2:00PM Water Cooler 8/1/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I’ll have more on politics after I throw in a laundry! –lambert UPDATE All done!


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 31: Biden dips to 32.0% (32.2), Sanders up to 16.4% (16.2%), Warren up at 14.8% (14.3%), Buttigieg flat at 5.6% (5.5%), Harris up at 11% (10.8%), others Brownian motion. All the bottom-feeders — except O’Rourke! — went down.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Can the Joe Biden who’s leading in polls survive Joe Biden the candidate?” [WaPo]. “Biden has three things going for him, of which a sense of electability is only one. The other two are his strong grip on moderate Democrats — aided by the fact that more progressive candidates are splitting the pool of liberals — and strong support from black Democrats. That support is bolstered by the other two positives Biden enjoys. Black voters tend to be more moderate, and most Democrats see Biden as the best candidate against Trump.”

Gabbard (D)(2): “Gabbard vs. Harris: You Kept Prisoners Locked Up For Labor, Blocked Evidence That Would Free Man On Death Row” (transcript) [RealClearPolitics]. Gabbard on Harris: “Now Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president. But I’m deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence — she blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep [a] Bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.” • All true. Good staffwork. Oppo works!

Gabbard (D)(2): “Russia’s propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard” [NBC]. “Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11*, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line. The CIA has called RT and Sputnik part of “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine.” • So “meddling” means “covering the election,” much in the same way our own State media does. What’s the issue? NOTE * That’s 202 days, so one story every 10 days or so, spread out over three venues. One can only imagine the hysteria if there were two stories every ten days, or even — hold on to your hats, here, folks — one a week!

Harris (D)(2):

Harris (D)(3): Well, identity is fluid, after all:

Not the campaign poster I wanted, but still.

Hickenlooper (D)(1): “Hickenlooper takes aim at socialist agenda in NH appearance” [New Hampshire Union-Leader]. “‘You have to hand it to the GOP for achieving the near-impossible,’ said Hickenlooper. ‘Just years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, their greedy mismanagement has revived the lure of socialism for a whole generation of Americans. Who would have imagined the Koch Brothers and Donald Trump could help resuscitate the discredited ideas of Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin?'” More: “Do I respect [Sanders]? Absolutely,’ said Hickenlooper of Sanders. ‘Do I respect his supporters? Absolutely. I’m not going to demonize him [Bernie’s not at all like Stalin!] or go out and attack him. I’m going to put out the reasons why I think this is a better place to go. And we might get to the same place, but it might take 20 years — 10 years, maybe eight years.'” • Always, always delay. Just like Harris’ ridiculous ten-year phase-in for her fake #MedicareForAll plan.

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders Calls Out CNN for Airing Pharma Commercials During 2020 Debate” [Truthout]. “Pointing to the PAHCF commercial — which is part of a six-figure ad campaign against Medicare for All — Warren Gunnels, Sanders’s staff director, tweeted, ‘If Medicare for All was on trial, the entire corporate media would have to recuse itself for a y-u-g-e conflict of interest.'”

Sanders (D)(2):

Code-switch, people! Code-switch!x

Williamson (D)(1): “Marianne Williamson isn’t funny. She’s scary.” [Vox]. “In her book A Return to Love, Williamson wrote that “sickness is an illusion and does not exist,” and that “cancer and AIDS and other physical illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream.'”

The Debates

“5 takeaways from the second night of the Democratic presidential debate” [CNN]. Pretty good wrap-up. This caught my eye: “‘Did you say those deportations were a good idea or did you go to the President and say, ‘This is a mistake. We shouldn’t do it’?’ de Blasio asked. Biden said he wouldn’t talk publicly about the advice he had given Obama privately on the issue — and that’s when Booker piled on. ‘You can’t have it both ways,’ Booker said. ‘You invoke President Obama more than anyone in this campaign. You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not.'” • Solid jab by Booker.

“How Badly Did Kamala Harris Stumble at the Democratic Debate?” [New York Magazine]. The headline is deceptive, this is a wrap-up discussion between wonks. This caught my eye: “[Zak Cheney-Rice]: Agree that Biden was lucky. I think at the very least, last night’s debate demonstrated how uninspiring and dare I say anti-telegenic the whole ‘Here’s all the things we can’t do to fix health care’ position is when confronted by Warren and Sanders. It’s a topic and format in which they’ve been at their most inspiring, to me at least. They would’ve eaten Biden alive.” • Yep.

“Biden’s Foes Back Themselves Into a Corner” [Politico]. “First, Democrats have to pray that the field narrows dramatically before the fall, because a debate with ten candidates is a guaranteed disaster, even without CNN’s clownish gimmicks, diminishing the top candidates and playing to the stereotype of the current Democratic Party as a bunch of obscure characters trying to out-liberal each other. Second, we are not going to get a real sense of how this campaign is going until Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are on the same stage. That’s the test the party needs to run.” • It makes sense that Sanders, Warren, Harris, and Biden would only meet in the later brackets.

“Only 7 Candidates Have Qualified for the Next Democratic Debate” [New York Times]. “The Democratic National Committee has set stricter criteria for the third set of debates, which will be held on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 in Houston. If 10 or fewer candidates qualify, the debate will take place on only one night. Candidates will need to have 130,000 unique donors and register at least 2 percent support in four polls. They have until Aug. 28 to reach those benchmarks. These criteria could easily halve the field.” • The seven are: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Sanders, and Warren. Castro, Klobuchar, and Yang are close.

“Can Someone Please Vote CNN Off the Stage?” [Bloomberg]. “Ten of the Democrats debated on Tuesday night. But the debate was dominated by Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Don Lemon – CNN’s moderators…. ˛After Tuesday night’s event, I have to believe that there are plenty of people at the Democratic National Committee – and plenty of candidates and their staff – who are fed up with debates that put the TV stars first. I wouldn’t be surprised, especially if things go badly over the rest of the cycle, if both parties start thinking seriously about running their own shows in 2024.” • Yes, it’s always possible to make things worse. Why not go back to the League of Women Voters? The very last thing I want is the DNC exerting even more control over the process, and I would bet there are plenty of voters who think just the same about the RNC.

Obama Legacy

“Obama Presidential Center would have ‘adverse impact’ on historic Jackson Park, federal review concludes” [Chicago Sun-Times (DG)]. “The project would diminish the ‘the historic property’s overall integrity by altering historic, internal spatial divisions that were designed as a single entity’ by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the [Federal Highway Administration] concluded. It also concludes the ‘size and scale of new buildings’ would ‘diminish the intended prominence of the Museum of Science and Industry building and alter the overall composition and design intent of balancing park scenery with specific built areas.’ … The finding puts pressure on the Obama Foundation to find a way to ‘resolve adverse effects’ and turns up the heat on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to order the foundation to make those changes. ‘The Obama Foundation has yet to show any interest in compromising on any of this. It may take [Lightfoot] to bring them to the table,’ said Margaret Schmid, co-president of Jackson Park Watch. ‘It means there are lots of new obstacles facing this proposal. A big question is, does Chicago want to go on record as having allowed a project that has major adverse impacts on this important historic park or can the project be redesigned to be compatible with this historic landscape?'” • A classic permitting battle. Go forth and do likewise with your local fossil fuel infrastruture project!

2018 Post Mortem

“‘Claw is the law’: Why American ‘bros’ suddenly can’t get enough of White Claw hard seltzer” [Business Insider]. “For the uninitiated, an Urban Dictionary definition of ‘bro’ describes them as ‘obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties’ and ‘usually just stand around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream’ about ‘how much they enjoy partying.’ It says that ‘they often wear a rugby shirt and a baseball cap.'” • That’s what “bro” connoted in 2016, too, which is one reason “Bernie Bro” ticked me off so much.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Local Infrastructure Report: The Tools We Have & The Tools We Need” [Build]. • Another DSA caucus document in preparation for the upcoming Atlanta meeting. All I can do is remark on the commendable seriousness.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of July 27, 2019: “New claims are steady and low and consistent with strong demand for labor” [Econoday]. “This report together with this morning’s Challenger report point to decreasing layoffs and increasing strength for jobs.”

Challenger Job-Cut Report, July 2019: “Increasing strength in the labor market is the indication from Challenger’s job-cut count” [Econoday]. “Yet weakness in manufacturing and related equipment investment, not questions in the labor market, is what the Federal Reserve cited as central to yesterday’s rate cut and here the news is not upbeat.”

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, July 2019: “Extending a straight slope down, ISM’s index fell” [Econoday]. “This report, together with very similar results from the manufacturing PMI sample released earlier this morning, do support the Federal Reserve’s concerns over manufacturing and specifically confirm Jerome Powell’s remarks at yesterday’s press conference that business contacts in the manufacturing sector, citing global slowing and tariff effects, are reporting trouble.”

Purchasing Managers Manufacturing Index, July 2019: “Markit’s US manufacturing sample has been moving steadily from slowing conditions to nearly stagnant conditions” [Econoday]. “The lack of confidence is affecting staffing levels which for this sample posted their first reduction in six years. Production moved forward last month but at the expense of backlogs which edged lower.”

