets) stood at 1.2% percent of total loans. That’s about where they were before the last crisis hit.” • It’s been over a decade. Maybe — paging Dr. Minsky — the last crisis has been fiorgotten?

Shipping: “Trump-China Trade Tensions Hit Panama Canal Revenues” [Bloomberg]. “The trade tension between the U.S. and China is making waves at the Panama Canal. Cargo from the U.S. to China going through the key waterway has slumped this year as the Asian giant cuts its imports of American food and fuel, … Amid the dispute, Japan has displaced China as the canal’s second-largest user, while U.S. businesses remain the canal’s biggest customers, [Panama Canal Authority CEO Jorge Luis Quijano] said.”

The Bezzle: “Driverless Cars Are Taking Longer Than We Expected. Here’s Why.” [New York Times]. “But a lot of work remains to be done to make fully self-operating cars a fact of everyday life, and Retro Report explores some of the remaining obstacles: Streets and highways need to be mapped, down to a few centimeters. The machines must learn to grapple with snow or rain, which can throw their sensors out of whack. They will have to step up their game if they are to be able to respond instantly to the unexpected, be it a falling tree branch or a child darting into the road from between parked cars.” • In other words, the technology isn’t there. Hilariously, this article is from the Retro Report department, “a series of video documentaries exploring major news events of the past and their lasting impact.” “Major news events of the past.”

Tech: “US mobile speeds are super slow. Here’s what we can do about it.” [Recode]. “Currently, the US ranks 40th in the world for mean mobile download speeds — up a mere three spots from last year, according to a new report from internet speed measurement company Ookla. More dismally, the country ranked 94th in mean mobile upload speeds, falling 21 spots from 2018…. If the US is behind — or even just in the middle of the pack — on 5G rollout compared to everybody else, it could significantly interfere with the country’s technological and economic progress. Remember that the move to 4G initiated technologies and companies that we hadn’t dreamed of with 3G — Uber and instant ride-hailing, for example. 5G is supposed to be exponentially faster. We don’t know yet what we might miss if we’re not ready.” • Hmm. Uber? A criminal enterprise that’s never made a profit? Really?

Rapture Index: Unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

“Political Scenarios for Climate Disaster” [Dissent]. “[H]ere in the Global North we often act as if our future will be a warmer version of today: liberal capitalism, plus flood insurance, minus coral reefs. That future is a fantasy. It already has a probability close to zero….At the heart of these problems is the capitalist nation-state that structures our world.” • And:

These two questions—of sovereignty and of capitalism—point toward four rough paths. We call these Climate Leviathan, Climate Mao, Climate Behemoth, and Climate X. Climate Leviathan describes an emergent global order committed to the consolidation of capitalism via the organization of a form of planetary sovereignty that can overcome the collective action problem. Climate Mao would represent a similarly planetary-scale “solution,” but one dedicated to an anti-capitalist order. Climate Behemoth describes a global arrangement animated by a chauvinistic capitalist and nationalist politics that denies—until it can only denounce—the threat climate change poses to national capitals. Climate X is the name we give the collection of movements that pursue global climate justice: movements that build non-capitalist political economies, and construct solidarities at multiple scales that reject the political logic of sovereignty.

And yet there is hope:

“Sand Mafia” (a continuing series) [National Geographic]. “Our modern civilization is built on sand: concrete, paved roads, ceramics, metallurgy, petroleum fracking—even the glass on smart phones—all require the humble substance. River sand is best: grains of desert sand are often too rounded to serve as industrial binding agents, and marine sand is corrosive. A United Nations study calculates, however, that humankind’s total consumption of sand—more than 40 billion tons a year—is now double the amount of sediments being replenished naturally on the Earth by the sum of the world’s rivers. Today, sand has become so valuable that it is shipped enormous distances: Australia sends boatloads of sand to Arabia for land reclamation projects. China, the world’s builder, is also the planet’s sand glutton. Between 2011 and 2014 alone, the Chinese poured more concrete—made up largely of sand—than the United States used during the whole of the 20th century. With its exploding megacities, India ranks second in the world’s sand consumption.” • “Our modern civilization is built on sand.” No kidding!

“UK’s biomass demand is destroying US forests, campaigners say” [Environement Journal]. “The NRDC says that hardwood forests in the southeastern US are being clean cut, with whole trees and other large-diameter wood being sent to industrial mills to be manufactured into wood pellets. The environmental group claims that forests in the region are being logged at four times the rate as those in the Amazon, while wood pellet mills in the region often release air pollution above legal levels…. The campaigners have called for the UK to end its subsidies for biomass, saying that policy-makers should redirect their investment to other low-carbon energy sources such as energy efficiency, solar and wind.” • In Maine, “biomass” includes construction debris (so remember that if anybody tries to build an incinerator in your area). I wonder if that’s true in the UK.

Health Care

“Medicaid director’s faith in managed care unshaken by $386 million cost increase” [Des Moines Register]. • I’ll bet.

Maybe if we put the diabetics in cages:

“Why A ‘Public Option’ Isn’t Enough” [Current Affairs]. “Not only will a public option fail to cover everyone, it will do nothing to restrain the growth of healthcare costs. Single payer systems control costs by giving the health service a monopoly on access to patients, preventing providers from exploiting desperate patients for profit. If instead there are a large number of insurance companies, providers can play those insurance companies off each other. Right now, we have a two-tier system, in which the best doctors and hospitals refuse to provide coverage unless your insurer offers them exorbitantly high rents. To support that cost while still making a profit, your insurer has to subject you to higher premiums, higher co-pays, and higher deductibles. Poor Americans with poor-quality insurance are stuck with providers who don’t provide high enough quality care to make these demands. The best providers keep charging ever higher rents, and the gap between the care they offer and the care the poor receive just keeps growing. Poor Americans are now seeing a decline in life expectancy, in part because they cannot afford to buy insurance that would give them access to the best doctors and hospitals.” •


“How activists are using art and science to address Michigan’s water problems” [Second Wave (MN)]. “[Monica Lewis-Patrick, co-founder of We the People of Detroit] is a proponent of the ‘one water concept,’ which means advocating for water on all fronts, from ensuring access and affordability in impoverished communities to protecting these resources from environmental threats.” • I like the “one water” concept, but I’m dubious that art mobilizes.

New York Blackout

Encouraging, actually:


Guillotine Watch

Admirably simple and direct. Thread:

Class Warfare

“Your Boss Might Be Ripping You Off: How To Protect Yourself From Wage Theft” [Teen Vogue]. “Wage theft is a general term for paying workers less than what they’ve rightfully earned. Nobody knows exactly how much is stolen, but some experts estimate wage theft costs U.S. workers $50 billion a year. To put that number in perspective, all robberies, burglaries, and car thefts combined cost victims $14 billion, in 2012, according to FBI statistics. Wage theft affects millions of people, particularly women, people of color, and immigrants. Low-wage workers are acutely vulnerable to wage theft, and when wages are low to begin with, any amount the employer withholds can have dire consequences for the worker. The average low-wage worker loses $3,300 a year to wage theft, according to a survey by the Economic Policy Institute.” • $3,300 is a lot of money! (And Teen Vogue, once again, for the win.)

“Thousands of Amazon workers across Europe and the US are striking and protesting on Prime Day” [Bloomberg]. “Amazon workers in five countries are expected to protest working conditions on Prime Day amid calls for better pay and improved working conditions.” Amazon: “”We can only conclude that the people who plan to attend the events are simply not informed. We encourage anyone to book a tour of our fulfilment centres and compare our overall pay, benefits, and workplace environment to other retailers and major employers across the country.” • But that’s not really an answer, is it? As for booking a tour, will Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tauricheski be running it?

“Amazon workers in Germany strike ahead of major sale” [Deutsche Welle]. “In a separate protest that began on Sunday evening and went into Monday morning, 40 Greenpeace activists climbed onto the roof of an Amazon facility in Winsen in the state of Lower Saxony. The demonstrators were protesting at the online retail giant’s destruction of many new goods returned to it by purchasers. Greenpeace says some 30 percent of returns are not resold.” • That’s bizarre. Returns are destroyed?

Art Young (b. 1866):

News of the Wired

“The Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions” [Psychology Today]. “This is no big deal when it is one person’s struggle with their own private garden, but when such good intention projects are executed on a society-wide scale, the results can be disastrous. First Scottish philosopher David Hume and then economist Adam Smith, with his ‘law of unintended consequences,’ warned us that ‘interventions in complex systems tend to create undesirable outcomes.'” • I dunno. I’ve been thinking about this, I’m thinking the road to hell is paved with bad intentions. True, the rhetorical twist isn’t there, but honestly, look around you.

