2:00PM Water Cooler 7/22/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, this is a temporarily shortened Water Cooler until I finish a post on fascism. Then I will return with more. –lambert UPDATE All done!


“China’s war chest of rare earth patents give an insight into total domination of the industry” [South China Morning Post]. “China is strengthening its grip on the rare earths supply chain and could use its dominant position as a bargaining chip in its trade war with the US. China has been investing heavily on facilities to do the bulk of the dirty and environmentally damaging mining and ore processing work for the world, systematically turning its know-how and methodologies into patents that could give it a competitive edge against its rivals… Meanwhile, US government reports have noted that it would take years for the US to build enough domestic processing capacity to match China’s.” As Michael Hudson wrote at NC yesterday:

[T]he trade balance is not simply a matter of comparative international price levels. The United States has dissipated its supply of spare manufacturing capacity and local suppliers of parts and materials, while much of its industrial engineering and skilled manufacturing labor has retired. An immense shortfall must be filled by new capital investment, education and public infrastructure, whose charges are far above those of other economics.

Thanks, neoliberals!


“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 17: Biden still climbing at 28.4% (27.8), Sanders still steady at 15.0% (15.0%), Warren down sharply at 14.6% (15.0%), Buttigieg steady at 4.8% (4.8%), Harris losing her post-debate bump 12.6% (13.4%), others Brownian motion. Polls still as of July 17.

* * *


Harris (D)(1): “Kamala Harris joins Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande for fundraiser hosted by Scooter Braun at his $20M LA compound – prompting Taylor Swift fans to attack Democratic hopeful” [Daily Mail]. “Kamala Harris added some major star power to her campaign on Saturday night at a fundraising event in Los Angeles…. The cozy gathering took place at the $20 million compound of starmaker Scooter Braun, who has helped guide the careers of A-listers including Justin Bieber, Kanye West and supermodel Karlie Kloss. … Fans of Swift have been upset with Braun ever since the Grammy winner attacked him on Tumblr following his purchase of her entire music catalogue. And now, they are upset with Harris for attending a fundraiser hosted by Braun. ‘If @KamalaHarris thinks this will get her votes she is delusional and @scooterbraun is a thief who uses these women to advance his bank account just like Kamala used a man to advance her career,’ wrote one Swift supporter. And another spelled out Harris’ inevitable doom, stating: ‘please don’t do a fundraiser with @scooterbraun you will lose a lot of votes to @ewarren I want to support you but cannot if you associate with a bully and misogynist @taylornation13 why don’t you reach out to her instead!'”

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders makes my skin crawl.” They really do hate him:

Must be listened to, to be believed.

Sanders (D)(2): Same:

Sanders (D)(3): “Sanders Tops Democrats’ List of Most Liked 2020 Candidates: Gallup” [Newsweek]. “Out of 10 candidates ranked in the poll, Gallup found that Democrats had the most favorable opinion of Sanders, with 72 percent of respondents indicating a favorable view of the senator. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been leading every national poll of the 2020 roster, earned the second-highest favorable rating from Democrats, at 69 percent…. Gallup wrote that, as it has periodically measured Democrats’ favorability ratings over the course of 2019, ‘the only notable change has been a decline in Biden’s favorable score,’ a pattern observed ‘among Democrats as well as U.S. adults overall.'”

Trump (R)(1): “Paralyzed by the God Emperor: As Democrats dither and bicker, the media gets punk’d again” [Salon]. “Donald Trump is not actually a Machiavellian political mastermind, whatever his supporters and many of his supposed enemies may believe. But he has a salesman’s cunning for identifying the weak spots and vulnerabilities of his marks, and is an expert bullshitter and gaslighter. That leaves his opponents confused and cautious amid his blitzkrieg of lies, as well as understandably fearful that whatever path they choose will end by leading them straight into Trump’s chasm. But every fear hides a wish, as a character in David Mamet’s play ‘Edmond’ puts it, and the Democratic Party’s fears of division and self-destruction have a noteworthy tendency to become reality.”

Trump (R)(2): “White Supremacists Warn Idealistic Trump Some Compromise Will Be Necessary To Achieve Their Goals” [The Onion]. “Stormfront spokesperson Marshall Riley [claimed] Trump’s fiery rhetoric and refusal to find common ground threatens to alienate the moderates who white supremacists rely on to advance their agenda.”

Warren: “Elizabeth Warren and Ashlee Marie Preston on Making Policy Intersectional” [Paper]. “In an interview with PAPER, Warren shared, “We need to build a lasting foundation for LGBTQ+ rights until each and every person feels safe to be who they are and to love who they love. As president, I would fight to extend protections for LGBTQ+ Americans, particularly transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, who continue to face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and health care”…. It’s Warren’s understanding of these issues that perhaps matters most to activists like [political commentator and trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston] who support her candidacy. “I needed to know that candidates had a firm understanding of intersectionality,” Preston clarifies.” • Despite the headline, Warren herself doesn’t use the word “intersectionality.” Preston projects that onto her.

* * *

“Sanders and Warren have a similar message, but they’re battling different weaknesses” [WaPo]. “Their trips highlighted that Warren and Sanders are betting their candidacies on divergent strategies, and they believe they can grow in different areas. Warren, faced with questions of electability, is trying to show her message appeals in unlikely places. Sanders, meanwhile, is fishing for votes among older Iowans more likely to support former vice president Joe Biden.” • Note the final paragraph: “Pocahontas” has national recognition.


Pelosi on governing:

“Top 4 Ways the Squad of young Congresswomen represent more Americans than Trump” [Informed Comment]. “If you look at that kind of identity politics, the Squad constituencies are similar in size to Trump’s core of evangelicals and the upper middle class and the rich. But the parents of these women were blue collar or service workers, and that is the real point. That’s 85% of the country. That is what this is really about. If they unite workers across race, the Squad could deprive Trump of one of his constituencies. Only 14% of blue collar workers who voted for Obama switched and voted for Trump. He promised them health care and better jobs. He hasn’t delivered. The Squad is appealing to them.” • Hopefully. The numbers are there, but the message needs to be delivered. (Note that the “voices” of the various identities have no incentive to deliver that larger, universal message at all. That’s why identity politics is all about allyship, as if the various identity siloes were sovereigns, and not solidarity.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Think Republicans are disconnected from reality? It’s even worse among liberals” [Guardian]. “In a surprising new national survey, members of each major American political party were asked what they imagined to be the beliefs held by members of the other. The survey asked Democrats: “How many Republicans believe that racism is still a problem in America today?” Democrats guessed 50%. It’s actually 79%. The survey asked Republicans how many Democrats believe “most police are bad people”. Republicans estimated half; it’s really 15%…. what’s startling is the further finding that higher education does not improve a person’s perceptions – and sometimes even hurts it. In their survey answers, highly educated Republicans were no more accurate in their ideas about Democratic opinion than poorly educated Republicans. For Democrats, the education effect was even worse: the more educated a Democrat is, according to the study, the less he or she understands the Republican worldview.”

“In key Senate races, Democrats buck leftward tilt on issues” [Associated Press]. “Democrats need to gain at least three seats next year to capture the Senate majority, and the map is an uphill climb. GOP seats are at stake in 22 states, but Trump carried 20. The argument is over whether the better approach is bold liberalism or cautious centrism. In some contested states, if the leftward presidential tilt continues, the party’s nominee and Senate candidates could wind up contradicting on almost every major issue, from immigration and race to health care and education. Democratic consultants say that’s not a problem now: most voters at this stage are only broadly listening to whether candidates are on the same team.” • Democratic consulants like the five who run the DNC?

