Links 7/7/19

A brief visit from a red and extremely elongated interstellar asteroid (PDF) Nature. And not an alien probe.

Eyes under the water: Volunteers help Great Lakes scientists find invasives below MPR News (CL). Citizen science!

A 40-y record reveals gradual Antarctic sea ice increases followed by decreases at rates far exceeding the rates seen in the Arctic PNAS

Book Review: Oxford Weather and Climate Since 1767 Weather Underground

Air Conditioning Is the World’s Next Big Threat Bloomberg

1931 by Tobias Straumann — how things fell apart FT

Brexit

No Oxford commas here:

Boris Johnson is poised to become prime minister. Is he up to the job? FT. Boris Johnson:

“I get old, um, I don’t know, wooden crates, right? And then I paint them . . . I suppose it’s a box that’s been used to contain two wine bottles . . . I turn it into a bus . . . I paint the passengers enjoying themselves on the wonderful bus.”

Reminds me of Gussie Fink-Nottle’s aria from Wodehouse’s The Code of the Woosters:

“I broke the tank. The tank in my bedroom. The glass tank I keep my newts in. I broke the glass tank in my bedroom, and the bath was the only place to lodge the newts. The basin wasn’t big enough. Newts need elbow-room. So I put them in the bath. Because I had broken the tank. The glass tank in my bedroom. The glass tank I keep my–“

Fink-Nottle is, like his friend, Wodehouse hero Bertie Wooster, and like Boris Johnson, an Etonian. So there you are.

Conservative leadership race: Voters ‘issued two ballots’ BBC

Brexit: not just another Irish battle EU Referendum

Why the EU’s new appointments will not shift the Brexit game – yet Institute for Government

How Emmanuel Macron won the battle over the EU’s top jobs FT

EU Top Jobs: Backroom Deal or Member States in Charge? RTE (PD).

Who killed the Spitzenkandidat? Politico

Syraqistan

Iran nuclear deal: Macron and Rouhani agree to look at conditions for talks BBC

Iran to raise uranium enrichment beyond nuclear deal limits AP

Supertanker seizure triggers fresh stand-off between Iran and west FT

How the Third Temple Movement in Israel Rebranded Theocracy as “Civil Rights” Mint Press (CL).

After Istanbul voters rejected Turkish strongman Erdogan, he made them vote again — and lost by the biggest landslide in 35 years Boing Boing

China?

Organisers promise next major protest against Hong Kong’s extradition bill will be ‘peaceful, rational and graceful’ with the aim of gaining support from mainland Chinese visitors South China Morning Post. Happy to be wrong, but I don’t see how a protest with a distributed leadership can promise this. As with Occupy, this is “diversity of tactics” all over again.

Why the chaos and polarisation in Hong Kong should be blamed on Carrie Lam’s regime, not the protesters Hong Kong Free Press

Turn back trash: Importers have 90 days to return waste to US, Europe, Australia Jakarta Post

Trump Transition

Where John Roberts Is Taking the Court The Atlantic (UserFriendly).

Some big farms collect big checks from Trump aid package Los Angeles Times

Exclusive: FDA enforcement actions plummet under Trump Science

2020

Aided by a strong economy, Trump approval rises, but a majority also see him as ‘unpresidential’ WaPo

Harris, Warren tie for third place in new 2020 Dem poll, but Biden still leads Politico. Giving the impression there’s nobody in second…

Biden, Under Fire on Race, Apologizes for Remarks on Segregationists NYT

Biden vows to bring back Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty for not having insurance CNBC

Joe Biden Interview: “Talk About The Future” In Dem Primary Iowa Starting Line

Harris’s $100 Billion Plan Aims to Help Black Families Buy Homes Bloomberg. For “historically red-lined areas.”

Jeffrey Epstein arrested on sex trafficking charges Miami Herald

Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book and Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet Gawker (which was all over this story before Peter Thiel took it down). From 2015, still germane.

Democrats in Disarray

It’s Nancy Pelosi’s Parade Maureen Dowd, NYT

Haunted by the Reagan era Ryan Grim, WaPo. Perceptive, but no mention of the donor class.

Health Care

Majority Backs ‘Medicare for All’ Replacing Private Plans, if Preferred Providers Stay Morning Consult. Unsurprisingly, people don’t love [bloated rent-sucking parasites]. They love the practitioners they access through [bloated rent-sucking parasites].

Boeing 737 MAX

What will it be, Boeing? Great airplanes that generate cash flow or great cash flow, period? Seattle Times

Bjorn’s Corner: Cutting corners in aerospace costs a fortune Leeham News and Analysis (GT).

European Regulator Says Boeing Has To Fix These 5 Major MAX Issues Moon of Alabama

Boeing 737 Max crash: Did foreign pilots have enough training to fly commercial jets? USA Today

Boeing gives $100m to help 737 Max crash families BBC

Class Warfare

The U.S. Labor Market Isn’t all That Healthy Bloomberg. From last week, still germane.

Inside an Amazon Warehouse, Robots’ Ways Rub Off on Humans NYT

SC military families complain of mold, lead paint and flooding at private base housing Post and Courier

Entitled Burger King Employee Wants $15 An Hour Just For Dealing With Worst Of America Every Day The Onion

There Should Be a Public Option for Everything NYT. Obviously, Social Security should become the “public option” on an “ObamaCare Marketplace”-like website for retirement planning.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. timbers

      And Mr 2nd is not even in the picture along with the other lower polled candidates who are.

      He Who Must Not Be Named (Lord Voldermort…a villain now dead beaten by an overly polite child) is no match for He Who Must Not Be Named Or Photographed (Senator Sanders…GASP! Horrors!).

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Evidently, the MSM considers ‘Count’ Sanders to be one of the ‘Undead.” As one, he does not appear in mirrors or photographic aparati. Ye “Official” Narrative.
        Long live the Queen, HRH Hillary 1, or her rightful designated henchperson.

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          i wonder if the guardian is full of pictures of a smiling joe biden, the way it portrayed clinton when she was competing against sanders. i’m not going to that wretched propaganda site to find out, though.

          Reply
    2. msmolly

      “Giving the impression there’s nobody in second… ”

      Isn’t that the accepted correct way to portray positions if two are tied for a place? Who would you suggest be 2nd if there are 3 and two of them are tied?

