2:00PM Water Cooler 7/25/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“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 24: Biden flat at 28.6% (28.6), Sanders up at 15.0% (14.8%), Warren up at 15.0% (14.6%), Buttigieg up at 4.8% (5.0%), Harris down 12.2% (12.6%), others Brownian motion.

* * *


Sanders (D)(1): “Tensions Between Bernie Sanders and MSNBC Boil Over” [Daily Beast]. “The backlash from Sanders-world reached a new high on Sunday, when MSNBC analyst Mimi Rocah, a former assistant U.S attorney for the Southern District of New York and occasional contributor to The Daily Beast, launched a personal critique of Sanders during a segment with host David Gura, saying that he makes her “skin crawl” and that he’s not a ‘pro-woman candidate.’… A senior campaign aide said the campaign believes there are possible biases in the network, but instead of shunning MSNBC they’ve been aggressive in getting their people booked. Sanders has been on the network at least nine times this cycle.”

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Wants to Stop Banks From Dominating Trillions in Payments” [Bloomberg]. “At issue is the development of real-time payment systems that would allow consumers and businesses to instantly access money that’s sent to their bank accounts. Everyone agrees that creating such networks is necessary. But they’re at odds over whether it’s a good idea to let big banks, which already have one up and running, reign supreme….. [Warren] wants the Federal Reserve to join the fray. The Massachusetts lawmaker, along with Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and two House Democrats, plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would require the Fed to build a competing system. They say they want to make the U.S. payments infrastructure a public utility and prevent big banks from gaining a monopoly.” • Good!

Warren (D)(2): “Warren Is No Hillary. She’s Also No Bernie” [Jacobin]. “Characterizing Warren as a ‘neoliberal‘ or, even more stupidly, a ‘Clintonite,’ some misguided online Bernie Sanders supporters seem to be trying to cast her as the archvillain in the sequel to 2016’s horror flop, Hillary. With Warren’s advocacy for aggressive government regulation, her support for redistributive programs, her sharp critique of antisocial corporate behavior, and her rejection of individualistic folklore (remember ‘You didn’t build that‘?), she’s emerged as a relatively mild but nevertheless quite serious opponent of neoliberal ideology…. However, while Warren isn’t a neoliberal, Sanders supporters aren’t the only ones making shit up. Her own supporters have been spinning a series of fictitious narratives rooted in classic neoliberal identity politics, using feminism and anti-racism to discredit Sanders’s socialist agenda… One of these curious neoliberal narratives is that only sexism could explain why people support Sanders over Warren, since the candidates are exactly the same politically. Earlier this year, Moira Donegan, writing in the Guardian, asked, ‘Why vote for Sanders when you can have Elizabeth Warren instead?’ While Warren calls herself a “capitalist to my bones,” Sanders is a lifelong socialist.”

* * *

“Biden tries to set the stage in Detroit” [Politico]. “CNN’s broadcast, which begins at 8 p.m., will also feature an introduction of the candidates and playing of the national anthem.” • The debates are already enough like a sporting event, so what next? A military flyover?

“Can’t Buy Mohammed bin Salman Love” [Foreign Policy]. Last month, credible reports emerged that the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was courting campaign investors linked to Saudi Arabia. In June, Buttigieg held a fundraiser in the home of Hamilton James, a major Democratic donor and the mastermind behind a $20 billion deal to generate Saudi investment in U.S. infrastructure. Buttigieg is not alone. The Intercept revealed that former Vice President Joe Biden’s American Possibilities PAC includes investment from former Democratic Sen. John Breaux, a lobbyist for the firm Squire Patton Boggs, which is registered as a representative for Saudi Arabia.” • Classy!


“Mueller testimony fails to move needle on impeachment” [The Hill]. “[S]ome of the most vocal impeachment proponents said they don’t expect Mueller’s halting testimony — in which he asked legislators to repeat their questions on multiple occasions and often declined to answer questions at all — to lend any significant new power to the effort… More than 90 House Democrats have come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, according to a tally kept by The Hill. But impeachment backers are still mostly progressives and amount to less than half of the 235-member caucus. Only a half-dozen Democrats representing swing districts have joined the push — and even they all hail from districts carried by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.”


“You Can’t Beat Trump without Throwing a Punch” [National Review]. “[Democrats’] desire is that the president should be removed from office, perhaps that the result of the 2016 election itself could be abrogated. And that all this could all be effected while they remain passive observers and commentators. Perhaps they would only be the formal executors of a judgment made elsewhere…. In other words, pro-impeachment Democrats wanted Mueller to make the decision for them, to take responsibility for moving public opinion in their favored direction. This is not how impeachment works under the Constitution, and it is not how political conflict works anyway. Just as spectators of the political game, it should be obvious by now that this is the signature mistake that all of Trump’s opponents have made. A fear of direct confrontation with Trump and his base leads his opponents to hope that Trump can be defeated without hard fighting….This is a vain hope. Like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton before them, House Democrats will lose any contest with Trump so long as they are unwilling to sustain political damage in the act of inflicting more damage to him.” • Hard to argue with any of this.


“These Questions for Mueller Show Why Russiagate Was Never the Answer” [The Nation]. The best question: “3. Why didn’t you interview Julian Assange? “The uncertainty in Mueller’s account of how WikiLeaks received the stolen e-mails could possibly have been cleared up had Mueller attempted to interview Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder insists that the Russian government was not his source, and has repeatedly offered to speak to US investigators. Given that Assange received and published the stolen emails at the heart of Mueller’s investigation, his absence from Mueller’s voluminous witness sheet is a glaring omission.” • Lawyers believe that you should never ask a question if you don’t already know the answer. So what does Mueller’s refusal to interview Assange say about his trust in the DNC?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“There Are Reasons for Optimism” [Noam Chomsky, Catalyst]. A long, long interview, well worth a read. Chomsky concludes: “A lot of things have improved and they’ve improved by active, organized, committed people who went to work on it and changed the world. That’s a reason to be optimistic.”

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of July 20, 2019: “One of the Federal Reserve’s two central pillars policy — employment — is showing increasing and unusual strength” [Econoday]. “Labor conditions in July [may] have been at least if not more favorable than conditions in June.”

Durable Goods Orders, June 2019: “If manufacturing is the Federal Reserve’s central focus, they have less to be worried about. [Econoday]. “It’s a rare 1.9 percent jump in core capital goods orders that points to new confidence in the business outlook and the release of prior pent-up demand for new production equipment.” • What you want to see in a capitalist economy, even if most of turns out to be going to robots. More: “Revisions and the Boeing 737 aside, this report is an echo of the strength of last week’s industrial production report where manufacturing posted its strongest performance of the year, and it diminishes the need for Fed rate cuts and will have to be put into broad context or explained away by Jerome Powell at his press conference next week should the Fed indeed lower rates.”

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, July 2019: “Weighed down by increased uncertainty due to trade concerns and weaker domestic demand, Tenth District manufacturing activity unexpectedly slid into mild contraction” [Econoday]. “Today’s survey from Kansas joins yesterday’s Richmond Fed survey in showing manufacturing in contraction in their respective region, scaling back expectations of a general rebound in the nation’s flagging manufacturing sector that were aroused by last week’s positive Philly Fed and Empire State surveys,”

International Trade in Goods, June 2019: Exports fell very sharp[ly] with imports down. These are among the weakest results in 2-1/2 years and outside of isolated gains in May” [Econoday]. “Capital goods are the US’s strongest exports and these fell… Import contraction was deepest in industrial supplies…. Facing a sudden rush of improving economic data — whether employment or retail sales or core capital goods — the Federal Reserve will be able to point to declines in global trade as a justification for what appears to be an approaching rate cut at next week’s meeting.”

Retail Inventories [Advance], June 2019: Retail inventories contracted unexpectedly [Econoday]. “However unfavorable for the GDP calculation, low inventories at a time of strong consumer demand and what may be, based on this morning’s durable goods report, improving business demand point to the need for inventory building which would be a plus for third quarter employment and production.”

Wholesale Inventories [Advance], June 2019: Wholesale inventories rose lower-than-expected [Econoday]. As above on inventory building.

