2:00PM Water Cooler 7/17/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Politics

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

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 16: Biden continues rise at 27.8% (27.6%), Sanders steady at 15.0% ( 15.0%), Warren down sharply at 15.0% (16.3%), Buttigieg down at 4.8% (5.0%), Harris down 13.4% ( 13.6%), others Brownian motion.

* * *

2020

Castro (D)(1): This is good:

You can’t leave money out of the equation, though. Ferguson was a “law enforcement for profit” town!

Gabbard (D)(1): “Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Donated $5,600 To Tulsi Gabbard” [Buzzfeed]. “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey followed up his earlier 2019 donation to Andrew Yang — by giving several thousand dollars to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign and another thousand to Yang. According to the FEC filings for Tulsi NOW, Dorsey donated $5,600 — the maximum donation — to Gabbard the day after the first Democratic debate.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders vows to reject donations from drug and health insurance industry, seeking to pressure Biden” [WaPo]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to challenge his Democratic presidential rivals Wednesday to refuse campaign donations from executives and lobbyists of health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, escalating a growing conflict over health care with Joe Biden and among Democrats more broadly…. ‘You can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money,’ Sanders said in a statement. ‘That is why I am calling on every Democratic candidate in this election to join us in rejecting money from the insurance and drug industries.'” • Ouch.

Sanders (D)(2): Only eighteen seconds:

“When you come at the king, you best not miss.” Good staff preparation, too.

Warren (D)(1): “This Was Elizabeth Warren’s Plan All Along” [HuffPo]. “Instead of relying on the traditional D.C. think tank world, she made her office into her very own think tank. This vast, over-qualified policy team then consulted with a kitchen cabinet of legal academics, economists and other scholars outside the Beltway. Her goal all along has been to craft and sell policies to help solve one overarching problem: inequality in American society.” • All good, but how come we’re rolling out white papers in an election year instead of having already introduced legislation?

IA: “Presidential candidates have spent millions on Iowa, with Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke leading the pack” [Des Moines Register]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders led the way, with $443,000 spent on things like rent, events and staff in Iowa. Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, of Texas, dropped almost $300,000 on his go-everywhere strategy to woo caucusgoers. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney rounded out the top three, with $259,000 spent…. Out of all the candidates, Sanders, I-Vermont, had the highest number of itemized donations from Iowans, with 895 contributing to his campaign. Only donors who have given more than $200 need to be itemized, so donors who have not hit that mark do not need to be specified.”

PA: “Women for Trump is a new army in a country divided by anger. And Pa. is primed for battle” [The Inquirer]. “But the Republican women who came to King of Prussia for the Trump campaign’s first women’s coalition rally were also there to block the Democratic women who have fueled a surge in voter turnout in local, state, and congressional races in Southeastern Pennsylvania since Trump’s election in 2016. If Republicans are to hold the state for Trump, their women must multiply.”

* * *

“Cash burn rate in 2020 campaign highlights laggards” [Financial Times]. “The candidates who placed in the top five for money raised — Mr Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — all managed to keep second-quarter spending within about 55 per cent of total money raised… Kirsten Gillibrand’s presidential campaign spent $4.2m in the second quarter of this year, despite raising only $2.3m in the same period, giving her the top “burn rate” among the candidates of about 183 per cent.” • Full of interesting facts and figures. I didn’t know Sanders transferred $7.6 million from earlier campaigns.

“Huge Turnout Is Expected in 2020. So Which Party Would Benefit?” [New York Times]. “The 2020 presidential election is poised to have the highest turnout in a century, with the potential to reshape the composition of the electorate in a decisive way. But perhaps surprisingly, it is not obvious which party would benefit. There are opportunities and risks for both parties…. The increase in turnout among the young in 2018 came overwhelmingly from anti-Trump voters, giving the Democrats a wide advantage among voters under age 45. The advantage was largest among those 18 to 24: The president’s approval rating was 28 percent for voters in that group, and 45 percent among those who stayed home.” • Better keep kicking AOC, then. It’s the obvioius winning strategy.

“The fascists in the White House” [WSWS]. Cutting through the tankie rhetoric, we finally come to this which is sensible: “The ongoing wave of strikes in the United States was touched off by thousands of teachers in West Virginia—a state which Trump carried overwhelmingly in 2016—who defied state law, a Republican legislature, and a Democrat-turned-Republican governor to fight for higher pay and secure benefits and against school privatization and charterization. These teachers, and hundreds of thousands of other workers in subsequent strikes and protests, have demonstrated that class, not race, is the fundamental dividing line in American society. Trump is not the president of ‘white people.’ He is the president who seeks to use racism and anti-immigrant prejudice to divide the working class and maintain the supremacy of Wall Street and the giant corporations. Politicians and pundits who oppose the unity of the working class in struggle against capitalism play right into the hands of Trump and his effort to build a fascist movement in America.” • If this analysis is correct, “White Supremacy” as the liberal Democrat Theory Of Everything is going to be problematic.

2019

Republican challenger to AOC emerges:

Republicans display adaptability, nominate [x] black [x] woman. Whaddaya know.

“Ocasio-Cortez Denies Fracture With Pelosi, Seeks Meeting” [Bloomberg]. “Ocasio-Cortez and the group’s three other members said in their first joint interview — which aired Wednesday — that they’re happy to sit down with Pelosi and work out their differences, which stem in part from a $4.5 billion border funding bill they said didn’t do enough to rein in the Trump administration on immigration. ;Just as there were members of Congress that did not vote for the Speaker on the House floor the day of our swearing in, just as there members who challenge her conclusions, who disagree with her, so do we from time to time,’ Ocasio-Cortez told CBS. ‘But that does not mean that there is a fundamental fracture or a dehumanizing going on within our caucus.'” • Feed whatever you’re going to feed to Pelosi at the end of a stick, or she’ll take your arm off to the shoulder.

“Barney Frank Defends Nancy Pelosi from Her Critics” [The New Yorker]. Frank: “There have always been, on the Democratic side—Howard Dean, etc.—people who are very passionate and are frustrated because reality isn’t as pliable as they wish. They are people who I think make the fundamental mistake—I often agree with them on substance—but they make the fundamental mistake of thinking the general public is much more in agreement with them than it is, and forget about or just reject the notion of trying to figure out how to get things done.” • Get things done. Yeah, you know; like the bailouts that lost the Democrats the House in 2010 in a re-apportionment year.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Remember Stoller’s “On Mocking Dying Working Class White People” right after election 2016? It still goes on:

Heffernan’s Twitter bio: “contributing editor @WIRED / columnist @latimesopinion / tv @MSNBC.” So their opinion is mainstream; there’s a lot of speaking the quiet part out loud just now.

“How the Democratic Netroots Died” [Politico]. “Twelve years ago, progressive political bloggers were so influential that nearly every 2008 Democratic presidential candidate attended the Yearly Kos convention—a gathering of liberal online activists named after Markos Moulitsas’ popular Daily Kos website. This year, that same event, now called Netroots Nation, attracted a measly four of the 24 Democratic candidates. Only one of them, Elizabeth Warren, even polls in double digits…. What happened? Not all that long ago, liberal bloggers had genuine achievements to point to: Only a year before the 2007 Yearly Kos, Ned Lamont, a wealthy but little known Connecticut businessman, beat Joe Lieberman—the incumbent and a former vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party—in a U.S. Senate primary by embracing the “blogosphere,” a ridiculous word for a not-ridiculous force: progressive online activists who could drive discourse, cultivate small donors and legitimize outsider politicians. Lamont made common cause with bloggers to punish Lieberman for his vote to authorize the Iraq War.” • What happend? Obama happened.

“Measuring illegal immigration: How Pew Research Center counts unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.” [Pew Research]. ” our estimate of unauthorized immigrants is the total number of immigrants living in the country minus the number of immigrants living here as lawful residents. In concept, it’s a very simple relationship. There’s a lot that goes into producing the final estimate, but the basic estimate is just this difference.” • Handy chart:

“The Computer Voting Revolution Is Already Crappy, Buggy, and Obsolete” [Bloomberg]. • This is a must read. It’s all so horrific I can’t even excerpt it.

Stats Watch

Housing Starts, June 2019: “Once again the down part of the housing sector’s up-and-down year appears, this time in an unexpected…. drop in permits to a much lower-than-expected [level]” [Econoday]. “Housing had a poor year last year and negative showings for ongoing yearly rates suggest that 2019 may also prove, despite promise in the spring, to hold back the sector’s contribution to economic growth. Still starts did pick up compared to the first quarter and residential investment, after five straight quarter’s of pulling down GDP, may yet prove to be a positive for the second quarter.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 12, 2019: “The purchase index has been firm but fell back” [Econoday]. “[T[he refinance index rose.”