“John Nichols: It was not a dream, it was Wisconsin” [The Cap Times]. “The book, as readers of this newspaper are well aware, is a memoir and a history that reflects on the journey of David’s father, Elliott Maraniss, from 1930s radical to 1950s target of anti-communist zealots to his distinguished tenure at The Capital Times — where in the late 1970s and early 1980s he served as the editor…. “Elliott’s wanderings take him to an Iowa newspaper that grew out of a strike by union typographers. Later, he sees his revered new publisher, William T. Evjue of The Capital Times, in Madison, talking and laughing in his office with Carl Sandburg and Frank Lloyd Wright. Did we ever live in such an America? Did we just dream it?’ Of course, it existed. I grew up in it.” • Sigh…

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, June 2019: “Judging by the national activity index, a Federal Reserve rate cut not would seem to pose much risk of economic overheating” [Econoday]. “This index is a giant cocktail of 85 different indicators with June so far including 51, yet the trend all year has been flat to negative.”

Housing: “Almost 40% of U.S. Homes Are ‘Free and Clear’ of a Mortgage” [Bloomberg]. “About 37% of U.S. households are “free and clear,” meaning they no longer have a home mortgage to pay, according to a Zillow data analysis. This number ticked upward after the Great Recession and over the past 10 years the share of homeowners paying off their mortgages has risen 5.5 percentage points… Mortgage characteristics vary by state and those with lower housing prices typically have higher rates of fully-paid mortgages. In 2017, the most recent available data, West Virginia had the highest share of “free and clear” ownership at 54%. Maryland and the District of Columbia were on the other end of the spectrum with rates of 27% and 24%, respectively.”

Retail: “How China’s Simi Mobile is conquering Africa, one country at a time” [South China Morning Post]. “In 2013 Chow established his new business in the northern African country, where he began importing and selling semi-knocked down (SKD) kits for smartphones. When the government introduced a rule restricting the sale of imported phones, Chow turned a potential set back into an opportunity…. Chow’s decision to establish a local factory in Ethiopia came around the same time that smartphone consumption was exploding in China, with domestic brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Huawei starting to dominate the market…. The decision by the Ethiopian government effectively blocked the hundreds of cheap Chinese-made knock-off phone brands that were eyeing the same market as Chow, enabling Simi to compete with fewer rivals by selling products produced by its own factory.” • So tariffs work, then? At least for Third World countries like our own?

Retail: “Due To A Poor Harvest Season, We Are Experiencing Shortages On Many Of Our Canned Vegetable Items” [Economic Collapse]. • Signage from Krogerts and Walmart; no mainstream coverage. I went looking for this after seeing this week’s Rapture Index; readers, have you seen similar?

The Bezzle: “Tesla Enters ‘Whistleblower Hell’ [The Drive]. “In light of [Tesla whistleblower Karl Hansen’s] disclosures of investigations on behalf of other whistleblowers, still more such lawsuits seem likely to surface. Indeed, recent years have brought an exponential increase not just in auto production but in legal filings against Musk, Tesla and its solar division, formerly called SolarCity. … Hansen, a former Senior Investigator for the Federal Maritime Commission, states that he continues to provide investigative assistance to former colleagues, meaning that “whistleblower hell” may soon join “production hell” and “service hell” in the Tesla lexicon — not just in reference to allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers, but in a ramp of whistleblower claims against the company.”

The Bezzle: “Elon Musk Wants to Read Your Brain” [OneZero]. “Eventually, Musk sees a future in which anyone could opt in to getting one of these interfaces and achieve what he calls a ‘symbiosis with artificial intelligence.’ Musk envisions an elective brain surgery that would be minimally invasive and take just a few hours, similar to a modern LASIK procedure. With such an interface, he says people will ‘have the option of merging with A.I.’ — an area of particular interest for Musk, who has warned about the existential threat that ever more powerful A.I. could eventually pose to humanity.” • Symbiosis is an interaction between organisms, so, creepy, dude. More: “While Musk focused on future use of the interface technology in human beings — and claims that the first human subjects could be part of a trial by the end of 2020 — the white paper the company released on Wednesday describes a small study in rats. In 19 surgeries, the robot was able to successfully place the threads 87% of the time in the rats’ brains.” • n=19. Really, Elon?

The Bezzle: “This Bill Could Destroy Uber’s Unsustainable Business Model” [Vice]. “Last week, the California Senate’s Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee held a hearing and passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which promises to make it harder for companies to claim workers are independent contractors and increase the operating expenses of Uber, Lyft, and other on-demand companies that already find themselves unable to turn a profit.” • Lol, “find themselves unable.”

Transportation: “Can We Use Special Sails To Bring Old Satellites Back Down To Earth?” [Universe Today]. “[E]very satellite has a shelf-life. What do we do with them when they’ve outlived their usefulness and devolve into simple, troublesome space debris? There are already almost 5,000 satellites orbiting Earth, and many of them are non-functioning space debris now, clogging up orbital paths for newer satellites…. There’s no shortage of potential solutions to this problem. Some exotic-sounding solutions involve harpoons, nets, magnets, even lasers. Now NASA has Purdue University-related startup Vestigo Aerospace money for a six month study that looks at using drag sails to de-orbit space junk, including satellites, spent rocket boosters, and other debris, safely…. [D]rag sails are designed to be built into a satellite and deployed at the end of their useful life.”

* * *

Isn’t a capitalist economy supposed to reinvest its capital? What am I missing?

Rapture Index: Closes up one on food supply. “Large food chains have posted notices that warn of a shortfall in canned vegetables.” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

“Farmers Earn More From YouTube Than Their Crops” [Bloomberg]. • Interesting, but the headline is hype. The article give just a few examples, and YouTube is a long-tail phenomenon.

“Plant Parenthood” [The Baffler]. “Until I got into houseplants, my idea was that plants were best left in the wild, with our roles in their lives restricted to being good-hearted environmental stewards and reverent observers. Now, I have twenty-five houseplants, and despite some encounters with spider mites and clumsy repottings, they are all thriving. This isn’t because I followed a specific, top-secret recipe for plant success or because I have some kind of natural gift, a green thumb, if you will. It’s because I haven’t been consumed by the dreaded expectations of so-called ‘houseplant culture,’ which are fueled almost wholly by Instagram.”

Health Care

“More ACOs Taking Accountability Under MSSP Through ‘Pathways To Success'” [Seema Verma, Health Affairs]. “Accountable Care Organizations or “ACOs” represent one of the first and most widespread efforts to make this vision of value-based care a reality. ACOs are groups of health care providers that take responsibility for the total cost and quality of care for patients, and in exchange they can receive a portion of the savings they generate. Many providers view participating in an ACO as an opportunity to deliver better care in a more coordinated fashion…. I am especially encouraged to see that an increasing fraction of ACOs are taking on real accountability. Forty-eight percent of ACOs starting on July 1, 2019 are taking on risk for spending increases above their cost target; If they exceed this target, they will be on the hook to pay back to CMS up to at least 2 percent of their revenue or 1 percent of their cost target, and as noted below most of these ACOs will put at risk significantly greater amounts.” • Why am I thinking it won’t really be the ACO that ends up bearing the risk?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“‘I Beat That N***r Like He Owed Me Money’: New Jersey Cop Faces Up to 40 Years for Federal Charges Including Using Excessive Force” [Atlanta Black Star]. “On the false police report charge, Toledo, 30, would work with fellow [Paterson, NJ] officers Matthew Torres, Eudy Ramos, Daniel Pent and Jonathan Bustios — who have also been charged in the probe along with two other officers not involved with Toledo — to stop and search vehicles without justification. The officers would loot the vehicles of valuables and cash, splitting it among themselves. And stealing money wasn’t just reserved for traffic stops. The newspaper also reported they’d stop and frisk people on the street and steal their money.” • So law enforcement for profit goes freelance.