Retail: “Amazon Has ‘Destroyed’ U.S. Retail Industry, Mnuchin Says” [Bloomberg]. “U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin alleged that Amazon.com Inc. has “limited competition” and harmed the retail industry as the Trump administration announced a broad antitrust review into whether technology companies are using their power to thwart rivals. ‘If you look at Amazon, although there are certain benefits to it, it destroyed the retail industry across the United States, so there’s no question they’ve limited competition,” Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC Wednesday.'” • And just think! If Kamala Harris had prosecuted Mnuchin, he wouldn’t be saying this today!

Housing: “Nearly 250,000 NYC rental apartments sit vacant” [6sqft]. Early numbers from the Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Survey show that the number of unoccupied apartments throughout New York City has grown significantly over the past three years–a whopping 35 percent to 65,406 apartments since 2014, when the last survey was taken. As the Daily News puts it, “Today, 247,977 units — more than 11% of all rental apartments in New York City — sit either empty or scarcely occupied, even as many New Yorkers struggle to find an apartment they can afford.” One reason for the growing vacancy rates, as the article states, is the city’s high rent, which has risen twice as fast as inflation….. Many of the 75,000 temporary apartments are pied-à-terres–think weekend or vacation homes for the rich–a number that’s expanded from 9,282 in 1987.”

Tech: “Twitter, Unable to Control Its Worst Elements, Rolls out a Site Redesign” [Fortune]. “The social media site began testing the new version of its site back in September 2018. The new look better resembles the site’s experience on modern smartphones. At the start, the new look was optional, and only available to some. Now, the redesign will be mandatory for Twitter users, disabling their ability to switch to the social network’s legacy layout.” • Amazingly, press coverage of this debacle has been universally positive; neither the designers nor the press seem to understand that phones (tiny screens, touch) and laptops (bigger screens or even monitors, mouse/keyboard) are different media. Hence the grotesquely oversized menu, the big type, the wasted screen real estate, the extra steps, and so on. The good news is that there are workarounds to the so-called “mandatory” redesign, if design is the word I want.

Tech: “How to switch back to the old Twitter layout” [ShackNews]. • The new Twitter laptop redesign really is ghastly. This technique works, though it’s not clear for how long.

Manufacturing: “Boeing says 737 MAX crisis could temporarily shut down Renton production” [Seattle Times]. “Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Wednesday that though the company’s “best estimate” is that the 737 MAX will return to service in October, a slip in that optimistic timeline could mean the Renton 737 production line would be temporarily shut down. ‘That’s not something we want to do, but something we have to prepare for,’ he said on Boeing’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts and the press. Such a drastic step would mean temporary layoffs at the plant, which employs more than 10,000 people. ‘A temporary shutdown could be more efficient than a sustained lower production rate,’ Muilenburg said. ‘That’s what we are thinking our way through.’ Wednesday’s call also included worrying news for Boeing’s Everett factory: The new 777X that rolled out of the factory in March will not fly until next year because of delays in fixing a problem with the plane’s GE-9X engine.”• A firm with enormous quality assurance problems considers screwing over its workers…

Manufacturing: “Southwest ceasing operations at Newark airport because of 737 Max delays” [CNN]. “Southwest Airlines is ceasing operations at Newark Liberty International Airport because of the continued grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. The airline announced Thursday that Boeing’s (BA) “extensive delays” in getting its 737 Max plane back in service, Southwest has to stop flying in and out of the New Jersey airport starting November 3. Southwest called it a financial decision, saying its financial results at the airport have fallen below expectations, and it had to “mitigate damages and optimize our aircraft…. The airline operates 20 flights per day from Newark to 10 cities, including Phoenix, Austin and Chicago. Southwest (LUV) will still continue to fly from two New York area airports including LaGuardia and Islip on Long Island.” • Newark or LaGuardia…. I’d have to give it some thought.

Manufacturing: “Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours” [The Register]. “Some models of Airbus A350 airliners still need to be hard rebooted after exactly 149 hours, despite warnings from the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) first issued two years ago.” • Funny to have the famous Help Desk reponse — “Please reboot your machine and try again” — appear at such a high level. To be fair to Airbus, the problem was fixable. The article has interesting information on how Airbus aircraft are wired up.

The Biosphere

“Moody’s Buys Climate Data Firm, Signaling New Scrutiny of Climate Risks” [New York Times]. “The rating agency bought a majority share in Four Twenty Seven, a California-based company that measures a range of hazards, including extreme rainfall, hurricanes, heat stress and sea level rise, and tracks their impact on 2,000 companies and 196 countries. In the United States, the data covers 761 cities and more than 3,000 counties.” • I’m reminded of the scene from The Big Short where Mark Baum visits Standard & Poors:

“I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.” [Vox]. “All too often, our culture broadly equates “environmentalism” with personal consumerism. To be “good,” we must convert to 100 percent solar energy, ride an upcycled bike everywhere, stop flying, eat vegan. We have to live a zero-waste lifestyle, never use Amazon Prime, etc., etc. I hear this message everywhere…. While we’re busy testing each other’s purity, we let the government and industries — the authors of said devastation — off the hook completely. This overemphasis on individual action shames people for their everyday activities, things they can barely avoid doing because of the fossil fuel-dependent system they were born into…. If we want to function in society, we have no choice but to participate in that system. To blame us for that is to shame us for our very existence.” • Amen.

“Special Report: A Cloudspotter’s Guide to Climate Change” [Reuters]. “When Gavin Pretor-Pinney decided on a whim to inaugurate the Cloud Appreciation Society at a literary festival, he never expected it to draw much attention. Fifteen years later, more than 47,000 members have signed up for a group that could have been dismissed as another example of quintessentially British eccentricity…. Global climate models are a computational mesh that use grids of the Earth that are tens to hundreds of kilometers wide. Clouds and the complicated processes they are made under are smaller in size and present a ‘blind spot’ in climate modeling, says [Tapo] Schneider, the Caltech climate scientist…. [T]he Cloud Appreciation Society decided not to get involved in the climate change debate. Asked what he made of his fellow members’ reluctance to include climate advocacy in the Cloud Appreciation Society’s work, [Walt Lyons, an atmospheric scientist and former broadcast meteorologist who belongs to the society] pauses for a moment. ‘Just appreciating clouds is a big job, because people are reconnecting with nature,’ he says finally. ‘If more people could begin to understand what they’re about to lose…’ He walks away and settles his bill with the cashier.” • Great metaphor, there. A sad ending! A very good article on clouds; the Cloud Appreciation Society is the story hook (or, I suppose, barb). Well worth a read.

“Sacramento UC Master Gardeners to host annual Harvest Day gardening event in Fair Oaks” [Sacramento Bee]. “Gardening is incredibly rewarding, but it can also frustrate, especially when a plant is struggling or bugs are plaguing your garden. But there’s help available: The Sacramento UC Master Gardeners are here to help and give advice at their annual Harvest Day event.” • Master Gardeners are a great resource.

For rail fans, a thread:

“Real Estate Agents Trying To Gentrify Run-Down Earth By Renaming It West Saturn” [The Onion (RH)]. “With Mars almost sold through, demand for the good spots on Earth is only going to heat up, much like Earth itself.”

Guillotine Watch

Get used to it:

Here’s Fineman’s deleted tweet:

Class Warfare

“If You Hate Capitalism You Will Love This Map” [Vice]. “The Black Socialists of America (BSA), a coalition of ‘anticapitalist, internationalist Black Americans,’ just launched its Dual Power Map. The map promises to plot every single worker cooperative, small business development center, community land trust, and dual power project in America so ‘you can support them right now.’ But what are any of these things? What is dual power? Why should you care? At its heart, dual power is a socialist strategy concerned with helping people who are unable to have their needs met by capitalism. The strategy calls for ‘counter-institutions’ that not only meet the needs of those left behind but are run by those very people. It also calls for people to protect and develop these institutions into forms of social, economic, and political ‘counter-power’ through social movements or organizing efforts.” • Good press for BSA. I’ve been following BSA for awhile and they seem quite disciplined.

From an actual organizer on the shop floor, a thread:

The labor aspect of the Gulf tanker seizures:

“Baby Boomers are staying in the labor force at rates not seen in generations for people their age” [Pew Research Center]. “The relatively high labor force participation of Boomers may be beneficial both to them and the wider economy. Some retirement experts emphasize working longer as the key to a secure retirement, in part because the generosity of monthly Social Security benefits increases with each year claiming is postponed. For the economy as a whole, economic growth in part depends on labor force growth, and the Boomers staying in the work force bolsters the latter.”

News of the Wired

The stuff of nightmares:

(You may have to click “View” to see the “sensitive content,” for some nutty reason.