Concentration: “Tech’s day of reckoning on Capitol Hill was long and harsh” [MarketWatch]. “Nonetheless, shares of the four companies that were placed under the microscope of three different Congressional hearings remained largely unchanged, underscoring their inexorable march to record market valuations, generally strong quarterly results and mounting influence on the global economy.” • Sound and fury, then?

Tech: “Amazon Is Using Prime Day to Lock People into a Giant Surveillance Network” [Vice]. “As a part of Prime Day, Amazon is offering a 30 percent discount on select Ring products, and a 39 percent discount on an eight-part set of Ring products. Ring, which was acquired by Amazon in 2018, produces WiFi-powered home doorbell cameras, outdoor security cameras, and flood light cameras. Footage captured on these cameras can be posted on Neighbors, a free ‘neighborhood watch’ app that lets people post about crime, safety, ‘suspicious’ people, ‘strangers,’ and lost pets. However, Ring and Neighbors market themselves as a crime-fighting tools only by actively encouraging people to fear their neighbors.” • This sounds horrible and dystopian. Have readers encountered Ring in the wild?

Tech: “New study of 26,000 people disputes years of studies linking Facebook and depression” [MarketWatch]. “In a study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Computer Mediated-Communication, Hampton analyzed 2015/2016 data from 26,000 people or 13,000 adult relationships in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which is widely regarded as the world’s longest-running household survey. That survey includes a series of questions about social-media platforms and psychological distress. What Hampton found runs contrary to a raft of studies that have suggested a relationship between social media and isolation and depression. Social-media users are 63% less likely to experience serious psychological distress, Hampton said. Connecting with extended family members on social media also helped, as long as those family member’s mental health was not in decline. He also concluded that social networkers are actually 1.63 times more likely to avoid serious psychological distress…. Not everyone agrees. A separate recent study conducted by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania showed quite the opposite — a link between time spent on social media and depression and loneliness.”

The Biosphere

“New EU chief makes bold climate pledges” [Nature]. “In a speech in parliament a few hours before her election, von der Leyen said that she intends to make climate and the environment top priorities in all EU policy areas. She pledged to strengthen the EU’s short-term goal on greenhouse-gas emissions from a 40% reduction to a 50% cut, at least, by 2030, relative to 1990 levels. The EU will also take a lead role in forthcoming international climate negotiations and will encourage other major economies to increase their level of ambition by 2021, she said… Von der Leyen is also set to announce a ‘European Green Deal’ in her first 100 days in office, which would include a law to make Europe carbon neutral by 2050. ‘I want Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world,’ she said.” • 2050? Is that really “bold”?

“Christians Care About Climate Change If It’s About Saving ‘God’s Creation'” [Vice]. “A new study from the Yale Program on Climate Change shows that one of the most effective ways to get Christians to care about global warming is to frame it as ‘protecting God’s creation.’ The study, ‘A Social Identity Approach to Engaging Christians in the Issue of Climate Change,’ tested various religious, moral, and social messaging to find the most effective ways to involve Christian people in environmental justice efforts. The results showed that many Christians view the issue of climate change through a religious, rather than scientific or environmental lens. So, a good way to get them on board is simply speaking their language.” • No duh?

“House orders Pentagon to say if it weaponized ticks and released them” [Roll Call]. “The amendment, by New Jersey Republican Christopher H. Smith, says the inspector general ‘shall conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975.’ … A book called “Bitten,” published this year, makes the case that the Defense Department research occurred and hints at a possible connection between the experiments and the spread of maladies such as Lyme disease, which is borne by ticks.” • If we’re going to think about reforesting lawns, we need to think about ticks. Opposums eat ticks! And don’t carry them, either.

“Arctic science at risk as University of Alaska braces for draconian budget cuts” [Science]. “Paul Layer, UA’s vice president for academics, students, and research in Fairbanks, says one of his highest priorities ‘is to maintain our status in Arctic research. It’s the one thing we do better than anybody.’ UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, which partners with scientists across the United States and Japan to study weather, ocean acidification, and other topics, is funded largely by grants from nonstate sources. But it relies on state funding to pay for support staff and operations, as well as work requested by state agencies. And at UAF’s Center for Alaska Native Health Research, state funds often pay for sending researchers to remote villages, says Deputy Director Diane O’Brien. ‘Even when we are bringing in millions of dollars of [nonstate] support, these are research services that we depend on the university to provide from their state allocation,’ she says.”

“Parts of the Marshall Islands are more radioactive than Chernobyl and Fukushima, study finds” [CNN]. “From 1946 to 1958, the US government conducted 67 nuclear tests on several small islands — called atolls — in the Marshall Islands….. More than 60 years later, researchers at Columbia University say radiation on four of these atolls remains alarmingly high — in some areas ten to 1,000 times higher than radioactive areas near the Chernobyl powerplant, which exploded in 1986, and Fukushima, where an earthquake and tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in 2011.”

Games

“It’s possible to build a Turing machine within Magic: The Gathering” [Ars Technica]. “It may be a highly unlikely scenario, but a recent paper posted on the physics arXiv proves that it’s possible in principle to build a simple computer within this massively popular tabletop game using just the right combination of Magic cards. While the inputs must be pre-programmed, ‘Literally any function that can be computed by any computer can be computed within a game of Magic,’ said co-author Alex Churchill, a longtime Magic fan who has been working on the problem for several years. Furthermore, he and his co-authors—Stella Biderman of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Austin Herrick of the University of Pennsylvania—have concluded that Magic might be as computationally complex as it’s possible for any tabletop game to be. In other words, ‘This is the first result showing that there exists a real-world game [of Magic] for which determining the winning strategy is non-computable,” the authors write.” • Surely that’s an extraordinary result?

“There will be no cigar-chomping or vaping in Gears 5” [Quarter to Three]. “Thanks to a partnership between Xbox Game Studios developer The Coalition, non-profit anti-tobacco organization Truth Initiative, and Turner Sports ELeague division, the upcoming Gears of War game will have no smoking, vaping, or any other tobacco references that ‘glorify’ smoking. Gears 5 will still have chaingun beheadings and point-blank shotgun kills, so it still won’t be family-friendly. It will just not tempt teens into smoking while tearing enemies into puddles of eviscera.” • Baby steps, albeit through puddles of (digital) blood…

Health Care

Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (with a name like that….) thinks even Biden’s public option is a bridge too far:

“Rising health insurance deductibles fuel middle-class anger and resentment” [Los Angeles Times]. “Many wealthy Americans — already reaping most of the benefits of the last decade’s [decades’] economic growth — have weathered the dramatic increase in deductibles in recent years in part by putting away money in tax-free Health Savings Accounts. Very poor Americans, millions of whom gained coverage through the 2010 Affordable Care Act, can see a doctor or go to the hospital at virtually no cost, thanks to Medicaid, the half-century-old government safety net program. Squeezed in the middle are legions of working Americans who face stagnant wages, insurance premiums that take more and more of their paychecks and soaring deductibles which leave them with medical bills they can’t afford.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Kicked Off the Land” [The New Yorker]. “In the United States today, seventy-six per cent of African-Americans do not have a will, more than twice the percentage of white Americans. Many assume that not having a will keeps land in the family. In reality, it jeopardizes ownership. David Dietrich, a former co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Property Preservation Task Force, has called heirs’ property ‘the worst problem you never heard of.’ The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recognized it as ‘the leading cause of Black involuntary land loss.’ Heirs’ property is estimated to make up more than a third of Southern black-owned land—3.5 million acres, worth more than twenty-eight billion dollars. These landowners are vulnerable to laws and loopholes that allow speculators and developers to acquire their property. Black families watch as their land is auctioned on courthouse steps or forced into a sale against their will.” • Holy moley, land title issues?! In the First World? (I just finished Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, and my amateur opinion is that land reform in the former Confederate states — that is, breaking up the plantations and given the land to the former slaves — was the only real way forward (besides hanging enough traitors to get the elite’s attention). Generalize Sherman’s Special Field Order #15, in other words. Whether that was ever a possible future is dubious; certainly it would never have happened after a vengeful Slave Power whacked Lincoln, and the ideological dominance of Wage Labor in the victorious North also worked against it (see the fate of the Port Royal experiment).

Eric Garner memorial:

“The NYPD never choked a banker.”

