2:00PM Water Cooler 8/20/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Trump’s Trade War Is Keeping the Dollar Strong, Not the Fed” [Bloomberg]. “Donald Trump has blamed the stubbornly strong dollar on the Federal Reserve’s reluctance to slash interest rates further. But real yields suggest investors fearful of the president’s trade war are what’s keeping the greenback strong.”


“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

I’m abandoning the RCP poll on the Democrat Presidential nomination race, despite the fancy presentation, because I don’t like the way the polls used keep changing (and RCP doesn’t include Reuters/IPSOS either, at least not now, even though Reuter is one of the polls that the DNC uses to determine — if that’s the word I want — candidate eligibility for the debates. So I’ll try FiveThirtyEight (I know, I know) for awhile. Here are results going a week back, last updated 2019-08-20:

Morning Consult (B-) is still the pick of the litter today on sample size, and it has Biden, Sanders, and Warren, in that order, and Sanders solidly ahead of Warren. CNN (A-) has Warren breathing down Sanders’ neck. Harris (C+) has interesting head-to-head comparisons. Hopefully we’ll have something better than this screen dump shortly.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Obama Repeatedly Tried to Get Biden Not to Run for President” [GQ]. “The most surprising part of the Times story though is how Obama has on multiple occasions tried to dissuade Biden from running for president. First, in 2016, Obama pressured Biden to sit out the race because he believed Hillary Clinton was the best shot at continuing his legacy. Even though that didn’t pan out for Obama, he still tried to talk Biden out of running in 2020…. The Times also reports that in March, Obama summoned Biden’s top campaign advisers, Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield, to his Washington office. Multiple sources confirmed to the Times that the ex-president warned the advisers to make sure that Biden doesn’t “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy.'” • That Obama. All class.

Biden (D)(2): “Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy” [Counterpunch (Re Silc)]. “Central to [Biden’s] narrative is the presentation of the difference between Trump and Obama as akin to the difference between Hitler and Gandhi. A better analogy – especially when it comes to foreign policy – would be the difference between John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer who was known for dressing up as a clown at public events, and Ted Bundy, the tall, handsome serial killer who enticed his victims into his car with his charm and good looks.” • I picked out the sickest burn, if we still say that, but the article as whole is quite a bill of particulars.

Biden (D)(3): “Jill Biden: ‘Swallow a little bit’ and vote for Joe” [CNN]. Jill Biden: “Your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, health care, than Joe is, but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election. And maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘OK, I personally like so and so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.” • Liberal Democrats: “You have no place to go, so take it and like it.”

De Blasio (D)(1): “De Blasio Says He’s Still in Race to Win: Campaign Update” [Bloomberg]. “New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has less than 1% support in national polls, and he’s far short of the 130,000 donors needed to participate in a September debate among Democratic presidential candidates, yet he says he’s still in the race to win. ‘I’m standing up for working people. I’m standing up for labor unions. I’m saying very bluntly that we can not depend on private insurance companies to give people the kind of health care they actually deserve,’ de Blasio said Tuesday during an MSNBC interview.” • I think there’s a candidate in that lane already.

Harris (D)(1): “Kamala Harris, Who Just Clarified Her Rejection of Real Medicare for All, to Snub Climate Forum in Favor of Big Donors” [Common Dreams]. “[T]he Harris campaign told CNN Harris would not attend the network’s September 4 climate forum, citing previous commitments—big dollar California fundraisers.” • Classy!

Harris (D)(2): Poor optics:

Inslee (D)(1): “Climate Candidate Who Proposed Climate Debate Won’t Qualify for Climate Debate” [New York Magazine]. “In June, a small first-year-of-the-primary controversy flared after Washington governor Jay Inslee proposed a field-wide town hall on climate change and the Democratic National Committee told him that if he participated in an unofficial event focused on the crisis of our time, he would be barred from official DNC debates in the future. In July, the tone of the conversation changed when CNN announced it would host a climate-only debate in New York on September 4 for candidates who made the cut for the next all-issue debate by snagging at least 2 percent in four qualifying polls. Unfortunately for Inslee — who has proposed a plan for a 100 percent–renewable, zero-emission America by 2035 — it appears unlikely that he will get invited to the debate he proposed, as he hasn’t reached 2 percent in any polls approved by the DNC.” • Great job, DNC, turning selected — and, naturally, totally objective! — pollsters into gatekeepers.

Sanders (D)(1): If you build it:

Sanders (D)(1): In the Hamptons, the Monogram Cup Straw Poll (similar to the kernel poll in Iowa):

Trump (R)(1): “An Anti-Trump Landslide?” [The American Conservative]. “Anything could happen between now and November 2020, but this new Fox News poll is not good news for the president. If the vote were held today, Joe Biden would clobber him, which is no surprise. But also, a geriatric New England socialist would beat the stuffing out of Trump. So would a preachy Harvard professor and a militantly progressive black woman from the San Francisco Bay Area.* An anti-Trump landslide at the top of the ticket could wash the GOP Senate majority away. We would then have a Democratic president and Congress — and they would be in a score-settling mood. One more time: anything could happen between now and Election Day 2020. But a recession, which is growing more likely by the day, would be something extremely hard for Trump to overcome.” •  “Anti-Trump landslide” is Bitecofer’s theory of the case for 2018 and 2020. NOTE * Harris, lol.

Warren (D)(1): “Native American Forum Focuses On Elizabeth Warren’s Policies, Not DNA Test” [HuffPo]. “But despite the media’s attention on the DNA issue, it wasn’t the focus of the forum. Warren talked about the contents of her sweeping plan for empowering tribal nations and indigenous peoples. And it was a hit. ‘What I’d like to see us do is reverse Oliphant,’ Warren said to applause, referring to the Supreme Court decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, which prevents tribal governments from prosecuting non-Indians…. Two tribal leaders raved about Warren’s plan to create a Cabinet position for someone to work directly with Native American communities.” • Warren may finally have secured her rear from attack on this issue — at least in the primary.

Williamson (D)(1): “Marianne Williamson Wants Presidential Politics to Enter the New Age” [The New Yorker]. “Williamson, a nondenominational psycho-spiritual leader, who mixes references to Christianity with quotes from philosophers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Deepak Chopra, has based her Presidential candidacy on an unspoken premise: that the country might be experiencing an epidemic of mental illness. Actually, it’s not that unspoken: ‘We have a problem with the psychological fabric of our country,’ a section on her campaign Web site, titled ‘The Issues Aren’t Always the Issue,’ says. “A low level emotional civil war has begun in too many ways to rip us apart.’… [A retired San Francisco publicist named Stephen Kenneally said that he] was not of Williamson’s demographic at the time. I asked him what that demographic was. ‘People that had no hope,’ he said.” • Then Williamson’s demographic is enormous, because neoliberalism is about removing hope (“there is no alternative”). Every so often The New Yorker still delivers, and this is one of those times.

Obama Legacy

“The Trump vs. Obama economy — in 15 charts” [WaPo]. • Not a lot of difference, though there’s no discussion of the long-lastiing damage to the economy (hysteresis) caused by Obama’s miserably inadequate response — unless you were a bankster — to the Crash.

“Obamas’ first film charts life in US factory under China bosses” [Yahoo News (Re Silc)]. “[American Factory] charts a Midwestern rust belt community’s journey from optimism at the giant plant’s reopening — bringing back vital jobs — toward creeping anger and disillusionment as the Chinese management imposes its strict, exhausting demands on workers and sacks those who don’t comply.” • Absolutely shameless.

Our Famously Free Press

Susan Sarandon makes Soledad O’Brien‘s skin crawl?

Nothing unique about O’Brien’s views; what is remarkable — besides the fact that Susan Sarandon (!) has become a hate figure among former Clinton supporter — is that the open expression of such views has been normalized. Can anybody seriously believe they don’t affect coverager?

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“EXCLUSIVE: Ghislaine Maxwell STAGED In-N-Out photo in Los Angeles with her close friend and attorney, using confidante’s dog Dexter in the snapshot” [Daily Mail]. • You can read for the detail, which is awfully fun, but I did think the title of the book Maxwell was reading, The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives, was more than a little odd.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Newt Gingrich Slams ‘New York Times’ 1619 Project As Shameless Abolitionist Propaganda” [The Onion]. “In fact, if they’re going to be putting out biased nonsense like this, the newspaper’s editors might as well have left-wing lunatics like William Lloyd Garrison writing up their anti-slavery screed for them.”

“Trump’s Quiet Attack on Redistricting” [The New Republic (Re Silc)]. “President Donald Trump ordered the Census Bureau to compile citizenship data from existing federal records last month, after the Supreme Court effectively blocked a citizenship question on the census itself. In a letter to Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, the bureau confirmed it would produce that data in a highly auspicious form. “Administrative records will use existing government information to produce citizen voting age population (CVAP) data at the census block level, the smallest geographic data unit,” the bureau told Pressley’s office last week. While not obvious at first blush, this arcane minutiae carries massive consequences for American politics. Every ten years, state legislatures redraw both their own seats and federal House districts using the bureau’s block-level data on total population—the Census-tabulated head count of every single person inside the United States. By also providing block-level data on eligible voters, the bureau is opening the door for states to redraw their legislative maps in 2021 based on that population base instead…. Such a move would reshape the political and social topography of any state that tries it. Legislative seats—and the raw political power that comes with them—would shift away from diverse urban areas and gravitate toward whiter suburban and rural communities.” • Important! Obama’s 2010 debacle continues to echo.

“What Rep. Abigail Spanberger learned after clashing with progressives” [WaPo]. “Mother of three,” paragraph 21. “CIA officer,” paragraph 26. “Linda Higgins, the pastor at St. John’s United Church of Christ, was in the audience. She wants Congress to impeach the president. She also worked to get Spanberger elected. ‘Would we have loved to put a progressive up? Yeah,’ Higgins said. ‘Would they have won? No. There is some reality in politics. We knew who she was. But she is wonderfully who she is.'” • Oh.

“EXCLUSIVE: Harry Reid: ‘Of Course’ Medicare for All and Decriminalizing Border Crossings Are Bad Ideas” [Vice]. “Nearly all of the 2020 candidates have made a point to kiss the ring of the man who built Nevada’s vaunted Democratic political machine and still holds immense power in the state — he’s had long conversations recently with candidates including Pete Buttigieg and his old Senate colleague Joe Biden.” And then there’s this: “[H]e recently penned an op-ed calling for the elimination of the filibuster, a controversial view even among Democrats.” • That lets the cat out of the bag; there would have been a path to single payer if Reid had abolished the filibuster in 2009. So when Reid asks, of Medicare for All, “How are you going to get it passed?” the answer was right in front of him, all the time.

