2:00PM Water Cooler 7/19/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Trade

“US, China Trade Negotiators Talk for Second Time Since Truce” [Industry Week]. “U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin spoke to the Chinese side earlier, a USTR spokesman said. China’s Commerce Ministry said Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan were among those on the call. There were no details released from both sides on what was discussed…. Mnuchin said earlier this week that if discussions with Chinese officials by phone were productive that he and Lighthizer would travel to Beijing for more meetings.”

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 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.

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2020

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Biden (D)(1): “Biden’s plan for rural America: Incentives will fix farm country” [New Food Economy]. Compares and contrasts the candidates; Biden is weak tea. This caught my eye: “Both Warren and Sanders committed to supporting right-to-repair laws, whereas Biden made no mention of them. Right now, companies like John Deere can prevent farmers from fixing their own equipment, driving up the cost of repairs on tractors that can already cost more than $300,000.”

Biden (D)(2): “Biden campaign pushes back on Sanders’ call to reject donations from insurers, drug makers” [The Hill]. “‘Vice President Biden fought to get the biggest reform to our health care system in a generation done, so insurance companies know where he stands — and based on their reaction yesterday to his health care plan, we’re not expecting too many contributions,’ Biden spokesman TJ Ducklo said in a statement.” • Oh, their stocks dropped?

Biden (D)(3): “Fact check: Joe Biden misleads with claim that Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan would cause a ‘hiatus'” [CNN]. “Regardless of what Biden intended to say, though, his ‘hiatuses’ remark allowed Americans to come away with the inaccurate impression that Sanders’ plan would cause people to temporarily lose insurance coverage. Facts First: A single-payer Medicare for All plan would not result in people having a ‘hiatus,’ or gap, in their insurance coverage, experts say.” • Here is the Biden quote in full:

[BIDEN:] And all of you: how many of you have lost a husband, wife, son, daughter to cancer, raise your hand. How many (inaudible) have terminal diseases, raise your hand, that lost them? Well, you know, the thing I’ve learned is: Every second counts. It’s not about a year, it’s about the day, the week, the month, the next six months. It’s about hope. And if you have these hiatuses, it may, it may — this may go as smooth — as my grandpappy said — smooth as silk. But the truth of the matter is, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride getting to where we’re going. Even the people who have disagreed with my plan say, ‘Well, we’re going to have to transition three, four, five years to get there.'”

You’re gonna have to learn your cliches. You’re gonna have to study them, you’re gonna have to learn them, you’re gonna have to know them. They’re your friends.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Pete Buttigieg hires former Goldman Sachs executive as national policy director” [CNBC]. • No wonder Mayo Pete did so well with his donors.

Delaney (D)(1): “Scoop: John Delaney’s staffers have asked him to drop out” [Axios]. “On July 9, John Delaney’s senior team sat him down and told him to drop out of the presidential race by mid-August, according to three sources close to the campaign… Delaney seemed open to the idea of dropping out later this summer, but that he’d still attend the next debates in Detroit July 30-31.” • Delaney should drop out now, and Gravel should take his place. (This also shows how unserious the DNC selection process was.)

Sanders (D)(1): “Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide” [WaPo]. “By encouraging these workers to unionize, Sanders and his campaign opened a path to negotiate for more than the low wages that typically have prevailed in past campaigns. They are seizing the opportunity.” • The real issue — follow me closely here — is the contract that the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 signed: “Field organizers, who are on the front lines of the campaign’s crucial voter contact efforts, were to be paid not by hours worked but via an annual salary set at $36,000.” But now: “The draft letter estimated that field organizers were working 60 hours per week at minimum, dropping their average hourly pay to less than $13.” • So, in other words, we have a collective bargaining process — one which the Sanders campaign was the first in politics to enable. If I were sitting in management’s chair, I’d be pretty frosted at whoever went to the Jeff Bezos Shopper with Slack chats, and I’d wonder what the motivation was. That said, it shouldn’t be too hard to rescue Local 400 and turn $13 into $15.

Trump (R)(1): “A Fascist Trump Rally In Greenville” [HuffPo]. “Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at New York University who is an expert on fascism and propaganda, saw historical parallels in the Greenville rally. ‘Trump has created a corps of supporters fanatically loyal to him who turn his latest racist messages into group rituals (chants, slogans) and who hate the people he tells them to,’ Ben-Ghiat told HuffPost. ‘All of this is consistent with the leader-follower relationship of fascist regimes.'” • On a light note, try mentioning “Susan Sarondon” in a consensus cluster of Clinton supporters and see what happens. On a slightly more serious note, the picture of Trump as Putin Puppet doesn’t play well with the picture of Trump as the Second Coming of Hitler (“They Saved Hitler’s Brain [NSFW]”). Seriously, I’m just going to quote a great slab of material from a 2018 Water Cooler:

Finally came across an analysis of fascism I may be able to accept, because it’s from a historian, and isn’t a simple-minded checklist (or liberal yammering). I’d also like to cross-check it with Robert Evans’ magisterial The Coming of the Third Reich, which is also very textured, including diaries for example. From an Amazon review of From Robert Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism:

But rather than come up with a proposed theoretical definition of fascism at the beginning and then trying to defend it, Paxton starts by examining what fascism looks like in the real world—how fascist movements actually began, how they took root and attracted a mass following, how fascist parties then rose to power and took control of the machinery of government, how they governed, etc.—and only after thoroughly considering all of these things does he finally, in the last few pages of the book, draw conclusions about what fascism really is.

I highly recommend that you read the entire book for yourself before considering Paxton’s definition of fascism—it’s the only real way to do justice to his approach to the subject. But for those of you who don’t mind spoilers, here is how Paxton ultimately defines fascism, on the antepenultimate page of his book:

“Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

Suggestive… And in terms of “democratic liberties,” the rot has been setting in for quite some time, and in a thoroughly bipartisan fashion. Ditto “community decline” (deindustrialization). So our immune system, as it were, was (and is) already weak. (A competing definition, the merger of corporations and the state, might be subsumed under “uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites.”)

Also, quoting Paxton on the KKK:

[I]t is further back in American history that one comes upon the earliest phenomenon that seems functionally related to fascism: the Ku Klux Klan. Just after the Civil War, some Confederate officers, fearing the vote given to African Americans by the Radical Reconstructionists in 1867, set up a militia to restore an overturned social order. The Klan constituted an alternate civic authority, parallel to the legal state, which, in its founders’ eyes, no longer defended their community’s legitimate interests. In its adoption of a uniform (white robe and hood), as well as its techniques of intimidation and its conviction that violence was justified in the cause of the group’s destiny, the first version of the Klan in the defeated American South was a remarkable preview of the way fascist movements were to function in interwar Europe.

(That’s been my thought on the KKK.) From the reviews and excerpts, I think that Paxton isn’t taking into account population-wide trauma, as from the Civil War (the KKK) and the trenches of World War I (Germany and Italy). I don’t know the causality, but the commonality is suggestive. It may be that the Recessions (“deaths of despair”) played a similar role in this country.

Back to the definition: The big missing piece, fortunately, is “mass-based party of committed nationalist militants.” So far! We are nowhere near having anything like the KKK either during Reconstruction or the 1920s. Even Trump didn’t show Birth of a Nation in the White House (unlike progressive icon Woodrow Wilson). However, it doesn’t seem to me that liberal tactics of shaming and virtue signaling are going to be of much use preventing the emergence of such an entity (and the enormous monopolies and those productive and dynamic blue cities seem to be amplifying these entities, if anything. YouTube, in particular, is a cesspit, into which its algos are designed to suck you).

I don’t see a reason to change these views. And another goddamned book to read.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren pitches private equity regulations, taking aim at ‘legalized looting'” [Los Angeles Times]. “Warren’s plan, the latest in a series of policy ideas that have propelled the Massachusetts senator to the top tier of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, would hold private equity firms liable for debts and pension promises made by the companies they buy up. It would restrict the firms’ ability to pay dividends as well as high fees that shift money out of acquired companies… Warren’s private equity proposals also include new rules that would require worker pay to take precedence over other obligations when companies declare bankruptcy as well as more open disclosure of investment firms’ fees, both of which are included in private legislation she’s set to introduce later Thursday alongside Senate and House Democratic colleagues. Her platform further calls for the restoration of dividing lines between commercial and investment banking that were repealed in 1999, a change that was part of both the Republican and the Democratic platforms during the 2016 presidential election despite Trump’s lack of emphasis on it during his campaign.”

Warren (D)(2): “End Wall Street’s Stranglehold On Our Economy” [Elizabeth Warren, Medium]. “The purpose of the financial sector is to connect savers with borrowers as efficiently as possible and to spread risk. A growing financial sector can help the rest of the economy if it helps connect more people more efficiently and spreads risk more effectively. But, as several studies have shown, past a certain point, the growth of the financial sector undermines the rest of the economy by extracting money from it without producing any real value. America is well past that point…. Despite its breathtaking profits, America’s financial sector isn’t succeeding at its core purpose of connecting savers with borrowers quickly and efficiently. My plan would help push it in a better direction.” • Would readers care to comment on this model of the financial sector?

Yang (D)(1): “‘I Came From the Internet’: Inside Andrew Yang’s Wild Ride” [Rolling Stone (RH)]. “Yang’s pitch goes like this: Donald Trump got elected because we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in the Midwest, leading to economic insecurity, a declining quality of life, and a sense of desperation felt by millions of Americans who gave voice to that desperation by voting for the political equivalent of a human wrecking ball. And what automation did to manufacturing, he argues, it will soon do to trucking, call centers, fast food, and retail. ‘We’re in the third inning of the greatest economic and technological transformation in the history of our country,’ he likes to say. Yang’s flagship plan to deal with this transformation, his Big Idea, is a universal basic income. He calls it the Freedom Dividend. (He picked the name because it tested better with conservatives than UBI did.) It’s $1,000 a month, no strings attached, for every American over the age of 18. What this new, multitrillion-dollar program would mean for the existing social safety net — well, Yang hasn’t entirely worked that out yet.” • I don’t think automatiion alone deindustrialized the heartland. That strikes me as letting some very bad actors off the hook.

