2:00PM Water Cooler 8/23/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


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

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

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 2019-08-23:

Yesterday brought a new YouGov poll. Relative positions of Biden, Warren, Sanders are same. 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):

Harris (D)(1): “Kamala Harris raises over $1 million at Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard fundraisers” [CNBC]. “Sen. Kamala Harris raised over $1 million through several campaign fundraisers in the wealthy enclaves of the Hamptons on Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Harris attended multiple events last weekend in the affluent vacation spots, including five in the Hamptons… Others in attendance at the Kempner fundraiser included Citigroup executive Ray McGuire and Brad Karp, the chairman of legal powerhouse, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Kempner bundled $100,000 for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and nearly $1 million in total for both of President Barack Obama’s runs for the White House, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.” •

UPDATE Harris (D)(2): “Why Kamala Harris is stuck in neutral” [McClatchy]. “Nothing has crystallized Harris’ conundrum more vividly than her reversal on Medicare for All, a policy she lumberingly defended for months before retreating from its most dramatic provision: the elimination of private insurance…. In conversations with both Democrats and Republicans, she’s frequently mentioned as an optimal running mate for Biden — a suggestion that’s become a perpetual irritant to Harris and her aides, who continue to believe they’re positioned toward the top of ‘a wide open contest.'” • “Lumberingly.” Ouch!

UPDATE Moulton (D)(1): “Seth Moulton Drops Out of 2020 Democratic Presidential Race” [Bloomberg]. • Who?

Sanders (D)(1):

That’s the stuff to give the troops!

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3):


UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie Sanders’ Criminal Reform Plans Are Catching Up With His Radical Economic Platform” [The Root]. “His conversation in Miami with young people of color is an extension of the public engagement he’s made over the years, admittedly, with some criminal justice legal policies that have some actual teeth. The Root was at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in Detroit, watching the second primary debate with a mostly black audience who all very much were won over by Sanders’ performance. As I wrote that night, Sanders is likely the person to beat in Detroit and the rest of the state, with Harris and Warren not too far behind. He’ll need every black vote he can get in this primary pool, but it seems like his engagement with young activists on the ground and their efforts to push his messaging through to older voters may prove to be formidable when Super Tuesday rolls around.” • Note the source. This is an interesting article.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Sanders wins labor love — and frustrates foes — with Medicare for All play” [NBC]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., usually regards incoming political fire as evidence that he’s bombing the right targets — a sign that he’s hitting adversaries where it hurts. But not when some members of organized labor started picking at his Medicare for All plan in recent weeks because of fears that it would deprive them of high-end insurance policies obtained through negotiations with employers…. Here’s what he offered unions this week: a federal regulation that would require employers to apply savings from Medicare for All to wages and benefits…. He also left Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as the only leading Democrat with a Medicare for All plan that doesn’t have a union carve-out and earned himself some badly needed attention in the national media. Republicans and his rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination called it a flip-flop [as did The Jeff Bezos Daily Shopper, first out of the gate with coverage], while Sanders’ allies insisted it was simply a clarification of his existing position — he had previously said employers would pass savings on to workers without mentioning his plan to require that. But most important for him, unions welcomed the maneuver as part of a trend of candidates taking their concerns to heart.”

UPDATE Sanders (D)(5): “Bernie Sanders’s Green New Deal Is a Climate Plan for the Many, Not the Few” [Jacobin]. “All in all, the platform dramatically shifts the policy conversation, putting forth an insurgent and detailed policy vision grounded in the work of the vibrant social movements pushing climate politics. It both draws on what’s positive about the New Deal legacy — massive federal investment in the public interest — while also explicitly centering those who were excluded from its coalition, with particular attention to indigenous peoples and communities of color.” • It also costs $16 trillion. So if the central bankers (see Larry Summers below) are out of economy and the economy needs a fiscal boost, Sanders — and, to be fair, Warren — have the er, “plans” in place for that, unlike the centrists, let alone anti-big-gummint conservatives.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(6): “Bernie Sanders Gets a D- for His Climate Plan” [Kevin Drum, Mother Jones]. “If you’re going to propose a massive, $16 trillion plan, the first thing you should do is get as many people on board as possible. Instead, Sanders practically revels in pissing off as many stakeholders as possible. He’s going to tax the rich. He’s going to hobble the fossil fuel industry. He’s going to ban nuclear power. He’s going to nationalize electric generation and turn it over to the federal government.” • Absolutely. If I wanted a climate change solutions, getting the rich on my side would be absolutely my first step. Except for the ones who left for the bunkers in New Zealand, of course. Or Mars.

Warren (D)(1): Good crowd:

I think they’ve got the decimal point in the wrong place, though.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“Up to 20 correctional officers have received grand jury subpoenas in the Jeffrey Epstein investigation” [The Week]. “CNN reports that ‘as many as 20’ correctional officers from the Metropolitan Correctional Center received grand jury subpoenas last week, with investigators in particular wanting to ‘talk to the lieutenants who were in charge that night to get details on rounds that were not made.’… In its Wednesday report on the investigation, the Post noted that the eight officers’ ‘apparent disregard for the instruction’ to keep Epstein under supervision ‘does not necessarily mean there was criminal conduct’ and that it may be a ‘simpler and sadder’ case of ‘bureaucratic incompetence spanning multiple individuals and ranks within the organization.’ Barr has said the investigation’s findings will be ready to share with the public “soon.'”

“New York Times Reporter Solicited $30,000 for Charity From Jeffrey Epstein” [Daily Beast]. “A former New York Times reporter solicited a $30,000 charitable donation from accused serial sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, NPR reported Thursday. Last summer, according to NPR’s David Folkenflik, financial journalist Landon Thomas Jr. told his editors at the Times that he had become friends with Epstein after previously covering the disgraced financier—and had gotten Epstein to donate to a charity. The Times forbade Thomas from further contact with Epstein and he left the paper in early 2019, NPR reported. Thomas, who wrote a glossy story about Epstein after he pleaded guilty to sex charges in 2008, did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.” • Times gets out front of the story?


To be fair, the Harvard administration could be consumed with an internal debate about whether to take the name of opioid murderer “Sackler” off its art museum.

Our Famously Free Press

Burris covers Digital/politics for Raw Story:

I’m sort of amazed to see reporters express these biases openly, but I guess they sense that social sanction is unlikely in their milieu.

Obama Legacy

“BARACK AND MICHELLE OBAMA LOCKING DOWN INCREDIBLE MARTHA’S VINEYARD ESTATE!!!” [TMZ]. “Multiple island sources tell us the Obamas are in escrow for the estate owned by Boston Celtics owner, Wyc Grousbeck. The former Prez and First Lady have been renting the house this summer and loved it so much, we’ve learned they made an offer. The property is listed at $14,850,000. Our sources say they’re paying less, but we don’t know how much. The estate — incredible. It’s 29 beachfront acres. The main residence is just shy of 6,900 square feet. It has 7 bedrooms, so Sasha and Malia have a place to crash, along with several of their friends. It has the obligatory pool, an outdoor fireplace, a chef’s kitchen, vaulted ceilings and 2 guest wings. It has incredible views, especially while soaking in the second-floor balcony Jacuzzi. The beachfront is private … and comes with a boathouse. Downside — only a 2-car garage!!! Sorry kids…. The estate is currently in escrow and it’s not a done deal just yet. ” • What, no panic room? Here’s a photo:

It’s in Edgartown, not Oak Bluffs. Understandable; Obama wants to be among his people.

Susan Sarandon Hysteria

“Establishment Dems Are Openly Bullying Progressives. Good.” [Caitlin Johnstone, Medium]. ” Sometime after Sanders’ appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, which as of this writing has more than nine million views on Youtube alone, all the usual beltway bootlickers suddenly got extremely shrill and aggressive in using their platforms to attack Sanders, reignite the bogus “Bernie Bro” smear, and tell progressives that they need to fall in line with the Democratic Party regardless of who ends up becoming the nominee. Now we’re seeing some very interesting glitches in the narrative control matrix like mass media pundits freaking out over Bernie’s suggestion that plutocratic ownership taints news reporting and veterans of the news media industry coming forward to say he’s right.”

Bernie comin:

Too bad about Armando, seriously. He is gone, and Nina Turner is not. I blame Kos.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Faithless elector: A court ruling just changed how we pick our president” [NBC News]. “A federal appeals court ruled late Tuesday that presidential electors who cast the actual ballots for president and vice president are free to vote as they wish and cannot be required to follow the results of the popular vote in their states…. But once the electors are chosen and report in December to cast their votes as members of the Electoral College, they are fulfilling a federal function, and a state’s authority has ended. ‘The states’ power to appoint electors does not include the power to remove them or nullify their votes,’ the court said. Because the Constitution contains no requirement for electors to follow the wishes of a political party, ‘the electors, once appointed, are free to vote as they choose,’ assuming that they cast their vote for a legally qualified candidate.” • Readers will recall this post from December 16, 2016, where I compared Democrat’s scheme of persuading faithless electors to change their (presumed) voters based on intelligence that would not be shown to the public to the Chilean Constitutional order under Pinochet. Today, we would use the term “soft coup,” but I still think that was a pretty good call.

Stats Watch

New Home Sales, July 2019: “Behind the usual volatility of monthly sales rates, new home sales much like existing home sales are struggling to gain traction” [Econoday]. “Lower mortgage rates combined with strong demand in the jobs market are concrete positives for housing which, despite ups and downs, may still in the end be a positive contributor to the 2019 economy.”

UPDATE Retail: Thread:

I know I keep going on and on about phishing equilibria (“If fraud can happen, it will already have happened”) but this is a classic, and enormously consequential, case.

Manufacturing: “US Factories Shrink as Result of Weak World Demand, Trade Tensions” [Industry Week]. “The IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index slipped to 49.9 from a final July reading of 50.4, according to a preliminary August report Thursday that trailed all estimates in Bloomberg’s survey of economists. Fifty is the dividing lines between expansion and contraction. The reading for the U.S. follow others from Europe and Japan that showed shrinking factory activity. Thursday’s U.S. factory reports follow other preliminary IHS Markit data showing manufacturing shrank again in Germany and Japan, while stabilizing in France.”