Stats Watch

Tnere are no official statistics of note today.

Retail: “Big Brands Are Using Amazon’s Anticounterfeiting Measures to Crush Small Businesses” [Vice]. “[F]or a small retailer like Card & Party, Amazon is a pivotal source of online revenue. Aaron Schwartz, Card & Party’s attorney, argues that Amazon’s process for authorizing vendors to sell branded merchandise allows large companies to unlawfully drive smaller competitors, especially discounters like Card & Party who sell the same products for cheaper, from Amazon. ‘Our allegation is that they’ve misused the Amazon Brand Registry as a vehicle to boycott third party retailers who compete with them. They can do this because they are both a retailer and a manufacturer,’ he said. ‘They’re leveraging their monopoly.'”

The Bezzle: “WeWork Analyst Warns IPO Filing a ‘Masterpiece of Obfuscation'” [Bloomberg]. “The We Co., which is expected to raise about $3.5 billion in what would be 2019’s second-biggest initial public offering, must have put in a great effort to conceal the unit economics underlying the coworking space provider, said Triton Research Inc. Chief Executive Officer Rett Wallace. ‘The prospectus is a masterpiece of obfuscation,” he said in an interview. ‘If the underlying facts were positive, why would a company go to so much trouble to prevent you from understanding them?’ Using what it calls an obfuscation index as one component of its ratings, Triton has built a strong track record predicting the winners and losers among technology IPOs. Since January 2018, listings that won an above-average score from Triton have risen about 92% from their offering prices, nearly triple the return of those scoring below average.” • That’s the Wheee! Co.

The Bezzle: “UK shoppers leave £228m of click-and-collect products unclaimed” [Sky News]. “It said more than 70% of shoppers in the UK chose click and collect, selecting the option twice a month on average. But a third of shoppers who failed to pick up their items from the retailer after choosing the option did so because the process was a “hassle” and they preferred to wait for a refund before reordering the goods via home delivery.” • You get a refund if you don’t pick up your order? Huh?

Tech: “Apple’s Goldman Card Launches in U.S. With Uber Cash-Back Offer” [Bloomberg]. • Tim Cook gets into bed with Uber? Ick.

Tech: “Data Sweat” [Real Life]. “Data sweat, in addition to self-published inputs, fuels the algorithmic creation of personalized profiles which include large-scale assumptions about individuals’ identity and inner life. These categorizations generate emotional appraisals, not just topical targeting. For example, keystroke patterns or finger movements across a phone screen might differentiate a conservative shopper from a compulsive one. Advertising strategies — ranging from the content individuals receive to these ads’ aesthetic appearance and when they appear on screen — will adapt according to these affectively influenced labels. Netflix’s eerily personalized image thumbnails that pitch the same movie as a thriller to one user and a romance to another are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Tech: “”I don’t own the data”: End User Perceptions of Smart Home Device Data Practices and Risks [Madiha Tabassum, Tomasz Kosinski, Heather Richter Lipford, USENIX]. “In this qualitative interview study of smart home users, we found that participants generally understand that a wide range of information is being collected about their interactions with smart home devices, and shared with a variety of entities to provide useful functionality as well as for marketing and advertising. Much of this information is stored in the cloud, where it is out of the control of users. Yet users are also highly uncertain about these data practices, and desire greater awareness and control over what is occurring. Participants also identified several threats common across computing contexts – such as breaches and financial theft, as well as home safety and security. Yet, despite this awareness of potential threats, they did not view these as serious risks and practiced few mitigation strategies beyond trying to provide devices with no more information than necessary.” • Taking candy from babies.

Manufacturing: “Airlines are selling thousands of flights on the Boeing 737 Max, even though it’s still grounded” [Business Insider]. “Airlines including American, United, Southwest, Norwegian, and TUI are selling thousands of flights in November and December of this year using the [737 MAX], the UK’s The Sunday Times newspaper reported. These flights are just after when the airlines think that the plane will be allowed to fly again — a date that the airlines keep pushing back.”

Manufacturing: “Despite Devastating Crashes, Boeing Stocks Fly High” [The American Conservative]. “Other powerful forces are hard at work to save the corporate behemoth from going into a terminal stall. Boeing, for example, is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the 30-stock index generally if misleadingly cited as a bellwether of the market as a whole, and even the entire U.S. economy. Because the Dow is weighted by price, an upward or downward move in Boeing has a significant effect on the index, which makes it a particular object of interest for the trading desks at major Wall Street players. Hence the stock is traded very actively in the ‘dark pools,’ otherwise known as “alternative trading systems,” with opaque names such as JP Morgan’s JPMX, operated by the big banks and major institutions as unregulated stock exchanges, courtesy of a toothless SEC. These are ideal instruments for manipulating the market, since they don’t have to show their bids and offers to the general market place as is required on regulated exchanges.”

Manufacturing: Thread:

The script that generated that packaging needs work: “Tolmnnts”?

Transportation: “Germany: Berlin tests driverless buses” [Deutsche Welle]. “The buses will be able to travel at up to 15 kph (9 mph). They will initially only cover a 600-meter distance from the end of the U6 metro line to Lake Tegel…. The vehicles will have a member of staff permanently on board, in case of difficulties.” • Not exactly Level 5 autonomy!

Honey for the Bears: “The recreational-vehicle industry is hurting and that could mean pain for the U.S. economy. Shipments of recreational vehicles to dealers have fallen about 20% so far this year, after a 4.1% drop last year. …[T]hat’s a worrying signal since multiyear declines in RV shipments have preceded the last three recessions” [Wall Street Journal]. “The RV manufacturing business centered in Elkhart, Ind., has been something of an economic bellwether since a big part of the industry’s supply chain, from parts to final assembly, is based in the region. Dealers keep inventories lean since RVs are luxury items, and they pull back ordering when they sense cooling demand.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 23 Fear (previous close: 26, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 26 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 19 at 12:39pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“Stable isotope and dental caries data reveal abrupt changes in subsistence economy in ancient China in response to global climate change” [PLOS One]. “Prior to the introduction of wheat and barley from Central Asia during the Neolithic period, northern Chinese agricultural groups subsisted heavily on millet… Here we examine published stable isotope and dental caries data of human skeletal remains from 77 archaeological sites across northern and northwestern China. These sites date between 9000 to 1750 BP, encompassing the period from the beginning of agriculture to wheat’s emergence as a staple crop in northern China. The aim of this study is to evaluate the implications of the spread and adoption of these crops in ancient China… [T]he sudden change in subsistence economy across northern and northwestern China was likely related to climate change. Moreover, the substantially increased prevalence of dental caries from pre–to post–4000 BP indicates an increase in the consumption of cariogenic cereals during the later period. The results from this study have significant implications for understanding how the adoption of a staple crop can be indicative of large-scale environmental and socio-political changes in a region.”

The players behind fake meat:

Health Care

“CDC probes lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use” [Reuters]. “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a ‘cluster’ of lung illnesses that it believes may be linked to e-cigarette use after such cases were reported in 14 states…. E-cigarettes are generally thought to be safer than traditional cigarettes, which kill up to half of all lifetime users, according to the World Health Organization. But the long-term health effects of the nicotine devices remain largely unknown.”

“Gut-associated IgA+ immune cells regulate obesity-related insulin resistance” [Nature] (mouse study). “Obesity is a global concern that is associated with many chronic complications such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance (IR), cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Growing evidence has implicated the digestive system, including its microbiota, gut-derived incretin hormones, and gut-associated lymphoid tissue in obesity and IR….These findings identify intestinal IgA+ immune cells as mucosal mediators of whole-body glucose regulation in diet-induced metabolic disease.”

The 420

“Cannabis legalization may not provide the pot of gold that was expected. Startups in states where cannabis is legal are having trouble competing with the formidable supply chains of traditional drug dealers… even as a spreading legalization movement has marijuana coming out of the shadows. Governments that were planning for huge tax windfalls and investors expecting to reap big returns now are adjusting to a slower burn” [Wall Street Journal]. “The new generation of above-board sellers face big hurdles, including complicated regulations on production and distribution as well as high taxes that drive up cannabis prices at licensed retail stores. Brand-name transportation operators have largely shied away from the trade, leaving companies unable to tap into broader and cheaper shipping networks. Experts say the U.S. cannabis market is huge but much of it likely remains in the hands of illegal dealers.” • (!!!)

Class Warfare

“Finance Needs People Who Work Well With Robots” [Bloomberg]. “Today, it’s not just humans competing for work in banking. Machines are becoming a threat to warm-blooded number crunchers worldwide. Indeed, almost one-third of financial-services jobs could be displaced by automation by the mid-2030s, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP last year.” • Then, they came for the analysts…

News of the Wired

“Impact of multiple food environments on body mass index” [PLOS One]. “We examined the relationship between characteristics of three distinct food environments and BMI among elementary school employees in the metropolitan area of New Orleans, LA. We assessed the food environments around the residential and worksite neighborhoods and the commuting corridors…. Significant results were found between [body mass index (BMI)] and the availability of food stores around residential neighborhoods and the commuting corridor, adjusted for individual-level factors. This study expands the analysis beyond residential neighborhoods, illustrating the importance of multiple environmental factors in relation to BMI.”

“Hundreds of extreme self-citing scientists revealed in new database” [Nature]. “The world’s most-cited researchers, according to newly released data, are a curiously eclectic bunch. Nobel laureates and eminent polymaths rub shoulders with less familiar names, such as Sundarapandian Vaidyanathan from Chennai in India. What leaps out about Vaidyanathan and hundreds of other researchers is that many of the citations to their work come from their own papers, or from those of their co-authors.” • The age of the selfie…

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

Skookum Red writes: “Last spring a close friend (fellow Boeing retiree) pulled up stakes here in N. Puget Sound to take care of his folks in Iowa. We are both organic gardeners. A few days ago he sent me this photo of some of his eggplants that are progressing quite well. I am envious. I love batter-fried eggplants but I am allergic to them. *sigh*. Looking at this photo makes me very peckish.” Yum!

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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. jo6pac

      Yes, I was going to leave Angela Davis name as the only Black Militantly I know of but the site would let me leave a comment;-)

      1. Carey

        I think the writer was purposely conflating neolib Harris with Angela Davis. What dark times we are in; I don’t think that can be emphasized
        enough, though maybe it’s just me.

      1. Tyronius

        I’m likely the resident expert on the topic of cannabis in the white AND black markets so I’ll share a few insights, if I may: The simple fact is that the black market will keep beating the stuffing out of the overly regulated and restricted legal market until the latter brings their prices down. Why hasn’t this happened yet? Because the legal market discovered lobbying and have been diligently using it to erect barriers to entry and other price supports to protect their profits. Prices of product are falling anyway, just more slowly than they otherwise would. That said, the black market will continue to own the cannabis industry until legal economies of scale overtake the black marketeers’ ability to undercut the costs of over regulation.