Class Warfare

“Free trade doesn’t just lead to job loss. It means more deaths from drug overdoses and increased military recruitment.” [WaPo]. “In a recently published study, my co-author and I find that trade-related job losses are closely related to spikes in opioid-related overdose deaths. Less-educated males in Appalachia bear the brunt of free trade as well as the opioid epidemic. And as young people look for ways out of communities hurt by trade, enlistment in the U.S. Army also surges. It’s not just that youth are more willing to enlist after trade shocks — the military tends to send more recruiters to these communities…. In a recently published paper, Simeon Kimmel and I explored the nationwide relationship between free trade and the opioid epidemic. We found that 1,000 trade-related job losses in a given locality were associated with a 2.7 percent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths.” • Everything’s going according to plan!x

“After Years of Organizing, Duke’s Grad Students Got a Raise. Duke Still Won.” [Indy Week]. “In giving the students a higher stipend while fighting their unionizing efforts, Duke might be playing a long game, says professor David Zonderman, a historian of labor movements at N.C. State: The university pays a little more, but the power dynamic remains fundamentally unchanged. ‘We call that a ‘union avoidance strategy,’ and you can use a carrot or a stick,’ Zonderman says. ‘It’s about power or control.’ Actually, Duke’s long game need not be that long: In September, the NLRB—now run by anti-union Trump appointees—will revisit whether grad students at universities like Duke should even be able to unionize in the first place.”

“The Status Anxiety of Pussyhat Moms” [The American Conservative]. “For Pussyhat parents, it’s not my son or daughter the doctor, not very often anyway, since America’s reality is increasingly Dr. Kim, not Dr. Smith.” • Reminds me of the old joke about Patrick Buchanan: He sounds better in the original German.

News of the Wired

“OSP Galaxy” [Open Syllabus]. “This visualization shows the 164,720 most frequently-assigned texts in the Open Syllabus corpus, a database of 6,059,459 college course syllabi.” • An enormous citation graph. Here are the top ten:

Hmm. Three of the top ten explain how to write. I wonder if that’s true for the Ivies?

“Elon Musk: Tesla founder reveals plans to implant tiny computer chips in brains” [Sky News]. • No.

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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 (DK):

Via: “This is the family heritage of one single Peruvian farmer, a unique collection of heirloom seeds (potato landraces), inherited from her parents.”

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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.

163 comments

  1. dcblogger

    “Republicans display adaptability, nominate [x] black [x] woman. Whaddaya know. ”

    Republicans have been doing this for decades and they are not fooling anybody. AOC will win by a landslide.

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      Would not be surprised if the DNC/DCCC tacitly (or even overtly) endorsed the Republican (after unsuccessfully primarying her themselves).

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Well if they can’t run Crowley on the Crowley for America party line… then they will need to go full Republican.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          good!
          the GOP is lonesome for it’s Moderate Wing.
          They’ve obviously been hysterical without it.
          send the frelling prodigals home.

          Reply
      2. WheresOurTeddy

        she checks all their boxes:

        1) ability to invoke ID politics
        2) hostile to progressives

        So AOC has to beat two republicans to keep her seat, counting her primary…

        Reply
    2. jrs

      how can this not cause an EVEN bigger split than is going on with AOC and Pelosi, and this time over Trump.

      I mean you are either running as a Republican and back the party, or as a diversity candidate, but how are you ever going to square the circle of being all awesomely pro-diversity with Trump as your party leader?

      Reply
      1. todde

        just as long as you will vote for the tax cut, the Republican Party has a place for you regardless of color.

        Reply
      2. Geo

        I don’t think it’s about being pro-diversity as much as it’s about having a “black friend” to be able to brush aside accusations of racism. Better to have a Ben Carson or Candace Owens talk about race issues for their side instead of the usual mass of old white guys.

        Similar to how the Dems love propping up the CBC to sell their banker friendly policies as pro-diversity, or how Pelosi did that Rolling Stone cover with “The Squad” for a diversity photo op then swiftly shunned them for having the audacity of actually representing the interests of that diversity.

        Reply
      3. Summer

        Politicians are never afraid to take the risk of fooling the masses.
        They have distractions and all forms of mental instability, manufactued and not, on their side.

        Reply
    3. dk

      Elections are about turnout.
      Representing is about bringing bacon home to the constituency.
      AOC she needs to have something concrete to show her constituency after two years, hospital funding or road repair, something. They’ll be generous, but there has to be something.
      And if Dems field a weak presidential candidate, Dem turnout will go down. And campaign donations and volunteers will get sucked into the presidential race. The DCCC will do little to nothing for her, may even draw money and attention to nearby races.

      I’m not saying AOC will lose her seat, she won 78% of the vote (110,318) to 14% (17,762) against a stiff white guy. But it will be a different election in a lot of ways. If the Pelosi-type Dems block legislation that AOC needs to bring back home, it could be tight.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        She played a big role in keeping Amazon out of Queens, which keeps housing affordable.

        She had a very strong canvassing operation. Every cab driver I talked to in NYC was positive about her. Several brought her up.

        If the deportations are unpopular in her district (likely), her stance v ICE is more than enough.

        Reply
        1. none

          Good constituent services are still important. I like to think she’s on top of that. I certainly haven’t heard anything bad.

          Reply
        2. dk

          Good. Very good. Thanks Yves! I just wanted to modulate some of the feelings I myself share. Understanding and tracking the challenges lets us learn the most from failure or success.

          She’s smart and experienced beyond her years, and shows it over and over. But it also makes her a target, even in her own party. I think the decision to take an aggressive stance on primarying other Dems was well calculated, might as well spend the capital she has. But it’s not risk-free.

          Surviving the redistricting fight in 2021 may be a greater challenge. The Queens D.A. Cabán / Katz scuffling is a preview.

          Reply
  2. Pavel

    Great video clip of Sanders re busing. Just made my afternoon, thanks.

    And does anyone believe the interviewer didn’t have the whole quote?

    Reply
    1. John k

      Bear in mind anchors and such just read whatever they’re handed.
      Not much practice with investigative reporting. Or interviewing a hostile, better to ignore.

      Reply
      1. mle in detroit

        The interviewer is Robert Costa, a reporter for the Post who moderates “Washington Week” Friday nights on PBS. It surprised me that he was unprepared. That he’s overbooked is beginning to show.

        Reply
        1. flora

          I think he had the full quote. Probably Costa’s “that’s true” response to Sanders’ full recitation was about the correctness of Sanders’ quote, not about the US govt’s care for African Americans, imo.

          Reply
            1. WheresOurTeddy

              said he didn’t have it, then Sanders completes it, then admits he had it all along
              so he lied to the entire crowd and his interviewee. right to their faces.
              and then admitted it.

              The Washington Post, ladies and gentlemen

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Too bad Sanders didn’t say right then and there: ” that’s why Trump calls you Fake News.”

                Reply
        2. Barbara

          Unfortunatey, I am hearing impaired and the video didn’t have captioning, but didn’t Costa eventually say that he knew the whole quote but didn’t want to say it? – And didn’t Bernie use “shit” in the quote? Now, if I have this wrong then chalk it up to my hearing loss and forget everything..

          But if I’m right, what the hell was all that coyness about? Costa doesn’t want to offend his middle class audience? Or he wanted to make Bernie spit it out?

          Oh, the archness of the Middle Classe I can’t stand it.

          Reply
          1. NotReallyHere

            PBS, NPR and the WP have long ago given up on being news outlets. The NPR/PBS lot have sold out to corporate money as far as I can tell and their propaganda schtik is sometimes very amateurish. The WP is a lost cause …. just read story comments.

            On NPR and PBS I would refer to the attempt to discredit Glenn Greenwald when Julian Asange was arrested.

            The narrative/slant on immigration stories … ignoring their own frontline series on the matter in 2014

            I could go on … it really is a shame.

            Reply
    2. porquolefoi

      The clip cuts out just as the interviewer starts to say “that’s why I didn’t say it.” Ostensibly he didn’t want to say a Bad Word on stage, but a slip up nonetheless to admit he was lying about not having the full quote.

      Reply
  3. Ranger Rick

    Oh yes, colleges, especially the liberal arts ones, all require their students to learn how to write effectively (and you’d be shocked how often they have not progressed past the “accordion paragraph”). The top ten are all books you’d find in introductory freshman college level courses: written communication, calculus, biology, philosophy, and English literature. I should not be surprised at how high up the Communist Manifesto is — but is it truly a left-wing thing or merely a sounding board for an intro to economics course?

    Reply
    1. Another Scott

      The Communist Manifesto also very common in political theory classes. It was optional in mine. I didn’t read it then, but did for later philosophy course. It’s a pretty accessible text if I recall correctly, certainly more so than Das Kapital, and is a good book for freshmen to read for that reason.

