Links 8/24/19

After using tools, crows behave more optimistically, study suggests

Mark Carney calls for global monetary system to replace the dollar FT

How Uber Got Lost NYT. Deck: “The once-swaggering company is losing more money and growing more slowly than ever. What happened?” Lol. See Hubert Horan at NC here (2016), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (2019). Series title: “Can Uber Ever Deliver?” Another victory for Betteridge’s Law.

Department stores make room for used fashion Associated Press. The economy is fine.


Amazon fires: Brazil sends army to help tackle blazes BBC

They’re not wrong:


GOP Lobbyists Helping U.S. Companies Exploit the Amazon The Intercept

11 Questions Congress is asking the DOJ about Lava Jato Brasil Wire


Do Americans Want War With Iran? Gallup. No.


What’s Happening in Kashmir? Our Cameras Contradict India’s Official Story (video) NYT

Kashmiris Won’t Stay Silent Forever Foreign Policy

Red Flags in the Forest New Left Review

The Koreas

ROK Navy To Get Aircraft Carrier, Arsenal Ship As Part Of Ambitious 5-Year Defense Plan Naval News

The Silence of August 38 North

The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance Council on Foreign Relations


MTR closes much of Kwun Tong Line for protest RTHK. The next protest, not the human chain.

Demonstrators offer sparkling visions of unity as an estimated 210,000 people form 60km of human chains to encircle city in ‘Hong Kong Way’ South China Morning Post

Hong Kong Human Chain (1). Thread:


Hong Kong Human Chain (2). Thread:


How Hong Kong’s Leaderless Protest Army Gets Things Done Bloomberg

UK Hong Kong consulate worker Simon Cheng freed after detention in mainland China Telegraph

* * *
Empty trains on the modern Silk Road: when Belt and Road interests don’t align Panda Paw Dragon Claw (DK). Sounds a lot like the houses with styrofoam pediments that preceded our Crash.

Trump Transition

Donald Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods after stocks tumble FT

Trump calls on UPS, FedEx and Amazon to ‘search for & refuse’ fentanyl deliveries from China CNBC and China accuses US of using fentanyl as a political weapon as Donald Trump orders shipping firms to step up checks South China Morning Post. Should play well in flyover, it is true. But then it ought to.

I dumped Donald Trump to save the liberal world order Anthony Scaramucci, FT. This guy’s bread falls butter side up. And he knows it.

Trump’s banks won’t tell court if they have his tax returns CNN (SlayTheSmaugs)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg treated for tumor on pancreas Los Angeles Times

It’s Not So Absurd To Want Greenland GZero

Costs to mail ballots may skyrocket for civilians, military living overseas The Fulcrum


The Very Real Possibility of President Elizabeth Warren Rolling Stone. “The Democrats won’t win the general election on the off chance that thousands of voters will mistake one elderly white man for the other.” Clearly, Sanders, Biden, and Trump are more alike than different.

Senior Biden Adviser Says Climate Debate Would Be ‘Dangerous Territory’ as DNC Capitulates Paste

Exclusive: In a Devastated Town, Bernie Sanders Explains His Plan for a Climate Change Revolution Mother Jones. I don’t know what’s gotten into Mother Jones; this actually puts Sanders in a good light.

Trump Clarification Syndrome David Remnick, The New Yorker. “But, as perilous and unnerving as things are, any form of political despair at such a moment remains unforgivable. Despair is a form of self-indulgence, a dodge.” Far be it from me to criticize Remnick’s tenure at the once-great New Yorker. But I would remind him that there are actual, non-brunch-related deaths of despair out in flyover, a topic that he, and his readership, have seemed, and seem remarkably blasé about. Even accepting of.


Not only useful in the context of current discussions at Jackson Hole on monetary vs. fiscal policy, a master class in threading. Grab a cup of coffee, it’s in plain English:


Health Care

The Latest Installment In The Saga Of The Medicaid Equal Access Guarantee Health Affairs. Important.

What I Saw on Rounds Made Me Sick MedPage Today. On EHRs, also important.

Our Famously Free Press

The Adults In The Room Deadspin. Private equity ghouls gnawing at the bones of Gawker.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Psychologist approved Jeffrey Epstein’s removal from suicide watch Reuters

Jeffrey Epstein, My Very, Very Sick Pal (interview) Mother Jones. (On the interviewee.)

Imperial Collapse Watch

href=””>Empire of Ignorance, Ignorance of Empire Fellow Travellers

How To Delegitimize A Nation Rod Dreher, The American Conservative. A cri de coeur on the 1619 project. Wait until conservatives finally figure out that woke liberals and the left are not the same; conservatives will get woke so fast the hounds won’t catch ’em. For my part, I’m always glad to see the history put out there, but I’m leery of the uses to which it will be put; one can’t help noticing that liberal Democrats started a new moral panic about “white supremacy”/”white nationalism” only after the RussiaGate narrative turned out to be a damp squib, in its own terms and with the electorate. Also, capitalism?

Class Warfare

Stakeholder Capitalism Will Fail If It’s Just Talk Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

R.I.P. David Koch

David Koch’s reclusive nephew is next in line to inherit the family legacy, and he may be planning a shift away from conservative politics Business Insider (Re Silc). Chase Koch. What’s his middle name? Manhattan?

How Wavering Democrats Bought Into Kochs’ Free Trade Scheme Truthdig

No surprises here: Iowa’s factory farms are causing a water crisis Bleeding Heartland

Why I went underground and how I am enjoying my subterranean life Cassandra Legacy. Won’t be easy if your house is built on a slab.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. xformbykr

      the link in the line above,

      — Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton) August 23, 2019

      took me to the twitter thread, which has a lot of stuff, probably a cup of coffee’s

    1. Drake

      Well, technically it’s ‘cœur’ (4 letters), but as far as I can determine ‘cri de couer’ is purely an Anglicism that is always spelled that way. Is this phrase ever used in French?

      And I think ‘de’ instead of ‘du’ is another anglicism. Interesting phrase…

      1. richard

        And to comment on the dreher article: I appereciated Lambert’s take conservatives about distinguishing the left from the idpol woke. Establishment conservatives truly suck at that; they appear to be genuinely stupid about the existence of a real, class-based left movement in the u.s. Partly self-serving bias of course, but also a bubble of truly historic proportions

      2. Bugs Bunny

        Yeah, the correct phrase uses “du”. It’s used frequently and is the title of a Piaf song…doesn’t get much more French than that, doc.

        1. Drake

          Ah, cool. And it looks like the correct name of the Piaf song is ‘Le cri du cœur’, pointing out yet another error in the usual Anglicized phrase, a noun without an article, though I imagine an English one usually takes its place in common usage.

          Three different errors in three words, impressive for whoever introduced the phrase to English, presumably in an attempt to sound cultured, intelligent, and multilingual. Though I can easily top that in Polish. Not to brag, but I can easily do three different errors in one Polish word.

  1. Steve H.

    > Why I went underground and how I am enjoying my subterranean life

    Ventilation is the primary issue.

    Aspects include: Radon. Excreted moisture from life, leading to discomfort and mold. Excreted toxins from stuff.

    However, fans are the most effective use of electric power. [Discuss!] Uses include direct body cooling by convection, air clearance within structure (best with a heat exchanger), and driving thermal batteries. Tubes underground for cooling, and within composting organics for heating, allow thermal control within above-ground structures (pleez hi insulation & thermal mass).

    Via observation (including secondary from Pietro Laureano), underground works best in more arid environments. Even so, the inventor of Monolithic Domes blames himself for his wife being in a wheelchair, due to a tight structure and foam insulation outgassing (see Bhopal).

    : The $50 and Up Underground House Book
    : The Water Atlas [Laureano]
    : Permaculturist Keith Johnson was documenting his thermal battery greenhouse, now I can’t find.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Venting and ventilation is key – the simplest ways are well designed air bleeds and passive vent stacks.

      Another hazard of course is floods. A lot of traditional basements only have one exit, not a good idea in a night time flood – a few years ago in my city a woman drowned in her basement bed at night during an unexpected flooding event.

    2. bwilli123

      Do you have a link for more information on Monolithic Dome outgassing? Was this during construction? And what is “tight structure” ? Thanks

        1. bwilli123

          I suppose it a more casual abbreviation of the former common usage of “thanking you in anticipation”

        2. a different chris

          That link is the biggest load of BS I have *ever* seen. Sigh, maybe it’s regional but I’ve been saying, hearing, reading and writing “thanks in advance” from way before the days of email.

          What is the problem? And yeah, we all, here in Normalsville anyway, also say “thanks” when the request (if granted) is completed. It ain’t much effort.

          And this is hilariously oblivious to what they have actually told you to do:

          > It may seem like a small thing but well-said gratitude goes a long way.

          Yeah, don’t say thanks when somebody gives you their time and attention to at least listen to your needs, whether they decide to satisfy it or not. Nope, just stare at them I guess. However, do “thank” them like you would a well trained Labrador Retriever when the object you asked for is delivered. Not entire sure why she says to say thanks though, “good boy” or “good girl” seems more appropriate. Maybe followed with a treat?


      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “tight” means all the little cracks are sealed…as in “air tight”.
        the outgassing mentioned is from the styrofoam insulation(like the tyvek sheeting used so ubiquitously)
        lots of modern materials outgas nasty stuff…carpet, treated lumber, plywood in general. and radon comes up through the floor, and can be trapped inside the house if it’s too tight. I allowed my natural inability to make things perfectly square to prevail for this reason*, as well as for CO ventilation since we heat with wood(each woodstove has a wireclogged 1″ hole in the floor underneath it, so the CO, if present, can get out(heavier than air))

        *(we live in radon country, although its primarily in the water. one would have to leave a sinkfull overnight for 60 years for it to have any effect)

        1. dearieme

          the CO, if present, can get out(heavier than air)

          Nope: same molecular weight as nitrogen and therefore slightly lighter than air (at the same T and P).

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            wow. when did they kill that as a myth?
            i looked it up, and you’re right…a little lighter, but almost equal, in fact. so it mixes throughout the air column.
            regardless, we leave the (minor)leaks and drafts…and 2 of the 3 woodstoves are new(Norweigian) and incredibly efficient(no charcoal left over, only fine ash). the third, older one is slated to be replaced come tax return, and only gets lit with extreme and prolonged cold.

      2. Steve H.

        “Tight structure” was noted positively in the linked article. It means there is a well-sealed building, with little leaking of heat in or out. However, this generally means little gas exchange, which means poorly ventilated.

        I took a week-long workshop on building monolithic domes right at the time Katrina was hitting New Orleans. The part about outgassing was a private communication. The domes use polyurethane foam insulation, which is manufactured with methyl isocyanate. It was after construction, while he was often away, and she was there all the time. They began building the domes around 1970, before very tight structures were well-understood. Live and learn.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Friends have a house that’s an interesting compromise; it’s called a “yurt” because of the structural principle, but it’s really more of a barrel (two barrels and a connector). It’s composed of vertical slabs three or four feet wide, mated at an angle so they make a circle and held together by a series of cables around the outside. With a conical roof and a skylight at the center, the feel is very like a dome, but the segments of wall are straight. The structure was prefabbed and assembled on site; I assume the connector was built on site, too. I don’t know whether the business that prefabricated it is still operating – could ask them, I suppose.

      1. Synoia

        Yes, we had a non air conditioned house in Nigeria, inches above seal level and 5 deg north of the equator.

        The house faced north, 2 levels.
        Concrete construction, with terrazzo floors, ground and first floor
        The were no windows on the East side, on in a “bo” on the west side.
        It had most of the wall space as sliding doors, front and back.
        It had a two story veranda with overhangs on the B & S sides.
        Upstairs was fully bug screened.
        Windows opened to allow through breezes.
        Massive porch on S side with living room access, as living space.

        Full complement of Geckos and other bug eating insects as co-residents, on the ground floor.
        Ground floor raided 2′ above ground level, to keep out the snakes.
        German Shepherd to keep out burglars.
        Swamp at the bottom of the Back Yard.
        Huge array of infectious diseases.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i really wanted to do underground with this house. second choice would have been a monolithic dome(not tight, i like passive airflow…even considered an Oculus, like in the Parthenon). third choice was rock(medieval round tower).
      went with treated lumber, post and beam, due to cost of material, weight of material, lack of labor affordability and my own decrepit, arthritic body.

      underground, the main thing is structural integrity. dirt is heavy!…and much, much heavier when it’s even just damp, let alone wet.
      I’ve seen examples of underground that were relatively cheap…a giant corrugated culvert, with welded ends and a hatch on top…with some kind of asphalt looking coating.
      (ground induction promotes corrosion, apparently-Earth is a giant battery/Leyden Jar)
      if i had had a tractor with a front end loader, I could have done that.
      might still, if i inherit any money.
      if i found one of those giant culverts tomorrow(on the side of the road, perhaps), I’d install it vertically on the north end of the house with a cutaway…for an Iranian Cooling Tower….drawing cooler air through the house.(the big middle room already does this adequately, save when it’s above 102.)

    4. BobW

      I commented here before on my childhood home having a huge attic fan. Opening downstairs windows slightly, and turning the fan on, would make the curtains move way out from the walls. And yes, induction fan motors use very little electric current. That only leaves the problem of humidity. I am currently using a room dehumidifier, because of COPD from decades of smoking one thing or another, and it makes a noticible difference in ease of breathing.