“Microscopic sensors reveal the brain’s chemical chatter” [Nature]. “Tiny brain sensors can detect split-second changes in the levels of [dopamine,] a key signalling molecule as it spreads to and influences an array of neurons… Unlike some currently used methods, the sensors could detect dopamine release in the presence of compounds used in experiments on brain tissue. As a result, they are potentially powerful tools for investigation of dopamine’s many roles in the brain.” • Hopefully Silicon Valley doesn’t pick up on this. Or focus group types.

“Yale’s Most Popular Course Ever on Happiness Boils Down to 3 Simple Actions You Can Start Doing Today” [Inc]. “Simply taking away something you’ve come to enjoy for a day or a week will give you a fresh appreciation of what you already have. “A summer night or two without air conditioning might make the rest of the season much more enjoyable,” is Pinsker’s example. And if you can’t actually deprive yourself, force yourself to really think about life would be like without some of the pleasures you currently enjoy.” • So, let’s take away a billion or two from the usual suspects…

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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 (JN):

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. JohnnyGL

      It goes without saying, but excellent job of investigative reporting from Detroit Free Press.

    2. shinola

      Every corp. exec. at Ford should have a big poster of a 1972 Pinto on the wall of their office with the caption:
      Never Again!

      1. Carolinian

        Or always again. I know someone who always buys Ford, always has trouble. Perhaps it’s just coincidence.

        1. John k

          He’s used to trouble with his cars, so nothing new.
          Loyalty means being loyal even when you know it’s bad for you.
          Like the dems in flyover that did vote for Clinton. Or like blacks loyal to Obama.

      1. RMO

        It’s a common type of transmission now and while it has drawbacks (primarily in my experience this is that in everyday driving they can sometimes stumble and pre-select the wrong next gear which can lead to lags and lurches) if engineered properly they are good mechanisms.

        Volkswagen also messed up the engineering of their version of this type of gearbox a several years back. The Golf I test drove back around 2010 had the problematic version of the DSG gearbox and actually broke down on the test drive. The good side to that was that it meant I didn’t end up with a dieselgate VW! Looking at the VW forums I found many owners had suffered the same failure and had been waiting weeks for the parts needed to get the car working again.

        Ford’s behavior with the PowerS(family blog)t transmission is pretty reprehensible. The engineers knew there was a problem but the company kept stringing customers along with delaying tactics relayed through the dealers – the experience of owners around the world was nearly identical so I wasn’t surprised that the technique of blowing the owners off was coming direct from the company. The responses usually went like this: 1 The car is working properly 2 The gearbox has to learn how you drive and adapt to it (this was frequently combined with stating that only one person could drive the car and that multiple drivers would make it impossible for the gearbox to learn and settle down) 3 OK, we’ll do a software update 4 OK we’ll do another update 5 they would rebuild or replace the gearbox – which would then start failing again so the process would be repeated.

        Good on the Australians for fining Ford.

        Oh, what company did Ford’s CEO at this time previously run? A hint, it rhymes with “boing”

    3. homeroid

      F.O.R.D. fix or repair daily.
      found on road dead.
      (family blog) over rotten dump.
      Have had some pretty good vehicles over the years. Ford was not one of them.

      1. Robert Valiant

        1993 F150 and 2 2003 Focii (ZTW and SVT) all going strong. I do all my own work, so maybe that’s why. My favorite car ever was a 1988 Merkur (Ford) XR4ti.

        But indeed, Ford seriously sucks, and I would never buy another one.

      2. MK

        I had a 92 escort back in the day. The ignition was so loose I could pull the key out while the engine was running. Nice to keep the ac or heat on while running into the store and lock the doors with the key in my pocket.

        The automatic seat belts were iffy at times, but fun. The tranny went at about 110,000 miles and that was that.

      3. Fiery Hunt

        300,000 miles on a four-banger 1997 little Ranger. Beat the shit out of that truck and she just kept going. Replaced her last year with a V-6 2006 Ranger.

        Would have bought a new Ranger…but dumb coprorate jerkweeds see not enough profit in small dependable trucks so they discontinued them….only to re-introduce them as big-ass 4 doors. With “smart” technology and no goddamn manual transmissions.

        Ford used to mean “First on race day”.

        They’ve got work to do.

    1. petal

      Got my first mailing from him today. It went right into the recycling bin. The joys of living in NH!

    2. Geo

      “Steyer effectively duped eight million people into forming his initial campaign constituency; large email lists are one of the most valuable assets any candidate can have, and Steyer generated his with a very cunning bait-and-switch.”

      He’s not a billionaire for nothing. That’s some savvy conman-style thinking there!

      On a related note: Since there’s so many billionaires who want to be president, and it’s clear billionaires live in a different reality than the rest of us with its own rules and boundaries, what if we gave them their own “state” (a boundary-less one, of course where residency is solely based on wealth) so they could have their own Congress representatives and the other perks that come from that, yet also cleanse the slate of their influence from our elections?

    1. Hari Seldon

      Yeah that whole article struck me as an opportunity to subtly dunk on the left by talking about the atrocities committed by communist regimes in the 20th century while totally ignoring the US’s never ending regime change wars that destabilized so many regions in the first place.

  1. Brindle


    Just saw on MSNBC centrist cheerleader Stephanie Ruhle bemoaning that Trump’s attacks on “The Squad” are raising their profiles and giving them undeserved attention.
    True that liberals and conservatives have a common enemy: the left.

    1. wherw

      as my grandfather, an FDR democrat and merchant marine veteran who never graduated from high school, told me:

      “people trying to make you look left or make you look right are usually trying to keep you from looking UP.”

      RIP you old salt

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        The old Commie-led NMU was one tough bunch of guys: fighting the shipping bosses, gangsters, company goons and cops. During WWII they had a far higher injury and death rate than those in the armed services. Woody Guthrie’s “The Good Reuben James” is artistic documentation of that.

        “Woody, Cisco and Me” by Jim Longhi is an entertaining and informative time capsule that gives a glimpse into that world, both shipboard and in late Popular Front-era NYC.

    2. Geo

      Agreed. I know some here are cynical to AOC, Sanders, and the others. I get it. We’ve all been burned by “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. But, unlike in the past, it seems these people are walking the walk. If their words and actions haven’t sold you on their sincerity, their list of enemies should at least make one consider how real their intentions are.

      Would it be better to have a new party that’s sole focus was progresssive issues? Sure. But, considering how effective this current movement has been to change the narrative it’s at least encouraging that there is some fight coming from the left. Something that’s been completely absent from national politics in a generation or more.

      1. DonCoyote

        I don’t think Lambert posted this, but even if so it is worth a repost in this context:

        Bernie Sanders now has an official anti-endorsements page, with this quote from Roosevelt:

        I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.

        Quite the rogues gallery…

      2. Another Scott

        As a Massachusetts resident, I think Pressley is a wolf in sheep’s clothing based upon her past work for corporatist Democrats, lack of leadership on the Boston City Council and stance on local issues, which tended to side with local developers. I don’t know enough about the others to judge them.

        What’s interesting to me is that the issues that are being emphasized are closely tied to identity politics and Trump as a horrible human being, two things that are near to the heart of liberal agenda. I don’t see the same level of media interest (here excluded) when talking about economic policies pursued by the left.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yeah, agreed. However, she’s been better than expected, so far. I’m open to the idea that establishment, centrist awfulness might be pushing her left.

          I’m also open to the idea that she sees opportunity in moving left. Plus, there could be a sense of loyalty to her freshman colleagues where she knows if she’s going to make any headway, she needs to stick tightly to them, and to be seen to be doing so.

        2. Geo

          On the flip side, I know next to nothing about Pressley so can’t speak to her at all.

          the issues that are being emphasized are closely tied to identity politics and Trump as a horrible human being

          Those may be the issues being emphasized but thats just because those are the issues that get traction in our trash media. But, they’re not the ones that have targets on these representative’s heads. If they were Kamala would be equally hated. Pretty sure it has more to do with GND, M4A, 70+% marginal tax rate, challenging the Prison-Industrial-System, and issues like that.

        3. Knifecatcher

          In Ryan Grim’s new book there’s an account of when Justice Democrats read the Intercept article laying out Pressley’s earlier positions – stumping for Clinton, trashing Sanders, opposing Medicare for All, etc.

          Alexandra Rojas was ready to dump her and rescind the JD endorsement right before the primary, even if it meant losing that election to make a statement. JD decided instead to have a “come to Jesus” meeting and were convinced she was sincere in her support for the JD agenda so they stuck with her.

          So far she hasn’t disappointed but I agree she should probably have a shorter leash than the other progressive freshmen.

          1. anonymous

            That’s interesting, thanks.

            Maybe she doesn’t need a leash, though. Maybe it was support that she needed from that meeting.. I’m always impressed how often Sanders says, ” I need your help” i think He means it. They’re all under so much pressure. Remember what Truman said about friends in politics — get a dog. The isolation and constant pressure might be as Yves says, a feature not a bug. (Along with the groveling for dollars.)
            If we want them to represent us, we have to surround them..
            The one thing that has brought me the most pain in life and the most joy has been relationships with others.

