Links 7/8/19

Darwinian bee-keeping: lessons from the wild Nature

Borrowing against art is growing at a stunning rate The Economist. Froth. But what isn’t.

Groundwater Pumping Diminishes Streams Across The Country, Study Finds KUNC

Conservative Indiana Chooses Renewables Over Gas As It Retires Coal Early Forbes

Nuclear Power, Once Seen as Impervious to Climate Change, Threatened by Heat Waves US News

Southern California on high earthquake alert, bringing anxiety and preparation LA Times

What a waste: the G20 and the plastic problem The Interpreter


Boris Johnson ‘not bluffing’ about quitting EU on 31 October with no deal Guardian

Britain’s man in the US says Trump is ‘inept’: Leaked secret cables from ambassador say the President is ‘uniquely dysfunctional and his career could end in disgrace’ Daily Mail

Foreign Office to investigate leaked diplomatic cables FT. No doubt!

James Hodgson – Brexit as Fugitive Democracy Brave New Europe. Concept from Sheldon Wolin.

Facing Economic Disaster, Irish Business Stands Firm on Brexit Bloomberg

Greek election: Tsipras out, Mitsotakis in EU Observer


Fresh clashes in Hong Kong after huge march Asia Times. At Mong Kok, site of controversial train station from the Mainland.

Public increasingly backing radical Hong Kong protesters despite unease over violence, say academics, as Carrie Lam’s government faces even greater resistance against extradition bill South China Morning Post

Put off by US, Chinese students eye other universities Asian Correspondent

Cosplay conquers the world Japan Times

Leave your shoes at the door: Science says they’re covered in poop and could make you sick USA Today


After the 2015 Floods, Chennai Only Exploited the People Who Were Cleaning it The Wire

India’s Water Crisis Is Man-Made Bloomberg

A Long & Undeclared Emergency NYRB


Power outage hits Venezuela’s largest refinery complex, says lawmaker Agence France Presse

Venezuela opposition, gov’t to resume Norway-backed talks: Guaido Al Jazeera

Venezuela’s Maduro ratifies Padrino as defense minister Reuters

The Urban Revolution: A Conversation with Hernan Vargas (Part I) Venezuelanalysis (part two).

The Debt We Owe Central America Jacobin

Trump Transition

The Stuff of Nightmares: Inside the migrant detention center in Clint, Texas El Paso Times

Justice Dept. to Replace Lawyers in Census Citizenship Question Case NYT

How President Trump Became Counties’ Best Friend and Biggest Ally Governing

‘Truly Terrifying’: Fireworks Set Off Inside Union Station Cause Mass Panic, Chaos NBC Washington

With Jeffrey Epstein locked up, these are nervous times for his friends, enablers Miami Herald

Democrats in Disarray

Nancy Pelosi Has Chosen Her War, and it’s With Her Own Party’s Future The Intercept. Hippie punching is a time-honored practice among liberal Democrats.

Can Democrats grow a spine before American democracy collapses in a limp, lifeless heap? Will Bunch, Philadelphia. I’ve seen this “Democrats have no spine” trope for at least a decade, maybe even two decades. And for good reason, but perhaps it’s time to retire the trope and look elsewhere for causes?

Blindsided by a ‘Devastating’ Veto, Alaska’s University System Pleads for a Lifeline NYT

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Americans Shocked to Find their Rights Literally Vanish at U.S. Airports The American Conservative

FBI, ICE find state driver’s license photos are a gold mine for facial-recognition searches WaPo

Spotlight: The Dangers of Gang Databases and Gang Policing The Appeal

Facebook Libra

Banks steer clear of Facebook’s Libra project FT

Facebook’s Libra Must Be Regulated by Central Banks: PBOC Official Caixin Live

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing setback after Saudi airline scraps $5.9bn order for 737 MAX planes Sky News

Class Warfare

US capitalism is fairer than you think FT

‘Climate apartheid’: Rich people to buy their way out of environmental crisis while poor suffer, warns UN The Independent. You say that like it’s a bad thing.

‘Gross Violation of Logic and Sense’: Open Letter From Nearly 140 Scholars Implores SF School Board Not to Destroy Historic Mural Common Dreams. Follow-up on NC here.

Australian Aboriginal site gains World Heritage recognition Agence France Presse

Antidote du jour (via):

Happy Monday!

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.


  1. The Rev Kev

    “With Jeffrey Epstein locked up, these are nervous times for his friends, enablers”

    Could it be that all of Epstein’s friends and enablers are worried that what Epstein did to all those under-age girls is now about to be done to them?

    Hilarious Antidote du jour by the way.

    1. Ember Brody

      And it would still be rape. You have wished that upon people in a previous post. Please don’t make these types of posts any more. Thank you.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You missed the point. With the later I did not mean personal but what I was trying to say is that they would have to face the consequences of their actions which would result from anything from reputational damage to jail time. As shown by the Harvey Weinstein case, there was a whole network of enablers that made possible what they did or let them get away with it. They need to be dealt with too with the full force of the law.

      2. ambrit

        There are some crimes that deserve the death penalty, or worse. Paedophilia is one such.
        Some contend that this crime when committed by emotionally damaged persons is somewhat “forgivable.” that’s an argument for psychologists and the like. The organized sexual exploitation of children has absolutely no excuse. These people, as Rev Kev alludes, should suffer just as much, if not more than did their victims. This is a situation where Justice must be seen to be carried out. Otherwise, we enshrine ‘privilege’ in our social matrix.
        I’m sorry if something like this happened to you, but, sometimes, forgiveness is not the optimal course.

        1. Carolinian

          Here’s an interview with one of the Miami Herald reporters. This is as rotten as it gets.

          And what is also even more unusual, part of the wording in this non-prosecution agreement gave immunity not only to Epstein for federal—any federal prosecution, but to all his named and unnamed co-conspirators. In other words, anybody—and there were many people who helped him. You know, he had schedulers. He had recruiters. He had people, if they weren’t participating in the criminal activity, they helped enable his criminal activity. All those people, some of whom we don’t even know who they are, were given immunity from federal prosecution. And it’s a very unusual document. It’s a very unusual non-prosecution agreement, from what I understand.

            1. JBird4049

              “Remarkable” is one way of describing this systematic widespread and wholesale coverup of rape of the underaged, but then regardless of the rightness of the charges, I guess it is the access to money that determines justice.

      3. lambert strether

        Surely the question of whether Epstein’s enablers are worried about what Epstein did is orthogonal to what Epstein did? I don’t follow the logic of this comment at all.

        Also, I read this comment as saying that The Rev Kev “wished” rape “upon people” in a previous post. I need receipts.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Picture this: The oh-so-important Jeffrey Epstein is behind bars. A place that is very unfamiliar to him. And he doesn’t like it one single bit.

      Now, if someone in authority came to Mr. Epstein and asked him to name names, do you think he’d hold back? I doubt that he would, for the simple reason that he’d rather be free than behind bars.

      1. Pat

        Unfortunately Epstein will have to truly face jail AND the prosecutors, judges and everyone else will have to sincerely want to get those to whom he provided “entertainment” for that to.happen. Considering how hard a lot of people had to work to overturn the first bureaucratic sweep under the rug and have him.face prosecution again that is a considerable long shot. Too many of the very people who should be perusing him and his cronies have a stake in keeping those cronies in the positions of power they occupy.

        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          Consider this: In the strange matter of the NXIVM ‘life improvement/celebrity sex slavery’ cult, the group’s main sponsor, Clare Bronfman skated free while the group’s poster boy, Keith Rainiere got his head screwed to the floor. Well we all know who the Bronfman sisters are daughters of. (big time gangster -turned booze tycoon) And we should know who their good friend in Chappaqua is. The NXIVM compound and the Clinton Command Bunker are in close geographical proximity as well. Just sayin’. My prediction is: Epstein will get hammered hard while all his friends he procured ‘trim’ for, Republican, Democrat or Independent will go unreported, the list being withheld for national security reasons. When Allen Dershowitz, Bill Clinton and maybe Trump all go down in flames, y’all can tell me I’m a conspiracy nut. Until then, you’ll just be ignoring business-as-usual in the Imperial City.

          1. Chris

            I seem to recall that they tried to get Trump rolled into the Epstein mess but didn’t find anything. I can’t find a link to it now, but didn’t Trump testify against Epstein in some proceedings?

            1. Briny

              He’s listed as a cooperating witness in court documents, from what I’ve read. I don’t know whether to even believe that at this point.

        2. Synoia

          Mr Epstein is facing people who have little scruples. We all know unfortunate “accidents” happen when the rich and powerful become threatened.

          1. lordkoos

            Yes, I doubt very much he will give anybody up, or he could have an accident in prison. However I heard something about some documents as evidence… we’ll see.

            1. anonymous

              A virtue of accidents is that they can be very patient as they wait to happen. An associate of Bernie Madoff had a heart attack and drowned while swimming in his own pool. (I’d have a heart attack too if someone tried to drown me in my own pool.)

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        As long as Epstein does not name the names, he can extort those un-named names to cancel the case, drop the charges, whatever they have to do to get him out. Under threat of him naming the names.

        But once he names the names, then he can no longer blackmail the names with the threat of naming them. The only way he would name any names is if he is convinced the names have decided to abandon him and throw him under the bus. At that point he will switch from attempted self-preservation to revenge. He will seek to throw every name he knows under the bus along with himself. And they know it. And he knows they know it.

        Slicky Bill Clinton can’t have been the only World Leader to fly Lolita Air down to Pedo Island.

        1. Yves Smith

          The case wouldn’t have gotten this far if those names could stop it. And this case does not implicate anyone other than Epstein and the Maxwell daughter. It’s all about recruiting women, including underage women, for his Florida digs. Nada about Lolita Express or his foreign sex trafficking. It doesn’t help Epstein’s defense for more dirt to get out, and he’d have to rat himself out more in order to implicate others.