      Reply
    2. martell

      I would guess that the Manifesto is most often assigned in humanities survey courses. I’m not surprised to see it in the top ten, as it’s short and easy to read. Much more surprising are the Nicomachean Ethics and Leviathan. The former was never intended to be read by students. It reads like a set of lecture notes, because that’s what it is. It’s also very difficult to understand, especially if you don’t know much about the economics and politics of 4th century BCE Greece. As for Leviathan, it’s a huge book, and I doubt that most of the people teaching it have even read the whole thing. Also, it’s not really very informative with respect to contemporary political traditions, such as liberalism. Locke’s Second Treatise is much better in that regard. Admittedly, Hobbes’ book is a good example of crackpot social science, but I doubt it’s being taught that way.

      Reply
      1. Kurtismayfield

        Just to add more anecdotal evidence..We read excerpts of four of those in a year long Humanities course that we were required to take to graduate from a North East Liberal Arts college. They didn’t assign us the entire text, and it was up to the professor to choose what excepts he wanted us reading, writing on, and discussing. There were many other texts in the course, such as Locke, Federalist papers, King James Bible, Dante, and Machiavelli.

        Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      I find it alarming that The Republic (Plato) is so high on the list, because I consider it both a terrible example of philosophy and the founding document of fascism. Plato built his style on the worst kind of false logic (the famous Allegory of the Cave is delusional, and is in the Republic), and proposed that government should be authoritarian, built on lies, and done by people like him. I finished Humanities with a deep distaste for him.

      He’s a lot more fun to read than Aristotle, though, even though Aristotle was a far better philosopher and far more honest.

      Reply
      1. ChrisPacific

        I read a bit over half of it. I agree it’s very entertaining in a kind of “bored grad students playing games with logic” sort of way, but I found myself wondering quite often whether it was satire. The logic games only work because everybody concerned seems to accept the edifice of assumptions without question, and most of the conclusions would be easy to demolish in any realistic scenario. Much of the time he seems to be actively inviting this interpretation, particularly in the construction of the Republic, which reads like a long form Reductio Ad Absurdum exercise.

        I think Aristotle is on Project Gutenberg as well. I should try him sometime.

        Reply
      2. martell

        Fascism is 20th century phenomenon. There’s no such thing in 5th or 4th century Greece, and no idea of it either. Also, I doubt that Plato was chiefly concerned that the reader come away advocating something similar to what the Spartans had (which is what the text argues for – and, no, the Spartans were not fascists). Rather, the text as a whole encourages the reader to turn away from the active life, the life of politics, and take up contemplation of (supposedly) timeless, ultimately real things instead. Oh, and about that view of reality: it would prove to be extremely influential on later Christian thought and also go on to play a significant role in the scientific revolution (Galileo was something of a Platonist). As for Plato’s importance for philosophy, Whitehead got it basically right: the subsequent western tradition largely reads like a series of footnotes to Plato. The Republic is his single most important work.

        Reply
      3. Amfortas the hippie

        there’s better works by Plato…the earlier ones, especially, where he presumably channels Socrates more faithfully.
        the Republic(and the dour Laws) are Late Plato, after he came into his own voice, as it were, and stopped riding Socrates coattails (as much).
        Aristotle, imo, is a much more practical body of work to study…but I’m partial to the pre-socratics for light reading….Heraclitus, especially.
        (lots of lacunae, tho)
        see: popper’s “Open Society…” for a wonderful takedown of Plato…I read it over time, in the car, while taking mom to doctor’s appointments and such. people looked at me funny, laughing uproariously all by myself.

        Reply
      4. ChiGal in Carolina

        on my high school copy of the Republic an enormous voice bubble emanates from his mouth and the word logorrhea is written in large letters along the side

        agree completely about his elitist philosopher king blather. Aristotle is much better.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          “Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.”

          Reply
      5. anonymous

        —“I find it alarming that The Republic (Plato) is so high on the list, because I consider it both a terrible example of philosophy and the founding document of fascism. ”

        Uh. . . The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged both get 4.5 stars on amazon. The General Theory only gets 3.5 stars.

        Ayn Rand has far and away the largest market share of philosophy.

        Re: Allegory of the Cave. There’s a photo, from early 1980’s, where Roy Cohn (Trump’s lawyer and mentor at the time) introduces a very youthful Rupert Murdoch
        to President Ronald Reagan.

        In NYC game theory is the new noblesse oblige.

        Reply
          1. anonymous

            Agreed. Objectivist . . .woke . . .what’s next? But she thought herself one — and she’s high in public consciousness. Saw a list of (links to) Rands book reviews- -unanimous: crank and awful writer. But in the 90s and the ’00s . . . Oracle. Alan Greenspan hung out in her apartment on 36th street every Sunday. After he left the Nixon White House, he took his PhD in economics at NYU. His dissertation has never been published; locked away in a safe( on campus)– not on anyone’s syllabus. Perhaps Tor can take a look.

            Oregoncharles: I always enjoy your.comments — especially those on nature. In 1980 or ’81 I saw a poll: 80% of Democrats favored STRONG environmental regulations; 75% of Republicans favored STRONG environmental regulations. James Watt was Reagan ‘s new Interrior Secretary. The Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act was law. (Which would include pollution control) The Allegory of the Cave has merit.

            The Worldly Philosophers (Heilbroner) — my pick for the Open Syllabus.
            Have Zinser’s “On Writing Well” daily must read for me .

            Reply
      6. witters

        You fell for the Cold War reading of Plato – beloved of the neoliberal great, Karl Popper, among others. Try again, and try and open yourself to Plato’s obvious ironies. I could cite myself on this (forthcoming), but I’m sure that would kick in too much resistance.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i got around to Popper in my early 40’s, and his general assessment—that the Republic was a recipe for elitist authoritarianism–gelled with my own assessment… from my first reading of the Republic, when i was 15 or so, to the few times ive read it since.
          his hatred of poets especially set my hackles on edge.
          I remember thinking that it was weird that all the wise men i knew were so taken with it…and equated it with Freedom, etc.
          But it turns out that the intellectual Right of the time, to which these “wise men” adhered, were Laconophiles, and that their idea of “freedom” was very different than my own.
          Popper laid out that Laconophilia pretty well, I thought, and i don’t see him as your typical cold warrior, at all.
          The older Plato was derisive of democracy and egalitarianism, and sided with the Oligarchs in the politics of his time.
          It’s too bad that Socrates apparently never wrote anything, himself, and that all we have is Plato, Aristotle and Xenophon(which is in that pile of “to read, finally”, over there.), and to a lesser degree, a few others. It’s also too bad that a certain religious group burned and otherwise lost so many texts from antiquity that perhaps could have shed more light on the “Socratic Problem”.
          Oh well.
          my favorite Plato remains the Symposium, although I’ve ruminated more on the Apology and Parminides as I’ve aged.

          Reply
        2. martell

          I was about to say. I’m pretty sure that scholars of ancient Greek philosophy generally consider Popper’s reading worse than mistaken. More like embarrassingly bad.

          As for the Republic itself, I have to admit that it’s a perplexing work. On the one hand, he paints a very unappealing picture of politics even in the best of all possible feverish societies. It’s so unappealing that I’m inclined to read the Republic as an anti-political work. On the other hand, he does go to an awful lot of trouble to depict that society in detail. Perhaps the whole truth is that he believed both that the contemplative life is best and that philosophers had to run the political show if such a life were to be possible in the midst of rather unreasonable fellow citizens.

          Reply
          1. anonymous

            Thank you. I would never read Plato through Popper.

            I always liked John Rawls. One of Rawls’s successors at Harvard, in this online video lecture, discussed Rawls in such a way that I would never have recognized him from my own understanding of the man.

            And, agree that Plato’s perplexing.
            Who knows what was going on immediately around him w/ the wars and all? But find him very powerful when on the contemplative thought processes. The rest — as with other writers of other times and languages– leave a lot of room.

            Reply
    4. Howard Beale IV

      Ah-yup. At the University of Michigan-Dearborn, you either took Composition 105 and/or Composition 106 in order to graduate.

      Reply
  4. nippersmom

    Excellent response from Castro. I have to admit, he surprised me at the first debate. I thought he was pretty impressive– although I realize debate responses are often not reflective of records (I’m looking at you, Kamala Harris).

    Reply
    1. Brindle

      I was also impressed by Castro from the first debate. I know his record during the Obama administration is not particularly good but am willing to grant the possibility that he has evolved. Keeping an eye on him anyway.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Same here.

