2:00PM Water Cooler 8/8/2019

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of August 7: Biden down to 31.0% (31.6), Sanders down to 15.8% (16.6%), Warren flat at 15.5% (15.6%), Buttigieg flat at 5.5% (5.4%), Harris down at 8.3% (9.4%), Beto separating himself from the bottom feeders, interestingly. Others Brownian motion.

* * *


Harris (D)(1): “Kamala Harris becomes first major candidate with TV ad as she debuts ‘3 a.m. agenda'” [McClatchy]. “According to the Republican ad-buying firm Media Buying, Harris’ campaign is spending just under $200,000 to air the ad on broadcast, cable and satellite television in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids media markets. It will run for the coming week, the firm said. Harris is the first of the top-tier presidential candidates to air television advertisements.”

Harris (D)(2): “Kamala Harris, The Early Years”:

Sanders (D)(1): Sanders goes into the lion’s den…

… and comes out riding a lion.

* * *

“The Main Difference Between Warren and Sanders” [Benjamin Studebaker]. “Warren believes in a meritocratic system, where the deserving members of the working class and underclass can work hard and earn their way into the professional class. Sanders believes that all our citizens, regardless of class position, ought to be entitled to a decent life. That’s the difference. That’s why Warren declined to endorse Sanders in 2016. That’s why Warren says she would have accepted an offer to become Hillary Clinton’s Vice President. That’s why Warren still says she’s “capitalist to her bones”. That’s why Warren clapped for Trump when the president said there would never be socialism in this country:” • Excellent piece; I just cut out the bottom line. Studebaker really firing on all eight cylinders here :-)

IA: “Gun policy activists organize Des Moines forum following mass shootings; Democratic presidential candidates will attend” [Des Moines Register]. “In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, gun policy activists quickly organized a presidential “gun safety” forum in Des Moines Saturday. Despite Democratic presidential candidates’ busy Iowa schedules for this week — with the Iowa State Fair, the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Fair, and several other multi-candidate events — at least 14 have said they will attend. The event starts at 8 a.m. at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines. The event was organized by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, groups advocating for gun regulation after previous mass shootings throughout the country.”

The Debates

“DNC rules for October debate gives struggling candidates longer window to qualify” [CNN]. “In an email reviewed by CNN that was sent to a presidential campaign by the Democratic National Committee, the campaign was informed that qualifying polls for the October debate must have been released between June 28 and two weeks prior to the debate. That polling window means that candidates who qualified for the September debate will automatically qualify for the October contests, and it gives candidates who did not qualify in September additional time to make the next debate stage.” • Funny they waited until after Gravel dropped out. Complex and constantly changing rules, independent entities that in fact aren’t (pollsters), “hidden hands” — Third World stuff.

“Sanders: Democratic debate format is ‘demeaning'” [The Hill]. “Speaking on the ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ podcast, Sanders said ‘you shouldn’t even call them a debate.’ ‘What they are is a reality TV show in which you have to come up with a soundbite and all that stuff,’ he said. ‘It’s demeaning to the candidates and it’s demeaning to the American people. You can’t explain the complexity of health care in America in 45 seconds, nobody can.'” • Drag ’em, Bernie!

Identity Politics

Know your enemy:

Apparently, the “driving logic” of slavery had nothing to do with profit — or capital. Really?

“White Supremacy Is Not The Arsonist — It’s The Fire.” [Ryan Dalton, Medium]. • The same objection applies.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“The Right Kind of Continuity” [Jewish Currents]. “Within the Jewish institutional world, however, Wexner’s relationship with Epstein is significant in a different way. Wexner is among a small number of Jewish community megadonors, billionaires who provide an outsize and growing proportion of funding for communal organizations and to a large extent determine what those organizations look like. Along with Sheldon Adelson, Charles Bronfman, and a few others, he has spent millions of dollars on institutions ranging from Birthright Israel—which has sent over 500,000 young diaspora Jews on free trips to Israel—to the Jewish Theological Seminary, where Conservative rabbis are ordained… Epstein was closely involved with Wexner’s charitable giving; together, for instance, the two men helped fund the construction of a new building for Harvard’s Hillel. Tax filings suggest that Epstein spent six years as a trustee of the Wexner Foundation, and that the foundation gave millions of dollars to pet projects of his own…. These ties are now stoking anxiety and division behind the scenes at Jewish institutions led by Wexner-affiliated professionals.” • As well they might.


“Did Russian Interference Affect the 2016 Election Results?” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “No.” From the summary:

— Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent testimony was a reminder that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and very well may try to do so again in 2020.

— This begs the question: Is there any evidence that Russian interference may have impacted the results, particularly in key states?

— The following analysis suggests that the 2016 results can be explained almost entirely based on the political and demographic characteristics of those states. So from that standpoint, the answer seems to be no.

So, a well-regarded, mainstream political scientist and horse-race analyst throws in the towel. Scholars Ferguson, Jorgenson, and Xie got this right in 2018; kudos to them. Humble bloggers who were also skeptical of enormous claims made on little evidence may also take a bow [lambert blushes modestly].

El Paso and Dayton Shootings

“Has anyone actually read the El Paso manifesto?” [Washington Examiner] (original (I think)). • I would still like the provenance of the manifesto to be clear. The Times said “may be linked” five days ago; Buzzfeed says “Authorities said the writings came from the gunman, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, and had been attributed ‘directly to him.'” I don’t want to go all CT on this, but it’s a loose end I’d like cleared up.

“The El Paso shooter’s manifesto contains a dangerous message about climate change” [Bill Black, The Week]. “If we are to prevent the rise of eco-fascism, we must begin by telling a new story about climate change. Too often, people are presented with only two stories: (1) we are fine, and the earth is fine; or (2) we are awful and the earth is about to die. It is easy to understand why people would reject the second story and retreat to denialism. But the second story is just as dangerous as denialism, if not more so. If we accept the premise that humanity is a parasite on the earth, then we can be persuaded to support ever more drastic means of exterminating that parasite — an extermination that would, of course, be selective. ‘The earth would be better off without us’ can easily morph into “the earth would be better off without them.'” • See the material on Garret Hardin under “The Biosphere.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Ads Pulled for Gory Universal Thriller ‘The Hunt’ in Wake of Mass Shootings (Exclusive)” [Hollywood Reporter]. “‘Did anyone see what our ratfucker-in-chief just did?’ one character asks early in the screenplay for The Hunt, a Universal Pictures thriller set to open Sept. 27. Another responds: ‘At least The Hunt’s coming up. Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.’ In the aftermath of mass shootings within days of one another that shocked and traumatized the nation, Universal is re-evaluating its strategy for the certain-to-be-controversial satire. The violent, R-rated film from producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse follows a dozen MAGA types who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals.” • Hey, come on. Where’s your sense of humor? Good to see the quiet part said out loud, though.

“The Destructive Politics of White Amnesia” [Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic]. “To counter [Trump’s] terrifying demagoguery, the party must be as unified in its repudiation of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny as the Party of Trump has been in enabling them. One would think, therefore, that candidates angling to become the standard-bearer of the loyal opposition should be capable of articulating not only the danger of this political moment, but also how their own party helped create this tragedy. Democratic candidates will never be able to steer a fresh course so long as they continue decades of denial and dissemblance. Joe Biden’s status as the 2020 field’s front-runner, in spite of his cringeworthy efforts to account for his part in that history, speaks volumes about how far today’s Democrats still have to go before they can meet the challenges of Trumpism head-on. A good deal of Biden’s inflated standing comes from an all-too characteristic Democratic posture of risk aversion, compounded by a talismanic faith in Biden’s mystic “electability.” Many party leaders and voters clearly view a Biden candidacy as the safest post-Trump course correction—and Biden as a pragmatic man of the people with the unique ability to build coalitional bridges between coastal elites and the so-called forgotten men and women of America’s heartland.” • Crenshaw, a law professor, coined intersectionality. It will be interesting to see which non-amnesiac she endorses.

“Reapportionment Projections and the Potential Impact of New States” [ESRI (hat tip…)]. “[I]t is estimated that, compared to the current seat apportionment determined by the 2010 Census, nine states will lose one seat, six states will gain one seat, and one state will gain three seats. The final five seats in the apportionment process (seats 431-435) are given to Texas, Arizona, California, Montana, and Alabama. These “bubble” states are at the highest risk to lose seats as a result of any differences between the population projections and the actual Census 2020 counts. On the other hand, the five states that are closest to gaining additional seats are Minnesota, West Virginia, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Florida (four of which are projected to lose a seat when compared to the current 2010 apportionment). Based on these projections this would be the first time since statehood that California would lose a congressional seat.”