Class Warfare

“Black Metal For The Oppressed” [Protean]. “Dawn Ray’d, a Terrorfest headliner, were soon joined by vocally antifascist bands like Closet Witch, Cloud Rat, Dead to a Dying World, and Despise You—all defying a persistent stereotype that casts black metal as a cesspool of reactionary white nationalist mysticism…. The media’s portrayal of metal only fueled the inferno of controversy, as metal fans and the media alike loved the idea that a musical genre might grow so powerful and pernicious that it could corrupt an entire generation. In part, this narrative helped to foster the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s and 1990s, where bogus stories of Satanic cults and ritual abuse led to an obsession with “subliminal messages” ostensibly found hidden in popular songs, metal and otherwise. The eventual upshot of this hysteria was debacles like the case of the “West Memphis Three,” wherein three teenagers were convicted of murdering three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas primarily because they wore Metallica t-shirts and were too poor to afford a superstar defense… Metal has expanded in recent years as antifascist and leftist revolutionary bands have entered the fold, building a loose community of tours, labels, festivals, and publications for a metal fandom hostile to far-right shock jocks.”

“The New Imperialist Structure” [Monthly Review]. “Contemporary capitalism is a capitalism of generalized monopolies. What I mean by that is that monopolies no longer form islands (important as they may be) in an ocean of corporations that are not monopolies—and consequently are relatively autonomous—but an integrated system, and consequently now tightly control all productive systems. Small and medium-sized companies, and even large ones that are not themselves formally owned by the oligopolies, are enclosed in networks of control established by the monopolies upstream and downstream. Consequently, their margin of autonomy has shrunk considerably. These production units have become subcontractors for the monopolies. This system of generalized monopolies is the result of a new stage in the centralization of capital in the countries of the triad that developed in the 1980s and ’90s. Simultaneously, these generalized monopolies dominate the world economy.” • Try this if you like your whiskey neat. Gets prolix toward the end, though. Schematic, too.

“The role of early career supports, continuous professional development, and learning communities in the teacher shortage” [Economic Policy Institute]. “The teacher shortage—the gap between the number of qualified teachers needed in the nation’s K–12 schools and the number available for hire in a given year—is an increasingly recognized but still poorly understood crisis. The shortage is discussed by the media and policymakers, and researchers have estimated its size (about 110,000 teachers short in the 2017–2018 school year, according to Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, and Carver-Thomas [2016]) and even quantified part of its cost. The shortage constitutes a crisis because of its negative effects on students, teachers, and the education system at large.” • It’s not a shortage if you don’t think the working class should be educated.

News of the Wired

“The plan to mine the world’s research papers” [Nature]. “Carl Malamud is on a crusade to liberate information locked up behind paywalls — and his campaigns have scored many victories. He has spent decades publishing copyrighted legal documents, from building codes to court records, and then arguing that such texts represent public-domain law that ought to be available to any citizen online. Sometimes, he has won those arguments in court. Now, the 60-year-old American technologist is turning his sights on a new objective: freeing paywalled scientific literature. And he thinks he has a legal way to do it. Over the past year, Malamud has — without asking publishers — teamed up with Indian researchers to build a gigantic store of text and images extracted from 73 million journal articles dating from 1847 up to the present day…. No one will be allowed to read or download work from the repository, because that would breach publishers’ copyright. Instead, Malamud envisages, researchers could crawl over its text and data with computer software, scanning through the world’s scientific literature to pull out insights without actually reading the text.” • That’s quite a workaround…

Not quite Jackpot-Ready™:

* * *

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):

Make sure you take care of your pollinators in your garden. Pollinators are a public good.

* * *

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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

    Re: Gallup on Bernie, Biden favorability.

    That data is in line with the Morning Consult numbers that come out roughly each week. Biden’s slow fade is well underway and ongoing.

    That high favorability rating bodes well for future polling for Bernie. His favorability isn’t falling at all. He’s got more upside than media want to acknowledge, even if he’s faded a little in the polls in the last couple of months.

  2. petal

    Saw a Biden sticker on a car for the first time today. Was so shocked I didn’t check which state the car was from(a lot of out-of-staters in town this week).

    1. sleepy

      I live in a small Iowa town of 26,000 and there are two Tulsi billboards up. That’s about it.

        1. petal

          Just saw a big Tulsi one in my apartment complex tonight. I guess things are starting to pick up now.

    2. jrs

      I mostly ONLY see Bernie stickers, not tons but some. I was shocked to see one Harris sticker. I also saw one Warren sticker. The rest: pretty much at nada right now.

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      Saw “Trump 2020” in big white block letters on the rear window of a car near Newburgh NY last night (too far north of NYC to be the suburbs).

      1. tegnost

        Eastern Washington is plastered with trump 2020, it was remarked that there was no mention of a preferred vice president…

    4. JohnnyGL

      First campaign sign I’ve seen so far….one large Tulsi 2020 banner hung from a 2nd floor balcony railing.

      1. nycTerrierist

        I’ve had my Bernie sign up since the day he announced he was running again
        Held onto the one from 2016!

        There are a few Bernie signs in my ‘hood that never came down

        1. Tvc15

          Frequent traveler here to most of the big U.S. cities. In ’15/’16, I’d always report back to my wife bumper stickers or other public political displays. Sanders won hands down everywhere even in some Southern cities like Houston and Atlanta. Never saw anthing for Clinton. One day, probably summer/early fall of ’16 I was sitting in the Newark terminal and a guy wearing a Trump shirt sat next to me…I was shocked that someone would actually wear that in public. My own personal anecdotal polling leads me to agree with all the non-msm reporting about our lack of election integrity.

          Paper ballots counted in public I believe is one of Lambert’s slogans.

        2. o4amuse

          Last week in coastal Oregon someone took the classic Bernie magnet sticker off my car in a parking lot and replaced it with a (pardon my family blog) “Dirty Sanchez” magnet. I threw that one away and have now replaced the Bernie with a new one, and added a Medicare for All and a Tulsi People not Profits.

      2. Swamp Yankee

        Saw a guy shouting and holding a sign today at an intersection right at the Boston metro area-rural New England interface, about 50 miles south of the city.

        Was carrying a sign that said

        It’s What’s For Dinner

        The heavily red coloration of the sign suggested (as did the language) a Trump supporter, but he also seemed a bit sui generis as well. FWIW, this is one of the few places in New England (and perhaps the country) where you have precincts that voted for Trump right on top of precincts that voted for Clinton. A far cry from the geographic segregation between red and blue that has come to characterize much of our electoral landscape.

    5. Geo

      Saw an old “Clinton/Kaine” sticker the other day. Made sure to stay a couple car lengths back from that vehicle. Afraid they might make sudden lurching swerves to avoid all the Russians trying to drive them off the road.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not so far from the truth that. Remember that Clinton staffer that was having a panic attack because her cab driver was Russian?

  3. Dan

    Kamala Harris for The Elitist People

    “Harris got $5,600 from This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman – half for the primary and half for the general election. She got $5,400 from Eva Longoria, and $5,600 from actress-director-writer-producer Elizabeth Banks. She got $2,800 from writer-producer Steve Bing, founder of Shangri-La Entertainment; and $2,800 from producer Mick De Luca. Producer Orly Adelson gave her $2,800; Hannah Minghella, president of TriStar Productions, gave her $1,000, and so did producer Kimberly Steward , while producer Cathy Schulman gave her $500.”

    Don’t forget the Kamala Harris For The “Get Off My Beach!” People

    The remaining 99% of Americans can vote for our best interests with Bernie Sanders.

    Here’s who Trump will have sitting in the front row were he to debate Miz Harris:
    Danielle Bologna


    1. WheresOurTeddy


      I hate that I am aware of that news story and all its absurdity. Seriously though, #TeamTaylor

    2. Plenue

      >This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman

      Ah, This Is Us. A thoroughly shameless and manipulative show that pretends to portray the travails of real, non-idealized Americans, mostly through the ups and downs of people with decidedly non-standard careers and experiences. Who among us can’t relate to the travails of a chiseled, absurdly good looking aspiring actor? Or how about the guy whose estranged father shows up…and the father is gay! I’m sure that’s a very common and relatable life experience! Or my favorite: fat woman who is fat. And she wants to not be fat. That’s literally her entire character.