Construction Spending, June 2018: “The construction sector has been a stubborn disappointment all year, failing to show much life despite strong conditions in the domestic economy and favorable financing rates” [Econoday]. “This report brings up questions of possible contraction in foreign investment in US real estate and whether construction, like manufacturing, is being pulled down by global slowing and related tariff effects.”

Banking: “AI is a road to customer success—but banks need to create guardrails too” [American Banker]. “Customers today yearn for a personalized human experience tailored to their needs, wants, and expectations – whether they are in your branch, dialing into your call center, or contacting you over social media. Advanced technologies can help banks create such experiences.” • Yeah, I’m yearning for a personalized human experience delivered by a human.

Banking: “Digital banks are racking up users, but will they ever make money?” [Quartz]. “The UK has become something of a laboratory for newfangled digital banks, which are attracting thousands of new customers each day. But there are some big questions: Will bigger legacy banks eventually learn the fintech firms’ tricks? And will the so-called neobanks ever become profitable?… ‘I’ve heard of situations where core banking platforms are written in COBOL and the coders are starting to die out,’ said Michael Kent, CEO of money transfer startup Azimo and a founder of Tandem, a neobank. ‘They’re spending billions and billion and billions to try to fix that huge technical debt.'” • I’m sure writing everything from the ground up in Node.js will solve everything.

Credit: “Sorry, you’re not getting $125 from the Equifax settlement, FTC says” [MarketWatch]. “The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that, due to an overwhelming response, cash payments aren’t going to be anywhere near $125 each, and urged consumers to sign up for the free credit monitoring offered as an alternative.” • So, if I have this right, I now have to give Equifax even more of my data, as compensation for the data they lost? More: “‘A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money,’ the FTC said in a blog post Wednesday.” • What kind of settlement is that? What was the FTC thinking when it drafted it? Wikipedia notes: “Most people get little benefit from paying for regular credit reporting.” Who on earth wouldn’t want the [family blogging] cash?

Housing: “LGBTQ-centric neighborhoods offer home price premiums, studies suggest” [Los Angeles Times]. “[G]ayborhood residents can cash in big — up to 294% more value for their homes compared with those in surrounding metro areas, as shown in the [Zillow] analysis of 36 housing markets, released in May.”

Shipping: “The world’s biggest shipyards are forging a new landscape for buying and building ocean vessels. The impending mergers of the shipbuilders in South Korea and in China will create two behemoths that will control around 46% of the global market among the world’s top 10 yards” [Wall Street Journal]. “That will give the combined Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and the merged China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. and China State Shipbuilding Corp. weightier control of the global market for ships over smaller competitors.”

Manufacturing: “Airbus SE is trying to speed up its supply chain while rival Boeing Co. is just hoping to get part of its production line moving at all. Airbus increased its quarterly profit more than fivefold despite bottlenecks that have hobbled the company’s ability to step up the delivery pace… Airbus has been struggling to produce more of the largest version of its A321 single-aisle aircraft, and delays in deliveries have aggravated airlines’ capacity issues caused by the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX” [Wall Street Journal]. “Airbus increased its deliveries by 28% in the first half of the year to 389 planes but still must deliver about 500 jets the rest of the year to meet its financial targets. Airbus may face pushback from parts suppliers. Slower traffic growth has suppliers to both Airbus and Boeing getting cautious about supporting higher aircraft production.”

Fodder for the Bulls: “The Next Bailout May Come From Consumers” [Conor Sen, Bloomberg (FluffytheObeseCat)]. “Now that we know the saving rate is at 8.1%, rather than 6.1% as believed a month ago, we can see how different this environment is for households versus the past two cycles. In December 2000, on the brink of the 2001 recession, the saving rate was 4.2%. In December 2007, as the great recession was beginning, the saving rate was 3.7%. The saving rate would have to fall by around 4% — equivalent to around $750 billion i.. n annual consumption — before households would find themselves as tapped out as they were then…. With the saving rate high relative to the last 25 years, households aren’t in the position where they need to save more. So if an economic shock originated elsewhere — if corporations or the government found themselves needing to save more — households could spend more.” • The comments are interesing: “Too bad all that saving is only in the top 10% of incomes,” “The problem with the suggestion that savings rate is up… up for who? We have auto loan defaults higher than ever. There is a disconnect between who is saving and who is not… my guess is the savers are not spenders and will not spend us out of an economic slowdown.” What do readers think?

The Biosphere

“Life is tough” [Aeon]. “Extremophiles tell us that everything we think we know about the fragility of life is wrong. Life is indeed extraordinary, not to mention precious and deserving of reverence – but not in any sense miraculous. The word extremophile didn’t exist until the 1970s. It entered wide circulation only after 1979 when the US Navy’s submersible Alvin revealed ecosystems prospering in deep-ocean hydrothermal vents. The Alvin scientists discovered organisms living in superheated water and largely metabolising hydrogen sulphide, which until then had been thought toxic and incompatible with life…. Extremophiles are in a sense antitheological and a cure for life-worshipping mysticism, another nail in the coffin that proclaims living things to be divinely created because they couldn’t possibly derive from natural processes. They also expand the possible playing field within which life initially evolved.”

* * *

First Philly, now these. Summer heats up the pipes, or something?

“Kentucky gas explosion: One person killed, 5 injured” [CNN]. “A gas explosion rocked a Kentucky community Thursday morning, leaving one person dead and lighting at least six homes on fire, according to local authorities…. Gilliam said authorities believe the explosion was the result of a rupture of a 30-inch gas transmission pipeline, but it will take time to definitively determine the cause.”

“Explosion, fire at Exxon Mobil Baytown plant injures 37” [Houston Chronicle]. “A fire at an Exxon Mobil plant in Baytown Wednesday morning injured 37 people and sent a plume of smoke over a Houston-area chemical facility for the fourth time since April. It was the second fire this year at an Exxon Mobil facility in Baytown. The company’s operations in the east Harris County city have a history of environmental violations stretching back to 2013. The cause of Wednesday’s fire was not immediately known, although the company said the blaze began with an explosion.”

“Boom Goes the Plastics Industry” [Sierra Club]. “Facing intensifying global efforts to curtail the use of oil and gas for transportation and energy—and at the same time seeking markets for the torrent of oil and gas from the US fracking boom—the fossil fuel industry is looking to plastics as a lifeline. Today, 14 percent of oil and 8 percent of gas is used for the manufacture of petrochemicals, the essential feedstock of plastic production. The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2050, 50 percent of the growth in oil demand will be related to petrochemicals… ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco, among the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, are betting big on plastics. … The American Chemistry Council reports that since 2010, plans for 333 new chemical-manufacturing projects have been announced in the United States, representing more than $200 billion in capital investments; the industry association notes that “much of the investment is geared toward export markets for chemistry and plastics products.'”

Guillotine Watch

“Backlash at barefoot Prince Harry and ‘hypocrite Greenerati’: Eco-warrior elite who turned up at secret climate change Google camp in 114 private jets, helicopters and mega yachts are mocked for leaving their own carbon footprint” [Daily Mail]. • As usual, the Daily Mail headline tells the entire story, but for more detail: “A host of A-list celebrities faced an angry backlash today after they travelled to a climate change conference in Italy in a fleet of supercars, expensive yachts and more than 100 private jets…. h The event, created by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, sees some of the world’s wealthiest business leaders and tech gurus discussing various issues in morning sessions before relaxing in the Italian sunshine in the afternoon.” • Poor optics! The guest list is amusing, too.

“Where the Wealthy Go in Private Jets, From Bahamas to Barbados” [Bloomberg]. “Private jet flights climbed almost 10% last year, according to an analysis of 30 island destinations by real estate broker Knight Frank and aviation adviser WingX. Private jets flew to islands in the Americas almost 30,000 times, making them the world’s top hub for non-commercial aviation, led by the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands… The Philippines, Maldives and Bali were the top destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, which saw private-jet arrivals increase more than 80%, reflecting a wealth boom in which China minted a new billionaire roughly every other day.”

“Harvard has the highest number of ultra-rich alumni — by an insane margin” [MarketWatch]. “Harvard is in an Ivy League of its own, with more than 13,650 estimated [Ultra-High Net Worth (UHNW)] alumni worth $4.769 trillion — more than double the figure for Stanford…. Wealth-X reports that almost 80% of this group made their own fortunes, rather than inheriting it. In fact, most of the UHNW alumni (84%) were self-made…. [J]ust 244 of the 2,153 billionaires in the world are women, and women account for just 6.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs.”

“Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA” [New York Times]. “On multiple occasions starting in the early 2000s, Mr. Epstein told scientists and businessmen about his ambitions to use his New Mexico ranch as a base where women would be inseminated with his sperm and would give birth to his babies, according to two award-winning scientists and an adviser to large companies and wealthy individuals, all of whom Mr. Epstein told about it. It was not a secret. The adviser, for example, said he was told about the plans not only by Mr. Epstein, at a gathering at his Manhattan townhouse, but also by at least one prominent member of the business community.” • Lifting the lid on elite networking and money-grubbing. Epstein’s Harvard sweatshirt is prominently displayed in the photographs that accompany the article…

Class Warfare

“As Alaska’s budget uproar rolls on, a top Dunleavy adviser has seen it before” [Anchorage Daily News]. “But say the name “Donna Arduin” to an Alaskan these days and they’re likely to know exactly who you’re talking about. Arduin has been in the spotlight since Gov. Mike Dunleavy hired her as his top state budget executive shortly after his election in November, at a salary of $195,000. Her reputation preceded her: Arduin, 56, has an almost 30-year career as an itinerant ‘budget fixer’ of sorts, working for a series of Republican governors to balance state budgets, often by instituting drastic spending cuts…. “I joined government to shrink it,” Arduin said in a profile published in her Duke University alumni magazine in 2006. (The profile ends with Arduin whispering under her breath “get a job” to a panhandling man.)” • She sounds nice. The same alert reader who submitted this link also sent this note about the Alaska ferries:

I am one of the ferry passengers who has been stranded due to the shutdown of the ferries. I am currently on an island which is only accessible by boat and plane, and since the government-operated ferry is out of service, and there is no private ferry which can get me closer to my destination, plane is the only option. I have booked a flight ticket out, which will be my first time on an airplane since 2014. I am in a better position than many of my fellow passengers. Many other passengers have vehicles, which cannot be moved by airplane. Some of them were also riding the ferries to get medical care not available in their home communities, and are concerned about being able to make their doctor’s appointments. Some of them are also going to take a much bigger financial hit than I will. Of course, those of us who are not Alaska residents (or who are leaving Alaska) will not need to deal with this situation anymore once we manage to leave Alaska. The coastal communities of Alaska will continue to feel the repercussions as long as there is a loss of ferry service, especially if the severe budget cuts make the loss of ferry service permanent.

“Labor of Love”‘ [The Baffler]. “”Full Surrogacy Now,” the rallying cry, is a radical demand for the dissolution of notions like ‘biological parents’ and their opposites, (underpaid) (hired) (invisible) gestational surrogates. ‘We are the makers of one another,’ [Sophie] Lewis writes. ‘And we could learn collectively to act like it. It is those truths that I wish to call real surrogacy, full surrogacy.’ …. The problem, in Lewis’s view, isn’t that women are risking their lives and paid shockingly low wages to bear the offspring of others, efforts which are considered ‘generous’ instead of ‘a job,’ before being erased from family histories entirely. The problem is that we haven’t spent any time considering what the fact and endurance of surrogacy from at least the transatlantic slave-trade days to the present might say about unwaged pregnancy. After all, pregnancy is—well, labor.” • Hmm.

No aristocracy here:

News of the Wired

The historical record:

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Eric W writes: “The pitcher plant is from early April in Maine. Wow.” Indeed!

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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. WheresOurTeddy

    Jay-Z and Beyonce are the Sammy Davis Jr of this generation: the acceptable cool POC (that the white squares can name-drop and be thought of as hip) who challenge absolutely nothing about the system that made them rich while oppressing millions daily, but only serve to legitimize it.

    Aristocracy and inherited wealth, and their evil running mate Networking, have undermined every republic in history and turned them into oligarchies. America is no exception. We just have PR for every demographic you can imagine. Based on whatever age/race/gender profile you may fit, we have someone who is rich and morally indefensible for you to worship to prevent you from ever hearing about people who may tell you the truth.

    I wish I could wave a magic wand and make every Jay-Z and Beyonce album owner – regardless of their race – listen to Cornel West for an uninterrupted hour.

    1. Stadist

      “Look at us, and Jay-Z and Beyonce, meritocracy works and you can become succesful too if you just work hard enough [to enrichen us more]!”

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sammy Davis Jr raised cultural awareness of Civil Rights in a way many couldn’t as well invested financially, and like Uhura* (I prefer to pretend Star Trek actors are the same people as their roles), his role was less important than his skin color and presence. Despite the current state of affairs, I can’t imagine Davis lived in the good ole days especially as a younger man.

      As for his support of Nixon, how many American politicians were/are NAACP members for their entire adult lives?

      Sammy Davis Jr mattered. He might not be as relevant as other civil rights activists, but Jay-Z and Beyoncé are safe, pro corporate imitators of the past who serve as name checks and virtue signaling for the “woke” set especially when they don’t want to pass a policy that might actually help minorities.

      *I firmly believe there is no legalized gay marriage in the U.S. without “Will and Grace”, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, etc.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Sammy Davis grew up in segregation, tap danced his way to fame as a child, marched for civil rights as a young man and wrote a great, uplifting book called “Yes, I can”, back in the early 60’s. Arguably cribbed by one Barack Obama. The book is still edifying reading today.

        He should not be compared with these untalented, liberal frauds.

        1. Cal2

          Converting to Judaism, straightening his hair, hanging out with those Ivy-League white dudes like Kennedy, Peter Lawford and mob connected Sinatra, helped too.

          Reminds me of a certain presidential candidate, although her hair was already straight with the East Indian parents.

    1. Carolinian

      Maybe they are setting up an insanity defense with that NYT story. It says he wanted both his head and male equipment cryogenically preserved. Of course that latter request could be arranged early…

      1. kareninca

        Wow. That is an amazing website. I just looked at the unredacted contents of Epstein’s little black book. His flight logs are there, too. Along with a zillion other documents of all sorts, like the Mueller report and the Carter Page FISA report. Wow.

        Um, how do we know that this stuff is for real?

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Among our family photos is a shot of my mother-in-law, myself (appropriately adorned with a straw cowboy hat) and Governor Bruce King chatting together. The picture was taken in a small, northern New Mexican village where I was a neophyte lawyer back around 1980, well before Epstein bought his ranch from the governor. I can still do a decent imitation of King pronouncing leg-i-SLA-ture in his unique way. Then Bruce and Gary and the rest of the Kings show up in this bizarre story.

      What next?

    3. Redlife2017

      This is the part that freaked me out: “Whereas several reports reflect a photo of a labyrinth behind Epstein’s mansion, based on aerial footage from January 8, 2018, it would not appear to be three-dimensional at all.”

      I’ve probably been reading the good Archdruid John Michael Greer too much, but, what the heck is that? I looked at the photos and the fact that he insists on having that in several places is not a coincidence. I think the rabbit hole here is pretty freakin’ big, people. My tinfoil hat is FIRMLY on.

  2. jsn

    ” my guess is the savers are not spenders and will not spend us out of an economic slowdown.” What do readers think?

    I don’t think savers, whoever they may be, will have the choice: negative interest rates will simply expropriate savings. The ECB has been doing this at the bank level for years and seized simply savings in Cypress when it suited them.

    1. BobW

      My own savings were for retirement, and are now gradually being spent down. A race between savings and expenses, with expenses in a commanding lead.

    2. marku52

      I think the problem is that the rich are the “savers”. And they don’t spend, except on the occasional yacht.

      This makes the savings rate meaningless, unless broken out by income

      1. wilroncanada

        That was my immediate thought too. Where is the cutoff point between “savers” and spenders.

  3. cnchal

    > What kind of settlement is that?

    The cost of power required to disperse the money and store all the data foeverandever will dwarf the payout.

  4. flora

    re: “USDA gave almost 100 percent of Trump’s trade war bailout to white farmers” [New Food Economy]. • Deceptive headline erases class:


  5. Cal2

    Last night, in answer to Tulsi Gabbard’s revelation of Harris’ criminal justice deficiencies, none of which Kamala denied BTW, Harris claimed she “took on the big banks and for profit colleges!”

    An internet search for “Kamala Harris Academy of Art College” = First result:

    “Harris has aggressively probed for-profit colleges, [BUT] she has steered clear of Academy of Art University, a San Francisco-based for-profit that has had red flags about graduation rates raised in its accreditation process. Academy of Art President Elisa Stephens, a wealthy socialite, contributed more than $16,000 to Harris’ campaigns for district attorney and attorney general.”

    Bummer! The Supreme Court ruled the $450 million lawsuit against Academy of Art College can proceed.

    With an alleged district attorney and attorney general like that, who needs criminals?
    Fail upward with Kamala!

    1. laughingsong

      Wow. I attended that school back when it WAS just the “Academy of Art College” (no university). It was spread out over a couple of victorian buildings in downtown SF (Powell St. and Sutter St.) This is back in the 70s and it had a decent reputation back then. One of my favorite cartoonists taught there which was a big reason why I went. Sad to hear it succumbed to the neoliberal BS :-(

    2. Librarian Guy

      Thank you for the link– totally unsurprised, since I live in the East Bay and know Kamala’s record quite well. She is “Comfort the Comfortable and Afflict the Afflicted Even More” thru and thru. Academy of Art University was powerful and influential in its time, owned a lot of valuable SF downtown land used for dormitories– I’m sure not cheap for students. An ex-girlfriend of mine used to pick up a little scratch doing nude modeling for their drawing classes, otherwise no direct contacts to my life but not surprised they’re being sued for past miseducation scams.

    3. wilroncanada

      Whew! That’s a relief. I thought she meant she “took on” the the big banks and the for-profit colleges the same way she “took on” Willie Brown.