        1. Lips

          Phat Panda’s Granddaddy Purple, a premium indica, is $175 an ounce on the Olympic Peninsula. Legal, no pesticides, no locked & loaded 9 mil under the couch cushion. Big biz is hampered here because you can grow it or sell it, not both, IIRC.

          1. Tyronius

            Most black market transactions are carried out between friends and acquaintances who have known one another for years; the environment you’re describing is more the norm for hard drugs than cannabis. In Colorado it’s becoming commonplace to get ounces of quality name brand meds for $100, so full recreational legalisation does make a difference.

    2. Cal2

      “But also, a geriatric New England socialist would beat the stuffing out of Trump. .So would a militantly ”’progressive”’ ”‘black”’ woman ”’from the San Francisco Bay Area.*”

      Progressive toward oligarchy.

      1/4 to 1/8th “black.” Mostly East Indian and Irish slave owner descent; her father’s own words: https://www.jamaicaglobalonline.com/kamala-harris-jamaican-heritage/

      Bay Area?
      Raised in Canada and Minnesota, lives in West Beverly Hills with her white-privileged corporate attorney husband. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Harris
      Her campaign for president is headquartered not in the Bay Area, but in Baltimore.

      Even Oakland rejects her, “She would be a no-brainer if she were running for Canadian prime minister…”

      * Trump easily wins again if any Democratic ticket is Kamaleonated.

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue’

      Hang on a minute, I just have to wipe the coffee from my keyboard.

        1. fajensen

          The old IBM ThinkPads were. They had a spill-tray under the keys so the coffee would run out along the side of the machine. Sugary drinks would still mess it up, though, but one could flush with mineral water.

          A techies laptop, i.o.w.

      1. Barbara

        I’m getting a new computer today. worth two months (at least) Social Security checks. At age 80, I’m switching to Linux. I also bought a new rolling computer desk with separate stationary arm to hold the mouse and cup of coffee away from the laptop.

        I went for advice from a local Meetup Linux Users Group. Imagine a group of geeky teen-age boys 50 years on. Just as cutely sexist as they were in their pimply teens. The most important thing I learned from them is that Linux is not pronounced Lie/nux but Lynn/ux. They advised me to get my computer from Dell.

        I did my research and found a company that builds their own super-duper Linux computers with an absolutely dream support staff.Every time I send them a question they come back with super information that is, as yet, a little more advanced than I’m ready for. Everytime I write back to say thanks and I’m not gonna bother you for a while until I understand the info you sent me, they answer back “No, no. Ask your questions, that’s what we’re here for.”

        And the computer is paid in full, so it’s not that they’re trying to make sure of a sale.

        And yesterday, Amazon sent me the wrong computer desk.

        No comparison.

        Of course, I’m typing this still on my 8yr old Windows laptop which crashes umpteen times a day and I’ve lost the use of my Cntl key.

        UPS can’t come fast enough.

        1. YankeeFrank

          One recommendation for you: turn off the automatic updates on your new linux machine. In my experience they tend to break things. Update a library or app when you need the update not just whenever they decide to send them to you.

          I know they tell you to always update for security reasons but honestly, unless its a major security flaw just leave it alone. If its not broken don’t fix it.

      1. Dune Navigator

        I … never … tried … this … ROA: sniffing GG #4.
        Tried. It isn’t going to work. Smoking, on the other hand …

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Funny how wildly in sync Republican and Democrat leaning ideologues are with the opposing terminology. Theyre supposed to know their enemy right?

    5. WheresOurTeddy

      If Harris is militantly progressive, Sanders is Trotsky himself.

      Alas, neither is true…

          1. richard

            well, if you take away desperate sounding arguments (“Obama liked me!), Joe wouldn’t have much left

    1. Whoamolly

      Re: Liberal Democrats: “You have no place to go, so take it and like it.”

      1. Stay home, or
      2. Write in Bernie/Gabbard, or
      3. Vote Trump reasoning that the next Trump victory might finally trigger a house cleaning of the D elite

      That’s three other places to go that the D’s seem to be ignoring.

      1. jrs

        well #3 is the same stuff we’ve heard about the first Trump election, so I think I’m getting tired of waiting for Godot here … if it was going to happen, shouldn’t it have? I don’t know what type of magical thinking it takes to believe 4 more years of Trump will somehow make Dems better when he hasn’t yet, but I’m tired of magical thinking. It doesn’t offer any solution to our problems.

        Vote 3rd party would be a better #3 even though it doesn’t accomplish much either, but to register objection (and only very slightly so, considering how poorly 3rd parties tend to do).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That #3 about house cleaning of D elite, will it arrive before, or after, capitialism ends, or the other marker, the 2 C tempature increase?

      2. Oregoncharles

        Umm – there will be a Green in the race; hard to say who at this point.

        So that’s another place to go, but maybe not for “Liberal Democrats.”

        1. Carey

          After the nomination is again stolen from Sanders late next year, It’s likely that my mcVote will again go to the Green
          candidate, as it did in 2016; even if it will not be accurately
          counted. No chance that Stein / Baraka got only 1.03% of
          the vote in 2016. Not believable.

          1. Barbara

            Very interesting. If the vote-managing bots managed to whittle down the Green votes to 1.03%, there’s no way the Democratic claim can stand up that people who voted Green cost Clinton the election.

            They’re not very bright over there, are they?

      3. John

        I am sticking with my early call , Bernie and Tulsi, unless or until there is a blessed miracle and the democrats arouse from their long slumber.

      4. fajensen

        “Option 3” is kinda equivalent to curing your intestinal worm infestation by drinking Drano!

    2. ewmayer

      @Jill: Do you mean a European or an African swallow? And should said bird grip the coconut by the husk, or work in pairs and carry the coconut using a strang of creeper? Such details are important.

      [Aside: were I a boor, I might have been tempted to instead crack wise along “but enough about your long-ago first date with Joe, Jill” lines. Fortunately I am above such gutter-sniping.]

      1. John k

        But she liked it! And she thinks you will, too!
        Open wide, down the hatch… granted, it’s an acquired taste…

      1. ewmayer

        Would that be “Joeplait” brand (rhymes with “foeplay”) or just plain folksy “Joegurt” (rhymes with ‘sixpack’)?

  1. Wukchumni

    Insurers dropped nearly 350,000 California homeowners with wildfire risk

    One of the most dramatic increases in non-renewals came in Nevada County, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where fire risks are among the most severe in the state. A total of 1,071 homeowners were dropped by their carriers last year, a 38 percent jump from the year before.


    1. Cal2

      Not mentioned is that banks can call in your mortgage if you lose or are under insured for fire insurance.

      The banks are powerful, Newsom and the ‘democrats running the state are in thrall to PG&E, Wall Street, and the banks, who might end up owning lots of lowered value properties that they couldn’t offload, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
      Wonder it that would be enough to trigger a recession?

      Why are not PG&E executives in prison? We all are forced to pay for tree maintenance on our PG&E bills. They hoarded the money. They split our maintenance money between tree contractors and the CEOs when the world was delayed or not done at all.

      “The tree, located in a “fire prone” area in Northern California, already had leaves singed off of it as wind gusts had blown it into a power line that was “inches away”. The tree was first flagged for maintenance back in November of 2018. Several months went by and one of the company’s tree-trimming contractors certified in February that the work had been completed. It hadn’t been.
      In April, a “pre-inspector” again prescribed the tree for work, without noting that it was urgent. The tree was finally pruned – on June 12, about 8 months from it originally being flagged.”

      1. Whoamolly

        The only long term solution I can see is for Northern California towns to institute ongoing brush and tree abatement rules.

        On the Whoamolly homestead I am having all pine, manzanita and brush removed by the local tree contractor.

        Oak trees remain but have their lower branches trimmed up to 8 feet high. Nothing left but oak trees on grassy hillsides.

        There are two large pines just past our property line that have been tagged by PG&E for removal. They have been awaiting the tree crews for 3 months.

    2. sierra7

      The dropping of homeowner’s fire coverage here in Tuolumne County is also escalating. Many , many homeowner desperate. It also seems that no matter what anti-fire measures to be taken make no difference to the insurance carriers. It is getting very bad.

      1. Whoamolly

        Re: It also seems that no matter what anti-fire measures to be taken make no difference to the insurance carriers.

        That’s what I’m hearing too.

  2. laughingsong

    Williamson: “psycho-spiritual leader” not “psychic-spiritual leader” . . . a small shiv (a “sgian dubh” if you will) but a shiv nonetheless

    1. Carey

      If Williamson is the best we can do for Spiritual™ Leadership™, we’re in a world of hurt (we are). This does not mean I think all her notions are bad.

    2. Ember Brody

      Shiv comes from sgian dubh? Gaelic for “black knife”. I did not know that. Cool, go raibh maith agat as sin (thanks for that)!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In Sana’a, Yemen, men, as a tradition, wear a jambia (or jambiya, janbia, etc). It’s a curved dagger.

        Not sure if that is allowed in the UK these days.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Skene (from “sgian”) is an obscure Highland clan, and an ancestral family name – my father’s mother.

      Edit: but not so obscure that Amazon doesn’t sell the tartan, which my father sometimes wore.

    4. ewmayer

      My dictionary on ‘shiv’: ORIGIN probably from Romany chiv ‘blade.’

      Give the Harkonnen a blade and let him stand forth…

  3. Pavel

    I noticed the same thing about the new Apple (a/k/a Goldman Sachs) credit card… they are offering special discounts on Uber and Uber Eats????

    I checked one of the Apple blogs (Macrumors.com) and there was a forum discussing the new cards. One person posted that he had $100K+ in income, had a FICA score of 800 and a million dollar house but was being offered a 22% rate on the Apple card. First world problems…!

    Steve Jobs was by no means perfect, but I don’t think he’d be ordering takeaway food from restaurants using underpaid gig economy workers. In contrast, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that Tim Cook approves all this. After all, for all his talk about human rights and the environment he still does deals with the Saudis and exploits Chinese workers. [Caveat: Jobs did the same, at least with the Chinese.]

    Dog, the world is depressing these days.

    1. Summer

      #I checked one of the Apple blogs (Macrumors.com) and there was a forum discussing the new cards. One person posted that he had $100K+ in income, had a FICA score of 800 and a million dollar house but was being offered a 22% rate on the Apple card. First world problems…!”

      Yeah, the Fed’s interest rate policy doesn’t trickle down to the majority for loans and credit cards and doesn’t trickle up for savers.
      How many people do you actually think get and keep even 3% or 4% mortgage rates.