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The debate line-ups:

2019

AOC skewers another suit:

“Democrats upset over Omar seeking primary challenger” [The Hill]. “Some Democrats are eyeing Bobby Joe Champion, a state senator who has served in the legislature for a decade. Others hope to entice Minneapolis City Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins, the first openly transgender African-American woman elected to public office in the United States.” • [x] transgender [x] African-American [x] woman….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever” [Adam Serwer, The Atlantic]. “To attack Omar is to attack a symbol of the demographic change that is eroding white cultural and political hegemony, the defense of which is Trumpism’s only sincere political purpose.” • February 11, 2019: “Ilhan Omar Condemned by Pelosi, Democratic Leaders for Using ‘Anti-Semitic Tropes.” Falsely, I might add. March 7, 2019: “House Votes To Condemn Anti-Semitism After Rep. Omar’s Comments.” #awkward

“The Hard Immigration Questions” [David Leonhardt, New York Times]. “Immigration restrictions are not inherently racist. Nor is border security. All countries have borders and restrictions. They have to, because they have to make decisions about who can enter their country and who can be a citizen. Nations can’t function without such basic laws. But the fact remains that the pro-restriction side in American politics has historically revolved around racism and still does today…. I think our immigration policy should take into account the sharp rise in inequality over the last few decades. One way to do so would be to reduce, or at least hold constant, the level of immigration by people who would compete for lower- and middle-wage jobs while increasing immigration among people who would compete for higher-wage jobs… ‘Immigration restriction, by making unskilled labor more scarce, tended to shore up wage rates,’ the great labor historian Irving Bernstein wrote.” • Well, obviously labor arbitrage for professionals would be bad. What is Leonhardt thinking?

“Reading the Resolutions: Two Perspectives” [Democratic Socialists of America]. “In a couple of weeks, delegates from across the country will gather in Atlanta, Georgia, for the biennial DSA convention… We present here two longread analyses of the resolutions, with the understanding that the authors represent only themselves, not any official opinions.These analyses are based on information available at the time they were written. We know that there will be amendments to resolutions and adjustments to funding projections.” • Long reads they are, but the seriousness is in great contrast to the Democrat and Republican conventions, agree or disagree.

“America’s New Left” [DSA Members, New Left Review]. ” Along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, Sanders represents an approach to electoral politics that can help advance the socialist cause. They are helping to raise the expectations of the working class, rather than lowering them, as the 20th-century social democrats did. Sanders and others have inspired masses of people to become interested in politics for the first time. The clearest example of this is Ocasio-Cortez’s drive to popularize the Green New Deal. As a new socialist Congressperson, Ocasio-Cortez was able to team up with young activists and put a working-class solution to the climate crisis in the national spotlight—something climate campaigners had been unable to do for years.” • An interesting review. Caution: Uses the word “conjuncture”!

“The Epstein case is laying bare America’s morally bankrupt ruling class” [The Week]. “What do they all have in common? (Beside the fact that they are all incredibly rich, I mean.) Alan Dershowitz, David Boies, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump are only a few of the names caught up in the alleged Jeffrey Epstein pedophilia scandal. This isn’t six degrees of Kevin Bacon. These people all know each other well and have for decades. They go to one another’s weddings, ride on the same airplanes, and do business together… Is any living American actually okay with the fact two of our last four presidents were allegedly good pals with the guy whose private airplane was referred to openly in the press as, wink-wink, the “Lolita Express”? … Surveying the decadence of the Trump-Epstein-Boies cabal leaves me with a lot of feelings. One is that we have by far the least glamorous ruling class in the history of the world. Say what you want about the Ancien Régime, but at least they gave us Versailles and Boucher and opéra comique…. It has never been easier to renounce evil and all its works and all its pomps than it is today, when instead of powder-faced bewigged vicomtes tittering in perfectly composed alexandrines in front of rococo mirrors they are goatish hedge fund managers, mercenary lawyers, professional speech-givers, and the founders of fake online colleges suing one another out of boredom.”

“House votes to raise minimum wage, uniting Dems after months-long struggle” [Politico]. “The House on Thursday passed legislation to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, following through on a key Democratic campaign promise and ending a six-month struggle within the caucus…. Democratic leaders only secured the necessary 218 votes days earlier by agreeing to phase in the wage increase over six years rather than five.” • By 2025? Lol. Remember when Nancy Pelosi vowed to “take up a $15 minimum wage in the first 100 hours of the next Congress“? (Not 100 days, 100 hours.) Good times.

Stats Watch

Consumer Sentiment, July 2019 (preliminary): “Consumer sentiment is holding steady this month” [Econoday]. “Confidence is a key concern for the Federal Reserve policy makers and today’s report should confirm their faith in the resilient strength of the consumer.”

Banks: “Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe” [New York Times]. “When Philip Poniz opened Box 105 at his local Wells Fargo, he discovered it was empty — and that he was totally unprotected by federal law.” • Wells Fargo? Surely no. Turns out banks are just as good at integrating safe deposit boxes after mergers as they are at IT systems. And they don’t want to be in that business anyhow.

Tech: “Facebook and Google Trackers Are Showing Up on Porn Sites” [New York Times (RH)]. “Silicon Valley’s biggest companies are always watching you — even when you’re browsing pornography websites in incognito mode. Trackers from tech companies like Google and Facebook are logging your most personal browsing details, according to a forthcoming New Media & Society paper, which scanned 22,484 pornography websites. Where that data ultimately goes is not always clear… 93 percent of the pornography websites they scanned sent data to an average of seven third-party domains.” • Because of course they are.

Manufacturing: “Arm and crosscheck” [Reuters]. “Boeing’s financial disruption from the grounding of its 737 MAX is far from maxed out. The aerospace giant is taking an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion to compensate airlines for the idling of the plane. Slowing its production line will add another $1.7 billion of costs. That tally is bound to grow: company hopes for a return to service in the fourth quarter look optimistic…. Investors, who have seen $35 billion of market value erased already, should brace for further turbulence.”

Manufacturing: “Bjorn’s Corner: Airbus’ A321neo has a pitch-up issue” [Leeham News and Analysis]. “As we have written in the MAX articles, pitch instabilities in certain parts of an airliner’s wide flight envelope are common. It comes down to how these are addressed to produce a safe aircraft. In the case of the MAX and A320, software-based control logic is used, controlling the movements of the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. The key is how these controls are designed, tested and implemented. The original MAX implementation was inacceptably badly done. It relied on a single sensor, commanded unnecessary repeated nose-down trim commands and didn’t have any global limitation on its authority. The Airbus version for the A321neo has a solid implementation based on adequate hardware/software redundancy and relevant limitations on its authority. But it can be improved.” • And the author is now on the record that “The updated MAX software makes it safe.”

The Biosphere

“Our Veggie Gardens Won’t Feed us in a Real Crisis” [Counterpunch]. “I used to be a small-scale organic farmer so take it from me: totally feeding yourself from your own efforts is very, very challenging. Though some friends and I tried over multiple seasons, we never succeeded, or even came anywhere close…. When my friends and I tried the grow-all-your-own-food challenge, we quickly got educated about the difficulties of grains and other staple crops. I’m not just talking about planting and raising, which are hard enough, but harvesting and processing….. I’m not saying we shouldn’t plant veggie gardens. We should put in as many as we can and fight to keep them when they’re threatened. But let’s not kid ourselves that a few heads of broccoli (or even a wheel barrow of zucchinis) will get us through an actual breakdown of the agricultural system. It won’t.” • They’re right, on all counts. Being a peasant is hard work! But TINA, eh?

“Entering an Alligator-Infested Crawl Space During a Category 5 Hurricane: What Could Go Wrong?” [Weather Underground]. Review of Crawl: “Spoiler alert: During the inspection for the sale of the home, you’d think someone would have discovered that the giant drainage pipe connecting the crawl space to the water had a broken grate, giving alligators free access to the crawl space! But noooo!”

Health Care

“Oral health at a tipping point” [The Lancet]. “A central issue in the Series is modern dentistry itself, which Series lead Richard Watt and colleagues argue has failed to combat the global challenge of oral diseases. They say a radical reform of dental care systems, which are increasingly treatment-dominated, high-technology, and focused on providing aesthetic treatments driven by profit motives and consumerism, is needed. As such, a key ask of the Series is for a public health refashioning of oral health. Dental health conditions and access to care are shown to be so starkly inequitable between the rich and the poor that a social determinants of health approach is the only way to improve outcomes.”

Guillotine Watch

“School threatens to send kids to foster care for unpaid lunch debt” [KULR (JM)]. “Hundreds of parents were threatened with losing custody of their children over school lunch debt. This letter was mailed to about a thousand parents in the Wyoming Valley West School District, in Northeastern, Pennsylvania. The letter informs them that the district can take them to dependency court, where they risk losing their children to foster care.” • I think it’s important that we begin training our youth that education = debt at the youngest possible age.

Class Warfare

“Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how” [Science]. “today the hypothesis that an individual’s experience might alter the cells and behavior of their children and grandchildren has become widely accepted. In animals, exposure to stress, cold, or high-fat diets has been shown to trigger metabolic changes in later generations. And small studies in humans exposed to traumatic conditions—among them the children of Holocaust survivors—suggest subtle biological and health changes in their children. The implications are profound. If our experiences can have consequences that reverberate to our children or our children’s children, that’s a powerful argument against everything from smoking to immigration policies that split families.” • Or — follow me closely, here — deindustrializing flyover and destroying the livelihoods and communities of millions of people, ffs.* Class pops up in the oddes of places, doesn’t it? NOTE * See Chris Arnade’s Dignity.