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Except the tie is for third AND fourth not for second and third. So no.

        They are ignoring the person who is the second most popular according to polling which is even more egregious when you know that pills have also indicated the guy in second place is also the one most likely to pick up the votes from the guy in first place should be not be in the race.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          I like pills instead of polls!

          Are you suffering from a populist insurgency? Is your donoe class flaccid? Then ask your spin doctor if selective polling may be right for you!

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Chris, you spelt “donoe” wrong. The accepted usage is “dunno,” as in ‘don’t know.’ Few realize yet that the present day Democrat Party has become the reincarnation of the “Know Nothing” Party. Which itself was a continuation of the Whig party. Both of which barely preceded the American War Between the States. Ominous signs and portents?
            Read, Ye Know Nothings: https://www.google.com/search?q=know+nothing+party&rlz=1C1AOHY_enUS816US817&oq=know+nothing+party

            Reply
            1. Synoia

              Thanks, I was mistaken. I thought the current Democratic party was filled with descendants of the three wise monkeys.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                What? As in; Chelsea, Malia, and Ashley? (A cheap shot, I admit, but this is what the 2020 Presidential contest is descending into even now. “Full speed ahead, into the mine field!” sez I.)

                Reply
            2. Chris

              Wow. Much wisdom from a typo. Apologies as I was dropping off children at camp and could not edit.

              I meant donor, as in donor class.

              But dunno is OK too! As clearly the people we’re talking about dunno much about class or foreign policy or any way to actually beat Trump in 2020. Matt Stoller’s thread mentioned today is a good one in that. Everyone even associated with progressive politics will spend ages arguing over whi really is left and who represents the vision of FDR and meanwhile they lose the election. But the wealthy can sit back and eat popcorn watching the whole family-blogging show so it’s OK I guess…

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Sorry that my unpleasant side came out there. Apologies for any calumnies I threw around. Your comment is fine as is, and fine as amended. (Time I meditated on the nature of humility some more.)
                Hope the kids have fun. I went to a summer camp once, and was asked not to come back the next year. (I was a pain in the a– kid.)

                Reply
              1. ambrit

                I agree fully. I was not demeaning Chris. The transposition from ‘donor’ to ‘donoe’ is good too. This goes to show how effective the sub-conscious can be in making outre’ connections that possess merit. I credit Chris’ sub-conscious for this one.

                Reply
                1. Chris

                  Perhaps we should bring all this together in a song? With apologies to Sam Cooke:

                  Don’t know much about modern society,
                  Can’t understand that MMT,
                  Don’t care for Arnade’s book,
                  Don’t know nothing about those common goods,
                  But if it’s Sanders you’d like to screw,
                  And you say you love Centrist Tools,
                  What a wonderful world this would be…

                  (And I had time to edit my fat finger typos!)

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    As sung by Yoko Ono! (Think about it a bit, and get back to us with your non-tax deductible donations.)

                    Reply
      1. Epynonymous

        The primaries don’t matter, because Trumps winning anyways.

        Best case, I guess, warren or Bernie or AC gets VP nomination and can try again in four years.

        Funnier, if Biden is a 3 time VP! :p

        Reply
    3. Brindle

      The fix is definitely in. Biden gets probably 5-10 times (at least) more cable news/network news coverage that Bernie gets. Sanders is pretty much a non-person for TPTB. Reminds me of those old Soviet Politburo photos where they simply would remove the undesireable from the photo.

      Reply
      1. Chris Cosmos

        At this point the quest for the nomination is largely in the hands of the propaganda organs so, in many ways, this nomination process is about how influential these organs still are. The utter horror, at least for me, of the last “debates” where mikes were shut off an the chaos and favoritism reigned makes me want to just ignore the whole thing as, no doubt, some of the primaries will be rigged. It makes me think that our leaders should just be chosen by lots.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          But, Chris Cosmos, they are chosen by lots. Lots of corporate begging, lots of corporate corruption, lots of media “influencers”, lots of inside influence, lots of sucking up to all those.
          Fortunately, I’m Canadian so I don’t have to watch, and I didn’t. Unfortunately, Canadian political success is little different, from all parties ( including NDP and Green also). A couple of now independent women may begin to break the stranglehold in the next election, if they can get elected as INDEPENDENT.

          Reply
  1. Alex

    Speaking of air conditioning, it might actually save energy if people move from, say, Berlin where you need to heat your house for 4-5 months by 10-20 degrees Celsius to a place where you just need to cool it by 5-10 degrees for 3 months

    Reply
      1. Isotope_C14

        Yes, that is a carbon-neutral event.

        Anyone who is heating their residence in Berlin by 20C must be absolutely insane. The buildings there tend to trap heat, and if you are in an apartment complex the neighbors radiator pipes probably heat to the point where yours is not on.

        I think I turned on the radiators I have control over exactly twice in the last year. No doubt it is equivalent of cooling a McMansion in Texas in summer.

        Reply
        1. Alex

          Not sure I understood your comment. Surely energy is needed to heat water in your neighbour’s pipes? Otherwise the temperature would approach the outside temperature which is around zero in January

          Reply
      2. sporble

        Well… I’ve been living here in Berlin for 23 years – and we actually bought a single-room, “exhaust tube blows the hot air out the window” type air-conditioner last summer because it was unbearable trying to sleep in a bedroom which, despite open windows, was still over 30°C (86°F) well past midnight.

        We only use it on hot nights – to cool things so we can sleep (although it has a timer, we always turn it off before getting into bed). We had it on a couple times recently during the hellish heat wave, but thankfully, today’s downright cool, closer to 20°C (68°F).

        My first summer here – ’96 – the average high was like today: 20°C. Global warming, anyone?

        On a potentially more positive note: the winters have gotten noticeably milder – i.e. we’re using the heating noticeably less in winter.

        Reply
        1. Alex

          That’s my point: to keep your home habitable in winter (at least 3 months) you need to heat it by at least 15C compared to the outside temperature *all the time*.

          Reply
          1. Isotope_C14

            Move in with me for the winter, I charge 650 EU rent, and you have to take the couch-bed.

            There won’t be any 15C heat, that would cook your organs.

            Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book” : ‘Although Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew have been mentioned in connection with Epstein’s sordid deeds, their names aren’t circled in the black book.’