The “Pass the Hat” resolution was in essence a cash payment to locals of $100 a month. Here is the case against it. Here’s the view of the resolution’s proponent (account now protected oddly):

“Denver City Council Ends Private Prison Firms’ Contracts” [The Intercept]. “Two for-profit prison companies have lost major contracts in Denver over their work in immigrant detention, as backlash to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy continues to mount. The stunning $10.6 million rebuke to the two firms, CoreCivic and the GEO Group, was led by newly elected city council member Candi CdeBaca, who won in June on a radical platform backed by the Democratic Socialists of America.” • Kudos!

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of August 3, 2019: “Declines to even more favorable levels are the results of the latest jobless claims report” [Econoday]. “The current state of the labor market, which is strong, isn’t why the Federal Reserve cut rates last week.”

Consumer Credit, June 2019: “Consumer credit came in below consensus expectations” [Econoday]. “Although the monthly drop indicates a loss of credit-card spending momentum, revolving credit for the second quarter still increased [for] the strongest quarterly growth in more than a year. This is a negative for household wealth but it has been a positive to consumer spending.”

Wholesale Trade, June 2019: “Inventories in the wholesale sector were unchanged” [Econoday]. “Inventories of autos did fall in June but were still up percent on the year. This will likely be a negative for near-term auto production.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 26 Fear (previous close: 25, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 7 at 12:19pm. • Restored at reader request. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“Climate Change and Land: Summary for Policymakers” (PDF) [IPCC]. An “approved draft” of a new report. Handy chart from page 4:

“What is Agrobiodiversity?” [FAO]. Yikes:

* Since the 1900s, some 75 percent of plant genetic diversity has been lost as farmers worldwide have left their multiple local varieties and landraces for genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties.

* 30 percent of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction; six breeds are lost each month.

* Today, 75 percent of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and five animal species.

* Of the 4 percent of the 250 000 to 300 000 known edible plant species, only 150 to 200 are used by humans. Only three – rice, maize and wheat – contribute nearly 60 percent of calories and proteins obtained by humans from plants.

* Animals provide some 30 percent of human requirements for food and agriculture and 12 percent of the world’s population live almost entirely on products from ruminants.

This all seems a little fragile.

“The Tragedy of the Tragedy of the Commons” [Scientific American]. “Fifty years ago, University of California professor Garrett Hardin penned an influential essay in the journal Science. Hardin saw all humans as selfish herders: we worry that our neighbors’ cattle will graze the best grass. So, we send more of our cows out to consume that grass first. We take it first, before someone else steals our share. This creates a vicious cycle of environmental degradation that Hardin described as the ‘tragedy of the commons.’ It’s hard to overstate Hardin’s impact on modern environmentalism…. [H]e promoted an idea he called ‘lifeboat ethics‘: since global resources are finite, Hardin believed the rich should throw poor people overboard to keep their boat above water…. But the facts are not on Hardin’s side. For one, he got the history of the commons wrong. As Susan Cox pointed out, early pastures were well regulated by local institutions. They were not free-for-all grazing sites where people took and took at the expense of everyone else. Many global commons have been similarly sustained through community institutions…. Despite what Hardin might have said, the climate crisis is not a tragedy of the commons. The culprit is not our individual impulses to consume fossil fuels to the ruin of all…. The truth is that two-thirds of all the carbon pollution ever released into the atmosphere can be traced to the activities of just ninety companies. These corporations’ efforts to successfully thwart climate action are the real tragedy.” • NC readers have long been familiar that Hardin is in error.

“Into the deep: Deep sea mining is upon us, whether you would risk it or not” [Ocean Bites]. “The deep sea is almost entirely unknown, with only about 5% of it having been explored with remote vehicles and less than 0.0001% of the seafloor having been sampled. This is largely due to how difficult it is to navigate the region….. we don’t know how mining could impact deep sea ecosystems, or even others. For example, global fisheries are an important source of income and food. Mining could stir up sediment from the bottom of the ocean, which could drift in and out of country boundaries, changing shallower ecosystems. Could this impact fisheries? The little we do know about deep sea ecosystems emphasizes how risky this is to them. Animals in the deep sea tend to live a long time, grow slowly, reproduce slowly, and reach sexual maturity later in life. All of these characteristics makes it difficult for these species to recover from disturbances, much less adapt to change…. Maybe one of the most concerning elements of the approach of deep sea mining is its legal ambiguity. Rights to the seafloor are generally controlled by two groups: countries, which have control over the continental shelves off their coasts, and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which controls international waters referred to as the Area… ISA uses guidelines outlined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to make decisions; in this case, they follow Article 140, which states that mining can be done “for the benefit of mankind as a whole.” But that is the ultimate question. If “benefit” is interpreted economically alone, who benefits?”

Health Care

“Financial Eligibility Criteria and Medication Coverage for Independent Charity Patient Assistance Programs” [JAMA]. “In 2018, among 274 patient assistance programs operated by the 6 independent charity foundations, the majority did not provide coverage for uninsured patients. Medications that were covered by the patient assistance programs were generally more expensive than those that were not covered.” And:

“California auditor blasts Medi-Cal overseer for failing patients in 18 rural counties” [Sacramento Bee]. “In a report released Tuesday, California State Auditor Elaine Howle upbraided the state Department of Health Care Services for its failure to ensure Medi-Cal beneficiaries have adequate access and quality of care in 18 rural counties stretching from Inyo to the south to Tehama and Plumas in the north…. In a report released Tuesday, California State Auditor Elaine Howle upbraided the state Department of Health Care Services for its failure to ensure Medi-Cal beneficiaries have adequate access and quality of care in 18 rural counties stretching from Inyo to the south to Tehama and Plumas in the north…. Anthem has scheduled these Medi-Cal patients with AIDS specialists, psychiatrists, pulmonologists and physical therapists more than 300 miles away, according to the auditor’s report, and Health & Wellness has directed patients to travel more than 300 miles to see dermatologists and 200 or more miles to see ear, nose and throat doctors; kidney specialists; and neurologists.” • California’s Medicaid program.

“Just one season of playing football—even without a concussion—can cause brain damage” [Science]. “In the new study, researchers at the University of Rochester (U of R) in New York followed 38 of the school’s football players. The athletes wore helmets outfitted with accelerometers to track the number and force of hits during practices and games. Before and after each season, the scientists took MRI scans of the players’ brains. The researchers looked specifically at the midbrain, a region on the brain stem that governs primitive, thoughtless functions such as hearing and temperature regulation. When a player’s head is hit from any angle, the brain ripples like the surface of a pond after a rock is thrown, explains study author Adnan Hirad, a medical student at U of R. Although the forces can affect many regions of the brain, the midbrain’s central location makes it likely to sustain damage. The results were striking. Although only two of the 38 players received a concussion, more than two-thirds of them showed changes to the integrity of the white matter of their midbrains. Rotational hits—when a player’s helmet is struck by a glancing blow—were particularly bad for the midbrain’s white matter.”

The Last of the Feral Hogs, I Swear

Lot of dunking on this thread, for some reason. I think it’s interesting:

Class Warfare

“The College Wealth Divide: Education and Inequality in America, 1956-2016” [CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13864]. From the abstract: “Using new long-run micro data, this paper studies wealth and income trends of college and non-college households in the United States since 1956. We document the emergence of a substantial college wealth premium since the 1980s, which is considerably larger than the college income premium. Over the past four decades, the wealth of American households with a college-educated head has tripled. By contrast, the wealth of non-college households has barely grown in real terms over the same period. Part of the rising wealth gap can be traced back to systematic portfolio differences between college and non-college households that give rise to different exposures to asset price changes. Non-college households have a lower exposure to the equity market and have profited much less from the recent surge in the stock market. We also discuss the importance of financial literacy and business ownership for the increase in wealth inequality between college and non-college households.” • Oh, man. “Financial literacy.”