“Failing to Plan: How Ayn Rand Destroyed Sears” [Verso]. “While companies like Walmart operate within the market, internally, as in any other firm, everything is planned. There is no internal market. The different departments, stores, trucks and suppliers do not compete against each other in a market; everything is coordinated. It is no small irony then, that one of Walmart’s main competitors, the venerable, 120-plus-year-old Sears, Roebuck & Company, destroyed itself by embracing the exact opposite of Walmart ‘s galloping socialization of production and distribution: by instituting an internal market.” • So central planning works inside the firm?

News of the Wired

Meme template:

Make your own meme!

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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 (JL):

JL writes: “After moving back to CA we bought a house that needs a lot of landscaping, so I’ve been taking picture of drought tolerant plants in the neighborhood as reference.” I bet we have other NC readers who garden in dry climates.

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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.

171 comments

  1. ambrit

    Good G-d Lambert, that photograph!
    I have done parachuting from small aircraft. That man is not wearing a parachute. Unless he is tethered to the aircraft, he is taking an insane risk. That type of small aircraft has an excellent glide ratio and can be brought down “deadstick” on most roadways. So, I’m suspecting that this photograph is of a ‘stunt.’ Indeed, the fact that someone was close enough to take an excellently composed shot makes me suspicious.
    It still gives me the ‘willies’ to look at. With a parachute on, I still debated with myself about the sanity of jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft at altitude. As it was, on one occasion, our pilot, an ex-Nam spotter pilot, dropped us out over a large but shallow lake for a lark. That particular man did some stunts, for some of which I was in the aircraft with him and a few other aeronauts, that would have had the FAA calling in the Psychiatric Capture Squad.
    Some of the things I did when I was young…..

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      The photo is not high resolution, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a breeze in the man’s comb-over, and it looks like there may be a tool in his right hand. Maybe he’s servicing the engine. The prop doesn’t have any blur.

      Reply
      1. KevinD

        He appears to be bald. His right pant leg is flapping a bit, and a stalled propeller wouldn’t create a blur.

        Reply
      2. BobW

        Can’t tell… no shadows on the ground for an easy Photoshop check. In my experience people servicing engines would have stands or scaffolds. But I do find it hard to believe anyone would actually go outside a plane in flight like that. Stunt pic looking very likely. Maybe a bold pilot?
        “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.”

        Reply
      3. Janie

        Ambrit, from last week. Thanks for your reply. I have many memories of visits to Holly Springs, Byhalia, Batesville and other small towns, also New Orleans and Memphis. We lived in Oklahoma and a look at google maps of downtown Altus is depressing. Bail bondsmen, pawn shops and dollar stores have replaced a vibrant downtown. Now, home is Salem, Oregon.

        Reply
        1. sleepy

          Small world. I grew up in Memphis and know all those towns. In high school, dated a girl from Oxford and she’d tell me about rolling Faulkner’s house on Halloween. Ended up in Nola for quite awhile too. I miss the south.

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          Very welcome. Our son’s partner comes from Oklahoma, now the fracking induced earthquake centre of the world I read.
          How’s Oregon? The Last Redoubt of the Western Tradition, as I’ve heard?
          Greeting from even Deeper in the South than Memphis.

          Reply
          1. Janie

            I love living in Salem. The weather is good, on average, and somewhat protected against Global Weirding. Of course, there’s the Cascadia earthquake to prepare for; we’ve stocked the garden shed with necessities. Relatives live in Edmond, OK – great people, except Trump fans one and all. I could not live there.

            Sleepy, I miss the South, too. There’s the food, of course. Fried catfish fresh from Sardis Lake, for instance. And of course, the Cajun and Creole food. I make a mean gumbo. I could live happily in Cajun Country, going to hear Geno Delafose on Henderson Levee. I’m rambling- must be bedtime. It’s good to talk to friends…

            Reply
        1. polecat

          But not if there’s a Sky Yeti fiddling the engine on the opposite side of that cowling … that would give Anyone a nervous breakdown !

          Reply
    2. Cal2

      “Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity…”

      Sounds like Orwellian semantic housekeeping in San Francisco city government to elect local supervisors representing and defending “the gay community”, “the African American community”, “the transgender community” etc.

      BTW, Fascism requires a strong and charismatic national leader.
      I don’t think that Trump is a strong national leader, he’s weak, but popular.
      Are his critics claiming that he’s a strong and charismatic national leader?

      Nice Pride of Madeira flowers.
      (Echium candicans)

      Reply
      1. clarky90

        “German Fascism” did not manifest out of thin air, like an inexplicable “Demon Wind”. It is, famously, “reactionary” (a reaction to current events).

        Report from German Consulate in Kharkiv to the Embassy of Germany in the USSR on the agricultural situation, March 12, 1932 (one year before Hitler took control in Germany)

        “The New Year has not brought improvements anywhere; in fact, according to general impressions, the situation has most likely grown worse, not better. Although the numbers of the five-year plan are on the rise, they are skeptically viewed by the population, which does not feel any favorable results at all; the numbers mean little on their own, because the [numbers of the] plans need to be reconciled with the respective states of affairs; only absolute numbers instead of percentages will provide the true picture. People should be resigned to the fact that an end to unprecedented poverty is nowhere in sight, that the road to the better future promised by the end of the second five-year plan is long and burdensome. The government knows that it can demand suffering and sacrifice from the people and is busy with new demands that will crush all hope for the better into nothing.

        The significant reduction of bread rations has resulted in noticeable deterioration among the masses….”

        http://www.faminegenocide.com/resources/hdocuments.htm#3

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > …”

        Sounds like Orwellian semantic housekeeping in San Francisco city government to elect local supervisors representing and defending “the gay community”, “the African American community”, “the transgender community” etc.

        Pro tip: Don’t take a quote out of context on the same page as the actual quote:

        “Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

        You left out the systemic and historical parts (“redemptive violence” dovetails very neatly with the KKK in the Reconstruction South). So maybe that’s why the quote sounds to you the way that it does. Do better.

        NOTE Robert Paxton is not a San Francisco supervisor. FFS.

        UPDATE Adding, you write:

        BTW, Fascism requires a strong and charismatic national leader.

        Well, I dunno, that’s what random checklists on the Internet says, but not this scholar, so I guess we’ll never know. (Paxton focuses on the party, not the Leader. That makes sense, because the leader can’t take political power without institutional backing. If I understand his “Five Stages of Fascism” model correctly, the leader emerges late in the process of fascism’s development, and isn’t necessary for fasism to get going.) So, again, it’s useful to look at systems and history instead of blindly regurgitating signals from panicked and panic-inducing liberals.

        So more useful questions than “Is Trump a fascist” would be “Is the Republican Party fascist? The Democrats? Both together?”

        Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      I see that Google Image’s first suggestion, at least for me, is ‘When a Developer Tries to Fix a Bug in Production’. Fitting.

      I’ll guess it is a shot for a training manual.

      We had a little weekend parachuting program here for class on Friday, jump on Saturday. After thinking about it, I decided that if it was that easy to do, I’d wait until I needed to. “Perfectly good aircraft” was precisely the thought that got me there. I grew up sailing, and ‘don’t get out of the boat’ was great advice.

      Reply
    4. Pookah Harvey

      The photo can be found on airhistory.net
      Photo Date: 10 November 1946
      Photo by: William T. Larkins
      Photo ID: 27507
      Photographer’s Remark

      Starting an engine in flight. This was taken during a practice session for a local small air show at Buchanan Field (CCR). Merle Larson, a WWII B-24 pilot, has climbed out of the front seat to hand prop the dead engine. The plane is being flown by Gladys Davis (a CFI) from the back seat. Merle was always trying new things as an inventor and skilled craftsman. He designed and built three planes of unusual design as well as other aviation and non aviation items. His large square-cut rudder was used on several Stearman crop dusters.

      Reply
    5. pricklyone

      Photographer’s Remark (from the photo link)

      Starting an engine in flight. This was taken during a practice session for a local small air show at Buchanan Field (CCR). Merle Larson, a WWII B-24 pilot, has climbed out of the front seat to hand prop the dead engine. The plane is being flown by Gladys Davis (a CFI) from the back seat. Merle was always trying new things as an inventor and skilled craftsman. He designed and built three planes of unusual design as well as other aviation and non aviation items. His large square-cut rudder was used on several Stearman crop dusters.

      Seems checkable, if ya reeally wanna…

      Reply
      1. pricklyone

        I figure the “prop stall and restart” was a stunt/demo for the airshow, given “practice session” above.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Most propellers will windmill if the airspeed and prop angle are compatible. Multi engine propeller airplanes can adjust propeller angle for the least drag (feathering) if the engine quits.

          Dive, gain airspeed and restart engine works most of the time for piston and turbine engines.

          Reply
  2. willf

    • Delaney should drop out now, and Gravel should take his place. (This also shows how unserious the DNC selection process was.)

    Agreed that Delaney should drop out. Agreed more vociferously that Gravel should be in the next debate.

    As far as the DNC selection process, it seems to be less about finding good candidates for President, and more about letting DNC donor blocs have time on stage to push against whatever (nominally) democratic policy they like least. With Delaney, it’s Improved M4All.

    Looking at his most well-covered speeches, debate moments, and policy statements, and his “Issues” page section on healthcare, his entire reason for running seems to be to delay or completely derail any movement towards Medicare4All.

    (It might be instructive to sort Dem Presidential challengers not by their own policy proposals, but by the proposals which they are being paid to stop.)