    5. Ignacio

      Double tube ventilation systems with a heat exchanger recover as much as 90% of heat although they consume some energy in ventilation pumps.

    6. lordkoos

      I’ve seen photos of half-buried shipping containers (two joined together) as dwellings, that looked pretty livable. Not completely underground, but some of the benefits.

    7. Oregoncharles

      Underground is not an option here, because, if waterproof, it would float right out of the ground in the winter, when the water table regularly comes above ground. It’s clay soil with a hardpan underneath, so drainage is slow. I sometimes go out and make little swales to encourage drainage from the orchard area.

      Consequently, our house IS on a slab, a bit too close to grade. The main floor is only 2″ above the 100 yr. flood level – which is a bit speculative, here.

      Other houses in the neighborhood have just a crawlspace, which, yes, can fill with water. Next door neighbors have a sump pump in theirs, which keeps busy in the winter.

      There are advantages: we’re on rural land outside the city limits (because of the floods) but inside the city; we can walk into town or to the university. And so far, the house hasn’t been flooded.

      And the slab serves as a heat sink; if we manage the windows right, it rarely gets hot in the house – not that we have very much truly hot weather. Heating is more of an issue. It’s old enough that “too tight” is not a concern.

      The point being, it matters a lot just where you are.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      calm before the storm. The Empire is long overdue for starting a new front in the Forever War. Syria has been ongoing for years and the Venezuela coup with the imaginary president would be comical if people’s lives weren’t being ruined by it. Saw a poll that support for Iran War is under 20%.

      War Fatigue is real, despite The Oligarchy’s best efforts. Eventually the poors don’t want to do your killing for you.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    ROK Navy To Get Aircraft Carrier, Arsenal Ship As Part Of Ambitious 5-Year Defense Plan Naval News

    A countries defence investments can say a lot about how they see the next few decades in their region.

    According to the MND, the new plan is need to counter the threat posed by North Korea, strengthen South Korean forces around the Korean Peninsula and gain new critical military capabilities.
    Those capabilities will be achieved via new programs:
    Non-kinetic strike weapons (EMP)
    Counter-stealth radar
    Aircraft carrier (amphibious ship capable of deploying F-35B)
    Arsenal ship armed with dozens of land attack missiles

    North Korea of course has no stealth technology and no real navy to think of. North Korea is also well within range of a multitude of South Korean missiles, they don’t need sea based arsenal ships. South Korea certainly thinks it will be potentially fighting someone else – someone with stealth aircraft and with military bases out of range of South Korean bases. One can but wonder…

    1. The Rev Kev

      I am sure I have no idea what you are talking about. Well, except for this bit that is-

      “In 2018 Japan announced it would return to aircraft carrier operations for the first time since World War II by converting its 27,000-ton “helicopter destroyers” Izumo and Kaga to operate up to ten F-35Bs each. The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force plans to order forty-two F-35Bs. The Izumos are having their decks reinforced, and should be operational with F-35Bs by 2023.”

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          until the next Midway that absolutely wrecks them, anyway, which will probably happen somewhere between Seoul and Shanghai…

      1. carycat

        f-35 vs f-35? what if they have a war and neither side’s planes couldn’t get out of their hangers. them LM lobbyist must be real busy handing out cookies

    2. David

      The Korean naval buildup has been going on since the early 1990s, when the first KDX series of destroyers was ordered. Some form of power projection capability was envisaged from the start, and the Koreans have been conducting blue water operations for well over a decade, including deploying task groups as far as Australia. This is their way if demonstrating they are a serious naval power.
      As far as I can make out (and one of the tweets is in Japanese, not Hangul, for some reason) the ship is closer to (though larger than) the French Mistral class and the British Invincible class, than to the US monster carriers. It looks like a power projection vessel, able to carry helicopters and troops, and launch VTOL aircraft from its deck. ´Aircraft carrier’ is maybe pushing it a bit.

    3. Synoia

      Aircraft Carrier:

      Nice target you’ve got there. Pity if anything happened to it.

      To whose ego is the Aircraft Carrier to be a monument? Or is this the first an a series of Aircraft Carrier knock off by the Koreans?

      If the does not copy the USS Gerald R Ford (Broken by design), it could attract many customers, including the US Navy, and become a winning line of products – working warships.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      Naval strategy is built strategy. seeing what the navies of the powerful countries are doing is one of the best views into what they think the conflicts of the coming 10-15 years will look like.

      When Pearl Harbor was bombed, there were over a dozen US battleships already under construction. Destroyers and small craft can be pumped out like sausages; cruisers, carriers, and submarines are investments and often become obsolete before we even try them out. Our carriers are floating coffins waiting to happen when next we pick a fight with a country that has an air force worth a damn. 5500 people apiece on those floating cities, and they’re all doomed if they go in the South China Sea and China decides to show off their hypersonic anti-ship missiles, which have been known about for years.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Red Flags in the Forest New Left Review

    Thanks for this, its absolutely fascinating – I’ve long been interested in the Naxilites and their incredible longevity in the face of military might. Its very hard to find any relatively ‘neutral’ information on them. This is a great read.

  4. Off The Street

    1619: I share your leeriness about the uses to which that NYT initiative will be put. While I welcome greater historical awareness, I also wonder how people feel about being used for someone else’s agenda, which group may be next, and whether the stories produced by The Gray Lady will be objective and credible instead of somewhat pandering to the brunchers. That gray has been smudged quite a bit.

    1. polecat

      That gray of which you speakith is the rot of a cadaverous institution.

      Tis only fit for maggots !

  5. Carolinian

    Interesting Dreher/TAC discussion of the “1619 project” and wokeness. To some of us this sally by the NYT is simply more evidence that moral theories of history are bunk. Dreher, coming from a religious perspective, probably wouldn’t go that far. But he is undoubtedly correct that this latest attempt of the privileged to justify their status by feeling guilty about it is an intellectually diversion that seeks to blame the country’s problems on those who don’t feel guilty. Which is to say it’s not the predatory behavior that matters but whether you feel guilty.

    Perhaps the strongest evidence that Dreher is right comes from the fact that the country did turn its back on racism by electing a black president who then betrayed his race by protecting all those white predators. In truth it is the content of your character that matters rather than the color of your skin. MLK may not have been woke.

    1. Musicismath

      That Dreher piece is thoroughly hobbled by its anti-communism and inability to distinguish liberals from the left, culminating in this pretty fundamental misreading of the situation:

      What is the vision that woke progressives want to achieve for America? Will we not fully expiate the sin of slavery until we have universal health care, ubiquitous public transportation, no Republican Party, and … what?

      LOL. It would be great if the “woke agenda” really were socialist, and really did want to bring in these universal concrete benefits. In my experience, the people Dreher caricatures are actually against universal forms of social provision like Medicare for All or free college. They don’t like these things because a universal system potentially allocates goods to their cultural and political enemies. In 2016, I saw over and over again on Twitter the objection to free college on the grounds that such a policy would apply to Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric, and we couldn’t have that, now, could we?

      The awokening certainly has a strong religious element to it (Dreher and co aren’t wrong there) but the specific form of religion involved is a kind of secularised Puritanism as refracted through the prism of liberal individualism. This is all about the individual moral journey and the ability to rise higher in a hierarchy with respect to others. It certainly isn’t about looking out for other people, except to the extent where performative “concern” or “care” for the marginalised can be leveraged to confer moral capital. In other words, this is your straightforward “I do a lot of work for charity and am a Good Person, so fall in line please” classical Liberalism.

      1. sleepy

        In 2016, I saw over and over again on Twitter the objection to free college on the grounds that such a policy would apply to Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric, and we couldn’t have that, now, could we?

        Ask those people if they want to abolish free public K-12 since the rich benefit from that as well.

        1. Musicismath

          I know. It’s crazy. The “argument” falls apart once you give it the slightest thought. But what Twitter does is bypass thought completely and replace it with partisan sloganeering. That’s why it’s so dangerous.

        2. newcatty

          Those people are adept at rationalizing hypocrisy and contradictory views on political and social policies. Though they can admit that the rich benefit from k-12 free public education; they draw a line between that public benefit and higher education. College has always been seen as a way to individual avenue to the middle and/or upper classes. Free college would be giving access to the plebs and serfs to advance their statuses. A way that is an obvious tell for that argument is that the elites have quietly undermined public K- 12 free education. At the beginning, when public education is paid for by property taxes; the elite just were able to live in elite areas of their cities and towns. Compare a public school in an elite area and neighborhood to a public school in almost any lower middle or lower economic class area and the difference is glaring. Not just the physical infrastructure, but every aspect of those schools. As the populations grew and plebs and serfs started to infiltrate the elite areas( a good example is that more of those people were moving into the growing apartment and investor buys of foreclosed or turn over houses used as rental extraction) as they could have their children attend the elites public schools… Now living in district. The outrage! That is a good reason for charter schools and for “school voucher” policies in states. Take money that should be going to improve public schools and purposely direct it to charter and private schools. The charter schools and private schools all have their own identities. There are charter schools who can only accept their own criteria for acceptance. The private schools already can do this, of course. We must destroy public education to save it.

          1. Rod

            Nice and tight synopsis of what is a major driver of the Charter Movement, imo.

            Compare a public school in an elite area and neighborhood to a public school in almost any lower middle or lower economic class area and the difference is glaring.

            In SC, this was seen as the solution to equalizing public k-12:

            How public school operating budgets are funded in S.C …


            and this is how it is playing out:


            My county in the upstate gets about 1,700.$$ less per student from the State than the Stae says it should be funding our county.

            And then there is class size…

      2. Carolinian

        There is a question mark–two of them actually–in that quote you pulled. I think what he is saying is that woke-ness is being used as a club to gain power, while what that power is used for remains in question. It may be little more than the power to gain high office, as we saw with Obama.

        1. Musicismath

          I fully endorse your scepticism about how the “woke” will use this power, if they get it. But I still think there’s a misapprehension in Dreher’s piece about what the woke policy platform actually consists of. To my mind, it’s a politics of pure moralising, and as Wendy Brown and others point out, the enthusiasts of moralising politics aren’t invested in concrete solutions. Instead, they want the injustices—the problems they claim to be fighting—to go on for ever; to ultimately be insoluble. Hence the deliberate tilting at giant, intractable windmills like racism and whiteness. You aren’t ever going to prevail against targets that big. The hustle instead is to be seen appearing to take them on and moralising against them with your best speeches and your best rhetoric.

          There’s actually a rather interesting parallel here with the evangelical right and their cynical use of abortion to manipulate a constituency. I kind of wish Dreher would write about that.

          1. pjay

            I was confused by these comments before I read the article. I apparently have a completely different definition of “wokeness” that the one used here (“leftist” identity politics). Part of my definition includes awareness of how the PTB use identity politics to divide and manipulate us.

            So… nice “woke” comments everyone.

            1. John

              “…the PTB use identity politics to divide and manipulate us.”

              PTB? I could not find a meaning that made sense in context.Is this a social media thing?

              1. pjay

                Sorry. The “Powers That Be.” Sometimes TPTB. I’m one of the least social media savvy people I know, so no, not in my case.

          2. richard

            Hence the deliberate tilting at giant, intractable windmills like racism and whiteness. You aren’t ever going to prevail against targets that big. The hustle instead is to be seen appearing to take them on and moralising against them with your best speeches and you best rhetoric.

            a fine distillation of idpol as a deliberate strategy
            which it is
            but we must also see how dreher pokes at it because culture is all the right has too
            this whole stupid game
            the “traditional/white nationalist” right and their idpol left dance partners
            (and I’m not saying racism and white supremacy and the settler nation are a game, they’re as real as cancer, but this msm “conversation” is certainly is a set up)
            dance around, yell and shake fists, and one thing is guaranteed
            nobody’s material condition will change one bit.

        2. Jeff W

          “I think what he is saying is that woke-ness is being used as a club to gain power…”

          Yes, I think so, too. Dreher says, for example

          There are a lot of ideological assumptions baked into this [excerpt from an article defending ethnic studies in the classroom], but the most important one is that these classes are about “societal transformation.”

          if a majority in the US accept the ideological claim that the American founding is illegitimate because of slavery, then they will affirm the destruction of the institutions and (secular) creeds that bind us as a nation, and their replacement with something else.

          Now, a moment’s reflection would suffice to show that conservatives, who, in theory, want to, well, conserve things, don’t have much problem “affirming the destruction” of institutions, either—Social Security, the post office, voting rights, birthright citizenship spring to mind but there are countless others—but I’m struck by the claim that, if the US’s founding is delegitimated by slavery, that that somehow facilitates the smuggling in of universal health care, ubiquitous public transportation and who knows what other horrors—it’s that age-old conservative claim that once the “fabric of society” (ugh) is rent, the whole thing unravels like a cheap sweater. It’s one part panic, one part fear-mongering, maybe two parts disingenuousness.

          There is one way in which Dreher seems right but not in the terms he gives or might care to admit to. If, as Corey Robin says, conservatism is

          a meditation on, and theoretical rendition of, the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back…Conservatism is the theoretical voice of this animus against the agency of the subordinate classes.

          then maybe Dreher’s fears are, for him, justified. To the extent that the 1619 Project plays some role in ameliorating the lack of “agency of the subordinate classes,” maybe it’s a good thing that conservatives like Dreher feel threatened.