The Bezzle: “WeWork Squeezes People Into Just Half the Space of Most Offices” [Bloomberg]. “In London, WeWork provides about half of the 8-to-10 square meters per person recommended by the British Council for Offices industry association. The company’s recently opened space in the Waterloo district, the largest co-working facility in the world, has a 6,414-person capacity, according to a document WeWork emailed to brokers. That equates to less than 4.1 square meters a person, according to Bloomberg News’ calculations. That’s roughly the size of two standard doors laying side by side.” • The veal’s no good if the pens are too small, sheesh. NOTE Second “lie”/”lay” confusion I’ve seen in a mainstream publication in two days.

The Bezzle: “WeWork IPO filing shows it’s losing nearly $5,200 per customer” [CBS]. • Obviously, they need more customers! Just like Uber and Lyft!

The Bezzle: “Uber is pulling its Jump bikes from Providence, Rhode Island, amid reports of misuse and vandalism” [Business Insider]. “Uber is temporarily pulling its dockless e-bikes from Providence, Rhode Island following reports of misuse. Several bikes have been damaged or used during criminal activity according to local media reports. Pulling the bikes will allow Uber and the Providence Police Department to locate and retrieve stolen bikes, Uber said in an emailed to statement to Business Insider.” • Oops. Too bad The Wire ended before the scooter craze began; I’d like to see Omar on a scooter.

Manufacturing: “Boeing SC hit with charges it fired workers due to union support” [Post and Courier]. “A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board has ruled there is merit to claims Boeing Co. illegally fired five workers who support the International Association of Machinists union at the aerospace giant’s 787 Dreamliner campus in North Charleston. The ruling gives the IAM a preliminary win in its ongoing battle with Boeing over establishing a union presence in South Carolina — a right-to-work state with the nation’s lowest percentage of union workers.” • Which is why Boeing located there, duh. Nice morale-building move. Just what you want with a workforce that leaves tools in the wings, and ladders in the tails.

The Fed: Thread from Larry Summers:

tl;dr: Central banks have no ammo for the next recession, so it’s all down to fiscal policy.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 25 Extreme Fear (previous close: 25, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 20 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 23 at 12:53pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

An enormous real estate play:

The original article in Nature is from 2018, but still germane:

North China Plain is the heartland of modern China. This fertile plain has experienced vast expansion of irrigated agriculture which cools surface temperature and moistens surface air, but boosts integrated measures of temperature and humidity, and hence enhances intensity of heatwaves. Here, we project based on an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model simulations that climate change would add significantly to the anthropogenic effects of irrigation, increasing the risk from heatwaves in this region. Under the business-as-usual scenario of greenhouse gas emissions, North China Plain is likely to experience deadly heatwaves with wet-bulb temperature exceeding the threshold defining what Chinese farmers may tolerate while working outdoors. China is currently the largest contributor to the emissions of greenhouse gases, with potentially serious implications to its own population: continuation of the current pattern of global emissions may limit habitability in the most populous region, of the most populous country on Earth.

“How climate change threatens public health” [Yale Climate Connection]. “Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin, is an expert on climate change and public health. His view: ‘It’s so important that people recognize that climate change is about our health. There are so many pathways through which climate impacts our health.’ Those pathways include heat, air pollution, extreme weather, vector-borne diseases, and access to safe water and food. The health risks posed by climate change already disproportionately harm marginalized groups including people with disabilities or infirmities, low-income families and individuals – and climate change is likely to deepen those disparities.”

“Central Iowa’s first agrihood focuses on putting farm first in $260 million project” [Des Moines Register]. “The farm Fillius is developing will be the center of Middlebrook, a $260 million home, townhome, commercial and office project on 540 acres near Cumming. The area’s rolling hills, ponds and timber will eventually be home to central Iowa’s first “agrihood,” a planned community of about 1,000 homes built around a working farm and community gardens. It’s one of more than 200 agrihoods that have cropped up across the country, a trend that appeals to consumers who want a slice of country life — big gardens, nature and outdoor recreation — near urban centers.”`• The article does not explicitly say whether pesticides will be used, or not.

“Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cristiano Ronaldo and Emmanuel Macron didn’t fact-check before posting images about the Amazon fires” [Poynter Institute]. “Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cristiano Ronaldo, Emmanuel Macron and Gisele Bundchen made the same (and, unfortunately, very common) mistake on Thursday: They didn’t fact-check an image before posting it on social media. And the consequence was brutal. They generated an international wave of disinformation around fires in the Amazon region — a crisis that was already serious enough…. ‘There is no doubt old photos showing Amazon fires are symbolic and refer to what is happening at this moment in the Amazon region. But posting old images might trigger an awkward and misplaced discussion around fake news now,’ said Natalia Leal, director of content for Agência Lupa.”

Groves of Academe

‘The great university con: how the British degree lost its value” [New Statesman]. “This summer, a department at the University of Sheffield sent an email to students. A group of them had complained about their marks for an end-of-year essay. While a few had received Firsts, these students were given 2:2s and Thirds. ‘Thank you for raising the issue,’ began the email, ‘and thank you also for your patience.’ After reflection, the head of department and the director of ‘learning and teaching’ had decided that, ‘our normal procedures… failed us. For this we apologise unreservedly’. The department had decided to ‘uplift all the marks… less at the top and more at the bottom’. The poorly performing students had their marks raised by nearly 40 per cent. The few who had done well saw their marks barely change. ‘Again, our apologies,’ the message concluded, ‘but we hope that this is a satisfactory resolution.'” • The final absurdity of treating students as consumers. Also, think about this if you’re doing business with firms in the UK.

Class Warfare

“6 findings that show the dire state of America’s middle class” [Business Insider] (From May, still germane). “Nearly 60% of those who said they grew up affluent now consider themselves to be in a lower class — about half of this group said they’re middle-class or upper-middle-class, while the other half said they’re poor or working-class. Nearly 60% of those who said they had an upper-middle-class upbringing identified with a lower class — half of this group said they’re middle-class, while the remaining half said they’re poor or working-class. And while half of those who said they grew up in the middle class said they’re still in it today, more than one-third identified with a lower class. Only about 12% said they’re now part of a higher class.” • Lover…

“Economic Antidote for a Shrinking America: Immigrants” [New York Times]. “‘In every market that we’re in, we’re dealing with staffing shortages,’ said Pilar Carvajal, the founder and chief executive of Innovation Senior Management, which manages seven assisted-living centers in Florida. Entry-level workers in the area make from $10 to $12 an hour — the same as a dishwasher and slightly more than a farmworker…. She has turned away business, declining to manage properties in Fort Myers. ‘It’s a staffing void,’ she confided during a visit to a memory care center in Broward County. Employment agencies won’t even return phone calls.'” • $10 an hour… So labor arbitrage is real, then? It sure is weird that the labor market is the only place where the magic of the marketplace — price! — doesn’t work.

Few things are more symbolic of the omnishambles neoliberalism has turned education into than teachers forced to buy school supplies for the children they teach:

I’m sure the Harkonnens who rule this country laugh alone at night over stuff like this.

News of the Wired

The Internet of Sh*t in China:

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PVL: “Lotuses at Chanticleer, a pleasure garden in Wayne, PA.” Wait. What garden is not a pleasure garden? Well, mine, when the squash were attacked by mold or bugs, but you know what I mean.

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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. Dan

    “Economic Antidote for a Shrinking America: Immigrants” [New York Times]. “‘In every market that we’re in, we’re dealing with staffing shortages,’ said Pilar Carvajal, the founder and chief executive of Innovation Senior Management, which manages seven assisted-living centers in Florida.”

    Pay more and maybe American will work in your slave pits and you wouldn’t have ‘staffing shortages’.

    Wages are low because of immigrants, not because they aren’t enough of them.

    I read an article discussing the number of legal immigrants entering the country. The number he had was roughly 100,000 legal immigrants enter the country every week. Then you have the quasi ‘illegal’ immigration which has been tacitly allowed by Congress for the last 20 years. Those two sources of are diluting our labor force’s ability to demand livable wages, and overloading the social systems, welfare and finances.


    1. Kurtismayfield

      That NYT article is not for the proles.. it is for the ten percent. They want their hairdressers, lawn maintenance, nannies, and home health aides to make $10 an hour. It is better for them to have a lower class pool of people’s to do this work. This is why the author didn’t question the “$10-12 an hour for a CNA” statement. He/she wants that cheap labor for themselves.

    2. marym

      Typo in the text for your link s/b 44.5 million. The report makes a further adjustment for illegal immigrants to obtain a total of “likely 46.4 million” immigrants. Then, from your link:

      Between 2010 and 2017, 9.5 million new immigrants settled in the United States. New arrivals are offset by roughly 320,000 immigrants who return home each year and natural mortality of about 2ha90,000 annually among the existing immigrant population.2 As a result, growth in the immigrant population was 4.6 million from 2010 to 2017.

      So net average about 12.6K per week, though the detail shows numbers increasing over the time span.

      As far as “overloading the social systems, welfare and finances” it would be helpful to see some detail. There are often studies showing factors like the overall contribution of immigrant labor to the economy, and comparative immigrant uses of social services which illustrate these issues, pro and con. For example, a recently proposed change would make it more difficult for military veterans to obtain a green cards for themselves and their families if they had accepted public benefits, though some would argue that military service is a valuable contribution to the country.

      A key consideration for me is that there are powerful politicians, and those who vote for them, who favor even the most inhumane versions of gutting or ending immigration who also favor gutting or eliminating social programs and workers rights for non-immigrants.

      1. Monty

        facts schmacts!

        Don’t an overestimate in the order of magnitude interfere with our shared fight against The Others!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Don’t an overestimate in the order of magnitude interfere with our shared fight against The Others!

          If the purpose of the State does not include putting its own citizens first*, what is the State’s purpose?


          1) explain this clearly and

          2) explain how you sell this knocking on doors.

          NOTE * Of course, one could argue that the purpose of the State is in fact to kill off selected tranches of its own citizens, which it is in fact successfully achieving through falling life expectancy and deaths of despair of U.S. citizens, a process met with malign neglect by both parties and our famously free press. If that is your theory of the State, and you regard falling life expectancy as unproblematic, then please answer how open borders solve the problem. Feel free to speculate on what happens if the general population accepts this model.