      I mean, you could actually use the latter to explore things like the phenomenon of food deserts, or how American communities are mostly not designed to be conducive to foot traffic. Do they do any of that? Hahahaha; no.

      It would be very easy to make a show that was actually an honest exploration of the challenges vast numbers of Americans face, but it would be incredibly, genuinely bleak watching. How about a story arc about a character unjustly locked up by Kamala Harris-like DA?

      1. Dan

        How about a segment on a hungry political wanna be that barely graduates from law school, shacks up with a married man 31 years older than her who gives her injections of political capital, who then appoints her to various six figure sinecures that she’s not qualified for?

        “Aside from handing her an expensive BMW, Brown appointed her to two patronage positions in state government that paid handsomely — more than $400,000 over five years. In 1994, she took a six-month leave of absence from her Alameda County [deputy DA] job to join the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Brown then appointed her to the California Medical Assistance Commission, where she served until 1998, attending two meetings a month for a $99,000 annual salary.”

        Then there’s Kamala the Cop, to live down.


          1. Dan

            4/8 to 5/8 East AND West Indian, depending on one Jamaican grandmother.
            The African part is either 1/8 or less. Irish eyes are smiling in the rest.

            She’s the one that constantly brings up race, so it’s only logical to analyze her.

    3. ewmayer

      This Is Us is my liberal-elite TV poster child for Team D’s “all IdPol, all the time” virtue-signaling. Not that I watch NBC for anything other than an occasional “never learn, Dems!” check-in anymore.

    4. a different chris

      Yes the Bologna family murder is an issue that Trump will try to exploit. One of many Harris might well trip over — but she is really good at false fronts, maybe Trump’s equal.

      But do you personally think that “get rid of all immigrants because one murdered somebody” makes any sense at all? That’s like getting rid of everybody from Vermont because Ted Bundy was born there.

  4. shinola

    Yes to this statement about Trump:

    “Donald Trump is not actually a Machiavellian political mastermind, whatever his supporters and many of his supposed enemies may believe. But he has a salesman’s cunning for identifying the weak spots and vulnerabilities of his marks, and is an expert bullshitter and gaslighter.”

    IMO the proper historical figure to use for a Trump comparison is P.T. Barnum.

    1. Wukchumni

      Was re-reading AJP Taylor’s 1961 The Origins of the Second World War and he makes it clear that Adolf ‘s opponents bumbled into making him take advantage of them in the 1930’s, frequenting overestimating the hand he was holding, in one bluff after another that never got called until early September 1939.

  5. WW West

    >Warren: “Elizabeth Warren and Ashlee Marie Preston on Making Policy Intersectional”

    All the Reps have to do to utterly destroy the Dems is to ask their candidate, “What is the definition of a woman?” The party’s intersectionals and rationals are already holding together by only the most fragile of threads. That would be the end.

    1. jrs

      oh yea in the midst of all the problems we have, that’s sure the most relevant thing to vote on, definitely going to vote that as my litmus test. Utterly destroyed, like why would health care even matter compared to issues like that?

  6. Tyrannocaster

    Mimi Rocah’s astounding comments about Sanders resulted in so much pushback (mostly from women) that Rocah locked her Twitter account down. Her surrogates are blaming the terrifying BernieBros. Rocah is worth $5 million; Bernie makes her skin crawl. Those two clauses might be related.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      If Bernie were a woman and/or didn’t rail against the rich I think it’s crawl a little less.
      Rich law professors opinions matter more than little people’s.

      1. Plenue

        I think if Sanders were a woman it would just mean that’s one less thing that could be used as ammunition. The skin would still be crawling, because this is about class, nothing else.

        And even if he were Bernice Anders or whatever, they would just say she was an out of touch privileged white woman, or even dump the sacred cows altogether and contrive some way to attack her femininity. The treatment of ‘The Squad’ has shown that liberals don’t actually value even idpol, when push comes to shove. They literally don’t stand for anything.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Did they support Clinton? Did they vote for Clinton?

          For those who did . . . they stand for Jonestown-level Cult Loyalty to Clinton and eternal revenge on whomever can be falsely blamed for her loss . . . such as Sanders. It isn’t something good to stand for, but it is something.

    2. Carey

      I think Ms. Rocah’s statement is just great; one of the Few showing exactly who they are, and what they stand™ for. Keep talking like that, lady, you’re doing fine..

      1. Charles Leseau

        one of the Few showing exactly who they are, and what they stand™ for

        Did she or they actually point out that she is worth $5 million? It would surprise the hell out of me if they didn’t “sin of omit” that part out.

        (Sorry, I didn’t watch. Weak will about this kind of vile TV rubbish – kind of like I can’t watch slasher movies no matter how ridiculous.)

  7. Grant

    If you look at the comments on Twitter under the Sanders video where the woman talks about her skin crawling (yuk, a person that cares about poor and working people, communities of color and wants to take on powerful private interests that have utterly destroyed the country), I saw a couple comments that I see often. Roughly, why in the world would you vote for Bernie when Warren is an option? What type of person makes such a nonsensical comment like that? Is it an identify first type of thing, an unwillingness to see differences (if there are differences then it should be obvious to a logical person why someone would support one candidate over another)? Are they equally popular? Are they equally strong candidates against Trump? Do they have equally good records of fighting for the right things over the courses of their lives? Have they had equal impacts on politics? How does a person take the time to comment on political issues but then fail to answer their own obvious question?

    I often hear about white male privilege, and it is a thing. I, as a white guy, do benefit from being a white guy in many ways, especially someone lucky enough to get the education I have received. But, it seems those that are economically privileged don’t ever have to recognize or check their damn privilege. Their privilege often makes them really functionally stupid when they comment on politics. Maxwell, who was nodding in approval, is an example of this. She is arrogant and entitled. Because the lives of the poor, working people and communities of color, because those that die and suffer in this economic system or because of this healthcare system are so far from their lived experience, and because they get a large portion of their information (or, in Maxwell’s case, a large portion of their income) from rich liberals that are even more removed from those people, everyone and everything else is an abstraction. They think about and conceptualize politics and economics as you would expect someone in that class and situation to think of and conceptualize politics and economics. They come across as smugnorant. What is more confusing to me is why someone not in that class cares at all about what any of them say about anything.

    1. russell1200

      I am somewhat neutral on Bernie, undecided, but I thought the whole thing was really strange. I have a preference for Warren over Bernie. She seems to be a more effective legislative leader than he is. But that doesn’t mean I would rule him out.

      The only thing about him that comes to mind is that he has something of a New York accent, and some people find that accent to be a bit harsh sounding; But your seriously going to judge a president on that? But it wouldn’t stun me if that is the source of her discomfort. It wouldn’t speak well toward her value as a political commentator though.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “She seems to be a more effective legislative leader than he is. But that doesn’t mean I would rule him out.”

        Bernie is literally referred to as “The Amendment King”. Warren was a republican in the 1990s.

        Accept no imitations.

          1. Procopius

            496 days (I gues it’s 495 now) is a long time. I suppose we’ll find out what that means. When I was a kid we were taught in school that we did not have a capitalist economy, we had a mixed economy because the market was regulated to prevent cheating and fraud. Milton Friedman and Frederik von Hayek changed that, so now we have empirical evidence that unrestrained markets are unsustainable and lead inevitably to cheating and fraud. Professional economists mostly do not seem to have picked up on that.

      2. cuibono

        one would almost think that source of her discomfort is the large paycheck she is getting to express such opinions…

      3. Grant

        It seems that she did more before taking office to impact legislation than anything she has done in office. If she is as serious about change as Bernie is, she will run into the same exact barriers he is running into now, and he seems to have a far better sense of how actual change comes about. We didn’t get any of the structural changes, ever, because some Ivy League wonks got together to create perfect policies that wowed those in power. Social movements threatened and scared those in power, and the wonks were often called in to appease the social movements while leaving the system largely in place. Any structural changes require social movements behind them. Look at what Bernie has done just by supporting movements and using the pressure from below. Since he has emerged, he has had a far greater impact not just on policy discussions on a wide range of issues, but in also getting powerful private interests to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have. Outside of her area of expertise, what impact has she had at all, especially since taking office? Maybe I am missing something.