    I don’t know about Prince Andrew but I read how Bill Clinton would deliberately ditch his Secret Service contingent so that he could jump aboard the “Lollita Express” and have no potential witnesses aboard. Nobody really cares if a President has a mistress or two and I saw one film where it had as an official position ‘Presidential Girlfriend’ but using under-age girls suggest something else about the psychology of that person and what they are all about.

    Reply
            1. ambrit

              I’m not getting my hopes up. (PNI) Look what happened to the Snowden files.
              Or, for that matter, what looks to be happening to Greenwald. (Here’s hoping he doesn’t end up in a real life version of “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” [It is South America after all.])

              Reply
                1. ambrit

                  Oh good G–! As the boys down at the courthouse would say; “The fix is in!”
                  There is always hope. Maybe she secretly hates her father. If so, Epstein is toast.

                  Reply
      1. Craig H.

        Most of us people out in flyover land have never imagined such a thing but apparently in large east coast cities collecting incriminating evidence on powerful people is a lucrative profession. It is Epstein’s profession.

        How do you think he got rich? Unlike most of them he was not born that way. If he were to spill all his beans there would be no end to the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Epstein is not inoculated with the rich and famous. He owns some of them.

        Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Team Dem is well-represented in the guest book so I don’t think Trump gets any fallout. Julian’s day in court would be much more interesting but I’m pretty sure he will get the Star Chamber treatment

        Reply
    1. dcblogger

      We need to know all the names, all the CEOs, banksters, generals, politicians, entertainers, everybody.

      Reply
  3. Polar Donkey

    It seems as though things are going as planned for Sanders. Biden fades, Sanders picks up the largest share of his voters, and the rest gets split among Harris, Warren, etc.
    I was looking at CBS news fundraising presidential fundraising story a couple days ago. Acted like Harris’s $12 million was a big deal. Sanders raised $24 mil from 900,000 donors. Alfred E Neuman had $24.8 mil from 294,000 donors (can’t hide in Afghanistan when his police department screws up anymore), Biden $21.5 from 256,000. Harris had 279,000 donors. Seems like that candidate in second place might have some solid support.

    Reply
    1. Pavel

      Seems like it will boil down to Sanders with his many and fervent fans (sending $20 or $30 per month) versus the DNC and MSM [MSNBC I’m looking at you] doing their best to ignore him or blatantly to blacklist him. NB the Andrew Yang supporters are making the same claim, especially against MSNBC.

      We’ll see who will prevail. Hopefully Bernie will at least stay in the race whilst Harris, Mayor Pete et all battle amongst themselves for the corporate establishment Dem votes.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Chomsky was on Democracy Now and said the Dems had handed Trump reelection with their Russiagate.

        Perhaps it all depends on whether Trump can avoid some disaster like war with Iran before election time.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          I agree. I thought, six months ago, that Trump had no chance to win. The candidate field for the Dems looked good, a great variety of people and so on. But after the “debate” on DNC tv I was disheartened. Immigration and race seemed to dominate and that means death to the Democrats. Sanders valiantly tried to get back on what the issues ought to be–fighting the oligarchy and the DNC network wouldn’t have any of that–they, I suspect, are happy to have Trump as POTUS once again so they can have Maddow and other half-wits on the stage howl about how bad Trump is in ever new and creative ways.

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            Are you claiming that Kamala Harris’ $100 billion dollar plan for blacks to buy homes in white areas, paid for by mostly white taxpayers, her endorsement of forced busing and her never-finished-one-job-before jumping onto the next one, isn’t a winner in Electoral College Middle America?

            What a cynic.

            Once again, it looks as though the ‘democrats would rather lose to Trump than to win with Sanders, or any Real Democrat.

            Reply
          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Really? You thought Trump had no chance to win? The DNC WILL screw Bernie over and No Democrat Except Bernie can beat Trump.

            Reply
              1. ambrit

                Because, so far, Warren has failed to show any vestige of that most necessary of political skills; the common touch. Like him or hate him, Bill Clinton, I’m told, could turn on the charm when needed. He did well at the national level. Even Dick Nixon could speak to the public and get his message across, as in the Checkers speech.
                Warren, true technocrat that she is, can speak effectively to the more esoteric needs of the nation, but Trump speaks to the id of America.

                Reply
                1. Susan Mulloy

                  I wonder if this view is skewed a bit because men have a more difficult time dealing with women who are not warm and fuzzy. I think lots of women will vote for her. We could put her over the top.

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith

                    I know lots of women who are not keen about Warren. She appeals to the same crowd that Hillary did, with less baggage, and those upper class women (my stereotype is university administrators) weren’t able to put her over the top.

                    Men also get dinged on personality or lack thereof. Look at Mondale and Bob Dole.

                    I’m not keen about Warren. She’s a technocrat who has great problem diagnoses and “plans” that are obviously inadequate to address the problems she sets forth….and she of all people should know that.

                    She also believes that insiders are the ones who make decisions (she’s told stories earlier in her career that reveal that this is her world view). Her basic impulses are anti-democratic. And IMHO that is the core of why she’s doesn’t look comfortable doing retail politics. She doesn’t believe in it.

                    Reply
                  2. ambrit

                    Good point, but you underestimate the number of women who have ‘bought in’ to the ‘Myth of the Patriarchy.’
                    By ‘id’ of America, I factor in the 10%/90% divide in the society. That division applies to women just as much as men.
                    Also, from my personal observations of social interactions on jobsites, men have just as difficult a time dealing with hard arsed men as with strong women. Usually, in the job department, the hard cases are generally imposed on the job from above. This results in much malingering and outright slipshod work as a “get even” strategy by the workforce. I’ll posit that voters can and will act in the same way. Look at Trump and the Brexit Fiasco. Both can be seen as the people giving the finger to the Status Quo. Here, the term ‘the people’ is gender neutral.

                    Reply
              2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                I think Warren can beat Trump. So can Gabbard.

                But if the DNC screws Bernie, that will def effect Warrens chances.

                Reply
        2. human

          Not so sure that war would be a “disaster” for Trump. I’d bet money that where, when, why, and how much has already been considered.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            No, it would be a disaster and everybody knows that including Trump. Interesting that the people pushing it like Bolton were once “never Trumpers.”