    Reply
    1. richard

      “it might be instructive to sort dem presidential challengers not by their own policy proposals, but by the proposals they are being paid to stop”
      great idea! it sort of runs alongside sanders: know me by my enemies
      know them by their (not-so) secret friends
      along the same lines: thinking of honest versus tendential speech
      here is an idea for a class i’d like to teach
      it’s all about reframing the idea of free speech
      getting people, especially young people, to start thinking of “free speech” not just in the sense of free from government restraint, free to say what i like
      but also thinking of free speech in the sense of “freely offered”, with no third party involvement
      as opposed to “paid speech”
      with a clear (if you look) third party involvement
      which should always given far less weight in our decision making
      anyway, just an idea so far
      for high school age kids and older i’m thinking
      something like ninja self defense against corporate media
      although i have never taught humans of that age and the course title is probably very uncool
      i think if i did this i’d need to have zero worry about coolness

      Reply
      1. richard

        well, i planned the first day of a course now titled Self Defense Against Corporate Media Arts
        i don’t want to bore everyone with details (or hog bandwidth) and i know it must seem a little odd for someone to plan a course without a way to get students or a place to teach it even!
        i am planning for something along the lines of an open university (i’m certainly not trying to make coin from this) and hope to find students through work with the union, somehow, we’ll see
        i am a bit wooly headed and dreamy sometimes, but also stubborn as s*&^ and i’ve had this idea in my head for a couple years now and it won’t give up so i guess i won’t either.
        i’ll let you know how things progress, and send a syllabus before the first class :)

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      He might have time to do a commentary podcast? Those are popular.

      It occurs to me that the chat software that lets you wear a cartoon hat combined with facial recognition would make it pretty easy to put a Corporate Logo Cloud around everyone in a scene.

      Reply
  3. Lambert Strether Post author

    Since we seem to have moved on from RussiaRussiaRussia to FascismFascismFascism, I dredged up something I wrote in 2018 and reposted it. Please refresh your browser!

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      We are so (not) looking forward to a replay of the 2016 campaign and Trump himself may be encouraging the Dems to go down that road. The Trump as Boogieman tactic didn’t work before and it may not again unless he starts another war and really does start to resemble the 20th cent fascists. Don’t forget a key feature of those real fascists was a love for military aggression. There are plenty of Dems that would fit in that pigeonhole.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I would add something else. Historically under such regimes, you can note how the supporters felt like they were part of something bigger, nobler than themselves. That they were dedicating their lives for a grander purpose which especially resonated with younger people.

        Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          I’ll just note that I grew up with ads for breakfast cereal that did precisely that.

          I wandered away from Daily Kos when ‘apologist’ became a hate term. Tell that to Augustine.

          Reply
        2. Procopius

          When I was assigned to 3rd Armored Division headquarters in Frankfurt, in 1969, there was a German civilian employee who made that same point to me. He was really lucky, stationed in Norway, but after the war many of the survivors felt betrayed. Hitler had played on their youthful idealism and they had come to realize it.

          Reply
      2. anon in so cal

        A few months ago, NC posted this NLR article, asking if Trump is a fascist.

        https://newleftreview.org/issues/II114/articles/dylan-riley-what-is-trump

        IIRC, the article suggested fascism is akin to or emerged from (regime change) imperialism, which would make today’s Democrats more deserving of the label.

        Ruth Ben-Ghiat, the professor who argues Trump is fascist, may be right. But factor in that she is a pro Syria regime change Clinton supporter.

        Separately, Democrats’ and NeoCons’ Russiagate psy ops is massively racist and xenophobic. Imagine if some other race, religion, or ethnicity were substituted for “Russian.”

        Democrats seem to have been invoking Goebbels:

        https://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/goeb11.htm

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I think they’re invoking Goering, whom I paraphrase rather than looking up the actual quote, “Of course no one wants war. The most a poor schlub can hope for is to return to his farm in one piece after it’s over. But the people can always be brought along. Just tell them they’re being attacked and the pacifists are helping the enemy.” That’s what Russia, Russia, Russia is.

          Reply
    2. Off The Street

      Thanks for that addition of the Paxton material! It was refreshing to read a thoughtful, non-checklist, non-yammering piece.

      On another note, which cities are in the following?

      those productive and dynamic blue cities

      Reply
    3. shinola

      Watching the coverage of that Trump rally, the chant thing immediately reminded me of old film clips of Hitler rallies.

      And the “America – love it or leave it” T-shirts & sentiments took me back to 1968 and the pro Vietnam war a-holes (aka Fascist Pigs in the vernacular of the times).

      Reply
    4. timotheus

      The Evans trilogy on the Third Reich is completely gripping, especially vol. 1 “The Coming of . . . ”

      IMHO, however, the Trump show is more likely to be the farcical redux of the debacle of Louis Napoleon, appropriately enough, since he was elected on the 18th Brumaire.

      Reply
  4. Carolinian

    pitch instabilities in certain parts of an airliner’s wide flight envelope are common

    That’s an interesting bit of information given the notion by many that the Max should never fly again. Could it be that the original Seattle Times coverage of this issue left out some context? A bad airframe versus bad software is a significant difference since software can be much more easily fixed. Even the Seattle Times coverage said that the MCAS was only added because of test pilot concerns during some extreme maneuvers and so that the plane would meet FAA specs and not need recertifying.

    The NYT editorial linked here yesterday, and that put much of the blame on the FAA, starts to make a lot more sense. If you homebuild an airplane they will be all over you to make sure it doesn’t fall out of the sky. The same scrutiny must surely apply to airliners rather than letting the companies certify themselves.

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      Don’t forget that the original 95-seat 737 was an old-fashioned wind-tunnel-tested coherent body design that didn’t need no stinkin’ MCAS. Then the plane was elongated to 145 seats, then larger, more efficient engines were attached–but the engines were too big for the body, they would have scraped on liftoff–so the engines were hung closer to the elongated body, higher on the wing, which created those famous instabilities. All this to create a wholly different market-niche aircraft, without FAA retesting as a new aircraft would require. There’ll be some retesting now.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        According to Lambert’s linked article everything you just wrote applies to the Airbus 321neo which is based on a 32 year old airframe and also has engines that had to be moved forward and also has pitch up during certain maneuvers. The difference is that Airbus has always been a fly by wire company and handled the special problems effectively and Boeing made a mess of the MCAS which is what crashed those planes, not the aerodynamics of the plane itself. There are likely perfectly good reasons to stick with an older design that airlines are familiar with and have parts for. We can’t automatically assume it was only about saving money or their haste to compete with Airbus.

        None of this changes Boeing’s mismanagement in launching the plane with defective controls and poor handling of the accidents.

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      “No Mongo, Never kill a customer”

      Engineering tends towards that which works. The management failed to put not killing people first. Thus the 737-Boing.

      I’m going to have to watch the U of Alaska cuts, I’ll bet it is not the Administration that goes in the first round. Should be instructive for how institutions will implode in this day and age.

      Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    And what automation did to manufacturing, he argues, it will soon do to trucking, call centers, fast food, and retail. ‘We’re in the third inning of the greatest economic and technological transformation in the history of our country,’ he likes to say.

    I was hiking with a friend the other day and he’s friends with a French fellow that lives in the Central Valley, who is employed by a French company here that came up with automated fruit packing houses that dispense with the need for the usual dozens of workers that would’ve done the task by hand, in the past.

    The machines sort, cull out anything not up to snuff and clean all different varieties of fruit from Blueberries on up in size.

    Reply
  6. richard

    attacking the concept of school lunch debt should be a primary issue for every teachers’ union in the country
    our public schools should be completely free in every sense
    no materials fees (some schools, ours included, ask parents to help if they can with materials costs)
    free breakfasts, lunches and snacks!
    free high quality education
    no f*&^ing means testing, and no bills sent to anyone afterwards either
    the same thing offered to everyone for free
    the same thing everyone wants
    what do you think, it might catch on :)

    Reply
    1. sleepy

      I’ve had kids and grandkids in the Iowa public school system, and the fees at the beginning of the year are about $125 per kid. I don’t recall what the fees are called–maybe activity fees or some BS–of course if you can’t pay they’re waived, but only after filling out some long and intrusive forms. And like most rural Iowa schools c. 50% of the students are classified free or reduced lunch. Having said that, the schools are at least decent.

      And school supporting property taxes are high at least by my standards–$2000/yr on a $90,000 house.

      Rant over.

      Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I had a great elementary education in Maine, because any one of us could become a Selectman before our teachers retired. So they had skin in the game.

      Coming to Florida, the schools were built by the same contractors that built our prisons. I guess I learned some stuff, but it felt mostly like a holding pattern until college.

      My father’s high school education was easily better than an AA today. (Didn’t care about a degree, Truancy Laws meant you could stay and learn stuff or go to the workhouse.)

      Make High School Great again! I’m sure Professor Hinkley would approve.

      Reply
  7. Barbara

    Cliches: And no fungus on your shower sandals till you make in the show. Then you’ll be a character.

    Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    I’ll take salacious scandals for a Billion, Alex…

    “What do they all have in common? (Beside the fact that they are all incredibly rich, I mean.) Alan Dershowitz, David Boies, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump are only a few of the names caught up in the alleged Jeffrey Epstein pedophilia scandal.

    What is a Sick-Sigma Event?

    Reply
  9. Samuel Conner

    Re: “Would readers care to comment on this model of the financial sector?”

    It’s disheartening to see what appears to be Warren’s embrace of the loanable funds fallacy. There isn’t IMO a sympathetic interpretation of that.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      I wonder if she’s approaching it from the point of view that it is the way it should be done more ao than the way lending is being done.
      But she hasn’t made any statement that way.

      Reply
  10. taunger

    Veggie gardens won’t feed us … no they won’t. But I clicked all the way through to the report from SunRoot Gardens, and it is truly motivating for me. 1/3 an acre of wheat yielded 600 lbs of wheat for the equivalent of 6 weeks work? Your veggie garden may not feed you, but 600 lbs of wheat feeds a lot of people. And the relative cost, about $5.50/lb, is a lot better than starving to death. Certainly this is not for the suburban gardener, but as I embark on long term planning, the analysis of their staple crops (1/2 of which were in horrible soil) is very useful.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      I have the impression that on a per square foot basis, potatoes are the most productive DIY calorie source. But they are also highly susceptible to pest infestations. The only year I tried potatoes, a potato-bug infestation that took hold while I was away for few days cured me of my interest in growing calories, but then I discourage easily.