  6. Duck1

    Suggested redesign of the 0bama memory center that doesn’t ruin the park: a subterranean room with an old tape recorder in a fancy glass display with velvet ropes to keep back the deplorables on an endless loop of “hope and change”. The exit should have a large sign saying “to the egress”. Admission will have to be very high and include a non-disclosure agreement.

    1. Big River Bandido

      It’s good that I just finished my drink before reading that or it would have ended up on my screen. You have a delightful sense of the absurd.

    2. polecat

      Endless loopiness : “If you like it, you can’t keep it … If you like it, you can’t keep it … If you like it, you can’t—————

    3. Alfred

      There are many areas on Chicago’s south side that (along with their largely minority inhabitants) could directly benefit from the investment that a Presidential Library represents. Several lie within 5000 feet of Jackson Park — which is not one of them. I cannot avoid concluding that the chief aim behind the Jackson Park site was to ensure the (now impending) destruction of Jackson Park. The Obama library project therefore strikes me as another of those feature-not-bug situations. But why? Are indirect benefits to (well-connected?) owners of nearby but not immediately adjacent property part of the answer? Or is it yet another example of an iconoclasm motivated by identity politics?

        1. barefoot charley

          Obama’s earliest supporters were South Side real estate grifters. Their RE just doubled in value. I learned it here, years ago:


          Saddest thing is, Valery Jarrett is the granddaughter of Robert Taylor, a housing activist so prominent 60 years ago that the largest (soon to be worst) public housing project in the city was named in his honor. She knew the ropes, and which side to pull . . .

          1. The Rev Kev

            Now, now people. We should be more kind to Obama. I am sure that his center could be relocated to somewhere more appropriate. Maybe in a place that would demonstrate his inclusiveness. His desire to heal past divisions and unite them in his dream. Some place where he can expand it eventually.
            How about in the middle of the Gettysburg National Military Park? Hey, if Obama thinks that it is too far in the boonies, I am sure that his Wall Street buddies could arrange for a chunk of New York’s Central Park to be given over to him for his center. At 843 acres, it is not like they can’t spare some for Obama and it is true that Wall Street owes him big time. Sound good?

            1. polecat

              Why not a rickety platform in Bumpess Hell ? It IS in the tonar Blue-State of California, after all … he could surf the boiling mud pots and fumerols
              I’d pay big quatloos to see that !

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        nothing happens in that neighborhood that doesn’t benefit the University of Chicago, which seems to be angling for a toehold on the lakefront. U of C is also near Washington Park, home of the historic DuSable museum, I think the oldest museum of Black history/culture in the land, which has beautiful lagoons and is much more accessible to the people of the community than Ziggurat-on-the-Lake.

        But they don’t want to provide jobs and enrichment to the local community. This is meant to be an attraction for high faluting globe-trotting movers and shakers.

        some overlap with the Sun Times but more detail:

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        It’s not a library, it’s a “Presidential Center,” i.e. a megalomanical, Ozymandias-like monument to himself, and a real estate play… (spit on the ground in response)…

        1. Hopelb

          Perfect choice! But perhaps a mixed tape is in order? One that includes The National’s song Fake Empire, which Obama actually used sans lyrics.I wonder if there a good song about habeas corpus/whistleblowers/regime change wars?

    4. ChrisPacific

      Financial crisis simulator: Try different options for resolving the global financial crisis, and track their success using several metrics updated in real time, including: 2012 re-election campaign funding, post-Presidency speaking fees, post-Presidency book advances, size/budget of Presidential Library.

  7. TroyIA

    I.e. savers – isn’t the amount of debt a household owns factored into the savings rate? If true then the money isn’t being stored in a piggy bank for a rainy day rather it is being used to pay down debt.

    1. hamstak

      That’s a good question, and leads into some questions I have as well.

      1) How is the savings rate calculated? Does it take into account income and/or debt?

      2) What constitutes “savings”? Are, say, 401k holdings included, as well as debt pay-down (as TroyIA implies)?

      3) Is there a savings rate breakdown by quintile (income or wealth, I am not sure which is more appropriate)?

      If the article covers any of these, sorry — too lazy this late in the day to read it.

      1. TroyIA

        When I asked the question about if paying down debt affected the savings rate I thought it was a simple yes or no question. I wasted an incredible amount of time on Google trying to find the answer which goes to show just how crappy Google has become.

        Anyway from the San Francisco Federal Reserve in 2011 –

        the rebound in the saving rate has coincided with a reduction in household debt

        There is a whole lot more gobbledygook if anyone wants to read about it. Google has frustrated me so much I can’t read anymore about it and need to go for a walk.


      2. JCC

        Investopedia says this:

        The key figures in the national savings rate are income minus consumption. That difference is then divided by income to generate the savings rate. The collective spending behaviors of households and public and private entities can swiftly affect the direction of the national savings rate. Even if income rises, if the consumption rate also escalates, the savings rate will not improve and some cases it may even decline.

        The consumption rate? I wonder if that takes real inflation in consideration, housing, health care costs, etc.


        it also says: “the national savings rate includes government savings, and they are usually reporting deficits, which lower the national savings rate.”

        Overall it seems like a pretty useless statistic to me, other than for propaganda purposes.


    Didn’t a lot of the New Age Woo crowd have dangerously horrible takes on AIDS in the 80’s and 90’s? I seem to recall Deepak Chopra saying something equal insane about the disease.

    1. ambrit

      Until it spread to the Gay Urban Professional class, HIV was considered a ‘Third World’ scourge. Those deplorables deserved everything they got. That was the meme back then, and probably always within the 10% class. Reagan was infamous for considering HIV to be a well deserved punishment upon gays and IV drug users for their ‘sins.’
      The New Age Woo crowd considered, and probably still does consider the world as being a phenomenal shadow play. Look at how big Scientology has become.

      1. polecat

        The Ones Who Sit Upon Pedestals will be singin a totally different tune when some greater, more efficient scourge that doesn’t discriminate, makes an appearance on the world stage … I think we’re a bit overdue.

        Tick .. meet Tock !

  9. Summer

    RE:No aristocracy here:

    Blue Ivy Carter, daughter of Beyoncé, just scored her first Billboard Hot 100 hit with "Brown Skin Girl”

    That’s pretty much were the Hot 100 could be headed faster than anyone suspects.
    Break in by:
    1) being the child of someone famous
    2) sleep with someone famous (may actually work better for men)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Being the child of someone famous.

      That involves some less visible forms of inequality via inherited wealth (wealth inherited here includes 1. the famous name itself, 2. money and assets possibly, and 3. the ability to sing and entertain – in the case here, for others, it could the ability to throw a baseball real hard or fast, etc – also possibly).

      Normally, we see and talk inequalty and untaxed wealth inheritance of the 2nd kind above.

    2. Librarian Guy

      Poor Tim Russert’s son didn’t last long as a pundit, did he? But on the other hand, the world is still afflicted with Megan McCain as a fine example of worthless Aristos given a massive media platform with literally nothing (other than my daddy was the greatest American ever) to say.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Russert was a snooze. McCain is a trainwreck. One generates clicks. It’s a click economy.

      2. Big River Bandido

        He never would have gotten the chance if his dad hadn’t had the gig. And his dad was lousy.

  10. ewmayer

    Latest example of inflation via product-quantity-shrinkage: Picked up a gallon of bleach at Safeway on my shopping run yesterday. We’re all used by now to the decades-old “1 Gallon (128 FL OZ) 3.78L” (sometimes 3.79L, depending on whether one rounds the exact 3.785… number up or down) labels, right? Didn’t notice this on first glance, but on the second take, when I went to mental-math the cost per fluid oz – look at what the devious little shits at Clorox pulled. The label reads:

    ‘3.78 Qt (121 FL OZ) 3.58L”

    IOW, they reduced the number of fluid ounces by precisely the amount that makes the corresponding number of quarts equal to the number of liters in a gallon, in order to maximize the odds of purchasers not noticing the downsizing. Checking the Safeway-brand bottles a few feet away on the same shelf, I see they followed suit with their own house brand. Bought the latter anyway, because it was cheaper and I needed a bottle of bleach.

    1. CitizenGuy

      I remember someone in a Mark Blyth panel making an argument that this was an example/symptom of inflation. The panel member’s example had to do with breakfast cereal, over time, costing more while including less cereal in box. His response? “No, that is just the company stealing from you.”

      I don’t think it’s necessarily inflationary pressures that pushes companies to charge more for less product. Had the price of a gallon of bleach gone along with the prices of all other products in the store (more or less), I think that would be a better example.

      1. JBird4049

        It cost more to buy the same amount. How is that not inflation? To get the same amount, you have to pay more. The company does not want to raise prices but wants to make the same profit as before, so they cut the size of the product and keep the price the same. It could be to raise profits, but often I think it is to keep inflation hidden.

        1. CitizenGuy

          Maybe I’m a cynic, but I don’t think any US-based company’s stated mission has been to “make the same profit as before.” You got to grow, baby, grow!

          Prices can go up for a number of reasons, and they are not mutually exclusive. For example,: required resources can become scarce, economic inflation, or a desire to increase revenue (growf, as it’s been so-named in this community) can all increase price.