    3. NotReallyHere

      This is NOT about immigration. Get the terms right and you can see the problem clearly. Allow others to define the vocabulary and you get the mess we are in where illegally trafficked, quasi-slaves are lumped together with legal immigrants.

      The difference is rights. A legal immigrant has the right to a minimum wage, safe working conditions, a vote and all of the other protections afforded a native born citizen. And guess what, both government and corporations work hard to make legal immigration difficult. It costs thousands of dollars, takes years and if, at any time throughout that period you, or – more likely your now teenaged kid – makes a mistake involving law enforcement, then YOURROUT.

      On the other hand we have human traffickers trawling around Guatemala, Nicaragua and probably rural Mexico selling the American dream for your teenage son. And all you have to do to get him trafficked to a life of luxury working fifteen hours a day in a battery chicken shed for 4 bucks an hour .. is to give over the deeds of your Guatemalan shack. So if kiddo doesn’t work hard enough or, heaven forfend, says forget this and bails, then you’re all homeless.

      Get the difference?

      1. anon in so cal

        Yes, “get the difference.”

        Unfortunately, open borders proponents are partly to blame for the terminological murkiness.
        Pro illegal immigration advocates typically use slogans affirming the value of immigrants and immigration. They correctly note that immigrants make the country great, etc. No argument there. But they use these slogans and line of argumentation to advocate for illegal immigration. They deliberately conflate the two processes of legal and illegal immigration.

        1. NotReallyHere

          “Open borders proponents” – you mean every corporation in the U.S. and likely 80% of our politicians. And, since both of that lot have this angle, our meanStream media obliges with appropriate categorization to sell it.

          That’s why, when ICE did that big raid on a chicken farm in Mississippi, they caught and arrested hundreds of illegal workers. But prosecuting the employers is very difficult AND the media went with a) but what about the families and b) look there are lines of potential new, legal employees – but can they do it (not stated is at the price paid to illegals)

          That, IMNSHO, is the problem.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > “Open borders proponents” – you mean every corporation in the U.S. and likely 80% of our politicians.

            Making it all the more odd that identity politics liberals and even the DSA are doing their work.

            To put this another way, open borders advocates should be framing the employers who hire undocumented workers as courageous individuals performing acts of civil disobedience. Try rebranding their factories as “sanctuary workplaces.” That should clarify matters.

            1. ambrit

              “Sanctuary workplaces” is already a theme. As in, sanctuary from absolute poverty and the springboard to mere grinding poverty.
              I never thought that I’d end my life living in a Charles Dickens novel.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                I think DSA using that branding to defend employers — which to be consistent they, and liberals, should be doing — would be an amusing, and clarifying spectacle.

                ME: Who do I call so I can go live in Canada or Mexico with no visa because I prefer their health care system and can’t afford “my” own?

                OPEN BORDERS ADVOCATE: Well, don’t look at me!

                1. ambrit

                  LOL! Why not send the family down to Mexico to live while ‘we’ stay up here working and remit funds to the peeps? A rational argument for expatriate living!
                  A new bumper sticker theme: “My Kids and My Money go to Mexico!” (or Canada.)
                  It is a business opportunity for Coyotes! Instead of wasting all that time and money returning to Mexico empty handed, lead a coffle of Anglos back South to the promised land of Socialist Mexico!
                  “Bernardo Para Presidente!”

      2. Summer

        “The difference is rights. A legal immigrant has the right to a minimum wage, safe working conditions, a vote and all of the other protections afforded a native born citizen…”

        They..the legal immigrants… also often enjoy protections from their original country and dual citizenship. They have an escape route…

        Leaving the US citizen ass out with ZERO protections.

          1. GERMO

            Just, ugh, to seeing rightwing talking point anti-immigrant comment thread on NC. Sorry. Thanks to anyone attempting to correct the stirring-up-of-reactionary-resentments with some critical thinking. Right now, I can’t even.

            1. Carey

              Your forced conflation is interesting. I am not in support of open borders, thank you very much,
              unless and until the citizenry here in the neoliberal
              USA hellscape are protected from the race to the bottom, engendered by the Few, and inflicted on the Many.

              Your Faithful Servant,


              1. Amfortas the hippie

                again…universal labor rights with teeth, and the problem solves itself.
                i always thought it was hilarious that the same folks who engineer WTO’s and such are quick to lecture lefties about the evils of global governance.

                in the mean time, i’ll keep working on my cookbook for rich folks.

                1. Carey

                  “..in the mean time, i’ll keep working on my cookbook for rich folks.”

                  Excellent! Keep us informed.

                  1789 (thinking here of having a batch of ‘1789’ T-shirts done up)

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Just in case waiting for universal labor rights with teeth is like waiting for Godot, we should institute in the meantime securely controlled borders and Zero illegal immigration to create a painful enough labor shortage that American labor can create for itself some labor rights.
                  We could call it ” Laborism in One Country”.

                3. ambrit

                  And the “teeth” of previous ‘labour conflicts,’ say, a hundred years ago and before was street violence and bombing campaigns against the owners. Too many people today forget that the old fashioned ‘class war’ was a real shooting war. Good people gave up their very lives to get us the “freedoms” we took for granted and now see slipping away.
                  I think “River Rouge Plant Strike” and the Molly Maguires.

                4. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > universal labor rights with teeth, and the problem solves itself

                  I agree. That’s the solution to labor arbitrage, and it’s exactly what the powers that be did not do when they deindustrialized flyover and made China the endpoint of our supply chains.

                  So, guess what, labor arbitrage was and is key to globalization, and the putative left is not only not opposing it*, they’re encouraging it.

                  “Granite countertops in one country,” as it were.

                  NOTE * If DSA is pushing “universal labor rights with teeth”, I haven’t it seen it on the Twitter and I do try to keep track.

            2. Mo's Bike Shop

              Try this:

              “I’d emigrate, but then I’d be subject to our foreign policy!”

              Empires, and their discontents, suck. Is that reactionary?

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > “I’d emigrate, but then I’d be subject to our foreign policy!”

                This is no joke. The dollar looks to be the reserve currency for some time, Mark Carney notwithstanding, but if we (the United States) lose an aircraft carrier somehow, people might get the jitters.

        1. NotReallyHere

          That’s fair, but you pay taxes at full rate with no rights for a decade, then you pay thousands in legal fees to keep your legal status correct and you can’t leave the job your in till you get the green card – which can take years.

          The “right” to go back to your own country” is indeed true. But now you have American kids and likely/eventually American grandkids who know nothing of your “old country” – which is itself unrecognizable from when you lived there – and maybe that “right” is less valuable than you think.

          Anyway, my aim was to point out the difference between a legal, organized system of immigration and a cynical nasty system of wage suppression using quasi- slavery. They are different things and conflating them serves to hide what is going on

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            …and i must pint out that that legal, organized system of immigration is a cruel cockup, itself….a chaotic maze of fees and lawyers and panels and arbitration. it costs a fortune, too.
            many of my wife’s students(ESL) have been through it…and some have been suddenly deported right before they finally got their green card, for no apparent reason we, or they, could discern.
            and while a few of the recent immigrant familias around here are criminally entangled with the zetas, or whatever…most are not, and are in fact some of my favorite people in the whole county.
            most of the “illegals” i know do in fact pay taxes, including FICA…they just won’t see any benefit….and this, while living ten to a room in an unairconditioned, unheated barn. I know this, because my MIL does their taxes.
            the big grape growers are the only farmers left around here who still employ “illegals”, now.
            and I know those guys…it’s not like they couldn’t afford to pay citizens a fair wage…its that they would rather not.
            it’s all a big mess, buried under mountains of bullshit and bad faith.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      every day poor people have to make the value judgement of living in poverty for starvation wages or participating in the black market in some capacity for the prospect of less grinding poverty but with the risk of punishment by The Oligarchy.

      $10 is insulting. I work 3 jobs and if anyone offered me under $15 I’d laugh in their fucking face.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      On your link to the Center for Immigration Studies, I couldn’t find a funding source on their About page, always a bad sign. Wikipedia: “CIS doesn’t provide any details about its funding, though the Colcom Foundation is one of its main sources.” The Colcom Foundation is run by one of the squillionaire Scaifes, “as nasty a bunch of weasels as you could hope not to meet” (Terry Pratchett, Making Money).

      So, for CIS, cum grano salis.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Not sure what you mean.

          I scanned the staff and the board, and saw no branded loons (i.e., no Bannon). So I have them in the conservative bucket (and there are worse buckets to be in).

          1. ambrit

            Sorry. An inferior pun suggesting that the base resources (seminal seeds) needed to ‘grow’ the commonweal have been sold off. This is, to my way of thinking, the basic function of neo-liberal “Think Tanks.” The CIS as a ‘new line’ Conservative organization, is in opposition to open borders due to hewing to an ‘America First’ ideology. (Their definition of America is open to debate.)
            I doubt if many of the CIS staffers would be considered “salarymen.”

  2. Samuel Conner

    One can hope that Larry S will eventually convert to MMT, but I intuit that if that does happen, it will only be on his deathbed.

      1. a different chris

        Haha so right and we mistakenly claim that economists don’t know how the real economy works. They know, and part of that knowledge is that you need to shill the BS for those with the money if you wanna get your own piece of said pie.

      2. unknown

        Scary version, the next Epstein begins suggesting that Larry S and others on some peer-review panel espouse certain theories. And who thought that smilin’ lizard Jeff was the last of his kind?

  3. Hana M

    Well, I guess it’s clear the Obamas don’t really believe in global warming and/or sea level changes. That house is awfully close to the ocean and on flat ground. “Nice house….be a shame if something happened to it!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      That house to the left of the main complex will probably be where his Secret Service detachment will be stationed. And that stretch of mown lawn going to the sea will probably be where he gets to practice his golf swings for all those important gatherings where he will dispense his invaluable advice to his real buddies.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      2 million per bedroom. And miles away from the plebs in town, so you can savor your conversations with people who think raw broccoli and Lady Gaga are Edgy and Bohemian.