            I could be wrong though. Politicians can be unreliable.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I think Pressley is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

          Pressley at Netroots Nation:

          we don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.

          Well, Clarence Thomas is a black voice. So is Condaleeza Rice. And no mention, one notes, fo the working class at all. Here’s Adolph Reed on the “voice” concept in “The Trouble with Uplift“:

          In this context the pronounced animus trained on the figure of the “white savior” emerges as litmus test for the critical role of racial gatekeeper in respectable political discourse. The gatekeeping question has, for more than a century, focused on who speaks for black Americans and determines the “black agenda.” And the status of black leader, spokesperson, or “voice” has always been a direct function of contested class prerogative, dating back a century and more to Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, and Anna Julia Cooper. Specifically, the gatekeeping function is the obsession of the professional-managerial strata who pursue what Warren has described as “managerial authority over the nation’s Negro problem.” How do “black leaders” become recognized? The answer is the same now as for Washington in the 1890s; recognition as a legitimate black leader, or “voice,” requires ratification by elite opinion-shaping institutions and individuals.

          So, yes. Pressley is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Moar gatekeepers!

          1. Carey

            Thanks for this comment.

            I think Pressley’s role as status-quo enabler will become clear quite soon.

            No one gets a voice™ in DC unless the few want them to.

      3. JohnnyGL

        If the ‘squad’ wasn’t getting dismissive and annoyed comments from Pelosi, I’d be a lot more cynical.

        Re: a new party….that issue has been hashed out a million times in various places over the last several years. It comes down to ‘ballot access’, as the Justice Democrats themselves concluded.

        1. Darius

          Democrats and Republicans have engineered state and federal law to lock in their hegemony. Third parties usually but not always are a waste of time.

          With the line he’s taking on the squad, Trump should adopt Hillary’s slogan that America is already great.

      4. Isotope_C14

        I suppose AOC could go back on The Jimmy Dore show, since she was on there before getting small dollar donations from his national audience? Super happy I didn’t waste a dime.

        She’s just an actress now, just like Pelosi, creating distractions from the sixth-mass-extinction event we are experiencing now.

        Two minutes hate sells almost as good as pron.


        70F in Nunavut. Incredible. Not a lot of reason to follow which clown is in charge, nor who the jesters are.

        I do like polar bears. Sad they will be gone in a few years outside of zoos.

      5. Lynne

        I’ve been cynical about AOC, but I will agree she seems sincere and serious. She also has real charisma, although if she wants to go anywhere nationwide, I still say she needs to work on her voice. Her chief of staff seems to me to be a very unserious person. Not only did he condescend to Sharice Davids (more than a whiff of misogyny coming from him), but he resorts to that terribly passive-aggressive “calling out” that people use when they don’t want to be on record as taking a real stand.

        Tlaib…..just no. This is a woman who started swearing about impeaching Trump when she hadn’t even been in her new office yet, let alone had a chance to see any evidence, or lack thereof. That made it clear that she either is an idiot who believes Rachel Maddow is a real journalist, or that she thinks she and her friends should have the power to nullify an election because they don’t like the result. That is the ultimate in anti-democratic.

        1. nippersdad

          Sharice Davids just voted for a bill that gives four and a half billion dollars to someone with no strings attached after having seen what he has done with the money allocated to his concentration camps before. The Senate bill that she supported was ultimately passed by a majority Republican vote, with ninety five Democrats voting against it.

          Hard not to call that supportive of an inherently racist system.

          1. Lynne

            I disagree with your position. However, see, you criticized her vote with her full name and with a coherent statement of why you disagreed with it. No condescension. No “calling out” laziness. Too bad the “professional” couldn’t manage that.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              You’re saying that every time a politician is mentioned on the Twitter, their full name (and presumably title?) must be used? Do you use Twitter a lot?

              1. Lynne

                No and no. But you know, decades ago I received a survey questionnaire from the federal court system — one of the most conservative institutions imaginable — asking about gender bias. One of their questions was whether court personnel referred to female attorneys differently than male attorneys, zB, to females by first name only. And sure enough, not long after, I was in the Twin Cities , that wokest of woke places, for an oral argument before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. During the briefing, the deputy clerk carefully explained, Mr x, you will have z minutes, Lynne, you will have z minutes, and Mr y, you will have z minutes.

                Talk to any female professional, and I suspect they have similar experiences. Now, our local clerk used first names for everyone, which is fine. It’s a matter of relative respect or lack thereof. So not always full names, but it’s noteworthy when a man refers to female politicians with first name only, as opposed to male politicians.

                And no, I don’t use Twitter a lot. I despise it. It encourages all the worst in us.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Sharice Davids looks to me like a standard-issue identity politics liberal ([x]LGBT [x]Native American [x]woman). She opposes the Green New Deal and #MedicareForAll, both in the campaign and by not co-sponsoring Jayapal’s MedicareForAll bill, S1384.

          The tweet from AOC’s chief of staff Chakrabarti ([x]man of color) made the unexceptionable point that it’s possible to enable systemic racism without being, personally, a racist. One excellent way to do this would be to vote a few billion for Trump’s border program with no real strings attached. This is the course that Senate Democrats, and most of Pelosi’s caucus, adopted, including Davis. The real issue here, power politics aside, is ideological: Liberal Democrats are deeply convinced that racism is a personal, essentialist, and irredeemable characteristic (“He’s a racist,” or, perhaps more properly, “they’re a racist”). They cannot talk about systemic racism, because if they did, they would have to follow the money*, and then speak of the donor class, which they cannot do. (Individualizing racism has further advantages in terms of virtue signaling, call-out culture, dogpiling, and, of course, career choices.) Chakrabarti’s real sin, therefore, was speaking about racism in a way that liberals cannot approve).

          NOTE * For example, the border camps are, in the main, privatized, Yet, oddly, the companies doing the privatizing are never mentioned (because once you start mentioning the donor class, who knows what will happen). Let me just give a link from 2018, so we know that too started with Obama.

      6. Oso

        if they were “walking the walk” they wouldn’t be voting to fund ICE and regime change in Venezuela.
        it hasn’t been effective at all. that’s only viewing black and brown lives as issues rather than life or death which allows you to pretend things are better. they are worse for us, and will be worse yet if we continue to fall for the okey doke from yt liberals.

  2. ambrit

    Re. “Returns are destroyed?”
    I worked in a “salvage store” for a couple of years. I never saw anything from Amazon in our product stream. Returns from other vendors, such as WalMart, Target, Nordstrom(!), even LL Bean, but not Amazon.
    If I read aright, the actual products Amazon ships are mainly owned by third parties. So, I imagine that returns would be processed by those entities, not Amazon, which rakes off it’s baksheesh for being the “middle man” in the transaction. I can almost predict that Bezos read a biography of the late Mr. Gulbenkian, the Armenian businessman famous for creating a vast fortune through insisting on a percentage, his nickname being “Mr. Five Percent,” of the business deals he facilitated.
    Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calouste_Gulbenkian

    1. Utah

      You can buy giant boxes of Amazon returns via auction websites. You don’t know what you’re getting exactly, but I’ve watched some YouTube videos of opening the boxes. So maybe Amazon does things differently than Walmart et al.

      1. ambrit

        They seem to do it different then. The Big Box stores sell their returns in giant lots to deep pocket speculators. There are several chain stores specializing in exactly this sort of ‘merchandise.’ These firms have fairly knowledgeable buyers who look over the goods and bid on the entire lot. These buyers can be a tough nosed lot. I would guess that the online auctions can return more to the vendor because the buyer is getting the proverbial “pig in a poke.” So, a lot more outright junk can be sold off to unsuspecting buyers. Considering the size of the item being sold, I would not be at all surprised if “No Returns” was the auction policy. Basically, it is a form of gambling and not an investment strategy at all.
        Sometimes, entire stores worth of goods are sold off when the individual location is storm or fire damaged. I remember handling several pallets of goods that smelled like junkyard barbecue.

      2. Carey

        That “selfies” and “unboxing” videos (? ! ) even exist is as good of evidence
        of cultural heat-death as one might need.

        Pynchon had it more-or-less right


        1. RMO

          Just a day ago on a guitar/bass forum I read someone posted that they were considering trying two amps (medium expensive ones) buy buying them via Amazon and returning one or both if they didn’t like them – the offer (and I confirmed it) was free shipping, trial period, free return shipping, full refund, no restocking fee. The discussion of how they handle returns came up and that was the first time I heard the idea that Amazon just destroyed returns instead of reprocessing them. Someone else mentioned the “surprise box” thing too. All news to me.