      3. Plenue

        Why do I get the feeling Dreher isn’t arguing in good faith and wouldn’t be happy with any possible version of a project to closely examine slavery in the history of the US? There are valid points in there about the cynical performative nature of the NYT project, but beating up on liberal idpol isn’t particularly difficult.

        By definition any exploration of the prevalence and importance of American slavery ‘delegitimizes’ the nation. Maybe the US just wasn’t (dare I say still isn’t?) a particularly nice or moral place? We’ve been in the middle of just such an exploration for years, incidentally. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism and The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry are particvlarly ugly pieces of work (I mean the truth they reveal is ugly, not the books themselves).

        1. Jeff W

          Why do I get the feeling Dreher isn’t arguing in good faith and wouldn’t be happy with any possible version of a project to closely examine slavery in the history of the US?

          Because (as I mention differently in the comment above), as Corey Robin says, what unites conservatives across time is “pretty clearly a desire to resist the liberation of marginal or powerless people.” Any fair examination of slavery runs counter to that desire.

          Dreher can say that

          …the realities of slavery have not been taken as seriously as they should have been in our history, and that it is right to educate ourselves and future generations about slavery, and about the historical experience of Americans of African descent.

          —and he can mean it, too—but his chatter about the “destruction of the institutions and (secular) creeds” means, to me, that he doesn’t want the essential hierarchy to change—that scary “societal transformation.” He might agree that we’re right to be educated on “the realities of slavery” but not on its implications involving the disruption and overthrow of hierarchy.

          1. marym

            Preservation of the hierarchy seems to be the concern behind this:

            In conservative intellectual circles, there is now a serious critical reassessment of liberal democracy and its ideals.

            and the fearful picture he paints of the democratic suggestion that the purpose of our institutions should be to serve all of us.

      4. Oregoncharles

        ” inability to distinguish liberals from the left,”
        has a deeply familiar ring to it. It sounds just like the New Left of the 60s, which was contemptuous of liberals. The reason was simple: liberals represented the status quo of the time, AND they were responsible for the Vietnam War and the rest of the US empire. And that was a much more economic version of “liberal,” essentially the New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society. Johnson took the main steps to end segregation, but tarred his legacy with the Vietnam War.

        Identity politics arguably started with the Civil Rights movement – other liberation movements, both women and LGBTQ (I can never remember all of the initials), were modeled on and inspired by it. But it went hand in hand with “material benefits” we would rather not give up, like Social Security and Medicare. The material benefits seem to have gone astray, hence Lambert’s contempt. I don’t know quite what to make of the deep echo of the 60s.

    2. sleepy

      A couple other essays: Jeneen Interlandi writes that the reason the US doesn’t have universal health care is … slavery. Seriously. What other conclusion can one draw from this other than that the only reason people opposed universal health care is racism?

      I disagree somewhat with this statement. I have always thought that one factor among others as to why the US does not have a well-developed social welfare system is the fact that the white majority felt that it would be taken advantage of by racial minorities.

      I would add that my white mother grew up relatively poor in the south. They were sharecroppers as were a substantial number of rural whites. Anytime they might complain about something, they were always told, “at least you’re not a n*****.” Self interest, as with the welfare system, always took a back seat to race.

      1. Carolinian

        I grew up in the South too and believe me it’s a different world than it was then. The majority of the students in my city’s just opened, half a billion dollar high school are probably black. The principal is also black. The identitarians are in many cases using race to distract from the real battle of our time which is about inequality and class. King himself had started to move on the economic front. Then he was shot.

        Of course the Republicans don’t want to talk about inequality either and you are right that Dreher is coming from that side of the fence. But I think his main point is valid. Identity politics rules in the Dem party because they don’t want to talk about other things. In the debates so far foreign policy has barely rated a mention.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      These people joyfully award themselves with badges of merit over the public displays of guilt in which they so delightedly indulge.

      They are gathering the wages of Wokeness.

  6. Clive

    There’s something distinctly phony about “the Amazon is on fire” and the way it’s being made (and ‘made’ is the word I intentionally used there, although who is doing the ‘making’ is complex, as are the motives) to dominate the media-constructed narrative.

    Not, of course, that I think anyone should be setting fire to rainforests.

    I’m getting an increasing sense that we’re all being used as fodder in some elite / plutocrat proxy war. Even “alt” media like blogs, social media, let alone mainstream sources like national broadcast TV networks, are seemingly handed agendas and even entire scripts to parry. Goodness knows how much it’s all costing. Or what the end-game is supposed to be.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You mean it’s a bit like the Kony 2012 campaign? I wondered the same myself-

      I had thought about a comment saying that Bolsonaro had requested essential firefighting equipment from the west which would include white phosphorus munitions, flamethrower fuel, thermite grenades, napalm and Jerry cans of gasoline.

    2. polecat

      Notice the acute environ mental hysteria, where the Amazon is concerned .. but virtual crickets when it’s, say, in Russia’s waybackyard …

      Of course, Their’s is deemed a terminal black lung .. and as such should be excised .. by the West !
      .. after we’ve first sutured Greenland to America’s eastern hip.

        1. Oregoncharles

          When it comes to the Tar Sands, demolishing the forest is only the first step in the devastation.

    3. jef

      Bolsonaro ran on “opening up the Amazon” to big Ag.

      And beef production is only about 5% of exports. Oil seed is top of the list which includes palm oil…you know the stuff that makes Germany so “green”.

      Oil seeds: US$33.5 billion (14% of total exports)
      Mineral fuels including oil: $29.7 billion (12.4%)
      Ores, slag, ash: $23.7 billion (9.9%)
      Machinery including computers: $14.8 billion (6.2%)
      Meat: $13.3 billion (5.5%)
      Vehicles: $12.7 billion (5.3%)
      Iron, steel: $11.8 billion (4.9%)
      Woodpulp: $8.4 billion (3.5%)
      Food industry waste, animal fodder: $7.2 billion (3%)
      Sugar, sugar confectionery: $6.7 billion (2.8%)

      1. jrs

        thanks for some actually useful information my eco-comrade.

        otherwise the comments on this thread like so much else seem to have become increasingly nothing but conspiracy theories. conspiracy theories and cynicism.

        1. Clive

          Hardly a conspiracy theory to point out the significant (20%) energy use in, say, Germany, through lignite burning power plants and the glacial progress to move to green energy there. You never, ever, see this make any headline in any news outlet (except occasionally in Germany itself).

          Why doesn’t rich, apparently environmentally concerned Germany move to abundant alternatives such as wind and solar? Why, moreover, hasn’t it done so, or done so with more urgency, before now?

          If you’re too busy pointing the finger elsewhere, you don’t have to run the risk at having to point it at yourself — or have others steal the news agenda and point it at you. I for one have seen a definite uptick in “oh, look at that awful rabble over there“ stories (where “over there” is some other country than the home market for the media outlet in question) which can’t help but crowd out domestic reporting.

          And, the first world tut-tut’ing at the developing world and saying it can’t have nice things like we enjoy because the environmental cost is too high but all the while having the aforementioned nice things itself along with the high environmental costs isn’t a good look. Why are we talking about the rainforest in Brazil and not our own domestic wrongdoing? Who decided that? And why? Saying “it’s all a big conspiracy theory” doesn’t answer that but it does avoid the questions.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Good point about the rainforest; there’s plenty of it in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), and plenty of it being cut down. To be sure, it’s also a perpetual political issue here – one of the biggest and most intense.

            At this point, the issue is fading a little just because there is so little forest left to cut, and so it’s a smaller factor in the economy. But, like Wukchumni, we spend as much time as we can in the mountains and in the forest, so we’re confronted with clearcuts every time we go up there. Unfortunately, perhaps, a lot of the forests here belong to the Federal Government, so are subject to the vagaries of Washington politics. The State forests aren’t much better; Oregon State (THE other OSU) just ravaged the remaining old growth/ancient forest on its lands, causing a furor and – a good sign – some resignations.

            Even our better politicians tend to be bad on forestry. EG, Peter DeFazio, one of the most populist Oregon politicians, a few years ago signed onto a forest-privatization plan that came, I think, from the slimy Ron Wyden; that seriously ticked off the forest conservationists here. Not much effect, as it turned out, but it cemented an alliance between them and the Pacific Green Party.

            I should add that federal and even state forestry is still much better than private; after the flooding and landslides in 1996, a study showed that most of the slides were on private land.

            Forests are very, very political.

            1. Wukchumni

              Very few Giant Sequoias were logged in what is now Sequoia NP, and little else since it became a NP in 1890. The area around Grant Grove in Kings Canyon where we were for the Dark Sky Festival last night was a different story. Entire groves of giants were cut down circa 1890-1910.

              About a decade ago we were deep in the backcountry @ Little Five Lakes, when members of a NPS fire history team showed up for the night, and we knew a few mutual friends, so the conversation flowed easily, and they were ‘firensic examiners’ who could tell you with a gleam in their eye of the fire that left a big scar in a downed tree that fell 300 years after a wildfire came through in 1656, with much smaller fire scars visible in the cross-cut of other fires that raged until they finally stopped of their own accord, on the growth rings.

              An odd scavenger hunt, in that they were looking for just the right trees laying on the ground, to have been an eyewitness and lived to tell the tall tale of fires fury.

            2. newcatty

              Oregoncharles, I will never forget the first time, many years ago, when my husband and I took our first camping trip as our destination Olympic National Park. We were coming from the desert and the excitement of anticipating being in a rainforest and the seeing the ocean at the same time was magical. It is magical. What was unnerving and saddening was when driving into WA we just suddenly came across a clear cut. At first just speechless, then tears. We carried on to the Park. My husband was born and, for awhile, raised in WA and we still feel close to the PNW.

              1. polecat

                The Indian tribes own a fair amount of land in and around the west end of the peninsula, which they Do log.

                Local Deplorable Economy vs Nature & Sustainability is hard to reconcile.

            1. Rod

              thanks for this link–like most, I just don’t know what I do not know.
              Aside from the facts, also a great example of handling the science dialogue used to address an issue without distraction.

      2. GF

        Is there a list of American firms, other than Giuliani Safety & Security mentioned in the link, who are enabling the destruction of the Amazon rain forest through the land deals described in the Intercept link?

    4. mle in detroit

      And much of this concern is coming from people whose pretty recent ancestors de-forested and de-prairied most of North America. If you can say, as my husband can, “I knew the man who cleared this land,” well, you’d best go out and plant a tree.

    5. scarn

      You aren’t engaging in conspiracy theory. You are asking pertinent questions. Personally, I think the elite in the capitalist centers are being forced to pretend to care about the Amazon because the masses in their own nations care. Social media pressure. Or perhaps Euro agribusiness does not want a deal with Mercosul, and this is a fine excuse to kill that off.

      I first learned about these fires when friends in Sao Paulo told me that their air quality was terrible because of them. They also sent me some facebook posts by “farmers” (the word in this instance refers to the employees of owners of immense latifundia) who were crowing about the day of burning. Telesur also produced some stories highlighting how indigenous protectorates and MST camps seemed to have been targeted. Neither my friends nor Telesur can be considered to be messaging centers for elite colonialist opinion, so I believe that there is something politically different about these fires in particular. Whether this week is “bigger” than ever I cannot say. Big ag owns the Brazilian environmental ministry right now, and I doubt they are holding back.

      As for taking an “anti-colonialist” stance against chauvinist attempts by the global north to dictate environmental policy to Brazil: Brazilian fascists have responses well in hand. When you see Villas Boas quoting Ho Chi Minh, you can be sure that the baddies have internalized the opposition’s rhetoric. The right has take that offGuardian stats article as scripture and is using it all over the internet to prove that the “media is lying” about the Amazon. The truth is that the media is not lying. These fires are man made. The fires are always man made, and they need to stop. And Europe needs to stop using fossil fuels. We must do both things, at the same time. We can do that, by removing neo-liberals and fascists from power everywhere, by any means necessary, as soon as possible.

  7. Off The Street

    Silk Road: That comment about styrofoam pediments reminded me of how so-called structural styrofoam, another entry in the oxymoron dictionary, was used in many commercial buildings, too. When birds peck at it, just slather on some goop and paint over the holes.

  8. willf

    I don’t know what’s gotten into Mother Jones; this actually puts Sanders in a good light.

    IIRC, Mother Jones was bought by Rupert Murdoch, then sold off to The Foundation for National Progress, which is run by the rightwing MacArthur Foundation.

    I can no longer find a link that mentions the sale to Murdoch, but Wikipedia still notes that FNP publishes Mother Jones. It is no longer the same magazine that it was.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The kiss-up-kick-down-left-punching rag that is today’s MJ is a vile insult to the memory of Mary Jones, whose name has been cynically appropriated as a conduit for neoliberal agitprop. Somebody there must be in hot water if the piece is in any way kind to Sanders.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Do Americans Want War With Iran?”

    78% favor reliance on nonmilitary efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program
    42% who favor nonmilitary measures support force if other efforts fail
    65% express concern that the U.S. will be too quick to use military force

    Unsaid by that Gallup poll was the following-

    89% have no clue that Iran does not even have a nuclear weapons program as in, at all.

    That is how polls like this are done. You come out with a statement like “Luxembourg has a nuclear weapons program”. These are your three choices of how to react. Which one do you choose?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Just once, I’d like to see polling results for a question like, “Would you ‘favor’ the U.S. (and israel) abandoning their nuclear weapons programs if Iran (and Russia) agreed that, if that happened, they would abandon theirs?