      3. Procopius

        What, you’re gonna give him immunity again? I don’t want to see that happen. I think they have plenty of evidence to track down at least the most prominent of his clients. I judge from his excessive protestations that Alan Dershowitz is one of them and I don’t think he’s gonna skate. Good. On the other hand if they don’t have enough evidence to get more of his minions, OK, better luck next time, but put Epstein away for the rest of his life, which probably won’t be all that long considering how many convicts were sexually abused as children. Roman Polanski, too. I don’t care how artistic his movies are, he’s a [family-blogging] baby raper.

      1. Summer

        Not this time. It is a network he is protecting. No more trials would be the opposite of justice.

        1. dearieme

          in a just world, there are no trials for the Epstein types.

          That’s moronic: without a trial how would you know who is an “Epstein type”?

        2. Procopius

          He’s not protecting them. He’s not talking because talking would only make his situation worse. There’s a reason for the Fifth Amendment. From one story I saw he was very like the Nazis, he kept meticulous records that they were able to seize, so many in his network are probably already going to court.

      2. a different chris

        No. Everybody gets their day in court. I don’t care how heinous their crimes are. More to the point, I don’t care how heinous their crimes are purported to be. Show the world your proof.

        There were so many people like you that said exactly that about the Central Park 5. Not that the “justice system” helped them much, but it kept them from being strung up at least.

        1. Chris

          Yes. Without our core beliefs, and the presumption of innocence before the law until decided by a jury of peers, where the accused gets to face their accuser and the evidence against them, much worse than Epstein will come to pass.

          1. ambrit

            It doesn’t get much worse than Epstein’s “Lolita Express.” The mind set that views underages as exploitable ‘resources’ is just one jump away from a mind set that views ‘undesirables’ as fair game for “liquidation.” As I read it, the Central Park 5 suffered from the opposite of ‘privilege.’ The Law finally tried to do right by them, but without Justice, the Law is but another tool of oppression.
            Yes, give Epstein a “day in court,” and make it a court based on equity and justice.
            Politically speaking, Epstein is the poster boy for “The .01% Behaving Badly.” This is going to become very big.

        2. Janie

          In Los Angeles some called for summary justice to be visited upon the McMartin Day School operators, rather than continuing the lengthy trial. Their lives and health were ruined, and they were found not guilty. The accusations of molestation went from awful, but possible, to absurd; the case had no basis.

        3. Oh

          “Everybody gets their day in court”–an oft repeated myth in our legal system. The rich get their day to get off and the poor get their day to go “inside”. The more money you have, the more “justice” you can buy through your lier lawyer. It’s best for pepole to steer clear of this great :justice” system. The system will make you run the gautlet and squeeze you dry and drop you when the money’s gone.

      3. anon y'mouse

        i am sure that every name etched into the nearby (to my home) Lynching Memorial was muttered in a similar kind of sentence to your own.

        1. ambrit

          I’ll bet that most all of the names on that ‘Lynching Memorial’ are those of victims of injustice. Epstein is a predator and a perpetrator of injustice against others.
          This issue is becoming part of the Class War meme.

        1. JEHR

          Having read some of the article linked above, it becomes very clear why no one seems to be worried about Trump’s sexual predations: sexual predation is the way the elites live in this world. The victims “be damned.” Is this the new “reality” that we can look forward to? One can only hope the answer is not “Yes.”

          1. ambrit

            Droit de seigneur in the modern age. A bad idea then, an even worse idea today, when we are supposed to have evolved past that.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Canadian blogger and journalist Jeff Wells has written articles contending that this has always been the case for and with the world’s OverClasses, including America’s OverClass.

            His category of articles . . . “The Military-Occult Complex, ritual abuse/mind control, and “High Weirdness” ” . . . . contains articles about this.

            Here is a link to the most recent article in that category. One can then read down article by article.

            Epstein is a thread worth pulling to see how many sleeves fall off of how many shirts.

          3. Anon

            During the campaign, several female friends of mine were very dismissive of the complaints about Trump and women, noting they were about Women, as opposed to, you know, girls.

  2. DJG

    From the EU Observer, the official neoliberal interpretation of the election in Greece. I remain skeptical, given that the three left parties together had 45 percent of the vote. Hardly a great victory for the usual technocrat—from Nea Dimokratia, the party that negligently and notoriously led the Greeks into this mess.

    Note the EU Observer’s central observation: “Mitsotakis won by promising to cut taxes, privatise services, and create jobs, which his left-wing rivals had failed to do.”

    Nothing about collecting taxes from the rich. Nothing about why Greece would require further privatization of services.

    A slightly more skeptical view from La Stampa:

    One important notice is the collapse of Golden Dawn. So it is possible to defeat neofascists peacefully.

      1. Mike

        RE: “I’m still in for drop the EU…Then ask Russia and China for help.”

        Tsipras contacted Putin & Russia right after Varoufakis threatened Grexit during initial talks with the EU, as this was part of their plan initially. I believe those talks were unsatisfactory due to limitations of Russian financial support, so I can’t believe better results would be proffered (New Cold War, Ukraine, domestic unrest – Putin has his financial hands full).

        As for China, they are already helping by running the port in Pireaus, and doing some infrastructural work (sorry- I do not have details or reference).

        In my understanding, Russia and China would like to use a common currency for global trade to offset the dollar, but it would be China leading this, since Russia is not able to add much to the mix except its allies and “partners” Iran, Syria, etc. It may be why Russia is trying to court India and Turkey (offsetting Chinese policy angst with India, as well as part of Belt and Road?). All this must be developed before any “rescue” effort can be comfortable done, but much of this is in question due to both Western obstructionism and Russian-Chinese shortcomings and heavy-handedness.

        Not having much background here, I would welcome comment that either helps or strikes down the above arguments.

        1. Yves Smith

          Russia was very careful not to do anything provocative in its meetings during the 2015 negotiations.

          And the idea of Russia taking over was never on. The Greek banks were on massive life support from the ECB and when Greece missed its payment due to not signing the June 30 bailout, the ECB withdrew support and the banking system was effectively shuttered. Importers couldn’t pay for goods save by trucking or flying cash to other countries. Food shortages were starting in the wholesale distribution system. Tourism plunged. Fish were rotting on docks because ship owners couldn’t pay for petrol.

          1. jo6pac

            I wasn’t asking Russia or China to take over but help with food, fuel, and other items until Greece can get back on it’s feet. In dropping the EU throw out Nato and maybe rent the bases to Russia and China.

            July 8, 2019 at 10:53 am

            I understand what you’re saying what happened in 2015 but Russia & China have come a long ways since that time.

            I just feel sad for the Greek people because this was more than likely another goldmen saks story.

            1. Clive

              No-one holds the EU’s actions in lower regard than I. It was one of the two main factors which led me to vote Leave in Brexit. But proposing unworkable solutions such as some sort of Russian or Chinese take-over or substantial ongoing support of the entire Greek economy is a Siren call which leads only to the rocks.

              What you proposed was effectively a Grexit and a simultaneous currency migration. Look at the U.K. (if you can bear it). It is only potentially able to leave the EU by taking an absolutely enormous risk (or, better put, multiple enormous risks). It does not have to redenominate its own currency. It does not have to reenergise its banking system after a black start. No sane country and no sane government would attempt what you’re thinking Greece should have done. The U.K. is only borderline sane attempting leaving the EU (and many would disagree with the “borderline” bit).

              Put it this way, if the U.K. was attempting to also migrate away from the euro as well as Brexit, I would, seriously, no question about it, sell up and cash in every asset I have at any price I could get and buy a one way ticket to anywhere that might take me. Greeks who could do the same would have made the same choices, or at least a fair number of them would. The ones who were left would be there out of necessity, not choosing. They’d, of course, be the poorest and least mobile.

              1. chuck roast

                Thanks, Clive. You’re the first person I know of who has said it. Or maybe a lot of UK citizens have said it, but it has never made it through the corporate media filter.

                “(The EU’s stomping of Greece) was one of the two main factors that led me to vote leave in Brexit.”

                Any of your fellow countrymen with a functioning brain cell should have been saying, “They will be happy to do to us what they have done to the Greeks.”

                1. ChrisPacific

                  Bear in mind that Clive is a NC regular, which means he has a more realistic view than most of what actually happened with the EU and Greece. I suspect that to the average voter, it was about Greece running up a big debt and then trying to weasel out of paying. The fact that the EU was simultaneously requiring debt repayment and imposing an austerity stranglehold that made it impossible to comply (then blaming Greece for the inevitable failure) was not a point that was ever made clearly in mainstream media coverage. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority view in the EU (and the UK) was still that the nightmare scenario that Greece has been forced to endure was for its own good.

                2. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > Thanks, Clive. You’re the first person I know of who has said it.

                  Great comment from Clive, but Yves said more or less the same over and over (“no sane government would attempt what you’re thinking Greece should have done”). To considerable resistance and derision, I might add.

              2. Olga

                Not that I disagree with you, but then the implication is that for a country with euro, there’s no escape from the EU straitjacket. Great… we’ve come a long way from Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, baby. What is a disgruntled European to do?? Seems that only some huge economic/financial crisis or a war could open the way… which is a pretty terrible conclusion.

                1. Procopius

                  The mill of the gods grinds slowly but very finely. I can’t imagine how the technocrats are going to be replaced, but I believe nothing is permanent. Machiavelli was persuaded there is a permanent cycle between monarchy, aristocracy/oligarchy, democracy, rinse and repeat.

            2. Mike

              Jo6pac –

              Some help would not be enough, unfortunately. While food and other short-term charity would be good PR for Putin among some segments within Greece, the total view of Greece would suffer in the eyes of its capitalist, globally-linked establishment. Nothing could be worse for them, and they’d fight it fully. Plus, the opposition from the West would be massive.

              I think Yves & Lambert have properly covered the immense catastrophe that was Greek finance and the brutal punishment that Greece would suffer should she opt out of the EU and have to renegotiate every trade agreement, just as Brexit has promised Britain (an economy much larger than Greece). Punishment from the EU AND THE USA would prevent any real recovery for Greece. Its economy is too deeply tied to the West to pull out of current obligations. The EU did help allow Greek politicians to taffy-pull their accounts into the red, pretty much knowing that such corruption would allow them easy control sooner or later.