      Trustafarian life always struck me as a lifelong visit to the Aunt you hate.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe the Obamas figure that people in the Obama Class .. . their kind of people.. . will get taxpayer-subsidized Seawalls when the time comes to keep the ocean out of their mansion.

      1. russell1200

        Ms. Neer,

        Much as Mr. Molton, only becoming aware of your candidacy by the announcement of your withdrawal, I am sorry to see you leave.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner


    Way to dream big. This is the ultimate problem with Warren. She’s small time. This is a joke. It feeds non-sensical arguments about pay as you go and does nothing to address wealth inequality.

    1. Carla

      The “ultimate problem with Warren” is reason that the powers that be have settled on her as preferable to Bernie. Bullies never want to deal with anyone that’s big time, now do they?

      1. richard

        Is Warren a bully? I ask with no preconvieved notions either way, though I did some to run into a few more bullies when I tried academia.

        1. Yves Smith

          I don’t know about bullying, but in the one conversation I had with her (she called me on a Friday very late afternoon in the summer when she was debating whether or not to run for the Senate), I found her to be the most domineering person I have every encountered. And recall I did time on Wall Street and later had billionaires as clients.

          1. Jack Parsons

            This is good to know!

            The President is not a parish priest. The President is a vicious bastard who sometimes comes through for you. This is the best you get.

            We have this bizarre fetish for wanting a folksy President, but then we want the President to lord it over France and China. You can’t have it both ways.

            Think LBJ.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > the most domineering person I have every encountered

            Domineering + small ball may be a winning combination, but I’m not sure it’s what the country needs… .

    2. Pat

      It also shows how warped the perspective is when you have to make over 50 million dollars a year to be ultra wealthy.

      It isn’t only the miniscule increase, but how much is protected from the increase.

        1. Monty

          I think it’s net worth she is talking about. All assets owned-50m *0.02 = tax bill.

          God knows how they plan to put a market value for the hoards of 0.01% America. Sounds very challenging to do a fair job, if not impossible without employing 1000s of appraisers to go and inventory their massive estates around the world. I expect .gov will raise very little money from this. The very rich have great lawyers who make ownership of assets extremely opaque for the IRS. The best we can hope is that some of them eff off to Belize and never come back.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            With all the homeless, perhaps the idea of a second or thrid home is too much of a luxury.

            Ban second/third/vacation homes?

            If you need one for good reasons, perhaps you can apply for an exemption.

            Or tax heavily (20% on property value per annum?) to fund more housing.

            1. Monty

              Have you met your fellow Americans? They kiss up and kick down. Helping the poor is the last thing the “me first” majority want.

              You would need a Pol Pot style reorganization to get the changes you’re looking for.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                There are Americans like that, as you say.

                On the other hand, there are also Americans supporting progressive candidates, and also those who comment here (and I look forward to meeting them one day).

                So, it’s mixed bag, like, I suspect, other countries.

                  1. ambrit

                    Minorities have generally managed to run countries for their benefit and the benefit of their ‘class.’ I would not in any way imagine that the 0.01% running America today as being anything but a minority.
                    Think “Vanguard of the Oligarchiate.”

              2. Chef

                My best friend was a baby when he was carried out of Cambodia by his older brother.

                I’ll pass on any Pol Pot style anything, thanks.

              3. Carey

                I’m wary of generalizations like the one (s) you’re making. I live in USA USA and like
                my neighbors; they’re decent people; imperfect, just like me, but decent.

                Our ruling and explaining class, on the other hand..

                  1. Monty

                    Yes, everyone is very nice to their group, very friendly. I’ve noticed that this generosity tapers off proportionally to it’s impact on their tax bill and 401k balance. Why else do you think the GOP has so many elected representatives at every level of government?

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              regarding the homeless problem…seems like i saw somewhere that there are several empty house in this country for each homeless person…due to that “market failure” a decade ago.
              have any of the dem candidates(including Bern, altho i suppose he just hasn’t gotten around to it) proposed taking those houses from the big banks and just giving them to homeless people?
              i mean, we the people, essentially paid for them anyway, didn’t we?(all that backdoor bailout cash)

              and of course, in all the little towns around here, there are many, many, many empty houses…most needing work…just sitting there(but there’s nothing to do out here, so perhaps repopulate the hinterland would fit into a GND rejiggering of the agricultural system.)

              1. Mo's Bike Shop

                Yup. I do know that Anchorage, AK did that with their abandoned condos after the pipeline boom in the 80s. All the poor and renting could use their dividend from the Permanent Fund to place a down-payment with the FHA, and there still was Welfare as We Knew It for appropriately adjusted mortgage payments.

                Of course a lot of the boom housing had big quality issues. (Ongoing probably: they were building houses with treated plywood foundations, because that performed fine with the soil temperature there at the time)

                The farther north you go, the more socialist the society is. As Garrison Keillor loved to point out, the fact that the world around you is actually ready to kill you concentrates the mind wonderfully. Cabins in remote areas of Alaska are a commonplace, no one would ever want to be accused of putting a lock on one.

                But, my southerly city recently renovated the house catty-corner to me because the family that owned it do not have the cash resources beyond paying taxes.

                And, going further, maybe combining lots and creating a social institution for people who might screw up in their own nuclear home, but could prosper in a mutual support environment.

              2. Amfortas the hippie

                and, speaking of rejiggering the ag system: “Agrihood”.
                there’s one going in north of Comfort, Texas, adjacent to a wealthy ranchette enclave that’s been there for a while(friend of mine catered a party for karl rove, there,lol)
                the brochure materials(including the billboards) talk about the shared garden, and community amenities, including what looks like a racetrack/amphitheater, cut from the extant limestone. This “agrihood” is apparently the new vision for an older failed development at the same spot.
                me to wife while driving by(it’s on our way to san antone):” it’s a commune for rich bastards”
                the irony is delicious, even though any future residents will NOT get such irony.

                not mentioned in the ads is the 100+ foot cross dominating the landscape atop one of the bigger hills. I don’t know if it’s lighted, but i expect it would have to be, given it’s height(prolly 300′ above the valley floor)
                it’s big enough to likely effect the weather.
                part of a giant manicured spread across the highway from all that other stuff.
                a whole lot of money already lives along that stretch(and it’s beautiful country in there). i guess they’re expecting more to come….the Dominion, after all, is practically IN san antonio, now,lol. where’s the fun in that?

    3. Jeff W

      In a sensible universe, “Two cents! Two cents!” would be some kind of mocking taunt—a lousy 2¢!—not a rallying cry. As it is, it’s sucks all the oxygen out of the room. It’s anti-inspiring, so maybe fitting in its own way, for Elizabeth Warren.

      1. tegnost

        Good point. Now if she’d said 2 cents and an end to citizens united so that the rich’s money would be screeching at a more appropriate volume it would be better.

        1. Carla

          Much better than an end to Citizens’ United: an end to corporate constitutional rights and money as speech. Please take a look at HJR-48, ask your Rep. to co-sponsor if s/he hasn’t already, and urge your Senators to introduce a companion resolution in the U.S. Senate:

          Oh, and if you want to join the grass-roots movement behind HJR-48, go to http://www.movetoamend.org — check it out and if you can, throw a few bucks their way. It’s a shoe-string organization that accomplishes a LOT.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            I’m enamored with the Archdruid’s idea of knocking the magical permanence off of Corporations, reinforcing the idea that these are human constructs that humans create. Time-limited incorporation: if your mission is that good, get all the shareholders to reinvested in a new charter every X years. Death penalty for specific felony violations: get caught and you are closed down and your assets sold off of to people running companies that can go a whole day without breaking the law. Etc. If any libertarian entrepreneurs don’t like those kind of hassles, they can just stay clear of the government yoke by not incorporating.

            And is there some law preventing us from always calling them ‘Limited Liability Corporations’? A lot of Americans erroneously believe that the word Entitlement means a class getting special treatment from the government. Yet very few understand that a Corporation is by definition a case of a class explicitly getting special treatment from the government.

            1. Carla

              Thanks for these comments, Mo’s Bike Shop. I do hope you will check out kindred spirits at Move to Amend.

        2. Jeff W

          Thanks. Imagine:

          Warren: Throw ’em in jail! Let’s not make crime pay!
          Crowd: Make crime pay! Make crime pay!

          Warren: Power to regular “folks,” not power to the oligarchs!
          Crowd: Power to the oligarchs! Power to the oligarchs!

          It’s like some scene from Life of Brian.

          Warren, who is invariably a bit tone-deaf to these things, would probably never even notice. And the crowd would be having a blast.

      2. deplorado

        In the recent Camp Kotok MMT discussion (recording for the public posted here https://soundcloud.com/user-529956811/mmt-discussion-raw), two things stood out for me (believe both were stated by Samuel Rines @SamuelRines on twitter):
        – MMT is “inevitable” (although it is arguable whether his definition and understanding is correct)
        – Warren is the assumed democratic nominee (Bernie or anyone else was not mentioned at all in ~30 min of this recording)

        Camp Kotok is basically a US casual vacation style under the radar mini-Davos: https://www.cumber.com/camp-kotok/

        So, sounds like the FIRE sector is looking to get nice and comfortable while nominally paying tribute to the plebeians (lest they revolt, that was intimated by above mentioned Sam)

      3. Carey

        Maybe the anti-inspiration was part of the idea: a little idea to campaign on and to be later conveniently forgotten.

        I would not trust Warren as a Presidential candidate.

        2% over $50 million!!! 2%!!!


      4. Mo's Bike Shop

        ‘My two cents’

        ‘Two cents plain’

        How about ‘No Wooden Nickels’?

        I often think about how ‘New Deal’ sounded to a culture where ’23 skidoo’ was a catchphrase. But that’s because I had older parents, and I have a thing for the pop history of that time. I’m pretty much older myself now and everyone who gets those jokes is passing away. It’s hard to find anyone hep anymore.

        If we can’t do a little more Modern phrase like ‘Great Society*’, maybe we could focus group on something like a ‘Pretty Good Society’? The kids today already have a word for it, but we haven’t heard it yet.