        My 10% ex Academic grandma thinks Harris/Castro will be a winning ticket cuz Latinos and Blacks will turn out to vote!

        Ugh why is my family so politically ignorant?!

        Cept my 22 yr old cousin. It took awhile but ive finally weened her off Russiagate and taught her to spot Identity Politics.

        Reply
  5. John k

    Nypd never choked a banker…
    If an officer had done that, he would not now be an officer.
    Granted he wouldn’t be in jail, jury will never convict… certainly not if a banker, half those on the jury might be quite supportive.

    Reply
      1. John k

        We’re talking cops here.
        No ones gonna railroad a cop. Unions are just part of the reason.
        ‘Keeping us safe’.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          If a cop ‘bothers’ a donor of the cop union, he or she will be ‘chastised.’ Got to keep the ‘vig’ coming buddy.

          Reply
  6. antidlc

    Building upon the ACA should not mean creating a glide path to a one-size-fits-all system, which is what the “public option” would do. Americans deserve lower costs, expanded choice and improved access. One-size-fits-all systems like a public option won’t get us there. https://t.co/HwiqK1PLUV

    — Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (@P4AHCF) July 16, 2019
    —————-

    ARGGGH! NO! I don’t want “expanded choice”. I want a SINGLE, COMPREHENSIVE plan.

    “Choice” is what the insurance companies want because they know people will make the wrong choice that will turn out to be expensive.

    Reply
    1. richard

      yeah, “choice’ is the code word for “we still get our cut, right?”
      if a pol speaks that word to you, especially in regard to health care, begin the catcalls immediately.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          Yeah, and they aren’t the ‘cuts’ that get ground up by the Political Sausage Machine.
          Indeed, the choicest ‘cut’ for politicos is at the neck. Madame Dafarge would approve.

          Reply
    2. marym

      https://truthout.org/articles/as-single-payer-gains-traction-industry-launches-attack-ads/

      This election cycle the hub of the single-payer opposition has come mostly in the form of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), a coalition of nearly every major powerful lobby in the private health industry. Among the powerful entities in the coalition are the largest drug, insurance and hospital lobbies in the country, among many others (all large spending lobbyists in their own right). The coalition has one goal: to prevent support for single-payer from emerging into a consensus position for Democrats, despite being so popular with Democratic voters.

      Membership list at link

      Reply
      1. RMO

        I’m currently in southern Alberta ranching country for a birthday and I recognize what that statement from the “Partnership For Americas Health Care Future” is because I see the same thing lying in piles all over the rangeland here.

        Reply
  7. dan Dundee

    This sounds horrible and dystopian. Have readers encountered Ring in the wild?

    The tech itself is pretty cool, but the neighborhood social network Ring users can opt into is a cesspool of paranoid fear of others.

    Reply
    1. fdr-fan

      Yup. I joined NextDoor for a while because it seemed like a good way to stay connected with neighbors. I left because too many people were making false accusations against innocent salesmen and Mormons based on Ring cam paranoia. It’s just like old-fashioned back fence gossip among busybodies, except that the pictures make it possible for law enforcement to pick up the false accusations.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        “Ring cam paranoia…”
        Not a surprising result.

        You’re speaking about it’s divisiveness. Expect it will be a highly promoted product.

        Reply
  8. Jason Boxman

    The Computer Voting Revolution Is Already Crappy, Buggy, and Obsolete: “When underperforming voting equipment in Florida nearly created a constitutional crisis in the 2000 presidential race, officials at least knew what went wrong.”

    Nearly? I’d hate to see what an actual crisis looks like, if the Supreme Court terminating vote counting isn’t a crisis? The Court lost any legitimacy it had that day.

    Reply
      1. Summer

        I caught Tulsi Gabbard’s interview with Bill Mahar. At one point he brought up Russia and protecting voting.
        Gabbard gracefully turned it into an opportunity to bring up paper, hand counted ballots.

        Reply
  9. Mark Gisleson

    Regarding Sanders forwarding money from earlier campaigns, I keep an eye out for this stuff and you rarely see municipalities dragging him through the media for unpaid bills (some police security disputes but all resolved).

    Most Democratic campaigns that fail leave all kinds of unpaid bills in their wake. But if you pay as you go and don’t run your campaign as a cash cow for consultants, you end up with extra money.

    That Bernie consistently runs his campaigns this well really encourages me and makes me think he’s the same guy at home as he is on the campaign trail as he is at work in Congress. I like that.

    Reply
  10. Louis Fyne

    –The 2020 presidential election is poised to have the highest turnout in a century, with the potential to reshape the composition of the electorate in a decisive wa—

    News-analysis-forecasting brought to you from the same folks who foretold the Blue Mega-Tsunami and that Trump is a vain joke using his 2015-6 run as a PR stunt. Just saying.

    Reply
  11. Camp Lo

    When faced with a series of negative outcomes, individuals who indorse bad things for the greater good, will continue to support bad things, sunk costs, as if to dig themselves out of a hole. A confident, “One day this will all pay-off,” starts to sound like a worried, “One day this better pay-off, or I am going to have difficulty living with myself.”

    There WAS an epidemic of suicide based on the wide-spread mistaken belief shared by Germans, that as the Third Reich collapsed, Germans will face apocryphal American and British concentration camps should they surrender. Because as committed Nationalists, we [Deutschland First-ers] sent American GI’s to the camps. Those that embrace radical ideas face an imaginary future of their own creation, far harsher and more deterministic than the strange chaos from which reality precipitates. The vanity project shambles that is the Trump presidency has left, as a result of dexy-fueled incompetency, no illusions on which to cling. Those that did not vote for Trump, have a raison d’etre, at least, until the next election goes sideways. The nature of politics engenders obsessions and compulsions, which present at neurological levels more fundamental than reason, analogous to the herd instincts found within the animal kingdom.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      The nature of politics engenders obsessions and compulsions, which present at neurological levels more fundamental than reason, analogous to the herd instincts found within the animal kingdom.

      My own balance between optimism and pessimism when it comes to our species was well expressed by Lord of the Flies author, William Golding. I’m guessing that this orientation is shared by more than a few others here.

      “Basically I’m an optimist. Intellectually I can see man’s balance is about fifty-fifty, and his chances of blowing himself up are about one to one. I can’t see this any way but intellectually. I’m just emotionally unable to believe that he will do this. This means that I am by nature an optimist and by intellectual conviction a pessimist, I suppose.”

      Reply
    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      And the fact that most people arent taught politics anymore. They mostly rely on positive and negative emotions about politicians.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        You expect Humans to remain logical .. bearing the dryest of humor ?? That’s taking the fun outta life !
        Have you lost your Vulcan mind ??

        No way Dude !

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          To the last ignorant person, we must try!

          Im an eternal optimist after all!

          And Yes, yes i have ;-)

          Reply
    3. ambrit

      The Soviets, exacted a fearsome revenge upon Germany for the savagery of the German’s treatment of Russians during the war. An equal number of Russian prisoners of war were treated as badly as the Jews were. Millions of Russian prisoners in Germany died due to their treatment. The Einsatzgrupen waged genocidal campaigns against Jews and other “undesirables” in the conquered territories. The Russians responded in kind.
      It would be interesting to see a geographical distribution of those post WW-2 German self deaths. Also of interest would be a breakdown of post WW-2 German suicides by gender.
      A feminists view of the subject of rape, which is connected to one aspect of the suicide epidemic after WW-2. She argues that the Western Allies were almost as bad as the Soviets in their abuse of German women.
      Read: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09612029600200111

      Reply
  12. Cal2

    “Measuring illegal immigration: How Pew Research Center counts unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.”

    10.5 Million illegals. Wonder what are their effect on rents and housing availability for citizens, veterans, the homeless and legal immigrants?

    “In 2018, the average household size stood at 2.53 persons per unit”
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/183635/number-of-households-in-the-us/

    10.5 million divided by 2.53 persons per household, means 4.15 million households of illegals, living units not available to Americans, or legal immigrants.

    Assume these are in mostly expensive urban areas. “Housing and affordability crisis” anyone?

    All immigration:
    “This analysis uses 2017 as a starting point and then replicates the Census Bureau’s latest population projections. We then vary the immigration component, something the Bureau does not do, and report its impact on the future size and age composition of the U.S. population. While the Bureau foresees a lower level of future immigration than in its prior estimates, the projections still show that immigration (legal and illegal) will add enormously to the U.S. population.1 This analysis shows that, like prior projections, immigration only modestly increases the share of the population that is of working age.”