    2. Tim

      I use a Barclay’s Uber card to get 4% off on restaurants, no annual fee and I never carry over a balance. I’ve never used Uber in my life.

      I have other cards for large cash back on groceries, gas, ect. All have astronomical rates, and I also have a good credit history. They are playing the odds with me, but as somebody with zero debt of any kind, they are going to lose their bet.

      Not that I’d feel bad for them for even one second.

    3. Carey

      Is there a word for large, corporate entities like Apple, Goldman Sachs,
      and Uber consorting for mutual benefit, with a little help from
      other-way-looking friends in “our” Gub’mint?


  4. DonCoyote

    > Experts say the U.S. cannabis market is huge but much of it likely remains in the hands of illegal dealers.” • (!!!)

    Bought some THC and CBD products in a California dispensary not too long ago, and the total taxes were 33-37% (!!!) So if your dealer reliably has a good product…just sayin’

    1. Wukchumni

      Me like the potential of 31 flavors, versus the old method of scoring a lid, more than likely consisting of one or two strains.

    2. dearieme

      The new generation of above-board sellers face big hurdles, including complicated regulations on production and distribution as well as high taxes that drive up cannabis prices at licensed retail stores.

      Who could have foreseen that?

    3. none

      Don’t you have to get your ID scanned and go into a database to buy California weed from dispensaries? Sounds like dealers offer better privacy.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      since colorado(et, al.) legalised, weed around here has been more expensive, and much much harder to get.
      I actually miss the old Mexican Brick.
      never had to do a test puff with that, like these newfangled bubblegum strains(to determine potency, lest one melt into the couch)
      I sincerely wish texas would just legalise it(like, for reals, not this accidental nonsense they’re doing, now)…so i could just grow my own, and stop funding cartels or other criminal enterprises.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Thats one of the reasons i gave it up. After hittin da bowl, my mind goes on a roller coaster for 5-10 minutes until i mellow out.

        One hitta quitta, Indeed!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          back in the mexican brick days, i’d have a half a J with my coffee(4am naked joint walk, if warm), and then “as an ass in the desert, I go now to my work”*.
          I find that i am much more productive with it than without…of course, I’m self-directed, mostly alone, doing farm stuff and other hill people activities.
          i also don’t drink as much beer.
          with the colorado stuff, i can’t really do joints…too potent…although i still manage to glide around doing chores(“walk by and get it done” is my main inheritance from my maternal granddad)

          (*Gurney Halleck, for anyone who was wondering)

          1. ambrit

            Funny that, but the older I get, the less ‘driven’ I am to return to my old habits. (Best album Title: “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.”)
            I could see the virtues of a self mellowing regimen, but life is too complicated now to take my eyes off of the ball for long.
            That D—-d Calvinist Ethic! We were socialized into it without the requisite study in the underlying philosophy.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Im caught between two worlds!!!

              Def more ‘productive’ high, but Family comes first nowadays and im going to Veterans Hiring Fair Thursday in the Superdome. The Companies all drug test down here. As all my grandparents have died off or left for retirement communities, theyve sold all their houses. My parents house and the rental property are the only pieces of land we own. I gotta do something and make $$$, because what happens if my parents get sick or die? Im in no financial shape to deal with any of it.

              Amfortas, Guerney Halleck is a true Laborer. Loyal to a fault to House Atreides and Jessica. Mayb theres a ‘Jessica’ patron out there i can work for and not feel like im working for the Harkonnens…

              But sitting here not high is boring af. Might as well make myself useful and get a job with the man. At least until i can start a Working Class Political Revolution here in Louisiana!


              *What would Stilgar Do?

          1. pretzelattack

            i dunno, the weed doesn’t affect me that much, but vaping is a different story. i don’t really trust edibles.

            1. Mike Mc

              Friends retired to CO a couple of years ago in part due to legalized cannabis. He survived a horrible motorcycle accident years ago, and prefers weed to opioids by far. She has a fair amount of arthritis and uses edibles to reduce pain.

              CO labeling frankly better than most prescriptions. My friends and I all in our sixties, and yeah – when all else fails Read The Label First. Percentage matters in all forms.

        1. J7915

          U.S. cannabis market is huge but much of it likely remains in the hands of illegal dealers.” • (!!!)
          Sounds like a replay of the repeal of prohibition.

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      An acquaintance did the Medical Mary Jane that’s been started here in Florida and found that it set off his stomach, and is going back to regs. (He is a computer nerd who is just coming to terms with roughage and green stuff.) Regs is pretty awesome here right now.

      This whole tax cash cow idea is an attempt to enclose a commons right? The proles are already doing a better job at distribution. And it involves, gasp, social interactions and trust networks.

  5. Off The Street

    Glad to see the field of dreams picture showing Susan Sarandon with partner in crime Lindsay Berra, granddaughter of Yogi. Given the O’Briens of the world, the DNC-related material practically writes itself.

    The DNC events are so popular nobody goes there anymore.
    No, Senator, I didn’t say half the things I said.
    Ninety percent of politicians are half-mental.
    When you get to the fork in the electorate, take it.

    1. ewmayer

      “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else” and “We made too many of the wrong mistakes” aptly describe the DNC, don’t they?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Don’t use Twitter myself but when Soledad O’Brien said that she was blocking Susan Sarandon’s account, don’t you first have to deliberately make a choice to follow it in the first place? Not the first time that I have seen Susan Sarandon’s name in a connection with baseball-


      Someone should send Soledad O’Brien a titter message saying “Susan Sarandon 2024” just for a stir.

  6. Wukchumni

    The Central Valley Bible Belt is generally down on cannabis, heck Fresno has been judged the drunkest big city in the country a number of times, but in their defense you need something to drown the sorrows of living in such a setting.

    Small communities all said ixnay to non-rx pot shops, with the exception of Woodlake, where the lone location from north of L.A. county to Merced is there.

    They’re taking in around $5 million a year in sales and other towns had paid notice to the tax windfall possible, and Farmersville about 15 miles away and right next to Hwy 198 has 3 cannabis stores opening soon.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sorrows of living in such a setting…

      That would be geographic inequality – some places are nicer, while other places are more hostile (to humans living there).

      Still, can’t say drinking is the best or only solution though.

      1. Wukchumni

        The issue with drinking too much in Fresno, is after the hangover wears off, your still in a hellwhole.

    2. Carey

      What is not often noticed by non-residents is that the CVBB typically starts only about ten miles inland..

  7. don

    I live in far Southwest Oregon where pot growers have been around since the late sixties. Once the state legalized pot a boom in production took place within the first 2 years. The next year was a bust as prices crashed due to overproduction. As a result, the number of grows in the area declined significantly.

    Now a new boom has risen: hemp production (CBD), with some fields in the range of hundreds of acres. But it is common knowledge that much of the licensed hemp growers are really recreational growers, the great majority being from out of state.

    Since the state legalized pot, the amount produced illegally has increased way beyond that of by gone years. Legalization lead to a dramatic increase in illegal production, destined for out of state. What irony.

  8. Samuel Conner

    Re: “NOTE * Harris, lol.”

    Thanks for flagging that. I snickered at that point in the AC extent. Evidently they are very “Left and White” in their dichotomist thinking; no shades of red.

  9. dcblogger

    I thought that watching Biden implode would be the last word in schadenfreude, but I find it too embarrassing to watch. Also, his numbers are holding up even though they may in meltdown.

      1. dcblogger

        It would be naive to say his high poll numbers are not real. The association with Obama is everything. It should be easy to beat an all gaffe all the time politician who clearly is experience the early stages of senility, but it won’t be. It can be done, but it will be difficult.

          1. epynonymous

            Checking the spread on the head to head Harris polls (small world), it seems nobody’s made up their minds.

            I read Harris – the candidate – out polling Warren there as a desire for something new… The general pop really doesn’t know.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It would be naive to say his high poll numbers are not real.

          I agree. The association with Obama + loss aversion.

          I also don’t think the “gaffe” attack will work. First, historically, it hasn’t (even though liberals consistently put enormous effort into it, and have for decades). Second, it solidifies Biden’s support among, well, people of this old codger’s age who will think to themselves “Well, I might mix up a word now and then, but I’m managing my affairs just fine” — often true! Like it or not, that’s an important demographic. (It’s also one Sanders can appeal to, for obvious reasons, given the chance.)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The issue would be how the pollsters are modeling their perceived electorates. Demexit was a hot topic a few years ago. As the left soured on Obama, Obama polled the best with self identified “very liberal Democrats”.

        For much of 2016, pollsters predicted a 2008 style turnout because for reasons. They didn’t give any credit to the organizing work that had been done as part of the 50 state strategy which was dissolved along with the defunding with operations such as ACORN.

        Sanders has work to do from the registration perspective, but with a move away from partisan identification but not a move towards the political center, we should expect official Team Blue partisans to have more regressive tendencies.

      3. ewmayer

        To shamelessly crib from Off The Street’s Yogi-Berra comment above, Biden’s polling numbers are 90 percent solid and half made-up.

      4. notabanker

        Reality as in the Bachelor finding his life mate on TV? Or reality as in the mortgage payment is due every month?

    1. JohnnyGL

      I don’t think he implodes….I think he just erodes….it’ll be much less satisfying, but it appears to be underway. I think we’re getting to a ceiling in the low-30s, now.

    2. prodigalson

      He’s just Jeb! for this go round. Same establishment expectation he has this thing locked. Same assumption on his part that he has this thing locked. Same lack of charisma or any defining anything for why someone would want to vote for him. Biden/Jeb! are like less exciting versions of Mitt Romney.

      I agree with erosion/deflation. He’s a new helium balloon from the store and won’t look the same in a year.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From Dao De Jing (loosely translated, as every translation is slightly different):

        Water is soft and yielding. It wears down rocks.

        Those tiny pebbles you see by the river, or on the beach – that’s millions of years of erosion work. Thus, the famous (deserved or otherwise) characterization of the patient Chinese (or Asian).

        But human events are not necessarily geological ones. And we don’t always have to wait millions of years for the strategy to bear fruit.

        Perhaps Xi can remember that and avoid being the muscle guy in his alliance with Putin.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > watching Biden implode would be the last word in schadenfreude

      I’m gonna violate my own rule about ragging on candidate’s physical appearance, but I’m curious: Biden’s skin looks odd to me. Does anybody think he’s had some work done?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I haven’t seen him ‘live’ on TV recently, but I would say that there are a lot of doctors and pseudo doctors out there hawking things for rich people to make them look younger/live longer that can give skin an odd texture. I’m not suggesting he’s doing it, but treatments like testosterone replacement therapy (TRP) (otherwise known as ‘juicing with steroids’) is common as are various collagen skin treatments. Things like keto or fasting diets can give older skin an odd looking sheen as they eliminate subsurface fat.