        When I was growing up, my parents complaining about the new music playing at the store was a constant source of entertainment. When I go into a store now, I only hear stuff I got tired of in my 20s. As our media can’t not report on Trump, it can’t not focus on its idea of who the Boomers are and where their cash can be accessed.

        *I was born in 65, the change in poverty as I grew up in rural Maine was perceptible enough for me to remember.

  5. dearieme

    The beachfront is private As a foreigner I don’t know what that means. Is the land private down to the point where soil gives way to sand/rock/mud? Or down to the mark of the highest Spring tide (which might sometimes be close to the same thing)? Or down to the mean high tide line?

      1. dearieme

        Goodness me: the low tide mark. That’s the rule in Orkney and Shetland under Udal tenure. It hadn’t occurred to me that Massachusetts would use old Viking laws.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It would seem, with rising sea levels, that we will see more pubic access, to including formerly private, beach-front houses.

    1. deplorado

      Indeed. In Switzerland for example, all beaches are public property and owners of properties fronting a lake have to provide the public with access. There was a recent article at swissinfo discussing this about Federer’s new lakefront property near Zurich. He didn’t provide access, was the gist – but still there is law that the public can use.
      In the US – not sure – isn’t it dependent on which state?

      1. Carla

        Yes, beach access, voting rights, election law — all up to the state. Where people’s rights are concerned, we have 50 little countries here. But not so for corporations: they rely on the Commerce clause of the Constitution, which wasn’t quite enough for them, so they claimed OUR Bill of Rights as well.

        Well, when a human right is up against a corporate “right” in court, guess who has more, and better-paid lawyers? I think you’ve got it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I thought Drum’s article was stunning. I’m amazed he was actually given money to write it. A fifth-rate blogger at a conservative site could have written it; although I guess it works as clickbait.

      1. marku52

        I check in on Drum to know that the DNC wants me to know and how I’m supposed to know it. Faster than watching MSDNC.

        He was very good on the lead/crime connection, to his credit.

      2. KLG

        I confess that I did read Kevin Drum at one time, CalPundit his old self. But I cannot believe he is still a thing. Stunning? That’s one word for the piece.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Calpundit, Kos and Armando, “progressive” bloggers who were going to crash the gates. I hope there are ghosts, and that Mother Jones is haunting the hell out of Drum, Corn and the rest of the clowns who are trashing her name.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Armando has been dumped before. When did Roy Cohn, G. G. Liddy, or Pat Buchanan ever go without a meal?

      1. urblintz

        Wow… that’s weird. I was so certain that Drum wrote this (as I read him and MJ avidly back then) that I didn’t look at the byline and whereas I can’t imagine how I would have misremembered the known author of an article which so appalled me, there it is – Joshua Hammer.

        My apologies to Drum and to the readers here for my error.

      2. urblintz

        Here’s Hammer’s bio, which clarifies the articles horrid tone:

        Joshua Hammer (“The Death of Rachel Corrie”) is the Jerusalem bureau chief for Newsweek. He is the author of Chosen by God: A Brother’s Journey, about his younger brother’s decision to become a member of an ultraorthodox Hasidic community, and A Season in Bethlehem: Unholy War in a Sacred Place, which was published in September.

        Again I apologize to all for the mistake… not a small one. Dotage sets in…

    3. Monty

      Kevin Drum. Now there’s a name I’ve not heard in a long, long time. A long time. Does he still wear Birkenstocks with white socks?

  6. Summer

    Re: Dire straights of American middle class…

    Is this supposed to be the middle class consisting of consumers that are supposed to power the country through the volatility of the “trade war”?

    Hasn’t that been the latest story from some in finance?

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      I found much of the poll data in that Business Insider piece quite muddled, even after two close readings. (The clickbaity title and ‘6 shocking points’ format doesn’t help either). Was there something profound there I missed?

      While downward social mobility and precarity are defining secular trends in today’s Amerika, as the comrades here know well, the methodology used didn’t unpack what’s going on.

      The primary issue is that earnings and financial security aren’t at all the same thing. The authors flag some important ways that is true (6 figure millennials slaving in coastal money pits, 9.9%er families overextended in McMansion debt), but miss others that would give context and balance.

      For example, a retiree sitting in a paid off home in the heartland might report feeling quite secure or affluent on a $40k income (until they get ill and the Med-FIRE Complex confiscates their home of course). A Vanderbilt law student earns very little but may feel quite upwardly mobile and also enjoy a ‘money from home’ safety net. Etc. Anyway, the piece just felt incomplete.

  7. dcblogger

    I think that Epstein damage control has morphed into throw certain prominent “clients” under the bus to distract attention from the dozens (hundreds?) of banksters who rode the Lolita Express.

      1. Fíŕean

        Being named in someone’s phone book is no evidence of criminal behaviour , nor does being associated with same person prove the intention of criminal activity..

        Epstein organised social events and conferences for scientists, where there was no evidence or suggestion of criminal activity. Even the late Stephen Hawkins visited Epstein’s private island whilst attending such a science event at the neighbouring island. Photos have been published in major newspapers and online.

        You want to know or publish, here are the names in Epstein’s little black book , click here:
        The redacted version ; https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/1508273/jeffrey-epsteins-little-black-book-redacted.pdf

        I leave to your discretion whether to include the link above in my post.
        ( there is an unredacted version of this online, i will give the url which i have seen)

        “Doxing” attempts may backfire, if implying that all these persons were or have been engaging in illegal activity with or through Epstein.

        I believe the implication to be absurd to imply that all these persons listed within Epstein’s “black book” enagaged in the activity for which Epstein was to be prosecuted .


        1. Tomonthebeach

          […no evidence of criminal behaviour.] Perhaps not, but it still reflects negatively on the listee. The way one gets into most adults’ contacts file is because they had collaborated or at least spent significant time together such that they have a relationship which likely includes emailing and phone chatting. If you are that well-acquainted with somebody to put them in your database – you know who, how, and what they are well enough to divine that the “Lolita Express” is an XXX-rated conveyance. When so many people (incl 2 presidents) openly comment on the guy’s pederasty, it is not a deep secret. Stating Renaultisms “You mean he fondled and slept with those teenyboppers? I am shocked to hear this. Shocked I tell you.” That is as disingenuous as it is preposterous.

          1. Fíréan

            ” The way one gets into most adults’ contact file is because they collaberated or atleast spent significant time together such that . . . ”
            That may be so in your circles. Epstein was a high society socialite and could put anyone he wanted in his book.

            An advit collector of social connections doesn’t need to spend much with the persons to include them in their files. And all the business connections don’t imply social connections either.

            Are all the people, friends, family, businesses and others listed in your own adress book connected with your social and sexual life ? The taxi company you use in one location, prefered hotels ? If one of these persons whom you have listed in your adress book, or with whom you have shared you contact details and hence lsied in their files, were to be enaged in criminal activity of which you were not aware, would that make you an accessory or suspect ?

            I do not doubt that there are persons listed in Epestein’s book who ought be investigated. Les Wexner for instance, to whom i refered in a previous reply to Naked Capitalism. Yet 90 year old Ethel Kennedy ? TWA and United Airlines ? Epstein’ s chirpractor ?

            There are persons listed under “massage”, they may well be victims.

            Notably absent from the online redacted version of the ” Black Book” are the Clintons.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          Epstein organised social events and conferences for scientists, where there was no evidence or suggestion of criminal activity.

          Well duh. Are you all operating under Gaelic Names?

    1. tegnost

      As the close friend of a victim of child abuse who will probably never really get over it, as it happens in formative years when you are supposed to be learning how to deal with people and one’s ability to do that becomes unalterably skewed in some cases, I’ve been thinking about the victims. As you point out there must have been a lot of them to “service” the wide ranging clientele.

      1. Roy G

        And, sadly, as someone pointed out about Epstein, the need didn’t stop after he was iced in 2009; surely, there are more discreet individuals who run other networks to service these psychopaths.

    2. Carey

      The Epstein™ thing was intended from the start as a misdirection, IMNSHO, and should be forgotten as soon as possible.


  8. XXYY

    Symone Sanders, a senior adviser of presidential candidate Joe Biden, was among those who urged the DNC committee on Thursday to vote down a climate debate, saying it would be ‘dangerous territory in the middle of a Democratic primary process.’

    “Your honor, I object!”

    “Why, Mr. Reede?”

    “Because his testimony is devastating to my case!”

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Remember how long it took the Democratic Party to get over ‘teh Gays’? You may think Climate Change is a settled issue. I may think it is. The American Conservative and Bloomberg may think it is. But the DNC needs to impact its options for a while longer.

  9. a different chris

    There are so many things wrong with the Joy Reed/Sarah Burris tweets it’s hard to pick one. But underlying it all is the won’t-miss-my-next-meal people’s attitude that politics is all about being in a group you like.

    Now back in the 90’s I found few people more annoying than Honda Accord owners, but that didn’t mean buying an Accord wasn’t a pretty good idea. Because it was a darn good car.

    Joy Reid won’t lack for a meal for the rest of her life. I would say that, however, Ms Burris unless she comes from/marries into a wealthy family, well it ain’t so good for reporters. Maybe she’ll learn.

    Beautiful lotuses, btw.

  10. Grant

    “If you’re going to propose a massive, $16 trillion plan, the first thing you should do is get as many people on board as possible”

    He then proceeds to mention a bunch of industries. Are working people or humans living on this planet stakeholders? And how exactly do you deal with the radical changes we need to implement without taking on those very business interests? I wonder what the actual Mother Jones would think of a magazine in her name saying these things, with that horrible, Clintonite editor. I wonder, if this was the 19th century and the labor movement was pushing for the changes it wanted to see come about, or the abolitionists, what Drum would say. Would John Brown get a D- for not getting the stakeholders like the slave owners on board?

    1. marku52

      “Would John Brown get a D- for not getting the stakeholders like the slave owners on board?”

      Winner of today’s internet….

    2. notabanker

      reader comment says it all:
      “How do you expect your plan to stop wolves from eating us to work without buy-in from the wolves?”

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      We, the citizens, meta-citizens, and denizens of this fair land are not it’s stakeholders, of course.

      There’s just a Poe’s Law limit for columnists, and Drum passed that so long ago.