            Reply
          2. Procopius

            I think he would try to do it on the cheap, using air power. That wouldn’t work, even if he used “tactical” nukes. Using nukes is very risky, because game theory shows that if an adversary is crazy enough to use a nuke on someone else he’s crazy enough to use it on you so you need to strike first. Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Israel … If he tries a land attack he’s going to suffer huge casualties. It’s not going to be like Iraq, where they spent nine months building up supply dumps and moving troops into place. Once they start moving troops to Kuwait and Iraq the missiles and guerrilla attacks start and the Saudi and UAE oil fields are gone. Catastrophe.

            Reply
        3. richard

          oh the irony
          dem leaders sell russia russia russia to avoid responsibility for electing trump
          and now it re-elects him (possibly barring sanders, imo)
          instead of opposing trump for what he does
          which is where the word “resist” actually begins to mean something
          dem establishment has chosen to oppose trump for what he “is”, or what they think he is,
          or what he says
          how do you resist that? They’ve surgically removed most of the actions, especially the class based and imperially based actions the dem estab. actually supports
          the only actions left are the made up treason bs
          of course this is a feature and not a bug in their “resistance”

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            i think they were selling russia cubed to excuse the loss and fend off challenges to the donor class, so that in that sense it may still work, with enough primary rigging.

            Reply
            1. richard

              i like russia cubed, will borrow that if you don’t mind
              it saves eight characters from the brady bunch (marcia marcia marcia!) formulation

              Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          Feeling very bleak about Bernies chances at this time
          Biden is gonna self-immoliate at some time in the not too distant future
          DNC seems set on Harris, Warren or Mayor Pete
          Trump will massacre any of the three
          Besides that they’ve settled on 8 year terms, no matter how horrible the current occupant is
          We missed our bernie window in 16
          TCSA
          The clintons strike again

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          Dean had the Fifty State strategy, and it helped the Democrat Party win. Then the Democrat Party Nomenklatura disassembled the apparatus to achieve that, possibly because the top tier feared the strategy as a threat to their primacy.
          Dean’s 50-State Strategy: https://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-democrat-howard-deans-fifty-state-strategy.html
          Sanders has been building a non-aligned coalition within America. He has had four years to strengthen it. If the DNC power brokers screw Sanders out of the nomination this time, Sanders would do well to keep building that non-aligned bloc and use it to return the favour to the DNC later on.

          Reply
          1. RMO

            Don’t forget that the defense presented in court by the Dem establishment when accused of running an unfair primary and not abiding by their own rules was, in effect “We can legally do whatever we want and go into a closed room and appoint whatever candidate we feel like, regardless of what our rules or the votes say” So I think the only way Sanders will be allowed to win is if screwing him again would essentially destroy the party and kill it stone dead. Even then many in the Dem establishment would likely prefer that to Sanders becoming president.

            Reply
  4. msmolly

    RE “tied for third place” comment. I didn’t read the whole article. Sanders was plainly deliberately left out. So you may delete my ill informed comment. (And I am a Bernie fan.)

    Reply
    1. Carl

      I read the article. It mentions his name in passing, kind of like a piece of furniture in the living room. The focus, however, is on the other two. Pretty consistent with the way the MSM treats him.

      Reply
  5. farragut

    Harris’ plan to give blacks HUD grants of $25,000 with which to buy homes…while neither new nor creative, will morph into reparations.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      That will play well in flyover country. And don’t forget the trillion and half dollars we are going to give away to pay off student loans. I can see Trump getting 400 electoral votes next year.

      Reply
      1. Ander Pierce

        The average US college graduate has $36,000 in debt, and tuition free public universities would massively expand the economic mobility of working class people. This program is already *immensely* popular, and Bernie has come forward to explain that it would be paid for with a tax on Wallstreet.

        This sort of popularist policy, which addresses a massive systemic problem in an appealing way, is exactly what will win elections.

        I’m not certain Bernie will win the nomination, but if he doesn’t I’ll bet my whole paycheck (about $700, without overtime) that Trump will easily win re-election.

        Reply
  6. Pelham

    Re public options, a related idea: If healthcare is a human right, shouldn’t it be equally available to all in equal measures?

    So if a poor person and a billionaire are afflicted with a rare and costly-to-treat disease, the billionaire should not be favored with preferred access to the best care. The poor guy, for instance, would be just as likely to be admitted to the Mayo Clinic as the rich guy.

    By the way, shouldn’t the entire legal profession be nationalized? I’m serious.

    If medical care and legal representation are rights, there should be no privileged access under any circumstance. That certainly isn’t what we have now. If the right to free speech were treated this way, I’d theoretically be able to say whatever I want but in practice I’d have to pay some corporate gatekeeper before saying or writing certain things.

    Reply
      1. Jomo

        I believe Pelham is suggesting there should be equal access to medical care and legal justice for the poor and the rich. A nice concept that would change the country for the better in many ways.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m forever asking the nurses and nurse’s aides and doctors and techs and cleaning ladies where the closet is where they keep their capes.
        there’s plenty of folks in the medical field who are morally on par with public defenders.
        i watched the two most experienced nurses (60 years between them) on the ward manage to put a tube up my wife’s nose and into her stomach before they did the ostomy…puke all over the place, and they were as calm as if they were shelling peas at the kitchen table…even gossiping about so and so’s wild weekend.
        capes…if not frelling wings.

        and nationalising legal services sounds great.
        came across this the other day:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_basic_services

        Reply
        1. katiebird

          Since just about every law for the last how many generations has been written by lawyers, how likely is that?

          I have always thought that all the resources available to prosecutors (budget, staffing, building, evidence) should be available to public defenders. It is a crazy idea though since no one agrees with me.

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            Better than that, how about a ban on lawyers in political offices?
            That would avoid a lot of problems and would return the country to the common people.

            Compare ‘Consitutional scholar’ Obama to non-lawyer Trump.

            Guess which one has improved the economy and did not start a new war?

            Reply
            1. katiebird

              I like that idea. Or require them to recuse themselves for any law that affects lawyers in any way. Which is the same thing.

              Reply
                1. flora

                  Joseph Welch (Army McCarthy hearings) and Henry Drummond (Scope’s “monkey” trial) refutes the all-or-nothing argument, in this case about lawyers’ character.

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    I’ll tap dance into this mine field and suggest that the very concept of a Lawyer Class is the problem. Exclusivity breeds all sorts of anti-social ideations.