          Also making waves on that forum was the just-out-of-bankruptcy Gibson suing Dean guitars for trademark violations – Gibson is trying to enforce some of their guitar body shapes as a trademark. The suit even includes the claim that people who bought a Dean guitar did so mistakenly thinking they were buying a Gibson. The company got nailed in court trying this years ago with Paul Reed Smith and Fender also failed spectacularly in an attempt to enforce trademarks on some of their guitar body shapes so I doubt Gibson will succeed this time either. They sure have ticked off a lot of customers (myself included) though. Design patents were and are available for guitar body shapes and both Fender and Gibson took them out on their various body shapes when they designed them. They last about 15 years which to me seems sufficient time for exclusive use of a design. The body shapes Gibson is going to court over date from the late fifties and no attempt at trademarking them was made until fairly recently.

      3. turtle

        Folks, Amazon sells (most?) of the returned items on the Amazon site itself, under the used offers. You can verify this by looking at a very popular, expensive product, then look at the “used” offers of that product. Usually there are a few listings at the top with a big “Amazon Warehouse Deals” logo on them. You can also find them all listed together for browsing at a dedicated website. Just search for “Amazon Warehouse Deals”.

  3. Geo

    “New York Blackout; Encouraging, actually:”

    I lived in NYC for two major blackouts. The way I saw people go out of their way to help each other was astonishing in each of those incidents. Also, many of the bodegas remained open and I rescued many pints of Ben & Jerry’s from melting.

    One of my favorite NYC experiences was from the 2003 blackout. I was living in the East Village and a friend stopped by to see how we were doing.
    He’d been scheduled to play a show that night and had his saxophone with him so he sat out in the fire escape and played sultry tunes most the night. People passing by below would stop and listen, dance, and enjoy the moment.

    In a city that is usually constant hustle the blackouts were a forced time to be reminded of our humanity. I used to joke we should have mandatory blackouts annually as a form of social therapy and time for introspection.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Suppose the Blackout lasted for a month or two? — or longer? How would that work?

      1. Geo

        You mean if society collapsed? I’m guessing that would not work out well in any community. Seriously, under what circumstances would NYC have a blackout that lasts that long other than systemic collapse and who in that situation – no matter their community – would be in a good situation?

        1. Inode_buddha

          I know plenty of people out in the sticks who wouldn’t care it if the power went out for a few weeks, and no they’re not Amish. They are all set, having food growing, etc.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            My Rust Belt city has made a commitment to build a “resilient” power grid in part of our city and using that as a way to market to companies that engage in activities in which power outages are costly but the amount of power required is too much for privately owned generator facilities.

            I happen to live in that area, but now we need to make sure our residential rates aren’t going up.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          Are you suggesting the stability of Society hinges on the stability of the electrical Grid? That’s a scary thought isn’t it?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Those who model the Big Quake for California come to the same conclusion, it’s not the deaths from building and highway collapses that are the real issue. Even the Pretty Big One will sever water and power lines…and after 4 or five days that results in Mad Max.

            Maybe the best getaway would be a cheap sailboat moored in Marina Del Rey with some provisions stored onboard? Make your way there, cast off lines, and head south.

            1. polecat

              But then the concern would be impromptu pirates … or some other type of ersatz miscreants, similar to those surf nazis out of 70’s kitsch film fame.

              1. ambrit

                There are still real pirates operating in the Caribbean Sea. Big boats go missing every year down there.

  4. WheresOurTeddy

    Re: Art Young’s wanted poster for Christ –

    unable to find video on youtube, but I recall a campaign ad in 2012 “paid for by Christians against the teachings of Christ” which slammed JC on his socialism, poverty fetish, hatred of the rich, and pooh-poohing of capitalism.

    if anyone has a link I’d love to see it again

    1. Partyless Poster

      “Christians against the teachings of Christ”
      Isn’t that basically all of them?

      1. Susan Mulloy

        to: Partyless Poster: I am sorry that you have not met a Christian who lived the teachings of Christ but they are out there and have been throughout history. Some examples, St. Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (sic), Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and the many who lie in unmarked graves:

        “for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

        end of the last and very long sentence written by George Elliot in her immortal novel, Middlemarch.

        1. Plenue

          Considering Acts has early Christians, under two of the Apostles even, living in a literal commune with no private property, I think a strong case could be made that there are precious few true Christian’s in all of history. Not even groups like the Amish would qualify.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        From what I can tell one certain J.C.Christ was a political figure who was on the receiving end of nails onto a wooden platform for the crime of preaching sedition.

        400 years later Paul of Tarsus created a myth around him, made up a bunch of stuff that he supposedly said and why he said it, etc.

        1. Plenue

          There’s not a single piece of contemporary evidence that Jesus existed at all. A few pages of Josephus’s writings are often cited by Christians as evidence, but academic consensus is essentially universal that these pages are later forgeries.

          If he existed (and I’m inclined to think he did), he was a reformist who promised to fulfill a bunch of prophesied things of interest specifically to the Jews, chiefly the restoration of the Davidic royal line. He failed and was killed (I’m compelled to point out here that the entire tomb story is inherently gibberish. There was no tomb. Period. The Romans wouldn’t have allowed it; literally the entire point of crucifixion was to first slowly execute someone, then leave their decaying corpse on display for weeks and months as a warning).

          After this some random guy named Saul (Paul being his Greek name) of Tarsus claimed to have a mystical vision while traveling where Jesus told him to spread a message of Jesus as universal savior. Saul essentially invented Christianity by hijacking a local group and claiming its messiah was actually a messiah for all mankind. Modern Jews are still waiting for the real messiah, by the way, with many having a belief that a potential messiah is born every generation.

          Saul was contemporary with Jesus. I don’t know where you got the idea he lived four hundred years later, but you might be thinking of the First Council of Nicaea in 325, when a standardized, official Christianity was set in stone (well, so they thought) with the formal backing of the Roman state under Constantine.

          So the time between the supposed events taking place, and an agreed upon orthodox version of canon and account of the events was longer than the entire existence of the United States. For me all the ‘heresies’ that lost out, especially Gnosticism, are much more interesting that what survived into the finished New Testament.

            1. Plenue

              The book of Luke wasn’t written by Luke, and wasn’t written at the time of the events it recounts.

              And regardless, the Bible can’t serve as e3vidence for the Bible. By this logic, Harry Potter is true because Harry Potter says it is true. There’s literally no extra-biblical support for the NT.

              1. Milquetoast

                Btw Plenue, I’m not stuck back in 1963. What made me think along these lines (i.e. our official Gospel texts) is the issue of the Mueller Report. So much time, energy, and money — all at the public’s expense — based on what evidence?

          1. Milquetoast

            I’ll put the acts of the Apostles and the four Gospels up against the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission any day of the week.

            St Paul interviewed scores of people who gave eyewitness acounts and who actually talked and walked with Jesus, over long distances, in front of huge crowds —and he wrote it down (for Christmas sake)
            There is no eyewitness or physical evidence linking Lee H. Oswald to the crime(s) he is accused of — and yet this young man was interrogated for 10 hours by the PO-lice in the Dallas PO-lice Station on suspicion of killing the President of the United States in broad daylight, with his wife sitting right next to him in the car —and no body took notes! No body wrote anything down! Not 2000There’s not a single piece of contemporary evidence that Jesus existed at all. A years ago –this is within living memory — they are certain that he did it.

            If some body killed Caesar they would took notes — wouldn’t they?

            Don’t get me started on rolling back the rock that let the Lord out, cuz your can’t explain that Magic Bullet either. And you have film. Frame 313
            Proof that two lone gunman showed up on the same day in Dealey Plaza to kill the president.

            1. Plenue

              Your first mistake is in assuming the Bible is credible history. Or that its authors were even alive for the supposed events they were recounting The oldest scraps of manuscript of any of the Gospels we have are at least fifty years after the claimed events took place. Anyone can write a story about how they went and talked to X number of people and they all confirmed whatever line the writer wants to push. That’s on top of the fact that eyewitnesses are just about the least credible form of evidence.

              That said, running with the idea that the Biblical accounts are credible, we run into the fact that they don’t agree with each other. At all. From Jesus having two different family trees, through Matthew’s bizarre isolated account of how the dead left their tombs and Jerusalem was filled with zombies, to the gospels not agreeing on the time of day when the group of women saw the empty tomb, or even the size of the group. My favorite of the latter episode is how Mark says the women were afraid and didn’t tell anyone what they saw (so…uh…how do we know their story?). The accounts literally can’t even agree with each other on who carried the cross.

              Some people are inordinately fond of C. S. Lewis’s asinine false trilemma of Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. He missed an obvious fourth option: Legend.

              Here, let me ask you this: do you believe Mohammad cut the moon in two, or that he rode a flying horse? I’m gonna guess you don’t. Why not? The Koran and Hadith say it happened. They offer witnesses that these things happened.