          In this case, I was drawing a distinction between two possible reasons for bleach costing the same for less. You could establish economic inflation by observing a similar, relative price increase in other products in the store. I think a lot of companies would like that we think “oh, their prices went up because of inflation” because it removes their agency from the equation. The reality may be otherwise.

          Maybe we’re just disagreeing on terminology. When the OP said “inflation,” I assumed he/she meant general economic inflation.

          1. ewmayer

            I meant price inflation, as in, getting less for your money. The obviously-deliberately-chosen-to-mislead product quantity change in this example struck me as particularly insidious, though you have to admire the cleverness of the ruse.

            1. ambrit

              This reminds me of all the whingeing when England went metric and pubs started selling booze by the litre. The price of booze as a cost per unit, I read, went up.

                1. polecat

                  Well, yeahhh. It’s all processed mystery-meat to them .. they never have to ‘indulge’ in such policy cuisine themselves. They might have to settle for the equivalent of bottom trawled scallops, ahi tuna, and free-range lobster to go with the mimosa … but that’s ok, it’s all good !

                  Poor them, right ?

        2. fdr-fan

          Actually it’s much worse than inflation because people can’t buy fractional containers. When the content shrinks to 90% and you’re accustomed to eating 100%, you can’t buy 1.1 containers to compensate. You’ll buy two containers and eat them both. So you end up spending twice as much, and you get fatter to boot.

    2. pricklyone

      Make sure you check the dilution, as well. Old Clorox was 5% product. Some house brands are half that, or do not state at all.

      1. ewmayer

        Good thought – just rechecked the label, no mention of sodium hypocritical (or whatever it’s called :) % anywhere. So that’s another way greedy manufacturers can game things.

  11. Summer

    RE:”There is a disconnect between who is saving and who is not… my guess is the savers are not spenders and will not spend us out of an economic slowdown.” What do readers think?”

    They can’t be serious that gig economy workers and independent contractors (growing numbers im the work force) have savings that they think is disposable and should be used to come to the rescue…
    That savings the banks are looking at and like degenerate gamblers saying “yum…mine…must have the precious”

    Having a crash to dip into the savings of those already struggling is greed epitomized.
    It’s not even an economy, just a con game and rip off scheme.
    No such thing as guaranteed jobs if you didn’t grow up in the right neighborhood with the right name.

    1. jrs

      Yes the ordinary person is keeping savings if they can, because unemployment doesn’t pay enough to live on (if you get it, true gig work won’t have it which is why the next recession is going to be ugly, less and less people even qualifying for unemployment). Nor does social security pay enough to live off.

      But those with more money if charged negative interest, how will it not just drive them all into asset bubbles, bid up the price of housing even more etc.. Where is the socially constructive angle on this, I really don’t see it.

      1. Summer

        They are going to run into more people just not buying period. So the establishment is only left with gauging people on food, housing, setting up legal pot holes to fall through, and healthcare.
        They can now only make great money off of creating MORE misery and people think this sh – – is an “economy.”

  12. mraymondtorres

    Exxon Mobil Baytown

    The company’s operations in the east Harris County city have a history of environmental violations stretching back to 2013.

    So from 1979 when it opened until 2013, it had a clear bill of health?


    Plus, according to KHOU TV Houston “The plant has faced nearly $1 million in fines in the past 10 years. ” Is it 2023? I’ve been so busy!

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Loud people.

    I thought that stereotype or fact applied to New Yorkers in general, not just any particular nationalities (Italians and others), nor just Brooklyn.

    Or was it that they just talked or walked fast (in a New York minute)?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He might want to look into Vietnam as well.

      Much production has moved south of the Friendship Pass, but some people suspect, in not a few cases, products made in China are being stamped Made In Vietnam, and smartly being routed through one of the ports there, before crossing the Pacific.

      1. Summer

        Both sides want high prices…all sides do.
        The “trade war” is a battle over cheap labor. Who’s next to further pauperize their nation?
        The cheap labor is now blantantly about the profit margins for the elite and not low prices for the consumers (if it ever was …looking at you $100 + dollar Nikes).

        I wish I had connections to run down the high prices of the stock market whenever I was ready to buy….

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sometimes high prices are good, on some items.

          Make it $100 plus for a hamburger, and many will become vegetarians.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      we went on our every-3-or-4-month grocery run today…an all day ordeal, 50 miles away.
      the trade war is having an effect in the meat department: pork, especially…$7 for a rack of babyback ribs, etc.
      mom was shocked when i said “thanks, Donald!”,lol.
      but credit where due, even if it’s to an ugly clown.
      chicken was noticeably cheaper, and beef was down, too (instead of $100 for a steak night for us, it was only $50)
      all the strange cheese i like was up, though…but that’s mainly Europe, so i don’t know what’s going on there.

      i’m sure that there’s a saner way to unwind the cruelties and idiocies of the globalised order, but I’ll take it for now.
      we got enough meat for almost a year. all 4 freezers are full.

      1. ambrit

        From what you have let out about yourself and the family, you all have to have a gasoline run emergency generator to keep those freezers cold on those blackout days.
        What I’m keeping my weather eye on is the price of plant based foods now that the floods have put a wrench in the spokes of the American food supply chain.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the genny for the welder doubles for freezers(they’re chest style…so only need a genny if it’s more than a day and a half) and stepdad’s funky air bed(vietnam paraplegic. so he can get out of the bed).
          if i were more mechanically inclined(engines make me crazy) i’d consider putting cork seals, and other mods, so it could run on ethanol….which is rather easily made with a simple solar still, from just about anything that goes in the compost pile.ethanol eats neoprene.
          we keep only limited gasoline in stock.
          as for jackpot/teotwawki style blackouts…aside from the stuff we store every year anyway, the plan is to fire up the smokehouse and cure everything in the freezer.
          not a perfect contingency, i admit.
          smokehouse is an ancient bread oven that the local ISD got rid of for cheap. weighs about 900#. we built the actual smokehouse around it, and ran a stovepipe from an outdoor firebox in and up through it. getting the baffles right was a challenge(slowing the smoke down, without dousing the fire)

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Williamson (D)(1): “Marianne Williamson isn’t funny. She’s scary.” [Vox]. “In her book A Return to Love, Williamson wrote that “sickness is an illusion and does not exist,” and that “cancer and AIDS and other physical illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream.’”

    Each of us has two brains, one on the right and one on the left, and we are all capable of being rational and irrational, at the same time or at different times.

    The more fluid and open half is not precise, by nature. And from time to time, statements like the one above emerge, as well as the reminder to love. But, why are we capable of hate? Why do we hate, among other things, injustice, for example?

    If we rightfully hate injustice, is then that love is not all?

    (Note that here I comment in the form of questions. Some assume that by my merely asking, I am for it, and in my own imagination).

    More broadly, does this inquiry have any implcations with respect to virtue signaliing (love is a virture, and presumably hate is not)?

    1. BoyDownTheLane

      The Vox comment suggests that there are a lot of people who have no idea about or have not been educated or self-informed about the power of the mind/body/spirit singularity which, when harnessed and focused, is capable of incredible things. Readers here may inquire through Lambert Strether and ask for a copy of the bibliography to my 20-chapter e-book entitled “Summon The Magic: How to Use Your Mind to ….”. In it, among many others, is reference to several books by Michael Murphy, Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi, Harvey Dorfman, Ellen Langer, Ann Jauregui, Ken Ravizza, and many others which will set you on your way.

      In my case, my daughter was playing at a high level of international amateur fast-pitch softball when Jen Finch stepped on her hand as she slid back into first on a pick-off attempt, breaking a metacarpal bone and making it impossible for her to grip a bat. [She was the #2 slugger in the nation in her senior year.] The doctor said her season was over. I created a visualization exercise based on the research of Lydia Ievleva and my daughter went to work envisioning internal bodily healing processes. The doctor said two weeks later that she’d never seen a bone heal so fast. She was named a second-team All-American two weeks later.

      1. Plenue

        I have no idea what a ‘spirit’ is supposed to be. But yes, sure, positive thinking and social interactions can aid recovery. Any doctor with experience will tell you that.

        But that doesn’t change the underlying physical reality. If Williamson was being serious when she said the above about cancer and AIDS, and not just getting too caught up in a metaphor, she’s a fool. AIDS is not a ‘physical manifestation of a psychic scream’. It’s the result of a monkey virus hijacking your T-cells and using them to propagate, destroying your immune system in the process. No amount of love or ‘spirituality’ will prevent it or slow it down, much less stop it. The only thing that will are antiretroviral medications.

        And all I get from your personal story is that a young fit person healed quickly. Yeah, they tend to do that.

        1. meeps

          Yeah, much of what Williamson says is easily misconstrued but the quote at issue in the Vox piece is straight-up faith healing. That’s a no go, for this voter anyway.

      2. Ape

        This is terrible. So if someone fails to heal, it’s because they haven’t had the proper thought process? That’s the underlying claim, that those who get sick willed it upon themselves.