                    Reply
            2. Carla

              Hah! – A ban on lawyers in political office? That’s a good one. Our small inner ring suburb of 44,000 people has an elected City Council of 7 — four of them are lawyers. But we have two non-lawyers running in Nov., so maybe there’s hope.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Structurally bad to have people trained as lawyers running the country since they are trained to champion and argue one point of view to the death. Contrast China, where all the top pols are trained engineers: approach a problem and then figure out how to solve it

                Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  You may have a point. I read on a page that about 70% of the lawyers in the world lives in the United States. I wonder that if a person is trained up as a lawyer whether that mean that they know how to bypass and corrupt laws to their own ends. In the end you get a dysfunctional system. Furthermore, this same page said that about 1 out of every 22 people in Washington DC is a lawyer too.
                  China I believe has only one third the number of lawyers that the US has and I too have heard that their leader’s come from an engineering background. It is not a new roblem. Even Shakespeare joked about this by putting that line in one of his plays – “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”

                  Reply
          2. Synoia

            Dunno, but Shakespeare had something to say (or write) about Lawyers.

            “First kill all the Lawyers?”

            It would not work, every ecosystem requires bottom crawlers.

            Reply
        2. mle in detroit

          Thanks for that link! Universal Basic Services amounts to what I have thought for some time: we’d do well to nationalize (“socialize,” “co-operatize”) the lower basic two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the flows that keep them in homeostasis. Anything above that, yeron yeroen, but at least you’ll have a firm foundation on which to proceed.

          Reply
        3. foghorn longhorn

          Everything was basically nationalized up till the late 70s
          Look at your birth certificate and see if doesn’t say blahblah COUNTY Hospital.

          Reply
      3. tegnost

        On reflection I think the medicaid expansion is much the same as public defense, after one qualifies s/he gets access to the system even if there are restrictions and delays, there are no bills. Re lawyers, mine saved me from the medical industry after I got hit by a car, and only got money when I did, and not much at that…

        Reply
    1. marym

      Countries with universal healthcare set what T.R. Reid, author of The Healing of America, calls a “floor” of care that everyone should have, and a “ceiling” for what the system will pay.

      In fact, though, every nation rations health care every day. No country—not even the richest oil sheikdoms—can afford to pay for every advanced surgical procedure and every costly drug that modern medicine knows how to provide. Accordingly, health-care systems are constantly making choices—rationing—about which treatments to pay for.

      In other rich countries, there’s a basic floor of care that everybody gets, which means there’s a ceiling as well—the system simply won’t pay for certain drugs or procedures. In the U.S., millions of people have no floor except the emergency room, and others have no ceiling.

      Link

      In this respect universal healthcare in countries that provide it is actually somewhat comparable to our public defender system. The floor is everyone having a qualified attorney. Then we can dispute the details of the rationing, like funding more public defenders to decrease their workload.

      Reply
      1. Carla

        ” health-care systems are constantly making choices—rationing—about which treatments to pay for”

        Reid forgot to add this crucial clause “and who gets to have which treatment–or any treatment, for that matter.”

        Reply
        1. marym

          The floor/ceiling analogy is useful, but the emergency room reference isn’t. The real floor in the US is no care. In his book that’s much clearer.

          Reply
          1. Monty

            Since I’ve been in the US, after experiencing the system, ive opted for “no care” despite paying for expensive insurance for my whole family. The doctors I’ve met seem so disengeuos and flat out dishonest. An anathema to the Hippocratic oath. You’re better off with none.

            Reply
    2. sleepy

      A few years ago Mayo, which functions as the large regional hospital for much of northern Iowa, quit accepting Iowa medicaid patients. So now those patients have to travel 340 miles rt to the Univ. of Iowa hospital in Iowa City.

      I also recall reading somewhere that Mayo was also hesitating a bit on accepting medicare, or at least giving preference to those who had good private insurance.

      Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        I made several trips to Rochester, MN a couple of years ago for business, and on every commuter flight from Chicago or Minneapolis, it seemed that half the passengers were families from overseas. Just like elite colleges, Mayo makes its margins on foreigners who pay the full rack rate, in cash, and are grateful they were allowed to pay. I guess that’s who subsidizes the Medicare patients for whom they deign to find time.

        Reply
    3. Mickey Hickey

      I agree with you that size alone may be a factor. In addition Iran cannot use USD for payment to Suez Canal Authority and the Egyptian Military receive enormous amounts of money from the US government so they could block passage of Iranian ships or ships carrying Iranian goods. There are some comments that assume that Grace 1 tied up to a dock in Gibraltar. The only reason for Grace 1 visiting Gibraltar would be to pick up supplies like frozen food, medicine, beer and other necessities of life, these would be delivered by a tender to a ship anchored near Gibraltar. It would not make sense to dock a 300,000 ton ship due to cost and time considerations. Keep in mind that the British troops according to reports were either landed on the ship by helicpter or were lowered from a helicopter. One likely outcome of this is Spain will crack the whip on the British for acting illegally in Spanish territorial waters. Some reports claim that the Grace 1 which was owned by Singaporean entities was bought by Russian entities and its Panamian registration was cancelled. Things could get very interesting if the British have seized a Russian owned ship. As the late great Pierre Elliot Trudeau said fate will unfold as it should.

      Reply
  7. Carolinian

    That Ryan Grim piece is not very impressive. He pretends that the Dem leadership is all about the Reagan landslide–which happened 40 years ago–and ignores what Pelosi et al are really about which is money. Reagan may be long gone but the money-rules-politics era he brought with him is stronger than ever. Dems are who they are because they are exactly what big money wants them to be. Therefore public opinion on M4A or abortion barely matters as long as Dem incumbents feel their jobs are secure. And from this perspective Trump is a great foil–a cartoon villain they can run against while ignoring all the rest. They’d be nuts to get rid of him.

    If Dems were really going to reform they never would have returned Pelosi to the job. Therefore she must be doing what they want. It’s not Reagan blocking AOC but the party itself.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Apparently Grim’s book — which is on my review pile — mentions The Money. We’ll see. I agree leaving The Money out, especially on the pages of the Washington Post, is extremely important.