        I’ve become an unexpected expert on this as googles youtube algo’s decided I’m interested in over-50’s health issues so I’m bombarded recently with lots of ‘you can be over 50 and still look ripped and pull the ladies!’ type ads. A lot of the self styled older mens health gurus have that sort of shiny super thin looking skin.

        Its also possible he’s doing a little botox, that would have the effect of making that grin of his even creepier.

  10. Duck1

    “We would then have a Democratic president and Congress — and they would be in a score-settling mood.”

    Let’s see: reassign corner offices, measure drapes, Pelosi program for first 100 hours, oh she forgot, time to reach across the aisle and negotiate the grand bargain. Mission accomplished.

      1. RMO

        Yeah, they sure settled a lot of scores back when Obama was swept into office with a supermajority in both houses didn’t they? They put that illegitimately appointed war criminal Bush behind bars, stopped all his stupid wars, brought the constitution and bill of rights back from the dead, got healthcare for all citizens, turned the supreme court around with new appointments, reigned in the industries that are destroying the planet and nailed those bastards who collapsed the global economy. It truly was a golden age!

        In the event they do push Biden or Harris over the finish line I’m looking forward to experiencing the new frontier in making up excuses as to why they still aren’t able to do anything good for the majority of the citizens because of the mean and nasty Republicans. Of course if they don’t succeed at that I also look forward to the imaginative excuses as to how they lost to Trump twice. Maybe next time they’ll blame the Welsh, or our reptilian overlord who live in the center of the hollow Earth.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          nope. they’ll blame me.
          i was just over at mom’s(her turn to cook) and, as usual, msdnc was on. chris matthews and an obvious biden shill(she actually referenced his ability to reach across the aisle, and the golden age prior to trump!) piled on the person(black female, saying things that might be heard here) from sirius radio…about “electability” and how obamacare was a hard lift and the best we can do.
          I muttered, “so we can’t have nice things and my wife should just take one for the team so the insurance corps(e) can continue to live the life of riley?”
          stepdad, after digesting this, rolls over,”so will you vote for biden when he gets the nomination?”
          “nope”, says I, ” i will not. I’ll vote green…or not at all”.
          i laid out in a passionate nutshell the hardship(student debt, no raise for my lifetime,u-6,LPR, suicides, bailouts, deaths of despair(“right here…i hear it on the scanner…”)
          and much of the rest)…and how the clintonists, by stealing the gop platform, back when, and failing utterly to fight for we, the people, have given us trump.
          he’s a simple country boy….took us decades to unpoison his mind enough to vote D, and support due process(rather that shooting them behind the paint shed)
          but he didn’t appear to be drunk(wheelchair makes it difficult to tell,lol)
          and you could see the wheels turn behind his eyes…especially after i reiterated the part about my wife.
          “we can’t do anything for us little people because the repugs will yell at us….but obama presented them with their own damned plan and they still yelled…and what has obamacare done for us?”
          I’ll consider it a coup if he votes for Bernie in the primary…but the deck is stacked against us, as far as the shrinking cable news viewership.
          the entire program was an infomercial on the virtues of Uncle Joe, Our Savior(tm)…complete with 30 second ads galore by biden, himself(in his more lucid moments, one supposes), and that millionaire tom guy who’s also running.
          fourth estate my shiny white…

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Good for you, having this conversation.

            We need to rethink this “state media” concept. In the United States, the boundaries between state and civil society seem just a bit fluid right now.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              the contrast between reading news(and “news”) online…actually searching for something resembling “truth”, that sort of comports with observed reality…..and what passes for “news”(and “truth”) on tv…is disgusting.
              even wapo/nyt let slip some actionable intelligence on occasion.
              (maybe msdnc does, too…I only see it peripherally, when i’m over there)
              with hardball…no,lol.
              even the tone is “if we can only get rid of trump…”.
              and, just like Faux, a bumpersticker runs around the world twice, while I’m still collating a multiparagraph rebuttal.
              so many important datapoints are simply left out, glossed over, or twisted into meaning their opposite.
              both mom and stepdad hate the endless wars(he’s a paraplegic vietnam vet)…but think Tulsi is a russian.
              Mom:”what about booker?”,lol….Me:” over and over, proved who’s pocket he’s in”
              “buttgig?”…”record in south bend speaks for itself…and please google McKinsey…”(spelling -2)
              they don’t like Kamala, at least… and seem to dig Warren.
              but that biden doesn’t make their skin crawl is just amazing, to me.
              another vignette:”so you don’t think Hillary would have been better than trump?”
              me:” absolutely not…we’d be in more wars, and be even more confused about what “progressive” means and it would just be the Sixth Reagan Administration, while scolding the lower orders in a different way than trump”
              they have big problems getting their head around the idea that Hillary=worse than trump.
              the collapse of the Russia! Thing hasn’t made it to tv, yet, for one.
              it’s almost an identical experience to trying to talk to the more rabid teabillies, circa 2009(“but he IS a Socialist!”)…or the most terrified(and therefore belligerent) Bush2 supporters, circa 2004(“But they ARE Out to Get Us!!”(checks under bed)).
              the sky really does look green to them, and it will take an unknown shock to the system to remove those lenses.
              the only bright spot i can see(aside from them at least listening to me, and admitting that i’ve been right so often about these things) is that the people who get their news from cable is shrinking, and is mostly limited to people their age and older.

              another thing, re: cable news stations: the ads from Big Healthcare are patently and shamelessly gaslighting people.
              “we’re just like you…ordinary folks…”
              and strongly implying that any government intervention will kill all healthcare(like the anti-“surprise billing” stuff that’s emerging…ordinary housewife making that look like a bad thing,lol)
              it’s insidious, pernicious and vile.

  11. kimyo

    Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada

    Conclusions and Relevance In this study, maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.

    Fluoride may diminish kidney and liver function in adolescents

    “While the dental benefits of fluoride are widely established, recent concerns have been raised regarding the appropriateness of its widespread addition to drinking water or salt in North America,” said the study’s first author Ashley J. Malin, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “This study’s findings suggest that there may be potential kidney and liver health concerns to consider when evaluating fluoride use and appropriate levels in public health interventions.

    This study’s findings, combined with previous studies of childhood exposure to higher fluoride levels, show there is a dose-dependent relationship between fluoride and indicators of kidney and liver function. The findings, if confirmed in other studies, suggest it may be important to consider children’s kidney and liver function in drafting public health guidelines and recommendations.

    Potential health side effects include renal system damage, liver damage, thyroid dysfunction, bone and tooth disease, and impaired protein metabolism.

  12. ewmayer

    There was a comments-thread in yesterday’s 2pmwc on Kamala Harris’ press secretary Ian Sams calling Tulsi Garbbard an “Assad lover” … I see the riff on Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham I posted there to by way of mockery of the apparent thought process behind Sams’ repeated smear-taunts but which subsequently vanished without a “moderation” notice has been restored bei Nacht und Nebel. Thanks to Lambert or whichever of the mods dug it from the cracks between the SkyNet sofa cushions.

    1. ewmayer

      Grr … “Gabbard”. For some reason when I post not-in-reply-to-someone-else’s-comment I don’t get an edit button.

  13. Hepativore

    The DNC and the Democratic leadership might probably use the same slimy logic should Sanders win the primary:

    Voters: “Yay! Sanders got the most delegates! He won the Democratic primary!”

    DNC: “But Sanders can’t be the Democratic nominee. We don’t like him and besides, he isn’t a real Democrat. We are giving the nomination to Biden.”

    Voters “But that isn’t fair! He won the most delegates! You can’t do this!”

    DNC: “Yes we can. We are under no obligation to make the primaries fair. Bruce Spiva said so in 2016, so shut up and vote for Biden.”

    Trump becomes president in 2020 and both Democrat and Republican corporate donors breathe a sigh of relief that the Bernie Sanders threat has been neutralized.

    1. Another Scott

      Remember how a few weeks ago, California added requirement that all presidential candidates must release their tax returns? I wonder if Republicans in some states (Florida?) won’t add a requirement that the automatic ballot for the party goes to the individual who got the most elected delegates if this happens to Democrats. That would put Sanders on the ballot in some states and force Biden or Harris to either submit petitions or conduct a write-in campaign.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Given that Hillary argued that more votes should ‘trump’ more delegates in 2008 (and of course in the general of 2016) I’m going to moot that the DNC will argue that since the not-Bernie candidates have more total votes than him, the nomination should be thrown into the second round.

        This came to me in a vision, and I will stick with it until someone comes up with something dumber. Because the dumb sells it as a real possibility for me.

  14. Stephen Gardner

    Liberal Democrats: “You have no place to go, so take it and like it.”

    Nope. I am going to pursue the Samson option. I like my neoliberalism unfiltered by liberal optics. I think Trump isn’t enough worse than the aparatchiks that run the Democratic party to be worth the slow motion destruction. Let’s just get it over with. The empire is in a death spiral. More competent patching of the boat won’t solve the main problem. I’m hoping that if all else fails and we get another Trump term that that will be the death knell of the neoliberal Democrats at the top of the hierarchy. And even if it isn’t the US is like an alcoholic–no recovery until rock bottom.

    1. Carey

      They’re mostly fine with us mcVoting for Trump!, though, unless and until the donors’ money stops flowing.

      So much we are not privy to…

    2. DK

      For me the biggest surprise of 2016 was that the Democrats never really reckoned, never even tried to reckon in any serious way that I noticed, with why they lost. I thought at the very least they would do that much, even if they changed nothing. But I’ve watched in numb astonishment as they’ve pivoted from more than two years of Russia to white nationalism, along with every other -ism in the book, oh and gerrymandering, and there must have been voter fraud, and the list of 173 or so people Hillary blamed in her book, and ‘but we won the popular vote’, and the deplorables, and come to think of it Hillary really was a clueless candidate, and the Repubs have been demonizing her for 30 years so it must have really sunk in, and … (how many did I miss? the list is so long — oh of course Bernie bros! and Susan Sarandon!). Somehow all this explains how ‘the most qualified candidate who ever ran for President’ lost to a B-list reality show host. They so still need a reckoning…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Reckoning with why Team Blue lost exposes the courtier class to being completely replaced, but even more than that, a dynamic Democratic organizational force puts every incumbent at risk.

        At the previous moment in time, AOC could beat Crowley because she could walk the district. She needed the help of various organizations to do it, but challenging and winning is hard. Changing the culture of the Democratic Party’s non-elected class would lead to more AOCs as a different voice on how to win elections is heard.