        I also think it is apples to oranges comparing Warren now to Bernie since he has been in office. The left has only started to emerge in recent years nationally, and he is a big reason why. What were the two parties doing in the 90s and 2000s? Sprinting to the right. Gutting New Deal financial regulations, mass privatizations, passing deals like NAFTA and creating institutions like the WTO, setting up an international economic system that was designed by the rich and corporations to undermined financial, environmental and labor regulatuons, to undermine our democracy, etc. The very things now utterly collapsing. What was Bernie to do when the norm in the more progressive party, I am told, was Clinton and Biden, forget the other party? Simple, rail against the system and those horrible policies and do what he could to make horrible deals less bad. That is where his amendment king title comes in. Kind of different than someone getting elected after those things caused an economic crisis and decades long misery for most workers, the poor and commumities of color. Bernie was fighting against those things as Warren was then voting for Republicans to implement those things.

        I could see Warren being very effective at doing a lot in regards to foreign policy, as she is extremely establishment on that issue. I don’t think her being effective on that issue would be a good thing. I could see her not fighting strongly for single payer, which would have real world implications. I, personally, think that who is going to better challenge Trump should be a factor and I find it hard to believe that she would be better than Bernie in states in the midwest that the Democrats need. I doubly doubt she would be more likely to inspire people that tend to vote in low numbers to actually vote, or would do better with independents. Just my opinion.

        1. russell1200

          “I also think it is apples to oranges comparing Warren now to Bernie since he has been in office. The left has only started to emerge in recent years nationally, and he is a big reason why”

          That is a good point.

          As to it being noted above that she was a Republican at one time, I don’t think that is any more relevant than Sanders being a Trotskyite at one time. They both seem honest enough as politicians go, and if they have moved on, they have moved on.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Did she support Clinton? Did she vote for Clinton?

        Because if she did, there’s the answer right there. But if she didn’t, then all those other hypotheses and theories come into play.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      I know several people who supported Bernie in 2016 who are supporting Warren in 2020 who cannot articulate why. Several of the women (these are former supporters, mind you) dismiss him out of hand because in their mind they now have a female Bernie option who they think is more palatable to the mythical Moderate Republican From The Suburbs Who Can Be Swung. Some unabashedly say they are supporting Warren because of her gender. I am not optimistic.

      It’s like they’d rather lose with the “right” voters than win with the “wrong” ones.

      If you support a candidate for any reason other than policy (i.e. race, gender, age) you are an idiot and I hope you stay home and don’t dilute the vote of people who have it fall to them to be the adults in the room.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’ve heard the argument that younger women know there will be a woman president in their lifetimes, so they don’t feel pressure for this election. Older women, however, don’t know that, so they have to vote for a woman this election. You’d think that Obama would have cured us of voting on ascriptive identity, but apparently not.

        1. petal

          I am seeing this with the older ladies I am friends with. They’ll vote for any female with a D next to her name. They want to see a female president before they die and it’s become an urgent thing. I don’t know if it’s because they’ll feel like they/their generation failed their mission as feminists or if it is something else, and I am too afraid to ask. Fascinating to observe, though.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > They want to see a female president before they die and it’s become an urgent thing.

            Not a lot to do about that (especially since this attitude brought about the Clinton debacle). I wish I knew more about those voters, like income (proxy for class), geography, and so on.

            I wonder if they would be appeased by a female VP?

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If the woman VP candidate were Tulsi Gabbard, they would not be appeased, they would be enraged.

              If Sanders can wrench the nomination away from a hostile Catfood Democrat Party leadership, these women will all vote against Sanders one way or another. If Sanders runs with Gabbard as VP running mate, these women may go so far as to vote for Trump to show the level of their absolute hatred for Sanders-the-antiClinton and Gabbard-the-antiClinton-backer.

        2. Altandmain

          Imagine for a moment if Sarah Palin were a Democrat. I wonder if left with a choice between Sarah Palin and Bernie Sanders, they would go for Palin. I suspect that more than a few would.

          A big issue is that these voters are not voting on policy, a politician’s integrity, or some other rational way to vote. They are voting on identity. Partisans on both sides of the aisle do this.

          I suspect that the only way this will be “cured” among such voters is if a female gets into power and disappoints them or outright betrays them. Certainly, among the African American community, Obama proved a disappointment for them.

          1. John k

            And Hillary wasn’t? So they bought R3?
            It might be quite a few blame Bernie for her loss, in many cases it’s the Hillary supporters now going for warren.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            How many black voters are disappointed in Obama? One in ten? One in a hundred? One in a thousand?

      2. Darthbobber

        A key reason I support Sanders is that unlike any of the alternatives he does not suggest that just electing him is the answer to all your problems. Indeed, he is at pains to say that it isn’t and can’t be. And his time and public profile are often devoted as much to making the connections to the common sources of disparate outrages, or to helping to build a movement that transcends his candidacy, as to the activities more commonly associated with “running for office”.
        Attended the rally when he came here last Friday to lend his support to those opposing the Hahnemann Hospital looting. Didn’t see any of his rivals there. Would have been frankly shocked if I had.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Attended the rally when he came here last Friday to lend his support to those opposing the Hahnemann Hospital looting. Didn’t see any of his rivals there. Would have been frankly shocked if I had.

          Most campaigns would, I think, regard that as a poor investment of their most precious resource, the candidate’s time. But if you want to bring new voters into the system, I think events like that are a good investment. And Sander does them all the time.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Roughly, why in the world would you vote for Bernie when Warren is an option? What type of person makes such a nonsensical comment like that?


      People vote a certain way for many reasons.

      Some logical and rational; other reasons could be as mundane as ‘he sweats too much in that debate.’

      If a peson makes that claim (why vote for X when Y is available), and if I don’t agree, I would not assume it’s nonsensical immediately (even if X seems better to me) but ask them why that is so, first, and not necessarily expecting a logical answer. Maybe Y’s smile is more comforting.

      “You vote and that is it. You don’t have to justify to me why your vote is the correct answer. Is there a correct answer? Is this a test?”

      1. Grant

        It is a rhetorical question though, and I think the person saying that should first look into all their obvious differences before saying that. The unstated assumption there is clearly that there aren’t any large differences (not just on policy, ideology and records but also their effectiveness in the general election) and that Warren is a younger female version of Bernie. So, why go for an older white male who is not tons different on the substance? I do not want to give more credit than people saying that deserve, as it is intellectually lazy and in my experiences it always comes from relatively privelaged white people.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A vote is a vote, and the goal of taking over the D party is to have voters who vote party lines, which perhpas is a form of intellectual laziness.

          They may be the adversaries today (those party line voters), but they could be your friends tomorrow (I think that’s one of the reasons of taking over the D party, among other reasons, instead of starting another party from scratch, though that’s has other challenges).

          I think in general, the trend has been letting people vote – no literacy tests, no logic tests, no reasoning tests, no intellectual laziness tests.

          1. Grant

            You could take over either party, but who is taking it over and with what in mind? If the left wants to take it over, that means a radical restructuring not only internally, who controls it and who it works to empower, but in its relations to affiliated think tanks, workers, private capital, etc. It would require kicking out lots of corrupt and right wing Democrats, creating ideological and policy coherence, and realizing that those people could and often would take themselves and their money to the other party. I am not convinced that a project like that is easier or more likely than forming a third party. It is a massive undertaking. If someone is voting on gender and gender alone, sorry, but that person is either privilaged or selfish, as there are many women in both parties that are paid to put in place policies that are disastrous for working people, the poor, the environment, and our democracy. To think that having a woman sit on top the same inequitable, corrupt and environmentally destructive system is a sign of progress is really off, in my mind. Mia Love is a black woman, and she is a right wing Republican. If it was her or Bernie, I take it those women would be all in on Love’s candidacy? Maybe those people aren’t sociopaths, but functionally, what is the difference?