  11. Summer

    “An anticdote to the prospect of having to pay higher wages: more immigration”

    All the rest is a load of BS.

  12. Andre

    I saw pictures of the estate, and all I could think of was Cornell West. It’s brown on the outside and totally white inside. I do mean white. Maybe that’s why they like it.
    but seriously, I would think they could do better, considering all they did for the bankers.

    1. ewmayer

      Perhaps Andre intended to write “Cornel Wilde” – you know, the star of the 1965 classic The Naked Prey, where he’s getting chased all over the African Savannah by a bunch of angry tribesmen and has to resort to eating raw snails and other gross stuff to survive, and of course Wilde is white but gets baked to a really deep brown tan while doing so. Not sure how the Mahtha’s Vineyahd beachfront estate figures into that, though.

  13. XXYY

    “If you’re going to propose a massive, $16 trillion plan, the first thing you should do is get as many people on board as possible. Instead, Sanders practically revels in pissing off as many stakeholders as possible. He’s going to tax the rich. He’s going to hobble the fossil fuel industry. He’s going to ban nuclear power. He’s going to nationalize electric generation and turn it over to the federal government.”

    Still waiting for him to get to the bad part! ?

    Kevin Drum at Mother Jones is the worst, and he really hates Bernie for some reason. He’s a testament to how bad MoJo has become.

    1. Carey

      Hating anyone trying to create people-benefiting policy seems to me
      to be a decently-paid social media™ position, these days.

      Sanders is doing damn good work.

  14. Pelham

    Re Sanders’ climate plan: One feature in the plan, just one, makes it imperative to vote against him.

    I was an enthusiastic supporter until he proposed to ban nuclear power. As far as I can tell from extensive reading on the subject for the past 40 years, this will quite literally doom civilization. Wind and solar cannot be scaled up to nearly the degree needed in the next 11 years. Nuclear on a massive scale has to be included and may have to be the principal option.

    Although I like everything else about Sanders — most notably his integrity, which puts him in a category entirely by himself (unless perhaps we include Tulsi Gabbard) — his anti-nuclear plan cancels out every bit of that in one stroke.

    1. notabanker


      So what useless candidate are you gonna vote for? Biden? Harris? or lemme guess, throw one away on the Green party? So you can tell your dying kids you stood firm on the nuclear principle? Puh-leeze.

    2. Skip Intro

      You have not been reading very useful material. The time for nuclear power to save the world from fossil carbon was 40 years ago, if ever. Bernie’s proposed ban is kinda pointless, since economics and the reality of energy production have already killed off ‘civilian’ nuclear power in the US and most other places that are not seeking nuclear weapons capability.

      But thanks for your concern.

      1. EricT

        Not crazy about runaway fission reactions. They tend to create wastelands when they go crazy. Why not reinstate funding for fusion research. We sort of abandoned it during GW’s administration. A lot safer as well.

    3. Norge

      Please take us through the logistics of planning, obtaining construction permits, building and then obtaining licensing for one nuclear plant. Then estimate how many new plants could be in operation in 11 years.

      1. Briny

        That’s precisely the problem with the system as it functions now for nuclear. I don’t see at way around it politically, and yes I am pro-nuclear.

      2. Pelham

        As soon as you return to 1939 and explain in detail how the US would gear up for WWII. Or to 1961 to explain in detail how the US would put men on the moon in 9 years.

        1. Baby Gerald

          By the time the US entered the war (in December 1941, not 1939 let’s remember) the armaments industry had been supplying England with weapons for at least two years. Look up Lend/Lease. Our industrial capacity was already cranking out plenty of tanks, ships, planes, and guns and shipping them in bulk to England, later to (gasp!) Russia.

          So, once Hitler declared war on the US (remember, it wasn’t the US declaring war on him but the other way around) the US armaments industry had already been humming along at nearly full output for 2-plus years. Whatever civilian industrial capacity was needed was quickly converted into still more armaments manufacture. In fact, by the time US boots set foot on European soil over two years later, the war was practically won. Not by us, mind you, but thanks to our Russian allies.

          As for the second deflection/question- look up Operations Overcast and Paperclip. To paraphrase Bob Hope, our Germans turned out to be better than ‘their’ Germans.

          1. JBird4049

            Although the United States did not start from a dead stop, Germans, British, French, Americans, Soviets, and Japanese as well as various smaller countries had all been gearing up for war starting from 1933-1936. So the “we’re screwed because no time” does has some weight.

            What is generally unappreciated is the American naval buildup of 1939-45. It took a massive amount of resources to build them. Everyone is focused on the small stuff like tanks and they planes instead of the big items like freighters, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. Add the fact that most of the women in manufacturing building all the stuff didn’t enter the effort until after Pearl Harbor.

            So the workforce and the infrastructure needed to build the 24 Essex class fleet carriers from 1941to 1945 only began to be built up in 1939-40.

            My guess is that the many still living engineers and workers from our formerly existing industries would be just thrilled to help. We do have plenty of people just rusting away. We probably still have some machine tools squirreled too. No, the bottleneck is in the planning. Much of the prewar preparations was in the planning of what to do once Congress authorized the spending. Also, it took a large effort to deal with corruption especially of overcharging for bad production.

    4. FluffytheObeseCat

      Contemporary nuclear power in the U.S. does not appear to be superior to renewables + storage in effecting a swift transition to 100% non-greenhouse gas emitting power. Our recent attempts to build new nuclear plants have been “sad”. (In the way that Trump uses the word.) Construction began on units 3 & 4 at the Vogtle plant in Alabama in 2013 and they are not expected to be in service until 2021-22. Maybe. If their completion dates aren’t pushed back yet again. And the cost overruns…. are still mounting.

      Over the past 10 years, wind and solar have driven our nation’s switch to a non-emitting power supply system; nuclear – despite Energy secretary Moniz’s genuine support for it – hasn’t done squat.

      I know of no technical, social, or regulatory developments on the horizon that will change this pattern. We are not suddenly going to become French, and nuclear power plants are not suddenly going to become inherently cheap to build. Given its fraught history, Sanders’ policy paper looks just fine. He is unlikely to be nominated, unlikely to be elected, and unlikely to achieve 100% of his policy objectives even if he were. If we are insanely lucky, and he is elected, and he manages to enact some of his energy policy…. we will be so far ahead of where we’d otherwise be that the narrow scope of his favored power production technologies is unimportant.

      1. nippersmom

        Not that it negates the point of your comment (with which I agree), but plant Vogtle is in Georgia.

      2. Pelham

        Though I believe Sanders to be in error about nuclear power, let’s say for the sake of argument that he’s right and his program would work if fully implemented.

        But in your estimation, full implementation is probably out of the question. He’d get only the climate equivalent of half a bridge across a river. Therefore, we’re unlikely to save the human race, right?

        I hate to be an absolutist on any issue. I really do. But it seems to me that climate is the one issue that’s categorically and unavoidably all or nothing, given the stakes and the exquisitely brief time we have left to solve the problem. So anything less than throwing every single thing we can possibly throw at it is, literally, insane.

        I’d love to vote for Sanders for any number of reasons. But it’s pointless voting for anyone who doesn’t include a big role for nuclear power — sweeping away the inhibiting regulations, btw.

        Am I wrong? If climate change is that important and the solutions must be fully implemented within a decade or so, how can it be otherwise?

        1. Tomonthebeach

          Same reason Kennedy gave for going to the moon: We do these things … not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.

    5. Helios

      Over 200 GW of wind and solar will be deployed worldwide this year.
      At least 125 GW of solar alone in 2019, a >20% YoY increase.
      And a 10-fold increase over what was installed per annum 10 years ago.

      It takes <9 months and <$75M CAPEX to bring on 1 GW of solar panel manufacturing capacity in Asia.

      So on what are you basing this "solar and wind can't scale quickly enough" but somehow nuclear can?

      1. Pelham

        But fossil fuel power has been increasing at faster pace than the addition of wind and solar. Something else that offers round the clock power is needed to maintain a steady base load. And that should be nuclear rather than coal or gas.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          But fossil fuel power has been increasing at faster pace than the addition of wind and solar.


          Is there a little bit of ‘if you build it, they will come’ loop there somewhere?

          I mean, if population is steady, wind and solar should, in theory, reduce fossil fule power usage, under a straightforward substitution.

          I realize population is not steady, so, I qualify with ‘a little bit of’ there.

        2. Carey

          And with the extreme weather patterns we’re getting, there’s
          any hope for these new nukes that you’re suggesting we build
          will be safe, not even mentioning the lack of low-enough
          cooling water temperatures?

          I live six-or-so miles from the Diablo Canyon nuke, and we have been getting absolutely terrifying weather here in the fall:
          mind-blowing East winds (my next-door neighbor’s front
          window being blown out, for example), ultra-low humidity,
          honestly wondering if this little apartment building will be
          blown down, or not.

          #noNukes in the Eighties was right then, and is righter now.

    6. John

      You are right! We should just panic build a massive number of low bid, cheap and dirty nuke plants across the whole country. Like Boeing, we can just tweak the software to fix any problems. Oh, keep the gubbermint liability insurance for the nuke plants too. The stakeholders and private equity would need protection from any nasty lawsuits.
      I hear Fukishima beachfront property is going for a bargain today. Same for the Chernobyl Exclusion zone. I know it will work out well.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “…low bid, cheap and dirty nuke plants …”

        yup. I was cured of any enthusiasm for nuclear energy(unless we figure out Thorium) when i was a kid.
        my family had a house on the intracoastal…maybe 10 miles from the south texas nuclear project, when it was being built(which took forever, btw…and contained all manner of corruption scandals and ineptitude)
        we rented that house to various workers on the project(it had several bedrooms) over the years, and every single one of them was a whiskey for breakfast drunk…welders, electricians, steampipefitters, etc etc.
        every, single one.
        it’s not like my grandad was somehow selecting only the drunks,lol.
        just a random sample of guys from that workplace, who didn’t know each other, and were thrown together by chance in a dormitory-like living arrangement.(lots of people down there were renting out space to that workforce, because the site is literally in the middle of nowhere)
        i remember thinking,” these guys are building that?”