EPI updates its productivity-pay gap chart:

“Here’s why the economy feels so bad when it sounds so good” [Business Insider]. “Americans are broadly pessimistic about what’s coming next, the Pew Research Center found earlier this year. Increasingly, they believe that our political and economic systems work only for those with power. This is because neither the stock market nor employment data captures what’s ailing most American families: rising costs for critical, necessary items. Meanwhile, despite wages eking up a little bit since the financial crisis, adjusted for inflation, Americans haven’t gotten a significant raise since 1999. This is why Americans are drowning in debt. As for the stock market, most people aren’t involved…. Employment numbers don’t tell you anything about that. Having a job doesn’t mean as much as it used to because wages simply don’t cover the same costs they used to.”

“Karl Marx Is Useful for Our Time, Not Just His” (interview) [David Harvey, Jacobin]. “The question of sovereignty is: Does the state control finance, or does finance control the state? In Greece, for instance, the latter is clearly the case — there, state sovereignty is pretty irrelevant, a minor part of the power relation running the country. Interestingly, this is even what’s said in the United States. When Bill Clinton came to power after the 1992 election, he laid out an economic program. His policy advisor Robert Rubin — who came from Goldman Sachs, and later became secretary of the Treasury — said, “You can’t do that.” Clinton said, “Why not?” Rubin replied, “Because the bondholders won’t let you.” Clinton supposedly said, “You mean my whole economic policy and my whole chances of re-election are dependent on a bunch of fucking bond traders?” And Rubin said yes. So Clinton implemented neoliberal measures like NAFTA and a whole set of welfare measures and did not deliver what he’d promised — free health care. I think we’re in a situation where it’s the money changers who rule, not the politicians.” • This is an interesting interview, and more “moderate” than the headline conveys. Harvey also has interesting things to say about the contrast between the US and the Chinese responses to the 2008 Crash.

“False Freedom: Sharing the Scraps from the Perilous Gig Economy” [Steven Greenhouse, Lit Hub]. “The digital on-demand economy resembles globalization in that it has created a larger, and often a worldwide, labor pool, putting workers in the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, and other industrial nations in competition, via the internet, with workers in India, China, and elsewhere. Like globalization, the app-based economy often pulls down wages in the industrial world, even as it creates new opportunities for workers in poorer nations.”

“Foundation announces gift of more than $768,000 to unpaid Blackjewel miners” [WYMT]. “Two major announcements regarding relief for unpaid Blackjewel miners took place at the Harlan County Courthouse and at the Letcher County Extension Office Monday morning. Ross Kegan, former Vice President of Operations of Black Mountain Resources, spoke in Harlan County on behalf of the Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation. He said the foundation will give a total of $492,000 to Harlan County CAA so that each Blackjewel miner in the immediate-needs database will get $2,000. Another announcement took place in Letcher County at 11:00 a.m. and then another is expected to happen in Virginia. Kegan said the foundation is giving another $276,000 to Blackjewel miners in the area, which will also amount to $2,000 each.” • Foundation bails out unpaid workers in Harlan County, while DSA is silent. Another win for noblesse oblige!

News of the Wired

Not all programmers get free meals and massages. Thread:

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

MF writes: “Spotted these while waiting for a table at a local restaurant with a friend. She tells me that these are Canna lilies, likely canna indica or a hybrid of canna indica with another canna species.”

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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. Stormcrow

    The Studebaker article on Sanders and Warren.
    The analysis is very good but the charts leave something to be desired. American society is not shaped like a pyramid nor like an onion so much as like a golf club. Most people are clumped at the bottom while most of the wealth is clumped at the top in the hands of a very few.

    For a better chart see The American Profile Poster.


  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    Sabato’s Crystal Ball says Russia didn’t affect the 2016 election. With that kind of standard establishment view point, Rachel Maddow can’t be far behind announcing doing her show from Comrade Putin’s Dacha.

    In regards to Sanders’ view on the Democratic debates, I think its best to recognize debates as anachronisms of a pre-mass communication era. Even “better” debates with less people provide candidates with platforms to say, “hey, here is my position I might have in order for you to vote for me” and creates a situation where people might not bother to see the obvious disconnect between a candidate the week before they announced.

    On stage, Joe Biden “beat” Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan and a myth about a barely intelligible corporate stooge was borne, that Joe Biden is vaguely competent. Like the State of the Union, the Al Smith Dinner, the “nerd prom” (Though I’m not sure how many correspondents attendees could be deemed smart by any metric), and debates are simply not necessary anymore and aren’t missed if you tune them out.

      1. urblintz

        The author of the essay is Alan Abramovitz, a poli-sci professor at Emory University. Alas, he includes the by-now-expected speculative assertion re Russia to keep him in the fold of those who wish to fan the flames of russa-phobia: “Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Russians weren’t trying to influence the results or that they might not succeed in the future. Nor does it speak to Russian efforts to hack into U.S. voting systems and potentially alter voter registration data or even election results themselves.”

        I’d note in particular the use of “the” before “Russians”

        1. Henry Moon Pie`

          It is now required of all non-deplorables to repeat “the” Russia!Russia!Russia! shibboleth to establish their acceptability in circles dominated by the anti-xenophobic Democratic Party. We know the Democrats are anti-xenophobic because they tell us so (see above) and because they were so quick to jump on Clapper’s assertions about the genetic predispositions of Russians. Oh wait…

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not Sabato’s byline, but it is on the Crystal Ball. Sabato is more or less synonymous with “conventional wisdom.”

  3. Grant

    “The Tragedy of the Tragedy of the Commons” [Scientific American].”

    Hardin’s argument has been used by many to argue that communal or public goods and resources are bound to collapse, and that privatization is the only way to manage these things. Outside of the fact that we can’t, and shouldn’t, privatize everything, it is actually not accurate at all. Hardin himself said that if he could, he would rename the article “Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons”, as it isn’t communal ownership of resources that lead to collapse (Elinor Ostrom’s work showed that to be absolutely untrue), it was communal ownership without clear and enforceable rules as far as using the communal resource. If you have a fishery that is communally owned and you don’t create rules as far as using the communal asset (size of the boat, how many trips you can take, limits of how many fish any one person or group can catch, holding off fishing if the stock of fish is too low, etc.), the fishery will likely collapse, and it could collapse even if managed well because of environmental factors. It is true of any communal resource. I mean, library books are communal resources, yet there are rules as far as using the resource. You can only check them out for a period of time, must return them, could have to pay fines, etc. Imagine a library without any rules as far as using the books. Same applies to natural resources.

    1. Elspeth

      When did any ‘commons’ ever exist without rules, in fact it’s a standard game in game theory, of course they are regulated.

      1. Grant

        You are unaware of commons that do not have rules, or either have very weak rules or rules that cannot be easily enforced? Or, situations that exist where there are maybe rules on paper but not in practice? You do realize how we treated common property like the great lakes, the atmospheric commons and rivers before things like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, right? Do we really have global rules that can be enforced in regards to carbon emissions and using the atmospheric commons? Are there not many commons that have been ruined because they do not have rules that can be easily enforced? I do not know all of the international laws in regards to the deep oceans, but we either do not have strong regulatuons or they cannot be enforced. I used to live in China. There are many commons there that are in a state of utter collapse because of environmental damage. If there are rules in regards to the use of the commons, they are either weak or are not enforced. Elinor Ostrom’s work, especially Governing the Commons, focuses on many examples of commons that were managed well and commons that were also managed not so well, going back centuries. She has also talked about many of the problems of the global commons.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Sound pollution. There’s a constant din of machinery even in residential areas. You have to get a long way out not to hear air brakes on a regular basis. Like the stars, a lot of people have never realized they are missing out on proper quiet.

    2. ewmayer

      More than a bit ironic — So Hardin later admits that his thesis was really an indictment of deregulation and privatization, but because he ‘forgot’ to mention that in his (in)famous Science essay, said essay was instead misused by the neoliberals to promote those very evils.

  4. Michael Hudson

    Re “Tragedy of the Commons,” Hardin later retracted his thesis and wrote a refutation, in a book edited by Robert Andelson published by the Schalkenbach Foundation.

    Curiously (but not surprisingly) his right-wing supporters never cite this retraction, although it was published in a right-wing libertarian (Henry George) publication.

    1. diptherio

      Well, that redeems him somewhat. Did he ever retract the Lifeboat Ethics article? I hadn’t read that one until just now and hoo boy…

      We cannot safely divide the wealth equitably among all peoples so long as people reproduce at different rates. To do so would guarantee that our grandchildren and everyone else’s grandchildren,would have only a ruined world to inhabit.