      If you could get respondents to stop laughing long enough to seriously consider the possibility, of course.

      1. Rod

        Having an imagination will be important an important survival skill in the coming century, imo :)

  10. dearieme

    “The Democrats won’t win the general election on the off chance that thousands of voters will mistake one elderly white man for the other.”

    Yeah, who can tell those round-eyes apart?

  11. Amfortas the hippie

    on the medicaid rule change.
    why is none of this sort of important, life changing(and often life ending) information and discussion in English?
    during my six and a half year slog through the disability process to try to get a hip replacement…which was concurrent with the Obamacare debate…i had ample time to roam around the government interwebs and attempt to discover just why I couldn’t gain access to healthcare.
    this kind of obfuscatory, clouded language made that incredibly difficult.

    and one of the things mentioned in this article stood out for me: “complaints”…as in remedies…or even looking to see if there’s a problem…is driven by complaints. but what if your state makes making complaints hard? in Texas, the 211 number that they tell you to call is always a half-day waste of time…”call this number”…no call that number…nobody’s home…sit on hold while the computer determines if you’re a real person…around and around. then robot hangs up on you and you must start all over.
    it appears to be designed to make you give up.
    and with medicaid, there are 2 corporate creatures who run that program in texas…neither of which answers the phone…and when you do get an answer…and make it through the robot girl to a real person, they don’t know…and give you another number to call…which noone answers.
    after i finally got my hip, i started trying to get an ankle….medicaid provider sent a list of ankle specialists…30 or so in my arbitrary region. Not a single one of them were taking any more medicaid patients.
    so i got on the web and cold called every ankle specialist in Texas(yes, really). none of them took medicaid.
    the reason given(if any) was that medicaid doesn’t pay doctors enough to justify either the care given, or the added staff needed to do the coding and billing and yelling at medicaid about covering this or that and…presumably…sitting on hold listening to Muzak.
    GOP/corpsedem hatred of poor people only goes so far as an explanation for this cruel and stupid non-system.
    My foil itches, and i think, instead, that it’s a deliberate plan to kill us off…and blame Mr Market, and us little people’s inability to navigate the overly complex system.
    whatever. That six and a half years i waited for a hip damaged the rest of me permanently…compensating with back and knees, etc…and just being unable to move around much due to the pain(the existence of which was denied by everyone, from the guy at the gas station to the TV Judges I went before(on 3rd floor, elevators not working))
    it’s stupid and cruel…and in places like Texas, obamacare made little difference outside the prohibition on “preexisting conditions”.

    1. katiebird

      I am so sorry, Amfortas! This is why I am so distressed that Obama didn’t insist on immediately expanding and improving Medicare for all. What did he and his advisors think happens to people when they don’t have health insurance? He could have solved the whole issue forever his first month in office with a trip to the Capitol and some head cracking.

      Instead we got a bunch of backtalk that he couldn’t control The Congress and Senate. Total BS!

      I am really angry that you and so many others had to pay for their greed with your health and comfort.

      1. polecat

        From the get go Obama was thinking of making $BANK !

        But he talked teleprompter smooth-like, whilst wearing a fresh-n-shiny mask …

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        obama by far is the biggest political disappointment of my life.
        he could have been FDR 2.0 and actually deserved a frelling ziggurat.
        all it would have taken was a spine….and an actual Want To.
        talking to the financial person at wife’s oncology clinic…she got up and closed the door and took her phone off the hook(!) so she could rant…in response to my firehose of erudite ranting…about how i don’t even know the half of it, as far as how screwed up and crazy and counterproductive the healthcare system is.
        different prices for different people, and always changing, no less…and the coding!
        we assume that coding is necessary for the functioning of the complex system…but it only adds to the complexity…a thousandfold.
        …and all the while, i remember entering an er in canada, 30+ years ago to have stitches removed…and how utterly simple it was, and how they patiently explained to my befuddled grandad that it was paid for.
        even though we weren’t canadians.
        that so many people seem to defend this insane cruelty is likely the most remarkable thing.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I’d settle for a functional government, at this point.
        But thank you.
        Our village looks like it has it covered.(for all their backwardsness, i love our tiny backwoods small town)
        at least for wife’s travails(Texas gave teachers a $5K raise…so she’ll be booted from medicaid(snort), and we’ll hafta shell out $10K in deductables, etc before insurance kicks in. That’s one and a half months of current treatment/doctor visit/labs)

        as for me…my body is beyond repair…unless they figure out how to replace a skeleton:global arthritis plus what I diagnose as Fibromyalgia(there’s no test, but it fits almost perfectly. My Doc agrees)
        so long as vicodin and weed(and the occasional 12 pack) is available, I’ll muddle through, in my bruxist tenacity.
        Paint Bernie 2020 and New New Deal on your tailgate, and go forth and speak to all and sundry about how it doesn’t have to be this way.
        it’s gonna take a general uprising…along with a collective turning the back on the elite…and making allowances for our individual failures and foibles(within reason…i don’t tolerate public displays of hateful racist behaviour in my presence…courage!)…to overcome the idpol divisions.

    2. Janie

      It’s not just Texas and it predates Obama. I was waiting in ER in Carson City, Nevada’s capitol, in the 80s when a woman came in with a toddler came in and told the clerk that the girl had an earache. Since it was the middle of a weekday, the clerk suggested she call her pediatrician. Tbe mother asked if the clerk could suggest one, as she had not been able to find one who took Medicaid. The clerk was sympathetic and said that, so far as she kmew, no one in the area was taking new Medicaid patients and gave her the sign-in forms. What a wasteful approach!

      The people I meet who complain about the cost of universal care don’t want to hear about how other countries’ systems perform because, you know, they couldn’t possibly be as good as the USA’s. I get better results by pointing out the hidden costs, as above, or the untreated diabetic who ends up in ER and so on.

      Amfortas, you are a perfect example of this. With early treatment, you could have contributed far more to the tax base. Oddly – or not – this gets more agreement from the hard-nosed than any appeal to sympathy.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        my productivity(or lack) is one of the planks i used to beat my local gop people over the head with…they were mostly just parrots…squawking without thinking about it.
        it’s a similar(if less dire) argument to my wife’s rejoinder to her dem teacher friends(“so i should just die because teachers don’t make enough?”)
        the latter argument is, of course, more effective: both because my condition(s) aren’t gonna kill me outright, and because my wife is well loved and not a crazy genius curmudgeon with weird ideas and long jesus hair.
        another argument that had traction was that things like disability and medicaid are Insurance, dammit…that I’ve paid the premiums on for my entire working life.
        and yet I am automatically assumed to be a wannabe criminal fraudster for trying to access these programs…both by the gatekeepers of the programs themselves, as well as by the guy at the gas station who only sees me on days when I’m getting around ok.
        framing these programs that way makes them stop and think.
        and wife is a lot nicer than i am, lol…a few outspoken haters of “socialised medicine” have had to attempt to get disability, and/or medicaid, themselves…and I have been unafraid to point out the disconnect(I try not to be evil in this…but i don’t shrink from reminding them, if they were ugly about it in the past).
        with these folks, “there, but for the grace of god, go I” really hits them where they live…when you make them apply it to this sort of thing.
        “have a bakesale” is not a healthcare plan.
        and it’s obvious to every resident hereabouts that we have an awful lot of bakesales.
        the challenge is 1. getting the individual away from the herd, with all it’s ideological reinforcements…and 2. getting past the triggerwords that send them into regurgitating faux newts talking points.
        so instead of quoting Lenin, I quote Jesus, or James or the Social Gospel of early in the last century.
        and, related…mark my words…the repubs will pick up the birdnests the dems have left laying by the wayside. sewer socialism is already issuing from the pieholes of teabillies where i live….with the utter lack of irony and awareness that one might expect.

      2. juliania

        I would like to remind everyone that immediately after his election, Obama started a series of town halls around the country to let people know his agenda. The first one was in Rio Rancho, New Mexico so my local news station was covering it.

        The very first question in his administration from one of the people he would be governing was on single payer, universal health care coverage. His answer I cannot give verbatim but it began with something like: “In order to have universal health care, single provider, we would have to completely change the system we have. I am not going to do that.”

        What a loser.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Before that, when he was running for the Senate, he said – on video; my wife keeps this one close to her heart – that we could have single payer/universal healthcare as soon as Democrats controlled “The Presidency, the Senate, and the House.”

          ‘Nuff said.

  12. Summer

    RE: How to Delegitimatize a Nation

    “Wait until conservatives finally figure out that woke liberals and the left are not the same; conservatives will get woke so fast the hounds won’t catch ’em.”

    They know there is a difference betwee liberals and the left. It doesn’t matter to a conservative. If you don’t exalt their beliefs, you are nothing to them so fine distinctions are not important.

    1. Elspeth

      Liberal v. Left is not a fine distinction. As far as it goes a liberal is just a conservative that pretends to care.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        your definition is apt. conservative economics with a sprinkling of virtue-signaling progressiveness on social issues (but no will to spend $$$ fixing them of course, just hand wringing).

    2. Aumua

      Trump is calling the Democratic party “extreme” for even having an actual left wing lately, so how do you battle that kind of willful, wanton ignorance? I don’t know.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Trump is calling the Democratic party “extreme” for even having an actual left wing lately

        The “centrist” Democrats call M4A and GND “too extreme” too.
        No difference between them and the GOP.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        You stand by it and jettison the nihilists masquerading as “centrists.”

        The black, nominally anti-war candidate pushing for universal healthcare (rhetorically) crushed Saint McCain. The guy who bailed out the bankers oversaw the loss of a 1000 Democratic seats.

        Stop worrying about the ignorant. White Flight Republicans will always vote for ignoramuses.

  13. Craig H.

    > Stakeholder Capitalism Will Fail If It’s Just Talk

    Obviously there will not be anybody making money if the whole planet goes up in smoke. So far so good. The last item on his bullet list:

    — Supported anti-consumer Supreme Court decisions, including the fiction that corporations are legal people, and that campaign donations equal speech.

    If this isn’t first on the list ain’t nothin’ else on there gonna happen. Also: congratulations to all involved on their fine ad campaign. Perhaps I should construct a list of how this is a bunch of horse dung?

    1. Summer

      Until the items on the bullet list are addressed one by one in action, it is part of a PR blitz.
      “A widely circulated memo” that is leaked to the press is a press release in disguise.
      It wasn’t a visit to Congress addressing changes to all the matters on the bullet point list.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The only possible counterweight to Capitalism is Government.

        “Great corporations are the creations of the state and the state not only has the right to control them, but it is duty bound to control them whenever need of such control is seen”

        – Theodore Roosevelt

  14. Lee

    After using tools, crows behave more optimistically, study suggests

    Over the last several years crows have become quite numerous and appear to be the dominant bird species in our neighborhood, as well as in much of the greater SF Bay Area. They have driven out the Cooper’s Hawks that we used see here on a regular basis.

    Their intelligence is impressive and I enjoy watching their antics and complex social behaviors. both with each other and even at times with humans. The way they intimidate cats by scolding and swooping down on them is an impressive display of courage and collective defense.

    But it recently occurred to me that being both intelligent and carrion eaters, that their moving into areas of high human population density could be an ominous indication of them knowing something we don’t. I am reminded of Arch Druid’s speculation regarding future developments in his piece, The Next 10 Billion Years, that descendants of crows will be the third intelligent species to become dominant some 10,000 years after our species’ demise. Ask not for whom the crow outside my window now caws. I toss a walnut piece onto the walkway. He alights from the power line, eyes me appraisingly, hops to my offering, takes it and flies off.

    1. jef

      After using tools, crows behave more optimistically, hubristically, eventually disregarding the environment the indeed begin to defecate in their nest… oh! wait … wrong species.

  15. polecat

    Two of those pairs of eyes belong to deer .. one of which is showing signs of CWD .. both terrified of the plebian headlights turning their way !

    1. ewmayer

      I was in that, with several friends in SE Michigan, where I lived at the time. Yeah, we solved a lot of society’s problems that day – Wikipedia:

      “Hands Across America raised $34 million. According to The New York Times, only about $15 million was distributed after deducting operating costs.”

      Let’s see, during the GFC the Fed printed that much money to bail out the crooked banks every few mintues of every day for a couple of years – and the only hands needed were the ones to push ctrl-p on a computer terminal somewhere inside the Mariner Eccles Building. But we had more fun, at least.

  16. Summer

    RE: What I saw on The Rounds Made Me Sick

    “If this doesn’t piss you off, if this doesn’t get you mad to actually stand up and be a part of this movement where we’re all trying to change this — better technology that enables human relationships and being paid well to do good for patients — without all the bureaucratic nonsense, shrink the technocracy…”

    Full stop here: ” better technology to enable human relationships.”

    It’s as if he paid no attention to all he just said himself. You don’t need tech to enable human relationships. That’s the mindset is f – – – – d.
    YOU have to enable0 human relationships. You walk up to another human being, it may be f’in awkward at first, and then YOU f’in enable the relationship.

    You need better technology that gets the hell away from all of your relationships and just calculates the info quickly when you need it and doesn’t take your time away from human relationships. This is what he expresses in the article, before the bizarre need to repeat tech hype appeared.