    7. Carey

      Another one in the “I was a Sanders supporter until…” sweepstakes.


      Sanders / Gabbard 2020

    1. ewmayer

      The hilarious irony here being that after Trump’s shock win in 2016 it was team HRC who were cajoling the electors into becoming turncoats, but the elector in the court ruling wanted to flip from Clinton to Kasich. So Team D is hoist on its own petard and ends up with 1 less electoral vote than before.

      But yeah, while I can see the “prevent handful of wealthy coastal states from dominating the rest” argument for keeping the EC – that is no less democratic than states each getting 2 senators irrespective of population – the electors themselves should be required to follow the vote in their state. But given the court ruling, imposing such a requirement at the federal level would seem to require federal legislation, and I don’t see the political will on Capitol Hill to make that happen.

  15. Expat2uruguay

    The Bezzle: “WeWork IPO filing shows it’s losing nearly $5,200 per customer” [CBS]. • Obviously, they need more customers! Just like Uber and Lyft!

    I tend to avoid Uber because of ethical reasons, but perhaps I need to take Uber instead of taxis, in order to cause more losses for the company. What do you guys think?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      It would be like giving your blood to Dracula because you surely know that eventually someone else will be able to put a stake through his heart. In the meantime you become part of the problem.

      And daylight is out of the question.

      Just an analogy.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      How committed are you? I’m sure these guys will be losing money if they charge 200% of current fairs.

  16. scarn

    Sanders’s climate plan is the most radical policy and language I have ever seen him adopt. Threatening energy execs with consequences for their actions? Admitting that the USA defense budget exists largely to promote energy revenues? Senator, you are flooding my brain with dopamine with talk like that. Good stuff.

    Real timely too, with all the hate Bolsonaro is taking online. Sanders’s statements got passed around and approvingly memed by lots of people who have no interest whatsoever in preserving the status quo, and who don’t see “Democratic voter” as part of their persona. People are PISSED OFF, and Bernie’s language floats right atop that ocean of righteous anger. DNC is not going to understand this flash flood until it’s over their heads.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Going after fossil fuel executives.

      Just those in the US, or those in other countries…like those Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, etc?

      And if they are state owned companies, their politicians?

      And what of consumers who knowingly consume fossil fuel, beyond, say, what is necessary to stay alive?

      1. scarn

        >or those in other countries
        >And if they are state owned companies, their politicians?

        Stop, I can only get so excited!

        >And what of consumers

        You may have heard talk of subjects like ‘capitalism’, ‘capitalists’, and ‘workers.’ These are real things! Feel free to use that in your analyses going forward. It will help, I promise.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Going after politicians in countries with state owned oil companies = regime change?

          1. scarn

            I mean, if your first concern about anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist policy initiatives with a clear-as-glass class bias against the biggest bourgeoisie that have ever strode across the globe is “what happens if Sanders is *actually* a war-monger for wind power” then you may have wandered a bit off into the weeds of possibility. Green initiatives in this plan do not include marines in Caracas so US Empire can finally eradicate PDVSA and replace it with Tesla Solar. Obviously, the actual ruling class reasoning for US regime change wars that have *actually happened* is getting the oilmen who run things more $$. Flipping that on it’s head and making those monstrous anti-humans the enemy and getting them in dungeons or guillotines is, in the context of how the empire runs right now, pretty incredibly good for almost every living thing on the planet.

    2. richard

      the consequences should include a short rope and a long drop
      I’m feeling the dopamine too
      thanks Bernie!

  17. Matthew G. Saroff

    Classic Kevin Drum: Wringing his hands about the causes of te problem, so long as they wre white and went to prestigious schools.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        of course, repatriation of our physical plant is what i’ve wanted for as long as i can remember. trump, however, is likely not the guy to accomplish this.
        even so…chris hayes made me angry a minute ago when he ridiculed the very idea of bringing our economy home, and pivoted to talk earnestly about background checks.
        if we had a functioning economy, where we made stuff…assuming good jobs, good wages, pensions, etc…would we have such a big problem with nutters shooting up the place?(or OD’ing, or suiciding, or…)
        just because the orange menace says it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth thinking about(see: trumps various “stances” on wto, nato, etc)
        if he suddenly started talking about ending the drug war, would team blue be against it?

        and! a better link than “menrec”, couple of comments upthread(one without ads for tinnitus cures with banana peels in your ears) is the horse’s mouth:https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-20/dnc-chief-plans-to-raise-money-from-americans-in-mexico-city

  18. ewmayer

    New Home Sales, July 2019: “Behind the usual volatility of monthly sales rates, new home sales much like existing home sales are struggling to gain traction” [Econoday] — Contrast the headline – which reflects the actual recent trends in YoY price and volume data – with the ensuing positive spin of “Lower mortgage rates combined with strong demand in the jobs market are concrete positives for housing”. So why are we not seeing said “concrete positives” in the actual housing data? Here Wolf Richter’s take on the same data:


  19. ewmayer

    The Bezzle: “WeWork Squeezes People Into Just Half the Space of Most Offices” [Bloomberg] — Maybe the company should rename itself “WeeWork”.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I was a member of a Tucson-based coworking space that went out of business at the end of June.

        I calculated that the 20 square-foot desk space was costing me $18.75 per square foot. For Tucson, that was pretty pricey. And, no, the free beer didn’t make up for it.

        Nowadays, I work in my nice, private home office. It’s a whole room, not just a desk, and I have better furniture than that Ikea [family blog] that was in the coworking space.

  20. Summer

    Re: “Here’s a superlative that didn’t get much attention in WeWork’s 220-page prospectus for its planned initial public offering: it jams more people into its spaces than just about any other commercial landlord…”

    Workers bear that mess in quiet, lest they seem like they aren’t being team players by not going along with the almighty “disruptors”.

    Me to co-worker in a WeWork space: “Sounds like you ‘re in a phone booth.”

    Co-worker: “They have these little booths we can do in for private calls….it’s….it’s fine….”

    1. Arizona Slim

      Which is why coworking no longer works for me. I’m in the process of settling a relative’s estate, and that job requires a lot of telephone time.

      When I was in coworking spaces, I would have to run all over the place, trying to find a vacant booth for making and taking calls. Can’t do that now.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Isn’t it great that we somehow got hoodwinked into paying for office space for our employers?

      A few years back “cool, I can work from home as much as I want!”

      Now “what I would give for an office to just get the heck outta here”

      It’s Friday and this rabbit is a little bitter.

      1. Summer

        That situation is an employer paying for a space and having to stuff all the workers in a tighter space due to Gotham’s high commericial rents.

        Any time they can work from home, they jump at it and probably invent a few meetings to take outside the office.

  21. PKMKII

    I ran some numbers on Bernie’s “health insurance savings go back to the workers” plan: The City of New York is budgeted to spend $7.12 billion in FY20 (July 2019 – June 2020) on employee health insurance. At 325,000 employees of the City, that works out to ~$21,900 per employee a year.

    Now the actual windfall is likely to be less as part of that windfall would be offset by increased taxes, but that still would be a hefty amount of extra dollars in the wallets of working class New Yorkers.

  22. Summer

    The longer it goes on the more anybody with eyes open will see the “trade wars with China” for what it has always been since countries moved so much manufacturing to China:
    A trade war with the workers…

    They’ll all pick up their balls and go to Galt’s Gulch and play if they can’t have their slaves back.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump never had a grand strategy (per the article earlier this week).

      It is possible, though, that he unveils an industry policy for next year’s election, to go along with the tariffs…whether to try to get votes, or not.

      1. Summer

        Trump? None of the administrations (never just the machinatuons of one figurehead for the system) had much of a grand strategy past breaking the unions.

  23. petal

    Guys, I just got home. It is going to take me some time tonight to type my notes up. I did my best to write stuff down and take observations. Was in the 2nd row. Lots of press orgs were set up in the back, incl AP , CNN, and NBC. He is very frail-I was shocked, tbh. I’ll stop there as I have other stuff to do right now. Katniss, I did not get to ask your question. I’m sorry. I’ll touch more on that tomorrow. It was …odd and I am a little suspicious(the Q&A, not your question). Cheers.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Frailty is a sign of advanced dementia. And it doesn’t get better.

      I know this from dealing with family members who had dementia.

      1. petal

        Thank you, Slim. I hope you will chime in tomorrow. I had one great aunt who had dementia like 20 years ago, but she was the only one out of all my extended family-it doesn’t really happen in our family so I am not very familiar with the signs. I did notice a few things, and there are some times I need to look up to confirm.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Glad you were able to get in Petal. That’s actually stranger news than I expected. I guess I don’t need to ask why the MSM is not reporting that observation.

      1. petal

        I don’t know-maybe it’s just me? He was super super thin, and when he came out, I was struck by the frailty. He seemed quite fragile to me. Still bolt upright, but…something struck me about it, you know?

          1. flora

            Thanks for this. Yes. I’ve noticed same in MSM photos and video.

            I don’t buy the slams against Biden’s mis-speaks as evidence of failing mental capacity, given his current situation. It seems to me, and I’m not a doctor or anything but I remember older family members struggling with profound grief at the loss of a dearly loved one, it seems to me that Biden is still struggling with grief over the loss of his son. And who could blame him. The mis-speaks, the seeming distance from the now and the fumbling of the here-and-now issue questions are familiar to anyone who’s dealt with an older close relative struggling with deep grief.

            After say 50 or 60 or so deep grief has a more physically pronounced effect than at at younger age, imo.

            Joe Biden, based on his political track record, was never ever my idea of a good Dem candidate. But now, in his older self, grief side-tracking his mind and thoughts (imo), I feel very sorry for him – a man pushed by his younger political dreams to run for president even when it’s apparent to everyone else that it’s a ‘once was’ dream. It is painful to watch. It must be painful for him.

            My, what word can I use? pity? whatever the word, I won’t vote for him.

            1. petal

              Flora, he was pulling the dead son card out like at least every 5 minutes it seemed. He is using that/the dead son as much as he can to score points. I’m not buying the grief thing on this-it wasn’t grief, it was opportunism. Will write more tomorrow about that.

              1. flora

                Thanks. Looking forward to your report tomorrow. If he was using his son’s death opportunistically, well that’s the worst, beyond the bounds of decency, imo.