        1. Hopelb

          Thank you very much! I will pay you of course! And I have to get pre-approval from Michael, Yves, and Lambert. I was thinking Nakedcapitalism, the world’s best site (!), might like to use them in fundraising. (Of course, the commentariat will be included in the design!) Rock star economist Hudson, on the other hand, will either be inspired to embark on the country wide Econ/music/ comedy fest, taking Econ knowledge to the masses, or will be too busy writing his next book and video conference it in, or will simply offer them for sale on his website ( remembering what might have been,the stadiums filled for the Econ/ music/comedy fest, with each and every sale!).
          Before my mom committed suicide, and I went into a deep depression, I met up with a guy, named Guy, at the Bernie ralley in Pittsburgh,Pa. Guy travels officially with Bernie selling Bernie campaign merchandise, and he wanted my Bernie hat design to sell.It is hilarious. I got a Bloomberg reporter , Kapur, to take my Bernie sign to Matt Taibbi to autograph, and then Kapur interviewed me and wrote it up. You can google it, but be aware, it was highly edited to suit his premise that Bernie supporters are nuts.If I send you the design could you do hats or at least patches(“we don’t need no stinkin patches”) and how much would it cost? With Gratitude, Hope

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            I want in!!!

            Ill gladly be a Roadie!

            Can you design a #HUDSONHAWK tshirt? And Hudson as ‘Doc Hudson’ from Back to the Future???

            Michael Hudson is officially part of the NC Commentariat!!!!

            Ill help out on the New Orleans stop!


            Also we should promote the Merch on Reddit along with building a youth NC brigade!

            Last thing, GEAUX MATT TAIBBI – Griftopia was a Jove-Send when i read it in Afghanistan. Luckily a North Carolina person sent me that along with other politics books as part of Operation Paperback!


          2. Hotei

            If you would like a few prototypes first, I am happy to just do them for you. My company owns a few digital printers so the cost would be minimal to see what they look like. As for larger quantities, it depends on many factors, number of colors, shirt color and quality etc.

            I would be happy to do those at cost, but depending where they would be shipping from it might be cheaper to have them done locally to save shipping. In which case I would be happy to give what the rough cost is so you can obtain some good bids. And yes, I also do hats and patches.

            I am new to commenting on blogposts, so please let me know the protocol to give you my contact info.

    2. paintedjaguar

      You might make an argument that Georgists lean towards libertarianism, but right wing? Have you even read any Henry George? Yeah it’s true that George believed in “free markets”, but only under the umbrella of his overriding concern – public ownership and rent collection over all land and natural resources (possibly including natural monopolies in industry). Much more radically socialistic than our current “liberal capitalism” and very much in line with a belief in the importance to society of a regulated Commons.

      As for the Schalkenbach Foundation, its primary concern is the publication and distribution of George’s writings.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      C’mon wasn’t the FBI founded to keep “undesirables” from voting and to help Hoover collect black mail?

    2. Cal2

      Much as you’d like to blame it all on whitey, the race of mass shooters reflects that of the population of the U.S.

      Number of incidents
      White 62
      Black 18
      Latino 10
      Asian 8
      Other 5
      Unknown 4
      Native American 3


      Colorful graphs here, if math challenged:

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What is the breakdown when you exclude gang on gang style violence? Three gang bangers getting shot up over a turf war is different than a guy rolling into a dmv and shooting everyone because he was ticked about the mail.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Ummmm….not really.

          Imagine the change in stats if innocent victims of gang violence were included. There was a whole spate of highway shootings here in the Bay Area, just for one example… Chicago has the equivalent of a mass shooting every weekend practically and no one blinks. The same disregard for human life fits both bangers and mass shooters.

          Trying to continue the race narrative when the evidence doesn’t fit it is why we’re so polarized in this country.

          1. marym

            It’s not a test to determine which race or ethnicity kills the most people. Gang violence, domestic violence, political or racial violence have different causes and different potential remedies, though there may be overlap in factors like economic hopelessness or the accessibility of guns.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Oh, we agree on that!

              But the original comment (and the mass media narrative) is about “domestic terrorism” and “white supremacy” and it’s nutty to blame Trump while ignoring the last 20 years of mass murders via guns.

              1. marym

                If people are committing crimes for which their own expressed political ideas and intentions and their targets indicate a political motive; and those political ideas are also promoted by influential politicians and media, it’s not nutty to discuss the crimes in relation to the ideology and its promotion.

                There are many organizations and many individuals who don’t ignore mass murders, but work to understand causes and promote solutions.

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  Given the frequency of mass shootings and the disparate motivations of the shooters, I would indeed call it nutty to blame Trump for El Paso.

                  As far as I’m concerned, the shooters are nuts and the “rhetoric” is not to blame…. Part of Lambert’s tower but not the cause.
                  Or should we blame Black Lives Matters for the Dallas cop shootings?

                  Can’t hold different standards for similar things and call it reasoned.

                  1. marym

                    BLM as a movement doesn’t advocate killing cops. Their tactics have been non-violent protest and political action. I think, though I don’t have documentation, that any mainstream politician claiming to support their demands for less killing and more accountability from cops would offer at most a weak version of the political process to achieve them.

                    White supremacy and white nationalism are politics of dominance, exclusion and elimination. The state violence and othering rhetoric needed to support them are embraced by mainstream politicians on the right including Trump.

                    So, when a crazed person starts shooting with an apparent political motive, I think I do apply different standards in considering causes or remedies. ymmv

                    1. Fiery Hunt

                      Judging political beliefs by the most crazed “supporters” is a dangerous game. Calling attention to the plight of “forgotten” white Americans (ignoring for the moment the emptiness of the remembrance but recognizing the truth of Case-Deaton’s deaths of dispair) is “othering” only if Black Lives Matters call to recognize black victims whilst ignoring poor white victims of “state violence” is “othering” too.

                      Too many broken people, too many broken lives.

                      Too much demand for power, not enough empathy.

                      Too many people saying “Them bad, us good. We’re the victims, they’re the evil!”

                      I say I’m not part of this tribalism.
                      I say screw any side that paints with a broad brush for political points.

              1. Fiery Hunt

                Gotta be careful with crime stats..notice how “race” and “ethnicity” are different (meaning Hispanic is folded into “white”? who knows?) And their numbers are based on “reported” race and ethnicity: not all jurisdictions/agencies record such info…(looking at you, sanctuary cities).

                Hard to parse.

                1. Dan

                  Hispanics are lumped into perpetrators, but get their own victim category. I see what you mean.
                  Bottom line, crime is wrong, as is hurting or stealing from others, no matter who does it.

        2. todde

          as long as the right people are butchering each other then.

          They still dead brotha, and the shittiest gang banger will still have a mom crying over their dead baby.

          Mom didn’t care when he was alive, but put a bullet in him and he’s ‘her baby’.

          I can tell you this, the gang bangers have better reasons for killing the people they kill.

          1. todde

            and another thing, the gang violence happens where these people live.

            they’re shot on their front porch or down the street from their house.

            There ain’t no escaping it. But somebody shoots up a walmart and ‘something must be done’.

            it’s different, ya know.

      2. marym

        There’s no standard definition of what constitutes a mass shooting. The publicly visible info doesn’t seem to include a definition or sources. Also, the statistics cover 1982 through August 2019.

          1. Wyoming

            Not so fast there.

            Federal definition
            prior to 2013 was 4 or more killed
            2013 to present is 3 or more killed

            The media version:
            A crowdsourced data site cited by CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, the BBC, etc., Mass Shooting Tracker, defines a mass shooting as any incident in which five or more people are shot, whether injured or killed.

            Another media defintion:
            Crime violence research group Gun Violence Archive, whose research is used by all major American media outlets, defines mass shooting as “FOUR or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location, not including the shooter,”

            Hmmm I say.

              1. Dan

                One weekend too many:


                ” News, News Blog Jan 15, 2015
                Homicides No. 3-8: 6 Dead, 3 Injured in 19 Bloody Hours of Shootings in St. Louis
                Homicides No. 154-156: Three Killed in Separate Christmas Eve Shootings in St. Louis
                By Lindsay Toler
                Tags: The Big Bloody (Homicides)
                News, News Blog Dec 22, 2014
                Homicide No. 150: Jeron Frairson Charged With Killing Teen Girl in Double Shooting
                By Lindsay Toler
                Tags: The Big Bloody (Homicides)
                News, News Blog Dec 1, 2014
                Homicide 136: Teens Kill Zemir Begic with Hammers, Police Chief Meets with Protesters

            1. Oregoncharles

              There was just a mass killing – 4 – using a knife/machete. (I’ve already forgotten where, just making a point. In different places, if that matters. Let’s not restrict it to shootings.