            I would never call for tests in regards to voting, just getting people to think of the real world impacts of who you give power to. Who supports them, what are their class and ideological biases, who would their policies harm or benefit, do they offer any solutions to our largest problems? If not, why bother voting?

            Maybe those that don’t bother voting are the most logical, if this is where we are as the damn world burns.

  8. Summer

    Re: As Michael Hudson wrote at NC yesterday:

    [T]he trade balance is not simply a matter of comparative international price levels. The United States has dissipated its supply of spare manufacturing capacity and local suppliers of parts and materials, while much of its industrial engineering and skilled manufacturing labor has retired. An immense shortfall must be filled by new capital investment, education and public infrastructure, whose charges are far above those of other economics.

    Thanks, neoliberals!”

    Know that is not happening…stock buy backs for everyone!

    Some guy over in FT from Black Rock wants the ECB to start buying equities of Euro companies – tech companies in particular.
    Stock market looks like a welfare market….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I find this passage from his article to limit MMT:

      The United States is the only nation that can run sustained balance-of-payments deficits without having to sell off its assets or raise interest rates to borrow foreign money. No other national economy in the world can could afford foreign military expenditures on any major scale without losing its exchange value. Without the Treasury-bill standard, the United States would be in this same position along with other nations. That is why Russia, China and other powers that U.S. strategists deem to be strategic rivals and enemies are looking to restore gold’s role as the preferred asset to settle payments imbalances.

      Only one country can sustain balance of payments deficits and still borrow in its own currency, that seems to say.

      All other nations have to run surpluses, or else their monetary sovereignty is impaired.

      That limits how many can enjoy 100% monetary sovereignty, or practice the purest form of MMT of a 100% monetary sovereign.

      Maybe one, two, or a handful of nations?

      Many nations that run deficits would have to borrow foreign money and involuntarily change interest rates, according to passsage.

      1. ewmayer

        “without having to sell off its assets” — I guess most of our manufacturing base and much of our real estate don’t count as “assets” to the person who wrote that. Because given that the Chinese aren’t plowing their trade-surplus dollars into Treasury debt (they have not been net buyers of same for years), those offshored-$ payment imbalances associated with our trade deficits have to come back is *some* form.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Prof. Hudson wrote, and if I have to guess, I think he knows they are assets.

          That is, it’s not that they are not assets, but rather that we don’t HAVE TO sell our real estate (referring to ‘without having to sell off its assets).

          In fact, houses are sought and bought by foreigners, holding dollars, who desire them for location (next to Stanford, for example), education, migration, etc.

          1. ewmayer

            “we don’t HAVE TO” — My point is that our creditors don’t HAVE TO buy our T-debt, either … and if they choose to buy some other, more tangible US-side assets with their $, barring national-security exemptions, we DO have to sell them our stuff. Because if there are large-scale examples of, say, Left Coast realtors saying “sorry, we don’t sell to Chinese”, I certainly haven’t heard of them, and were there any such realtors they would be getting sued for discrimination right quick.

            Again, it’s basic trade maths, as I’m sure Prof. Hudson keenly understands – those trade-surplus-$ gotta come back in *some* form, and if they’re not being recycled to help fund our federal deficits, then *something* is being bought.

      2. Summer

        The USA won’t bomb everybody at the same time.

        For a number of countries, the USA is the perfect cover for their austerity programs.

  9. WheresOurTeddy

    “the more educated a Democrat is, according to the study, the less he or she understands the Republican worldview.”

    Scrolls up to David Sirota tweet, notes Mimi Rocah is a LAW PROFESSOR. SMDH

    1. flora

      Seems the Dem estab and their always handsomely paid consultants like that ignorance. (They aren’t winning many statehouses, either).

      A conservative banker like Simon Johnson – not a leftist in any sense – can more clearly see what’s needed than the Dem estab, imo.

      H/T Jesse:

      ‘The historical evidence is overwhelming. Many societies have done well for a while — until powerful people get out of hand. This is an easy pattern to see at a distance and in other cultures. It is typically much harder to recognize when your own society has an elite less subject to effective constraints and more able to exert power in an abusive fashion. And given the long history of strong institutions in the United States, it appears particularly difficult for some people to acknowledge that we have serious governance issues that need to be addressed.’


      When Nancy Pelosi calls herself ‘left-wing’ I wonder what she thinks she is economically to the left of, by comparison? (Heck, today Richard Nixon would be considered more economically ‘left’ than Pelosi, imo.)

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        All republics that avoid being conquered from without become Oligarchies and are conquered from within. There is nothing exceptional about America in this regard with the possible caveat that we are exceptional in our myopia and denial.

        If Nancy Pelosi is left-wing, I’m Leon Trotsky himself.

        1. flora

          Ha. Pelosi is left-wing as long as it doesn’t involve talking about class or Main Street economics or financial abuse. Here’s one more para from the above Simon Johnson link:

          …, I find one of the greatest elite wealth-making (for themselves) strategies of all time to be underemphasized. Persuade the government to let you build a big bank; take a great deal of risk in that bank (particularly by increasing leverage, i.e., debt relative to equity); pay yourself based on the return on equity, unadjusted for risk; get cash payouts while times are good; and when events turn against you, the central bank can bail you out — and keep you in place because you are regarded as indispensable. This is the history of modern America.

          Pelosi isn’t about to change or rein in any of that, imo.

          1. flora

            Adding: She apparently still doesn’t grasp Obama won in 2008 with a lot of cross-over GOP voters who wanted the Wall St & TBTF banks cleaned up and reined in after wrecking the economy. (Didn’t happen. Obama saved the banks and Wall St., and left Main Street to wither. )

  10. Pelham

    “In their survey answers, highly educated Republicans were no more accurate in their ideas about Democratic opinion than poorly educated Republicans. For Democrats, the education effect was even worse: the more educated a Democrat is, according to the study, the less he or she understands the Republican worldview.”

    1) If a more educated Democrat is so easily deceived on such a basic subject, is he truly better educated?

    2) And let’s just dispense with such phrases as “poorly educated” or “well educated.” For example, look at all the Ivy League grads who have made such a mess of the world. Clearly they didn’t learn much. Higher education in particular appears to be partly a process of indoctrination. Hence the global infestation of austerians in high authority. And people with more education tend to be more certain of their false assumptions than people with less education. Thus more education equals poor education in many cases.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      education is a commodity to be bought and sold; the primary customers for its credentialed gatekeeper sheepskins are the rich, who shape the institution to ensconce themselves in power more fully; is it any wonder that 40 years of the Overton Window being dragged to the right have resulted in an “educated” class that is superior only in its ability to look down its nose at the people they imagine to be their moral inferiors, and propagandize the bright children of non-privilege into joining their neoliberal cult?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Education, today, seems to be about getting the studnet ready to best serve rich corporations.

      “Can you program?”

      “How much revenue can you generate with your credential?”

      In contrast, a student-centered education should

      1. teach the student to see through unheathy diet propaganda so the student is in the best position to take care of him/herself healthwise.

      2. teach the student to how to maintain his/her health.

      3. Learn to match genes to diet.

      4. How to reduce stress (not worrying about where to get basic income would be a big plus).

      5. How to read labels if buying prcoessed foods is necessary.

      6. How to live a happy, creative life – because we are all creative within, without the need to worship eternal ‘artists’


        1. Shane

          9. Emergency preparedness and survival.

          10. Permaculture.

          11. Cooperative living, decision-making, and ownership.

          12. Civics.

          13. Diplomacy.

          (if we’re thinking long-term, i.e. 15 years)

      1. Procopius

        I don’t think 3. is feasible. I don’t believe medical science has enough knowledge about nutrition to even try to get that granular. We’ve had an obesity epidemic for forty years and we still don’t have a reliable way to lose fat and keep it off. Seriously. We don’t even have a handle on what changed that caused the increase in obesity. Maybe it was the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock raising, maybe it was the increased use of High Fructose Corn Syrup. So called “nutrition science” doesn’t even know if eating eggs causes increased cholesterol levels or if that’s a bad thing.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Mal-educated perhaps. Dis-educated perhaps. Or some other word that fits.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I got just far enough in that article to think it’s very important.