              1. Milquetoast

                Thanks Plenue. Good points all. Let me take em in small size.
                First, I had to smile, CS Lewis died November 22, 1963.
                Never been a fan boy of Lewis
                The 19th psalm was his favorite. It’s my 2nd favorite. That’s as close to the N Irish Protestant I can get :) for now

                1. Milquetoast

                  “Your first mistake is in assuming the Bible is credible history”

                  Assume? History? Bible? Mistake? Your?

                  — our days are like grass, a wind sweeps over it and it is gone; its place remembers it no more.

                  only thing I strongly disagree with you on, is that you made this assumption about me.

              2. Milquetoast

                My overall point was that the New Testament* is more credible than the Warren Report — which asks us (or rather tells us) to believe Mohammad splintered the moon into a thousand pieces and scattered it to the wind.

                *the book of Revelations is too spooky for me. It should be redacted and classified. John must’ve been talking to a cab driver in Syria when he wrote that.

  5. Doug in Oregon

    Re: Pelosi vs. “the Squad”, I was rereading ‘Man and Superman’ by Bernard Shaw, and was struck by this comment from Mendoza in Act 3:
    “On the other hand we have three Social-Democrats among us. They are not on speaking terms; and they have put before us three distinct and incompatible views of Social Democracy.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was it possible that that idea got lost in being translated from English to English?

  6. Wukchumni

    This is yet another prime example of Bay Area wealth disparities coming to a head in a truly flabbergasting, dehumanizing fashion: Oakland real estate developer plans on shooting dollar bills over a homeless encampment in hopes of getting them to leave.
    This stunt is reminiscent of Abbie Hoffman et al, dropping 100x $ bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1967, and stopping trading for a spell as traders scooped up the largess.

    Before entering the stock exchange gallery, Hoffman had passed out handfuls of dollar bills to each of the protesters. Once in the gallery above the trading floor, the protesters threw the dollars over to the stock traders. Participant Bruce Dancis recalled, “At first people on the floor were stunned. They didn’t know what was happening. They looked up and when they saw money was being thrown they started to cheer, and there was a big scramble for the dollars.”


    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      an excellent recent film on the subject of the disenfranchisement of the residents of the San Francisco of old is The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Elegaic and beautifully shot, it’s kind of a love letter to the old Frisco now lost to tech bros the same way Spike Lee’s 25th Hour was a love letter to NYC after 911.

      Highly recommended. This is a film about Black people made by Black people and the subtle way it challenges stereotypes and expectations is brilliant.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Abbie Hoffman et al, dropping 100x $ bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1967″

      Anyone remember the last scene in Magic Christian with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr?

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Abby got all the credit for that genius bit of political theater (a consistent pattern, it seems), but it was actually the idea of Jim Fouratt, who was later at the forefront of the short-lived radical aftermath of the Stonewall Rebellion.

        Paul Krassner’s memoir, “Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut” is a great window into that and other temps perdu, since Krassner (who also worked for Bill Gaines at MAD, hung with Lenny Bruce, etc.) was a Zelig-like connection between the Beats, the Hippies and Yippies…

        1. Off The Street

          In the MAD spirit:

          Low-cost gimmick was to tie some monofilament line onto a wallet and then go fishin’ for some folks on the sidewalk.

          Alternate approach was to glue some change onto the sidewalk.

          Hilarity ensued, at least for juveniles.

  7. Separate Your Garbage

    “Driverless Cars Are Taking Longer Than We Expected. Here’s Why.” “They will have to step up their game if they are to be able to respond instantly to the unexpected, be it a falling tree branch or a child darting into the road from between parked cars.'”

    Yeah, who’d have expected they’d ever need to do stuff like that…

    1. eg

      Even should the technology become available, expect lots of human and regulatory resistance — so, not coming to a driveway near you anytime soon.

  8. Wukchumni

    One of the issues with Bernie is he frequently looks disheveled, and can be caught stooping bent over on camera rather easily as he displays horrible posture, which adds a decade to his 77 year old frame, and brands him as really old, despite having plenty of energy.

    Do his handlers not realize this?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe yoga can help.

      “Now, let’s do sun salutation from the top.”

      Or Pilates…good for strengthening the core.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        I wonder if Bernie’s strategy of winning over nonvoters is working. Do all the polls reflect registered voters? Maybe these polls aren’t capturing this.

        1. Fern

          It would take too long for me to go back and find it, but yes, if you read the cross tabs one of the recent polls did show Bernie doing far better among the voting-age population than among registered voters.

    2. Carey

      Yes. I hope he starts talking about the better world we can and must create,
      at least as much as he’s been talking about who and what must be brought under control.

      Sacrilege to say, but he looked a bit unhinged to me in the debate.

      At least lip service to ‘better angels’, Sen. Sanders; please.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    In Maine, “biomass” includes construction debris (so remember that if anybody tries to build an incinerator in your area). I wonder if that’s true in the UK.

    Simple answer: No. Construction debris, including wood, is a waste material in the UK (or at least until Brexit, its due to EU law), and so can only be burnt in a licensed waste plant plant. Its sometimes permitted to be burnt in cement kilns or other types of power generators, but they need separate permissions and licenses for this. But burning construction wood is a terrible idea due to all the added chemicals, particularly anything chlorinated so most operators will avoid it unless its well mixed in with other materials.

    Incidentally, for different reasons, Ireland imports biomass for burning from Australia. This is related to the design of the power stations and the excessive moisture content of Irish grown biomass.

    1. Another Scott

      Yet in the U.S., biomass is left to the states. Some allow it to include stuff even nastier than construction debris, such as old wood furniture, telephone poles, and railroad ties (which are burned in at least one plant in Maine), but because they burn “wood,” some states require basically no pollution controls.

  10. Lupemax


    Telecoms are rushing to roll out 5G technology before the public realizes how awful it will be.

    Here is a link to a personal research repository about 5G technology; there actually IS much information available (not enough; still need more – it took 50 years to expose the tobacco industry) about the ill health effects of 5G, especially on children https://sites.google.com/site/understandingemfs/

    Especially notable, a must watch if you haven’t yet seen it, is the link to the documentary “Generation Zapped” which is available on youtube

    Not sure this is on the above list but is well worth your time — a report from Harvard about how the FCC is a captured agency (duh…) : https://ethics.harvard.edu/files/center-for-ethics/files/capturedagency_alster.pdf

    Sadly objections to 5G have been massively dissed as “tin hat paranoia” – you know how it goes. that’s how the telecoms get away with what they do… that’s how tobacco is still selling tobacco…and oil/gas are still fracking even as the world implodes. And gas/oil pipelines continue…and crap food increases… etc.

    Here is FCC’s Tom Wheeler and 5G – “no need to study it just do it” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwgwe01SIMc&feature=share

    I’m old but I worry about my children and grandchildren & all other living beings…

    1. Summer

      5G is for better control of the robots and bots.
      Robots are going to have worker protections that humans will envy. You’ll probably spend more time in jail for vandalizing robots – ton, aluminum, circuits, etc (LOL they will call it “violence”) than for killing a person.
      If you tell your grandkids anything, try telling them that and see what you get back – if only to check the depth of the brainwashing.

      So they really don’t care about the ultimate effects on MOST people. 5G is all about the next mass infrastructure phase to make infrasstructure more robot friendly..nit human friendly.
      So no, the establishment won’t care much how many people are harmed as long as who they deem the “right” people aren’t harmed.

      1. ambrit

        Among the ‘deplorables’ shooting up 5G repeaters could become a sport. A well placed .22 would do the trick. Shooting up power transformers isn’t a good idea because of the toxic goo inside them. Get some of that on you and you will know you’ve done something wrong. The ‘toxic’ component of the 5G repeaters is in the radio frequency waves. Unseen, unheard, unsmelt, and untouchable.

          1. polecat

            ‘MuadKek MuadKek’ – “I eat sand worms with my bare gums .. Big ones ! So watch out, you Harkonnens .. with your AI ..with your Siri !”

    2. Aumua

      If you can give me a plausible physical mechanism by which non-ionizing radiation can affect human tissue, cells, DNA or nervous system functioning then I’ll start taking all of this more seriously. I mean even the site you linked says :

      All of the following use this form of man-made two-way microwave radiation to send and receive data: cell phones, cordless phones, Bluetooth, laptops, iPads and other tablets, iPods, smartboards, classroom access points, wearable devices, baby monitors, utility “smart” meters, gaming systems, hearing aids, vehicles, etc., as well as cell towers and wi-fi routers.

      So the alleged dangers are not really limited to 5G even, and how long have we all been living with this non-ionizing radiation all around us? Until there is something more concrete I remain skeptical of the doomsaying here.

  11. Dan



    This is the company that whose ex execs brought us Vietnam, McGeorge Bundy and Ford CEO Robert McNamara,

    This is the company that decided it was cheaper to pay off the relatives of barbecued Pinto owners, than to spend a couple of dollars per gas filler cap.

    This is the company whose profits went into the Ford Foundation, that promoted whatever it took to drive whites out to the suburbs, where they would all need to buy cars instead of walk to work, shop or ride transit in their old urban neighborhoods.