              He was arrested, so we might even find out why.

  5. NotTimothyGeithner

    With the AOC tweets, I’m not sure slavery is possible without a general sense of one group being fundamentally subhuman and readily identifiable as “NOT HUMAN” Since AOC brought concentration camps back into focus, one of the first things the Germans did in the 1930’s was to make the “sub-humans” wear identifiable tags.

    With the fraudulent hijacking of identity politics by Republicans in neoliberal drag, it would be nice if there was a constant connection between the parasite class and general issues with white supremacy. However I don’t believe AOC is full of it on this issue or is seeking to simply be admitted to the country club.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’m not sure slavery is possible without a general sense of one group being fundamentally subhuman

      I agree, at least for the United States and the Atlantic slave trade. (For Rome, it was being captured in war. In Africa, as Graeber shows, it was debt.) But nobody gets to erase the economic side of the equation. I mean, the slaveowners didn’t own slaves just because they were assh*oles. They were assh*oles who wanted to make money from their property. Erasing that is absurd, ahistorical, infantile. So, yeah, on this AOC is full of it, and full of it in the way that liberals and NGOs are full it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think it’s not a chicken-and-egg thing, but a yin-and-yang thing.

          For example, Ferguson clearly had big, big problems with racism, especially in the police force. But you can’t explain how it played out in RL without also understanding that Ferguson is a case of law enforcement for profit, which goes back to deindustrialization (plant closures) and the 2008 crash, which IIRC messed up the city’s bonds.

          1. Baby Gerald

            Economic rationalization is most certainly the first and foremost motivation for the existence of slavery. Historically it has taken not very much for one group or individual to justify the enslavement of another group or individual, regardless of their real or alleged ethnicity.

            Here’s a great speech by Dr. Parenti on just this very subject, in which he elaborates on Lambert’s point with his usual eloquence and wit:

            Slavery From Aristotle to the Modern Era

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Just reflecting on the root etymology of the word describing the group called “Slav”

          2. Elspeth

            Historical Islam provides an education in this. There were a few class of people: 1. A believer, 2. Jew or Christian 3. Everyone else – more a less a heathen. The problem was as Islam grew class 3 became huge and was impossible from a cost of upkeep to maintain. Slavers weren’t good earners. And the effort it took in ‘hating’ the slave to control the slave couldn’t be sustained over time. So it all fell apart.

          3. Bugs Bunny

            Lambert, you’re such a (historical) materialist sometimes. Everybody knows that the Bible (except for the Moses part, bien entendu) justifies chattle slavery.


      1. Carolinian

        If the Dems are going to run on White Supremacy they are going to lose–just a prediction.

        This morning while walking downtown I spotted an elderly white woman and elderly black woman walking arm in arm. It’s quite common on library story day to see affluent looking white mothers with black children (perhaps fostered or adopted). Public schools here are fully integrated.

        Here’s suggesting that the Red State world is not what it used to be even if they didn’t get the memo up in Queens. Our sometimes racially dubious president isn’t even from the heartland but from NYC and says his public statements are what his rich friends say in private (I believe him).

        Like open borders, the race theme is preaching to the converted and apt to get Trump reelected if the eventual candidate follows suit.

        1. Monty

          Is it white supremacy or ‘citizen supremacy’? Citizens feel they should get preferred treatment from their own government over non citizens. It’s the opposite of ‘the coalition of the ascendant’. Minority allegedly announces it intends to unseat majority. Majority disagrees, gets scared and attempts to prevent this.

          1. Carolinian

            Of course there’s still plenty of prejudice in this country but white supremacy means Jim Crow. I’d suggest nobody other than random wackos still subscribes to this. In that sense Tucker Carlson was right.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              White Supremacy, reparations, LGBT bathrooms, free healthcare for illegal immigrants, “unity” across the aisle with Republicans, incremental “realistic” tweaking around the edges of massive structural institutional problems, Red Hysteria, impeachment…I’m sure there are Dem Party working groups figuring out all of the possible new ways to lose, in case I missed any.

          1. Oregoncharles

            2 full terms at a time, that’s the deal. It’s still the Republicans’ turn – and who wants to govern?

        2. Bugs Bunny

          IdPol always loses. It’s not a strategy, it’s a (losing) tactic that has so much shiny object appeal that no one in the dang party can let it go.

      2. Cal2

        The liberal elite, starting with John Brown, made it so that assh*oles could make money off their land and factories, but would not have to feed, house and clothe their slaves, who would just report for work at the gate and pay all their own bills, at least until the invention of consumer credit and mortgages.

        Prediction, soon it will be possible to indenture your children to pay off your future bills. The parasites have to keep feeding.

      3. Elspeth

        Can we agree slavery is a complex issue. A few points, the Romans did not think of all those they put into slavery, certainly the Gauls and Greeks as subhuman. In Roman society just as later English you could end up a slave over debt, as in owing money. In ancient Islam, Jews & Christians were a protected people’s up to a point all the rest subjects if not slaves. More recently with regard to Europeans and Blacks from Africa, clearly the concept of an inferior race by Western Civilization standards was in play, but so was the issue of das capital or greed, in some ways it could be argued racism was reversed engineered. Why? To control the ‘subjects/slaves’ requires after some point degrading them. How else to control, to keep the whole effort up? At least that’s what history shows. Or it all falls apart. The absolute hatred aspect, we’re everyone seems to hate everyone else, especially Blacks and the First Peoples, is as far as I know unquie to America.

        1. hunkerdown

          You’re not supposed to talk about the world before 1964. It exists only as a sordid collection of disaster porn punctuated by stories of plucky individuals “earning” their way to betterment. We are Civilized®™© now and the past isn’t canon anymore.

      4. JohnnyGL

        Yeah, this is a correct critique. I’ve read enough history to have a firm understanding that ideology (white supremacy, capitalism, libertarianism) doesn’t lead…it FOLLOWS economic and political interests.

        I’m currently reading Charles Mann’s excellent 1493. Tobacco, and later cotton, provided the profits, but a lot of hard labor was sorely needed. Mann explains how malaria and other diseases were killing natives and europeans in droves in Colonial Virginia, and strongly harming productivity in those it didn’t kill outright. What was the solution? Africans were much more malaria resistant. All the sub-human, white-supremacy stuff came much later. It’s ALWAYS about profit, first and foremost.

        The spanish emphasized the spreading of the catholic faith to justify colonizing the Americas.

        ISIS uses Islam to justify killing and conquest. Ideology ALWAYS gets formulated to suit the desires of the rich and powerful…or those who are trying to get rich and powerful.

        For AOC to just throw a tweet thread out there devoid of context is frustrating and unhelpful. It distracts and confuses, more than it clarifies.

        White supremacy comes from growing up in a world where rich white people are in charge and poor black and brown people (and white ones, too) are given moral critiques and victim-blaming stories to explain their poverty. The ‘virus’ can’t take hold unless it has a nice, comfortable environment in which to do so. But AOC doesn’t talk about why something like white supremacy is able to take root in US society. She should reveal it as a classic divide-and-rule approach by elites. But she doesn’t….she just talks about American original sin. It’s misguided and trapped in a hall of mirrors.

    2. dearieme

      I’m not sure slavery is possible without a general sense of one group being fundamentally subhuman and readily identifiable as “NOT HUMAN”

      That is confuted by large tracts of human history.

      1. David

        Indeed. The origin of slavery was the requirement to find an agricultural workforce in economies without money, where you therefore could not pay them. Capturing your workforce in war was pretty much the only way you could do this. Slavery was always essentially economic in nature.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The NW Coast Indians, who were non-agricultural, also kept slaves, also captured in warfare. People who looked pretty much like them.

          So all that’s required is work no one especially wants to do, and military superiority (they acted just like Vikings, who also kept slaves, mostly Irish).

          1. Jessica

            Slavery also requires some form of concentrated wealth. Sedentary agriculture is the most common basis. Pacific Northwest native societies could have slavery based on control over salmon fisheries. Slavery in what is now the US Southwest and northern Mexico was based on control of scarce arable land and horses.
            In both tropical Africa and Southeast Asia, wars were fought to seize captives, not land. Given the fecundity of the land and of insects, land was plentiful and people scarce. I guess the Atlantic slave trade was with Africa not Southeast Asia simply due to proximity.