              In summary, such an exit from the EU would entail exit from current global economic arrangements (Goldman Sachs being a tiny part), and would necessitate an “International” of numerous countries such as Marx and Lenin desired – something not existing now, just as it did not exist then. To me, the evidence is in the treatment of Latin American leftist governments recently- die separately since you are not together. Stalin made sure that the 3rd International meant all for one, not one for all. Without such “collusion”, opposition is fruitless.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I understand that the Non-Aligned movement is alive and well, with 125 members and 25 observer countries as of 2018.

                No to Russian bases, presumably, would be their position.

            3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Feeling sad for the Greek people…and the Chinese people.

              For the Chinese people, it would be sad to have their leaders listen to, say, Russians whisper “You can take on America,” and believing that “China is number one,” do all the confronting.

              Similarly, for the Greek people, it would be sad to have Chinese military bases there, thus, becoming the frontline between China and NATO. One can disagree with either one, but staying neutral is always an option, besides, being friendly with geograhpic neighbors is a good policy.

    1. John Beech

      I suspect – all – fascists can be defeated at the ballot box with the application of a little sunshine regarding their activities and beliefs. Thing is, this doesn’t change these people. Anyway, I accept there are some with whom I bitterly disagree but don’t let that color my opinion about all of their activities and beliefs. If I did, I rather suspect I wouldn’t like anyone because only God is perfect.

      1. Nervous in Nashville

        > I suspect – all – fascists can be defeated at the ballot box with the application of a little
        > sunshine regarding their activities and beliefs. Thing is, this doesn’t change these people …

        Funny to think that — all — fascists are elected officials. I would like to see a census of all the armed agents of government at all levels*. Your cop on the beat might not be intellectually a fascist but he believes it his duty to follow all orders without question. What is wrong with these people? and Where do they find them (there is obviously no shortage)?

        *Remember the story from a few years ago (Obama time) where the _Social Security Administration_ ordered some absurd amount of small arms ammunition?!?

    1. BigRiver Bandido

      He had me until he said that Sanders was just an old man who should be running the campaign for someone younger. Shows that the writer has their own blind spot.

      1. Carla

        I support Sanders due to the lack of any other even remotely credible candidate. That doesn’t mean he isn’t old. At 10 months Sanders’ junior, Biden is also too old. But here we are.

        (Yes, there’s a lot to like about Tulsi, but she doesn’t have the credibility level with me that Bernie does.)

          1. Carla

            I know she has some strong policy positions. She doesn’t have the record of consistency Bernie does… what 38-year-old possibly could?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Would it gain Sanders any attention and support if he and his campaign promised that ” if nominated, I will ask Gabbard to be my running mate” ?

          Would it gain Gabbard any attention and support if she and her campaign promised that “if
          nominated, I will ask Sanders to be my running mate” ?

          If it would, then they should do this.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Presidential candidate” and “campaign manager” are not interchangeable positions that you can just swap. Different skill sets! I don’t know what Ilargi was thinking, here. One could urge that Sanders be an elder statesman, and stick to endorsements and the campaign trail for the real candidate, but that’s not what he wrote.

    2. Brindle

      He also does not know much about US women’s soccer. In the U.S. there are roughly 10 million girls and young women playing organized soccer, in the top European countries -Germany France, etc that number might be 100,000 or so. The U.S. will have a huge numerical adavantage in replenishing the national team with top athletes for the next cycle or two. Yes, the Euro women’s teams are getting better but it was obvious that the U.S had better athletes and that reality will continue for awhile.

      –“The US women’s soccer team just became World Champions again. That’s the last time in a very long time. Because traditional soccer countries now also have women’s teams.”–

        1. dearieme

          The number of girls won’t matter: it’s the number of ex-boys that will be crucial.

      1. Chris

        We can get philosophical about it, but yeah, the media and the people in power can’t accept that the world has changed and they control much less than they used to. The elected democrats refuse to do anything to help a wide enough population to overcome their electoral difficulties. So they’ll run up the score in California and lose everywhere else if they keep going on this path.

        It’s 2019 and freaking out about 2020 and the election isn’t reasonable. Especially when it comes to polls. But… Team Blue has had 3 years to do something, anything, besides RussiaRussiaRussia and it hasn’t. They’re actively trying to squash AOC and all progressive voices left of Nancy Pelosi’s speakership. I don’t see what’s going to change in 1 year that will unseat Trump.

          1. djrichard

            If we’re going to fight the good fight against evil (i.e. Trump), we need somebody like Nancy in power. Just look at how much she’s gotten under his skin.

            What’s that you say? We should be winning hearts and minds of the Trump voters? I don’t understand.

            1. polecat

              Is your comment sarcasm ?? I mean, really ! ..

              $ Nancy $ is a Ferengi in makeup wearing a red jacket, holding a stock option ! Yes, she has power, all right … the power to screw anyone trying to fight the sincere good fight.

    3. Carolinian

      From your link

      And if I’ve ever seen a dysfunctional, “inept, insecure and incompetent” government, it’s the one that these secret memos were sent to. From Cameron to May to soon Boris Johnson, let get real.

      Or in other words, dear mother England: stop imitating us!

      And there’s this

      And Tulsi Gabbard is being actively suppressed by the DNC, like Bernie Sanders four years ago. All the rest of the field are mere bystanders. It’s the exact same feeling of the GOP ‘contestants’ standing against Trump in 2016. They’re there to fill up space, and to create the illusion there’s an actual conversation or dialogue or contest happening.

      Perhaps the link should be paired with the interesting Brave New Europe article on Brexit and “inverted totalitarianism.” The 20th cent. personality cult version of totalitarianism went down in flames so now we have the system itself as the dictator. Thinking outside the box must be suppressed. All hail the box. This is why our politics increasingly seems like people just going through the motions–at least if that article is correct. Trump himself has been co-opted by “the system” so they have no real reason to replace him.

      1. Oh

        I don’t think they had to co-opt him. He was just playing the voters into thinking that he was against the establishment.

    4. JCC

      Good article and I believe he nailed a good portion of the underlying sentiment of the US voting population right now.

      I had dinner last night with some good friends and the discussion after dinner inevitably turned to US politics. They are both wonderful, hard-working, relatively well-educated, decent people. And they both came up with good, not deranged, reasons why they support Trump.

      Since I was the guest (and don’t particularly like Trump), with a lot more formal education on the History/PolySci front, I had to politely as possible disagree with some of their reasoning. But overall they made some excellent points and held fast to their positions. And they are voters and proud of it. And they are not alone in their thinking.

      The Dems have a hard, poorly organized, fight in front of them, and they are the odds-on favorites to lose, again.

      (By the way, I noticed, as always within these types of articles predicting a Trump win, Raúl Ilargi Meijer had to open the core portion of his essay with the obligatory CYA Lede – “Still, I was going to talk about Trump again. Just to piss off the people some more who -stupidly- accuse me of supporting Trump.”)

      1. jrs

        taking the completely uncontroversial position that the incumbent will win. I’m going to bet it’s going to be hot in summer, and that we’ll have a recession at some point. I’m a real gambler that way!

        Of course anyone running against the incumbent has their work cut out for them. EVERY single president in the last nearly 40 years has served two terms except HW. But Trump win is still an utter disaster and so anything to try to stop it.

        1. JCC

          jrs, I get your point, it’s obvious, and I would dearly like to see Trump gone, too. But despite that, I also do not believe that people like Biden or Harris could, or would, try to improve things like access to medical care, or our on-going war-footing, and most definitely our financial system’s relatively blatant criminality, in any meaningful way at all. And “compromise” (I call it the Loyal Opposition Collusion) will continue to rule the day if either of those two win the opportunity to run for President.

          And all those that support Trump, and surprisingly there are a lot of them, don’t just think Biden or Harris might be worse, they know Biden or Harris (or Warren) will be worse.

          And the Core Dem Party is doing very little to allay that “knowledge”.

          The election is a long ways away, we’ll see what happens. It’s possible the Democrats may wake up and smell the coffee. One can only hope.

      2. neo-realist

        So I guess these so-called wonderful educated people are fine with a President who is a racist (I take it this was an all white fan club?), a president who wants to cut social security, a president who hires agency heads who oppose the mission of the agency, a president who doesn’t know how to negotiate with world leaders, a president who doesn’t do strategy with respect to policy?

        1. JCC

          Oddly enough, one of them mentioned he was fine with Lyndon Johnson, also a known racist.

          No offense, really, but you may want to re-read what I said, relatively well-educated, not wonderfully educated.

          They are most definitely not racist either, one of them is not “white”. They are just normal, hard-working people, both of whom came out of the poorer end of the working class, worked their way through 4 year degrees while raising a couple of children, over much more than 4 years time and were able, through hard work, to pay off all their college debt.

          They are just normal day-to-day nice hard-working people, very responsible child raisers, you might know them as just average good neighbors.

          Which was part of my original point, and Ilargi’s point, too, I think.

          1. anonymous

            Where’s your evidence Johnson was a racist? Cite where this knowledge comes from.

            1. JCC

              Dear anonymous,

              It has been considered bad form on Internet Forums for many years to ask others to do your homework for you. Seriously.

              P.S. Moderators, feel free to delete this if you feel it necessary.

              1. anonymous

                JCC: You smeared President Lyndon Johnson, who appointed to the Supreme Court Thurgood Marshall — a Black man who successfully argued Brown v Board of Educaton before that same Supreme Court and won — as a KNOWN racist.

                Johnson also spent years assiduously cultivating powerful Southern leaders, like Senator Richard Russell, preparing them for the changing times and the day when revolutionary civil rights legislation would be a political Earthquake in this country.

                Seriously? It’s consider bad form on this site to make “stuff” up.

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    It’s also not unheard-of that a [insert bad *ist] on a personal level could do nom-[insert bad *ist] at a policy level.