    “The Census Bureau projects that future net immigration will total 46 million by 2060 and the total U.S. population will reach 404 million — 79 million larger than in 2017.”

    https://cis.org/Report/Projecting-Impact-Immigration-US-Population

    Reply
    1. False Solace

      Yeah and their employers are American citizens breaking the law and taking jobs from their fellow citizens purely to enrich themselves. The employers are the root cause. It’s like punishing homeless drug addicts while the crack dealers swan around with huge piles of cash creating more addicts and buying up politicians. That’s how we know Trump is full of it. He’s had almost three years to enforce the law and jail the employers but never bothered. His only goal is to stir up controversy among voters to maybe win reelection for himself. That’s his shtick. Anybody who believes him is delusional.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        not just the employers….but US “foreign policy”.
        maybe we should try NOT tearing up all those “shithole countries”, ruining their economies, installing death squads and dictators, and see if that makes a dent in “illegal people” trying to come here.
        it’s worth a shot.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Meanwhile, the WHO has put out an alert re. the new Ebola outbreak that’s occurring in the DRC, possibly making its way into Uganda. The WHO is urging governments to NOT clamp-down on official transportation routes, for fear of spread.
          A repeat of ’14 … ?? or worse. This might have implications where our porous southern border is concerned.

          Reply
      2. Cal2

        No reasonable American could argue with you.
        If Trump were really serious, instead of wall talk, he would issue an executive order, followed by pushing the bill through congress, to make E-Verify mandatory for every employee whose wages and benefits are subtracted from business revenue for tax purposes.

        Reply
    2. a different chris

      Um, chill. The problem with population growth is worldwide capacity, but I’m not concerned if my next door neighbors are Slavs or Vietnamese or…. ok maybe if their family comes from The Hamptons I might be a bit concerned. Workers yes, trust fund babies not so much.

      Anyway: 79 = 404 – 325, right? But if I look up the population of 1978, that is the same period from before today vs after today, I get 325 – 223 = 102 million.

      Which is…hmmm…darn near 1/3 again that projected population growth. That’s raw total, it works out to more as percentage.

      So worry about the planet, for sure. But use math to find the right things to worry about.

      Note: and I skipped the wondering about the “how do they count illegals for godssake” part of your dataset.

      Reply
    3. Summer

      “Assume these are in mostly expensive urban areas. “Housing and affordability crisis” anyone?”

      The housing affordability crisis in cities has as much to do with unaffordable housing that is built and left empty.

      The money is in the detention centers and the Democrats and Republicans help them with this.
      The money will be in holding them in the detention centers as long as possible. Wasn’t there a recent article about three more being built in one state?

      The Dems help this because raids scoop up people and the dollars start ticking in because they can count on the Democrats fighting deportation. Deportation is a problem for refugees (running for their lives) more than the often highlighted “opportunity seeking” immigrant.

      It’s an ultimate “gotcha!”.

      Reply
  13. Wyoming

    Re: the Bitten book.

    This story has already had a book written about it (which has mostly been ignored) that made the case that Lyme disease was the result of DOD bio warfare research on Plum Island.

    Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Germ Laboratory (2004)

    We are our own worst enemies.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      “We”? In what sense is the “Inner Government” which assigned its Paper-Clipped Nazi Scientists to design these diseases any part of “we”?

      There is no “we”. There is only “us” and “them”. And you are either one of “us” or one of “them”. There is no “we”.

      Reply
  14. Lee

    Tech: “Amazon Is Using Prime Day to Lock People into a Giant Surveillance Network” [Vice]

    Ring Security System Report from the Wild:

    Nextdoor is a social networking service for neighborhood members. I checked for local postings regarding Ring systems and found many, mostly positive comments. But then there was this:

    the local run lately of folks stealing the actual Ring cams/doorbells (unmasked and yes recorded!) it shows us that they may not be much of a deterrent.

    Our pit bull Staffordshire Terrier, Lady Barksalot, has for some years now proven to be the only security device we need.

    Reply
  15. Kurtismayfield

    “House orders Pentagon to say if it weaponized ticks and released them”
    Don’t forget that they tried it with mosquitoes before.

    Operation Big Buzz occurred in May 1955 in the U.S. State of Georgia. The operation was a field test designed to determine the feasibility of producing, storing, loading into munitions, and dispersing from aircraft the yellow fever mosquito (though these were not infected for the test) (Aedes aegypti). The second goal of the operation was to determine whether the mosquitoes would survive their dispersion and seek meals on the ground. Around 330,000 uninfected mosquitoes were dropped from aircraft in E14 bombs and dispersed from the ground. In total about one million female mosquitoes were bred for the testing; remaining mosquitoes were used in munitions loading and storage tests.Those mosquitoes that were air-dispersed were dropped from airplanes 300 feet (91 m) above the ground, spreading out on their own and due to the wind.

    Ticks would be more local, and more easily concentrated in an area. If I was tasked with working on an insect dispersal method of disease why not try it?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      The Pentagon already had experience in dropping insects to spread diseases. During the Korean war, they dropped plague-infected fleas on North Korea to spread the disease. I guess that it seemed a good idea at the time but I bet that the North Koreans have never forgotten that. I think that they did something similar with Cuba as well for a while-

      https://medium.com/@jeff_kaye/report-u-s-dropped-plague-infected-fleas-on-north-korea-in-march-1952-66b853f05ada

      Reply
  16. Eduardo

    “How the Democratic Netroots Died” … What happend? Obama happened.

    Well, yeah. But, also Hillary Clinton happened. Along with Bernie Sanders. And Daily Kos did a good job of (partial) self-destruction by stringent support of Clinton and the corporate Democratic line. Banning support of Bernie Sanders. Despite everything, like Clinton’s support of the Iraq War. Daily Kos was founded on opposing the Iraq War. Much of the soul of Daily Kos left.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      Obama broke the brains of supporters and opponents alike. Supporters were dazzled by his superb presentation and thought against all the plainly visible evidence that Obama could do no wrong. Opponents rejected that same presentation for a variety of reasons and thought he was a scary left winger despite all the evidence to the contrary.

      Daily Kos sucked the moment Obama was elected. They became nothing more than a cheerleading section. The same with Josh Marshall, whom I used to read daily. I haven’t read him in years.

      Reply
  17. russell1200

    “All good, but how come we’re rolling out white papers in an election year instead of having already introduced legislation?”

    I have seen a couple of different stories compare her well Sanders (who I am ok with) with regards to proposing and getting action on legislation.

    But the obvious answer is that it is her way to highlight herself in this crowded field and get herself some additional mentions. Is that a bad thing?

    I think Bernie and Warren are being smart by not getting too negative with each other. Obviously at some point, there can only be one winner, but since they don’t apparently overlap as much as you would think in their support, if one or the other can get enough ahead that they can get the other’s (sincere) endorsement, it would go a long way toward getting past Biden or Harris.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      Bernie is about expanding the electorate. Warren is about winning the meritocratic 10 percent Democratic base. They are impressed by position papers. Most of the working class aren’t.

      Reply
  18. Tom Stone

    I took a moment to think of Eric Garner’s killing which certainly amounted to Manslaughter if not Murder in the Second Degree.
    By a Cop.
    Who was never charged with any crime.
    BAU.
    The LA Ties has been covering the persistent problem of Gangs within the LA Sherriff’s Department for some years…
    BAU
    Reminders that while the motto on the side of a police car might read “To protect and serve”, the job of every police force is to maintain public order.
    Which can be more accurately be described as “Keeping the rabble in line”.
    By whatever means necessary.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      What if Pantaleo were to receive and eat a polonium 210 donut from a totally untraceable source? Would the next Pantaleo-wannabe be so quick to thrill-kill a target?

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Said ‘Deadly Donut’ has to be both highly visible in it’s effects, but also promoted as but one of a potential series of Putrescence Producing Pastries.
        That tactic is properly called a form of terrorism. It’s purpose is to spread fear, and thus influence behaviour.
        Besides, Polonium is hard to acquire. It has a relatively short half life, and needs a working reactor to produce. As far as anyone knows, it is only made now in Russia. So, we have a ready made ‘RussiaRussiaRussia’ propaganda trigger event. I’m guessing that Uncle Vlad would not look too kindly on being dragged into the American socio-political struggle. He has his own country to worry about.
        Polonium wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Alexander_Litvinenko#Sources_and_production_of_polonium
        Probably better to utilize some of that ‘missing’ radioactive material native to America.
        A little strident, but interesting on ‘lost’ nuclear materials: http://www.tmia.com/content/lost-and-stolen-nuclear-materials-united-states

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        He’s already had his innings. Now it has to be; “Triumph of the Hillz.”
        And no, it is not too Godwin.