            1. Procopius

              Interesting. The same is said in the histories of Thailand I’ve read — wealth was control of people, not land. That applied to civil wars and political competition, too. Lots of land, but the land was useless unless you had people.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Just think of the Roman Empire, who got their slaves from defeated enemies of war. It never had a racial element besides the fact they were not Roman.

        1. The Rev Kev

          True. It it was not unknown for Roman slaves to get back their freedom and became well-off citizens, even wealthy. Slavery was a social condition, not a hereditary one. I tend to think that the typical Roman attitude to slavery was not so much fear or hatred but more like exasperation in dealing with them. I have heard that the old problem is that when you have servants, that you tend to spend just as much time serving them as they do you.

    3. Math is Your Friend

      “I’m not sure slavery is possible without a general sense of one group being fundamentally subhuman and readily identifiable as “NOT HUMAN””

      And yet, in a number of classic psychological/sociological experiments, all it took to spark the emergence of discriminatory behaviour was to randomly divide the subjects into two groups. That arbitrary division into ‘them’ and ‘us’ was all it took.

      The experimenters found that this effect persisted even when the subjects all knew that the division was arbitrary and completely random.

      That would suggest that any identifiable division, by enumeration, or by characteristic, or by identifier, might well suffice.

      Of course, once it is established, ‘slave’ and ‘not-slave’ is a distinct identifier itself.

      Thus, I would argue that there is no need to label a slave as sub-human, but merely as ‘not one of us’.

    4. Tomonthebeach

      In a sense, Trump has already helped to identify the “right people” from the sub-human, snowflake, libtards by getting people voluntarily wear red ball caps with MAGA on them. As far as I can tell, not a single mass shooting can claim a victim wearing a MAGA hat. Coincidence?

  6. shinola

    “— Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent testimony was a reminder that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and very well may try to do so again in 2020.”

    Whaddya mean “very well may try”? They certainly will – and so will China, Canada, Australia, NZ, the UK (if it still exists) and just about anyone with an internet connection, a modicum of English skills & an opinion. That “www” thing (supposedly) means world wide web (emphasis on world wide).

  7. Carey

    Larry Elliott- ‘Globalisation as we know it will not survive Trump. And that’s a good thing’:

    “..Throughout history there have been successive waves of globalisation followed by a backlash when the model over-reached itself. This is one of those occasions and all the ingredients are in place for a struggle between the defenders of the status quo and those who say that recent trends in politics, technology and the climate point to the need for a new world order focused more on local solutions, stronger nation states and a reformed international system. It’s quite a stretch to imagine that Trump has this in mind when he is bashing China, but the economic crisis of the 1930s – of which protectionism was one part – led eventually, albeit after the war, to reforms that made the world a sounder and safer place..”


  8. Cal2

    “Harris’ fall was particularly dramatic in the Quinnipiac University poll, where her support fell from 20 percent immediately after the first debate to 7 percent in the poll released Tuesday.”

    The death blow came with her response to Anderson Cooper when she refused to answer the main criticism of her time as attorney general, saying that
    “she didn’t need to answer because the candidate that asked was beneath her.”

    Gee, maybe younger voters, the future of the Democratic Party, if there is one, like Tulsi Gabbard, the athletic 38 year old surfer and combat veteran better than the shape-shifter Kamaleon Harris?

    Meanwhile, the clean up of the mess Kamala left behind in San Francisco, and California begins:

    August 7, 2019 at 2:17 pm
    “Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that they charged nearly three dozen people, mostly Honduran nationals, after investigators uncovered twin international trafficking operations that poured heroin, meth and cocaine into a notorious San Francisco neighborhood crawling with rampant drug use…”

    Between Harris’ sheltering of ‘undocumented’ criminals,
    and her promoting Proposition 47, a law that makes thefts under $950 a ticket and promise to appear in court, the city and the state have turned into a disaster zone, as she grabs at the next higher office.

    1. Carey

      I’m a little interested to see which corporatist the Dems are, finally, able to shove over the finish line at their convention.

      Sanders is doing saying and doing all the right stuff, and I’m guessing it’s
      in anticipation of the above. Bravo.

    2. ewmayer

      “she didn’t need to answer because the candidate that asked was beneath her.” — But apparently, trick-turning her way into public office was not beneath her. Interesting priorities, there.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Harris – I wish someone could explain to me why I thought she was a good candidate. I watched her announcement speech and thought it was a right on appeal to be an alternative to Warren, maybe even better, like she’d got religion.

      Now it looks like that was a one-off. Whoever set that up should go work for Sanders.

  9. Fiery Hunt

    On “financial literacy”:
    Managed to pay off on of my 2 remaining student loans. One got paid off faster than the other because Nelnet (loan holder) was appling all of my monthly payments to that one loan rather than splitting the payment between the 2 (as instructed). All fine and dandy, doesn’t matter except….Transunion (the credit score company) has now DROPPED my credit score because one of my oldest accounts (my frick’n student loan from 2002!!) has been closed (because I PAID IT OFF!)

    I guess if I’d been ‘financially literate”, I’d have know to make sure I wasn’t paying my student loan off too quickly…


    1. Kurtismayfield

      Credit scores are rigged towards people who can carry debt and pay it off.. if you are carrying no debt, they really don’t care about you. You have to remember these are tools of the credit industry to help them find customers, not to help you. You are the product.

    2. nippersmom

      Yes, mine dropped after we paid off our mortgage, with the same “oldest account” explanation.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        The beauty, of course, is that that same student loan hung like a credit millstone preventing me for years from getting credit because of a high debt to income ratio. So couldn’t get credit established and now punished further by lowering my credit score.

  10. adam1

    “Kamala Harris, The Early Years”
    Same old, same old, new democrat garbage.
    Everything she says sounds good, but it’s all about providing opportunity (read supply side garbage like “training” and “loans” I mean financial engineering) not delivering full employment.
    After 8 years we’d have 10x the number of “training” and “incubation centers” than we have now, but not much more. And the fact none of it delivered much of anything would be China and the Republicans fault.

  11. XXYY

    Excellent piece; I just cut out the bottom line. Studebaker really firing on all eight cylinders here :-)

    Thanks for publishing this, Lambert. I think Studebaker is one of our more astute commentators, not only perceptive but also generally far ahead of the rest of the commentariat.

    1. Carolinian

      Yes it sounds like Warren is definitely still a Republican at heart but the problem is so are most of the establishment Dems. So it gets confusing when deciding which is the one who doesn’t “fit in.”

      I believe it was Bill Clinton who said, only half jokingly, to his staff: “we are the Rockefeller Republicans.”

  12. adam1

    “The Main Difference Between Warren and Sanders”
    That nails it. I knew I didn’t like this politician, but I was having a hard time putting a finger on it. I love the graphic. It makes so much sense.

    1. Jeff W

      Benjamin Studebaker is, in my opinion, utterly brilliant. He nails things in completely the right way, in terms of both substance and communication. I envy his students at Cambridge.

  13. richard

    re Kamala Harris the early years
    the best you could possibly do with that clip is say well boy, she’s come a long way
    except we all know she hasn’t
    she always radiates *CLASS BEGONE* vibes, probably did as a teenager

  14. Adam1

    White supremacy was not the original sin!!! Letting rich men write the constitution was. They knew the golden rule handed to them from London. Divide and Conquer! Keep the working people divided – race just happens to be an easy way to do it! And if you can make an extra buck on they way, well then double down!

      1. hunkerdown

        The Federalist Papers are a good start. You could also have a look at Founding Finance by William Hogeland, or Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies showing that the professional-managerial classes are a white elephant for most people.

    1. John

      Slavery is called the original sin because it is permitted in the Constitution and it is so because had it not been permitted half the states would not have ratified it. Had that been the case, there might never have been a United States, but two or more weak confederations. That outcome would have suited the English, French, and Spanish Empires as they could contemplate claiming and keeping choice bits of North America.

      The slavery clauses were a messy compromise of an intractable problem reluctantly agreed to because at the time slavery looked as if it was trending toward extinction. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 put paid to that notion but, it took four bloody years of civil war to end chattel slavery and that slavery by other names is not dead in the USA yet is an arguable proposition.