                    It’s a complex world. People are complex. One gets tired of the yammering essentialism, and the callouts, and the dogpiles.

                  2. anonymous

                    I’m sorry Yves, I didn’t make my argument properly. It’s the Ilargi Trump propaganda piece (which JCC, I feel, is promoting or shilling for) that I take issue with. I don’t think Trump will ever be respected enough by Americans to win in 2020; its the Democrats who will lose it. Ilargi’s chest thumping piece about Trump’s as a ffont runner is false and dangerous. Lyndon Johnson isnt even the issue to me here. I thought JCC was doing a reverse virtue signal, tying Trump’s racism with his dinner guests understanding of Johnson’ s “known” racism. It all seemed so specious. I come to NC because you write in depth about real issues. The Democratic candidate will never lose if issues and policies are properly explained to voters. I don’t know JCC, but I do know many people who have been seriously harmed by this ziegeist, that stated long before Trump. I sincerely wasn’t trying to play moderator. Im sorry, im not a good writer or advocate. I don’t intend this as adhominum, but I don’t believe JCC is honest. But I’ll stop.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Anonymous did not ask you to do anonymous’s own homework. Anonymous asked you to support your own claim with evidence.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        and from the comments below Ilargi’s missive:”…Now I know why South Park isn’t on. They’ve finally found it impossible to exaggerate or represent a world weirder or more illogical than the one we actually see. It’s unsatirizable. ”

        it’s the Chaos as Foreign Policy, come home to roost and rot.

        and yet, in another link( more sad evidence of…competence? duty to care?
        or is it just cynical voter fluffing?
        my fear for a long while is that some republican would pick up one or more of the birdsnests the Dems have dropped on the lawn…like Mike Dewine channeling some Milwaukee Sewer Socialist from the 30’s some months back…
        as for cynicism….wife’s been complaining about my Diogenes attitude for years, but it’s felt like the only sane approach. I get mine from coming to political awareness during the Clinton Era, of course…and being dismissed out of hand by the vast majority of Dems I have known.
        I see absolutely no reason to change this approach, unless whatever AOC, Omar, Bern, etc have proves finally communicable to the Vichy Establishment.

    5. Chris Smith

      Urg. I get a feeling in my gut that he is likely correct on Trump. (But not on soccer – soccer IS our womens’ sport and it has a fairly deep culture in the US unlike men’s soccer. The rest of the word will get better, but we’ll remain a top contender for the foreseeable future.)

    6. GramSci

      Despite his years, Bernie is a younger man than Trump. 500 days is a long time in politics, and after Bernie walks away with Iowa, it will be a new game.

      1. edmondo

        Bernie’s problem is that he isn’t running for president. He’s running to promote his policy positions and (I assume) to get some Democrat who can actually win (in 2024) to adopt these or similar positions.

        There’s no way a 78 year old man could be elected president and expect to live long enough to see his 79th birthday.

        If you all want to give Bernie some money, that’s cool, it’s your money. But you will be sorely disappointed if you actually think he’s going to be the nominee. Personally, I don’t think he’s going to have much of an impact on the Democratic Party and I wish he had taken the more sustainable route and gone 3rd Party.

        1. dcblogger

          Jimmy Carter is 94 and still building houses. Nelson Mandela was in his seventies when he took power. Sanders is doing a great job and most likely will be the nominee. No one else has a national organization.

        2. Grant

          I love you making proclamations without substantiating anything. What does a person’s age have to do with it if the person is mentally and physically competent? Look at how many rallies Bernie does daily, then look at the younger corrupt politicians lazily doing big money fundraisers with large donors. Is it likely that he will win in what is basically a right wing party that has and will stack the decks against him? No, but the odds are stacked against anyone trying to structurally change the system. In this system, the candidate with more money wins over 90%.of the time, but the left is none the less running and increasingly winning. What were the odds of AOC beating Crowley? If you were a betting person in 1960, what would have been the odds of the then small anti-war movement doing much of anything? What were the odds of the people going to and those within the South getting attacked by Bull Connor’s dogs, the citizens and the police (and that with, as Zinn noted, the US government doing next to nothing in protecting those people) in order to challenge the monstrous system there? We are far less likely to put in place the radical changes we need to address or at least mitigate the environmental crisis. Should we just give up? If you or others want to give up, do so, but quietly step out of the way and let others try. If they do fail, you could tell them that you called it. If they don’t fail, you can free load off their work. You win either way.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            Ageism IS IDENTITY POLITICS. And we all hate Idpol right???

        3. ChiGal in Carolina

          I completely agree. As I have mulled over my frustration at his insistence on playing the Old Testament prophet, stuck on exhortation mode and repeating the same damning/inspirational phrases over and over, it finally dawned on me that He does not want to win. He wants to move the Overton window (and he already has).

          This shows extraordinary dedication to the nation I think, to go through the grueling process of campaigning with no thought of basking in the Oval himself, but simply so that those who do will accomplish more of what he believes the country needs than had he not tirelessly raised his voice.

          I will continue to donate my judiciously timed $27 contributions to his campaign in the belief that he is still the most important candidate out there.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Bernie’s problem is that he isn’t running for president. He’s running to promote his policy positions

          Perhaps in 2016, at the start (and by the time Sanders could have figured out there was more daylight in front of him than he thought, there wasn’t time to run to it). Not this year. The people running to promote policy are the Gravel kids, who are still great.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Regarding Sanders, I have a question.

        According to ‘Results of the 2016 Democratic Party Presidential Primaries,” (Wikipedia), he got 43.1% (or 13,206,248) of the total votes.

        If he polls less than that, the possibilities are

        1. He has lost some of them (whatever the differece, assuming the total number of voters are the same, though at, for example, 18%, that difference – 43.1% minus 18% – is not likely to be due to that).

        1A. he has lost them because voters are fickle.
        1B. Voters have found someone they prefer better.

        2. Polls are off, but not just off, but way off. Depending on the numbers, say, 43.1% vs 18% example above, this is not likely due to likely voters vs. register voters, since results are not too different).

    7. Anon

      That Illargi article is pure rant. Everybody has an opinion (and an A-hole). Thow enough stuff at a wall and something may stick. Sometimes I enjoy this kind of stuff when it agrees with me, but I know to recognize when a rant is rant.

      1. ewmayer

        Ah yes, the old “opinions are like A**holes – everybody’s got one” bromide. But most people don’t realize there is a second part to the saying: “…but some are fuller of sh** than others.” :P

    8. neo-realist

      I tend to think that if Bernie does not win, as much as he is trying with stronger outreach to the black community and women, it will be because the DNC will broker it away from him, thanks to Sanders’ hating superdelegates and enough candidates to dilute a sizable majority from Sanders.

      Trump isn’t much older than Sanders, but hides it with hair coloring and Sanders has the energy of a person 10-15 years younger. I believe Ilargi won’t come out and say that DNC repression and voter fear of radicalism will doom Sanders. I think he’s copping out on the age excuse like many others to hide other issues.

  3. toshiro_mifune

    Borrowing against art – So they’re finally coming out and admitting that these are just financial assets to them.

    1. anonymous

      To paraphrase a remark by Adrienne Rich: that some of the greatest works of art in the 20th Century have been poems, but that no one had ever paid 100 million dollars for one.

    2. Lee

      For a novel in which paintings serve as collateral for underworld deals see Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.

        1. chuck roast

          Well, brighten up your day and move on to “Caveat Emptor” by Ken Perenyi. A man who truly knows how to goof on the cognoscenti.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Suggests the question — what is art? All too often the quality of art and artists is judged by the prices paid by those whose aesthetic sensibilities are at best questionable. Even museums value art based on its expected draw in ticket sales. Has art become what most appeals to those who can extract the greatest income for themselves or what most appeals to the largest crowds of well-paying visitors?

      1. Wukchumni

        It isn’t difficult to reproduce digitally most any painting so that most people couldn’t tell the difference from 10 feet away, at a cost that’s basically a trifle.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          But there is cachet in having a Gachet & the 82 million paid is likely a trifle for whoever bought it. I am not sure if it is the one that is stored in a small locked vault, but kind of ironic if it is, as it was painted within the confines of Van Gogh’s small cell at the asylum where his friend the doctor was treating him.

          I doubt the pair would be impressed if they could know, but they might question the definition of insanity.

      2. a different chris

        And the whole “art” thing — art is not just some paint slapped on a canvas, likely by some nutjob between bouts of self mutilation. Art is music, all types. Art is a bridge that nestles into the scenery. Art is the Lionel Trains (and their competitors) of the 20’s.

        In fact as you can probably tell, I think paintings are near the bottom of the “art” barrel. I’m interested in those that were contemporary paintings of historical figures, but otherwise meh.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Art relates to creativity.

        We are all creative, and we can all live creatively, in all facets of life – even taking out the garbage can be done creatively.

        “You’re the most important artist in your life.”

  4. Svante

    Nancy Pelosi Screams at Cloud: Quite aside from this being the dead eyed Kleptocrat’s turn at appropriately-timed senile-dementia, with their scores of millions of dazed & fahklempt yuppie boomers trying to figure how to get into their Chinese Volvos & which part of their pussy hat faces front? We’ve basically lost any big city daily journalists, fired from lefty blogs; during Mark Penn, David Brock’s Correct the Record truth massacre?

  5. Darius

    Regarding Democrats needing to grow a spine, I have friends who are firm believers in the desirability of bipartisanship. The idea, for example, of actually beating the Republicans, rather than coming to agreement with them, is anathema and just lacks decorum.

    I had dinner with a guy who thought Americans will go for Pete Buttigieg’s sincerity. I said where is Mayor Pete on Medicare for All or breaking up Amazon. He didn’t get the question.

    So, while big money may be at the root of the American political crisis, the professional class that is the Democrats’ base, has a fundamental cultural problem in my view.

    1. Brindle

      It’s like if you had a group of known burglars in your community and you compromise with them so that they can only break into your home on tuesdays and thursdays and only take items from your living room.