        Reply
    1. Geo

      Pretty sure the Epstein news is the nail in the coffin for the Clintons. Having to explain a convicted abuser’s known henchwoman as a guest at their daughter’s wedding is not something I think she’d be able to answer in a debate or media interview. It’s one thing to stand by her man after an affair. A while other after 20+ trips on the Lolita express, palling around with Weinstein, that Burns Strider “spiritual advisor” she protected and is still close with, and more.

      It’s be wonderful to live in a country that could be outraged by all the other sins of the Clintons but if it takes the fact that Hillary’s circle has been a swarm of sexual predators to force them into political irrelevancy that will have to do.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It won’t happen by itself. It will have to be forced to happen. Who will force it to happen?

        It would be nice if it happened to Clintons. It would be even nicer if it took down the reputation of all the Goldman Sachs feminists who supported the Clintons through thick, thin and Epstein . . . and continue to do so unto this very day.

        Reply
      2. a different chris

        >is not something I think she’d be able to answer in a debate or media interview

        Hah, I have the opposite belief — she will be able to give two answers, one a “public” position and one a “private” position. :)

        Reply
      3. sleepy

        I think the Clintons, but certainly not their ideology, are dead with the vast majority of the dem electorate. There are new personalities that are ascendant nowadays.

        I mean, is any dem candidate anywhere calling for either Clinton to show up at a rally in support?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Just wait till the brokered convention. Hillary as a “Unity Candidate” will knock the socks off the Party!
          Hillary/Michelle 2020!
          Because America needs Two Mommies!

          Reply
    2. ChrisPacific

      I read that initially as Hillary making movies. I’m imagining a 4 hour documentary with a big budget, bankrolled by the Clinton Foundation, that is watched repeatedly by a small core of devotees but is otherwise a dud at the box office (because movie audiences are racist and sexist).

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Wait. Didn’t the Scientologists already do that?
        Maybe Clinton can steal the name of that earlier movie too: “Battlefield America.”
        I’m beginning to wonder a bit here. Has Scientology infiltrated the DNC?

        Reply
  19. Jeff W

    …how come we’re rolling out white papers in an election year instead of having already introduced legislation?

    “…in an election year…”

    Well, in the first fundraising quarter, as Benjamin Studebaker has pointed out, Warren really needed money.

    The only way to continue is to get grassroots donors to start helping her, and the only way to get grassroots donors to start helping her is to come out for exciting, zany things. Exciting policies get media attention. If you can’t fund ads, you can at least get the press talking.

    It’s working, at least judging by CNN’s piece about Warren’s “massive” second quarter fund-raising: she came out for impeachment in April (the first major Democratic presidential candidate to do so), a student debt cancellation plan and a plan to protect access to abortion (in late April and late May, respectively), and a “universal childcare calculator” on the last day of May—and raised $19.1 million, over three times more in the second quarter than the first. Does any of it matter in a legislative or policy sense? Who knows and who cares? The money is rolling in. Mission accomplished.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      how much already introduced legislation do we have on anything other than a few things? GND certainly didn’t start out as actual concrete legislation. We have legislation on a few policies but not the full of what we need is my impression. But is the usually the standard?

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        The problem I think is the gun-shy old-line Democrats. Warren et. al. can submit legislation, but it will only pass the House. The Republicans will give surface-plausible reasons for not supporting it, repeated on TV ad-nauseum, and there it will stall out. Then if by some miracle Warren or whoever wins the Presidency, the Pelosi guard will say “no that failed did you see what Chuck Todd said!!” and will never allow it to be submitted.

        Reply
      2. Jeff W

        how much already introduced legislation do we have on anything other than a few things?…But is the usually the standard?

        Those are good questions but it’s a different logical case than what we have here, I think. The starting point isn’t “If there isn’t already-introduced legislation, then…,” it’s “If there’s a ‘roll-out’ of white papers with no already-introduced legislation, then…” what? No one might have “already-introduced legislation” but no one also has this flurry of white papers so it makes sense to ask what exactly they mean.

        And the answer—or Benjamin Studebaker‘s answer, at least—is that the white papers have to do with ginning up the media and, ultimately, Warren’s donors with coughing up a few more bucks, not with any sort of realistic policy or legislation or anything else.

        One could argue, of course, that “white paper rollout + no already-introduced legislation” is better than merely “no already-introduced legislation” but, if, with these white papers, you’re really playing your supporters for credulous, human-ATM dupes, well, I’m not so sure, especially when your whole shtick is protecting people from naively parting with their money. But I will give Warren credit for coming up with a successful fundraising strategy that aligns perfectly with her wonky, technocratic, policy-focused nature so it comes off as plausible rather than phony and clueless, or worse, desperate.

        Reply
  20. Oregoncharles

    “What happend? Obama happened.”
    And similarly for the peace movement, although the first damage was done by the Kerry campaign. The Democratic Party deliberately suppressed the peace movement.

    They are where leftish movements go to die, a graveyard.

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      And, per the Jack Dorsey donation and probable dissemination about Tulsi Gabbard by Twitter, she would make a great V.P. choice for Bernie and IMHO, whip Trump’s butt.

      All the other ‘democrat choices lose to Trump.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Sanders campaign seems to be running a good ground game. The widely dispersed ‘Sanders Supporters’ groups, run almost like Tupperware Parties, are an asset I have seen nowhere else yet. With it’s embracing of the internet, Sanders campaign is also utilizing the ‘networking’ principle.

      Reply
  21. Geo

    Re: 2050 = Bold?

    Incrementalism at its finest. We’re driving off a cliff and they’re more concerned about the risk that turning the vehicle too fast might be uncomfortable and cause some skidding. Much less friction if we turn the wheel while in free fall I guess.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      There is also actually possible. I mean anyone can say without any real plans or thought even, that they are going to do everything by 2025 or something and sound real nice, but it may not actually be feasible and I don’t even mean pleasing to the oligarchs, I mean technically feasible.

      So do we really know what is the most aggressive schedule that can actually be done? What is the benchmark? Because if we don’t have a benchmark to judge things by, 2050 still seems the suck, but we’re flying blind.

      Reply
  22. scarn

    >wsws.org
    >>Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)

    >>> “tankie rhetoric”

    That is a sick burn.

    Reply
    1. richard

      Lambert, could you explain what you meant by “tankie rhetoric”? Is that referencing the anti-fascist tone?

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        perhaps “thinktankspeak”?
        that curious perversion of language that uses many 50 cent words to say very little?

        Reply
        1. CoryP

          Pretty sure “tankie” is a slur for hardcore Stalin apologists. Not sure I get that from their site but I’m not an expert on this.

          Reply
          1. scarn

            wsws.org is run by Trotskyists, who are by definition anti-Stalinist. “Tankie” is a slur for people who would generally defend actually existing historical socialism and it’s repressions, eg Soviet tanks in Hungary in 56 or Prague in 68. Trotskyists would normally strenuously object to being called tankies, as their whole history is opposition to actually existing historical socialist governments. Thus, a sick burn. Lambert delivers them with style: left, right and center!

            Reply
  23. richard

    Hey, for anyone around here interested in potential domestic intelligence f*&^ery, consortium news is reporting malware attacks, right after their premier live stream episode of consortium news live.
    consortium has done a lot of honest reporting about assange and our lovely intelligence agencies. they have also stood out in their advocacy for julian assange. draw your own conclusions

    Reply
  24. Summer

    Re: “The Status Anxiety of Pussyhat Moms” [The American Conservative]

    For all the reverence of STEM type scholarship in the article, exactly how many doctors and scientists are needed in each field? Never get any metrics on that. Crickets. This is supposed to be the era of big data. C’mon. Some figures. Coming up with numbers for this should be easier than “machine learning.”

    Good points about entitlement. Bad points about the solutions.

    Reply
    1. ChrisPacific

      I enjoyed it and it made some good points, but I found it a bit heavy on the snark and defense of the meritocracy:

      Connections or not, talent usually wins in the long run, and open doors close for slackers. Nonetheless, for Pussyhat children, cool never has to end. Ten years after Oberlin, Zack is doing sound healing and hot yoga in Brooklyn. Not a problem! For Pussyhat parents with a stoner dud, if it’s avant-garde or artsy, it’s a pass. Amanda announces she’s a pet psychic and no one blinks. She’s pushing equestrian therapy for autistic kids, and her live-in boyfriend is making artisanal gelato. Far out! (It’s considered bad form to ask: who’s paying for this folly?)