      As to “white supremacy”, I doubt anyone would have understood what you mean by such a phrase. They would have understood and agreed with the idea that the different races were unequal and that Europeans were superior if for no other reason than that they had cut a wide swathe across the world and along the way enslaved millions of Africans. Why Africans? Africa was the most accessible source. Sort people by race to decide who’s the top rail and who the bottom. Certainly a cheap and easy rationalization to soothe perhaps uneasy consciences, at least I hope some were uneasy. There were plenty of Caucasians taken as slaves at one time or another and as the Constitution was being written there were a considerable number of Europeans held in slavery in North Africa.

      The tragedy is that we are still arguing and agonizing over issues that are settled; settled as far as I am concerned. Slavery is a wrong under all circumstances and for any excuse that can be dreamed up. (Doesn’t seem to make much difference to the tyrannical or the greedy.) The idea that one or another race of humans is superior any other is scientifically untenable and nonsensical in every other context. Does making these statements change any minds? I doubt it and that is too bad.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Slavery long predates modern societies and maybe even civilization. The NW Coast Indians kept slaves, and they were technically hunter-gatherers, as well as vikings. The peculiarity of American chattel slavery was that the slaves looked quite different from the masters; in, for instance, classical times, they didn’t. That may have made American slavery more severe, and led to racial theories to justify it. A Greek or Native American master of Greek or Native American slaves wasn’t dreaming up racial theories. There were some pretty elaborate moral or philosophical ones, though.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Also, American chattel slavery was permanent. You bought the mother, you bought her children, in perpetuity. “Natural increase,” they called it. Very profitable!

  15. Another Scott

    Lambert focused on the problems with slavery part of AOC’s tweet, but I’m also concerned about how she genocide to describe settler’s interactions with the indigenous population of the Americas. Her emphasis on white supremacy ignores that much of the actions taken against these peoples was caused by a desire for wealth. White settlers wanted the land for farming (a traditional source of wealth in countries) in the East and Midwest and took it, often by force. Their views towards the indigenous population were complex and divergent. The immediate cause of the removal of the Cherokees was the discovery of gold. The same is true of the Great Sioux War of 1876, the government didn’t care about the land (they were called the Badlands for a reason) until we found gold in the hills. These actions cannot be seen prism of race alone, and to do so ignores the agency of the people making them, both the settler and indigenous population.

      1. petal

        Same here in Hanover/Lebanon, NH. There’s a handful of people that ride year round, including the winter, no matter how cold or snowy it is. And we have hills.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Been there in winter. Bike paths plowed, also salted if necessary. And well separated from car and bus lanes, unlike the disaster in Paris.

  16. Summer

    “The Main Difference Between Warren and Sanders” [Benjamin Studebaker}

    Sanders is trying to address reality. Everyone is not going to be and everyone does not want to be a “professional.” Everyone is not going to have and everyone does not want to have a house. Sanders is trying to show all lives are worth living.

    Warren is trying to make particular lifestyles worth living.

  17. noonespecial

    Cats and Bodegas (NYC) –

    Gothamist NYC published the following article, with corresponding pics, of feline residents at local bodegas. NC readers in other locales may have encountered similar sightings.

    From the article’s intro: “Today is International Cat Day, but every day is Cat Day here in NYC, where even non-cat-owners or “dog people” can savor the splendor and hauteur of felines 24/7, with a visit to the local bodega!”


    1. Carey

      Thanks for that JM Greer link, and I do think he’s onto something.
      One of the comments caught my eye:

      “The ecofascism narrative solidifies electric cars and Savior apps as the gold standard of virtue signaling.

      Adherents can claim to be doing their part, while avoiding the “extremism” of reasonable solutions such as walking/biking and eliminating phone-mediated interactions with others whenever possible.”

      Sounds right to me, and my impression is that the few and their
      explainers and enablers believe they can keep their party going
      for quite awhile longer, as most of us fall by the wayside
      (so to speak).

    2. jrs

      odd when I call what I aspire to most of the time: eco-SOCIALISM. And I didn’t invent the term, and if that is hardly a policy statement it gives you an idea of where we need to go, socialism with ecology fully integrated in.

      I really don’t think you can confuse it, well right wing propagandist confuse *everything* because that is their job, but oh well.

      It might be: ecosocialism or ecofascist barbarianism.

    1. barefoot charley

      This is Ellen Brown’s analysis also linked in a comment above, including pithy thoughts from Michael Hudson. Recommended!

      Basic point is that since Chinese banks are state-owned they don’t have to make money or go bankrupt, so they make more socially useful lending decisions than our bloodsucking parasites do. Mistakes and legacies can be unwound slowly.

      And Japan demonstrates that, when global banksters force a country with a sound industrial policy to sacrifice it to global hot money and financialization, it’s only good for bloodsucking parasites.

      So why don’t we try this? Oh, never mind.

      1. urblintz

        My bad, didn’t see the link above and thanks for the summary. I do like Ellen Brown… and Michael Hudson!!!!

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        With the implication that China has a sovereign currency…and the U.S. does not. That idea should whipsaw quite a few heads

  18. Oregoncharles

    ” “The question of sovereignty is: Does the state control finance, or does finance control the state?”

    The exchange between Clinton and Rubin (please go back and read it if you haven’t) is extremely revealing, on a number of levels. In the first place, this is a gigantic excuse on Clinton’s part – and Clinton himself is probably the source; would Rubin repeat this? Hmm, well, maybe. As an excuse, it shows Bill Clinton up as completely feckless and useless. Who is president here? He handed over the country to Rubin? Of course, that’s the point of the article. Incidentally, The Moustache’s “Lexus and the Olive Tree” repeats exactly Rubin’s point. And of course, precisely this is a technical definition of fascism (who needs jackboots?).

    Second question is whether it’s true, of course. It certainly RINGS true, whether or not those words were exchanged; personally, I thought and think that Slick Willy was really just that corrupt. He drove me out of the Democratic Party, not that I had a deep attachment, so the story has strong personal resonance.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Slick Willie was just the classic case but I think the larger point is that your standard Democrat pol has no economic politics and so is willing to do pretty much what their Harvard/Yale and Wall Street buddies tell them to do. They see the world meritocratically (hence their own success!) and think politics is a game for lawyers. Lawyers, as a rule, don’t have economic politics. Of course, now the Dems are diversifying – not just lawyers but also military.

  19. Oregoncharles

    “DNS ALG” – can someone decode that? I understand “DNS,” sort of, and “ALG” is probably “algorithm,” but that doesn’t help much.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Domain Name System Application Layer Gateway

      The Domain Name System (DNS) Application Layer Gateway (ALG) service handles data associated with locating and translating domain names into IP addresses. The ALG typically runs on port 53. The ALG monitors DNS query and reply packets and supports only UDP traffic.

    2. Jon Oster

      The whole thread is nonsense, with just enough truth thrown in there to make it seem like there’s a little bit of credibility. ALG stands for application layer gateway. (Application layer in the sense of the OSI model application layer.) ALGs on routers are processes/services that perform packet inspection and rule-based modification in an efficient way on packets that pass through them.

      A DNS ALG on a big corporate router might do slightly more complicated things like many-to-many DNS mappings, or selectively routing all DNS requests from client devices on a corporate network to a particular server. On a consumer router, there are two likely use cases for a DNS ALG:

      1) Blocking malicious DNS packets sent by virus-infected computers on the network. DNS is a creaky old protocol with a number of weaknesses, and specially-constructed DNS requests can be used, for example, to amplify distributed denial-of-service attacks. A DNS ALG could do some basic checks for DNS requests that are unlikely to be used by a legitimate home user and drop them, increasing overall internet safety.

      2) Translating DDNS packets sent naively from the local network with a bad IP address. DDNS stands for Dynamic DNS, and it’s a way for a DNS record that corresponds to a system that frequently changes IP address to be updated. Most commonly, people use it to give their home internet connection an actual address. (Like johndoe.dyndns.org, for example.) The way you update the record is by sending a DDNS message periodically (or just once every time your IP address changes). But people are dumb, and do dumb things, so they install a DDNS updater script/software that “updates” the DDNS with their local address (something like, a reserved address for private use) instead of their public address. A DNS ALG could intercept those requests and either fix them with the proper IP address, or just drop them entirely.

      However, all the fearmongering here is just doubly stupid. DNS packets aren’t encrypted. You can easily see exactly what your router is doing every time you send a DNS request by using a packet sniffer. If there were anything nefarious going on, it would be stupidly easy to catch: you just compare the DNS that the router sends out to the request that was made and log any change.