      Perhaps I should try again.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Potatoes are also arguably easier to cook than whole grain wheat, and can, with some drawbacks, be eaten raw.

        Reply
      2. taunger

        Yes, potatoes are very efficient. Unfortunately, my property is quite low, and while the high water level (and significant clay) make for decent grain growing (or pasture), it makes potatoes difficult.

        Reply
          1. sleepy

            I grow potatoes in my garden but I’ve heard of good yields from growing them in plastic garbage cans on a back porch.

            Reply
      3. marku52

        Great Russian Potatoes joke: A NATO general and a Russian general are chatting.

        NATO general : “Our troops get 6000 calories per day”
        Russian general: ” That’s ridiculous. No one can eat that many potatoes!”

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Actually, that is fantasy. What the Soviet soldiers lived on in WWII was – wait for it… buckwheat!
          Yes, endlessly nutritious b-wheat kasha. It is good, too, and may be served in many variations. Potatoes are too heavy to transport in large quantities and may rot. Not so much w b-wheat.

          Reply
      4. Roy G

        Potatoes are an almost complete nutrition source, you can literally live on them. In fact, the Irish found this out, and a large family potato patch was the basis for the prototypical large Irish family. It worked great until the blight wiped out everybody’s crops, causing the Great Famine.

        Reply
        1. David Carl Grimes

          That’s how Matt Damon’s character in The Martian survived Mars. By growing potatoes inside his space hub.

          Reply
        2. BobW

          Aren’t corn (maize) and beans (many varieties) together also considered nearly complete nutrition? Sufferin’ succotash!

          Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              Thank you – I was trying to remember her name. Don’t have the book any more. Her methods and varieties are for the Willamette Valley; some modification called for in other climates.

              One of our limitations is that it starts to rain before field corn would normally dry down. She bred some early-drying varieties to deal with that. Sweet corn isn’t a problem, because it’s harvested immature.

              Corn, potatoes, and squash are easier for home gardeners to harvest and process than the other grains. I did grow a pretty good crop of quinoa (again, specific to the NW), but never figured out how to winnow it. It’s compete protein, so would be worth figuring out. Buckwheat (see Olga’s comment, above) is related, and also does well here. Or amaranth, a common (highly edible) garden weed.

              Reply
        3. JBird4049

          Potatoes and some necessary dairy for what little potatoes don’t have, which was why the farmers always had a cow or access to one. An occasional glass of milk of milk or some butter. One of the B vitamins I think. IIRC people started to realize just how serious the potato failure was becoming when all the families started to sell their cow, after the pig or chickens. It might take years before you die but one can not live on just potatoes.

          Reply
        4. The Rev Kev

          Depopulation was so intense caused by the Great Famine that in some Counties, it took a century to get the population back to what it was in the early 1840s.

          Reply
            1. Jessica

              The slow pace of repopulation wasn’t so much about how deep the depopulation had been as about the emigration caused by the dire conditions created by British rule.

              Reply
              1. dearieme

                Emigration continued at a brisk spank after independence too.

                The population peak was unsustainable without an industrial revolution in Ireland which never did happen, except in what is now Northern Ireland.

                Reply
      5. polecat

        I planted fingerlings this year – should be a good crop … and the berries this year are outstanding ! Yuuuuge, I tells ya – Got a freezer full ! The Cherries (sweet) not so much, as our record PNW Julyuary made for quite a mess ! The birds made out with oh plenty, however. Half of our onions as well, rotted from too much moisture. Such is the unpredictability of the weather .. at least beyond a week, and even then …

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          We had about 200 sweet cherries this year from 5 different trees, and mum’s the word to the birds, they haven’t figured out what’s what, yet. I expect they’ll be multiple squadrons, in V-Pack formation harvesting par avian one of these years.

          Reply
    2. Cal2

      For a while. Try eating nothing but wheat for a week and see how your guts react.

      Mixed gardening, even if not “productive” is much closer to the human diet. Brassicas reseed and along with perennials, are the easiest calories, with potatoes.

      The BEST book on all this. Free download, massive, informative and the one book to own, if you limit yourself to that.

      The Permaculture Manual

      https://archive.org/details/PERMACULTUREADesignersManualBillMollison_201710

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Thank you! I am digging up a lot of back yard to try to control a Bermuda grass infestation and now is a good time to ideas for the aftermath.

        Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Did not read because ‘total breakdown’, and I can’t plan for that. But yes, starches produced at scale, grow your own fruit and vegetables.

      If you want to do that, you’ll probably need to start with specialty grains until the market matures. There’s got to be a lot of 420 vets who can help you get around the regulations designed to prevent you from selling them on an open market. /wink

      Reply
  11. todde

    Sears: all corps are socialists. Common ownership, central planning, etc.

    Right up until the point it starts to distribute earnings, then it goes sideways.

    Reply
    1. David Carl Grimes

      Microsoft had a similar Ayn Randian process under Ballmer: Stack Ranking.

      “At the center of the cultural problems was a management system called “stack ranking.” Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees. The system—also referred to as “the performance model,” “the bell curve,” or just “the employee review”—has, with certain variations over the years, worked like this: every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor.
      Advertisement

      “If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, two people were going to get a great review, seven were going to get mediocre reviews, and one was going to get a terrible review,” said a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

      Netflix has a similar system. It could be the next to stagnate.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        I have heard of this. WTF is reason for using it if it will produce ass-kissing and backstabbing?

        I could understand if someone(s) tried it out, but it has been in use for decades unsuccessfully. Unless it is a backdoor for yearly downsizing?

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I’m going with the idea that they are practicing Social Darwinism which is not surprising as this idea has had a lot of support in our elites for a century or more. Every year you cull the “herd” of the weakest members and over a period of time you end up with a “superior” herd. They forget that this idea does not work with a cooperative social animal. Can you imagine if an army was run this way and how it would fare in combat?

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          And also to encourage that ass-kissing and backstabbing behavior, in order to keep the workforce fearful and easy to control. I believe Jack Welsh called it “rank and yank” at General Electric.

          Reply
          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            But mostly, it’s the ass kissing and back stabbing and reproducing it. Once you’ve got more Money than you can possibly need, what else is there? Greedheads don’t care about long term planning by definition.

            Reply
          2. anonymous

            GE always “met their earnings expectations.” Never paid taxes, (going back at least to the 70s.) Practically invented externalities. And, back when it mattered, if a Co did sensitive defense work, it wasn’t required to provide complete SEC filings.

            Reply
          3. anonymous

            Verso article on Ayn Rand and Sears.
            –there’s no mention of what happened to the workers!
            After 2,157 store closings, the degrading of solid brands like DieHard, Craftsman, and Kenmore—
            Employees are supposed to carry on in their selfish little rational.lives. I’m sure there were, in some cases, generations of faithful Sears workers

            That’s part of the philosophy. Lampert feels no reponsibility for the consequences of his business plan.

            Reply
        3. Hepativore

          Most companies in the biotech sector that I have worked for practice this extensively, and it is commonly known as “rank-and-yank. I can speculate several reasons why it is so prevalent among r&d companies. Many of these corporations had a policy of automatic meager pay raises after a certain period of time in addition to allowing employees access to other benefits such as 401k benefits. Oddly enough, the employees that were about to be eligible for an automatic pay raise or the 401k plan at WuXi Apptec or NAMSA were usually the ones that found themselves ranked at the bottom and promptly dismissed from the company. The point is that nobody is ever around long enough to reap what meager benefits the company hypothetically offers its employees. Since r&d staff are largely considered disposable by the financial overlords that run these biotech companies, they consider this a net gain.

          This is to say nothing of the usual practice of firing entire departments full of staff as soon as the project is over, only to replace them with a fresh new batch a few weeks later and repeating this ad nauseum. This is how I ended up in my current dead-end retail job.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            So to save a teeny, tiny, little bit of money the senior management destroys morale, individual training anyone needs for any job, the accumulated group or institutional knowledge, as well as the ability to take advantage of all for future development, which takes a weed whacker to future sales and profit, by throwing away highly educated workers (and waste time, effort, and money of HR)? I see.

            I am trying to not sound like a fool while working through this. Intellectually, I knew some of this. But after having all this laid out like like it’s normal, it just strikes me as freaking insane.

            Reply
        4. Procopius

          I always love a chance to pull out one of my favorite Adam Smith quotes, from Wealth of Nations, Book III, Chapter 2:

          III.2.10
          The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors. Wherever the law allows it, and the nature of the work can afford it, therefore, he will generally prefer the service of slaves to that of freemen. The planting of sugar and tobacco can afford the expence of slave-cultivation. The raising of corn, it seems, in the present times, cannot. In the English colonies, of which the principal produce is corn, the far greater part of the work is done by freemen. The late resolution of the Quakers in Pennsylvania to set at liberty all their negro slaves,*15 may satisfy us that their number cannot be very great. Had they made any considerable part of their property, such a resolution could never have been agreed to. In our sugar colonies, on the contrary, the whole work is done by slaves, and in our tobacco colonies a very great part of it. The profits of a sugar-plantation in any of our West Indian colonies are generally much greater than those of any other cultivation that is known either in Europe or America; and the profits of a tobacco plantation, though inferior to those of sugar, are superior to those of corn, as has already been observed.*16 Both can afford the expence of slave-cultivation, but sugar can afford it still better than tobacco. The number of negroes accordingly is much greater, in proportion to that of whites, in our sugar than in our tobacco colonies.

          Human nature, my friend, human nature.

          Reply
      2. Todde

        The ceo actually believed that competition would ceeate some sort of synergy instead of cooperation.

        I remember reading an aeticle about the a hole and he was pretty certain and quite adamant that this program would work.

        Ideology is bad for the bottom line.

        Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          CEOs of Corporations who do not have to answer to anyone are bad for the bottom line.

          Amana used to be pretty ideological back when they were good. Publix too. On the other side, Ford was a fascist practicing on his workforce, but did pretty good money-wise.