        If this were true, wouldn’t Americans have much longer life-expectancies than Europeans, since positive thinking is a US “thing” and not a European “thing”? But the evidence is precisely the reverse — that Brits, Germans and the French who spend all day expecting the worse fare better than Americans who expect that every weekend will be sunny.

        Lowered stress has been shown to improving healing, and for US-Americans, that may mean having a sunny disposition, and for Germans being fatalistic. It may have nothing to do inherently with the particular magic you believe in, just that the magic you believe in matches how you’ve been raised.

        Of course, the most significant effect on stress is how competitive your society is — so being “happy” is just wagging the tail if you don’t make structural changes so people can bike or walk to work, have decent unemployment insurance and pensions, low-cost health care and so on…

    2. Plenue

      …yeah so anyway. Her Tweet about silencing Assad with love was what convinced me to never pay attention to Williamson. Give me firm policy proposals, not vague feel good language predicated on accepting propaganda premises.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’m not familiar with the ‘silencing Assad’ part.

        Shouldn’t he, like everyone, be allowed to speak? Has he been speaking too much or too offensively?

        1. ambrit

          Yes. The rest of the world seems to treat him like an ordinary head of state in an embattled country. And, for Sweet Deities’ sake, he ran the best multi faith society in the region for years.
          Years ago, I believe it was Truman who quipped about a Central American dictator of an American client state who was described to him as a ‘Son of a b—-‘ that, “Yes. He is a son of a b—-. But he’s our son of a b—-.” Putin can honestly say the same about Assad.

          1. The Rev Kev

            In another quantum time-line, his older brother Bassel was never killed in that car crash so Assad stayed with his chosen profession as an ophthalmologist working in West London and never became President.

    3. JCC

      She’s a little “off the wall” in exaggerating the results of what is known as the Roseto Effect.

      There have been a few studies over the years that have shown that close-knit communities have lower rates of some diseases like heart diseases and some forms of cancer. Mainly these studies have shown this effect in countries outside the U.S. (other than the Roseto study) which isn’t surprising considering close-knit communities are somewhat of a rarity here.

      With well over a hundred years of The Powers That Be honing their skills in dividing close-knit communities, the odds of her accomplishing anything with this philosophy in this country are somewhere between Slim and None.

  15. Carolinian

    Re Russia/Gabbard/NBC–should we feel better that NBC is a US state propaganda outlet along with most of the rest of the MSM? These days our press parrots government talking points just as much as the Russian with the only difference being that our government often seems in opposition to the nominal leadership while Putin seems to have things well in hand. Given this press penchant for denouncing anyone they don’t like as a traitor (or implying it) it’s hard to see how Gabbard can break through even if the public is responsive to her message.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      That NBC story about Gabbard that is linked above and circulating on Twitter is from February. That said, the twitter is aflame with Gabbard: #KamalaHarrisDestroyed is apparently the #1 hashtag while many are of course saying it’s all Russian bots.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden gave it the usual Biden try.

        From Harris’ perspective, Biden started the debate by offering her a gift by being his usual self and being an insulting creep. To not be ready to address her record (its not good) and then to have a narrative of her being destroyed instead of her destroying Biden is somewhat of a campaign killer.

        Harris doesn’t have the room to maneuver left, due to the space being filled and her own credibility. The best thing she could do is lie and claim she had a health scare and then drop out. My guess is the Russian bots is her staff trying to ignore the obvious which is they aren’t working for the future President or Vice President, just an MSDNC regular.

        Just by showing up, she have looked Presidential next to Joe Biden.

        1. Carey

          I don’t think Harris will be dropping out. That little half-smirk of hers tells me she knows something we don’t.

        2. Cal2

          “she looked Presidential next to Joe Biden”

          Until you watch her perform with the sound turned off…

          Then, it’s a cross between Ringgit ꦫꦶꦁꦒꦶꦠ꧀, “Shadow”), puppet theater art found in Indonesia, wherein a dramatic story is told by jumping and flailing arms and Milton The Monster. ;-)

        3. Librarian Guy

          I thought Biden’s little quip to the “kid” about not being hard on him was rather similar to Palin’s winking “Say it Ain’t So, Joe” to him back in the day. It’s just empty theatrics to get the stupidest voters’ attention, and since that works so well for the likes of Trump and Boris Johnson, of course his writers fed him something on this level.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Proud to say I used it early and then after Twitter squelched it, pushed it again (along with a LOT of other people) back to #1.

        Everything Gabbard said has been (I think) linked to from this site. I have seen these stories over and over again and Harris never refutes them, always talks past them.

        She is utterly Nixonian.

        1. Librarian Guy

          I think she’s a little more emotionally controlled than Dick Nixon was– you’re on the right track, though, she definitely could’ve been the love child of Nixon and Henry Kissinger.

        2. Tom Doak

          One of the oundits on the post debate CNN interview last night pretty much said Harris didn’t owe Gabbard any explanation, because Gabbard is a nobody, but if Biden had made the same charges she would have answered them.

          Harris’s own interview afterward had a similar tone, that Gabbard was only making attacks because her campaign is at “zero or one percent” and she is desperate. Not in the same class as Kamala and Anderson Cooper, obviously.

  16. WJ

    The WAPost blabber about “[b]lack voters tend[ing]to be more moderate” is the kind of statement only the Post could get away with. Black voters are far more opposed to war and the police state, and far more disposed to progressive social welfare policies than white voters as a whole.The dynamic of black voters appearing to prefer a candidate like Biden is attributable not to their centrist views but to the complexity of their social situation, especially in the south, as black agenda report has repeatedly reminded us.

    And the only reason why people think Biden is more “electable” is because the Bezos Blog and CNN and MSDNC keep telling them he is.

    When will the emperor be called what he is, naked?

    1. hamstak

      Perhaps “electable” has a distinct meaning for them, and is in fact a sloppy portmanteau formed from “elite” and “acceptable” — in other words, he is favored by the CFR et. al.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The article says: she met with Assad; she befriended Modi; and she commits the unspeakable crime of being a “nationalist”.

          With the usual bromides about how awful Gaddafi was, Saddam, Sisi, etc.

          But CFRs dark horse she is not. Presumably you prefer the foreign policy of Obama, or Warren (advised by Albright)? Gimme a break.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘When will the emperor be called what he is, naked?’

      They already did – in 2016 when the entire main stream media totally and absolutely missed the amount of support that Trump had. They were all for Hillary winning and misread the mood of 335 million people – a remarkable achievement when you think about it. Hasn’t stopped them though in their bs.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        No, it hasn’t.
        They just keep kicking the dogs because they won’t eat the dog food.
        Kick any dog long enough and they will bite.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      +1 blackagendareport reference. Very good site worth reading. Glen Ford does not hold back.

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      Actually in many respects Black people ARE pretty conservative. They attend church more, and not New Agey ones either: lots of Bible thumping, fire and brimstone. And even if they are rightly skeptical of the police they definitely value law and order, being acutely aware of the dangers of an angry mob, and tend to respect their elders more than the mainstream. There is a strong sense of community, so they do appreciate the need for social supports but are pretty traditional and can be downright judgemental about those who violate norms–there is a fair amount of homophobia among Blacks.

  17. BoyDownTheLane

    Apparently the folks at Vox who talk about Williamson’s scary ideas do not subscribe to Deepak Chopra’s ideas on health care, or are adherent to the Rockefeller/BogPharma Hegelian model of medicine. At the very least, they have no conception of the power of the human mind/body/spirit singularity.

    I recommend Chopra’s book “Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine”.

    ”[W]hen all you do is prescribe medication, you start to feel like a legalized drug pusher. That doesn’t mean that all prescriptions are useless, but it is true that 80 percent of all drugs prescribed today are of optional or marginal benefit.”

    Note that Chopra and Larry Dossey, M.D. were both formally-accredited physicians in the traditional approaches to medicine but left them because they had seen their failings. Dossey is the author of more than a few relevant books.

    1. Plenue

      Deepak Chopra is a scam artist who aggressively doesnt know anything about quantum mechanics. I’m perfectly happy completely ignoring a guy who thinks the moon doesn’t exist until someone looks at it.

      Credentials don’t mean anything (Ben Carson is a certified neurosurgeon. He’s also a moron who thinks the pyramids were grain storage). Chopra left real medicine because he saw he could make way more money on the bs alternative circuit.

  18. Darius

    Obama’s quite shallow, or perhaps without emotional attachment. It means nothing to him to put his Bigfoot stamp on Olmsted’s Jackson Park. He could have put his library in one of Chicago’s many restored brownfields and contributed to neighborhood revitalization. Instead he wants to remake Jackson Park and Chicago is too star struck to say no.

    1. Plenue

      I’m inclined toward thinking that Obama is actually a genuine (as opposed to virtual; politics seems to condition previously fully functional people towards a virtual psychopathy) psychopath. His brain works differently from those of most people.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        He is certainly narcissistic: you almost have to be to go into politics and for sure to envision yourself as President of the United States. Beyond that, he is the product of his own remarkable good fortune; tell me your head wouldn’t be turned by all that power and attention. He is personally a quite decent guy, e.g. in his family life.

        It is ludicrous to label him a psychopath.