  12. Geo

    I’m thinking the road to hell is paved with bad intentions. True, the rhetorical twist isn’t there, but honestly, look around you.

    Personally, I’m of the notion that people are able to justify their actions in a way that makes them feel as if what they’re doing is good. There are rare incidents where people have set out to do bad intentionally (Jeffrey Dahmer is one who enjoyed seeing himself as the villain) but beyond such extreme examples most think their actions are, if not good, done for good reasons (i.e. Cheney’s “We also have to work through the dark side” or Blankfein’s “Doing God’s work” statements).

    One of my favorite quotes on this is from Jeffrey Burton Russell’s book “The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity” which is a fascinating read on the idea of evil and it’s personification through folklore and mythology, as well as how the perception of it has inspired society, politics, and religious institutions.

    “Seldom does anyone admit that he is evil; seldom does he even admit that he does evil. One of the great dangers to humanity is our tendency to project our own evil onto others. Rationalizations are endless. Perhaps even the Devil has persuaded himself that he is doing the right thing.” Followed later by, “The Lord has created Satan and used him as an instrument of his vengeance against sinners.”

    As a symbolic representation of “good intentions” leading to “hell” nothing better sums it up than the idea that in trying to punish sin God created the Devil. In a less symbolic mythological form, it was well said by psychologist Erich Fromm: “It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing whatsoever on reason or mental health. The fact that millions of people share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same mental pathology does not make these people sane.”

    Maybe the saying should be revised to state: “The road to hell is paved with delusions of good intentions”.

  13. Geo

    Just reading up on that Real Estate developer trying to bribe homeless people to leave their encampment. Sounds like a real *family blog*.

    “Notorious local slumlord and Trump supporter Gene Gorelik is rallying support to ‘save Home Depot’ and bully the curbside community”

    The City of Oakland sued Gorelik in 2017 after he demolished his tenant’s apartment while the man was still inhabiting the residence.

    Ultimately, Gorelik’s attempt to remove residents of the camp failed, and he was escorted away by at least two officers from the Oakland Police Department after a protester blocked his rented truck from leaving the encampment, according to the Chronicle’s Jessica Christian.

    Gorelik doesn’t have any affiliation with Home Depot.

    His mind must have been so confused when people didn’t drop everything and rush to his offers of “free money”. Curious if his wretched mind was able to find any respect in these homeless people’s awareness that his offer wasn’t actually “free” but would come with a cost for them in having to relocate and lose their community, or if the fact they didn’t take the money will justify his reasonings for why they are homeless?

    His green elf costume and MAGA hat were quite an interesting choice.


    1. JBird4049

      The cluelessness of the anti-homeless postings on that article is depressing. I’ve asked before and I will ask now: just hard can it be to building some decent, affordable housing around here? And why do so many persist in believing that most of the homeless want to be homeless?

      I cannot wait for the current asset bubble to go pop.

      1. Acacia

        And why do so many persist in believing that most of the homeless want to be homeless?

        Because that belief absolves people from feeling any need to question why our society produces homelessness in the first place, or questioning why it will produce a great deal more in the very near future?

        1. JBird4049

          Those are good possibilities. Yeah, I can see that as true.

          It’s just that when I was a kid decades ago no one had any real worries about being housed; the quality of it might be poor, as slumlords have always been around, but unless you were completely unable to get work/aid you slept in your own bed.

          The size of the population, the locations, the permanence of the encampments increases every year. I have seen happen almost every year. Certainly every decade and handwaving it away by blaming drugs or mental illness, when a great many of the 155 thousand plus homeless Californians have jobs, is just nonsense. It just is.

          Which is why I start wondering who’s the crazy one; should I believe my lying eyes’ memory or the latest ones blaming the victims here? It’s like looking through the mirror and wondering which side is Wonderland.

          1. Acacia

            I am old enough to remember this as well.

            In my youth, there were “bums”, “vagrants”, “transients”, “vets”, and “hobos” — the latter usually connected with freight trains — but they weren’t camped out on sidewalks everywhere or playing cat and mouse with law enforcement in public spaces. There weren’t camps of them growing like the shantytowns of lore. They weren’t pushing their lives about in shopping carts. They mostly had digs somewhere (not the hobos, by definition, but they were a tiny portion of the whole group). That was my perception, at least.

            Something has changed, and I don’t feel that the rationalizations du jour (e.g., “most of them have drug problems”, “they don’t want to work”, “it’s their choice to live outside”, etc.) are really getting to the substance of it.

            There seems to be more resistance than ever to the idea that housing for those at the bottom might be socialized. Part of this is NIMBYism, part of it is homeowners fretting about property values (because in a zero-interest-rate world, that’s where their wealth has been driven), but it also seems to be that many people are now almost viscerally offended by the idea that somebody might be getting something “without working for it”. It’s as if there’s been an attitudinal shift in the North American understanding of “work”. I don’t really understand this, but I’m guessing somebody has studied it.

      2. Plenue

        I’ve encountered a couple forms of this belief. One is that homeless are (they think) mostly alchoholics and drug addicts, and thus…um…not ‘real’ homeless…for some reason. I guess the ‘logic’ is that a genuine homeless person is someone who lost their job and then their house or apartment when they couldn’t keep up the payments. Whereas someone whose life has fallen apart from addiction, I guess, only has themselves to blame. The idea that many homeless addicts became addicts as a way to cope with being homeless also doesn’t seem to be an option.

        The second belief I’ve encountered is that many or even most homeless actively choose to live on the street. That it’s some bohemian lifestyle choice. They’re *choosing* to live in tents, to not be able to shave, to crap in public parks (trust me, I know it happens. Human feces has a distinct smell, as it wafts from your dog’s mouth). They’re *choosing* to be constantly on the move as cops and disgruntled suburbanites run them off. I gather Sean Hannity is a big pusher of this narrative.

        I really wish people would just stop and think once in a while. The concept that most homeless choose to live like that is so self-evidently asinine that it falls apart with five seconds of scrutiny.

        1. RMO

          If you believe that everyone who is homeless got that way by making extremely poor decisions or by being lazy, weak, morally corrupted etc., it means you don’t have to think about the possibility that it could easily happen to you due to circumstances you have little to no control over.

    1. anonymous

      Listen to the interview. She speaks slowly, thoughtfully. AOC sounds more grownup than Remnick.

    2. ewmayer

      Remnick is as good an example of a liberal MSM elite peddler of establishment narratives as you’ll find. Among other things, he seems to consider himself curator–and-burnisher-in-chief of that mythical beast, the chimeric “Obama Legacy”. It’s no accident that Remnick’s tenure at The New Yorker coincided with said mag’s becoming a pure elite propaganda rag and forcing out its last few actual journalists, most notably Sy Hersh.

  14. doug

    Re: Teen Vogue
    Are they trying to be purchased(and silenced) by a larger publisher?

    Great article BTW . tells you what to look for, how to avoid being ripped off etc.

    1. Dan

      What YOU can do to help workers.
      Pay for your restaurant meals in cash, and if you must use a credit card for business, at least tip in cash.

      The IRS has arbitrarily decided that tipped restaurant employees make 8% tips on meals and drinks served. They withhold based on that.

      e.g. “Employee served $1,000 worth of food today, therefore $80 in hypothetical tips will be added to that day’s pay for taxation and withholding purposes.” That’s why employee’s name and id number always gets printed on receipts.

      If you must pay with a credit card, only tip the employee 8% on the card, which will automatically be reported to the IRS. Tip the difference in cash.

      Be a patriot, always pay in cash in non-corporate owned businesses.

  15. JohnnyGL


    Good article from WSJ on the two main scholars that ADOS activists cite in their advocacy of reparations. They emphasize how little attention wealth and inherited wealth, specifically, gets. It turns out that who your parents are is to be tremendously important to the state of your balance sheet!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      if a society is organized to reward X (for example, the ability to put a ball in a hoop, write love pop songs, design day trading strategies using math, etc), anyone with parents both good at X would likely stand to inherit lots of wealth.

    2. martell

      Couldn’t read the article due to paywall, but claims about inherited wealth are pointless unless you can identify an agent who is supposed to be responsible for the damages in question. Without a responsible agent or agents, there is no case for reparations. Plainly, all the individual agents who owned slaves are long dead. I thought we stopped holding children responsible for the crimes of their parents (or great, great grandparents) a long time ago. A reparations advocate could argue that various collective agents are responsible: individual US states and the federal government. Trouble is there was a long and extremely costly war fought for the sake of ending slavery (ultimately, if not at the outset). Arguably, the debt was paid there and then (and if not, then I wonder how many more lives would have been enough). Of course, injustices based on racial identity continued after the Civil War. It would be plausible to seek reparations from federal and state governments accordingly. But those would not be reparations for slavery. They would be reparations for willful, flagrant violations of state and federal law on the part of agents of states as well as complicity with those violations.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        All these issues need to be hashed out and that’s what HR40 would have done (although last I checked it was in the shop for repairs). FWIW, I view ADOS as an upsurge against the Black Misleadership Class — and high time, too — both ideologically (ancestry v. melanin) and in class terms (ADOS is driven by professionals and media personalities). ADOS is also a critique of Obama, first because he, like Harris, is not ADOS, second because of his miserable performance in office.