        1. Carey

          If it’s not to cynical of me, I see the AOC phenomenon
          as likely a limited-hangout CorpDem op.
          “Must cover, and eventually smother, all possibilities!”

          Check out the votes v the rhetoric. Sheepdogging lives

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            aye. (sniff) that’s why i have avoided watching her netflix documentary.
            I blame obama for that particular iteration of hard-core cynicism.
            (i thought i was cynical before O,lol)

            1. Carey

              She’s edgy!!! Speaks Truth to Power!!!


              The immediate, ultra-photogenic MSM coverage was a big-time tell.

              1. Todde

                Its too early to tell.

                If she keeps p!ssing of Pelosi, it will be a good sign

                Lately tho they’ve been making nice.

                Time will tell.

      2. sleepy

        What about impeachment, remember that?

        Not to give up, Msnbc still plods on with impeachment stories, announcing a daily tally of dem congress members who have come out in favor.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Susan Sarandon

        Tanden, Reid and various minions have been wailing on Sarandon on the Twitter for two solid days. It’s extraordinary. Maybe they really do want to split the party (along tribal lines, as opposed to class ones, which is the other way to think about a split).

        > For me the biggest surprise of 2016 was that the Democrats never really reckoned, never even tried to reckon in any serious way that I noticed, with why they lost

        The party apparatus, IMNSHO, genuinely believes they did nothing wrong. Hence no need for the (customary?) post mortem.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Susan Sarandon insists on going rogue. Taking a dig at Warren this week, she said: “[Sanders] is not someone who used to be Republican. He is not someone who used to take money, or still takes money, from Wall Street. He is the real deal.”
          Turns out Sarah is a – Gasp! – Bernie Boy-


          And a bit more on I-Hate-Susan-Sarandon week-


          Hashtag Susan Sarandon 2024

        2. Inode_buddha

          I just don’t get why anyone cares what she thinks. How someone votes is their business, not mine.

    3. John k

      My take is a little different.
      In 2016 I thought that no matter how little chance a progressive would have in 2020 if trump is pres, he she wouldn’t have any chance at all if Hillary was pres.
      So if, say, Biden gets the nom this time, I will either write in Bernie or not vote at all rather than help Biden once again get anywhere near the oval.

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      I’m sure Biden, Harris, or the BB’s will drive us into the ground equally toot sweet. It’s not the crises, it’s the status quo. Which is all about keeping the Elites ensconced in the perks of empire they have grown used to.

      The next ‘recession’ will be the most likely thing to upset the apple cart. I assume there will be a next recession. But maybe ‘money’ will be found to quickly fix things rather than arguing for six months like we usually do. Saudi America, and the fracking bubbles we are building with it, make me suspect that the Great Game is now primarily a battle of Capital. As in whose can last longest.

  15. JohnnyGL

    Thanks for the revelation of the twitter thread for “Beyond Meat”. I’d been wondering why we’re getting so much media hype around veganism in the last year or two. That helps explain.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i think that it’s the sudden glut of soy that’s behind it.
      trade war, and all.

      so…adjusts flame-proof bathrobe….would this mean that trump’s actions promote vegetarianism?

    2. anon in so cal

      Arriving late to this discussion so apologies if this comment is off.

      But IMHO the trend toward veganism is because more people are becoming aware of the horrors of factory farming. Animals experience unconscionably horrific treatment.

      1. SpainIsHot

        Yes, I don’t understand the dismay at realizing that there are economic interests behind the “fake meat” movement. But that doesn’t invalidate the premise behind the desire to stop consuming animal products. (Also, it’s not like the “pro-meat movement” is devoid of any economic interests itself ;-)

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Anything funded by Goldman should be approached with a hermeneutic of suspicion. And that includes “food-like products” (Michael Pollan) like fake meat.

      2. Wyoming

        But IMHO the trend toward veganism is because…

        This triggered my ‘where’s the data gene. So I did a short look up on the statistics for the US. Bottom line it is not true. The percentage of Americans polled as indicating they are vegetarians has not changed since 2012 (steady at 3%). Nor have they changed meaningfully for veganism (+1% in 7 years). The only meaningful change I could find is that millennials are slightly more inclined this way – vegetarian (5 percent) or vegan (4 percent) . 82% of those polled say they love eating meat. 87% say they would like to eat more vegetables, but they don’t.

        In my experience with vegetarians a large percentage of them actually consume meat in small amounts. For instance one of my sisters tells everyone she is a vegetarian but eats chicken and fish (she says they don’t count – I don’t pursue this in the interest of family stability).

        As someone who used to own an organic vegetable farm and sold at big city farmers markets I can state for certain that most vegetarians do not eat a healthy diet of vegetables (they are more pastatarians or soyatarians than anything). Given a taste of 30 different vegetables most will not like the taste of about 3/4 of them. I must admit that I am in the group to a certain extent.

        btw I tried the Burger King Impossible Whopper a couple of days ago as an experiment. Not too bad as a commercial burger, but not anywhere near as tasty as a regular Whopper. It tastes like meat but more like a cheaper burger like a Quarter Pounder. This fake meat is also very expensive. In bulk from Wallmart it is about $13/lb and mostly soy again – soyatarianism.

        1. Wyoming

          To add to the above.

          US per capita meat consumption in 2018 rose to 222 lbs (this is a 14% increase over the last 50 years). And this only includes red meat and poultry. They don’t count fish (sounds like my sister again).

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          “As someone who used to own an organic vegetable farm and sold at big city farmers markets I can state for certain that most vegetarians do not eat a healthy diet of vegetables (they are more pastatarians or soyatarians than anything). Given a taste of 30 different vegetables most will not like the taste of about 3/4 of them..”

          aye. soil out here grows curcurbits like mad…including pumpkins. there’s one big legacy pumpkin guy, but he sells most of his for yard art in october.(200 acres worth, no less)
          I’ve added spaghetti squash and heirloom pumpkins to the garden this year…they keep well in a shady closet, and are packed with vitamins.
          getting the familia to eat them is another thing altogether.
          “only in pumpkin pie” is what i hear the most…and even then, everyone prefers(hmmph. like how do they know,lol?) the canned kind.
          also planted butternut, but it didn’t do as well.
          and i couldn’t find the heirloom(grandma’s) kushaw seeds until it was too late to plant.(i grow all but the pumpkins to where they climb all up in the mesquite trees…pick them from underneath=easier on the back, less powdery mildew, etc)
          I’ve found that most people simply are ignorant about a lot of the “unusual” veggies, don’t know what to do with them, and don’t get them at mcdonalds…so, fear the unknown.
          customers must be educated…which presents it’s own mammoth challenges…especially given the wall to wall cacophony we’re up against.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Found this in my netambulations.


    Allegation seems perfectly plausible to me — that a threat actor used a known defect in the Google account system to engage in a denial-of-service against Tulsi’s ad service account in the runout of a debate where she was most searched, thus preventing engagement. Now who would do such a thing? Wonder if any of this will come out in discovery? Perhaps this is the start. Google would most definitely have additional evidence in their logs to substantiate the claim, and I would assume that a subpoeana could protect the records … unless Google was in on it.

    The open letter is here.

    Here is the gist of the allegation:

    This is how it worked: Take a target email address, change exactly one letter in that email address, and then create a new account with that changed email address. Malicious actors repeated this process over and over again until a network of spoof accounts for Jordan B. Peterson existed. Then these spoof accounts started generating spam emails. These email-spam blasts caught the attention of an AI system which fixed the problem by deactivating the spam accounts… and then ALSO the original account belonging to Jordan B. Peterson!
    To my knowledge, this bug has never been fixed. When Google says an account was deactivated because of “suspicious” activity, this is how they often do it.

    1. Monty

      “ALSO the original account belonging to Jordan B. Peterson!”

      See!!! Google isn’t all bad!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        What’s wrong with Peterson? What I’ve found is that most people with objections to him have no real exposure to him, have not listened to him talk at any length, and instead dismiss him based on some label they’ve heard tossed about with no real formed opinion of their own. But that’s how most people roll through this world, so surprise surprise.

        If you are genuinely interested in informing yourself, start with this conversation with Camille Paglia.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Petersons useful in his civil engagement with Left Populists like Slovoj Zizak.

          I dont mind him either.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          Okay, I’ve bookmarked Peterson/Paglia. I’m barely up to curiosity for either, but that sounds like fun. Maybe even crack. Realignment does require keeping up.

          Leary and Liddy used to do tours. I miss that kind of thing.

        3. JohnnyGL


          I think it’s worth putting his rise in context. He sounds like he’s speaking to white male angst. He’s not really a neoliberal and seems interested in religious conservatism imposing constraints on neoliberal market outcomes as seen in this clip.

          Of course, Sam Seder’s crew has fun when he wanders into some lefty language and ideas about ‘imposing restrictions’, but weirdly, it’s only in the sexual realm in the furtherance of family creation and stability. He doesn’t want to mess with anyone’s paycheck. I think a lot of his appeal comes from speaking to real insecurities and social problems and a lot of the awkwardness and odd solutions that come from him stem from his refusal to see and confront people with money and power.

        4. scarn

          I’ve listened to…god maybe 20 hours of Peterson talk on Rogan. I read ’12 Rules For Life’. I watched Zizek clown around with him.

          Peterson is either a very successful fool or a very successful con man, and I cannot tell which. This seems to me to be fairly common on the ‘intellectual’ right. His critique of the left is an appalling and hilarious mess, and he does not care to improve it. His general critique of society falls short in the same way all rightist critiques fall short: they have no understanding of how power functions, materially. Conceptually for rightists everything is moralistic, ontological, and in a sense eternal, so they misunderstand the human-authored programs that run human civilization. Peterson simply redefines some old liberal ideas, gives them a new name and a tragic cast, sets up a completely absurd philosophical antagonist that most of his audience won’t understand is constructed out of nonsense, runs some cables from that golem into the angst and alienation of segments of the north american working classes, and then his media handlers flip a switch and BOOM you have some bona fide contemporary fascist intellectualism ready for market.

          And “fascist” is the word for him, for sure. That’s what you call dudes who tell working class people that their problems are 1. of their own making except when it’s 2. feminism’s fault or 3. the fault of other personally emasculating theories given exposure by a mass media in thrall to (the absurd category of) post modern marxism (or cultural marxism or whatever the cool kids want to call it). Fascism is the process of turning working class alienation and anger against working class interests, so that it serves to preserve existing social relations. It makes the actual left into a twisted, upside down mirror image of reality. “Post-modern Marxism” is like a demogorgon version of real marxism, (or of real post modernism!), but to Peterson’s audience it’s as real as anything else on youtube. More real, maybe, because of the cachet Peterson has earned himself.