          Reply
      3. anonymous

        Bill Gates foundation is huge promoter of the privitazation of Public Schools. You can see the same psycho-selfish competiton among departments of Sears taking place in school systems everywhere. Catholic schools too, particularly the Jesuits, have been drinking deep– and it shows. Many of their social justice programs sound like they were inspired by Oprah Winfrey. Jesuits also, run 28 colleges and universities (do the math on the student loan debt) :( I don’t enjoy writing this. In 2008 and the meltdown, the Church could’ve provided more political/ economic sanctuary. Regardless of what you think, or they believe, Catholics are a huge demographic. And they vote.

        Reply
  12. richard

    Biden looks protected again in debate #2
    will it help? well, it will help the dem establishment in the sense that his smouldering debris will in no way be credited as a victory for bernard
    the smouldering debris will be harder to avoid

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Prediction: Biden will be said, in corporate media, to have done “stunningly well” in the next debate,
      and his poll numbers™ will accordingly rise even more.

      We’ll see how it goes.

      Reply
      1. richard

        i reckon you’re right, that’s the script anyway
        here’s hoping cognitive dissonance will block their puny efforts :)
        joe really is a disaster; i can’t believe they hope to ride his carcass for another 16 months.
        kamala won’t discomfort him outside of idpol probably
        or if she does she’ll take it back the next day
        tulsi should go straight at him on his med4all lies
        i’d like to hear her stretch herself out a bit on domestic issues
        and biden is so vulnerable on that subject

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I do think about the fact that he did not run in 2016. And now he is running. A good look into the Kremlinology of the DNC.

      Since the Pied Piper Strategy succeeded wonderfully, except for the Russians, in 2016–which country will be blamed when the Pied Piper Strategy fails again in 2020? Can’t be China, surely?

      Jesus, in twenty years our history books are going to treat Trump like they do Reagan. I remember first wondering when his fifteen minutes would be up in the 80s.

      Reply
  13. XXYY

    Despite its breathtaking profits, America’s financial sector isn’t succeeding at its core purpose of connecting savers with borrowers quickly and efficiently. My plan would help push it in a better direction.” • Would readers care to comment on this model of the financial sector?

    Well, I would say the traditional “core purpose” of the financial sector in the capitalist system is to efficiently allocate societal resources to various productive enterprises. They are supposed to be experts in assessing what makes sense to do and what will be successful, and make for-profit “loans” accordingly, thus (supposedly) harnessing their own greed to the larger societal good. “Connecting savers with borrowers” seems a bit simplistic, but it’s perhaps in the ballpark.

    The obvious problem here is that the finance industry no longer bears much resemblance to this 1950s idea. The industry is now almost entirely about speculating in the market casino, where there are trillions to be made with little effort, and seems to care little or nothing for its traditional role.

    Reply
  14. XXYY

    Yang (D)(1): “‘I Came From the Internet’: Inside Andrew Yang’s Wild Ride” [Rolling Stone (RH)].

    I think Yang’s UBI is a bust. Originally, the idea of UBI was that it would be sufficient income to make working optional. This would probably be $30,000/year per person or more. Such a program for the US would cost $9 trillion a year, which is probably not going to happen any time soon. Yang’s version is $12,000/year, which is still $3.6 trillion annually, more than the cost of every other progressive proposal combined. However, no one can live on $12k/year without working (it’s the equivalent of $6/hr full time). So basically, it’s a supplemental income for people who have other jobs.

    So…

    • It will probably lower prevailing wages, since by the employer’s logic workers would be getting an “extra” thousand a month.

    • If you have to give up other benefits, e.g., Medicare or food stamps, to get UBI, you are going to be worse off than now. $12,000 is not going to buy much medical care, e.g., if you’re paying cash. It’s not going to pay much rent if you lose Section 8 support.

    • If UBI ends up being a “block grant” in lieu of other government programs, it will bring the end of (and suck up the money now used for) important benefits that people now depend on, and stymie the creation of new ones (“we can’t afford it”).

    Yang’s UBI is basically going to be some nice extra spending money for people who are already well paid. It’s insufficient to live on, and it’s not enough to lift minimum wage workers out of poverty. (Note that raising the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $15 would provide more additional income than Yang’s UBI for minimum wage workers, at no cost to taxpayers.)

    I don’t see any important problem being solved here.

    Reply
    1. flora

      an aside, per Lambert: I don’t think automatiion alone deindustrialized the heartland. That strikes me as letting some very bad actors off the hook.

      You mean Wall St. pushing corporations to move US heavy industry and then light industry jobs to China wasn’t because automation ? gasp! ;)

      Reply
    2. jrs

      I think one has more faith in a safety net existing if they never have to use it. It’s very hard to qualify for food stamps and medicaid (easy to earn too much for medicaid, I think one needs no assets at all for foodstamps). Section 8 vouchers are fine until you find out it takes 10 years to find a landlord that will take them, which has been reported. So that’s the appeal, benefits one actually qualifies for in their time of need.

      It’s insufficient to live on, if one is being frank about it so is a $15 minimum wage in an urban area.

      The important problem in the long run is it’s probably better for the whole world if people worked less (although some important work would remain), but Yang’s proposals are certainly not broad enough for that.

      Reply
    3. Wombat

      Jobs Guarantee or nothing. JG forces wages up to the “employer of last resort” rate.

      UBI just subsidizes consumerism. Ick.

      Reply
    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      I agree with a jobs guarantee or a UI to the extent that, if we’re going to run our society like a game of Monopoly, then everyone should get $200 dollah when they pass go.

      But I’d prefer that we quit treating every other citizen as an exploitable resource. Perhaps we can redefine the differently politically aligned as ‘neighbor’. Then we won’t resent them using ‘our’ free Postal Banking, when we get there.

      Reply
  15. Cal2

    Paragraph beginning: “Back to the definition” …
    “However, it doesn’t seem to me that liberal tactics of shaming and virtue signaling are going to be of much use preventing the emergence of such an entity [KKK lite] (and the enormous monopolies and those productive and dynamic blue cities seem to be amplifying these entities, if anything.”

    “Preventing?” It’s my observation, that blue cities and the areas the most exposed to P.C. language and virtue signaling, are the birthplace of the resistance, not a place of prevention.

    “Berkeley High,” a metaphor, is where the next “Fascist movement” will originate.

    Reply
  16. anon y'mouse

    in the article on how Ayn Rand destroyed Sears, the duplication of administrative layers over and over, plus no one wanting to bear the cost of infrastructure, is highly relevant (i believe) to the way we do schooling in this country at all levels.

    there has to be a way to maintain local control without all of this, hasn’t there?

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      The trouble is, we have no roving bands of Vandals, supporting migrant populations that numbered in the hundreds of thousands, to come in and help us with our administrative overhead. That kind of thing gave a couple hundred years to the ‘Roman Empire’.

      Get local.

      Reply
  17. Oso

    this is a reply to Water Cooler’s “The Hard Immigration Questions” [David Leonhardt, New York Times].
    “Immigration restrictions are not inherently racist. Nor is border security. All countries have borders and restrictions”
    this is the entitled and privileged statement reflective of a colonist/settler mentality. it is clearly racist when applied to indigenous peoples migration on our own land. to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing under the guise of freedom then claim the land is yours is moral bankruptcy. you can’t have it both ways, claim both the moral high ground and someone else’s land.
    if there are any other black/brown people who follow this site i know you’ll feel this, sadly while informative this is a very white site. well intentioned but unable to grasp what they see are issues are actually our lives.

    Reply
    1. praxis

      Land is claimed and enforced by political mobilization – generally violence. A prior population’s inability to enforce its sovereignty does not ordain the conquerors to the same fate by virtue of morality. The US is not going to prorogue its territorial sovereignty simply because it was founded via a genocide/land grab. The soil below my feet has no stake in how the humans above it settle their disputes.

      Reply
    2. richard

      well replied to mr. leonhardt.
      immigration: ordinary people moving to someone else’s land with no institutional support, predominantly done by poc across the world, often to escape predation
      settling: ordinary people moving to someone else’s land supported by institutional and state violence, up to and including genocide, predominantly done by white people across the world, best seen as a “release valve” for class pressures in the metropole
      same damn thing in one sense: just moving yourself or your family to a new place. but the context and impact of the two kinds of movement couldn’t be more different, as you point out

      Reply
    3. spro

      “if there are any other black/brown people who follow this site i know you’ll feel this, sadly while informative this is a very white site. well intentioned but unable to grasp what they see are issues are actually our lives.”

      Oh yeah, the reparations discussion was about what you would expect.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Reparations completely falls apart when you simply reframe “certain people deserve money because their ancestors suffered” (which is already completely fraudulent thinking) as “certain people deserve to suffer and pay because their ancestors* committed crimes”. Collective punishment for collective benefit. Sins of the father? Screw that.

        *many of us have ancestors whose arrival post-date the genocide and land theft. In point of fact, Oso, neither I nor the ancestors you hold me accountable for stole your land.

        Reply
        1. marym

          Reparations concerns the generational legacy of systemic racism. We can argue whether it’s fair or feasible to assess and make restitution for slavery, Jim Crow, convict labor, lynching, voter suppression, housing and lending discrimination, etc. I don’t know if we’re capable as a society of having that discussion (I’m sure opportunistic politicians who can’t commit to any other form of major social or economic justice aren’t), but if we were, that would be the topic, not just just whose ancestors were enslaved or enslavers.

          Reply
    4. martell

      So you think immigration restrictions are inherently racist? Or it’s inherently racist of the US in particular to restrict immigration (but not, say, Samoa)? Okay, make your argument. There are people in the commentariat who will write in support. Others will object. Note though that simply asserting that something is obviously racist is not the same as giving reasons for thinking it is. And calling those who disagree entitled, privileged, and white is an example of argumentum ad hominem. That’s an informal fallacy, otherwise known as an error in reasoning. As for the site being very white, I wouldn’t know. Nor do I see how it’s relevant. I do think, though, that’s it’s always bad form to hold someone’s race against them, but we can argue about that too if you like.