I like these stories:

At the university cafeteria, the person behind me in line paid for my food — just randomly! So I have done the same for others. Not every day, but often enough. Its a small tradition and maybe not reckless, but I like it.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JN):

What a pleasing prospect!

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


      1. Wukchumni

        The plan would be to load a tanker to the gills with mixed plastic recyclables, and hope somebody seizes it.

  1. Geo

    Democrats will lose any contest with Trump so long as they are unwilling to sustain political damage in the act of inflicting more damage to him

    In response, Dems boycott going on Fox and focus on the woke olympics. Once again it seems the only one fighting the important fight is the one who “isn’t even a real Democrat!” :)

  2. Tyrannocaster

    That Twitter fix doesn’t do anything on the 3 browsers I tried. However, the Goodtwitter extension does work for me, although now I can’t paste via mouse but must use ctrl-V. Still better than the new Twitter, which is both clumsy and throws up SOMETHING WENT WRONG errors all the time.

    1. False Solace

      Twitter mystifies me. I only use it on desktop. Oddly there doesn’t seem to be a way to open a quoted reply or “thread” in a new browser tab. I can only go forward or back, which limits my ability to pursue various threads of a conversation. I can understand why it would work that way in an app or mobile browser, which are crippled by design, but on desktop it seems pretty strange. Maybe I’m just missing something.

      1. hunkerdown

        In most of the Twitter interface, the time of the tweet is a permalink. Liike any link you can open it in a new tab via the standard gestures: control+click; middle-click; or right-click to select “Open in new tab”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That honorary wowan designation, was it before or after he made it tough (good for democracy) for Hillary in 2016?

      How many (and remember voters are basically irrational human beings, immune to take downs) are still nursing that wound, which might explain, partly, the polling numbers?

      1. The swiftness

        Sanders treated Clinton fairly and much better than he got in return. He also worked his ass off for her campaign after the convention. His voters also clearly absolutely definitively did not cause her loss, and He and they have been largely smeared with it.

        1. Yves Smith

          I beg to differ with “worked his ass off”. Clinton had a ton of antipathy for him. She wanted his endorsement and an obligatory show of support and he had agreed to that as a condition of running on the Dem ticket. Sanders is toxic to her moneyed backers.

  3. Geo

    Lawyers believe that you should never ask a question if you don’t already know the answer. So what does Mueller’s refusal to interview Assange say about his trust in the DNC?

    Good question. Considering Mueller apparently had no idea what Fusion GPS is, it’s pretty hard to imagine what exactly his investigation was even about. I’d assume an investigation would want to interview the alleged conspirator (Assange) and donsome forensics on the alleged crime scene (the email server). But, what do I know?

    1. The Scourge

      Certainly possible that there is a classified investigation that either centers on Assange or in which he is an important player.

      One thing came clear from Mueller’s testimony is that there a lot of investigations continuing. Wonder what Barr will do to protect Trump if anything comes from them.

    2. John k

      Or if they know the answer but don’t want it said out loud.
      Course, in that case it’s not an investigation but a cover up.

      1. Code Name D

        It was as if Muller had no idea what was in his own report. As if he didn’t write it, he was just the figurehead to present it.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Come now, you don’t expect Santa Claus to know what’s in every child’s gift he provides, do you?

          Unhinged liberals, who would rather hold candlelight vigils for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions instead of protesting Trump’s tax bill, will do absolutely anything to get rid of Trump.

          Anything, that is, short of actually combatting him directly and politically, since that would mean abandoning their banal, insipid and dishonest Identitarianism, and their billionaire donors.

          1. Andrew Thomas

            Amen to that, Mike. AND, Mueller’s lack of interest in the analysis done by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which was the ONLY analysis done by any entity that was not conflicted to the Max, is truly unforgivable. Trump has picked his “narrative “, if “No Collusion “ could be called such, and the GOP knows it has nothing to do with whether or not “Russia” did anything at all, or fixed the whole thing. In his laughable initial summary of the report, Bill Barr ASSUMED that everything in it about “Russia” was true, except that Trump had nothing to do with it. The idea must have been 1. Let’s not confuse our own idiots with anything harder to understand than our two word mantra, and 2. Let’s not get Mr. Deep State riled up again. We’re doing everything they ask on Russia now, except arguably taking an “oligarch” off the sanctions list who Gov. Bevin of KY needs to finance his aluminum plant pipe dream that no one with the sense of a chicken in the good ole USA will touch. And Mr. Oligarch won’t either- but, Bevin hopes, he won’t say so until he has won re-election in November. Mr. Deep State understands and forgives when something like that is at stake.

  4. Stormcrow

    Final exit(s).

    It looks as though Epstein is too threatening for too many powerful people.
    For those in high disfavor it seems that there are two preferred remedies: the fast version (e.g. Epstein, apparently) and the slow version (e.g. Assange and Manning).

    Others can simply be sidelined and discredited (Corbyn, Sanders).
    Cynthia Mckinney knows.

    Meanwhile Trump continues to be erratic. His handlers (e.g. Adelson) can’t be pleased.

    Iran Is Gambling That Trump Is Afraid of War | The Nation

    1. Geo

      Trump has many, many faults, but one of them – his inability to ever consider “losing” – is the one thing that probably keeps him from wanting to have a war. He knows America doesn’t win wars anymore. At best we have drawn out stalemates. His recent quote about how he could “win” in Afghanistan by annihilating it shows he knows how but knows from his WWE experience that nobody likes when the biggest guy pummels a much weaker foe.

      It’s ridiculous, but WWE offers better foreign policy than our establishment.

      1. Code Name D

        You are giving him too much credit. I suspect Trump has but one bottom line – reelection. And to that end, he will do what ever it takes to keep his vocal base happy. And they don’t want more war any more than we do. (Especualy given that they are the ones more likely to fight this war.) So as long as he thinks this, he isn’t going to pull the trigger.

        But the B-team is working against him on this. So its something of a perverted stalemate.

  5. Knifecatcher

    Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign sues Google:

    Apparently after the first debate when Tulsi was leading the Google search race among candidates Google decided to suspend her campaign’s ad account with no explanation given. So the search results for her name would only come up with existing articles about her, most of which are heavily biased to the negative, rather than her campaign’s own messaging materials.

    Dirty stuff. Glad she’s fighting back, and I hope it gets her more attention.

    1. Cal2

      Tulsi Gabbard, that’s Major Tulsi Gabbard, combat veteran of Iraq, says that
      “one of the things I’m most concerned with is Kamala Harris is not qualified to serve as commander in chief, and I can say this from a personal perspective as a soldier. She’s got no background or experience in foreign policy and she lacks the temperament that is necessary for a commander in chief.”

      “I’ve seen the cost of war firsthand. I’ve experienced the consequences of what happens when we have presidents, as we have from both political parties in the White House, who lack experience, who lack that foreign policy understanding, who therefore fall under the influence of the foreign policy establishment, the military-industrial complex. This is what’s so dangerous. This is what we’ve seen occurring over time.”
      Laughingsong, And Mnuchin gave a thank you tip to Kamala’s senatorial campaign for not prosecuting his OneWest Bank and it’s 30,000 illegal foreclosures in California.

      1. Carolinian


        Pelosi was putting pressure on Dems to disprove Trump’s new angle that he loves Israel more than they do. The Benjamin transmission belt was being threatened. It was a symbolic non binding resolution.

        And I’m not aware that Gabbard has been much of a critic of Israel, just of the wars that we start on their behalf. Maybe she is simply opposed to BDS.

        1. nippersmom

          One can be opposed to BDS and still support the Constitutional rights of citizens to engage in whatever forms of peaceful protest– including boycotting– they choose.

          1. Carolinian

            You’re right. And given that she has practically no chance anyway it’s hard to defend her vote on strategic grounds.

    2. zagonostra

      It’s just like the NYT to insert “long-shot presidential candidate” in the first sentence, they couldn’t just have said presidential candidate…they couldn’t just say “most searched-for candidate” they had to insert “briefly” ,they had to say she is polling at 1% even though the story is not about where she is polling, they had to mention her “anti-gay” history although that’s been discussed ad nauseam.

      Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the long-shot presidential candidate from Hawaii, said in a federal lawsuit that Google infringed on her free speech when it briefly suspended her campaign’s advertising account after the first Democratic debate in June.