        As you point out, the issue of “responsible agents” is important. Who, exactly, is writing the check?

  16. Rubydog

    Re the Current Affairs article about the public option

    “Poor Americans with poor-quality insurance are stuck with providers who don’t provide high enough quality care to make these demands. The best providers keep charging ever higher rents, and the gap between the care they offer and the care the poor receive just keeps growing.”

    This analysis is simply not true. There is no correlation between the amount of money paid to a medical provider and the quality of care they provide. In a for profit hospital system, the definition of the “best” provider is the one who brings in the most revenue. “Quality” has precious little to do with it, and often actually has a negative correlation, since the best way to increase revenues is to churn through as many profitable procedures as one can, whether they are necessary or in the best interest of the patient or not.

    From 2017, still relevant -https://projects.seattletimes.com/2017/quantity-of-care/talia/

  17. Louis Fyne

    The US desperately needs to forge a class-based political movement that transcends identity. Bernie and Andrew Yang get it.

    Most others at the top of the Democratic Party (candidates or apparatchiks) don’t.
    Guessing it’s a feature/job requirement, not a bug.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My dad’s mother claimed she was descended from Stanislaw Augustus Poniatowski, so…there’s that…I’m more a less responsible for the Russian menace in Europe…

      1. Kurt Sperry

        A relative of mine, Helene Elisabeth Sperry, married Stanislaw Poniotawski’s son, Andre thus gaining the title of “Princess”. He married her for her money and her looks, she was hooked up with the Crocker California mega-banking empire.The Poniotawskis were Polish as far as I know, not Russian. I guess we’re possibly kinda relatives then. Small world ain’t it?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They were “Polish,” but his claim to fame is dismantling Poland-Lithuania (all part of Putin’s time traveling plot) as such as these countries existed because he was the ruler. My Polish ancestors came from a village in Austria which is between Vienna and the Hungarian border. What made them Polish is that they were Slavs who used the latin alphabet and were Catholic. Orthodox/Catholic/alphabet/Jewish etc determined what people call their nationality if they came over prior to 1939.

          Much of this history was wiped out by both the Nazi invasion and the Soviet reorientation, Pogroms too. Catholic or Protestant, someone is French because they live in France.

      2. GF

        My 7th cousin was Warren G. Harding. Until Trump came along, considered the worst Republican (or any party’s) president ever. Now, after GW Bush and Trump, he may be rising in stature George Washington heights.

        1. Carey


          Warren G. Harding invented the word “normalcy”,
          And the lesser-known “bloviate”, meaning, one imagines,
          To spout, to spew aimless verbiage. He never wanted to be president.
          The ‘Ohio Gang’ made him. He died in the Palace

          Hotel in San Francisco, coming back from Alaska,
          As his wife was reading to him, about him,
          From the Saturday Evening Post. Poor Warren. He wasn’t a bad egg,
          Just weak. He loved women and Ohio.

          This protected summer of high, white clouds, a new golf star
          Flashes like confetti across the intoxicating early part
          Of summer, almost to the end of August. The crowd is hysterical:
          Fickle as always, they follow him to the edge

          Of the inferno. But the fall is, deliciously, only his.
          They shall communicate this and that and compute
          Fixed names like “doorstep in the wind”. The agony is permanent
          Rather than eternal. He’d have noticed it. Poor Warren.

          J. Ashbery

      3. Off The Street

        Ponia had a relative in France, too. The Interior Minister or similar, not popular among the students.

    2. Plenue

      Only tangentially related, but two things always get me about Obama’s ‘blackness’. One is that he’s half-white, and the second that his African half is from Kenya. East Africa. Far removed from the West African slave trade that brought Africans to the Americas. He has literally no connection to the ‘African-American’ experience.

  18. Summer

    RE: “I’ve been thinking about this, I’m thinking the road to hell is paved with bad intentions. True, the rhetorical twist isn’t there, but honestly, look around you…”

    The devil would know better than to have neo-liberals pave his road.

  19. Summer

    RE:Yale / Happiness

    Yale on happiness. Already know I’m headed for an alt universe of whackadoodle.

    That’s just a rebrand of “thankfulness” which many already practice.

    Now I want Yale to do an experiment where people are presented with 3 opportunities that they have never had and see how that changes their lives

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder how many (as in, how widespread this phenomenon is) would consider theirs being a hapbpy life when their basball (football/soccer/rugby/etc) team is dominantly superior to the rest.

      1. polecat

        I don’t ascribe to ANY organized sports …. especially corporatized !! Does that mark me as happytarian – officially ? .. or instead consign me to an after-life in Satan’s realm for all eternity ?

    2. ewmayer

      Figure a mutual-congratulatory rag for the management/credentialed class like Inc or Fast Company to peddle this kind of drivel. So let’s see, “3 Simple Actions” …

      1. Stop listening to academic twits and management-class types for life advice;

      2. Find joy in small things, but don’t let the folks mentioned in [1] weaponize that against you (“Don’t think of yourself as a victim of the Elite Looting class to which I, your friendly advice-guru, belong … rather, consider yourself a ‘pioneer of ascetic living!'”);

      3. Nurture your human connections, and look askance at anyone or any technology which erodes same. (E.g. the cynically-named “social networks”.)

  20. Pelham

    Re: “The Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions” [Psychology Today]. “This is no big deal when it is one person’s struggle with their own private garden, but when such good intention projects are executed on a society-wide scale, the results can be disastrous.”

    I guess this is an argument for people of good conscience refraining from any kind of activity that would change society. Of course, while they’re refraining, people of no conscience are busily remolding society to fit their preferences.

    1. Carey

      Yes, I read it similarly.

      “Don’t try to improve your lot, proles; you’ll just screw it up, anyway. We credentialed neolibs have it all under control.”


    2. Stephanie

      Coming very late to this discussion, but I think this reading creates a binary that doesn’t exist in the article at all. What I believe the author is saying is that reality is complicated and paradoxical, and despite all the good will and honest effort in the world, can ricochet back on us in painful ways. That doesn’t equate to stop trying – it equates to being honest about failure.

      I’m also very curious to know who these people of no conscience are. I mean, I have my favorites*, and I’m sure you have yours, but I’m wondering how much overlap there would be, and how accurate either of us are?

      *FWIW, my favorites include everyone. As a Presbyterian I am down with Total Depravity. But I have been wrong before.

    3. anonymous

      Yes Pelham,
      neoliberal historians making the same case for Boss Tweed.

      Writers and Historians Explode Myths Surrounding Tammany Hall” [Fordham News]. “While Tammany was corrupt, the organization procured food, jobs and other assistance for new immigrants who were shunned by established society, the panelists said at ‘Big Apple Politics and Catholic New York: 1845-1945,’ the 12th annual Russo Family Lecture. No one can truly understand the nature of Tammany without viewing it in the context of the Irish Famine of 1845 to 1851, said writer Peter Quinn, author of The Banished Children of Eve (Viking Press, 1994). ‘The Famine imprinted the lesson that the first priority of power is getting it and keeping it out of the hands of those who would use it against you,’ Quinn said.”

  21. Iapetus

    “The demonstrators were protesting at the online retail giant’s destruction of many new goods returned to it by purchasers. Greenpeace says some 30 percent of returns are not resold.”

    Here’s an interesting related article that discusses how fashion brands destroy billions worth of their unsold merchandise every year.

    Best quote:

    “This is where we get to the thing that nobody wants to talk about: The retail price of a luxury product has nothing to do with its actual value. When you buy something from Chanel or Gucci and you pay full retail, that money is actually paying for the massive advertising campaigns. If Chanel destroys a dress it tried to sell for $1,200, it hasn’t really lost $1,200. I don’t think Chanel even paid $100 [to make] that dress. And the money they’d lose would probably just be recouped through fragrances.”

    Stranger still – there’s at least one town in India that believes the cost of water in western countries is too expensive to do laundry, so we’re forced to send them our new clothes to destroy.

  22. ChiGal in Carolina

    can anyone help? a while back in WC iirc there was a piece drilling down into the 2018 election data that supported a different conclusion than that the Democrats gained the House by appealing to suburban voters who didn’t vote R because of their distaste for Trump.

    I believe the idea was that a change in rural turnout was also instrumental?

    anyway, I seem not to have saved it and it could be quite useful in combating the argument that suburban voters are the way to go in 2020.

    thank you in advance, anyone who can point me in the right direction!