      Reply
    5. JBird4049

      this is the entitled and privileged statement reflective of a colonist/settler mentality. it is clearly racist when applied to indigenous peoples migration on our own land.

      How does the completely free flow of workers, capital, and goods through borders not create unemployment, poverty, and the disempowerment of the working and middle class while doing the reverse for the 9.99%?

      Wanting a decent job, food, and a roof is a “colonist/settler mentality?”

      When said to the whole families living on the street, a vehicle, or a shelter, in California, what is likely to be their response?

      Are the parents likely to accept that their children ostensibly having this mentality as justification for lack of shelter and, often enough, of food?

      How is this not guilt by blood?

      Personally, I am annoyed when I have to deal with ignoramuses on whether racism was, or is, real just like I am with those who, like the alt-right fools, insist that the Holocaust never happened, or when Jewish extremists have no problem with Palestinians living under apartheid and probable slow moving genocide. Now it’s this settler mentality?

      The justifications, and excuses, given for the creation of, and for not helping, the increasing misery of a growing number of Americans, many of whom are not white, for the sin of being poor sounds much like the those given for racism, classism, and sexism. Not the only that, it gives support to both the Republicans, Trump and the alt right, as well as to Pelosi, the Democratic Machine, and the neoliberals.

      Instead, why do not push for Orange Julius, the Godmother, and the Turtle’s impeachment or arrest or loosing the upcoming elections. All three of them are responsible for war crimes and civil rights violations.

      Reply
    6. Cal2

      “unable to grasp what they see are issues are actually our lives.”
      Like jobs, living standards and incarceration?

      “The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skill black men, fell precipitously from 1960 to 2000. At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in black employment and incarceration. Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 4.0 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 3.5 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point.”

      Immigration and African-American Employment Opportunities: The Response of Wages, Employment, and Incarceration to Labor Supply Shocks
      National Bureau of Economic Research

      http://www.nber.org/papers/w12518

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly.

        The War on (some) Drugs could be said to have be started as President Nixon’s use of it to attract the so-called Silent Majority. Using straight up racist actions would have backfired, but pushing for stronger drug laws, including strengthened enforcement, and making connections of “those people” along with the hippies, to those awful drugs like weed and smack…

        Nixon got his campaign talking points while strengthening the Southern Strategy of pulling the more fearful as well as the more racist white Southerners into the Republican Party.

        The prisons filled up blacks, hippies, and other undesirables who normally would be able to vote . Concurrently, the national economy began its long, slow collapse which took longer to notice because the reduction of good jobs, and by around 1970 everyone, including blacks were all being pull up into them, was hidden by all the inmates.

        I don’t think that the end of legal redlining, the start of serious union busting, the revitalization of Prison Industry including its slave labor, the ramped up deliberate shipping overseas of most manufacturing, and the small, slow start of the Democratic Party’s abandonment of unions, minorities, and poor are all in the years between 1970 to 1980 were coincidental.

        Reply
    7. NotReallyHere

      with respect, what you write is nonsense. What is the percentage of total population in any country that are indigenous migratory people (I assume you mean nomadic)? what population could any land support if the population were nomadic?

      And is a nomadic lifestyle somehow exclusive to black/brown people. If it is, I think somebody should speak with Irish travelers.

      EVERY land has, at some point been taken over by somebody else. Black ones, brown ones, white ones. It has been the nature of things for millennia. Guilt tripping and shaming the current generation for sins of past ones is not only unhelpful, it is toxic, divisive and ultimately socially destructive.

      Having said that, I hate the NY Times. They often produce these hand-wringing articles that appear sensible and balanced, but in the end are just an exercise in cynical sophistry.

      Quote:
      “I think our immigration policy should take into account the sharp rise in inequality over the last few decades. One way to do so would be to reduce, or at least hold constant, the level of immigration by people who would compete for lower- and middle-wage jobs while increasing immigration among people who would compete for higher-wage jobs… ‘Immigration restriction, by making unskilled labor more scarce, tended to shore up wage rates,”

      end quote

      The embedded lies in this sentence alone drive me nuts. First, the real downward pressure on wages is NOT immigration. It is the employment of ILLEGAL entrants (NOT IMMIGRANTS) drives down wages for low skilled workers and the over-issuance of NON_IMMIGRANT visas for highly skilled IT workers. This is NOT immigration. Its wage arbitrage. Employers use it to turbo charge profits at the expense of a) employees and b) capital expenditure.

      Corporations (and their political lackeys) are more than happy to trot out the race card if what they are fighting for is their executive bonuses. I note that in ALL the screaming back-and-forth about illegal’s/ undocumented immigrants NO media outlet dwells for long on the fact that employers get an almost total free pass for paying off human traffickers to fill their ranks with virtual slaves with no rights.

      Yeah, we’ll whine about conditions in the detention centers but totally ignore the working conditions these people will be subjected to when they finally get here.

      https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/milking-it/Content?oid=26454611

      This story is a total disgrace. The “agents” the employees have to pay are traffickers. The “well Vermonters won’t work for it”. The description of bathroom facilities. This is Bernie’s state and an employer can publicly state “yeah, whatcha gonna do?”

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Regardless of one’s beliefs on immigration, it is interesting that the large American labor trafficking rings are not mentioned, but the comparatively small American sex trafficking ring get all the attention. It is true that getting any information on the former and accurate, instead of propagandist lies, is difficult.

        Still, to the extent that they happen, the fact that the larger, more profitable ones, which in some instances are often one or two steps above debt peonage, and in a fortunately few others are reminiscent of slavery including consequences free and routine rape, while the latter smaller ones are sensationalized, blow up, and used to justify censorship and prosecutions of the sex workers themselves, including passage of laws that make them less safe.

        If I was being cynical, I would say that the use of dirt cheap illegal, sometimes quasi enslaved, workers with almost no rights but employed by Big Ag. including meat packing, the construction industry as well as the service industry in place of the Americans who used to do them at union wages while the criminal gangs running the sex slave rings as well as the many more self employed but free sex workers do not have the campaign bribes donations to bend lawmakers and law enforcement to do what they want. It’s money that matters in this corrupt neoliberal America of ours. Human decency, never mind justice can take a walk.

        Reply
        1. NotReallyHere

          The “trick” is to create plausible deniability by adding layers of “agents” between the employer and the end employee. Then you give it a name like outsourcing to make that respectable.

          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/trafficked-in-america/

          The idea that politicians don’t understand what is happening is laughable. I would believe it easily if someone told me that half of Congress is getting paid off to turn a blind eye.

          Reply
    8. MichaelC

      “It is clearly racist when applied to indigenous peoples migration on their own land’
      That should be all that needs be said to disgrace any defender of the ‘send her home’ hypocrisy. Or to any defenders of Trumps (and establishment Ds) ‘immigration’ policies.
      Thank you for cutting through the noise to remind about the imperialist roots of the current travesty.

      Reply
    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” We got a good thing goin’ here, see?

      We don’t need any new people to come in here and muscle in on our racket, see?”

      There. No moral pretensions.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Yes, I’m sure all the people suffering because illegal labor suppresses their wages are really running a ‘racket’.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Your comment strikes me as being basically similar to Oso’s comment in that both you and Oso seem to think that there is, or even should be, some kind of “moral” content in a country’s existence and in the immigration policy it pursues to protect that existence against amoral state entities out to crush that existence to benefit their own competing existences.

          There is nothing wrong with being a “racket” as long as one is willing to accept that basic fact.
          Once one drops the moralistic pretension that America has some kind of “duty” to advance some sort of “values”, then one becomes immune to the kind of psychological extortion and racial blackmail animating Oso’s comment.

          Take another look at my comment and see if you can ‘get’ that. And then realize that the Oso’s comment which set off this whole sub-thread is the comment which reveals a studied indifference and casual disregard for the suffering imposed by illegal labor which is caused by the mass illegal immigration supported and called for by that comment. I was showing that I place American survival ahead of moral pretension.

          Or don’t even bother to take another look at my comment if you would prefer not to. If you would rather think that mine is the comment which supports the illegal labor and its attendant suffering instead of the comment which my comment is answering, go right ahead and think it if that’s what you please to think.

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            Except that the very term racket is loaded with the moral judgements you don’t want to make. One doesn’t hear it being applied as an honorific.

            But I agree with your main stance, I think. The “moral high ground” plus 2 or 3 bucks, will get you a cup of crap house coffee at Starbucks.

            All this LARPing and frantic posturing over establishing some presumed posture of moral superiority contributes f-all to the winning of any useful battles. I suspect it’s generally a substitute for fighting them.

            Reply
    10. Chris

      So, what would a brown or black site look like in your opinion?

      The commenters and the topics discussed on NC apply to all people living in the US. The focus is on class issues generally, because race based issues in the US media and in political circles these days are almost always used to distract from issues that would actually help people.

      For a few examples…There’s a lot of overlap between the opinions and coverage given in NC and the Black Agenda Report. Articles written by Adolph Reed are regularly held up for discussion and generally praised. The people here don’t mock AOC or Nina Turner either. Not saying this is a race blind utopia or that NC is perfect in anyway. It’s just so much better than other alternatives. So, what are you proposing our hosts do to make it better if the current rendering is too vanilla for your tastes?

      Reply
    11. Mo's Bike Shop

      Way to RickRoll the site. If you’re not a troll, read more of the site. The dead are in the past. I am born an indigenous person. If you want to tell me to go back to my ‘own country’ rather than form a society here and now, get stuffed.

      Reply
  18. flora

    re: “Democrats upset over Omar seeking primary challenger” [The Hill]

    but, but, Madeleine Albright! There’s a special place… selectively… apparently.

    Will Dem consultants be allowed to work on said challenger’s campaign and remain in good standing? (rhetorical question) /s

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      An addition to TINA should probably be TINF, as in There Is No Future. Makes energy policy easier.