      Reply
    2. Carla

      It wasn’t Reagan. It was Conservative Party member James Buckley, Democrat Eugene McCarthy, and the New York Civil Liberties Union who brought Buckley v. Valeo to the Supreme Court, which decided in 1976 that money is constitutionally protected speech.

      “In 1974, Congress passed campaign finance reform measures as a set of amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act. The measures were further-reaching than anything being proposed in the federal government today. The amendments imposed limitations on: (1) individual and PAC contributions to a candidate for federal office; (2) expenditures by candidates from personal or family resources; (3) overall campaign expenditures; and (4) independent expenditures.

      Soon after these amendments were passed, a motley coalition including Senator James Buckley of New York, Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit in federal court charging that the new provisions were unconstitutional. The plaintiffs argued that “limiting the use of money for political purposes constituted a restriction on communication violative of the First Amendment, since virtually all meaningful political communications in the modern setting involve the expenditure of money.”

      The US. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of limits on individual and committee donations to candidates. However, it declared that mandatory limits on candidates spending of their own money, limits on independent expenditures, and limits on total campaign spending constitute violations of the First Amendment.”

      https://ilsr.org/rule/campaign/2187-2/

      I am no Republican, but I am damned sick of Democrats claiming Republicans are the culprits in the “money is speech” lie.

      Reply
    3. Hopelb

      Grimm’s entire premise, that Dems have been in defense mode is laughable. It ignores the Clintonite Third Way Dems turbo charging of the Republican’s priorities eg deindustrialisation, financialisation, militatarization, globalization, consolidation of media, gutting the safety net, cutting ss, welfare,
      R2P wars, things the Republicans could never have gotten passed if a true opposition party was extant. It presents this as defense rather than as a self serving, coldly calculated decision to compete for the donor class, most prominently and firstly for the Third Wayers, the banksters. Grimm absolves them of responsibility for normalizing and promoting neocon/neoliberalism by providing this cover story that they could not have won without turning into donor serving Rightward thinkers themselves.
      Of course, the well orchestrated plan of the duopoly, and it’s long term consequences has, since the Clintons eviceration of the opposition Dem Party, become apparent in all it’s devastated forms. But Bernie and Kucinich, Ross Perot, Rand Paul,and Brooksley Borne, all saw it coming years before.
      I am sure these Third Way Dems would much prefer hanging out with millionaires in private homes than at the VFW or union hall.
      That Stoller thread is relevant here.

      Reply
  8. Carey

    ‘Facebook’s Libra Must Be Stopped’:

    “After years of disregarding privacy, exploiting user data, and failing to control its platform, Facebook has now unveiled a cryptocurrency and payment system that could take down the entire global economy. Governments must intervene before a company that “moves fast and breaks things” ends up breaking everything..”

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/facebook-libra-must-be-stopped-by-katharina-pistor-2019-06

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      *Sigh*

      This is the best PR FB could get. In reality, aside from the whole concept being incoherent, it’s not even clear who the customers would be. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        From what I’ve read Libra is pretty clearly an ETF. We already have too many of those, and are you really going to fill out a suitability questionnaire (securities registration) before buying a coffee?

        Reply
  9. Chris Smith

    They can take my air conditioner from my cold, dead hands. (Cold from the beautiful air conditioned air that is! Think I’ll turn it down to arctic today.)

    Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Haunted by the Reagan era”

    I wonder if anybody got around to telling Pelosi that most of the people that voted for Ronnie are dead by now and so their votes are no longer to be feared. Just saying.

    Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        At this point, Pelosi is probably out to maintain her legacy. AOC by simply existing is a denouncement of the Pelosi legacy. The argument AOC could only win in her district may be true, but it raises a question of why Crowley represented that district and was in the leadership.

        It warrants mentioning, but Pelosi is a member of the intelligence briefing Gang of Eight. She should be asked when did she learn about torture. My suspicion is Cheney covered himself by making sure the Democratic Party leadership was in on the crime.

        Pelosi and politicians are there for the C list celebrity. They love it.

        The four Congress critters Pelosi denounced are constant reminders of Pelosi’s failed leadership. This is her second stint as Speaker, and can she really claim credit for either win? Did the people organizing in 2006 have Pelosi on the brain? Did sometimes voters who came out care about Pelosi? Then demographics favor Team Blue. The losses in recent years are more indictments of Pelosi than any gains.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          The great problem of the way Congress is structured today is that it favors corruption. Pelosi and the leadership (including the Senate) is nothing if not almost comically corrupt as is, btw, all of Washington. I stood on the sidelines during watching Washington become systemically corrupt where once it was just somewhat corrupt but balanced by many decent and dedicated public servants which today, in Washington, are few and far between compared to, say, the eighties. I am halfway in favor now of shrinking the federal government and drowning it in a bathtub–other than sending out Social Security money there isn’t much the feds do that improves our lives. It no longer protects us from real threats (it loves imaginary ones, however). This is why a part of me is skeptical of socialism at this point in our history without first destroying Washington and instituting either direct democracy or some other equivalent scheme.

          Reply
        2. Carolinian

          What was that legacy again? Shepherding the Wall Street bailout?

          She’s just a machine politician from a family of machine politicians. It’s all about the Benjamins.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Its a bad legacy, but when she goes to polish the turd, she’ll say an unquantifiable “she knew how to win” or “it was the best that could be done.”

            Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      i expect, given all the profiteering she does using her position, she just loved the reagan era. the democrats of that era certainly rolled over a lot, especially during the campaigns.

      Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      Yes, it’s good. It’s a theme that Lambert discusses frequently. I notice a few knee-jerk complaints in the thread that Dems are not ‘the left’. That may be true, but it’s also true that the left doesn’t actually have a home. It has a contested place within the democratic party and is gathering strength, finding it’s voice and mounting a bid for power most explicitly in the Sanders campaign.

      I think a mistake that gets made on this site from time to time is that team Dem is trying to steal Republican voters from the wealthy suburbs (true) and that they’ll never do that because those voters are loyal Republicans (not true). If you look at each successive election and how the base changes over time, you’ll notice the Dems are actually making solid progress in this realm. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/clinton-election-polls-white-workers-firewall/
      They’re pretty dominant in their wealthy coastal citadels these days. That wasn’t always true. 2018 brought utter dominance for team dem in states like CA and NJ that were just mostly blue previously. The flip side of that is that team Dem has been rapidly shedding working class whites (to Repubs) and blacks (to non-voters, with a pause in the two Obama elections).