      After the first Democratic debate, Ms. Gabbard was briefly the most searched-for candidate on Google

      She entered the presidential race as a relative unknown and is still polling at less than 1 percent, according to New York Times polling averages.

      Her political views are unusual among Democratic candidates. She has a history of making anti-gay statements and worked for an anti-gay advocacy group run by her father.

      1. Dan

        Even if that were true, and it’s not, that might get her far more votes than it would cost her.
        Ever think of that?

        1. zagonostra

          You might be right, but that certainly would be an unintended consequence.

          I just wanted to highlight that when you deconstruct an article by NYT you’ll see some subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) linguistic ploys used to impart a less than favorable bias toward Tusli, Bernie or any other candidate that poses a risk to their financial patrons.

      2. richard

        msm, especially the post and times, have been pretty open in their hatred for her
        that’s been clear from the beginning
        what wasn’t clear, to me anyway, was that she was willing to cast a vote like this

    3. Oregoncharles

      Yet another example of Google sacrificing its search function to other purposes – in other words, it’s a lousy, unreliable search.

    4. The Rev Kev

      It’s merely the tech billionaires helping Americans decide who should be President – according to them. The media would be fully onboard with this as they cover the news and knows who America needs as president. America choosing Trump back in 2016 must have seemed quite churlish to them I bet.

      1. wilroncanada

        Half churlish. The accounting and ad departments of the MSM were jumping up and down with glee. It’s all about the benjamins.

  6. Oregoncharles

    “: “One of the Federal Reserve’s two central pillars policy — employment — is showing increasing and unusual strength” ”

    Can’t have that. Time to crash the economy again, maintain discipline.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        No one does it to the whole retail industry, except one giant corporation.

        Most mortals could only do one or two retail corporations at a time.

    1. cnchal

      Is he wrong? When all is said and done, Amazon is a menace to society. The “retail industry” is one of it’s victims.

      An article quoted a senior Amazon executive saying there are to be no restrictions to any type of technology and they will use whatever they want for whatever they want to use it for. Left unsaid was the implication they can’t be stopped so don’t even try.

      Where might this lead?

      Hmmm. Amazon giving away selfspying gear to the paranoid narcissists will require a lot of data collection and storage. I have bad news here. Alexa doesn’t give a shit about you.

      The other day we learned about tractor trailers hauling digital data, so I expect Amazon will be purchasing custom made ocean freighters to haul digital data from Seattle to Washington, with all the extra data collected by Amazon Spyonyourself devices in every nook and cranny. Go long big steel plate. Count on America to drown itself in data.

      Let loose on this data is an unknown number of AI algorithms, each one a spark of genius and black box.

      Either the “data” engineers or scientist or whatever they call themselves are perfect and nothing will go wrong, ever, or not. Therefore it is a certainty that something AI related will blow up in our faces.

      Bezos will be the one that lit the fuse.

      1. Monty

        Walmart killed most of the retail industry before Amazon was a twinkle in Jeff’s eye.

        It is the consumer that hammered the final nail in it’s coffin. They chose convenience and value for money over loyalty to legacy stores… And who can blame then?

        1. Carolinian

          Where I live there’s still quite a lot of retail industry unkilled by Walmart. But you are quite right that they probably had as much or more to do with the demise of Sears. Still, with better management Sears would likely still be around at least for the time being.

        2. a different chris

          >chose convenience and value

          Um, Walmart is famous for neither of these. They were farther away and their stuff is generally (family blog) quality. There have been more than a few studies that showed that people tend to spend the same as they did before, they just come home with a talking fish and the like every trip rather than just the clothes they need.

  7. Phacops

    Re: “I don’t care if you do recycle.”

    Exactly. So much of what people do, especially when they think technology will somehow save the earth from their environmental destruction, is merely denial of the obvious: feelgood actions that are ultimately meaningless. Yet, even in this artitcle there is little discussion about the human population’s destruction of our world.

    So, with it clear since the 1960s that population growth and resource churn is existentially destructive, while it is good to see treatments regarding resource use, as in the article, environmentalists still are blind to our overpopulation. Until now. I plan to attend a screening of Planet of the Humans at the Traverse City Film Festival. It is described as: ” . . . Removed from the (environmental) debate is the only thing that MIGHT save us: getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption. Why is this not THE issue? Because that would be bad for profits, bad for business. Have we environmentalists fallen for illusions, “green” illusions, that are anything but green, because we’re scared that this is the end – and we’ve pinned all our hopes on solar panels and wind turbines? No amount of batteries are going to save us, warns director Jeff Gibbs.”

    I hope that this will get a much needed discussion going and maybe even anger the profoundly selfish people who think it is OK to spew out babies. Indeed, growth is the logic of a cancer cell.

    1. Dan

      And where people live affects how much energy and carbon they produce.

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

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


      1. a different chris

        Didn’t I already call you out on this? What you presented as a huge influx of (cough brown cough) people actually represents a great falloff, in total number of immigrants let alone percentage if you look backwards the same distance from today.

        However, we do actually agree that the world population is just way out of line. If you aren’t talking the Aboriginals I think we all are pretty harsh on the planet. Doesn’t really matter where they are specifically located at this point.

        1. Dan

          How did I miss that word of god coming down from the heavens?

          “79 million larger than in 2017”
          Or, closer to zero percent population increase with restricted legal immigration and control of the borders. Which do you prefer? “Things aren’t as bad as they used to be” is not a solution to a problem, it’s merely a compromise. And in the case of exponential growth and a fertility bubble, it’s meaningless.

          Hispandering doesn’t solve even one problem, except how to harvest more votes for an imploding Democratic party that seeks open borders with this new escalated position:
          “everyone in the world can become an American if they just walk over the border and never get caught committing a serious crime…”

          Color is irrelevant, except that those coming here from Rural Central American villages use far more energy here than they would at home. Now, if Swiss people were immigrating to the U.S. in large numbers, they would use less energy here and that would be a net gain for the environment.

          1. richard

            Where people live affects how much carbon they produce? Okay. How about, having a carbon belching imperialist death machine military industrial complex affects how much carbon people produce? See, I can shoehorn in my own villain! And mine makes more sense than yours, because it burns more carbon than any other single entity on earth, and is actually evil.
            Didja notice how the article was about not blaming individual humans for our climate crisis, setting our gaze somewhat f*&^ing higher, and how this thread discussing it turned into “yeah, look at those people over there!” Didja notice that?

            1. Dan

              “Where people live affects how much carbon they produce?”
              You doubt that?

              Sorry to issue political blasphemy, but energy use is energy use. The U.S. population has stabilized except for immigration.

              Mexican corn farmer and his wife and two kids live in Chiapas.
              He buys kerosene, maybe, probably doesn’t use any gas because he owns no vehicles. Thanks to NAFTA, and having to ‘compete’ against American tax payer subsidized Cargill corn, he can’t make it. He doesn’t want to become a maquiladora peon working in a Chinese owned factory a block from the U.S. border in Tijuana. So they cross over.

              They arrive in L.A. and through hard work mowing other people’s lawns with gasoline, he saves enough money for a battered pollution belching truck and she gets a 15 year old Ford Explorer. 100 miles plus of driving per day. They consume L.A.Power and Water electricity generated by natural gas or petroleum. They move into living quarters with multiple others. Meaning American college aged kids too lazy to live with two other families seek housing elsewhere. People would have have moved into where student’s live then overextend with new mortgage, people that moved out of new mortgagee’s place relocate to newly constructed tower blocks.

              “California is home to almost 11 million immigrants…”

              Mormon breeding palaces and welfare queens in the U.S. are too part of that same problem.

              Yes, the U.S. military is the biggest user of fossil fuel. Even more so if one figures the amount of energy to rebuild what we bomb.
              That’s however, not a population growth issue.

              1. richard

                Immigration, population growth, it’s all just one big swirling mess of a problem isn’t it? cough “the color doesn’t matter but it’s definitely brown” cough
                One quick aside: are there any areas of conversation that you won’t pull towards Too Many Damn Immigrants?

    2. anon in so cal


      (have posted this before, my apologies) There is seemingly only one environmental organization that acknowledges the problem of out-of-control demographic growth, the Center for Bio Diversity.

      When this issue is raised, sometimes in the context of global climate change, sometimes just as a stand-alone issue, a common response I encounter is: the real problem is economic inequality, not over population. What does that even mean? That if everyone gets a living wage and maybe even decent housing, the problem disappears? One thing seems certain: human over population means the extirpation of all other sentient living species. Maybe the real problem is not enough people care?