      Aside: it’s personally interesting that Welsh started with anti-globalization organizing (against NAFTA), since that’s what brought me into politics.

  11. Plenue

    The Kyoto Animation fire death toll is now 34 (21 of them women; the studio was an anomaly in the industry). Autopsies say 20 of them burned to death, not suffocation. Suspect seems to have been some crazy guy who was convinced the studio stole his idea.

    It’s the worst confirmed mass murder in Japan since the end of WW2 (there was a 2001 fire that killed 44 people that was suspected arson, but no one was ever charged).

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “Suspect seems to have been some crazy guy who was convinced the studio stole his idea.”

      Not absolving or excusing his actions; harming people is never ok…that being said, your comment is pretty dismissive about the idea of an employer stealing someone’s idea and not compensating them for it. Is this such a far-fetched concept that you dismiss the possibility out of hand and refer to him as “crazy”?

      You sound like someone who has been an employer longer than he has been an employee.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Setting fire to 34 people is pretty crazy, even if he had a valid grudge (plausible, but not known).

        Incidentally, there was something seriously wrong with that building; report was that he set the fire near the front door, and consequently many people couldn’t get out. Japan hasn’t heard of fire egress? In an office building?

        1. Plenue

          The story gets worse the more you read about it. Authorities say the building was completely up to code, even having some sort of deployable anti-smoke walls (it didn’t have sprinklers though…and yet this is okay within the code, apparently). There was a spiral staircase that went up through all three floors that acted as a chimney to spread the smoke quickly. The largest group of dead died fleeing to the roof, where they were stymied by an overly complicated door mechanism that they couldn’t open while blinded by the smoke.


          I keep talking about the studio in the past tense because a quarter of their personnel are now dead, and a huge amount of material and computers were destroyed. I could imagine they just disband the company altogether.


          I’m sure some stuff was backed up elsewhere, but it looks like months or even years of work is now simply gone.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems to me that that can be read more than one way.

      The suspect who was convinced the studio stole his idea

      1. was crazy because he was convinced of such
      2. was crazy because he burned many to death.

      Perahps Plenue can clarify which is meant here.

      I read it as a person convinced of being a victim of theft took the crazy step to burn people to death. This crazay action should not be excused, but should be condemned.

      1. Plenue

        My intention was 2.; he was crazy because he thought setting a building on fire was an acceptable option (to give him some benefit of the doubt, he was probably as surprised as anyone the fire was as severe as it was).

        But I’ll also go with 1. KyoAni’s catalogue entirely consists of adaptations of preexisting works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Animation#Works

        So if he was convinced that:

        “I did it because they stole my novel,” he allegedly told police, according to a report from NHK, the public broadcaster. “They plagiarized my work. Call the president. I have something to tell him.” https://deadline.com/2019/07/kyoto-animation-studio-arson-suspect-motives-1202648253/

        He was also crazy for that. Because Kyoto Animation doesn’t do original stories. If anyone stole his novel, it was one of the creators that KyoAni in turn adapted. He’s just a crazy man is my judgement.

  12. ewmayer

    Re. Warren: “Elizabeth Warren and Ashlee Marie Preston on Making Policy Intersectional” [Paper]. “In an interview with PAPER, Warren shared, “We need to build a lasting foundation for LGBTQ+ rights…”

    Ooh, so now we’re moving toward C/C++ operator-style notation in our ever-fascinating IdPol identitarianism-fetishization, are we? Cool … so the core of the Team D Election 2020 program might be something like this?

    unsigned LGBTQ = 0;
    const bool BigDonorBucks = 1;
    while(LGBTQ++ >= 0 && BigDonorBucks) {
     delayLoop(“Implementation of policies which will actually help most Americans, irrespective of IdPol status”);

    1. Plenue

      Do they imagine doing this is actually a form of expanding the vote? Like if they make enough hyper-specific boxes to shove everyone into, the newly categorized will be thankful and vote for them?

      I don’t know, I’m just trying to think of some sort of logical thought process at work here.

      1. ewmayer

        Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner! Nicely parsed, Lambert.

        By design, the loop continues as long as donor $ keep flowing, on the promise that “success is just around the corner”.

  13. michael hudson

    Regarding China’s rare earth exports, I spent an entire week a decade ago with officials trying to get them to impose a raw-materials tax. They explained to me that the rare earth mines were bought mainly by Taiwanese investors, and priced the minerals only based on the cost of labor and machinery. No account was taken of the heavy clean-up costs of pollution, or the natural-resource rent.
    I met with one group of half a dozen officials in the morning, another such group in the afternoon, repeat day after day to explain economic rent and the cost of externalities to them.
    Obviously, they now get it. (I’m up in Winnipeg now at a meeting of the Chinese Acadamy of Social Sciences, CASS/WAPE).

  14. Camp Lo

    One missing aspect of Bernie Sander’s communication toolkit that might be inspiring negative connections among certain talking heads is Sander’s inability to shift into a “business-casual office-speak” mode of communication. Sanders, spending his career in town hall-style gov’t, has never sought commercial relations with office park dwellers, learning the customs of 21st century Burghers. Not having the assimilation opportunity, Sanders is always seeking consensus, even among the socialist-skeptical corporate types and those drones that rely on the largess of profitable companies. Yet, some of the closest relationships among the beige be-slacked tribes are built on conflict: buyers and sellers, whose gains are the other’s losses, but Hell’s belles, if they haven’t been lunching together for twenty years.

    Contrast this with Elizabeth Warren, whose success as an attorney relies on her having warm relations with opposing counsel even as Warren destroys counsel’s meal-ticket with a legal broadside volley. It takes grace to engender respect from those upon which the hard sell is wielded. Don’t shoot the messenger, but Sander’s cannot conceal his contempt for those that won’t consider voting for him. It’s as if Sander’s expects Republicans to vote for him because he never considered playing on the Democratic team; he’s special on a level only he can see. Bernie Sanders is still a politician, an occupation from which dispensation of salvation has always been improbable.

    1. grayslady

      Contrast this with Elizabeth Warren, whose success as an attorney relies on her having warm relations with opposing counsel even as Warren destroys counsel’s meal-ticket with a legal broadside volley.

      That might be a valid observation if she had ever worked in corporate law. In fact, she spent her entire legal career in academia. Bernie has a lifetime of having to negotiate: first with corporate entities, as a mayor, and then with colleagues in Congress. Contempt from Bernie is never directed at voters, but rather at oligarchs. He’s seen too much pain experienced by ordinary people.

    2. tegnost

      but Sander’s cannot conceal his contempt for those that won’t consider voting for him
      citations? or is this just throw ad homs at bernie day…

      1. tegnost

        adding this is the best cite I could find for warrens hard nosed graciousness,

        I’m of course referring to this line of grand praise for warren
        Elizabeth Warren, whose success as an attorney relies on her having warm relations with opposing counsel even as Warren destroys counsel’s meal-ticket with a legal broadside volley.

    3. Darthbobber

      When you just make things up, you aren’t exactly “the messenger”. Common usage prefers other terms for doing that.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Sander’s cannot conceal his contempt for those that won’t consider voting for him

      Yes, I vividly remember his comment about “deplorables” in 2016. Oh, wait….

      I think Sanders has a hard time concealing contempt for people who screw over the working class, and it is true they won’t vote for him, but I don’t see how you can generalize as your comment does.

  15. sleepy

    Russiagate cranks up again this week with Mueller’s testimony which imho will be its final act. The affair has no legs except with the msm and the dem elite who are anticipating the testimony as the second coming. It’s well past its sell by date with the public and will be quickly forgotten except by the dem dead-enders of which there are more than a few.