      1. MichaelSF

        I use the example of one side wanting to stab you with an 8″ long blade, and the other side wants to compromise so they only get to stab you with a 4″ blade.

    2. Pat

      Probably not soon enough, but watch that professional class Democrat slowly come to the realization that their position is just as tenuous as the people who have already been chewed up by our current system. As they find themselves making less, have fewer benefits, no bonuses, and paying a larger share of their dwindling income to taxes then the C suite and ownership class, they will get there. The big medical bill that isn’t covered, the looming lay offs for people on!y slightly older, their children continuing to live at home as they compete for and spend years as unpaid or barely paid interns…And so on,it will all grate. There is a reason why Medicare for All is even being talked about. Too many of the professional class now have garbage employer based insurance. The rentiers have had to expand their victim base. And it is happening across almost every aspect of life.

      If you blame someone or some group for this AND then never counter them even when you are in power, and the number of people suffering from the policies continue to grow…Well…that is the reason I say that guy will change his tune in time.

      Eventually everyone gets that bipartisanship is all about continuing the status quo except those who like the status quo.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        this is clear from my ongoing fieldstudy of the people around me….the still-comfortable are heavily involved in local dem/rep parties, are still doctrinaire and dogmatic…as if nothing has fundamentally changed since the 80’s(for them, it really hasn’t).
        those who have fallen from being comfortable are freaking out(often very quietly, privately)…not having a narrative framework for their new, precarious reality.
        in my almost random “interviews” with all and sundry, the already precarious…if they’re interested/aware of politics(rather, “political economy”), at all…readily take up the New New Dealism.
        the newly precarious are slower to go there….inertia in clinging to the dem/rep narrative…but they’re coming around.
        especially in and around the hospital…the few i encounter who have insurance are terrified over what won’t be covered…as well as exorbitant copays/deductables.
        precarity is so new and chaotic to them.
        if only there was some large, organised group that could speak to these newly precarious folks….hand them a narrative that didn’t include hating on POC’s/Immigrants/or themselves(the Poor)….such a group could win the nation in a landslide.

        1. nycTerrierist

          “if only there was some large, organised group that could speak to these newly precarious folks….hand them a narrative that didn’t include hating on POC’s/Immigrants/or themselves(the Poor)….such a group could win the nation in a landslide.”

          isn’t this what Bernie Sanders has been doing?

        2. BlueMoose

          Stiil comfortable. Reminds me of something I posted elsewhere recently along the same lines. It is all about trying to maintain comfort and convienence. If fixing anything involves less of either for the still-comfortable class it is not going to happen. My Comment elsewhere:

          Depending on what rung you currently occupy on the socio-economic ladder, the increase you experience in discomfort and inconvenience will vary in the years ahead. Of course some have already fallen off the ladder. They don’t need to concern themselves with either in the conventional sense.

          Those in the lower income brackets will experience more of both while those still in upper middle class will still be able to maintain some level of comfort but will start to notice the inconvenience.

          Those at the top will see neither. They pay rather well for others to take care of anything that would be inconvenient. In other words, it will be a long steady grind punctuated by major incidents that will make life immediately more uncomfotable and inconvenient for those directly involved.

    3. Svante

      “Spine,” they’ve no need for? Their 10% “creative class” craven constituency are doing just fine under Trump. When an affluent white working class voted Reagan in and promptly lost their union wages, benefits, equity, homes, families… I assume, these silly cocaine crusted yuppie brats took note? I’ve never seen these lizards as being on our side, at all? They’re the Resistance™, right? We’re what’s always getting in their way to Emerald City

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that news story finally radicalised my wife….after all these years of my prep work,lol.
        she was irate when it came onto her feed.
        now, she’s Bernie or bust.
        better late than never.
        all the million little datapoints i’ve peppered her with for 20 years suddenly gelled into Reality….we’re screwed…on purpose…and the Dems are even worse than the Reps, because they’re insidious.
        from the naked grift built into texas’ privatised teacher certification, to the illegality of debt consolidation for medical bills to the weirdness of realising that the $5k per year raise that Texas GOP just gave teachers will actually cost us $10K per year(due to medicaid and Big Insurance being dysfunctionally evil)…American Deathshead SS on the border…and even her teacher’s aide mother being still pro-Hillary…
        She(a Mexican American) got called out as a racist by some “progressive” white chick on FB the other day,lol.
        it’s gone to hell, and yet “everything’s fine—get your Masters and you, too can be a happy shopper…”
        ran across this:

        from which i extract this:” A ruling elite may survive a reputation for imperial aloofness; indeed, under the right circumstances a reputation for disinterested cruelty may even enhance an impression of impregnability and social superiority. What is harder to weather is a popular conviction that the ancient regime is not only narrow-mindedly selfish, disingenuously conflating its own well-being with society’s, but foolish, deluded, frail, and inept.”

        the crisis of legitimacy is growing in the weeds…out of sight of the Maddows of the world.
        I just wish it could have happened when i was a little younger and less painful.
        (regardless, i stand by my vow to cook and eat anyone who tries to take my little 20 acre hermit kingdom(so far, only sand mining companies loom))

        1. Svante

          I’d lived much of my life with exceedingly nerdy, sardonic African American women. Then, a German shrink, who’s Bund Deutscher Mädel mom used to steal silk parachutes from Mainz’s railyards being bombed by Lancasters. So, watching my abysmally punk era Ashkenazi partner start to piece together what I’d learned from my crazy newspaper mom before puberty, and the varied perspectives of friends and colleagues… has been interesting, as of late? Well before Comcast & Fox forked my neo-Confederate Dominionist coworkers to the sharks, we’d postulated what would ensue and joked about how liberal Yuppies could be played; over 63 million pissed-off peckerwoods, y’know, armed and desperate. Or some Lord Humongous style dic-tater with 6,900 thermonuclear warheads and ravening oathkeeper cops?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “Spine,” they’ve no need for? Their 10% “creative class” craven constituency are doing just fine under Trump. When an affluent white working class voted Reagan in and promptly lost their union wages, benefits, equity, homes, families… I assume, these silly cocaine crusted yuppie brats took note?

        If we could focus just a bit more on class (“creative class”) and a lot less on class markers (“cocaine crusted yuppie brats”) I for one would be grateful. I know the class marker style of invective is easy and fun to write, but I think it’s best in small doses.

    4. lordkoos

      Back in the early 2000s, being pissed off over the bipartisan support of Cheney’s war with Iran, I ran a spoof ebay auction for the spine of the Democratic party, complete with an anatomical graphic of a human spine. I listed it as in poor condition, not recently used, uncertain if it is working, etc. I actually got some hate messages over it, before ebay took it off.

    5. dk

      There’s another take which is that it’s not a matter of “spine” at all, that it’s meanness, in both senses of the word (stingy, cruel). I think younger folks see it that way, I do myself. Working as a data guy on national/statewide Dem campaigns and looking at the numbers, I kept asking, “Don’t you people want to win? We can win!!” and they’d be like, “Well we can’t afford all that” or “The donors won’t support [some less than full-blown GOP position].” Which begs the question what are they donating for in the first place, brownie points?

      Anand Giridharadas (I did not cut and paste that) goes further to call it a kind of blindness, and a generational one. I’m not sure if that’s too generous (granting some helplessness as opposed to nastiness) or chillingly accurate (as in just unselfconsciously heartless, and also stupid):

      What we see in Biden and Pelosi is not malice. It’s being from an age in which it was normal not to see, truly see, all kinds of people. And when public life is dominated by people who can’t see who the country is becoming, this is what you hear.

      That’s part of a thread where he lays it out, then ends lamely with “these people deserve representation too” when IMO the point is should they be party (or Congressional) leaders?

      1. Oh

        Giridharadas rubs elbows with the elite at the Aspen Institute and other venues. He admits it in his book. He can ill afford to land any direct hits on Biden, Pelosi or the elites that listen to them. He knows the score but he has to be tactful in making his points.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Pelosi is nasty, vicious and evil. She has supported Forcey-Free-Trade against America for decades. She took impeachment “off the table” because she supported Vice President Cheney and president bush and wanted to keep them in office AND IN POWER till the very last day. Pelosi is a Cheney Democrat.

  6. BigRiver Bandido

    Re: “Britain’s man in the US says Trump is ‘inept'”.

    This reminds me of the money quote from a 1903 article in the Chicago Daily-American:

    If God has truly forsaken Chicago, then He has never even visited Davenport, Iowa.

    Pretty rich for a Chicago paper.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “‘Gross Violation of Logic and Sense’: Open Letter From Nearly 140 Scholars Implores SF School Board Not to Destroy Historic Mural”

    I am beginning to wonder if the whole attempt to destroy this artwork is in fact caused by racism. I remember Michael Moore writing in his book how he went to L.A., conducted his business, and flew out again and it was only later that he realized that he hardly saw a black person. It was like they were pushed aside so that people of a lighter persuasion did not feel ‘uncomfortable’. Maybe the truth shown in those panels how George Washington did own slaves and the expansion west was done over the bodies of native Americans is just too confronting to look at by S.F.’s elite. So they seek to hide or eradicate anything that makes them feel ‘uncomfortable’, take the blue pill and call it being woke.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      LA, despite being founded by free blacks doesn’t have a large African American population relative to its size. Much of the original black population moved to the Sacramento area, and then after the LA riots, there was more migration out.

      My suspicion is the destruction of the mural is about protecting myths about how wealth is “earned.”

    2. Craig H.

      It’s a feeding frenzy. Political correctness in 2019 requires the destruction of monuments. We don’t have any Confederate monuments to wreck in CA so we have to get creative and look around for the closest example and whack that.

      This is what is called creative thinking in your local business school.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In “List of Monuments and Memorials to Christopher Columbus” in Wikipedia, we can read where they are in the US (and other countries).

          Some have been removed and some destroyed or defaced.

          And then, there is the Thanksgiving holiday.