          And he has earned this respect. He’s a solid speaker. He’s a good writer. He is supremely unmoved by interlocutors who misrepresent his stances, and is able to hold his emotions in check and speak rationally in almost any interview. He is outspoken in defense of liberal ideals like free speech. He projects a masculine strength of conviction and mind, even though he is physically unremarkable. This is one reason I think that he is such a dangerous and serious person. He demonstrates a spate of personal virtues that most people in the public sphere can not.

          12 Rules isn’t a bad book. It’s wrong about a lot of things, but virtues like discipline, patience, prudence (in my own words not his) really are sadly lacking in most people’s lives. An active increase in virtue-seeking is going to make things better for almost anyone. Make your beds, kids, is always good advice. I definitely understand the appeal of this kind of thing. Too bad it’s embedded in part of the general developing fascist discourse that is shaping up to replace neoliberalism here in North America.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Fascism is the process of turning working class alienation and anger against working class interests

              They did. I think that’s too generalized to be useful. For example, under that theory, the English Chartists were fascists, because their “interests” (determined by whom) were really to seize the means of production, not gain the vote.

              1. Scarn

                Nah, suffrage in a democracy dominated by the bourgeoisie is obviously in working class interests, and not in the bosses’ interests, in the Chartist context. You dropped a bit of the definition in your quoted part. It matters that fascists intend to preserve capitalism, and it matters that they create a boogeyman imago out of the actual left. Of course, no political definition is useful if situations are historically decontextualized and class relations are left out of the analysis.

        5. Lydia Maria Child

          Peterson is a second rate intellectual and first rate con artist who takes advantage of alienated young white men of the 21st century. That’s about all there is to it. Zizek put him to bed a few months ago, clearly showing that Peterson had only the most superficial grasp of what “the left” actually is (i.e., it’s not all about culture and identity politics; class and power matter). Peterson filled a niche for these lost souls, telling young men to shower and clean their rooms. So profound! It’s unfortunate that that was/is necessary. He’s their “daddy,” and little more. I feel bad for anyone who thinks he’s some sort of intellectual powerhouse.

          Contrapoints handled the lobsterman quite deftly and humorously last year, and it still holds up:


        6. fajensen

          What’s wrong with Peterson?

          From what I have seen of him, he doesn’t really say anything new and he never evolves his thinking. He goes around and around within the same space of ideas, which seems accidentally optimised to attract about 12-40 hours of attention from 18-30 year old (white) males (and of course their Patreon donations).

          I don’t think he is a malignant influencer, he is just not really the great philosophical / intellectual thinker he is made out to be.

  17. heraclito

    The New Yorker quote on Williamson shows exactly why Oxford commas are necessary, “…who mixes references to Christianity with quotes from philosophers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Deepak Chopra…”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does she recommend ‘turning the other cheek?’

      “If you Republicans take the House, we will give you the Senate as well.”

      That above literal intepretation is a little different from the more usual interpretations of either nonresistance, pacifism, or just nonviolence. It’s more like aiding the enemy.

  18. Rojo

    I also wondered where all the anti-meat stuff was coming from.

    The Ka-ching for animal products isn’t nearly as big as it is for processed crop-crap.

  19. CarlH

    The Jill Biden and Soledad O’Brien stories struck a chord with me in a “Let them eat chocolates™ (Maureen Dowd) sort of way. The Hunger Games’ over the top portrayal of elite society seems more and more applicable to real life with each passing day.

    1. CarlH

      I neglected to mention the story that spurred me to comment in the first place. That Obama/Netflix show is so revolting in so many ways that it is astonishing. Surely he and Michelle are just trolling at this point?

  20. Lee

    Transportation: “Germany: Berlin tests driverless buses” [Deutsche Welle]. “The buses will be able to travel at up to 15 kph (9 mph). They will initially only cover a 600-meter distance from the end of the U6 metro line to Lake Tegel…. The vehicles will have a member of staff permanently on board, in case of difficulties.”

    Carnivals, Disneyland, et al mastered equivalent or better transport technology in the last century. Many rides don’t even have operators on board.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i rode a maglev train thing at epcot prolly 35+ years ago. i remember my aunt wigging about the lack of driver, but failed to investigate further.
        however, innovation isn’t necessarily a Good. Think of the busdrivers, their families, the human interaction they provide, etc etc.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think if elevators can be driverless (has been for quite a while now), it should not be too hard for horizontal transporting.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was thinking of them.

          It’s interesting that in old movies, there used to be elevator operators (maybe only in fancy hotels or department stores).

      1. fajensen

        The Copenhagen metro is a robot. It starts right at the Copenhagen Airport, in case anyone want to give it a go.

        It works very well now that they “deported*” the one loon who kept forcing the door from Copenhagen.

        *) Yes, “they” can indeed do that: You can be forbidden to be within a “zone” defined by the police!

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Our city is using them for speed control. I just discovered that one (at least, no new news articles) of these is set up by the city bus service to go up and down the traffic calmed road in our development district. It has a guy on board who just stands there. Of course: who is going to get on one of those (6 sitting, ‘6’ standing) if there is no guy with a uniform on board?

      The guy driving the tram is also a security asset. Will Amusement Parks then try to compensate with drones after the lawsuits come in?

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Millet, wheat and barley in N. China.

    I used to think that Confucius mainly ate millet and he lived about 2,500 years before present (BP). Maybe he ate mostly wheat and barley.

    From googling, I get this:

    Food, Sacrifice, and Sagehood in Early China

    Confucius first ate the millet and afterwards took a bite from the peach. Those who witnessed the scene broke out in laughter, their hands covering their mouth.

    A thousand or so years before, there existed a legendary figure, Lord Millet (Hou Ji). From Wikipedia:

    Hou Ji (or Houji; Chinese: 后稷; pinyin: Hòu Jì; Wade–Giles: Hou Chi) was a legendary Chinese culture hero credited with introducing millet to humanity during the time of the Xia dynasty.[1] Millet was the original staple grain of northern China, prior to the introduction of wheat. His name translates as Lord of Millet and was a posthumous name bestowed on him by King Tang, the first of the Shang dynasty. Houji was credited with developing the philosophy of Agriculturalism and with service during the Great Flood in the reign of Yao; he was also claimed as an ancestor of the Ji clan that became the ruling family of the Zhou dynasty.[2]

    I intrepret the myth to mean that at least as late as the Zhou dynasty (the Eastern Zhou dynasty includes the Spring and Autumn period – during which Confucius lived – and the Warring States periods, as far I know), millet was important, such that there was a need for a Lord Millet legend, though I am not aware of any Lord Wheat.

  22. Summer

    “Finance Needs People Who Work Well With Robots” [Bloomberg]. “Today, it’s not just humans competing for work in banking. Machines are becoming a threat to warm-blooded number crunchers worldwide. Indeed, almost one-third of financial-services jobs could be displaced by automation by the mid-2030s, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP last year.” • Then, they came for the analysts…

    I would say “ha!”…but then I think about constant automatic updates and other assorted unrepentant nusances and bullcrap…

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Don’t worry. It’s only the back office the robots are running. And “Experience Centers”, or what people used to call “banks”.

      Only need to pay the C suite now! Yay!

  23. T

    Eh, the fishy part of the carnivores killing the earth narrative is the absence of seafood – we have barely mapped the ocean and have no idea what’s going on except that it looks bad. By any objective measure, if you were going to make one environmentally-based change, it would be to stop eating seafood, yesterday. Followed by not wasting food. But fish is healthy and nobody wants to hear about eschewing restaurants for having beans and rice at home so…

    And we already know that people are eating less beef and the impact on the rain forest is that great swaths are now being bulldozed for soybean fields.

    In short, we’re all dumb and probably doomed.

  24. Summer

    The players behind fake meat:

    1) So I was curious why there was this sudden push to cut meat, particularly beef consumption, it seemed to come out of nowhere, so I did a little research, a thread…”

    Health consequences to be revealed slowly but surely….

    Every “fix” creates another problem that will linger…MSMITW

    1. Carey

      Yes; I remember thinking, when I was around ten years old, “we’re
      not ‘solving’ problems; we’re just shoving them into the dark corners.”

  25. TroyIA

    You can read for the detail, which is awfully fun, but I did think the title of the book Maxwell was reading, The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives, was more than a little odd.

    Another detail from the photo is the ad for Good Boys. According to the company that handles the advertising for that bus stop that movie poster has never been at that location. Why would that poster be photoshopped in? Is that a coded message along with the book title meant for someone? Or is Ghislaine not really in L. A. and the hastily made photo is meant to throw people off?

    1. WJ

      The Daily Mail had earlier reported she
      was in Boston; they seem to be suggesting that the Post story was confabulated to refute their own earlier reporting as to her whereabouts. The whole thing is just bizarre.

      Luckily we don’t have to speculate about anything more, though, as Epstein committed suicide because he was down about facing jail time (NY Times) and the FBI will see that justice is done!

      1. Carey

        That Strzok™ dude’s leering, smirking appearance before Congress™ tells
        about as much about the F.B.I. as one needs to know, or more.

  26. Victoria

    Cannabis market still in the hands of illegal dealers–should surprise absolutely no-one. Marketing 101: It’s good to be first to market. They have the sales staff, who know (and therefore have) the customers, and of course an established and already capitalized distribution network. Presumably they can be very flexible and competitive on pricing, since they don’t have to pay the aforesaid taxes. And since there is still some stigma associated with marijuana use, there will continue to be people who prefer to make their purchases very secretly.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      since they don’t have to pay the aforesaid taxes.

      Appalling, everyone has to do their part, imagine the imbalance to society if Amazon paid no taxes?

      And geeze, my sarcasm is giving me sarcasm. One of these is a pure, unregulated (aside from the DEA massaging) market and the other is a demonstration of regulatory capture.

    2. J7915

      And don’t forget fewer bribes, the lookout staff can now sell…seems like time to dust off the resume of a typical drug distributor that the WSJ published in their op-ed section many years ago. Add some mention of academics and your good to go into marketing 401.

  27. Jeff W

    “Native American Forum Focuses On Elizabeth Warren’s Policies, Not DNA Test”
    Warren can roll out an avalanche of policies, good or bad, but, to me, she remains the enemy (not that I’m biased).

    As of now, according to Morning Consult, Bernie Sanders is in second place as the second choice of Warren voters (20%). (Kamala Harris just moved into first place with 23%—maybe Warren supporters are getting a bit more clued in to Warren’s neoliberal similarity to Harris.) So Warren is siphoning off a fifth of the voters who would otherwise go to Sanders, more than any other candidate except Joe Biden. The media portrayed Warren as tag-teaming with Sanders in the last debate but it’s more like she’s whacking him in the knees.