        1. Plenue

          Just because he doesnt beat his kids doesnt mean he’s decent. It’s entirely possible that he understands that a photogenic family life is conducive to a successful public image. So he treats these assets well.

          The guy destroyed a country and assisted Saudi Arabia in starting a genocide. Domestically he colluded with banks to let them get away with the largest organized theft in US history, devastasting black wealth in particular in the process. Obama is not a good human being. I’ve seen zero evidence of empathy from him.

        2. Jen

          What kind of person pretends to drink a glass of Flint, Michigan water to show the people living there that the water is “safe?”

          “A psychopath has less regard for others, says Aaron Kipnis, PhD, author of The Midas Complex. Someone with this personality type sees others as objects he can use for his own benefit.”

          Sounds like a perfect label to me.

    2. polecat

      Hey, Berry !

      Why U No use Superior teleprompting for greater good ??

      Why U not marooned on Alpha Seti 6 ???

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is life tough or fragile?

    From above:

    “Life is tough” [Aeon]. “Extremophiles tell us that everything we think we know about the fragility of life is wrong. Life is indeed extraordinary, not to mention precious and deserving of reverence – but not in any sense miraculous. The word extremophile didn’t exist until the 1970s. It entered wide circulation only after 1979 when the US Navy’s submersible Alvin revealed ecosystems prospering in deep-ocean hydrothermal vents. The Alvin scientists discovered organisms living in superheated water and largely metabolising hydrogen sulphide, which until then had been thought toxic and incompatible with life…. Extremophiles are in a sense antitheological and a cure for life-worshipping mysticism, another nail in the coffin that proclaims living things to be divinely created because they couldn’t possibly derive from natural processes. They also expand the possible playing field within which life initially evolved.”

    Still, with another 1 or 2 degree rise in temparature, many in this planet will not be around.

    I think that’s one victory for the ‘life is fragile’ team.

    Not sure if that makes me a life-worshipping mystic, but which brings us back to Zen, and the saying:

    It’s not this
    and It’s not that
    It’s not both
    and It’s not neither.

    Both tough and fragile, and as well, not tough nor fragile?

    More likely we remain in the Zen silence.

  20. Left in Wisconsin

    Credit: “Sorry, you’re not getting $125 from the Equifax settlement, FTC says” [MarketWatch].

    Just wondering but I noticed AOC had a tweet the other day encouraging everyone to sign up for their $125 payment, saying it only takes a minute and who couldn’t use $125 to pay off a few bills? I wonder if she broke the settlement?

    In a similar vein, I knew virtually nothing about Andrew Yang before last night but he killed it on the stage (as did Tulsi – both in very few minutes of airtime). He made a brilliant statement about how we don’t appropriately value work and I think the $1000/month citizen dividend is a fantastic idea. It turns out he is also for a financial transactions tax and for eliminating the earnings cap on Social Security, also excellent ideas. (He also supports a VAT which I know some see as a deal-killer.)

    But he is making a huge mistake in trying to associate the dividend with a UBI. It’s not a UBI – it’s just AOC telling everyone to get their $125 from Equifax write large – helicopter money. Needless to say, by suggesting it is a UBI, he is seeing the wrath of the JG people.

    And, according to his website, if you are poor and currently getting government benefits, you could either keep your benefits or take the dividend – so in effect it’s a dividend for everyone but poor people. That is insanely wrong.

    Maybe he really doesn’t get it. But he strikes me as someone with good instincts who just needs to be educated. Not that he has a chance of winning (nor would I really want him too) but it would be good to get more of these ideas out into the “conversation.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Dictionary dot com, on the definition of dividend:

      Mathematics. a number that is to be divided by a divisor.

      Law. a sum out of an insolvent estate paid to creditors.

      a pro-rata share in an amount to be distributed.
      a sum of money paid to shareholders of a corporation out of earnings.

      Insurance. (in participating insurance) a distribution to a policyholder of a portion of the premium not needed by the company to pay claims or to meet expenses.

      a share of anything divided.

      anything received as a bonus, reward, or in addition to or beyond what is expected:
      Swimming is fun, and gives you the dividend of better health.

      The implied meaning, as used in this discussion, is probably ‘a share of anything divided,’ but it could easily be confused with ‘a sum of money paid to shareholders of a corporation..’

      That would take us to ‘a nation is just a corporation’ land.

      Not sure that’s a good thing.

      I wonder if we can just call it ‘bonus’ (for being alive). So, as long as you stay alive, you get a (performance) bonus.

    2. HarrisonBergeron

      UBI would be eaten up in rent increases etc. This approach has been tried and extremely well documented here at NC. It all sounds very nice on paper but in reality it has shown to be a not very good policy.

      1. jrs

        So will wage increases it seems to me. i mean it’s not like we have a ubi or even much wage increases and more income is eaten up by rent every year as is.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        It’s not a UBI, it’s only $1000/month. (I agree it’s a mistake to call it a UBI and it’s a mistake to force people to give up other benefits to receive it.) If it was $500/month, would it still all be eaten up? $100/month? Is the Alaska oil dividend a similarly bad idea?

        Someone made your argument to me last night and offered a bunch of links on what Finland did, which was superficially similar to what Yang is proposing but only offered temporary to a handful of unemployed people by a rightwing govt in the hope that it would reduce UE. It was labeled a failure because it didn’t reduce UE (which just goes to show that UE is not caused by people choosing not to work) but it was not perceived as a failure in any way by the people who received it. I would not use that as evidence that such a program is a failure.

        I support a JG. I advocate paying people to raise their own children (should they choose to) and to look after other family members (should they choose to). I don’t support a UBI in place of a JG nor any kind of citizen dividend that is not in addition to benefits people already receive. But a citizen dividend of 5K or 10K a year I think is an excellent idea. (If it was citizen-only, it could also do a lot to defuse anger about undocumented immigration.) I suppose the argument is that you could never get it through Congress without them taking away people’s other benefits. But that argument holds for every decent idea.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the argument is that extra money would be eaten up in rent increases, etc, and therefore we should not be for it, how would that same argument apply to free college tuition?

        Would the money not going to tuition now be eaten up by room and board increases, textbook increases, etc, and therefore we should not be for free college tuition (on the basis alone…there may be other arguments against it)?

        1. JellyBeanCounter

          Yes, that is exactly the case. If you add money to an economy without corresponding increase in the size of the economy, you get inflation. Easy and endless college loans, as deferred “free money” enable schools to raise tuition and fees while providing the same basic service … often at reduced quality each and every year at a rate well above inflation over all. Easy car loans and home loans do the same for auto prices and home prices. If the federal government adopted a policy if simply paying for college costs, no matter what colleges charge, then the price they charge to the state will increase exponentially too (as will the number if bullshit jobs they create for executives on campus). Adding money without increasing real value leads to hyper inflation, whether the money comes from banks directly or indirectly through state deficits. If the government paid for all college costs, and they did not want inflation in that sector, they will have to insist on price controls and regular audits. The same, btw, is true for healthcare or any other sector.

          1. Ape

            And this is why privatization subsidized indirectly through consumer grants tends to fail. Free universities tend to succeed when the government simply negotiates salaries with professors, sets an overhead rate, and directly funds grants and student positions at fixed rates without the possibility of excess charges.

            But if they “loan” money to students, or give them grants, prices will rise to the grant/loan amount + what you can additionally extort from the students.

            This also changes the dynamic between student and teacher. A student as a “consumer” leads to the collapse of teaching as a mentoring process with strict requirements, but into “how can I make the students happy”.

            Education is painful / light beer tastes great.

    3. HarrisonBergeron

      I like the point about work not being adequately valued. I like yang, he seems more self aware and has a better grasp of some economic policies than most on the stage.

    4. Phenix

      He is aware of his policies impact on poor people and the social safety net. He is too sophisticated. Poor people will pick the cash benefits. At least that is my experience as a poor person now family working with and living around other poor people.

  21. JBird4049

    Yeah, I’m yearning for a personalized human experience delivered by a human.

    Lambert, are you one of those speciesist? :-)

    About those Alaskan ferries, a local area’s need for one, or more, of food, irrigation, flood control and transportation, usually delivered in the form of canals, dams, roads, and bridges are the central reasons for civilization’s creation pretty much anywhere. Not armies, not writing, not religion, but water, food, and transportation. Once a civilization, empire, kingdom, or state failed at any of this it was goodbye for it. It’s not hard to find out. Take a few history courses in college, read a few books, use google.

    Since this has been true about every state since the end of the stone age, or the beginning of the bronze age about 7,000 years ago, just how smart is this woman and why are the leaders in the Alaskan government, actually any government, anywhere, listening to people like her?

    I guess I will just keep a stock of medicinal ale in my fridge.

  22. Kurtismayfield

    Lambert I am disappointed that there was no Frank Herbert quote to go with your aristocracy post.

    Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat.

    Frank Herbert God Emperor of Dune.