      1. Jessica

        “that if everyone gets a living wage and maybe even decent housing, the problem disappears?”
        If everyone in the world got a living wage and decent housing, there would be nothing anyone could do about global warming. All current strategies for combating global warming that do not address population depend on keeping a huge portion of the world population in severe poverty. Most strategies seem to just take it for granted that capitalism will maintain this mass poverty automatically.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Which selfish people churning out babies are you referring to? Those dark, sweaty Bangladeshis, et. al., or Americans, whose resource waste/carbon footprint (to say nothing nothing of the endless wars and interventions ostensibly performed on their behalf), is orders of magnitude greater?

  8. laughingsong

    A Cloudspotter’s Guide to Climate Change — I have to join! I love sitting in my garden looking from the flowers and pollinators up to the clouds all the way through sunset and beyond when the bats appear!

    1. clarky90

      Laughingsong, you will appreciate this article.

      “A tree stump that should be dead, is still alive”


      “Within a shrouded New Zealand forest, a tree stump keeps itself alive by holding onto the roots of its neighboring trees, exchanging water and resources through the grafted root system. New research, publishing July 25 in iScience, details how surrounding trees keep tree stumps alive,….

      The findings suggest a shift from the perception of trees as individuals, towards understanding forest ecosystems as “super-organisms.”

      1. Arizona Slim

        In Tucson, there are bat watching parties at the Campbell Avenue bridge over the Rillito wash.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        I’ve recently seen bats cruising through my carport in Bellingham. Never seen them here before, but out in the hills they are always in force in the Summer nights.

      3. sleepy

        Too many bats in Iowa. At least too many in my house, and I’ve caught two flying around my living room in the past month. That seems a pretty common ocurrance hereabouts.

  9. UserFriendly

    Joe Biden tears into Cory Booker and criticizes Kamala D. Harris as well in a shift to aggressively counter his challengers (WaPo)

    On Wednesday, asked by NAACP panel moderator April Ryan if his views have evolved, Biden said the focus of criminal justice needed to shift from “incarceration to rehabilitation” — a solution that Booker, speaking to reporters after his earlier NAACP appearance, called “inadequate.” He described Biden as “an architect of mass incarceration.”

    After Biden left the stage, he responded emphatically to Booker’s second day of criticism by trying to turn attention to his tenure as mayor of the troubled city of Newark, before he became a senator.

    “Cory knows that’s not true, number one. Number two, you know the significant portion of the incarceration that occurred before the crime bill was written,” Biden told reporters before taking a shot at police practices during Booker’s tenure.

    “His police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African American men,” he said, leading the Obama administration to intercede. “We took action against them; the Justice Department took action against them, held the police department accountable.

    Pass the popcorn.

    1. Grant

      Biden’s record on issues impacting black people is deplorable, the fact that he is getting so much support from black people is really perplexing. I get the Obama connection, but Obama wouldn’t be president, he would be president, and Obama picked him not because of his non existent good record on issues impacting black people but instead as a means to appeal to white people. If we had a competent media and if Bernie would stop being overly nice to Biden, the Harris incident could have opened the floodgates on his horrific record. Like, the entirety of the conversation became just about busing. Well, he did work with his buddy Strom (who didn’t have the best record on race) to pass increadibly harsh anti drug laws, which decimated the black community. Biden was a drug warrior (still is), and the banks that pulled his strings and still do have been particularly horrible in communities of color. But, the media did not use it to look at the rest of his deplorable record, nor did Sanders or anyone else do tons in that regard. His zombie campaign was on the ropes and people could have piled on. Biden is truly horrible and he has since bounced back, so huge opportunity missed.

      His campaign though is a dumpster fire, and it is telling that so many Democrats like that dumpster fire. Why vote for someone who would have to spend the entire time crafting policies that do little more than try to undo the massive damage his own policies have caused? He has been wrong about almost every major issue in recent decades.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not really complicated. African-Americans are overwhelmingly Democrats, and many are partisans attached to party identity. The idea Biden could be bad is just anathema. I don’t think its Obama as much as Biden’s place in the party hierarchy. Gore and Pelosi would get a similar reception for no apparent reason.

        If a candidate like Clyburn came out against Biden just aggressively, he would lose standing outside his district.

        If Biden is bad and has been a prominent member of Team Blue, what does say about Biden’s Democratic associates all these years? Are they also bad? Its a fairly big leap to go from “Joe Lieberman needs to go” (me early 2006) to “basically, everyone who would back Crowley and anyone who would back Pelosi need to go” (me late 2006).

        1. Grant

          I find that mentality to be perplexing, regardless as to the group of people we are talking about. It obviously has no impact what so ever as far as who you give power to and what they would do with their power. Corruption, ideological and class biases, policies, those things will have real world impacts. Kind of sad that this is lost on people, as King himself made this clear as day, as did most of those involved in the Civil Rights movement. Read his Letter from a Birmingham jail and what he said about white moderates, the strong critiques he articulated against the Democratic Party, especially later in life. But, the Black Agenda Report has long discussed the politicians that black leaders within the Democratic Party and outside the party tend to throw their support behind, and it isn’t pretty. Having said all of that, black people are not a monolith. In 2016, older black voters went all in on Clinton, younger voters for Sanders. Likely still the case, and the polls are under-sampling younger black voters just as they are under-sampling younger voters overall. Hopefully the young folks can save us from another horrible decision that Democratic primary voters from all backgrounds are once again forcing on us. I will not vote for Biden, and I wouldn’t vote for him if I lived in a swing state. I live in California, and California is very likely to rig it against Bernie again. Palast documented what happened last time, and look at how the state party rigged it for Bauman to head the state party, a former lobbyist that was paid to lobby the state against using its economies of scale to bargain down the price of drugs. It used superdelegates at the state level to install him over the will of the voters and he had to resign thereafter in disgrace. Bauman had a long history with Rendon here in the state, and Rendon was the person that pulled the single payer bill at the state level a few years ago. If it does rig it again or if he doesn’t win, I will vote third party.

        2. Carey

          I think Biden’s high polling numbers, and particularly among
          black voters, are simply fraudulent.
          Expect them to go higher after the next debate™.

          Rigged from start to finish.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        A large part of the working class black population is both tribal and conservative very much like the working class white voters who vote for Trump. Progressives make a big mistake in thinking that black and Hispanic voters are naturally progressive they’re not. This is why the Democratic Party pushes identity politics–it is the only hold they can have on those voters.

        1. Grant

          Give me the data to back this up. Seems to me that lower income groups, communities of color and the young vote less than higher income groups, white and older people. The data shows this, and the data shows that black people are generally to the left of white people on policy. I haven’t seen polls in the last few years, but there were polls a few years ago showing that black people were much more likely to have a positive opinion of socialism than white people. Lots of black radicals rising up, even in places like Jackson, Mississippi. Younger black people, like younger people generally, are to the left of their parents and grandparents. I think that there are differences between people wrapped in the complex corrupt machine in the Democratic Party and black people generally, and there are class differences. There is a large gap between what people want on policy and what the state does, and the state has been far from neutral historically when communities of color and poor people get involved and lead grassroots movements. We are all just getting used to the actual left re-emerging, and the left only grows when those movements are growing and challenging those in power. I just wish that we were further down the path than we are.

          There are a number of Democrats running that are about the same as Biden on policy, so if this was conservative and partisan, who has been on team Democrat for a long time, why not Mike Gravel? Why not Harris, Beto, and tons others if it was or is about team Democrat? They have been some of the relatively new faces of the party in recent years, right? The minor leagues? I do not know how much of it is his connection to Obama, but it is significant. If you want to deny that, then you would have to conclude that if Biden was never VP under Obama, remained a right wing Democrat from Delaware that supported a number of policies that negatively impacted black people, that those slanted polls would be roughly the same. I don’t agree. I think if he was never VP he wouldn’t bother running and would already be a well paid lobbyist.

        2. anonymous

          Disagree. Watch Jesse Jackson’s 1988 convention speech. (Great speech! A little too long, and could’ve used some tightening up for dramatic affect—-which is a shame b/c Jesse steps on himself in some places losing some power. But otherwise, I can’t think of a better convention speech. Hope Sanders people study it.) It will dispell ideas of working class Blacks as tribal and conservative.