      1. Skip Intro

        I think it is a spontaneous emergence of a concrete manifestation of the deployment of Identity Politics to erase class from consciousness and political dialogue. The participants are all completely unaware, as one would expect.

    3. UserFriendly

      The first time that mural came up there was a great convo on historical revisionism that I didn’t see till too late. I highly recommend this video on the treatment of Japan vs Germany post WWII.

    4. JBird4049

      So they seek to hide or eradicate anything that makes them feel ‘uncomfortable’, take the blue pill and call it being woke.

      So they seek to eradicate history I take it. War, genocide, and slavery is one heck of a large portion of American history.

      The last and greatest single deliberate and nearly successful mass genocide in American history was in California during the Gold Rush as over a hundred thousand Californian natives were slaughtered often hunted like game animals. Death on that scale of Native Americans had always previously been by disease.

      I am being somewhat obsessed over this thing; I just cannot understand why supposedly educated, intelligent people would think that eradicating knowledge in a different form of book burning is a good thing or that they would not realize what people will think of it either now or in the future.

      I always remember Heidelberg University as the place of Nazi book burnings

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe it doesn’t matter “why”. Maybe there isn’t even time to figure it out. Maybe there is still just enough time to torture and terrorise the whole San Francisco economy with boycotts and digital attacks and so forth to make the San Francisco elite put their School Board and School District leadership back in its cage and save the mural from those anti-culture anti-civilization arsonist vandals.

  8. Charles Leseau

    Why the hell would any enabler of Jeffrey Epstein be worried?

    My oh-so-difficult-to-make prediction: He’ll get another softball sentence & fine at most. And any “prison” sentence will be nothing of the sort, just like the last time.

    Look at Robert Durst, for crying out loud. They just keep kicking his trial down the road, down and down, keep kicking it and let the media ignore it long enough, and then it’s “Robert who?” in half a year, and I doubt that maniac will ever see the inside of a cell by the time he’s dead. And Durst is just a real estate mogul, not some ultra-connected freak like Epstein.

    The rich have their own laws.

    1. Carolinian

      “only the little people pay taxes” –Leona Helsmsley

      But “me too” is much more of a thing now so perhaps latest arrest will lead to a different result.

      1. Knative

        I think Epstein will probably get a couple years in prison like Bill Cosby, but I doubt he rats out anyone. When he gets out of prison, he can hit them up for money and help.

        I don’t think that Weinstein guy is going to prison tho.

      2. Yves Smith

        You seem to forget that Leona went to prison….for tax evasion. The quote you cited came from her housekeeper, quoting Leona, and was part of the evidence against Leona at trial.

    2. anon y'mouse

      Durst is old, and everyone knows he is guilty.

      they are just waiting for him to die. how many years will he actually have, and in what kind of prison anyway?

      he has gone his whole life getting away with it. that can’t be done-over. and that was indeed partially due to his wealth. although there are many similar happenings where “justice” is not brought about until so many years later that only those directly involved remember what happened. if you read about crime, you know that there are a great many murderers walking among us, many disappeared persons who are likely dead by their hand. and, because of money, also the reverse seems to be true, sadly: many innocents in jail rotting, or those whose “crimes” are in the area of “temporarily socially sanctioned activity” (we all know it is JIm Crow by another name, but yeah…).

      we all pay the piper in the end, regardless of how guilty or innocent we have been.

  9. Cal2

    As a San Franciscan, I’m not surprised by the kneejerk reactions of the school board, mostly outsiders, the decades old pimple head of reactionary ideology.

    Here’s a bio of a few typical politicized school board members:
    Leland Yee, from Taishan, Guangdong Province, China. He’s in prison.
    Keith Jackson, in prison:

    Arlene Ackerman named arrived from D.C. in mid-2000 and began cleaning up the financial affairs of a school district marred by fiscal scandal under her predecessor Bill Rojas [New York City]. Her efforts resulted in arrests of alleged perpetrators who had been looting school-district coffers.”

    Seven years of her, then she left for Philadelphia.

    Same thing with the current police chief, an outsider, imported to further political goals, not law enforcement. etc.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Britain’s man in the US says Trump is ‘inept’: Leaked secret cables from ambassador say the President is ‘uniquely dysfunctional and his career could end in disgrace’ ”

    I bet that these secret cables did not just “come out”. Somebody leaked them and I bet that it was just not some lowly clerk. This sounds like that it was the work of the secret service of either the UK and/or the US for some kind of political purpose. Remember, this did not appear on Wikileaks but was covered in the regular newspapers. So the question remains – who benefits?

    1. barefoot charley

      Gee, could Five Eyes have read those cables? Ya think? Could the Blob be so low as to leak classified documents? Just kidding.

      For all its excellent literary qualities, the trans-pond Blob doesn’t seem to get that Trump can’t be embarrassed, so further inflaming its Trump-deranged base is just the Establishment equivalent of a Trump rally like the one well described in the memos. Just more echoes in a silo.

    2. dearieme

      Could it just be that someone very much wants the Washington job now rather than wait for Sir Kim to retire in a few months time? Could it be a trivial stabbing?

      You have to remember that the UK civil service was substantially, and perhaps irreversibly, corrupted by Toni Blair. The sort of people being recruited and promoted presumably see themselves as being in Blair’s image. So it wouldn’t be surprising to me if senior diplomats were misbehaving like Blairites.

      May has been an appalling PM, Cameron I never warmed to, Brown had been ruined by frustrated ambition. But this affair smacks of Blair to me – sleazy, low, dishonest.

      1. dearieme

        Here’s a chap who knows more than me. He seems to agree on two points: (i) it was a trivial stabbing, and (ii) it all goes back to Blairismo and the sorts of horrible people who thrived under it.

        Kim Darroch is a rude and aggressive person, who is not pleasant at all to his subordinates. He rose to prominence within the FCO under New Labour at a time when right wing, pro-Israel foreign policy views and support for the Iraq War were important assets to career progress, as was the adoption of a strange “laddish” culture led from No. 10 by Alastair Campbell, involving swearing, football shirts and pretending to be working class (Darroch was privately educated). Macho management was suddenly the thing.

        At a time when news management was the be all and end all for the Blair administration, Darroch was in charge of the FCO’s Media Department. I remember being astonished when, down the telephone, he called me “fucking stupid” for disagreeing with him on some minor policy matter. I had simply never come across that kind of aggression in the FCO before. People who worked directly for him had to put up with this kind of thing all the time.

        Most senior ambassadors used to have interests like Chinese literature and Shostakovitch. Darroch’s are squash and sailing. He is a bull of a man. In my view, the most likely source of the leaks is a former subordinate taking revenge for years of bullying, or a present one trying to get rid of an unpleasant boss.

    3. David

      It’s hard to tell from the story, but probably what happened is that somebody copied a bunch of documents collected in an official file and leaked them. There can be all kinds of explanations and possible motives. Some at least were routine diplomatic telegrams which would have been seen by hundreds of people in London and in Embassies around the world. Remember that by convention a telegram from an Embassy is always signed in the name of the Ambassador (or in his absence the senior diplomat present) irrespective of who has written the text. In spite of the indiscriminate use of the word “secret”, most of these documents would not have been very highly classified, and almost anyone could have leaked them, for almost any reason.

  11. UserFriendly

    Really? We are going to keep linking to Musk fanboy Jeff McMahon who wouldn’t know a fact if it came over and bit him. By assertion Nuclear sells for 0.12$ kwh. And there are 139 countries that could transition to 100 percent renewables today. No one serious thinks most countries can get past 80%. Goodnight facts. Goodnight logic. Goodnight reason.

    He might even be right about this article, stopped clocks style, but still.

  12. UserFriendly

    Nuclear Power, Once Seen as Impervious to Climate Change, Threatened by Heat Waves

    Try Nuclear Power didn’t really factor climate change in when they got their operating licenses in the 70’s. and red tape means that if they are going to output water 10 degrees warmer than they imagined they would need to on their license they need to jump through hoops to make sure they aren’t killing fish.

    1. Cal2

      And thanks to the sole decision of Governor Newsom, the Diablo Canyon reactors, which are built on top of several earthquake faults, have had their life extended another 6 years.

      You like the way PG&E runs their gas pipelines and maintains their power lines?
      You’ll love how they mismanage nukes:

      “The Newsom plan would presume the utilities to be innocent if they have met the higher safety standards to be imposed and otherwise acted prudently, thus allowing damage claims to be shifted from stockholders to ratepayers.”

      1. UserFriendly

        Yeah, lets just shut down the cooling instead of the reactors. You are thick.
        People killed by every single nuclear power plant in the us since they were built: ZERO.
        Even when you add all the people killed worldwide by nuclear power, including the people who died from an irrational fear of nuclear while they needlessly evacuated fukushima it is still less deadly than falls installing solar and PV. (per energy generated).

        We could have a fukushima every year and it would still kill less people than the nat gas that will replace diablo canyon and that doesn’t even count climate change.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > We could have a fukushima every year and it would still kill less people than the nat gas that will replace diablo canyon and that doesn’t even count climate change

          Is that really true, though? What if the meltdown at Fukushima had exploded and the wind was blowing toward Tokyo? (I take it that’s a real possibility; I’m not a nuclear expert.)

          1. UserFriendly

            So the thing about radiation is that there is already so much of it in the natural background that our bodies have specifically adapted ways to deal with it. If we hadn’t developed methods to do so we wouldn’t be here. Conversely, PM 2.5 that gets released from burning fossil fuels is something we have had less time to adapt to. Obviously our natural defense to radiation isn’t unlimited, but it explains why low doses that the broader population near fukushima were exposed to were not expected to have any effect. Even the hundred something plant workers who received an average of 10mSv (about the same as a CT scan) aren’t expected to have any effects. The handful of workers who received a 100 mSV dose are expected to have 1.3% greater chance of getting cancer compared to the baseline 35% of the japanese public who would get cancer without the extra exposure, the additional 1.3% is just noise. The UN report on Fukushima is a great resource on this.