    Sanders is in first place as the second choice of Biden supporters (25%) so you could argue that Biden is playing an even worse role but Biden isn’t viewed as “similar” to—or “teaming with”—Sanders and, until Biden implodes under the weight of his “gaffes” (the euphemism for what is, evidently, his cognitive decline), he remains, incredibly, the candidate for Sanders to beat. Warren sure isn’t helping matters.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does that (Sanders being Biden supportors’ 2nd choice) change if or when Hillary enters the race?

      Will Hillary be Biden supporters’ 2nd choice most of the time?

      1. Jeff W

        Well, Morning Consult isn’t polling that. I would imagine that a lot of the people who support Biden would throw their support to Clinton because their support is based on name recognition and a positive, if not-too-reality-based, view of the Bill Clinton/Barack Obama years.

        That said, as egomaniacal and oblivious and impervious to self-reflection as I view Hillary Clinton to be, I doubt she’ll toss her hat into the ring, even if (or when) Joe Biden falters and a few Clinton stalwarts try to draft her. I think, even in her denial, even if she can’t admit it to herself, she recognizes at some level that her days as the standard-bearer for the party are over.

    2. John k

      So if both Biden and Harris drop out, bernie only goes up to around 32%. Underwhelming.
      Hopefully polls are missing a lot of Bernie’s support because they’re young and or have cell phones only.
      Much prefer Bernie to Liz… I suspect her plans would go up in smoke even if she can beat trump, which seems unlikely without recession.

      1. WJ

        There was recently a Warren rally in St Paul, MN. Man oh man the suburu driving npr listening white liberal professional women (and men) of Saint Paul LOVE them some Warren. Not a lot of young people. Not a lot of brown or black people (but this *is* Saint Paul after all). But lots and lots of 40+ stylishly spectacled white Patagonia types….

        The Twin Cities like to think of themselves as a third coast, and I expect Warren will do well here in the primaries.

  28. Tomonthebeach

    e-Cigarettes and lung diseases

    The Trump-era US CDC and FDA have their heads up their political posteriors. Why? Despite all the pearl-clutching about teen vaping, not one public health warning or regulation has been published regarding minimum safe manufacturing standards for e-Cigs, much less requirements for spot quality inspections. Zip. None. Yet there are ample published reports of toxins leaching from cheaply manufactured devices dating back at least 6 years.

    Let us not overlook that there is zero scientific debate that nicotine is highly addictive to humans. Nevertheless, the Trump FDA has not issued a single regulation addressing the amount of nicotine that can be put in an e-Cigarette cartridge. While nicotine is not the chemical that kills you from smoking tobacco cigarettes it is neurotoxic – that is how it addicts. Oh, did I mention that in more potent dosages nicotine was used as an insecticide?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i had almost totally switched to a “Juul” when wife’s cancer happened, and it just wasn’t enough.
        now I’m attempting it again.
        you’re right…but smoke nazis will be smoke nazis. san antonio has outlawed both smoking and vaping downtown…and i made sure that some of my favorite restaurants down there knew why i wouldn’t be visiting anymore.

        1. Inode_buddha

          Better still, just quit putting stuff into your body, you only have one of them. I did, and you can too. I’m a lot better off without all the pollution inside.

  29. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: The great satan, Susan Sarandon.

    The issue with Sarandon is that Team Blue elites see themselves as elites who influence opinions. The plebes in the world view of the “centrists” can’t have their own opinions and are shaped by “influencers.” Sarandon must be at fault because if its not a celebrity’s fault then its the fault of Team Clinton and the focus of their devotion. When HRC had the unanimous support of the elite (at least publicly), the world view of the “centrists” was challenged.

    They whined about Nader for the same reason, NADER COST GORE THE ELECTION!! ARBLE GARBLE!

    1. Joe Well

      I am around the lower-level Democratic elites a lot. I think it’s understandable that they think that most people are stupid because there are huge percentages of Americans who “don’t believe in” at least one or two obvious facts, whether evolution, the extremely high likelihood of anthropogenic climate change, the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, the correlation between gun ownership and dying violently, the importance of washing your hands regularly…and on and on…

      It is hard to reconcile that with the truth that the large majority of Americans, regarding observable facts of life directly affecting their own well-being (like jobs being shipped overseas, the failings of the healthcare system, the unpayable costs of education, the housing crisis), are generally more knowledgeable than said elites.

      And in fairness to the low-level elites, they are mostly responding to the reality that they see (of course, in a way that is flattering to themselves, as do most people). They just don’t see nearly enough of the real world and, like most people, overgeneralize from what they do see.

      1. JBird4049

        I also think that too many people think that their view of things must be the right way of things. Having been called an idiot, a fool, or just weak for being an atheist, a deist, and agnostic at different times by generally rational and intelligent people got me thinking. As has being poor, working class, and middle class at different times.

        Working among the upper middle and lower upper class as well as the poor was a trip. Being among people who whole world was constrained by tomorrow’s shift and others who were going to the department’s meeting in an Italian beach resort.

        Which is why too many Americans just do not see the injustices, the fantastical differences in wealth and income or the poverty.


    2. Plenue

      The way Sarandon specifically has become a hate target reveals the Clintonite crowd to just be straight up cultists, as bad as any MAGA true believer. The Neera Tanden types just picked her out and the faithful went at her like rabid dogs. And haven’t let up for, what, three years now? When a focal point for your fury is a single aged Hollywood actress, perhaps it’s time for some introspection.

  30. Tomonthebeach

    NATURE Self-Citations Article – Facts spun = bunk.

    That authors cite themselves is unlikely to be self-promotion. It is common to cite previous studies to explain how one’s latest experiment/study/whatever builds on or integrates or clarifies prior findings.
    That authors cite colleagues merely reflects that fact that science is a collaborative endeavor. In many fields, there might be but a handful of people studying the same problem. Then there is the So-what? question. If you are up for tenure, citation counts do not carry the same weight as authored publications. Committees are looking for evidence of leadership in the field; not followership. They are also looking for individual contribution (articles with 1-3 authors) not ones with 20 co-authors.

    Not being an academic, I never paid much attention to citation counts. Nevertheless, even retired, I still get updates from Researchgate reminding me that a paper from the mid 1980s just got its 100th citation. That at least is amusing because most of our footprints in the literature usually wash away with the changing tide.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Obamas’ first film charts life in US factory under China bosses”

    So, is his next film going to be about life in an Amazon fulfillment center? Or those working in a Silicon Valley corporation? Barry? Barry?

  32. richard

    Bernie slaps it to right for a single
    a little bit much to ask him to pull the ball at his age
    I think his power stroke is gone
    but let’s sign him anyway ;)

    1. John k

      Yes, we can depend on him to reach across the aisle as he extends neolib at every opportunity.
      Odd given his priors he’s not a rep, granted that’s true of all the blue dogs.

      1. richard

        I am confused by your comment, which seems to imply that sanders is a blue dog, or that he will reach across the aisle to support neoliberalism, or maybe I don’t get what you are saying.
        I guess my sports writing isn’t very clear either. I support sanders 100%, recognizing that he has political flaws, and that the whole thing is probably screwed anyway. But if I was managing a baseball team, I wouldn’t bat Bernie 4th.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Can any other candidate run that fast? I ask because I only have 25 years on him.

      His parents went around 60. So not a Khomeini/Carter “what did you expect” thing.

  33. Carey

    “..I have no intention of minimizing the narrowness and provincialism
    of lower-middle-class culture; nor do I deny that it has produced racism,
    nativism, anti-intellectualism, and all the other evils so often cited by liberal critics. But liberals have lost sight of what is valuable in lower-middle-class culture in their eagerness to condemn what is objectionable. Their attack on “Middle America”, which eventually gave
    rise to a counterattack against liberalism- the main ingredient in the rise
    of the new right- has blinded them to the positive feateres of the petty-bourgeois culture: its moral realism, its understanding that everything has its price, its respect for limits, its skepticism about progress. Whatever can be said against them, small proprietors, artisans, tradesmen, and farmers- more often victims of “improvement” than
    its beneficiaries- are unlikely to mistake the promised land of progress
    for the true and only heaven.”

    Last paragraph of the preface to Christopher Lasch’s ‘TheTrue and Only Heaven’, published 1991.

  34. JohnnyGL


    This is actually a really funny MSDNC clip of morning joe. They discuss Harris’ falling poll numbers like they’re presiding over funeral services of a middle-aged heart attack victim who just suddenly died without explanation.

    Then, the tone changes when discussing Jill Biden’s comments and the Biden campaign more broadly. They’re more mystified by the fact that Biden’s still leading in polls and overtly struggle to explain it, beyond, ‘electability’. You can tell they’re not very comfortable with Biden or with the strength of the electability argument.

    I’m enjoying the fearful look and tone in their voices. They know who’s going to take the lead when Biden falters.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      This videos incredibly difficult to sit through lol

      Are these people alive??? They look like plastic flesh puppets…

  35. Code Name D

    Here is one for the links: Disney whistleblower told SEC the company inflated revenue for years


    “In just one financial year, 2008-09, Disney’s annual revenue could have been overstated by as much as $6 billion, Kuba’s whistleblower filing alleges. The parks-and-resorts business segment reported total revenue of $10.6 billion in 2009, according to its annual report filed with the SEC.”

    Disney watchers have been suspecting something was off about Disney’s numbers for some time.

    1. Inode_buddha

      Where I come from that is called “lying” and it carries heavy penalties, beginning with a total loss of credibility

  36. Mo's Bike Shop

    I have no intention of minimizing the narrowness and provincialism of lower-middle-class culture; nor do I deny that it has produced racism, nativism, anti-intellectualism

    I deny his Major. It was not a bunch of subsistence farmers who enclosed African indentured servants into slavery. It was not a bunch of tar renderers who enshrined slavery in the constitution. It was not resentful tradesmen who started the Civil War. It was not local craftsmen who started the first or second Klan. Wage labor miners and share croppers did not set up Jim Crow.

    As Movement Conservatives believe Exxon can barely keep it’s head above water in the face of the onslaught from the Sierra Club, Liberals are sure that all of this establishment-backed discrimination is all the fault of the Plebes. I find neither tenable.

    1. Carey

      Lasch was attempting to inoculate himself from the easy and typical criticisms to make a larger, people-affirming argument. How many against-the-tide battles should he have tried to fight at once, in your estimation?

  37. SpainIsHot

    Yes, I don’t understand the dismay at realizing that there are economic interests behind the “fake meat” movement. But that doesn’t invalidate the premise behind the desire to stop consuming animal products. (Also, it’s not like the “pro-meat movement” is devoid of any economic interests itself ;-)

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