          Also from 1988 convention, Joan Didion’s NYRB piece, ” Inside Basball”, Seminal journalism on democracy’s subversion.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            And Jesse spoke up for and received support from white working class voters who were at the time being overwhelmed by deindustrialization in core industries.

            To this day I remember a quote in the Times from a white unemployed steelworker in Western Pennsylvania who was attending a rally in support of Jackson: asked why he supported him, the steelworker replied, “I’m for the man because the man’s for me.”

            Hard to imagine hearing that said today about any of the current candidates, save one.

            1. BrianC

              I remember a clip of Jesse Jackson addressing an audience and asking two questions. It went something like this:

              How many of you all own, or know someone who owns, a VCR? Raise your hand real high. Raise your hand real high if you own a VCR, or you know someone who does. Raise your hand. There’s not one American-made VCR. Hands down. It’s not your fault.

              How many of you personally own or know someone who owns an MX missile? Raise your hand? Why are we in a deficit? We’re making what ain’t nobody buying. Let’s make sense and then we’ll make money.



              He won me over right there. Too bad he didn’t get a chance to run.

        3. richard

          wow, citation needed on that one, for a couple of reasons
          the dem party doesn’t push idpol to hang onto or win anyone
          your premise there is faulty, that they are trying to win elections
          they push idpol specifically to divide their left challengers and retain power
          i don’t know what the hell “progressive” means and I never have
          but class based appeals and concrete material benefits work just about everywhere dawg

          “tribal and conservative” might apply to the black misleadership class
          (which you could say about misleadership classes everywhere, coastal white libs are encouraged to be “tribal and conservative” when it comes to empathizing with the teardown of the industrial midwest, the throwaway of her people and deaths of despair)
          it doesn’t apply so much to ordinary people, imo
          i require stronger evidence for this than your hidden wealth of wisdom
          otherwise i file it under divide and conquer and toss it aside

    2. JohnnyGL

      The spectacle of Biden getting rough with the two black candidates on stage will be……a bad look.

      Also interesting that Tulsi has targeted Harris for attacks.

  10. Summer

    RE: Twitter
    “the doubling of the tweet length character limit to 280…”

    For more in-depth insults, bullying and lying…

  11. Summer

    “Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours” [The Register].

    Absolutely terrifying. Scooters are starting to look better every day…

    1. Jeff W

      Liza Featherstone in Jacobin:

      With Warren’s advocacy for aggressive government regulation, her support for redistributive programs, her sharp critique of antisocial corporate behavior, and her rejection of individualistic folklore…she’s emerged as a relatively mild but nevertheless quite serious opponent of neoliberal ideology.

      I like Liza Featherstone—for one thing, she always sounds ebullient and amused (rather like Thomas Frank) when I hear her speak—but I differ with her here.

      Aggressive government regulation is not inconsistent with neoliberalism—the ur-neoliberals in Germany, the ordoliberals, supported government regulation to make markets fairer; that was the whole point of ordoliberalism, it brought order to the market—and that’s exactly the premise Warren comes from. (She says “I love what markets can do, I love what functioning economies can do. They are what make us rich, they are what create opportunity. But only fair markets, markets with rules.”) She’s against “for-profit charter schools” but her big proposal for education so far is to “a promise to appoint a secretary of education who has been a teacher in a public school”—the same kind of symbolic identitarian representation favored by those we’d call neoliberals. (It doesn’t help matters that Warren’s senior education policy adviser formerly worked a stint as a Teach for America (TFA) temp teacher.) Warren advocates means-testing, the eligibility device so favored by neoliberals—as Jacobin says, her student loan debt plan is “means-tested through the roof.” There’s no notion of a “common good” in means-testing, if you can’t afford it, you’re entitled to some subsidy, otherwise, you pay—it’s firmly within the premises of neoliberalism. Warren calls out “rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else,” she might even call for “big, structural change,” but it’s not clear what those “big, structural changes” are for her—she couldn’t even come out unequivocally for Medicare-for-All, something which, by world standards, would be pretty uncontroversial, until recently. Featherstone calls Warren a “quite serious opponent of neoliberal ideology” but I see her policies and her premises as not inconsistent with it.

      1. Carey

        Hear, hear. Warren is also a TDS sufferer who says the 25th Amendment should be used to remove President Trump from

        Double-edged sword..

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        TFA is far worse than just temp teachers: they are the shock troops of school privatization, and many of the nastiest and most ambitious of them are trained as cadre to effect the hostile takeover of the public schools. Eli Broad (rhymes with Toad) is currently paying to have former TFA-bots infest Democratic congressional staff positions, in order to maintain the corporate education reform stranglehold on policy.

        That Warren’s education person is TFA is a major tell.

        If you restrict thinking about Trump to education alone, he and De Vos have been a perverse boon to defenders of the public schools since, combined with their incompetence, they have by association helped make charter schools increasingly radioactive, while being little worse than Obama and Arne Duncan were. Under Obama, bedazzled, willfully ignorant liberals accepted the propaganda that attacking teachers and the public schools constituted “the civil rights mo ement of our time.”

        Think about it: how much more vicious or bigoted is anything Trump has said, compared to Duncan’s statement that Hurricane Katrina (which resulted in the summary firing of the overwhelmingly Black teaching force and the complete destruction of public education in New Orleans) was “the best thing that ever happened to the New Orleans public schools?”

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          PS: Another tell about Warren’s views on education is that she continues to use the disingenuous term “public charter schools.”

        2. Jeff W

          TFA is far worse than just temp teachers: they are the shock troops of school privatization…

          Yes, it’s very true! I’m glad you expanded on that.

          And, along with Arne Duncan’s statement, here is Elizabeth Warren’s more anodyne endorsement of vouchers from her 2003 The Two-Income Trap, quoted approvingly by the American Enterprise Institute:

          An all-voucher or all-school choice system would be a shock to the educational system, but the shake out might be just what the system needs…But over time, the whole concept of “the Beverly Hills schools” or “Newton schools” would die out, replaced in the hierarchy by schools that offer a variety of programs that parents want for their children, regardless of the geographic boundaries. By selecting where to send their children (and where to spend their vouchers), parents would take control over schools’ tax dollars, making them the de facto owners of those schools.

          And this, quoted in the WSJ:

          Fully funded vouchers would relieve parents from the terrible choice of leaving their kids in lousy schools or bankrupting themselves to escape those schools.

          So those parents who have the time and inclination—likely, the upper middle class professionals—can “spend their vouchers” on better schools and divert resources away from the worse ones, leaving kids whose parents aren’t so inclined or don’t have the time at a disadvantage, in the “lousy schools”—only those who are aspirational enough, who make the effort, are meritorious enough to get the benefits. (And here it’s the kids who have to hope that their parents are like that.) And these voucher systems, by “marketizing” the school system, destroy the idea of education as a public good—where you might actually want to improve the lousy schools as public goods, rather than shop around for the better ones—as surely as Katrina destroyed public education in New Orleans. It’s pure neoliberalism and classic Warren.

      3. richard

        well said!
        I didn’t know that about the TFA alum and the continuing support for charter schools

    2. rowlf

      That was a poorly researched article. Airlines schedule a downpower of the A350 aircraft every three to five days until the software is updated. The airline’s engineering and planning departments might take several months to accomplish the required paperwork for loading the software update that would supersede the need to downpower the aircraft.

      Removing power from an airplane has been a common practice since the early 1980s to let digital computers work in an analog world.

  12. Hana M

    “At the university cafeteria, the person behind me in line paid for my food — just randomly! So I have done the same for others. Not every day, but often enough. Its a small tradition and maybe not reckless, but I like it.”

    Two days ago I tried to pay the Boston MBTA trolley fare for a very elderly man who was obviously from out of town and very confused. Our new and ‘improved’ Charlie Card payment system refused to let me swipe my card twice to pay for him as well as me. Okay, so I have a ‘Senior Card’ so maybe this is a computer design that is supposed to keep us nasty old folks from letting Gen-Whatevers in for half price. Fortunately my car had a a driver who had a conscience. He made a truly executive decision and quietly said to me ‘Put in a dollar’ and let it go at that. Thank God for real humans who look at and care about the people they serve. I wish I could post a commendation for that driver but I would probably get him in trouble and that’s perhaps the saddest thing of all.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Do you have a monthly pass? It’s a fare-evasion stopping feature designed to keep, say a group of 10 people from using buying 1 pass and using it and handing it to the person behind them 9 more times.