  23. ewmayer

    “Backlash at barefoot Prince Harry and ‘hypocrite Greenerati’: Eco-warrior elite who turned up at secret climate change Google camp in 114 private jets, helicopters and mega yachts are mocked for leaving their own carbon footprint” [Daily Mail] — Link is missing, here it is:


    And the Reuters propagandists’ take on last night’s D debate: “Biden steadies ship while setting up impending clash with Warren”. To paraphrase Colbert from back when he was still funny, “this campaign isn’t rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, we’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!”

  24. anon in so cal

    re: Gabbard:

    Starting last evening during the debate, various individuals with huge social media platforms started smearing Tulsi Gabbard.

    Here’s Anders Aslund (“Economist & author. Russia, Ukraine & Europe. Atlantic Council & Georgetown University. Read my latest book: “Russia’s Crony Capitalism” )

    “Why do the democrats allow Putin to have a presidential candidate in their party?”


    Scott Ritter’s retweet comment:

    “Why is a Swedish economist tweeting derogatory comments about a serving member of Congress and Officer in the Hawaii N…”



    Wajahat Ali (started US Al Jazeera, writes for NYT)

    “Beware the Russian bots and their promotion of Tulsi Gabbard and sowing racial dischord, especially around Kamala Harris.”


    1. JBird4049

      Maybe it’s because I am a native Californian who has been unfortunate to see the rise of Senator Kamala Harris, but I just cannot see how anyone can prefer her over Representative Tulsi Gabbard nor how the Russians(!) of all people can be at all responsible for any discord.

      Senator Harris awful record of over punishing the poor, arguments for slavery, support for the conviction and incarceration of the innocent while protecting the wealthy and connected from criminal or even civil prosecution is open record. The woman at best violated her oath of office and at worse is a brutal, corrupt, supporter of oppressing the innocent, the vulnerable, the weak and the poor for personal gain.

      Maybe I might find some policies of Representative Gabbard not to my liking, but her opposition to the American Empire’s permanent war is not one of them. Also I have yet to hear anything negative about her personal record except that she does not support war, which I thought was a good thing, but somehow makes her into a bad person as well as an Isolationist.

      As the New York Times must know all this I guess that they have gone full Faux News.

      1. Carey

        Full agreement here, from another native Californian.
        Harris has gotten a free ride all the way to a Senate
        seat, and maybe further..

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        thirded by another Californian who survived 3 wildfires last year. Prisoners working the fireline are not eligible to be firefighters after they are released in this joke of a state.

        Boxer out, Harris in, meet the new boss, same as the old boss but the optics are a little better while the policy remains abysmal

  25. Mark Gisleson

    One comment on IBM age discrimination.

    Few of my 5k resume clients worked for IBM or intersected with them, but literally all of the ones who did told me stories about the age discrimination. And then most of them mentioned the dress code.

    1. Howard Brake IV

      IBM doesn’t lay people off -it’s called a “Resource Allocation” . IBM also increased headcount in India, making it the country with the largest share of IBM workers.

    2. John

      I decided quite some time ago that were Kamala Harris to get the nomination, I just might sit out the presidential election as I did in 2016. (Not an act of political courage; Hillary carried the state easily.)

      I think the Blob is afraid of Gabbard; afraid that she might get traction and make a difference in the contest. It would interfere with the Blob’s plans to keep their adored donors happier than pigs in cool mud whle raking in the MIC contributions. Besides they love war and Tulsi does not. I have had more than enough of the whole crowd. Defenestrate the lot of them if they are lucky they too will land in an immense pile of horse sh-t. It would be homelike.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        They think even if Bernie got in there they could stymie Med4All or water it down.

        You can’t tell the commander in chief the war isn’t ending if she orders the troops to withdraw.

  26. Steve H.

    Kamala had a tell that Tulsi exposed – not cheap labor for Cali, nor locking up poor people. It’s the death row issue. That’s what Harris is afraid of.

    1. richard

      That’s interesting. What makes you say that she is (or feels) particularly vulnerable in that area?

      1. Steve H.

        A face touch can be a method of self-comforting. Harris does a good job self-distracting, by writing as Gabbard piles on, and then presents well. That’s to be expected from a prosecutor that was able to put people away, as even her detractors claim. Her courtroom/debate technique is at least capable.

        I don’t think the face touch is clear evidence, but I take it as a tell. You can see in the split screen during this video, about 3:45 on. The only times Harris breaks discipline and self-touches is during phrases that Gabbard has said “death row”.

  27. dcrane

    and their evil running mate Networking

    Yes, when networking means finding out what buddies/ingroups one has in common, and figuring out how you can cooperate to put each other above the common good or public interest.

  28. Jeff W

    “Gabbard vs. Harris: You Kept Prisoners Locked Up For Labor, Blocked Evidence That Would Free Man On Death Row” All true. Good staffwork. Oppo works!
    I was impressed by how seamlessly Gabbard delivered that fusillade of charges—she didn’t miss a beat. And, meanwhile, on spilt screen, Harris had a pained look on her face—she knows it’s all true and all she can do is say, “Well, look at these good things I did!” (not that, as Cal2 helpfully points out, she was all that forthcoming about those) and pivot to attacking Joe Biden. Is any of that lost on the average debate viewer?

  29. The Rev Kev

    Ugh! “CNN Caught Blocking Bernie Supporters From Camera w/Jordan Chariton”

    A 27-minute video that I have just started watching from Jimmy Dore so be aware that there is probably some swearing in it. If I was a Sanders supporter I would be doing a lot of swearing too. I have just seen the first minute or two but it was the police that were doing this too.


    1. grayslady

      Thanks for the alert. This is an absolute must see for every voter. We are living in frightening times.

    2. pretzelattack

      the thin blue line protecting us all from better healthcare and more economic equality.

    3. Bill Carson

      “Probably” some swearing?? lol. I love Jimmy Dore, but the man does not pander to virgin-eared puritans and he does not pull any punches.

      Funny to watch how his language “offends” Trump supporters who aren’t bothered by Trump’s language or actions.

  30. anon in so cal

    “Injecting yourself with dog insulin? Just a normal day in America”

    On the MSM’s “Perseverance porn”

    “Although it is certainly possible to admire the bravery or resourcefulness of the subjects of some of these perseverance porn subjects, they can only be seen as inspirational or uplifting if we accept the free-market logic that healthcare is not a human right but something to be bought and sold through a market. Thus, injecting dog insulin or children effectively begging for life-saving treatment is not an indictment of the system but an unremarkable fact of life. To anyone with a heart, these stories are windows into the terrible circumstances ordinary Americans are forced to endure.”

    Alan MacLeod


    1. marieann

      I had a diabetic cat a few years ago. He used human insulin for a time ….then I had my Vet send to Texas for a special insulin that was better for cats. I have never heard of animal grade insulin.

      1. JBird4049

        And Breaking Bad could not have been set in Canada because Walter White would have been given free treatment immediately.

        The only thing that seems to universal make people jaws about the United States is our fabulous healthcare “system.” I think Europeans all must think we’re just completely crazy.

        It seems to be the one view that has no dissenters. Except for some of us crazy Americans.

        1. Ape

          Europeans (at least classy ones) tend to believe that American dramas like “Breaking Bad” are completely make believe. They tend to be shocked when they start to learn the kernels of truth in these shows, the motels burned down as meth-labs, the every day corruption in much of the US.

          Trump really makes most people’s head spin. The open corruption is unimaginable — people tend to expect that politicians at least pretend to be clean, reflecting a lower amount of day to day corruption and basic social services. Of course, you head toward Eastern Europe, and people “get it” much better.

          And of course, if you talk to less “classy” people, they tend to get it much better as well. The lower down the status chain you go anywhere, the more realistic people are about the conditions of life.

          Tell folks about US unemployment insurance in Western Europe. They just won’t believe you.

  31. BoyDownTheLane

    Afterwards, You’re a Genius: Faith, Medicine and the Metaphysics of Healing, Chip Brown, Riverhead Books (Penguin Putnam), New York 1998.

    The Break-Out Principle, Herbert Benson, M.D. and William Proctor, Scribner, New
    York 2003.

    The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker, Free Press, 1973.

    The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotions in the Making of Consciousness,
    Antonio Damasio, Harcourt, 1999.

    God and the Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution, by James
    Redfield, Michael Murphy and Sylvia Timbers, Tarcher/Putnam, New York 2002.

    The Intuitive Body: Aikido as a Clairsentient Practice (revised edition), Wendy Palmer,
    North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA 1999.

    Liars, Lovers and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are, Steven R. Quartz, Ph.D. and Terrence J. Sejnowski, Ph.D., HarperCollins/
    Wm. Morrow, New York 2002.

    Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life, Steven Johnson,
    Scribner, NY, 2004.

    Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented
    , Bill Plotkin, New World Library, Novato, CA 2008.

    On The Sweet Spot: Stalking The Effortless Present, Dr. Richard Keefe, Simon &
    Schuster, Boston 2003.

    The Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are, Joseph LeDoux, Viking
    Books, New York 2002.

    A User’s Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention and the Four Theaters of the Brain, John J. Ratey, M.D., Random House/Pantheon, New York, New York 2001.

    Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
    , Jon Kabat-
    Zinn, Hyperion, NY 1994.

    Suggested reading for those interesting in moving beyond the centuries-old Cartesian model

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