            The main problems come from specific radionuclides that get absorbed in the body and can cause thyroid cancer (one of the least lethal cancers). Could I imagine a worst case scenario where those radionuclides hit a population center in the worst way possible? Yeah, sure. But I certainly wouldn’t call it likely and even if it did it wouldn’t be the nightmare scenario people imagine. It would just be more people getting some kinds of cancer, probably on par with the pm2.5 from nat gas/coal plants that kill thousands already and no one seems to notice much less care about.

      2. Olga

        I doubt it was up to Newsom; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would be the one to approve any extensions. The agency has extended permits for quite a few plants in the last few years (not without controversy in some cases, as one may imagine).

        1. Cal2

          State Lands Commission. He was the chairman.
          His decision could have shut it down early as they control the use of cooling water. Instead, being the corporate whore he is, to be fair, all California governors are for PG&E.

          User Friendly, only 93,000 killed in Chernobyl alone. Plus the “offical” count of 30 by the commies.

          1. UserFriendly

            The UN says 200* at most from Chernobyl. Which is the scientific consensus. But sure go argue that the scientific consensus is wrong and I’ll file you under just as ignorant as climate change denialists.

            *= deaths caused by the meltdown, radiation, and resulting cancers. There were plenty of irrational fear of radiation deaths too.

            Fact: They kept generating power at Chernobyl until 2000.

  13. dearieme

    The University of Alaska business: it all seems to be in aid of a citizen’s basic income: to increase the amount of oil-revenue dividends the state pays each Alaska resident, to about $3,000 a year

    So obviously it will be supported by NakCap worthies.

    1. a different chris

      Would you like to clarify that statement? Warning: I am not in a good mood.

      1. anonymous

        It’s ok Chris, you’ve had two of the best comments today: an important one on criminal justice and the other on unimportant art that’s priced like pharmaceutical patents. Take the rest of the day off. ( I’ve been in a bad mood for 20 years.)

    2. tegnost

      Basic Income is not a worthy concept…Also, in the case of Alaska, it’s a payment of royalties, or better “a universal cash transfer program” based on invested oil revenue and bears at most a shadow of resemblance to said unworthy concept.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe not a few people here are open to the idea of a mixture of JG and basic income.

        So, the latter is not completely unworthy.

        Standing alone, it has been criticized as not enough (and when combined with replacing existing money many currently receive). That relates, I believe, to how the concept is implemented, and not the concept itself. On that score, the criticism can be addressed, with something akin to the Powell Doctrine – you have to go in with sufficient force, or strength. In this case, with enough income, not just $1,000 a month, but whatever it takes to do the job.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If the money belongs to the people in the first place.

            Then, it’s not free from someone else. It’s yours, mine and ours.

        1. jrs

          the criticism of not enough is kind of odd, as I’m not sure many people are getting much more from social security. Apparently the average Social Security benefit was $1,461 per month in January 2019.

          It is not of course really adequate either but people are making a go of it and sometimes not making it. It’s the reality of the poverty almost EVERYONE is going to end up in if they live long enough (and remember that’s the average, some get less). Sure save otherwise if you can but it can get wiped out.

          1. Wukchumni

            I put $XXX,XXX.xx into my SS ‘entitlement’.

            How much did any Alaskans put into their ‘royalty’?

            1. tegnost

              Their right to protest extraction? You let us raze the environment and we’ll give you some of the money…

  14. BlueMoose

    Regarding: Leave your shoes at the door.

    This was a big adjustment for me moving from the US to Poland. It was just customary and expected that you would remove your shoes before coming into the main part of the house. They also normally provide slippers for you. Some people bring their own. Is this popular outside of the US? I could imagine the Japanese would do the same. Perhaps it is only in the US where people walk from the street into their house with their shoes on? It seems like a good idea and I had no problems with it.

    1. Carolinian

      We believe that having a little feces inside your house builds character. Plus Americans are really into vacuum cleaners. It’s the corded appliance that never gets old.

    2. Dan

      Not just shoes:

      Imagine someone sits on a bench where some scabies, lice or flea covered tramp slept.
      Then they come into your house and sit on your couch where you, the dog or your kids lie down.

      That’s why all our guest furniture is hard wood and we have booties for guests.
      “For the white rugs”, is the face saving excuse.

    3. anon y'mouse

      indian people also leave the shoes at the stoop.

      in ancient ireland, the first thing they seemed to offer to guests was a place with water to wash the feet. i believe this is true in Greece as well.

      when will gloves come back? i am still waiting for the return of the hat, even though my bigol’empty head never looks right in them.

      1. Wukchumni

        JFK is usually given the title of being the hat killer, but i’d say widespread air conditioning was more of a factor in their demise.

        Hats keep your noggin cool…

        1. Carolinian

          Just no hat fad for women. Those were weird. At one point entire bird species were almost wiped out in order to provide feathers for women’s hats. Some hats had entire birds on them.

          Of course the Royals will still keep their hats as part of their retro appeal.

          1. Wukchumni

            Or how about that wearing a dead mink stole around your neck, pretty bold fashion statement.

      2. anonymous

        When the Jesuits first showed up in Ireland they complained back to their superiors that it was the women who were in charge at all social gatherings and that their breasts were uncorseted and all too visible bouncing around.

        1. Oregoncharles

          There are multiple reports that Celtic women had a much higher status than, say, Roman. The same seems to have been true of the Vikings.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’m reminded of the stories of Magdalene washing and annointing the feet of Jesus, and of him washing those of his discicples.

        Was that common then?

        As for gloves, hand shakes can possibly spread a number of microbial pathogens, and fist bumps may be a nice replacement, or maybe perhaps with the namaste greeting.

        Moreover, there is this (from Handshake, Wikipedia):

        In June 2016, an Algerian woman married to a Frenchman took part in a naturalization ceremony (cérémonie d’accueil dans la citoyenneté française[27]) in the Département where the couple lives. She refused to give a handshake to the prefect and to a local representative and claimed her religious faith would ban her from touching foreign men. Thereupon, she did not receive the French nationality. On 20 April 2017, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve signed a decree approving that decision.[28] The Algerian woman filed a suit. On 11 April 2018, the Conseil d’État approved the decree.[29]

      4. Oregoncharles

        There are people who don’t know me without a hat, because I’m bald, I work outside, and my mother had multiple precancerous lesions taken off of her face.

        I disagree with Wuk: hats don’t keep you any cooler, but they do prevent sunburn and subsequent cancers. I wear soft hats with wide brims, to protect my neck. They’re usually sold for fishing. “Rednecks” are called that because they wear t-shirts and ball caps, so the back of their neck sunburns. A good reason for turning the visor backwards.

        1. Wukchumni

          I highly recommend a Aussie Breezer style hat by Henschel, and made in the USA as an added bonus. They have a wonderful line of headgear~

          It allows the air to flow through to your head keeping me cool and allowing sweat to evaporate, and you’ll never see me not wearing one in the High Sierra.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Funny that. They remind me of hats that I saw men wearing in old black-and-white films from the 1930s and 1940s set in the American south-west.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Clever, but I can’t tolerate the stiff headband – just a personal peculiarity. I wear soft cotton hats, or knit caps in the winter.

        2. Democrita

          I read recently that redneck actually originated in a Midwestern labor movement whose members wore red kerchiefshirt around their necks.

          I was fascinated that the meaning had evolved to almost a kind of polar opposite!

    4. Spring Texan

      Well I’ll be very honest and say I *like* our American system of wearing shoes in the house. It’s far more comfortable and far less fussy.

      I kind of cringe when servicemen come to my house and put on those stupid white booties.

      I also am now OLD and need shoes that provide support. Even my slippers are clogs with hard, structured, expensive soles. It’s not good for me or my feet to have to take my shoes off. (though I do if requested, but then am more reluctant to visit that house).

      I’m sure it is cleaner not to wear shoes in the house, just like it’s cleaner not to have dogs in the house. But it’s cheerier, more relaxed, and more comfortable to have both in the house, in my opinion!

      1. BlueMoose

        I kind of agree, that is why I have a pair of comfortable indoor shoes that never get to venture outside. I’m not a big fan of slippers. The really bad shoes never even make it into the front foyer. My office shoes do, but then I don the acceptable and comfortable indoor only pair.

        Your point about dogs also makes it mostly a moot point. We have 6 and I love letting them in the house. They make me happy. Most of the time when we have guests, we tell them not to bother with the shoe ritual because this is a ‘doggy’ house. But I do agree with the overall idea about leaving shoes outside.

      2. lordkoos

        I do the same, I just switch to a pair of designated indoor shoes when I come in. It’s less hassle than the extra cleaning IMO.

        I’d guess that a majority of people in the world take off their shoes at home, most of Asia, India, etc.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In ancient China, people sat on the floor, covered with floor mats. That tradition can still be found in Japan with the tatami floor.

          Things like chairs did not arrive in China, from Central Asia, likely, until after the Han dynasty.

    5. Xihuitl

      In France you are not allowed to wear your shoes inside the changing rooms of the many public pools. Someone has a job taking care of your shoes and clothes.

      I am still appalled that this is not required in the US, that there is no sense of how unsanitary it is to be walking barefoot through wet showers and changing areas where others have been walking with their filthy street shoes.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were at a commercial hot spring somewhere in France around 20 years ago, and they had a doctor & nurse there checking your blood pressure before you were allowed to go in. I thought it was a bit much.

  15. Cuibono

    Leave shoes at door?
    Nice to see one more instance of science catching up to culture…

      1. polecat

        Ok, I can see an anti-dog box .. kind of like those bear lockers placed in some state parks, that you store your camp food and other essentials in, so it’s still there when you need it …

    1. polecat

      It’s kind of humorous, in that when we make a offer to a person to come inside our humble abode, it is always with the understanding that they remove their footwear BEFORE stepping onto the carpet. We know who our friends are … by whether they submit, or turn around and go on their merry way. I find that it’s really nice having a floor that doesn’t have the surface look of, say, a supermarket parking lot after a big holiday !