    I would have admired the dems more if they’d voted to impeach the week after the report came out. At least that would’ve shown they were willing to take a stab at governing.

    1. urblintz

      It will be interesting to see how Mueller gets around a judicial ruling which prohibits him from linking the troll factories to the Russian government:

      “…at the conclusion of a hearing held under seal on May 28, Judge Friedrich ordered the government “to refrain from making or authorizing any public statement that links the alleged conspiracy in the indictment to the Russian government or its agencies.” The judge ordered further that “any public statement about the allegations in the indictment . . . must make clear that, one, the government is summarizing the allegations in the indictment which remain unproven, and, two, the government does not express an opinion on the defendant’s guilt or innocence or the strength of the evidence in this case.”

      Reporting Thursday on Judge Friedrich’s ruling, former CIA and State Department official Larry C. Johnson described it as a “potential game changer,” observing that Mueller “has not offered one piece of solid evidence that the defendants were involved in any way with the government of Russia.””


  16. ewmayer

    o Housing: “Almost 40% of U.S. Homes Are ‘Free and Clear’ of a Mortgage” [Bloomberg] — And what percentage of those are due to investors scooping up foreclosed properties in the wake of the housing-bubble collapse and GFC? Anyone? Bueller?

    o The Bezzle: “Elon Musk Wants to Read Your Brain [OneZero] … In 19 surgeries, the robot was able to successfully place the threads 87% of the time in the rats’ brains.” — 19*0.87 = 16.53 … I’d be interested to hear about that “one surgery was 53% successful” rat.

    o Transportation: “Can We Use Special Sails To Bring Old Satellites Back Down To Earth?” [Universe Today]. “[E]very satellite has a shelf-life. What do we do with them when they’ve outlived their usefulness and devolve into simple, troublesome space debris?” — Maybe an international accord to require that every item launched into orbit have a standardized, robust de-orbit capability built in? It only takes a small braking rocket to turn a stable orbit into a decaying one. Yah, I know, that might cut into corporate prawfits and Intel-service launch frequency. The horror!

    o “The plan to mine the world’s research papers” [Nature] — Another example where a pretty straightforward standard is cried out for: “Any research conducted wholly or partially using public monies must be made publicly available”. All it needs is for a few key political leaders to grow a spine.

    1. ChrisPacific

      “At Tuesday’s event, Musk also described a sewing machine-like robot that can precisely insert these flexible threads into the brain. ”

      Let’s poll the readers, shall we? Hands up who is willing to let Elon Musk sew threads into your brain! Any takers?

      1. Geo

        Reminds me of ol’ Walter Freeman who traveled the country in his “Lobotomobile” giving out dozens of lobotomies a day for fun and profit.

        Musk could set up shop at county fairs. Sounds like fun for the whole family!

      2. The Rev Kev

        Has nobody seen the film “The Circle”?


        In the book that the film was based about, the heroine is watching a friend that is laying in a coma ‘wondering when the time will come that The Circle will develop enough technology to read people’s thoughts, saying that “the world deserves nothing less and would not wait”. ‘

        And just who is developing this technology anyway? Borg Industries?

    2. Briny

      Were it only one wire in the brain of each, I would buy that calculation. Instead it is 96 polymer threads with 32 electrodes apiece. 87%, n=19 is a good start INSHO. I actually have a personal stake in this type of research as, due to a severe shipyard accident in the USN, I’m facing becoming a total shut-in completely unable to do anything, including breathing, without mechanical assistance. It’s an area that has had my attention for a while now. Curiously, Sony Entertainment was an early pioneer in the field. Or, perhaps, not so curious after all.

  17. Whoamolly

    Re: Musk brain wiring

    At my age I suspect a wired Brain with a higher bandwidth might be an improvement.

    Will I need a battery pack?

  18. Whoamolly

    Re Epstein affair

    Can anyone tell me “Why now?”

    His crimes appear to have been an open, ‘I’m shocked, shocked’ secret among the international elite for decades. Why is he arrested now?

  19. edmondo

    Just to be upfront, I have no intention of voting for Bernie Sanders. I have, however, run a few lower level political campaigns and have worked in Marketing/Communications for the last 30 or so years.

    If Bernie’s campaign team thinks that passing the MSNBC “Bernie is creepy” video around so that it is seen by an additional million people is smart politics. then Bernie needs a new campaign team. Between this and the campaign workers union fiasco, Bernie doesn’t need any more enemies, they already work for him.

    1. a different chris

      Because his competitors, up to and including Trump, will graciously not “pass it around”. Seriously? He is actually showing a little Trumpism here – “those people say (what I did/said) is bad… don’t you hate those people?”.

      Get your base fired up. Trump will.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      The point is to discredit MSDNC so that when the campaign season really revs up people will know whats up.

      And looking at the comments I only see 10%s defending the Rich lawyer.

      Bern em all down.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I see the argument but

      1) The Republicans are going to do what they do anyhow

      2) I think it’s important to make the press pay for attacks; the perp is now off Twitter, at least.

      3) Making people pay for attacks also reinforces solidarity among Sanders voters.

  20. marym

    7/22/2019 ProPublica Asylum Seekers That Followed Trump Rule Now Don’t Qualify Because of New Trump Rule

    The Trump administration has long said that there’s a right way to seek asylum in the United States: Come to an official port of entry at the border, then invoke the right under U.S. law to humanitarian protection.

    But now, thousands of people are being barred from the U.S. precisely because they followed those rules.

    Under an administration policy issued last week, most migrants who’ve passed through a third country — say, Mexico — will not even be allowed to request asylum at official border crossings.

    7/22/2019 Politico: Trump administration expands scope of rapid deportations

    The Trump administration has finalized a plan to bypass immigration courts and deport undocumented immigrants who cannot prove they’ve been present continuously in the U.S. for two years or more, according to an announcement Monday.

    A 2004 regulatory change currently limits expedited removal to immigrants who were arrested within 14 days of arrival and caught within 100 miles of a U.S. land border. However, the 1996 statute that created the process allows the speedy removal of people who cannot prove at least two years of continuous presence in the U.S.

    The notice set to publish Tuesday will allow the use of the faster process against people caught anywhere in the U.S., not just within the 100-mile border zone.

  21. Darthbobber

    Good to see another article by Samir Amin. Sometimes gets a bit carried away in fitting things to his preferred center/periphery model, but always worth the read.

    He presumably is not immortal, so there will only be about so many more coming, I fear.

    1. Jessica

      Sadly, the sidebar at the top of the article shows that his life was 1931-2018.
      If we go on to somewhere else, I hope he went somewhere good.
      If there is reincarnation, I hope we sort things out in his next life.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You’re welcome!

      Back in the day, when I lived in Boston and listened to WBCN and all the “punks” were wearing dog collars, there was an ad for IIRC the Paradise, whose opening line was “Is your dog getting enough metal?”

      Not to be confused with Jordan Marsh!

  22. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “…Shortages On Many Of Our Canned Vegetable Items…”
    I don’t know about canned goods since I buy relatively few canned vegetables. I have noticed what seems to be a noticeable bump up in the price of potatoes, especially red potatoes, and the price of dried beans.

    One thing about the information in this link — almost all the signs shown were posted in Walmart stores. I don’t know about the canned goods in the local Walmart but I noticed a lot of relatively baren shelves all around the store. When I went to buy the few items I came in for — and could find after some hunting through the shelves — I noticed a definite shortage of Walmart employees and clerks.

    1. meeps

      I generally keep a small pantry stock of canned veg but the cupboard has been bare for about a month and a half. The closest Kroger store has been out of their own simple truth brand of corn, green beans, and peas.

      The sign on the shelf isn’t as prominent as those featured in the post. Yet, as the author indicates, a small tag over the price label reads, “temporarily out of stock.”

      Since yesterday was probably the sixth time the same shelf was empty, I asked my spouse, “How long do you suppose is temporary?”

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