      It’s an annoying feature that’s been around for quite a few years. I’ve run into issues with it getting on and off the train and on again within a short period of time.

      For future reference, if there’s a station attendant, you can usually bug them and they’ll let you go through the handicapped lane. I think that one is more permissive. That used to happen from time to time if you don’t tap the card correctly and it thinks you went through (triggering the above mechanism I’ve just described).

      In other news….my commuter rail jumped to $281/month! There goes my raise for the year!

      1. Another Scott

        It looks like he was referring to the Green Line, where the drivers are also responsible for monitoring the collection box, as well as driving the trolley. It’s not the most intuitive system, but it’s not too bad if you know what you’re doing.

        The MBTA will be replacing the 13-year-old system with a new one starting next year, naturally through a public-private partnership. Meanwhile, the T is running 40+ year old trains on tracks that are even older, in some tunnels that were built in the 19th century.

      2. Hana M

        No, I do not have a monthly pass. I have a regular senior Charlie Card that entitles me to a discount on each fare. I am deeply grateful to the MBTA for the discount. I totally understand the way such things can be abused–I was just glad that there was a human in charge of the train who in a fraction of a second understood the situation and with the greatest of tact took it upon himself to spare the elderly gentleman I was trying to help from any embarrassment. I posted this merely as an example of the way electronic “Smart” [that word again] systems make life less flexible, courteous and caring.

  13. flora

    re: “Warren Is No Hillary. She’s Also No Bernie” [Jacobin].

    Very good article. Thanks.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the dream (or fantasy) scenario for the establishment Ds is to find another Hillary without a basement server, a foundation and being married to Bill Clinton, and not changing anything else much.

      “Hillary came so close. With a little tinkering, we will get it this time.”

      Given all the negative comments here (and elsewhere) about HIllary the person, along with negative comments about her policy positions, and that she almost won, can those D’s be faulted for deluding themselves that by removing the personal faults, the foundation and Bill Clinton from Hillary II, her replacement, they can get it over the hump.

      1. JBird4049

        They just have to have a Hillary that’s not Hillary and that Hillary will win? So they just got to destroy the Hillary to save the Hillary.

        Part of the problem is that Warren looks like she has a conscience and actual principles. Clinton’s lack of them was part of her appeal to the regime.

      2. Carolinian

        That Studebaker article yesterday said that gender is the reason for Warren/Harris upsurge and the Sanders nonsurge. He thinks they want to use gender to make the two further to the right women seem more liberal than they are and torpedo the unwanted (by the establishment Dems) Bernie.

        In other words ID politics is their thing, democratic socialism not so much. Studebakers thinks Bernie could connect with the working class if given a chance.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Michael Tracey made a point that Warren came out pretty early and hard for impeachment and seem to get some tailwinds from that (in addition to the litany of policy proposals). He’s probably onto something, there.

          Perhaps after the Mueller-time debacle, the media will now definitively move on from impeachment discussions? That might shift the race onto ground that suits Sanders more.

          I think his team have been boisterously trying to engage Biden on healthcare. That’s a good move. Biden made up some garbage and deserves to be called out for doing so. Trying to keep that focus may bring some dividends in the Sanders polling numbers which have flagged a bit (and encouraged media sharks to circle).

          Sanders favorability is still very high, neck-and-neck with Biden’s, if not better than Biden’s. Sanders also polls well when asked about voters’ 2nd choice candidates.

          He’s got upside.

          1. Carey

            I can see no organic reason for Sanders’s polling numbers to be going down; not in the least.
            He’s out there doing the hard, unsung work
            amongst the people, every day.


  14. Geo

    Matt Taibbi recapping the Mueller testimony is golden:
    “Democrats have repeatedly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in one improbable face-plant after another. This is just the latest disaster. They hyped Robert Mueller for two years as an all-conquering hero, only to have him show up under oath like a man wandering in traffic. Incredible. The losses continue.”


    1. Lemmy Caution


      My favorite line about Mueller’s aura of invincibility before yesterday’s hearing:

      It was universally assumed Mueller was keeping quiet because he was a master poker player, refusing to show the aces up his sleeve. His probe would be remembered for its “close-to-the-vest style.” This became central to the mythology of Mueller, that his cabbage-like silence implied strength.

      “… his cabbage-like silence implied strength.” Ouch.

      1. Phacops

        Sounds like the 11th dimensional chess much beloved by the ignorant, delusional, scam artists fro the daily KOS.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If the “OMG Russia” crowd was just a bit less insane, they had an easy out on Mueller, his ability to only catch emotionally disturbed Muslim teenagers through entrapment scams.

          This isn’t for the elite members of Team Blue, but Team Blue partisans really need to understand, NEVER TRUST A REPUBLICAN, maybe when they are dead. I trust Ronald Reagan is dead. April 1865 was so long ago. Lets stop pretending there are good Republicans.

          I just had a vision of Nancy Pelosi as a Senator in Caligula era Rome upon hearing the news the Emperor wanted to make a horse consul. “We have won a major concession. The Emperor wanted to appoint a unicorn. Don’t worry we explained we didn’t know if they were real. We are funding an expedition to Germania to find a unicorn, but we held the line on an expedition to India.”

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Exactly.. part of me thinks this is was done on purpose by the Dem’s.. string this whole bit of nothing out for as long as possible, then not delivering anything. This is their classic “Lucy pulling away the football” style. Now there is no way that Pelosi can propose impeachment.

      And this exoneration thing.. when has a prosecutor ever exonerated anyone?

      1. Carey

        Thanks for this comment. For me the pertinent question these
        days is almost always “OK, what small part of this might
        *not* be theater?”.

        Still to come:



    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Yet one of his own former prosecutors, Glenn Kirschner, just suggested Mueller had a “health issue” causing a “dramatic difference … in communicative abilities.” How had we not heard that before? (Kirschner appears regularly on MSDNC.)

      To see how “the other side” was reacting to the testimony of the century, I watched Hannity last night. He mentioned that he had been told, at the time of mueller’s appointment, by some close to the storied prosecutor, that mueller had a “condition” that rendered him considerably less sharp-as-a-tack than advertised.

      The discussion centered on the befuddled lack of familiarity with his own report mueller frequently displayed at the hearing. The suggestion was that the investigation, such as it was, and resulting report were not his scrupulous work but the work of his ideologically compromised team led by andrew weissmann, an-off-again-on-again federal prosecutor with a history of prosecutorial misconduct. Mueller provided the imprimatur of legitimacy. He was a decoratd marine in Vietnam after all. Plus fbi.

      A bit about weissmann:


      I was a little skeptical when Hannity brought this up, but now Taibbi? Just sayin’.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for watching MSDNC so we don’t have to. My brother says Maddow was crushed.

        For those of us hiding out here at NC’s corner of sanity it’s all in another world.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        This wouldn’t shock me, and Mueller’s past normally would have seemed like a perfect out except for the regular invocations to Mueller’s name by Team Blue worshippers.

        The MSDNC audience treated Mueller the same way I would expect a bunch of Southies to treat Kobe Bryant signing with the Red Sox, basically he would be treated as not only the Second Coming but the 3rd through Seventh Comings. This is not a mistake.

  15. Camp Lo

    “Why didn’t you interview Julian Assange?” — Isn’t the DOJ working on that ongoing matter right now, extradition? It’s like writing a murder mystery with too many butlers. Put the protagonists on a mission to ignore the villains until they go away. The accused, perhaps wrongfully [but probably not], should not attempt to clear their names as fugitives, because it turns out, things are working out fine, no big whoop. The fiasco plot structure is almost sketched out by an enigmatic Dashiell Hammett-like figure, who instead, fritters his afternoon away. The would-be dead detective is only wing’d by the shot from the dark. So, our “hero”, Punch Rockgroin, must extricate himself from the dilapidated warehouse, without catching a glimpse of the could-be assassin, if only to keep the reader so obtuse as to why Punch spends his evenings investigating commercial properties marketed as “perfect ambush spaces”. Which then sets the reader up for the “no bullet explanation”, where only those who really know what’s going on understand that no shots were fired, Rockgroin’s shoulder just did that. Wounded itself. The end.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the frantic efforts to get ahold of Assange is to make sure that what he knows about the whole matter is never made public. Just have him disappear in the Gulag system or maybe meet with an attack like happened to Epstein. I think that if Assange & Wikileaks piped up and said that they were going to publish Epstein’s little black book that an air strike would be called in first.