    That “technology to enable human relationships” is tech hype that pours mindlessly out of people’s mouths…a PR catchphrase from hell.

    1. JCC


      “Then you wonder why 60% of physicians won’t recommend the career to their kids?”

      I grew up in a physician’s family, and I still remember the day my Father said to me, “The smartest thing you ever did was to ignore my pressuring you to go into medicine.” He said that 30 years ago. It was bad then and it’s only gotten worse.

      This is only one example of many regarding how our social infrastructure driven solely by profit has been, and will continue to be, disastrous for everyone.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This is the last paragraph of an excellent link posted yesterday evening in Water Cooler by “noonespecial” entitled Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education:

      The Common Core standards, adopted now in most states, include sets of functionalist requirements for meeting key goals. Many of the English language arts anchor standards, for instance, require that children cite evidence and write (and thus think) in patterns that can more easily be graded by computers.38 Here is the triumph of tech­nology over wisdom and learning: Submit to Tech in Every Matter. We are Eliot’s human engines, humanity made readable for the computer.

      It seems like a no-brainer to blame the incredible shrinking “humanity” of medical practice on the need to “accurately” bill for medical services as facilitated by “ehr.” Practitioners bitch and moan but acquiesce. They want to get paid after all.

      But what if, as with education, that’s not the goal at all.

      Devotees of artificial “intelligence” make no bones about their contentions that, with enough data, computers can “learn.” Maybe this is all about “teaching” computers to “practice medicine” while conditioning the gullible public to accept the crappy results and astronomical costs that such a system achieves. Because technology. There’s a whole lotta cash to be made eliminating the human element that needs to be educated in addition to being compensated, and is increasingly allowing itself to be turned into nothing more than a data entry clerk.

      “….humanity made readable for the computer.”

      If practitioners want to retain their status as relevant “experts,” maybe they should start acting like it. That goes for teachers too.

      PS. I’d highly recommend noonespecial’s link if you missed it:

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        in the closest ER to us(48 miles, one way…excluding the former er’s in our town and the town to the north)…they have a robot doctor.
        it moves on it’s own, and talks…but(to their credit) they only use it for translation(like Korean…practically everyone there speaks at least some spanish) and entertaining little kids to distract them from whatever the real doctors and nurses are doing(like a fancy, $100K hand puppet)
        last time we were there, our regular doctor was being the ER Doc(and it was slow, so as usual with him we shot the bull a lot)
        he said that this robot can facilitate “telemedicine”…and that he, himself, had used it for a consult with a neurologist in new york because the local neurologists were at a conference or something.
        I reckon that’s a good thing…but still…
        this thing was paid for by some local rich person(tax credits!)…and is the vanguard of the replacements for the real doctors.
        so yeah…this:”…There’s a whole lotta cash to be made eliminating the human element that needs to be educated in addition to being compensated…” and this:”….humanity made readable for the computer.”

        this is the fruits of Logical Positivism…more than a century ago…trying to fit all that messy humanity into an equation.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Was it teachers who sought Common Core standards? Or was it Bill Gates acting through various cut-outs within the command-and-control layers of the Education Bureaucracy who pushed the invention and imposition of “Common Core” in order to sell more computes and programs?

        And how are teachers supposed to do something about “Common Core” if they are informed that they will teach “Common Core” or they will be fired?

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      So, I think I have mentioned before that Epic, the electronic medical records company that is the villain in this post (and many others), is to Madison WI almost what Amazon is to Seattle. It employs around 10,000 people (in a county of 500,000), mostly young, well-educated and decently paid (or more) and continues to grow like mad – apparently still hiring 500-1000 per year. Its campus south of town is a whole city unto itself now – yes, it got huge tax breaks from a little village to move 20 miles out of town to former cornfields. (The property tax exemption is just ending now and will fund a new suburban high school.)

      Anyway, despite being woke-central, no one in these parts has a bad word to say about them. (It helps that Epic’s private owner/founder is a good liberal and opponent of the right-wing state CoC.) It’s a news story every time they win (or lose) a big contract. Many of the smart kids from the local high schools, after college, go to work there, but also huge numbers of recent college grads from elsewhere come to live here. It’s hyperbole but not unusual to hear Epic (and its many local spin-offs) given credit for revitalizing downtown Madison and the near-east side. 40 years ago, there was virtually no one but UW students living downtown; now it’s full of high-rent apts. and condos. (They run commuter buses from downtown to Epic but it least its the regular bus system, not private.)

      What is funny (not) is that the whole Epic business model – why it is so expensive – is to hand-hold the medical professionals in their efforts to actually use it. So they customize the crap out of it (at top dollar) to meet the various needs/desires of different clients (hospitals, health systems) and have a giant “customer service” staff (something like 1/3 or more of all ee’s) that is perpetually on the road offering training and customer service. (Epic is also responsible for something like 1/2 of the air traffic at our local airport.) I know a bunch of young people who work there – smart kids but not medical people – and for many the view is “can you believe how dumb doctors are?” They are this generation of the teens that had to show you how to use your VCR.

      I don’t know the moral of the story or what to do about it. Electronic medical records are never going away but it seems like a sensible thing in a M4A system would be to have a SIMPLE, public, integrated EMR system that did the basics well. But if such a thing were ever proposed, the blowback here in woke-central would be severe.

  17. Carla

    Re: Stakeholder Capitalism Will Fail If It’s Just Talk

    Well, as we say in Peoria, no shit, Shylock.

    In his Op-Ed subtitled “Companies will have to prove they’re committed to goals beyond maximizing shareholder value” Barry Ritholtz lists examples of reasons “stakeholders” have for doubting the sincerity of U.S. corporations when they say they will begin considering the interests of customers, employees and communities, along with those of shareholders. The final example he gives:

    — Supported anti-consumer Supreme Court decisions, including the fiction that corporations are legal people, and that campaign donations equal speech.

    That fiction is the basis of HJR-48: “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.”

    I had no idea Ritholtz was onboard with!

    1. Briny

      Which begs the question, when do AI’s become “natural persons?” And that completely ignores PETA driven movements and genetically engineered species.

  18. marym

    1619 Project and American Conservative link

    one can’t help noticing that liberal Democrats started a new moral panic about “white supremacy”/”white nationalism” only after the RussiaGate narrative turned out to be a damp squib…

    True, and identity politics among them is too often “moar CEO’s of Color.” However, beyond the bubble the dangers of the long-standing identity politics of the Republican establishment and their current Trumpian variation were known, alarms raised, and some portion of votes cast for Clinton in attempts to forestall those dangers. It was a point Sanders made as he conceded the primary and shifted support to Clinton.

    From the AC link:

    I could be wrong about this, but the impression that I get from reading these essays is that the wickedness of racism is so overwhelming that it obviates any of the founding ideals of this nation.

    Given that the introductory essay says the opposite, that the response to the wickedness of racism has been overwhelmingly to call this nation to uphold its founding ideals; and that individual essays invoke those ideals in critiques of governance, public education, health care, etc., yes he’s under the wrong impression.

    It’s absurd to blame the embrace of white supremacy on woke liberals. Protectors and beneficiaries of the status quo have been promoting it since, well, 1619 probably; non-elite voters have been electing them in as much defiance of class issues as any “woke” id politics; and now the Trump administration is saying it out-louder than ever.

    1. JBird4049

      It’s absurd to blame the embrace of white supremacy on woke liberals. Protectors and beneficiaries of the status quo have been promoting it since, well, 1619 probably; non-elite voters have been electing them in as much defiance of class issues as any “woke” id politics; and now the Trump administration is saying it out-louder than ever.

      The more I mention Neoliberalism and its blessings of poverty, despair, war, and death as it perhaps a partial explanation of why all the people who voted for President Obama did not vote for Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton the more I get called a racist or an apologist for them. The more I see homeless people, the harder the racism is. Or at least the larger the population of racist is. Funny that.

      To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.


      I don’t deny the evil that exist in our nation. It’s really and I have had to argue with morons on its existence. The American practice of racism, genocide, and slavery are all evils inherited from the ancestral earliest colonies.

      That and the repeated attempts, almost always successfully suppressed of reform. For actual centuries, whites, or blacks, or natives would attempt and even succeed in making alliances, even political parties, but get lynched, imprisoned, or flee for their lives.

      A long, very bloody, usually depressing, and just occasionally uplifting history it is. IIRC of the last temporarily successfully attempts at a cross alliance or movement of poor and working class blacks and whites happened in the Rust Belt in the 1980s. The police stomped that out using legally questionable methods.

      The feeding of racism by the upper classes is one of the way that stay in power. Racism is a form of identity politics used to divide and conquer as is labeling poor whites as Deplorables. Frankly hearing the alt-right jackasses and thugs with their Republican patrons dog whistling the blame on the blacks and Latino poor and working classes for all the problems of honest white Americans makes me just as angry as the entitled Woke Political Identity twits and their Democratic patrons put the blame on poor and working class whites.

      The two parties do not care for the entire poor, working, or even middle classes. They are happy to put the blame on the weakest and poorest Americans because we make an excellent distraction for their continued acquisition of every. The make my country a wasteland and call it wealthy, wage war on the world and call it peace, and imprison us with hatred, fear, and lies calling it freedom.

  19. petal

    Okay, here it is. I’m so very sorry for the length but there was a lot, and there’s a lot I think people should know about. The press has left out so much. If you have questions, please ask and I’ll do my best to answer them. I have probably forgotten things, and I’m a scientist, not a health care wonk, so I may not have used the correct term, like in the premium part as I do not really understand it. I hope this write-up sheds a little light on what’s going on, though. Tried to translate my quickly-scrawled notes best I could.

    I got there at 3pm and “Everyday People” was playing. Place was empty so I got an aisle seat in the 2nd row to the left of the lectern if you are looking at it. The back of my head is in all the news video-from WMUR to the Daily Mail haha. It slowly filled up and when it was almost to start at 4ish, a guy near me said there were still about 200 people outside that had wanted to get in. There was a legit press area set up in the back of the hall. 6 video cameras set up, and tables for the all of the news agencies(NBC, CNN, AP, all the local and tri-state stations, Union Leader, Boston Globe). On the way in, his staff members had been trying to grab people to fill out “surveys” and hand over their email addresses. They did this after, too. The crowd was majority retired elderly NPR totebagger types, and some undergrad college students. There was a small handful of medical students there. There was zero security. They even had “Call Me Al” in the music playlist.

    First up they had a young lady, Lauren,(college-aged?). I couldn’t tell. She was shouting into the mic to get people wound up. She started telling about how 9 years ago her mother was diagnosed with MM and was given a few months to live, and how the ACA saved her mother because of the pre-existing condition rule, and how it guaranteed her mother access to health insurance and her mother is still alive. That got my goat, because I had a close family friend pass away from MM a few years ago and sometimes it’s(survival) just dumb luck.

    Second up was a woman who said she was a nurse, Heather LaDue. She was saying how she is on the front line of health care and how because of the ACA, addicts can get treatment for their addiction. She went on about how people get worried about not being covered. She was really pushing access, and how it is necessary to build upon the ACA. She then was talking about how access shouldn’t depend on what you look like or your sex, and talked about women being victims of domestic violence. Then she said “we cannot allow 4 more years of misogyny and lies and we must beat Trump!” And how Biden will listen, unify, and lead with dignity and prosperity. I found her to be a bit obnoxious. I don’t know where they find these people.

    Then Biden came out. As I said last night, very frail, fragile, and super thin. Slow, deliberate steps. Skin was tissue-papery and getting to that translucent stage that very elderly people can have. I was so shocked. He looks at least 85-90, not 76. And I’ve seen healthier, more vibrant 90 year olds! He called himself a big “consumer of healthcare”, trotted out the dead son spending time in hospital and said how more nurses are needed, especially in mental health. He said Climate Change is an existential threat. He started pushing American Exceptionalism and said how he is concerned about the state of the nation, and said we (the public) have to stop walking around like things are really bad, and that our nation is in trouble as long as “this man is President”, you know, because you know, apparently things are just great for us regular schmoes.

    Then he started his health care spiel, which was the reason for the visit. He said we need to come to a level setting and figure out how much it costs and how to do it, and how the primary debates among candidates should be about the future, and how can a person’s dignity be maintained if they cannot afford health care. He again trotted out Dead Son(DS from here on out as he was brought up so many times I lost count) and the brain tumor that happened after he came home from Iraq. He asked for hands of ppl in the crowd that lost someone to cancer. He said how he had said passing the ACA was a “huge step forward” at the time, it extended insurance to 20m, and he was really harping on the pre-existing condition thing. He said the job must be finished and health care is a right, not a privilege and that everyone deserves peace of mind. At this time, he was having trouble coming up with words, and he’d randomly stop in the middle of a sentence for awkward seconds, as if he had lost his way or had forgotten. He said other Democrat candidates want to get rid of Obamacare, and that his healthcare plan costs 1/30th of M4A.

    His new affordable public health option(BidenCare) would allow people to buy into Medicare. He made a point of saying if you have an awesome Union backed healthcare plan or an employer plan, you can keep it. It moves the cap to 8.5% and that the premium would be based on the most expensive plan(?) and would lower deductibles. He wants to “throw the book” at Pharma, brought up the # of opioids sold. Then went into using the power of Medicare to negotiate with Pharma. He said the color of your skin/zip cod/gender shouldn’t affect care. He said Trump is at this very minute in court to get rid of Obamacare. He again brought up access to healthcare/insurance for addiction.