      I think this helps to frame up the monumental task that Sanders is trying to accomplish. He’s trying to throw this whole multi-decade project into reverse. And, he’s trying to do it in under 5 years. His campaign seems to spend a lot of its time/energy in boosting McDonald’s workers, Wal-Mart workers, Disney theme park workers. Sanders is running an explicit, class-based campaign. He’s trying to rebuild the base of the party in a different shape. This is much harder than just winning a primary.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        You make a good case for throwing the effort into a new party, instead, especially if it already exists.

        Sanders is up against the Iron Law of Institutions, and so far he’s running 2nd. It isn’t only Republicans that cheat if they need to.

        Reply
      2. marku52

        Good comment, thanks for it. It is impressive how may Sanders ideas are closer to mainstream.

        “America will never have socialized medicine” was true in 2016. Less so now…

        Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      Further to Stoller’s point about Chris Arnade’s ‘Dignity’ and Dem party elite’s refusal to see ordinary people. It’s not limited to just ordinary Americans. They aren’t interested in the millions of protestors in HK or in the millions of people in S and N Korea who support the peace process.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/06/opinion/sunday/nancy-pelosi-pride-parade.html

      “I actually think if he were here, we might have had a better shot” at getting more of what the Democrats wanted in the bill, she said. “One thing he understands is the public view of things.” She said that when she urged Trump to speak to Xi Jinping about religious freedom for the Uighurs and democracy in Hong Kong, he typically was focused on the size of the crowd at the protests. “Did you see they had two million people in the streets?” he asked her, impressed.

      Trump, at least, sees ordinary people and sees the power in their organization. Pelosi and Dowd just see a droll fetish for crowd sizes.

      https://twitter.com/TimothyS/status/1145325599319298048

      The utter banality and stupidity of the fake American left in one tweet. 80 million Koreans and the war and division they’ve suffered through simply don’t exist.

      It’s also fair to say that Trump has exacerbated this tendency to airbrush away ordinary people. A flawed, awkward peace process is still a peace process…but MSNBC only sees elites…in fact, two elites, Trump and Kim. They don’t even see Moon, or his very large block of voters in S. Korea who had to move heaven and earth to shake the political system in S. Korea to get the guy elected. Dem elites have even airbrushed him out of the picture, too!

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      We couldn’t find a pony before your birthday, so acquired this instead. You’ll love your elephant. They are much smarter than ponys and you can ride them too!

      Reply
  11. Lee

    Biden vows to bring back Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty for not having insurance CNBC

    PBS Newshour ran a piece on USians getting their insulin from Canada for a tenth the price here in USA. Included the story of a young man with a job who died for lack of high priced insulin. The insurance plan that was available to him cost $450 per month and had a $6,700 deductible. He could afford neither the insulin nor the insurance.
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/skyrocketing-cost-of-insulin-pushes-americans-to-buy-drug-in-canada

    We should make the mandate retroactive, dig up that dead deadbeat, and penalize him. Or maybe we can make his heartbroken mom pay.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The rising prices from Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk have raised suspicions. The companies appear to have increased them in lockstep over a number of years, prompting allegations of price fixing. All three companies denied these charges when I contacted them. (In 2010, Mexico fined Eli Lilly and three Mexican companies for price collusion on insulin, an allegation Eli Lilly also denied.) In the United States, a federal prosecutor and at least five state attorneys general are currently investigating the companies’ pricing practices, according to Kaiser Health News. In October, Minnesota became the first state to sue the companies over insulin prices. And in January 2017, potential class-action lawsuits alleging price fixing by the three companies began making their way through the courts on behalf of diabetics. The companies denied the suits’ allegations.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/magazine/wp/2019/01/07/feature/insulin-is-a-lifesaving-drug-but-it-has-become-intolerably-expensive-and-the-consequences-can-be-tragic/

      While at a local McDonald’s I eavesdropped while a woman told her date about how diabetes was wrecking her young life and in particular the struggles to pay for insulin. Her helplessness was quite moving.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        I imagine that morbidity and mortality rates due to lack of insulin in the U.S., if such data are even collected, would be shocking. With the U.S. having the highest prevalence of diabetes among developed nations ( USA #1!), gouging patients for it is a legally sanctioned mass atrocity. We are a captive population occupied by Wall Street.

        Reply
  12. Amfortas the hippie

    re: la times article on large farmers

    fta:”But each qualified family member or business partner gets his or her own $125,000 cap for each category. Farmers who produce both soybeans and hogs, for example, would have separate caps for each and could thus collect $250,000.”

    this is common practice.
    they’re helped along by the county agent and the farm bureau and such…to navigate the loopholes.
    in my county(less so since the peanut subsidy went away), it’s mostly the more well off farmers and ranchers who get this welfare(a term i use on purpose, because in a county this size, one can know everyone…and these wealthier farmers and ranchers also happen to be the most vocal bootstrap republicans, b^t#hing the loudest about poor people and immigrants getting foodstamps.)

    see:https://farm.ewg.org/
    for a list of your neighbors who get taxpayer money for often planting nothing.

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Or, your sort of neighbor, who plants a couple rows of grapevines and reaps huge tax benefits, thus avoiding paying for the social programs she promotes?

      “The Napa estate is on Zinfandel Lane, and is worth between $5 million and $25 million, according to her financial disclosure form. The Pelosis reportedly earn between $5,000 and $15,000 from selling the grapes grown on the vineyard, though the LA Times said a spokesman for the Pelosis did not say who purchased the grapes.”

      https://heavy.com/money/2018/05/nancy-pelosi-net-worth/

      Making their own wine? Or,

      “To get the most income tax breaks for farming, you have to prove to the Internal Revenue Ser­vice your farm is a business—not a hobby. The IRS presumes a taxpayer is in business if he or she can show a profit in three years out of five.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2012/06/06/farm-like-a-billionaire-harvest-tax-breaks/

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        the subsidies for NOT planting or running cows are there for good intentions…due to dust bowl, etc.
        “Conservation”…allowing the land to fallow…even for wildlife habitat…etc.
        but it’s abused without shame.
        it’s prolly safe to predict that a reforestation exemption would be abused, as well.
        so that goes directly to what others have pointed at…it’s Humans that are flawed.
        rather, how Humans are currently configured, as dog eat dog, hyperindividuals, “Greed is Good”,”if i don’t lie and cheat, someone else will, and i’ll lose” and all the rest.
        given that it has always been thus, but our philosophical underpinnings(largely unconscious) make it worse, rather than ameliorating it.
        too bad we killed off the Humanities,lol…which is the part of education that at the very least give us the tools to think about these things.
        (and, contrary to Team Blue sensibilities/knee-jerk, I include religious thought in “Humanities”…specifically such things as “there but for the grace of god go i”, etc)

        Reply
  13. Synoia

    Fink-Nottle is, like his friend, Wodehouse hero Bertie Wooster, and like Boris Johnson, an Etonian. So there you are.