      1. Detroit Dan

        Yes, petal was going to a Biden event and was hoping to get a question in, if I recall correctly.

    3. Baby Gerald

      Thanks for your efforts, Petal. This compilation video posted today by Kyle Kulinski kind of sums up the terrible state that Biden is in.

      The occasional ‘gaffe’ doesn’t account for his inability to complete sentences, get dates and names completely wrong, or his absurd claims that he is drawing the largest crowds of any candidate. As someone who has seen it happen to a grandmother and an aunt, it honestly looks like he’s slipping off into Alzheimer land. It’s not funny- it’s really sad. I’m no fan of Biden, but I much preferred to laugh at the idea of him, say, polishing his Trans-Am in the White House driveway than to see him in utter cognitive decline.

  24. fdr-fan

    Re teachers buying their own supplies: You can help.

    DonorsChoose.org is a WONDERFUL charity that lets teachers set out their own needs for crowdfunding. DC serves both sides well, with careful attention to good donors and frequent “doubling days” from various foundations. I’ve been tithing to DC for several years, focusing on specific job-related projects like cooking and soldering.

    1. teachers pet

      Fifty years ago my mom and her cohort bought supplies for their grade school classes. Granted, these were sometimes “extras” and not always basic necessities. But public school teachers have never been given enough to do a proper job.

    2. richard

      Yep, dc is great (not the comix, those suck)
      I typically spend 400-500 a year, half of it for those little things you need any old day, some artsy craftsy thing the school doesn’t have, or some snacks, whatever. The other half is for my library, which i like to keep up to date with the hottest books :/ for seven year olds.
      At my school the pta reimburses me $300 a year, but i never remember receipts for the little stuff, so i get about half back. Many places you get nothing of course, yet another unprosecuted class crime.

  25. anon in so cal

    Re: Jeffrey Epstein:

    “From “Spook Air” to the “Lolita Express”: The Genesis and Evolution of the Jeffrey Epstein-Bill Clinton Relationship”

    by Whitney Webb

    “Far from being the work of a single political party, intelligence agency or country, the power structure revealed by the network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control…..

    …in this four-part series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” MintPress has revealed that Epstein’s activities — a sexual blackmail operation involving minors and connected to intelligence agencies — was one of many such operations that have taken place for decades, developing from the nexus forged between the CIA, organized crime and Israeli intelligence shortly after World War II….

    ….the final installment of this series will focus on Democratic politicians, namely the Clinton family, and their ties to this same network as well as Jeffrey Epstein.

    The Clintons’ own involvement in Iran-Contra revolved around the covert activities at Arkansas’ Mena Airport, which involved the CIA front company Southern Air Transport and occurred while Clinton was governor. Just a few years into the Clinton presidential administration, Leslie Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein would play a major role in Southern Air Transport’s relocation to Columbus, Ohio, leading to concerns among top Ohio officials that both men were not only working with the CIA, but that Wexner’s company, The Limited, sought to use the CIA-linked airline for smuggling.

    During that same period of time, Epstein had already forged close ties to important Clinton White House officials and prominent Clinton donors like Lynn Forester de Rothschild and made several personal visits to the official presidential residence…..”



    1. pjay

      The Webb article is a tour-de-force, as is the series itself. I’m not sure she connects all the dots, but she certainly identifies a sh**load of them. Particularly noteworthy is her discussion of the PROMIS software scandal in relation to Robert Maxwell and later events; few people seem to know about that. She also makes clear that the Clintons have been up to their eyeballs in slime since their days in Arkansas. Much more work to be done, but Webb throws out many clues for future investigation. I’m sure the NYT will get right on it.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        hair on my arms just stood up.
        only time i’ve heard of PROMIS software(save from anodyne gloss, like the wiki on it) was in Mike Ruppert’s “indictment” of Darth Cheney for 911, “crossing the rubicon”.
        we’ll never find the end of them.

      2. richard

        PROMIS? Wasn’t that all worked into the October Surprise, i.e. supposedly the profits from its illegal distribution were a payoff associated with the Reagan team bargaining with the Iranians to hold on to the hostages. And Danny Casolaro was killed, supposedly, right before he was about to release a good deal of information about this incident, connected to a much larger conspiracy he called “The Octopus”.
        Have we circled back to that? “S&^% is strange” don’t rightly cover it anymore.

      3. Cal2

        I can’t find one thing she discusses that isn’t already out there for all to see from credible sources, if they choose to look, sometimes with great diligence.

        The way she assembles the pieces is absolutely brilliant and I think like Ida Tarbell, [Standard Oil Monopoly], she will be known as one of the great journalists who broke stories that were essential to the well being of the nation.

        Is she any relation to Gary Webb who broke the CIA cocaine importation into the ghetto of South Central Los Angeles? He too was “suicided”.

  26. The Rev Kev

    Well, Lawrence H. Summers is right to worry when he says “Can central banking as we know it be the primary tool of macroeconomic stabilization in the industrial world over the next decade?” I remember when Qaddafi was murdered and Libya fell. Within the first day or two a central bank was set up in Libya. And look how well that is working out for them.

    1. polecat

      And, as I recall, Libya’s Gold Reserves went ‘PooF’ about then too, to sites unknown .. or am I misremembering ??

      So much for that African Dinar …

  27. noonespecial

    Neoliberalism and Education
    (To borrow a term often seen here at NC term – more evidence of “crapification”)

    In the new issue of the American Affairs Journal, the following article may be of interest to those who tune into scholastic matters. Two quotes are posted here in case the paywall obstructs.

    “Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education”

    1. “But the technology pushed into schools today is a threat to child development and an unredeemable waste. In the first place, technology exacerbates the greatest problem of all in schools: confusion about their purpose. Education is the cultivation of a person, not the manufacture of a worker. But in many public school districts we have already traded our collective birthright, the promise of human flourishing, for a mess of utilitarian pottage called ‘job skills.’ The more recent, panicked, money-lobbing fetish for STEM is a late realization that even those dim promises will go unmet…[E]ducational technology is a regressive political weapon, never just a neutral tool: it increases economic inequality, decreases school accountability, takes control away from teachers, and makes poorer students more vulnerable to threats from automation and globalization.”

    2. “Dumping gadgets on children is a win-win proposition in poor school districts. It’s a win for tech billionaires looking to buy pro­gressive indulgences (e.g., Mark Zuckerberg in Newark), and it’s a win for local mayors wanting to gesture toward needy schools with­out changing the underlying economic reality (e.g., Cory Booker in Newark, Pete Buttigieg in South Bend)…The meanest trick of all is when funds allocated to bring struggling students “into the future” are used instead to banish them into the realm of for-profit programs called “online charter schools,” which consist mostly of children watching lecture videos all day instead of being taught by a teacher. Online charter schools are a worsening catastrophe. Compared to the performance of peers in traditional public schools with similar income, race, gender, and first-language characteristics, the impact of online charter attendance on student reading is so bad, it’s like miss­ing 72 days of school each year. In math, being afflicted by an online charter school is like being absent for 180 days!”

  28. Summer

    “It sure is weird that the labor market is the only place where the magic of the marketplace — price! — doesn’t work.”

    I also hear weirdness about price considerations when I read investment advice for workers and their 401ks.
    “Don’t worry about the price. Invest now as much as you can. You can’t predict the market…”
    (Looks down at Twitter feed).

    1. polecat

      “You can’t predict the market…”

      But your fund Manager can sure as hell predict Theirs’ !

  29. richard

    Hey, we were talking about Gamera last night and i thought i’d mention that Gamera vs. Barugon is tonight’s “watch together” episode at Club MST3K, where mst3k episodes are currated for all time by the loving grace of you tube. Stop by and watch it tonight, and we’ll discuss tomorrow :^ (in Links)
    Barugon is kind of a dog thing, iirc. Gamera plays the long suffering hero. Plus jewel thieves and noble natives. So tune in, won’t you?

  30. dk

    UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Sanders wins labor love — and frustrates foes — with Medicare for All play” [NBC]

    “…part of a trend of candidates taking their concerns to heart.”

    I can hear the heads of Dem consultants exploding across the country, campaigns that have to deal with realities are an anathema to them, a basket of risk that makes the job harder, and for what? Voters? Who cares about voters, really? They’re just the dice in the game.

    That’s the attitude behind spending on media instead of field operations. So a campaign’s spending patterns are themselves a tell about the seriousness of the effort (and by extension the goals and personality of the candidate).

    I have plenty of quibbles with Sanders and with Warren, but the size of their initial field efforts tell me they’re serious about making a direct commitment to voters, not just doing the media dance (although Warren seems to be doing her share of dancing too lol). The thing about field campaigns is that the voters remember 2-4 years later, and if the candidate doesn’t deliver on at least some promises, they’re not going to win again. Another reason why consultants hate field, makes it harder to farm the candidates.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The thing about field campaigns is that the voters remember 2-4 years later

      One reason for the bitterness against Obama after “hope and change.” Idle speculation: If Trump had run in 2012, when the wounds of the Crash were still fresh (not that for some they are not), would he have beaten Romney in the primary, and then Obama in the general?

    1. petal

      Yeah, that was interesting. No one really reacted. I was like “wtf? Did I hear that right?” and figured well, at least he got RFK and MLK’s assassination year right this time.

  31. WheresOurTeddy

    “If there is going to be class warfare in this country, it’s about time the working class won that war.”

    It’s been underway since before I was born, but ok…whatever it takes to get the poor to fight back, I’m all for

    curious framing

  32. WheresOurTeddy

    “6 findings that show the dire state of America’s middle class” [Business Insider] (From May, still germane). “Nearly 60% of those who said they grew up affluent now consider themselves to be in a lower class”

    I was born to union-busting, top-5%er Reagan-voting Supply-Side Cultural Imperialist Christians and raised to be the same.

    I am a working-class (3 jobs), democratic socialist, union-supporting Bernie Sanders voting atheist who does not speak to his family. I have no contact with any of them and I sleep like a baby at night.

  33. Gregorio

    Apparently, the Obama’s aren’t too worried about climate change if they’re buying up beachfront land.

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