    He moved into “Cancer” next. He called our local cancer center “Norris Cancer Center” when it is in fact the “Norris Cotton Cancer Center” as in Norris Cotton was the Senator of NH that got the cancer center built. Oops. He brought up DARPA, and how he wants to make one for cancer, and that it would take an entrepreneurial approach to healthcare research. He wants next gen MRI’s that are portable and affordable and can lead to “detection of early diseases”. He said something about a critical eye prosthesis that can talk with the brain; and clinical trials for drug regimes to reduce toxicity and cancer. He could not spit out “de-escalation”. He tried a few times to say it and couldn’t. He said the Chinese are investing 10s-100s of millions(or billions) in AI. He said there’s not a single thing we cannot do together, that Trump is dividing us on purpose by ethnicity, race, national origin, that he is a charlatan and is doing it to maintain power.
    Then he went into saying how Quantum Computing can be developed to be used to build a database of the cancer genome. At this point he seemed to have trouble concentrating, and then his health care spiel was finished. It lasted about 30 minutes. Next was the Q&A.

    The 1st question was a little odd. The questioner said she worked for an HIV agency, and that she had spoken to him before about all of this-which seemed odd to me, right? Her point was that HIV patients can’t get better if they are homeless, and that they need housing, and asked how he planned to help with that. Instead of answering her question, he went into talking about his Cancer Moonshot and went off on a cancer tangent. It was at this stage I noticed a few red, open sores on his forehead.

    2nd question was a Parkinsons patient who said he had completed a study on drug pricing for the 2 NH senators. Another thing that struck me as odd-like were these 2 people plants or something? He asked about research funding and bettering the drug approval process. Biden talked about Epi Pens, insulin costs, and how he wants to bring in a panel like Germany has that sets drug costs so “a healthy profit can be made” by pharma companies but while not ripping off the public. It gets better-then he went on some tangent about how no one else in the world has his own War Memorial and a whole memorical highway named after him like DS does in Kosovo! This led to another tangent about how DS had Ankylosing Spondylitis(I have had AS for 30+ years now, no burn pits) and how he thinks he got it from bacterial exposure from burn pits in Iraq. He really played up DS a lot and turned him into this big tragic war hero. He said “Drug companies are not all bad guys”. He said he will end the drug advertising tax write-off.

    Then some guy who was middle aged but standing with the college student group off to the side shouted and interrupted. He asked a question about support for Unions. Biden was irritated and said how he(Biden) is a Union Man and he’d talk to him later(of course).

    Question 3 was from a med student sitting near me. He asked about how to best get medical grads to go to rural areas. Biden said the M4A plan would lead to closure of rural hospitals(!) because they cannot afford to stay open with only Medicare payments coming in. He said he would give free tuition to students that practiced in rural areas, then changed that to pro-rated payback based on how long they practice in a rural area.

    Question 4 asked about health effects of climate change and that his plan wouldn’t do enough to lower climate change/carbon emissions. It’s almost like it was all planned ahead of time…so then he said how he was the person who has had a global warming plan the longest(way back in 1986-87). Would build 500,000 charging stations for electric cars, how we should be owning the electric car market and that GM is in big trouble because they didn’t invest in electric cars. Brought up increasing offshore wind capacity, there’s plenty of money to do what’s needed. How farmers can be the first industry to be carbon neutral through soil carbon sequestration, how we should be the ones to make new tech to take carbon out of the air and be an exporter of that to the rest of the world. He said when he was put in charge of the Recovery Act he made sure there was a low rate of waste and fraud, that NH needs a rail system to take cars off the road here in NH….which makes me think he doesn’t know much about NH. But I digress. He brought up the fast trains, especially down the east coast from Boston to DC. The first thing he’d do as President would be to re-join the Paris Accord. He talked about teaming up with “Jay” which I took as Inslee, so stay tuned on that. He said 85% of global warming is due to the rest of the world and he got China to sign onto the Paris Accord, said he’s been called an expert in foreign policy and has met every important leader in the last 30 years. He joked about Boris Johnson being a heartthrob(totally slated Boris), and he said “Putin is a thug” and got big applause from the crowd. He wants a DC follow-up meeting to the Paris Accord to get the rest of the world in on the deal. He wants to gain the confidence of the rest of the world and make it expensive for those not participiating in the deal/Accord. He spoke about China exporting coal from Mongolia, and how he wants to make it illegal for them to sell it in the US.

    Question 6 was a psychologist pushing Obamacare, how it saved people, and he wanted to shake Biden’s hand(then after was looking for a photo of this). This guy however did make a point of saying how the ACA was bad for small businesses and their employees like around our area because the plans have very high deductibles so people cannot access healthcare(Katniss?). His 2nd point was that teachers are not trained to deal with mental health issues in students. Biden replied he wanted kids to start school at age 3 and raise teacher pay. He completely ignored(or forgot) the first question about the high ACA plan deductibles. He said ages 15-22 are most worried about school shootings, and how this generation was the “most sophisticated” generation ever. He then went off on a tangent never to be seen again…he said he called the DoD every day to learn how many are dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, said 300,000 have PTSD, Trump is not funding the VA, brought up soldier suicides and how more psych nurses are needed. He brought up DS again, then talked about how himself(JB) was pinning silver stars on guys in the Kovar(sp) Valley in Afghanistan. Kept bringing up how he had been there a bunch of times, etc, like some old soldier telling war stories. He said he wants to fund mental health clinics in rural areas because mental illness is creating addiction. Then he went right into free community college to provide retraining for qualified people, and how he had been the poorest man in Congress. There had been no segueways, he was just rambling on and on and on and jumping all over to random things.

    Lots and lots of rambling and he rambled to what has been in the news this morning: his “gaffe” about Obama being assassinated, and said that what Trump has done to this generation is what the deaths of RFK and MLK did to his generation. Then he brought up the ERA, the time he was accused of being gay, how his dad said to him “it’s simple, they love each other” when they saw 2 guys kiss(so he has by then hit all of the IdPol boxes). He made fun of Trump saying it’s like some kind of movie and parroted “I am the saviour”, etc.
    Throughout the whole event, he kept saying “y’all” a lot, and “Come on, man” as if he was Black.

    I also heard an older guy being interviewed after, and he said how he thinks the country isn’t quite ready for Warren, but the country is ready for “this guy” Biden.

      1. petal

        Yes, I did hear that, but I attributed it to a mis-speak at the time, as the guy was obviously an “elderly” 76 and having issues what with his stopping randomly and rambling and stuff. I was less than 3′ away from him and at one point he stared at me for quite some time while I was furiously taking notes, so I stared right back into his (yes, actually beady) eyes. It was held by him, and unnatural and weird. I don’t usually do those kinds of things but I was a bit ripped as I could see through his bs and had a Jacobin article in my lap about 5 ways Biden lies about M4A that I had read while waiting for the show to begin.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Our leaders reflect our body politic, sounds like Biden is perfect for this moment in America:

          “very frail, fragile, and super thin. Slow, deliberate steps. Skin was tissue-papery and getting to that translucent stage that very elderly people can have.”

          Perfect for our hilariously thin-skinned wokesters, value system so thin that you can pierce it with a wet noodle. Wah, mommy mommy that man was mean to me and made me feel really bad waaah…

    1. katiebird

      This is fascinating and sad. It starts to seem that he won’t have the stamina to keep this up?

      1. Tvc15

        Thanks Petal. Enjoyed reading your write up especially the description of his disconcerting physical characteristics.

        1. petal

          Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it. There are truly excellent, top shelf writers and thinkers here and I get intimidated. I hope it has helped out. The physical description-it was the first thing that struck me when he walked out, so I figured that must be important, because, it hit me so hard. It was really not what I was expecting-at all! Had only ever seen the guy on telly.

          katiebird, my bet is they will keep him tightly controlled and appearances very closely stage managed and kept to a minimum in order to get him across the finish line. If people at home could see what he actually looks like up close-because I think he looks quite different on telly-there’d be questions. If he can’t make it, it will either be Warren picking up there or maybe they will draft in HC. Stay tuned.

    2. polecat

      Thanks petal, for daring to go where no sane plebian would dare step ! .. fascinating, in a horrible kind of way.

      It appears that Joe Biden is quite the dart .. in want for a board !

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Sounds like he’s obsessed with cancer–DARPA for cancer, quantum computing????

      Red, open sores that are noticeable from the audience? Yikes.

      Curious to get your impression of the crowd’s reaction. Enthusiastic and supportive or quiet and skeptical?

      I’m not surprised he skipped over the deductible question. So is it your impression that when he says he wants to “build on” obamacare, he means a Medicare buy-in? Any more details than that?

      1. Monty

        “It was at this stage I noticed a few red, open sores on his forehead. ”

        OP should get into horror fiction. So chilling the way that was dropped in! I was half expecting the condition to get worse as the speech went on, before one of those lizards from V burst out.

        1. petal

          The small bright red sores were noticeable from 3′ away. There were like 3 of them. You guys can decide if that is important.

          Katniss, crowd was mix of skeptical/wanting to hear details, and supportive. I think there were quite a few true-blue supporters in the crowd, or at least diehard “anyone but Trump” who really think Biden can beat him and thus end their nightmare, so they were very supportive. I think a lot of these appearances are for supporters already decided. Candidate X comes into town, so their supporters show up to see him like seeing a movie star, and maybe a few people are there to gather information and see if they want to become a supporter. The guy next to me said Pete B would be in town (today) at the Hanover Inn. I was surprised at that because I don’t think they have any really large rooms like the hall yesterday.

          Yes, he is very obsessed with cancer. Kept returning to it unprompted. I’m actually a published cancer and immunology researcher so I was paying close attention and trying to figure out of this stuff was feasible, and how it would fit into our system, and if it would actually really matter or if it was a giveaway of toys and $/vanity project. I am concerned about the entrepreneurial bit(healthy profit, you know!). It seemed there are lots of oppos built in to his healthcare plan for profit.

          Yes, he says there will be a Medicare-buy in. If you don’t like your Union or Employer plan, then you can buy into Medicare. He definitely is keeping Obamacare. That would be the frame work/base.

          1. katiebird

            Petal you did great! It is so interesting to hear that even someone who got there early and was prepared with questions did not get an opportunity to ask anything at that meeting.

            I hope someday someone can ask him how he thinks an unmodified-medicare buy in would work for families. It seems to me it would require up to 4 policies (Part A, Part B, Supplemental, and Part D) for each individual in the family.

            Just as an example, my parents had 8 kids!!

            If my parents took this option, they would have had 40 health insurance bills a month!!?? I know families aren’t this large (except perhaps blended families) anymore ….. but even with a couple of kids… 16 health insurance bills a month? It is absurd.

            1. petal

              I thought I’d wait until after the first question, to get a feel for how this was going to roll-then I saw for the first question they weirdly went to a woman in the middle section, mid-way back of the room, in the middle of a row when there were plenty of hands up that were much easier to get to. They zeroed right in on her very quickly. Based on that and the 2nd questioner conveniently 2nd row end of row(after he said he had just done a drug price survey for our 2 esteemed NH senators), I started to wonder if it was a bit of a set-up and then I didn’t even bother trying. I know the med student wasn’t pre-planned, though. I reckon it wasn’t even supposed to last that long to get to the med student as they had tried to end it after 3.

              Yeah, I don’t know how the medicare buy-in would work and the effects it would have. Have been wondering about that myself. It kind of didn’t make sense to me but I am not well-versed in all of this. Hopefully the information here can act as a basis for others to go digging.

    4. pretzelattack

      thanks for your very detailed report. i’m not voting for the guy, but he may well be the democratic candidate so it’s interesting to see an honest evaluation. in a normal world, all misstatements would cost him politically, maybe the new york times will report on it now that they’ve reformed again.

      1. petal

        I figured I should go because the guy is the current frontrunner and likely candidate. I attended simply as “citizen journalist/unbiased observer”.

        1. pretzelattack

          you’re a lot more unbiased than the average journalist these days. or even, sadly, the average democrat voter.

    5. Bugs Bunny

      Trump’s sobriquet “Sleepy Joe” now seems appropriate. Sad.

      Thanks Petal for your excellent report.

    6. Jeff W

      Thanks for the account!

      How much longer can Joe Biden remain a credible candidate (if he’s ever been that)—or even just deal with the rigors of being on the campaign trail—if he’s in that condition, visibly frail and rambling on and going off on tangents like that? How much longer can his campaign hide him from the public at large and not have that raise legitimate questions about his candidacy?

    7. lordkoos

      I’d say it’s a fair chance that some members of the audience and their questions were handpicked/screened by the Biden campaign, as these type of somewhat rigged forums seem to becoming more common.

      Even in TV appearances, Joe Biden looks none too healthy to me. If elected he would be like a Democrat’s version of Ronald Reagan, a kind of semi-senile front man who will do and say whatever his masters ask. His VP pick would be key.

      1. petal

        This. Yes this. Exactly. I reckon it would be someone else really running the show behind the scene. Smily Joe would just be the public face and trotted out from time to time on a leash.

        1. Tom Doak

          Or, worse, he dies in office and his approved VP choice insists we must push through his weak health care plan to cement Joe’s legacy.