  23. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Political Scenarios for Climate Disaster” — I thought this was a very strange essay working hard to reach a peculiar desired end and I believe never making a compelling case. We get of to a decent start:
    “… here in the Global North we often act as if our future will be a warmer version of today: liberal capitalism, plus flood insurance, minus coral reefs. That future is a fantasy. It already has a probability close to zero.” I buy that. But the next assertion is less clear:
    “There is no realistic scenario for addressing climate change that does not involve a comprehensive reorganization of human societies in the reasonably near term.” From this assertion we tour through Climate Leviathan, Climate Mao, Climate Behemoth, and Climate X … and a surprise introduction to Green Keynesianism a variant form of Climate Leviathan — twisted to fit in the Green New Deal.

    I think the authors of this link favor Climate X which they describe as:
    “Climate X is the name we give the collection of movements that pursue global climate justice: movements that build non-capitalist political economies, and construct solidarities at multiple scales that reject the political logic of sovereignty.”
    “Climate X is a recognition that a solution to the climate crisis lies beyond sovereignty, in multiple movements that organize not on the basis of predetermined autonomous political parcels, but on the basis of the struggles and livelihoods of those involved.” and “If Climate X is possible, it will only be through the post-sovereign solidarity of these many bases of climate justice [struggles of working people, racialized communities, and others on all scales].”
    I wholeheartedly agree with the assertion: “Climate X is unfortunately but inevitably the most difficult for us to sketch out …” as the link warns near the top. I left out reviewing the other scenarios but they are described with clarity only slightly surpassing their clarity about Climate X.

  24. ewmayer

    Re. Kamala Harris: Kaepernick backlash was ‘not a thing’ until Russian bots ‘started taking it on’” — Ya know, I always thought ‘Kaepernick’ had a Russian ring to it, like ‘apparatchik’ and ‘refusenik’. Teh EvilPutin surely knows that the NFL is the chief propaganda arm of the US military, so sowing dissension there makes perfect sense!

    1. Dan

      She’s just compensating for her most of her father’s slave owning ancestors in Jamaica.
      Her Indian mother’s family has nothing to do with Africa.
      How can you respect a woman whose own father has repudiated her and her entire career?

      “My dear departed grandmothers as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty,”


    2. Off The Street

      Kamala can’t help herself and the pressure is getting to her.
      She took a knee, too.

      1. Dan

        Two. “Kamala Lewinsky”

        “In the mid-1990s, Harris, 30, had dated Willie Brown, 60, who was investigated by the FBI when he was speaker of the California Assembly and as mayor was dogged by conflict of interest, and she had benefited from his political patronage. As the speaker of the state Assembly, Brown had named Harris to well-paid posts on the California Medical Assistance Commission and Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. As mayor of San Francisco in 2003, Brown was supportive of her district attorney campaign…”

        “According to state records of the time, members of the committee had to be “selected from persons with experience in management of hospital services, risk management insurance or prepaid health programs, the delivery of health services, the management of county health systems, and a representative of recipients of service.”

        “Harris had no medical background, according to a copy of her resume that she submitted to Brown at the time. Her experience consisted of four years as a deputy prosecutor, a handful of summer jobs and internships, and a volunteer position at a hospital fundraising group.”


  25. Summer

    RE:” top official overseeing the launch of its Libra cryptocurrency plans to tell U.S. lawmakers the company does not plan to launch the digital currency until regulatory concerns and approvals are “fully addressed.”

    Just let us know what you “plan” to do FB, Sweetie honey baby. Do you need us to bend over more or get some lubricant?

  26. Oregoncharles

    “New York Blackout” – Apparently Yves was holding up the whole NYC infrastructure. Now that she’s gone…

  27. Softie

    After cancer and heart disease, medical malpractice is the 3rd largest killer in America with annual death toll of more than 400,000.

  28. timbers

    Dear Rahm:

    Isn’t calling people “snot nosed punk” kind of f**king ret*rded?

    And thanks for sharing your advice on electability…you and Obama are experts on that subject.

    1. Geo

      They’ve learned nothing and are doubling down on arrogance.

      Biden at an AARP rally today:
      “If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it. If you like your private insurance, you can keep it.”

      History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce… Dems 2020 strategy.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      In a comment on Dowd’s article that the Times refused to publish, I mentioned how revealing it was that she should use Rahm, one of the foulest specimens of contemporary neoliberalism – take a look at his attacks on public education in Chicago if you doubt that – to attack Ocasio-Cortez.

      Then again, I’m old enough to remember Dowd’s fawning coverage of Reagan when she was a White House reporter, so it wasn’t very surprising. She can be a witty writer, but her internal compass always points toward Power.

      1. Carolinian

        They all fawned over Reagan did they not? Sam Donaldson pretended to give him a hard time.

        i’d say Dowd is totally wrong about Pelosi–who has been a disaster for the Dems–but not totally wrong about AOC. Is the call for “open borders” a politically winning position?

  29. Summer

    “The Famine imprinted the lesson that the first priority of power is getting it and keeping it out of the hands of those who would use it against you,’ Quinn said.”

    Think about that qoute before you tweet again…

  30. Carey

    “..Biden’s plan also takes aim at health care providers, suggesting that he’ll try to tackle [“try to tackle”- it’s *so* hard!] problems like unexpected large medical bills and health care market concentration..”

    Simpler solutions will eventually be found, a la 1789, if our Elected Representatives™ can’t find them

    1. Dan

      Sounds like we need a Third Party, or maybe, a Second?

      “The Greenuillotine Party”

      “The Gruilloteen Party”

      or just

      “The Guillotine Party”

      1. Aumua

        I like it. It’s right to the point: You’re going to stop this nefarious behavior or else we’re going to stop you, which you will like less.

      2. polecat

        “Tridents R US Party” – ‘go ahead, take a stab at us’ !

        “The Hemp Necktiers Party” – ‘ready for some ring-around-the-collar’ ??

        “The Hell Pavers Party” – ‘we’ll grind you up, and make hot macadam outta ya !’

  31. petal

    Kamala Harris rises into second place in new Saint Anselm College poll of NH primary voters
    “Sen. Kamala Harris has moved into second place among Democratic presidential contenders, while Sen. Bernie Sanders has dropped into fifth place, in the latest New Hampshire primary poll conducted by Saint Anselm College.
    Harris, apparently still resonating with voters following her debate performance more than two weeks ago, is backed by 17.5 percent of likely Democratic first-in-the-nation primary voters. That support puts her just more than 3 percentage points behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who received 20.8 percent.
    Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a close third, at 16.7 percent, less than a percentage point behind Harris. Sanders registered 9.9 percent, behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is fourth in the poll with 11.5 percent.”

      1. Clive

        If I didn’t know better, I’d have a suspicion that the current Trumpian Twitter Tantrum was deliberately designed to give Harris an identitarian boomerang sympathy vote. If it was, it seems to be working out just as it was meant to.

        The mainstream media is like the kind of mechanical, clockwork masterpiece which featured in the Game of Thrones title sequence. Everyone is carved out and fixed into the positions in the orrery-like contraption. When the unseen operator turns the handle, everyone and all the scenery moves around — intricately — according to the mechanism controlling it all. Cog teeth mesh into rack-and-pinions, pulleys move this way and that. A beautiful animation, but it can only display one (predetermined) mini-drama.

      2. Pat

        I haven’t found a poll from them this early in the cycle for 2016, but three months later Bernie led conclusively. So yes this is bad. I will note that the October poll polled almost twice as many people. I didn’t dig into the questions.

        I am massively disappointed that anyone considers Biden worthy as more than a spittoon.

        1. petal

          Saint Anselm College Survey Center
          “July 2019 Poll
          Poll conducted July 10-12, 2019. Results are based on interviews with 351 randomly-selected registered voters in the state of New Hampshire by landline and cellular phone. The overall survey has a margin of sampling error of 5.2% with a confidence interval of 95%. Data are weighted for age, gender and geography based on a voter demographic model derived from historical voting patterns, but are not weighted by party registration or party identification.”

  32. Summer


    So they are escaping one open space surrounded by people for another.

    Does anybody else think what people are REALLY looking for is an office space with a desk and door. You know, an OFFICE. Doesn’t have to be big. Somebody could take a big open space and make mini-offices. Doors and walls. Doesn’t have to be thick.

    Wouldn’t MINI-OFFICE blow We-Work and the like out of the water?

  33. Summer

    RE: AOC / Defining democrats / swing voters.

    “These Democrats are sounding the alarm that swing voters know and dislike socialism, warning it could cost them the House and the presidency.”

    I had a good laugh at “swing voters know socialism.”

  34. petal

    Clive, you may be right. I have a feeling IdPol is playing a big role. And the only yard sign I’ve seen thus far is a Harris sign in the front yard of the “Love Me I’m a Liberal house”.
    I have been thinking for a while now that Trump will get his 2nd term.

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