      Oh no! Children with rock solid safety nets from inherited wealth are opting out of the capitalist rat race and finding fulfilment in creative pursuits! They must be taught to feel shame and fear the abyss, like their less-privileged counterparts! The relentless growth engine of global capitalism has no off-ramps!

      I know a number of people like this, who are free of the need to provide for themselves financially for various reasons and have ended up kicking around semi-aimlessly or with ambitious creative projects for years or decades. Some of them eventually went on to produce something great. Some didn’t. Would the world have been better off if they’d all been doctors and lawyers and accountants? I’m not sure. Personally I think the bigger tragedy is that more people aren’t free to live this way. Somewhere out there, this generation’s Mozart or Tolkien or Springsteen is working as a financial analyst or driving for Uber, either because they have no alternative or believe it’s what they need to do to find meaning in life (or both).

      Reply
  25. Darius

    Elon Musk is following in the footsteps of a 50-year old movie The President’s Analyst with James Coburn and Pat Harrington. The Phone Company wanted to implant chips in everyone’s head. It was an evil plot. I’ve been anticipating this day for 50 years.

    Reply
    1. Whoamolly

      When I listened to Musk on the Joe Rogan show, I thought he actually made a good case for a brain to computer interface. He sees it as a bandwidth increase. Right now, bandwidth is very slow–reading speed–and he wants to increase it many-fold.

      The first people with successful implants will have (brain) processing power orders of magnitude above the non-implanted. That insures that it will be done widely, providing it’s safe.

      Whether this happens in 2022 or 2052 or 2122 is another question. Right now it sounds like crazy talk. But then, think of the reaction if you told someone in 1918 that airplanes would circle the globe and fly at the speed of sound. Crazy talk!

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        We are talking about the ability to control peoples brains with computer chips here, right? There’s going to be code in those chips. Someone is going to write that code.

        Crazy talk is comparing that to airplanes flying around the world if you ask me.

        Reply
      2. RMO

        “providing it’s safe”

        There were people in 1918 predicting that aeroplanes would circle the globe and who were steadily doing what was needed to make it happen. The people you can find in that history were obsessed with flight and/or trying to get in early on making a viable commercial operation out of it by being able to safely carry passengers and post by air. The people in charge of rolling out a direct brain-computer interface to the public (if the engineers and scientists succeed) seem to mostly be interested in exploiting and controlling everyone and everything they can. If it is feasible I predict a different outcome – one more like the passenger space travel breakthrough in “The Marching Morons” (a deeply repugnant story by the way but it seems our current upper 10% behave as if they hold with it’s central world view)

        Reply
    2. Ultrapope

      There are a multitude of questions persons with much more knowledge about brain computer interfaces than I could ask about this thing, but just looking at the picture, I can tell you that Neuralink is probably a little less sophisticated than whatever they imagined 50 years ago in The President’s Analyst. Just the size of it begs questions not only about what they even hope to record with this thing, but also how they would get this thing into someones brain without causing massive damage to the underlying neural tissue.

      In my personal opinion, it would probably be more appropriate to put that link under the Bezzle than News of the Wired…

      Reply
  26. Chris

    Re: Health Savings Accounts

    That’s been our family’s luck. We had a run if several years where everyone was healthy and our kids were doing great. Both myself and my wife had an option to use a high deductible plan where our employers would contribute to our HSA and we could put extra money away too. Last year, we had an option to go on a better plan that was not high deductible, which means we lose the ability to contribute to our HSA, but we can still spend the money from it. From what I’ve heard, there’s lots of people in our situation. Those who were fortunate for years and worked themselves into a position with an employer who gives generous benefits, and now has a cushion against anything bad happening. It’s one more way the rich pull away from the poor.

    Reply
  27. Fern

    Warren hasn’t discussed her “plan” regarding her foreign policy appointees, but she gave a big hint, and it doesn’t look good. Progressives should start to pressure her to come clean on this.

    Warren apparently paid for me to see her Facebook news feed post about “gender parity” in our “national security institutions”, featuring a big picture of Michelle Flournoy and a link to an article which describes Flournoy as “the likely nominee for defense secretary in the next Democratic administration”. Michelle Flournoy is a hawk. She supported the war in Iraq and the “no fly” zone in Syria.

    Given this and the fact that one of her two announced foreign policy advisers was an Ash Carter deputy, it looks as if Warren would hand over foreign policy to the hawkish establishment. Ash Carter, Obama’s Secretary of Defense, is so hawkish that he once advocated bombing North Korea. Warren’s foreign policy signalling probably accounts for some of her newfound support from some neoconservative quarters.

    Here’s a link to Warren’s Facebook post featuring Michelle Flournoy and another link to a 2014 article describing how hawkish Ash Carter is. And a final link to a column by the neoconservative Jennifer Rubin, published just last week, enthusing about Elizabeth Warren.

    https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethWarren/posts/10156621781183687

    https://www.salon.com/2014/12/03/likely_nominee_for_defense_secretary_looks_like_a_hawk/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/08/tremendous-quarter-elizabeth-warren/?utm_term=.815a8bf5a120

    Reply
    1. Edward

      Warren has pandered to Israel. I think her record as senator has been somewhat feckless; she tends to be a “weathervane” politician who says what is expedient. I have been hoping that with experience she will grow a spine, but it doesn’t sound like there is evidence for this in her foreign policy.

      Reply
  28. Carey

    Local is Our Future, by Helena Norberg-Hodge:

    “..These localization initiatives emphatically demonstrate that human nature is not the problem – on the contrary, it is the inhuman scale of a techno-economic monoculture that has infiltrated and manipulated our desires and our needs. This understanding is reinforced by observing what happens when people come back into contact with human-scale structures; I have seen prisoners transformed, delinquent teenagers given meaning and purpose, depression healed, and social, ethnic and intergenerational rifts bridged..”

    https://www.localfutures.org/local-is-our-future/

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      That Sanders is staking out big ideas on the left and minimizing his record as an effective legislator who can work across the aisle to get things done is consistent with the idea that Sanders’s real goal is not to win, but to move the Overton window.

      Reply
    2. dk

      Sanders is also short on surrogates, who usually do this kind of promotion (in the ordinary campaign model). Bernie himself feels … undignified about aggressive self-promotion.

      Reply
      1. richard

        good point
        and since those kinds of promotions come almost exclusively from the professional class, that situation isn’t likely to improve – the “this guy is sharp and competent” sort of pieces, ugh, but i bet there’s a population that eats that sort of stuff up
        sanders has done quite a bit just with the amendments he’s been able to tack on to legislation, and the yemen resolution, and plenty else. There is enough achievement there to answer the inevitable establishment lib question (their meritocratic gotchya, they think) “but what have you ever done?”
        but this isn’t the class he’s primarily addressing at the moment
        i love his strategy, personally

        Reply
  29. marym

    Business Insider 07/17/2019

    Supporters of President Donald Trump chanted “send her back” at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, in reference to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

    Trump paused and looked on, issuing no rebuke to the crowd.

    Reply
  30. Edward

    Barney Frank is discredited by the Dodd-Frank legislation. If politicians like Frank can’t even shape up their act in the face of a catastrophe of the magnitude of the 2008 crash they deserve ignominy. His payoff for that corruption was probably a job for his partner.

    Reply
  31. Lee Christmas

    “Amazon Is Using Prime Day to Lock People into a Giant Surveillance Network”

    Drivers delivering for Amazon in their crucial last mile including, self-employed drivers in their own cars using in the Amazon Flex program, sub-contracted van drivers through independent Delivery Service Provider (DSP), and now directly employed by Amazon through its FASC program, are asked to share their driver’s license photographs with customers in an effort to increase “safety.” (See Ice-T threatens to shoot unmarked Amazon delivery driver)

    Amazon then uses their network of Ring Doorbells and cameras to match these DL photos to the delivery person, training their Rings in facial recogntion to then sell the underlying technology to Federal Agencies such as I.C.E. (See The Intercepts reporting on human beings training Ring’s object recognition tech)

    The irony is that many of these delivery drivers are immigrants, working from the same pool of people most on-demand platforms tap, but are essentially being used to build software that will target them and their brethren.

    Reply
    1. Paul O

      It is going to be very interesting. Well, to that diminishing part of me that can still separate itself from the horror of it all. As a dyed in the wool Tory basher of some pedigree I can at least anticipate some moments of delicious schadenfreude. But then there is the whole really-existing reality of the thing.

      I have found Fintan O’Toole rather illuminating but not yet cathartic over the last couple of days;

      https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/42267247-heroic-failure

      Reply

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