  16. Wukchumni

    It was 115 degrees in Alaska the other day, when does Mother Nature hit us with a 128 in the lower 48?

    Never been a better time to be troglodyte, you’ll find me in the mouth of some cave here putting on a sweater in the constant 55 degree atmosphere within, when it boils down to the Hades and the Hades not.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do you have to share the cave with bears?

      Do they tolerate heat better than chimps (the third chimp kind)?

      1. Wukchumni

        Ursa Minor Cave is part of Sequoia National Park, a naturally formed system of caves in California’s Sierra Nevada. The cave was discovered in August 2006 by four cave explorers from the Cave Research Foundation who found a softball-sized hole on a cliff face in the mountains. After widening the hole to allow for human entry, the explorers discovered one of the most spectacular caves in the western United States. The cave has since been named “Ursa Minor,” because of the large bear skeleton found in the cave.

        1. Synapsid


          Do you know if anyone is trying to find out how the bear got into the cave?

          1. Wukchumni

            I talked to one of the cavers that found said hole in the ground, and the skeleton of the bear had been there for time immemorial.

      2. Wukchumni


        What would you do if it was 132 in L.A. and the grid went down on account of too much use of ac units, etc. and gas stations weren’t dispensing and all you had was what was in the tank of your car?


        On account of living surrounded by concrete & asphalt, the real temp is closer to 140

  17. Wukchumni

    Southern California on high earthquake alert, bringing anxiety and preparation LA Times
    If a big shallow quake were to hit SoCal, it might wreck the imported water delivery system, and seeing as LA had enough locally sourced freshwater to supply just 100,000 in 1900, could get messy in a way few are prepared for.

  18. milesc

    RE: Americans Shocked to Find their Rights Literally Vanish at U.S. Airports

    This must surely change for US citizens. It’s so obviously absurd.

    1. Inode_buddha

      You should see what happens at the border. I live within walking distance of the Canadian border, and an international airport… every year some yahoo from Texas or somewhere tries to go across the border with a pistol or something and gets detained for a few days while the lawyers sort it out. Of course they spend a lot of time yelling about their “rights”. HINT: You have none at an international border. Also, the guards have no sense of humor — they make the TSA look like amateurs.

      1. Olga

        You’re right about the amateurs, but the article was not about people trying to carry guns across. Just normal folk going about their business… and who are not under arrest. The comment is hardly applicable.

    2. Monty

      “Folks, I hate to spoil your fun but-there’s no such thing as rights, okay? They’re imaginary. We made them up! Like the Boogie Man… the Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Mother Goose, s**t like that. Rights are an idea, they’re just imaginary, they are a cute idea, cute… but that’s all, cute, and fictional.”

      “And rights aren’t rights if someone can take ’em away. They’re privileges, that’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter and shorter…”

  19. Balakirev

    “Conservative Indiana Chooses Renewables Over Gas As It Retires Coal Early”

    The “conservative = loves them some fossil fuels” meme should be staked through its heart. A commitment to renewable fuels is no shock at all to anybody who’s driven through Indiana, much less lives there. Enormous wind and solar farms have occupied a great deal of land for years.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, I’ve seen them. A big one near the airport.

      Sometimes, “conservative” means “actually trying to conserve something.” And sometimes, market forces are actually on our side.

    2. Olga

      In 1997, it was southern Texans, who first deemed renewables preferable to coal, gas, and nuclear. It was a mild shock to the system back then…

  20. ChiGal in Carolina

    the NYRB long read on India as poster child for democracy gone bad posits that Modi, and Indira Gandhi’s Emergency before that, are actually down to flaws in its Constitution from the get go and the impossibility of having a true democracy with rampant inequality.

    several excerpts, and my thoughts on how this applies to us as well:

    “Such a global breakdown calls for a more substantive definition of democracy and an acknowledgment that, as Prakash writes, “democracy is not just a matter of electing governments and holding elections” and that it is, as Ambedkar believed, “not just procedures but a value, a daily exercise of equality of human beings.” ”

    this is why voting just to vote when you’re not given a meaningful choice is little more than a fig leaf

    “Prakash doesn’t mention that the lone dissenting judge, who was in line to become chief justice but was later vengefully denied that position by Mrs. Gandhi, quoted from Wolfgang Friedmann’s Law in a Changing Society (1959): “In a purely formal sense, any system of norms based on a hierarchy of orders, even the organised mass murders of Nazi regime, qualify as law.” In other words, the Emergency, however abominable, was not illegal. Nor was it seen as such by the craven Indian media, which, as one politician imprisoned by Mrs. Gandhi famously charged, “was asked to bend…and…chose to crawl.” ”

    sounds like our corporate media

    “Prakash could have argued his case about the unexceptional nature of the Emergency with more detailed examples of how representative democracy in India always enjoyed an apparatus of perfectly legal oppression. For instance, politicians in power in New Delhi frequently—forty times by 1977—were equipped by the constitution to get rid of state governments they did not like. In 1959 Indira Gandhi, then freshly appointed to the presidency of the Congress Party, stoked protests against the progressive reforms of the Communist government in the state of Kerala—the first elected Communist government anywhere in the world—and persuaded Nehru, her father and then prime minister, to dismiss the Communists and impose central rule.”

    I suppose conservatives feel that our federal government rides roughshod over the will of duly elected state governments all the time, only it’s mostly been the mirror image, in service of progressive reforms that are now at risk.

    “At the same time, India’s military occupation of Kashmir has also profoundly corrupted Indian institutions—the legal system as well as the security forces, the media, and the larger public sphere. In 2013, the year before Modi came to power, the Supreme Court dispatched a Kashmiri to the gallows on flimsy circumstantial evidence, arguing that the terrorist attack in 2001 on the Indian parliament that he had allegedly been involved with had shaken the entire nation and that he had to be hanged in order to satisfy the “collective conscience of its society.” ”

    we have them beat in spades on this one, with our meddling in the affairs of countries near and far, flouting of the Geneva Convention and our own laws (illegal torture, suspension of habaeus corpus anyone?), the persecution of Manning, Assange, and Snowden for truth telling that exposed the lies of our corrupt MIC.

    “Prakash’s book is the latest to clarify that many of India’s political and social pathologies preceded and enabled Modi and appear set to outlast him. The only likely antidote to them would be a democratic revolution from below, rather than one promulgated from above by a self-serving elite, be it secular or Hindu nationalist. But no mass movements for civil rights exist in India, and, unlike those of the United States, its socialist traditions show no sign of revival.*
    Progressive hopes are in dismally short supply today in India, as an aggrieved citizenry renews its Faustian pact with a suspected mass murderer.”

    *don’t I wish…

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Groundwater Pumping Diminishes Streams Across The Country, Study Finds”
    This is personal experience for me, as we’re on a well that draws on an aquifer that connects directly with the little river we adjoin. We’re drawing from the river through a gigantic filter. Hence, when the river is low, so is the water table; we can bottom our well, then have to wait while it recharges. That hasn’t happened for a while; I’ve learned not to run too many sprinklers at a time.

    In our case, the water doesn’t go very far, so what soaks back into the ground winds up back in the river. Just upstream from us are two golf courses, drawing directly from the river; if they both turned on their pumps at the same time, “the river would run backwards” (quote from a scientist who lives near those pumps). It doesn’t do that, so they must have an arrangement, one is now shut down, so the river is less overcommitted than it was. But I think their irrigation, too, winds up back in the river, given time.

    The point of the article is that most aquifers connect with nearby streams, so the main difference is a delay. The real problem is when the water is moved out of the watershed, as most big city systems do, or lost by evaporation, as it certainly would be in Colorado.

    1. lordkoos

      Isn’t Nestle moving a whole lot of water permanently out of a lot of watersheds?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, and that would lower stream flows where it comes from.

        It’s a case of the more local, the better.

  22. Stratos

    RE: ‘Gross Violation of Logic and Sense’: Open Letter From Nearly 140 Scholars Implores SF School Board Not to Destroy Historic Mural

    Amid the handwringing and blaming of the school board and the students, no one seems to be making any attempt to understand the students point of view. The students who are of Native American and African descent seem to be having a visceral reaction to the imagery on the thirteen panel mural series. Not an intellectual reaction, but a gut reaction.

    They have made no sophisticated arguments against the murals based on aesthetics or historical accuracy. They seem to be offended by the murals images without any understanding of the artist’s intention or meaning behind the images. Their lack of understanding is unsurprising given the way the murals to the students are simply groups of images without context or intepretation.

    It is doubtful that the school administration, the school board or the erudite scholars in an uproar over the children’s reaction to the murals ever considered a teach-in focused on the meaning of the murals. A teach-in that unpacked the history of the artist, Victor Arnautoff, the WPA and the historical moment of the murals creation. That alone could be one half of a day long teach-in. The rest of the day could be a full interactive discussion of the meaning of the murals historial, political and social imagery.

    It would be a plus if the teach-in were led by Native American and Black art historians and political scientists in ways that were culturally relevant to the students of George Washington High School.

    It is one thing to blame and criticize the children’s perceptions without understanding their lives and how they see the world. It is quite another to meet the students where they are and offer alternative ways of seeing and understanding. I think what is needed is something called education.

    Which begs the question: what on earth is the school board thinking? Why are they so willing to destroy an historical artifact?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Wait . . . what? The childrens’ reactions? Didn’t I read a few threads ago that the students do NOT want the mural destroyed and that it is strictly the Social Justice Retard school board which seeks to signal its virtue by stalinistically liquidating these murals?

      1. Stratos

        According to the Common Dreams article:

        “The work has been a source of heated controversy for decades, with some students and activists characterizing it as an offensive and racist portrayal of Native and African Americans. Others have said the mural has historical value and should be preserved, but is not appropriate for a public high school.”

        Of course, the board could be using a contrived controversy to rid this school of the historic murals. That is how some organizations roll.

  23. Alfred

    The Board, in my opinion, is not likely to be thinking at all. They are more likely to be strategizing. They are staging a power display that so far is functioning extremely well as a publicity stunt.

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