  20. Summer

    RE:“The El Paso shooter’s manifesto contains a dangerous message about climate change” [Bill Black, The Week].

    It was obvious the climate change conversation would arrive at this point.
    And it is exactly why people have seemed to avoid it.

  21. William Hunter Duncan

    With the flurry of msm articles on “ecofascism”, it seems clear, neoliberals and the Left generally will no longer allow any discussion on ecology that also suggests limits on immigration in this age of climate change, rising seas, the emptying and toxifying of the seas, etc ecological degradation, without calling the one calling for limits on population growth by way of limits on immigration, an ecofascist.

    1. Carey

      Oh, I think the neolibs and faux-left will have quite a few fun new terms
      coming, for anyone who dares to dissent from their narrative.

      “Clearly a White Nationalist..” yadda-yadda

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Ads Pulled for Gory Universal Thriller ‘The Hunt’ in Wake of Mass Shootings (Exclusive)”

    I can see this movie getting rave reviews in places like New York City and other democrat strongholds but not in Peoria. What it will do is absolutely boost support for Trump next year as the rest of the country sees how the so-called “liberal elites” (wealthy people featured in trailer) featured and how they want to treat average Americans. Found the trailer for this film and I could not be bothered watching it if it was free to play on TV with only re-runs of Doctor Phil on all the other channels-


    1. richard

      It sounds a bit like the concept to Fortnight (i think) except instead of being dropped off on an island with a group and killing each other, you’re being dropped off and hunted by self-righteous liberals.

  23. VietnamVet

    The 2020 election will be the last “horse race” election with big payoffs to corporate media. If the Biden/Harris ticket slips across the finish line first, it will start America’s dismemberment much like England’s Halloween hard Brexit’s inevitable divorce from Scotland. Last night Judy Woodruff interviewed NC’s “bottom feeder” Tom Steyer. I wasn’t paying attention until he hit out of the park on the first pitch saying “…my basic thesis on what’s going on in the United States is that we have a broken government in Washington, D.C., that corporate cash has bought the democracy, and that the only solution is to push power back to the people, to retake the democracy on behalf of, of, by and for the people.” Tulsi Gabbard “is the leading voice in Congress calling for an end America’s interventionist wars of regime change”. Donald Trump is at war with China, Jeff Bezos and California. There are anti-corporate, anti-war candidates to challenge the war profiteers. This is the last chance for peace and prosperity.

  24. Summer

    RE: “Karl Marx Is Useful for Our Time, Not Just His” (interview) [David Harvey, Jacobin]
    “I think we should be a creative left that embraces AI, automation, and the whole idea of completely new job and employment structures — pushing far ahead of where capital is at in that regard.”

    An entire statement that means nothing about the challenges to be faced unless it is thoroughly discussed. Exactly where is “capital” at in that regard?

    The current organization of capital is around finance and financial products. Loans, mortgages, all kinds of insurance and rents…none of which “AI” will need. That is the most interesting thing about this future being rushed toward and people should wonder what the plans are…

    It’s not going to be a nice negotiation. It will be a power confrontation.

    1. Carey

      Yes, I noticed that quote early in the D Harvey piece, and stopped
      reading at that point.

      Why not talk about what’s much more important,
      which is *who*, or what power-centers, will control the mentioned
      technologies? Hint: they will be centralizing; hence, not people-oriented. Same huge issue with nuclear power, setting aside its
      other huge problems.

      Also, when the interviewer used the word “positionality” I gagged.
      This is part of why the left loses. Almost like there’s an invisible

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        A pity you stopped reading because (as a non-Marxist Burkean fellow traveler and believer in a durable social contract), I thought Comrade Harvey had some extremely useful things to say about the future of the global Left:

        In the 1980s–90s there was a lot of deindustrialization in the West, much of it due to technological change, and the Left tried to defend against this in order to protect traditional working-class populations. But it lost that battle, losing a lot of credibility in the process.

        Now we are seeing artificial intelligence is going to do the same thing to services as automation did to manufacturing. The Left is in danger of protecting something that is going to disappear for technological reasons. And the classical working class no longer exists in many countries.

        So anti-capitalist politics must not simply focus on the workplace, but on the conditions of everyday life, of housing, of social provision, of concern for the environment, of cultural change and cultural transformation.

        [Recent major movements worldwide] are in cities and mainly focused on the deteriorating quality of everyday life. Tenants’ movements are beginning a real political push. With social housing, people had non-market residential rights — the right to a home, without having the right to buy and sell it. 

        If you look at Blackstone’s place in the housing market, it controls too much of the mass. A lot of people talk about the rate of profit, but it’s control of the mass of profit that really decides who the important players in the capitalist system are.

        I would like to see much more power devolved from central government to the municipalities. We have quite a few radical municipal administrations in the United States. For instance, there’s Seattle; Los Angeles is also quite progressive; and there’s also a progressive wing in New York City. In Barcelona, too, you have the regional government at odds with the city government.

        Fascinating parallels in that last bit between Harvey’s notes and Trump’s pronounced interest in county level governments, as lately chronicled in these fine pages. Yet again, the Pop Right steals a march on the Pop Left?

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          I don’t think so. Trump or no Trump, the Repub neoliberal playbook is to use control of state government to take away local decision-making power through pre-emption laws.

          Harvey’s suggestion ignores how political power works. If devolving power from the central government to municipalities would lead to more progressive or even left governance, you can be it won’t happen. It’s like abolishing the Senate or the popular vote compact.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Oh yes, the ultimate goals are very different. But remember, Soviets were very local organizing units. All politics iz local.

            Elevating Sanders in 2020, possibly amidst a renewed global meltdown and collapse of the “Everything Bubble” does not automatically call into being the muscular centralized New Deal government we may dream of.

            To build a durable structure, and not have it coopted into a Caesarist xyz-industrial complex, there must be a cadre with frontline administrative experience in the area of human needs. Where will this cadre be found? Trade unions? Academia? The existing Deep State/Swamp?

            It isn’t the entire answer, sure. But localities matter, a lot.

  25. Fern

    When asked why she had become a Democratic in 1996, Warren says:

    “I was with the GOP for a while because I really thought that it was a party that was principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets. And I feel like the GOP party just left that. They moved to a party that said, “No, it’s not about a level playing field. It’s now about a field that’s gotten tilted.” And they really stood up for the big financial institutions when the big financial institutions are just hammering middle class American families. I just feel like that’s a party that moved way, way away.”

    So apparently Warren is still fine with the pre-1990’s Republicans.

    And in her big foreign policy speech at American University, Warren said:

    “There’s a story we tell as Americans, about how we built an international order – one based on democracy, human rights, and improving economic standards of living for everyone. It wasn’t perfect – we weren’t perfect – but our foreign policy benefited a lot of people around the world.
    It’s a good story, with long roots. But in recent decades, something changed.
    Beginning in the 1980’s, Washington’s focus shifted from policies that benefit everyone to policies that benefit a handful of elites, both here at home and around the world.”

    So Warren is still happy with U.S. foreign policy as it was conducted prior to the 1980’s. Which I find shocking.

    Warren hasn’t repudiated her past. She wants to return to what, in her odd view, was the “good old days” of the Republican party. She’s said it quite clearly.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      She’s not talking to you though, she’s talking ‘past the sale’ to those fondly dreamed of suburban Republicans she’ll need to pry away from Trump in the general election.

      I suspect her staff got the message that (almost) nobody wants 4 years of a humorless school marm scolding them that their country, civilization and economic system is EvilEvilEvil. So this is how she’s tacking back to the center. (Also, stoking IdPol fires isn’t a big winner for the blonde Cherokee)

      Morning in America, hopey changey + PLANZ. That’s the ticket!

    1. Hopelb

      Thanks Carey! Most insightful, and coldly calculated. Are there emails linking Monsanto to to Non-healthcare I wonder? Monsanto engenders/seeds a lot of their profits.

  26. cm

    I’m not sure what is going on here, but I believe this may be fraud. I donated to Sanders, Gravel & Gabbard. I just recieved an e-mail supposedly from Gravel where he endorses Gabbard, and asks for money. I am under the impression Gravel endorsed Sanders.

    I believe this is a fraudulent e-mail from someone other than Gravel. The e-mail originated from ngpvan.com

    If you see this, please be cautious.

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