      Reply
  19. Jeff W

    Even the people who have disagreed with my plan say, ‘Well, we’re going to have to transition three, four, five years to get there.’”

    The regular readers of this blog know that Medicare was rolled out in one year with nothing like a “bumpy ride” and that was starting from scratch, in an era of computer punch cards and no online access. It’ s not clear to me why, save the obstacles thrown in its path by those opposed to it, a transition to Medicare-for-All (i.e., providing people with actual care) should take longer, even if shifting that segment of the economy devoted to private insurance to something else does.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      The basic question is whether the insurance companies will go on strike or suck up the last bits of rent. I assume Biden speaks for the insurance companies.

      Reply
  20. none

    Is any living American actually okay with the fact two of our last four presidents were allegedly good pals with the guy whose private airplane was referred to openly in the press as, wink-wink, the “Lolita Express”?

    And don’t forget it was the George W. Bush Justice Department that cut the deal with Epstein that Alex Acosta just resigned from the Trump admin over.

    Reply
    1. VietnamVet

      This century, we are taking around 600 American billionaires and their hired guns. Ronald Reagan is cited as a saint by this clan (for example, the corporate democrat Nancy Pelosi) for the simple reason that he cut the chains of democracy that freed them to do whatever damn thing they want to do. Jeff Epstein is right at the center of this addicted sick cabal. Taking him down takes them down. Sure, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet might not have chummed around with Donald Trump but they will do whatever is necessary to keep and increase their wealth.

      Reply
    2. pretzelattack

      there was a story iirc about the george bushes, sr and jr. and some kind of sex abuse ring. a guy that supposedly committed suicide was the source–hatfield?. i thought it was another conspiracy theory at the time, but now i’m wondering.guess i’ll look it up.

      Reply
      1. anonymous

        Ex“Parents’ emotional trauma may change their children’s biology. Studies in mice show how”

        — deindustrializing flyover and destroying the livelihoods and communities of millions of people, ffs.* Class pops up in the oddes of places, doesn’t it? NOTE * See Chris Arnade’s Dignity

        I follow you completely here. One simple example, a Jobs Guarantee. If you have a decent paying job, and you can expect to have that job for a steady long term — then you can make plans. And if you can plan—you have hope. Science doesn’t have a test for hope.

        Reply
  21. ewmayer

    “Fact check: Joe Biden misleads with claim that Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan would cause a ‘hiatus’” [CNN — Ya gotta hand it to Biden though – in one short passage he [a] milks the death of his son for sympathy votes, [b] spreads a lie about M4A causing ‘hiatuses’ in coverage, and [c] works in multiple folksy clichés: “my grandpappy said”, “smooth as the good-smelling silken tresses on that cute teenage girl over there” … he was probably kicking himself for leaving out one about “giving 110%”, though.

    Reply
  22. softie

    The New York Times in 1944 asked Vice President Henry Wallace to answer the questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they? The Vice President’s answers were published on April 9, 1944, as the war against the Axis powers and Japan was drawing to a close. He wrote:

    The really dangerous American fascist…is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did inGermany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

    They claim to be superpatriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjugation.

    Reply
    1. flora

      That interview was in April, 1944. After which, in July 1944, FDR agreed to drop Wallace from the 1944 presidential ticket to placate the party ‘moderates’, allowing the convention to elect Harry Truman as the vp candidate.

      Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      Cite?

      The nyt website doesn’t have this op-ed and the search function goes well before 1944. https://www.nytimes.com/search?query=Wallace+1944+april+superpatriots

      And the only cites of this passage are on contemporary blogs,not an academic website. and “superpatriot” doesn’t sound like a word from 1944 vernacular.

      Not being a jerk, just pedantic about made-up passages being cited as historical record that sound too on point to be true.

      Sorry.

      Reply
          1. richard

            untold history is quite solid actually: well referenced, just not the usual suspects as sources
            that was my impression anyway
            i realize filmmaking about the jfk assassination from the pov of jim garrison loses him substantial credibility as a historian :)

            Reply
        1. Carey

          Thank you for that timely Henry Wallace quote, and for the link.

          Most helpful, here, in the United States of Amnesia.

          Reply
      1. dearieme

        Was Wallace ignorant enough to suppose Hitler a Prussian? That sounds like the blunder of a member of a more recent generation.

        Reply
          1. dearieme

            I can read. I can also infer. I think he’s implying that Hitler was Prussian because nobody could be so stupid as to think Hitler’s way was Prussian.

            Reply
          1. richard

            great primary source link!
            Wallace also writes in this that fascism in post-war us would undoubtedly take the form of u.s. imperialism and aggression versus russia
            1944 – good call

            Reply
  23. Basil Pesto

    If you search Robert Paxton on YouTube there’s some interesting material from him, including his being questioned on Trump and his very adroitly and diplomatically shutting it down with reference to his own rigorous definition. There’s also a C-Span clip from 2004 where he’s being goaded into saying that Bush = fascist and his reaction is much the same. Plus ça change, baby!

    Reply
  24. JBird4049

    And another goddamned book to read.

    I just of it as the reason why I can’t die. I have all these books to read before I do.

    Reply
  25. LeonRussellFan

    Bears repeating–Kamala Harris’ busing ‘for integration’

    Berkeley schools had been well integrated for decades BEFORE Kamala was bused to Thousand Oaks School – her highly planned and not-so well-scripted “impromptu” comment was laughably, and disgracefully wrong.
    I attended Berkeley public schools all the way through high school almost 20 years before Ms. Harris, and we were quite well integrated then.
    I worked for the Berkeley Unified School District at the time busing was initiated. It was NOT primarily for integration.
    It was a time when many experimental programs were offered – departing from the traditional 3Rs, most of which were dismal failures. Busing was primarily to move kids around from their neighborhood schools and away from where their parents could easily pop into school to see what was going on.
    She’s dead wrong that she was among the vanguard that was bused to achieve integration in Berkeley.

    Reply
  26. fdr-fan

    AOC’s answer to the Facebook monster is accurate and sharp, but probably didn’t bother him. Tech monsters are accustomed to being paid in corporate currency (stock options, Gaian indulgences) along with ordinary currency. She probably didn’t bother anyone else, since very few people know what scrip is.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Company scrip was generally only useable in the company store. Will FaceBooger Libras be only usable through FaceBooger Stuff-buying sites?

      Don’t Tech monsters think of stock options and such as being a kind of supermoney? A kind of condensed money which can be de-compressed at a suitable time to yield huge amounts of ordinary money? They would be wrong to think that Libra scrip is the same thing.

      Reply
  27. Louis Fyne

    Re: gardens….

    Tomatoes. Easy to grow (unless you’re well north), easy to can. Prolific. And taste better than store bought.

    You definitely can’t feed yourself, but store tomatoes, especially in the winter, have a long supply chain (often grown in natty gas fueled hot houses)

    Reply
    1. Chris

      I can’t for the life of me understand what people see in Biden. Why is he polling anywhere in this primary? He is so bad on so many issues and he can’t string a coherent sentence together unless it’s to plagiarize details from another person’s life! How is he running anywhere north of zero in any Democrat state poll?

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Most people don’t. They’re very carefully polling people they think will support him. And even those numbers are going down as just what a sheer dumbass he is becomes more and more apparent.

        It’s inevitable the party leadership will go back to trying to hawk one or more of the younger empty neoliberal suits.

        Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Interesting. What if people put decoy-lootables in their safety deposit boxes filled with untraceably time-delayed action-onset poisons or diseases?

      Reply
  28. Charles Leseau

    Piper Cub! Classic airplane, wonderful lines, wonderful yellow that you can’t see in this photo, and a shape that I well idolized as a wee cub myself.

    That quote about today’s elite and its comparison to Versailles is very sharp, but close to how I’ve always felt about our ghoulish modern day Trimalchios, and I was surprised to see it said quite like that.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      It’s the only plane in MS Flight Simulator that I could actually land. It goes, like, 20 mph (maybe a little more).

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        Piper Cubs (and variants) can fly backwards if the wind is strong enough. Phun with Fiziks.

        I got to fly formation with a Golden Eagle in a river valley years ago and the bird looked bigger than the airplane.

        Some slow flight demonstrations. I wonder if the pilots are chanting “Bernoulli Bernoulli Bernoulli” as they are taking off and landing?

        STOL Competition

        Reply
  29. ewmayer

    2 pieces of “News of the Stupid” from the SF Bay area (the first is a major national brand, but the whole “smart foo” movement is Silicon-Valley-driven):

    o Pampers smart diaper to launch this fall – CNN: Lemme guess, this is gonna involve a whole new marketing scam based on “surge pricing”

    o Multiples lanes of southbound I-880 in Oakland have been closed to repair a large pothole this evening — Watched the new about this one, it’s a 3’x3′ pothole that opened up during the Friday afternoon commute. That’s big but small enough that you can easily drop a piece of heavy steel plate over it on an emergency basis, maybe close just that one lane (the pothole was in middl of a lane) if you’re worried about the plate shifting out of place, then fix it during the night, *after* the evening commute dies down. What do the geniuses at CalTrans do? They close no fewer than 3 lanes – more than half the lanes – right in midst of the evening commute so a crew can jackhammer and pour concrete: “Will re-open at 11pm” – great news for the 3am Saturday morning rush hour commuters, there. Good grief.

    Reply
  30. Jessica

    “the earliest phenomenon that seems functionally related to fascism: the Ku Klux Klan”
    The ante-bellum Southern slave-holding oligarchy was much more modern than is often appreciated. They even had financialisation, including sub-prime mortgages on enslaved people. Its labor practices in the plantations of the deep south prefigured both Taylorism and Schindler’s List.
    The aspect of fascism that was missing from the terror campaign to restore racist oligarchy in the South was a mass-based party arising as an alternative to an anti-elite mass-based party. More generally, compared to anywhere that fascism successfully seized power and anywhere that it failed (Russia during its civil war, the UK in the 1930s), the American population now is extremely depoliticized and demobilized.

    Reply

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