    8. NotTimothyGeithner

      It sounds like Biden really believes “playing the role of President” is the job much as Obama did. Pinning medals on soldiers without addressing the “forever wars” is how Hollywood handles portrayals of Presidents.

      When the eff did Biden see two guys kiss where his dad could correct him? This is obviously a bs story. My parents (a long time friend of my dad’s) had a friend who was probably gay, but my parents “didn’t know” (they knew, and they are younger than Joe). Stonewall was in 1969. Did Joe see this in Scranton?

      He wants a DC follow-up meeting to the Paris Accord to get the rest of the world in on the deal.

      Does Joe know? DC was the problem with the Paris Accords.

      1. petal

        Again, he was rambling with stories and I wasn’t always able to tell where one ended and a new one began. He had been telling about applying to be a “lifeguard in a 99% black part of town”, then it morphed into him with his dad seeing the 2 guys kiss.

        When he was talking about pinning the medals and being in the war zones a lot, the PTSD, broken soldiers and all that, I said out loud “you voted for that” but no one probably heard me. I wanted to shout it out but I didn’t want to get thrown out and be that crazy person shown on tv haha. It was truly infuriating. It was like listening to a WW2 combat vet that had been right in the thick of combat telling war stories-but he isn’t. He really laid it on thick.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Excellent reportage

        We deserve so much better than a doddering old war mongering billionaire tool/fool with borderline Alzheimers.

    9. flora

      Thanks for this report. There’s more information here than I ever find in the usual MSM reports on Biden’s campaign appearances. Sure sounds like he’s not well; he’s stringing together what he remembers about topics and then goes off into another zone, like RR did toward the end of his presidency.

    10. John k

      Thanks for your time in the waders, endurance and info.
      The sooner we get to long debates with just a few, say four, candidates the better. Current format provides a lot of rest time for the candidates.
      Imagine going against trump… and that’s a year away, once you start going down everything accelerates.
      Granted Bernie is even older, but he’s a dynamic oldster, not deep into twilight. And I’d far rather have an old pres with the right policies/progressive veep than a younger one with the wrong policies and a right wing veep.

    11. grayslady

      I echo the others in applauding your report. Reading your thoughts made me feel as though I were there with you, reacting in the same way to the peculiarities you noticed.

      On the open red facial sores: My best friend, who is in his 80s, recently went through a period where he was constantly undergoing freezing, surgery or biopsies for various types of skin cancer. He frequently had these red, oozing areas that were in the process of healing after treatment. If Biden is experiencing the same thing, that would explain the sores and probably also explain another reason, besides his son’s death, that he couldn’t stop thinking about the subject of cancer.

      1. petal

        Thank you! I tried to write down his actual wording as much as possible for accuracy, and went in chronological order so people could get a feel for what it was like to be there, and the flow. I had a small 5×8 notepad and took 13-14 pages of notes. It is not fair that so few of our populace gets to ever be in the same room as any candidate and then is expected to pick one of these people they’ve never been in the same room with let alone question, to lead our country and hold so many lives in their hands. It’s all rather ridiculous and a bit of a scam. I think all of these “town halls” or campaign stops should be videoed start to finish and put on the web for all to see-with zero editing. That’s why I tried hard to get as much down as possible and give folks an idea of what it was like. If Sanders or Warren come to town for something like this, I’ll do my best to go. I am not going to bother with the small fish as I have a FT gig and a few side hustles to juggle.

        And agreed on the sores-those were my thoughts exactly but I didn’t want to say it. I will go no further as I don’t want to get in trouble for speculating.

    12. Oregoncharles

      Coming in late as usual: Thank you Petal, for an amazingly detailed report. I’ve tried to write that sort of thing and I know it isn’t easy. My takeaway is that he isn’t going to last, and why did he let himself in for this?

      One thought: they often ramble like that to keep control of the air and minimize the number of questions. They also have a prepared script they’re trying to work in. Doesn’t sound like he’s good at it.

      1. petal

        The handlers tried to cut off question session after 3 questions, I think. Then he wouldn’t stop talking and he took like 2 more and kept on rambling. The prepared script sounds about right, tbh. It was like going down a list and checking boxes, trying to stuff topic after topic in even though it was supposed to be about health care.

    13. Eclair

      Petal, I always enjoy your comments here at NC but you have surpassed yourself with this reporting of the Biden event! Thank you!

      PS. As for buy-ins to Medicare or Medicaid, what’s that gonna be like? Ever tried to find a physician that will actually take new patients on these plans?

      1. tegnost

        I agree, that was a really great report and lodged some questions/insights loose. The thrust being saving the aca was interesting to me. I agree that at least the first two and maybe all the questions were plants. Sticking with narrative control. I came away feeling that it’s the health care stocks in the portfolios of the precarious middle upper middle class who have their portfolios as retirement savings, inheritance/college funding for grandkids (and yes I am extrapolating from my own family so possible bias). These are the people obama bailed out as the worthy citizens. I think really hard to call what’s going to happen. Thanks again petal for enduring the spectacle!

        1. petal

          Yes, he is riding the ACA big time, and is using “Save the ACA” and “preserve the pre-existing condition clause” as battle cries. He will/is using these things to bash the M4A candidates and plant doubt into the heads of voters. I think he will accuse the M4A candidates of wanting to completely erase and start over and build from nothing as that will scare a lot of people. It’s slimy, but gotta remember who pays his bills and has made him the not “poorest member” of Congress anymore. He knows which side his bread is buttered on.

          Eclair, I hope someone will follow up on the Medicare buy-in thing as I don’t understand enough of this stuff to really discuss it. I was just wondering like if there was a huge number of folks that bought in, what will that do to the cost of insurance plans through employers or ones people buy on the market(obamacare!), etc-will it drive those prices through the roof? Lots of questions about this.

          Thank you to everyone that commented-you guys are the bestest. Thank you for making me feel valued and a part of a community every day. It makes all the difference.

  20. DorothyT

    Re: Empire of Ignorance: Ignorance of Empire

    There’s a terrific On the Media interview with historian Daniel Immerwahl who wrote the book reviewed here. Brooke Gladstone interviewed him, re-aired today on NPR. Oh, the things that weren’t in our history books …

  21. divadab

    Re: “Empire of ignorance; ignorance of empire”

    Hit it out of the park. The largest richest empire in the history of the world and yet little or no discussion allowed in the hollowed-out heart of the empire. Hollowed out by the costs of empire – the benefits of empire accrue to a smaller and smaller group of “internationalists” – Macron one of them as much as Clinton and both essentially not nationalists for their putative countries.

    And clients of empire increasingly control its apparatus – to their benefit and to the distinct detriment of the citizens of the USA. This cannot continue without major adjustments.

    1. Schmoe

      I agree with your first comment, but I think this can continue for quite a while yet. Even 2008 did not cause any lasting change to our financial or societal structure, and IMO the MSM pandering to elites/neoliberals/WS is worse now than in any time in recent memory.

      There are a whole slew of skapegoats that will continue to be tapped when the economy goes south. The only hope I see is millenials / Gen Z are a more skeptical group when it comes to corporate BS and “American Exceptionalism” than preceding generations.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps a phrase conveying the opposite of “American Exceptionalism” can encourage people to think that such an opposite might be possible.

        Something like “American Ordinaryism” or “American Okayness Ordinarianism”.

  22. richard

    chapo surveyed chase koch’s career a while ago
    he’s been designing shirts iirc and farting around artistically
    kind of a big guy, and forgive my rudeness but if anyone looked and acted like a “failson” it would be he
    a very good thing in this case
    until he decides to “save” us

  23. Summer

    RE: “How To Delegitimize A Nation” Rod Dreher

    Centuries of lies go a long way to delegitimitizing a nation.
    Remember the Main to WMD to the American Dream…

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i like rod dreher. one of the few modern conservative people i’d have around my proverbial campfire symposium.especially the benedict option…a secular version of which contains my own hopes for my 20 acre hermit kingdom.
      he get’s off the rails, sometimes, of course…but i don’t think this is one of them.
      the totalitarian idpol stuff that’s been creeping about in colleges for 20+ years is scary. i don’t encounter it in real life, given where i go…but it’s there to be experienced in all it’s torquemada glory in comments sections and “liberal”/”progressive” fora.
      I finally left alternet because of it(and the Hilltrolls)…specifically, the “Kill Them All Thread” which I saved, and found on another machine the other day…wherein a self identified “progressive” gay man in upstate new york stridently insisted that all republicans should be taken out and shot…because they’re irredeemable and all racist, misogynist deplorables.
      but i was the one who was temporarily banned for quoting Jefferson and Madison and Gandhi and MLK…and talking about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Due Process(this was in 2015).
      and insisting in my own right that 98% of the conservatives I know are relatively decent people…albeit with flaws, just like the rest of us.
      this dreher article brought to mind that thread…in which i threw this at the guy:

      one of my top 5 all time favorite movies.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That single scene changed my views about how the law should actually work and the film itself is brilliant.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Towering performance by Paul Scofield.

          Whom do we have today who can tower like this?

  24. Summer

    Re: Trump Asserts He Can Force U.S. Companies to Leave China… NY Times

    Again, the longer the “trade war with China” goes on, the more people are going to see it is a “trade war with workers.”

    Grab ya popcorn!

    1. Summer

      And I’ll add: I don’t think that is the administrations intention, it will be a byproduct.

      Wakey, wakey…

  25. katiebird

    I just got an email questionnaire from the Bernie Sanders campaign. They want to know my 3 highest priorities for their campaign spending. These are interesting suggestions. But I don’t know how to limit it to 3!!

    Pick your top THREE priorities for campaign spending if you were trying to win the nomination as Bernie’s campaign manager:

    Paid advertising (TV, digital, radio, other)
    Expand early state field offices and staff
    Offices and staff in a new round of states
    More organizing resources for volunteers
    Big rallies and events with Bernie
    Advertising to grow our email list
    Expand the campaign store
    More free stickers and magnets
    Upgrade technology for organizing
    Polling and data modeling

    1. Bugs Bunny

      All politics is local. Organization on the ground in the key primary states is the most important IMHO.

      1. katiebird

        Yes, I chose the two Office options but was then stumped….. Polling and data modeling?

        Of course it would be a lot of fun to have lots of big events……

    2. Carla

      These are the 3 I would pick:

      Offices and staff in a new round of states
      More organizing resources for volunteers
      Big rallies and events with Bernie

      1. katiebird

        I sent in those 3 plus More offices in early states. That’s four. But 3 seemed arbitrary.

        1. newcatty

          This newcatty agrees with katiebird. Yay, Bernie! The more he shares his vision and platform filled with his plans regarding important challenges facing the country, the more I feel the Bern.

    3. richard

      I love that Bernie’s asking!
      My top three are
      expand early state stuff
      offices and staff in a new round of states
      upgrade technology for organizing

      1. John k

        I donate, so I get the questions, too. But seems it’s more an excuse to ask for money than real interest in my views because the ask immediately follows. Plus I get multiple asks every day.
        Really wish they would do what somebody suggested here; weekly report of what happened last week, what changes he’s making to do better, and an idea what was is coming next week. Then I’d look forward to the weekly message, and maybe be more enthused about another donation.
        Plus, what would it cost to have somebody screen suggestions, passing the best few up the chain? Seems there’s no real way beyond the survey of their own thoughts for any ideas to move up.

        1. katiebird

          Really wish they would do what somebody suggested here; weekly report of what happened last week, what changes he’s making to do better, and an idea what was is coming next week. Then I’d look forward to the weekly message, and maybe be more enthused about another donation.

          I liked that idea a lot too.

    4. polecat

      No suggestions for getting money ENTIRELY out of the political elections process … ??

      Yes, I’m being only slightly facetious .. but does anyone know if this is on his agenda to be reconciled once in office, should he leap that high hurtle .. ?? Because, if it is not dealt with .. as in requiring mandated public funding of debates/candidate’s messaging on an equal basis .. say, via through a constitutional amendment .. brought forth, through an unbiased venue .. then the public will continue to be hoodwinked in future election seasons because CitizensUnited etc. .. assuming we HAVE future elections going forward.

      1. Rod

        On Issue Polls I get from Sanders 2020, repeal of Citizens United has been listed as well as the phrasing –Get Big Money out of Politics. Often on a list of election priorities for which you choose three. If I’m in a ‘big picture mood” I always check it off.
        In the multiple times I have seen him speak, he talks on it to varies lengths about half the time–with more expounding in less ‘campaign’ settings.

  26. fdr-fan

    Gallup poll on Persia: As always they don’t ask the real question. They start with the bad assumption that everyone wants to see Persia disarmed, and we only disagree on the fine details of how to do it.

    I don’t. I want to see EVERY country bristling with millions of nukes, all aimed and hair-triggered at DC and NYC. That’s the only way we’ll ever get peace. Deterrence works.

  27. barrisj

    Lifted from Jesse’s Café Américain:

    “The tyrant is a child of Pride
    Who drinks from his sickening cup of
    Recklessness and vanity,
    Until headlong from his high crest
    He plummets into the dustbin of hope.”

    Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

    After Trump’s Prometheus Unbound performance the past several days, can there be no one in his inner circle who at this moment is not pressing the argument for acute intervention before the Great Orange Helmsman goes full-on Capt. Queeg?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe the “inner circle” has a long-standing secret plan to let Mr. Trump become so visibly deranged that all the BiPartisan Depublicrat rulers agree that it is time to ” Ammendment 25″ the poor loser . . . and make Pence the President.