  16. anonymous

    Corporate hunting-the-poor: monetizing habitat destruction.

    Housing: “Nearly 250,000 NYC rental apartments sit vacant”

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      [6sqft]. Early numbers from the Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Survey:

      One reason for the growing vacancy rates, as the article states, is the city’s high rent, which has risen twice as fast as inflation”

      Excuse me? What is the * point * of an inflation measure that does not include…I don’t know…maybe the cost of putting a roof over your head ???

      1. JBird4049

        Comrade OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL, don’t you remember, we are at war with Eastasia? We have always been at war with Eastasia.

        I must say that those 250,000 empty spaces in NYC would just about cover the counted homeless population of the top three states‘ homeless populations, which are California – 129,000, Florida – 31,000, and New York – 91,000; are we sure that there is a homelessness crisis and not a housing crisis instead?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Indeed. Nationwide, there are far more empty houses than homeless people. Part of the problem is getting them in the same place, but, as with famines, the main problem is money: the homeless people don’t have enough money to rent or buy the empty houses – which in many cases are deteriorating because they’re unoccupied. This problem goes back to the foreclosure crisis.

      2. anonymous

        Yes! Wonder what percentage of the poor have literally been hunted down into poverty. No allegory here.


        The high inflationary sectors for hunting down the poor; and NYC is a unregulated game preserve.

  17. drumlin woodchuckles

    It looks like at least one posted article is not being named or revealed on the Front Page of NaCap. That article is the one about Leaving The Oil In The Soil.

    If I go to the Global Warming category, I find it still listed there. Just not on the Front Page. Is there a policy reason for that? Or is it just a technical difficulty?

  18. Plenue

    Got an interesting video game link here:


    Twenty-five minute documentary on the development hell of a game that took seven years to release. The boss was an Elon Musk-style ‘visionary’ (complete with screaming at employees and ‘working’ all hours and “no one gets to leave before I do!”). He divided his workers into two classes: an elite inner circle of poached employees, and a larger mule workforce made up of an endless stream of fresh college graduates who were treated as disposal fodder. Over a hundred people joined and left the project over the seven years. Their contracts were written such that they wouldn’t get overtime pay until three months after the game released, so if you quit before that you were completely screwed.

    Unionization is virtually nonexistent in the video game industry. As you might expect, the industry is highly networked and words gets around very quickly about anyone agitating for unions. Blacklisting definitely exists.

  19. marym

    NBC News 7/25/2019: Active-duty U.S. troops are now just feet away from migrants in Texas

    Active-duty U.S. troops are now stationed inside the Border Patrol’s holding facility in Donna, Texas, and monitoring migrant adults and children from just a few feet away, according to two current and two former defense officials, a move a congressman says comes close to violating a 140-year-old federal law.

    The troops are perched on raised platforms throughout a large room where the migrants are held, according to the four officials.

    The troops were assigned to the facility to provide welfare checks on the migrants, but the officials say that has evolved into a continual presence watching over them.

    “watching over them”

    1. Dan

      The Democrats who cried “health emergency” and “humanitarian crisis at the border” are now hoisted on their own petard.

      John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law on October 17, 2006.[9]
      Section 1076 is titled “Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies.” It provided that:

      The President may employ the armed forces … to … restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition …[10]

      In 2011, President Barack Obama signed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 into law.

      If American citizens are no longer protected by Habeus Corpus, then why the hell should illegal aliens be covered?

      “Migrants” Translation: Four more years of Trump by popular acclaim.

      1. marym

        I am not a lawyer, but under US and international asylum law I think the migrants may be here legally. I don’t know the legal relationship of the bi-partisan NDAA/AUMF anti-civil liberties provisions to the Posse Comitatus Act nor do I support these provisions.

        If one believes it’s appropriate to defend the domestic deployment of the military and curtailing of civil liberties in this situation, and that it’s all the fault of the migrants-in-scare-quotes and the Democrats, I can only mention the little poem.

  20. John Beech

    One of these curious neoliberal narratives is that only sexism could explain why people support Sanders over Warren, since the candidates are exactly the same politically.

    Nope! This Republican voter might bring himself to vote for Senator Sanders. Why? Medicare for All. The guy walks the walk.

    Pocahontas? Hah! In taking advantage of something created expressly for the disadvantaged native Americans, she told me all I need to know about her values and trustworthiness. When they tell you who they are, believe them!

    1. Briny

      Same here. Quarter Mohawk, I don’t claim it as I appear white, zero cultural heritage and was never disadvantaged. Heck, I started the university as a preteen.

  21. John Beech

    A firm (Boeing) with enormous quality assurance problems considers screwing over its workers…

    Oh boy, now it’s considered screwing over the workers by those leading the cheerleading against Boeing, which may result in them having to shut down production lines. You recall I wrote months ago how those with no knowledge whatsoever about aviation in coming outagainst Boeing were playing into European hands. Disloyalty against the US national champion comes with a price. So now it looks like the pigeons are coming home to roost and regular folks are going to take it on the chin and so now it’s Boeing being the bad guys? I don’t think so.

    1. Carey

      “Disloyalty”? To a huge for-profit entity that always gets what it wants in DC (note BA’s TBTF stock price)?

      No, I have no “loyalty” to Boeing until they
      show a hint of loyalty to their workers, and the US citizenry at large. Incidental alignments of
      interest do not count..

      Oh Dear

    2. Plenue

      They killed nearly 350 people as a direct result of being cheapskates. The people running Boeing are the bad guys, my dude.

      >those with no knowledge whatsoever about aviation

      Oh good, just what we need. An ‘expert’ to assure us all that a defective plane that was sold on the promise of not needing new training…um…wasn’t?

      >playing into European hands

      …and? Whether Airbus flourishes as Boeing falls is immaterial to the issue of whether Boeing should fall or not.

      >Disloyalty against the US national champion comes with a price

      Is this supposed to be sarcastic? “‘Disloyalty’ to the national champion”? What the actual hell? What a creepy ass vision of an ideal America you must have.

  22. anon in so cal

    “While attention was focused on anti-free speech resolution, yesterday House also passed huge bill – HR 1837 – increasing aid to & cooperation with Israel, & including key provision (Sec 204) paving way for new US military assistance to Israel with no limits or oversight. ”

    Summary of H.R.1837 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act.

    Apparently, Squad members voted in favor of this? It was a voice vote.

  23. Fern

    The Jacobin article about Elizabeth Warren makes some good points, but the author set up a bit of a straw man initially when she accused Bernie supporters of saying that Warren is a neo-liberal, since the accusation is not that common and since there is legitimate cause for concern in that Warren criticized “European-style” strong social safety nets — calling them “quasi-socialist” — in her 2003 book long after she had switched from the Republican to Democratic party and after she had served in the Clinton administration.

    Warren has done good work in regulation and would be an asset to a Democratic administration in that capacity. But I think that as a president, she would be a reformer along the lines of the arch-imperialist Teddy Roosevelt, who she has been constantly invoking.

    A weakness of this article is that it only touches on concerns over Warren’s foreign policy, which should be a HUGE issue. Warren has done a lot of signaling that she will turn her foreign policy over to the Bush/Obama/Clinton crowd. She appointed a deputy of Ash Carter’s to be a foreign policy advisor. She sent out a Facebook post featuring her “plan” for gender equality in “our national security institutions”, featuring a big picture of Michelle Flournoy which linked to an article that stated that Flournoy will likely be the Secretary of Defense in next Democratic administration. Flournoy is a hawk who supported the war in Iraq and a no-fly zone in Syria. Warren has crafted a number of messages which carefully finesse the gulf between between a somewhat progressive domestic policy and militarism, like the “green military” and “gender equality in foreign policy”. 

    Perhaps one of Warren’s most blatant signals as to where she stands on foreign policy is her focus on Teddy Roosevelt, the father of American imperialim — the domestic liberal and foreign policy hawk. When asked to pick her “hero” in a NYT interview, she emphatically “Teddy Roosevelt” and in other interviews she has said that Teddy Roosevelt would be her ideal running-mate. This is NO coincidence. Warren has always been a sophisticated political actor, and she knows exactly what she is doing.

    Despite her pleasing personality and her “aw shucks” mid-Western persona, she’s delivered a stream of carefully-crafted messages which have garnered her the support of a number of neo-conservatives, such as Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.

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