    Not all Old Etonians are Thick.

    Reply
      1. Anonymous2

        Keynes, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell were all Old Etonians so it has produced some old boys who have contributed to the good of mankind.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Point taken. However, when it comes to Boris and Company, I’m more inclined to think that they attended ‘Greyfriars School.’ Billy Bunter for Brexit Minister anyone?

          Reply
          1. richard

            i’m guessing with wooster the normans, right?
            plus he’s all rich and s*&^
            I’ll have to try to find the quote and see if there’s more to it

            Reply
  14. Synoia

    Not: What will it be, Boeing? Great airplanes that generate cash flow or great cash flow, period?

    Is: What will it be, Boeing? Great airplanes that generate cash flow or great crash flow, period?

    Reply
  15. Oregoncharles

    From “Brexit: not just another Irish battle.” The article is evidently yet another effort to beat some sense into the Tories, so lapses are understandable, but annoying nonetheless. I.e.: “That these unattainable – and ungivable – concessions are related to the Irish backstop is, as I said earlier, entirely coincidental. But what Johnson and Hunt both are doing is demanding that the terms of entry for the EU’s Single Market – and the management of many related systems – should not be set by the EU itself, but by a third country, in this case the UK. ”

    Based entirely on what I’ve seen here, the second sentence is to the point, but the first misses the point. As has been rather colorfully described here, especially by Irish commenters, the Irish border is both arbitrary and, more important, unenforceable. It wasn’t enforceable at the height of the Troubles, when everyone had good reason to enforce it; it isn’t any more enforceable now. Furthermore, Ireland has a peculiar relationship to the EU: not only is it well out to sea, but, once Brexit happens (?), it will be on the other side of a non-member country. That is an awkward situation, unlikely to be sustainable – even though Alaska is a counter example. That situation is considerably less vexed. Plus, of course, the Good Friday Agreement depends on everyone pretending the border isn’t there.

    IOW, it’s an unsolvable problem, one that is just as existential for the UK as the treaties are for the Eu. That poses quite a barrier to agreement. So, not a coincidence.

    It’s more of a quibble, but North also glosses over the nature of the EU’s position; It is a political and negotiating position, not as inherently rigid as he represents. Treaties and rules are subject to interpretation. He actually uses weasel words when describing it: ” It preserves, IN THEIR VIEW [emphasis mine], the integrity of the EU treaties, and thereby provides a firm legal foundation on which to base negotiations for a longer-term relationship.” Their view matters, so this may be a distinction without a difference. In practice, it will come down to relative power. He makes sense about how unrealistic the Tory Brexiteers’ approach is.

    Reply
  16. richard

    so….
    no one is going to mention about this elongated, red interstellar asteroid?
    the joke isn’t going to make itself people
    we haven’t automated that yet

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      If it was a cluster of red aster-roids, the joke would be fundamentally sound. As it is, we haven’t been standing around with a finger up our bums mate.
      Consider the state of American politics. I aver that that phenomenon is proof that joke making is automated today.
      Add one from Poll A, one from Focus Group B, and one from Think Tank C, and voila, we have a national candidate. That fails the Turing Test I’ll bet.

      Reply
      1. richard

        hmm, well you could go in a pun direction with it, that’s for sure
        i was thinking more of the extremely elongated aspect
        but there you go!
        that kind of improvisational energy is exactly why we shouldn’t turn joke telling over to machines, political or electronic. they don’t get us :)

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Okay, I’ll bite. The gorge rises at the prospect of us needing extra-solar motivation for the engenderment of gauche observations. Indeed, considering the priapic nature of our visitor, I would venture to propose a new Aspect of the ‘Centredness of Helios;’ the Solphalos. Cupid’s winged dart it may be, inseminating the Oort Cloud to honour the Gods. Hopefully, we speak not of the ‘Elder Gods.’
          (There are too many possibilities for humour here. Alas, we live in a degenerate world.)

          Reply
    2. DDC

      In the Nature article is a nice example of how differently astronomers think about the universe than the rest of us. “The high predicted number density of icy interstellar objects (2.4 × 10^−4 per cubic astronomical unit) suggests that some should have been detected, yet hitherto none has been seen” (my emphasis). That “high density” is 2+ ten-thousandths of an object like ‘Oumuamua in a volume comparable to a sphere whose equator is as enormous as the orbit of the Earth. The odds against such a visit were very high, and those against such a visitor’s being spotted yet higher.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yes indeed. The sky watchers are regularly being surprised by new Apollo objects, those that fly close to the Earth. That ‘Oumuamua’ was spotted at all is a feat.

        Reply
    1. djrichard

      Syriza and Tsipras failed to lead when leadership was required. And instead created an equilibrium to keep themselves in power. Glad to see them tossed out.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Interesting, though, that when this happens, as it so often does, the
        replacements are alway from the Right..

        invisible™ hand

        Reply
        1. djrichard

          No pain, no gain. If Syriza is just going to occupy space, then throw the bums out and reset the playing board. In a way, not all that different than what happened with Trump getting elected.

          Hopefully Syriza can learn from this and “redeem” themselves (I hate that expression, but it’s the best fit here). In contrast to our dems who are “redeeming” themselves by claiming the moral high ground by noting the “evilness” of Trump and his administration.

          Reply
  17. SerenityNow

    Harris’s $100 Billion Plan Aims to Help Black Families Buy Homes

    Using housing as a wealth building tool is one of the primary reasons housing is consistently difficult for people to afford. Getting more people into the casino does not address the fundamental problem of gambling…

    Reply

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