  28. MrQuotidian

    The linked critique of the 1619 project makes a decent point about some of the essays exaggerating the direct impact of slavery on contemporary life (the workplace surveillance example for instance), but overall it seems to be mostly an exercise in shadow boxing / straw manning . The author seems concerned about the ability to maintain a sense of pride in ones country in the face of a complicated history, but this hardly seems like a new issue for the US..

    The article also doesn’t help itself by including the letter from the Canadian reader, who in my mind discredits their position by linking to a quillette article. I live in Canada and have heard the “unceded territory acknowledgements” but I do not share the panic that these statements represent the inevitable dissolution of the country. That’s absurd. As if the capitalist establishment would ever allow that to happen. Rather, the acknowledgements are an ineffectual bone thrown to a people who were systematically oppressed well into the 20th century (see: residential schools). It’s literally and intentionally the least we can do.

    It’s hard to be too critical when I share the concern that excessive identity politics Is ultimately anti-liberal, but one must be weary of certain bedfellows. Much of the criticism of 1619 project is akin to other forms of denialism and it can be hard to pick out the earnest positions amongst the fray.

    There seem to be a number of people who are personally offended by the suggestion that their heritage is tarnished. This should not be a new feeling for an orthodox Christian like the piece’s author.. after all, to live is to sin.

    1. Carolinian

      I do not share the panic that these statements represent the inevitable dissolution of the country.

      But that’s not really what he’s saying. Or rather he’s saying it a little bit but what he’s really saying is that requiring preambles of this type and attacking people who don’t include them is an assault on free speech. That may not dissolve the country in the short term but could be very harmful in the long term. Liberals have given the conservatives an opening with their obsession over thought crimes. It’s been quite a few years since the ACLU defended that KKK rally in Skokie. If they did so now they would be widely condemned.

      The way to cure racism is not by forbidding bad thoughts but by striking at the root cause which is ignorance of other cultures and groups. As it turns out integration may have worked for those areas of the country–the once Jim Crow areas–where it was required. But it also doesn’t help to artificially idealize other cultures which is another form of ignorance and a theme of the article. That “all have sinned” thing doesn’t just apply to whites or Christians.

  29. JohnnyGL

    Bernie Listens: Millennial Roundtable in Miami

    This is really good from Bernie. Great to hear the personal stories to convince people who don’t know what they’re dealing with and also great to help fire up Bernie’s core support from young people, especially minorities.

    To paraphrase Chuck Schumer’s famous line, “For every 65+ yr old church going, conservative, black Biden supporter in S. Carolina who just wants to bring back the Obama years, Bernie’s aiming to pull in 2-3 of their kids and grand kids in unprecedented numbers.”

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      because for every suburban republican they falsely think will vote for them, there’s 3 poor people they couldn’t care less about who won’t vote at all

      1. John k

        They care… they don’t want the poor at all because they will make demands and try to move the party left. They dont want these people voting, explaining why they aren’t trying to expand the base… the expansion would mean losing control, and this control is why donors give to them. They have one job, keep progressives from power. That warren is getting any press is their fear Biden/ Kamala won’t make it, warrens their last ditch hope of fending off sanders… plus, ptb think they can control her.
        They much prefer suburban reps because the dnc really prefers status quo voters.

  30. barefoot charley

    Weekend Extremely Creepy Award goes to Stuart Pivar for his defense of his dear old friend the dead perv. He’s not a perv, sez Pivar, he’s just sick–satyriasis, see, but he’s unlucky enough to have the money to ‘hire’ hundreds of children, so really, is it his fault? Sure, Pivar didn’t speak to the sickie again when he heard what Epstein did, but hey, he paid them, right? On and on. Extraordinary.

    And the informal amicus brief on his defamation grounds was much fun too, thanks!

    1. Bugs Bunny

      That was disturbing and amusing and jaw dropping. Great reporting can sometimes just be verbatim.

    2. urblintz

      I met Stuart Pivar at a cast party in NYC. He heard me sing Alberich in Das Rheingold (a chamber music production by the excellent but now defunct Eos Ensemble). He struck me as the type who intimidates with his eyes, stared at me with no noticeable empathy while complimenting my performance… strange… very NYC elite-y. I lived in Manhattan/UWS for 27 years so that’s not an uninformed observation.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      sometimes you see something in media and it feels like a trial balloon to see what the boundaries are and if they can push them a little further. Then again, I was raised in a cult where all the predators got protected, so I’m coming at it from 30+ years of cynicism informed by life experience.

      decency is so far behind us it isn’t over our back shoulder, it’s over the damn horizon

  31. Synoia


    EU to Brazil: We'd like cheap beef in return for cars…

    EU to Brazil: We'd like cheap roast beef in return for cars

    Please remember to include the Neo Liberal value added.

  32. Susan the other`

    Mark Carney. He isn’t the only one asking for a global digital monetary system. A few years ago Janet Yellen was explicit in her endorsement of a digital currency as opposed to some crypto nonsense. (I can’t even imagine the chaos from creating an international digital currency pegged to a crypto-unit of manufactured scarcity – would that assessment be based on anything approaching reality?) The BIS has talked about it. The Fed recently released a sort of PSA on how they were developing a system for “instantaneous” payments, aka digital. So nothing really new here. Nice that Carney points out that digital money is purely a medium of exchange which isn’t conducive to hoarding. That’s helping break down that mental block about a store of value. For stores of value we should look to more tangible assets. Clean air; water; agriculture; sustainability. Carney’s words will get twisted to look like he’s talking about a new digital money that has a standardized value, like an old gold standard. I don’t think he’s thinking along those lines at all. More like a floating basket of political endorsements, because good sovereign currencies are no longer based on metal or some other shiney thing – they are based on the good faith and credit of their people… which should mean that their people are happy and have a good living standard. Libra is as out in left field as crypto. What a mess that would be. Besides there’s so much money now, let alone when it goes digital, that all the precious material on the planet would not be enough to standardize it in any meaningful way.

    1. Susan the other`

      update: A clip reporting on Carney’s comments (I think CNBC) indicating he maintains that all sovereign currencies will soon need a standard against which to devalue when necessary in order to keep accounting in balance. Implying once again something traditional like gold but not saying so. He apparently avoids talking about gold and says that a digital currency like “libra” would work because it is based on a basket of sovereign currencies and there’s some fog weaving through his floating idea that crypto or gold might be included. Indicating that this new digital medium of international exchange is kinda private; organized exogenously to all currencies by some mysterious force. What a scam. If the world must devalue its sovereign currencies against anything it should be something as solid as reality, something objectively measurable and verifiable. It should be a virtual science project. The only way to create an actual materially significant standard to stabilize currencies is to use the progress toward a clean environment; social justice and good science. That standard is rock solid and it comes with a neat twist: If a country devalues it currency against this progressive material standard it automatically makes the standard worth more and thus it’s a wash if their fiscal spending is used for those same good purposes. No? But I’m sure guys like Larry Summers would prefer to arbitrarily concoct some standard over which they have private control and can skimscam to their little hearts’ content.

  33. Chris

    Your daily dose of MSM madness, once again, courtesy of Slate.

    Kaplan’s analysis assumes that any President could lead Japan and South Korea out of the current mess. It also assumes that such leadership is desired or valued by the Japanese and the Koreans. That’s something that had been on the wane since before Obama and the failed TPP, and even Obama stepped in it with respect to the Koreans and the Japanese. But because it’s Trump, of course it’s something that is presented as a current failing which has only happened after Jamuary 2017. Kaplan gets to mentioning that this is something other presidents have struggled with towards the end. But he still frames it as something that Americans and their Presidents can do to the world as opposed to something that happens without American agency.


    As if the increasing power of China wouldn’t upset things? As if economic issues throughout that part of Asia wouldn’t upset things? As if Trump seriously trying to build bridges with North Korea wouldn’t change things as the Japanese directly fear a unified Korea? I have enjoyed Kaplan’s writing in the past. Sad to see him publish under TDS headlines.

  34. richard

    Hey there, not sure if anyone took the Gamera vs. Barugon challenge last night, but if you did, then like I you discovered a hidden little anti-imperialist gem. I’d forgotten so much about it! Here is the thumbnail:
    *Gamera opens the film on the loose, having escaped from the Plan Z pod the humans trapped him in before they shot him into space
    *A group of investors is planning to steal a priceless opal from the people of New Guinea – there are four:
    Greedy Evil Mastermind Who Stays Behind
    Greedy Stupid Guy
    Greedy Evil Psychopath
    Hard Working Guy Looking For A Big Score to Start His Dream Business
    *The investors quickly turn to violence and murder to extract the native’s wealth
    the natives beg them not to go and try to stop them
    Evil shoots at them, then
    *Stupid gets a scorpion on him (they are Dangerous in that part of the world)
    and Evil doesn’t tell him, so he dies, and then Evil throws grenades at Big Dream to trap him in the opal cave
    * Big Dream wakes up in a jungle hospital, where Native Girl and Paul Gauguin explain that it’s not an opal, dummy. It’s an EGG! Of course, and out comes Barugon, first as a little, yellow baby monster, then soon after that a grown-up with freezing breath and this ant-eater tongue that knocks down Kobe Tower. He is a dog-lizard.
    *Meanwhile Evil and Mastermind are at each others throats because Mastermind finds out Evil killed the other two. They engage in homicidal type behavior and Evil triumphs, but without actually homiciding.
    *Barugon squishes Evil like a turnip, without a second thought, along with a million other things he’s squishing and freezing.
    *Scientists find a couple of devices to combat Barugon’s strengths. Some mist to combat his freeze ray, and a mirror to shoot his laser eyes back at him. The devices work. The scientists then say this is hopeless, we’re out of ideas. :^
    * Then Gamera comes and Barugon is defeated because Gamera is super neat. G then spins off into space, beloved by everyone.

    I liked this move for several reasons: no kid or love interest angle shoehorned in. The kids in Gamera movies vary from cloying to annoying, so it’s good to miss that.
    The “natives” were not realistic in any sense, but were treated with dignity, and the clear implication was that they were much wiser than anyone else in the movie.
    Gamera does all his own stunts, as usual. A solid B.

    1. ewmayer

      Thanks for the synopsis! :) That’s actually more of anti-greedy-capitalist set-up, reminiscent of the singing-fairies kidnapping and exploitation-for-entertainment angle in Mothra. Was any turtle meat harmed in the making of this movie, and was this the ep.4 Gamera vs. Barugon or the ep.51 re-do?

      1. richard

        Well, this was the original from 1966, but also should mention i watched it riffed (joking on) by Joel and the bots of MST3K. That would be anathema to a lot of people, but I’ve seen so many I don’t get too distracted, and like the illusion of watching with someone else.
        No turtles of any kind were hurt, filmed or consulted in this film. Unlike the original Gamera where there’s this whole abandoned pet turtle/heartbroken kid theme they milk for 40 minutes until Gamera shows up and starts eating fire, and taking names.
        p.s. I probably am stretching a bit to describe it as “anti-imperialist”, though that was very much in the air in the 60’s and 70’s, especially outside u.s. cinema

        1. ewmayer

          Both mst3k #4 and #51 were based on the same 1966 film – I was asking which of those those 2 eps. was shown last night. I’m guessing the later #51, as the original KTMA episodes are really rough and hard to watch.

          1. richard

            ahh! Yeah, I didn’t watch the ‘kindergarten’ KTMA episode :)
            I have seen a few of those (Superdome starring David Jannsen is a guilty favorite)
            As a rule they’re pretty spotty
            kind of a stony feel, stream of consciousness
            I believe the show started out largely improvisational (though I don’t think for very long)

  35. ewmayer

    On the heels of the “Ohio State U. tries to trademark the word ‘The'” story in recent Links:

    Patent office sacks Brady’s bid for ‘Tom Terrific’ trademark

    Note this one has a twist:

    “Brady has said he doesn’t even like the nickname and was just trying to trademark it to keep others from using it without his permission. But [Tom] Seaver fans accused Brady of trying to appropriate their hero’s identity.”

    Now, should Brady ever change his mind and decide he really wants said moniker, he could always go the legal-name-change route, like former middleweight champ Marvin Hagler, who, per Wikipedia:

    “In 1982, annoyed that network announcers often did not refer to him by his nickname, ‘Marvelous’, Hagler legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler.”

      1. ewmayer

        That could be problematic, as it is rather close to “I am America (And So Can You!)”, the title of a book by comedian – well, at least he used to be funny – Stephen Colbert. IOW, your category name may represent a trademark violation.

      1. ewmayer

        A.k.a. the greatest 8 minutes in boxing history – man did those two ever come out slugging in that one!

  36. Off The Street

    American companies, politicians and especially lobbyists should be required to commit to an updated version of the Sullivan Principles. Those got the attention of the world at a time when South Africa was lurching toward a post-apartheid society. That leads to a few questions.

    1. How to define principles without dilution by those feral wordsmiths noted above.
    2. How to enroll people in some group-sourced monitoring, or similar engagement.
    3. How to encourage, shame or otherwise get and keep engagement.

    The Giving Pledge could serve as a rough model, as more squillionaires joined than people may have expected.

    P.s., sorry for two links to Wikipedia.

  37. barrisj

    One of the best obits of David Koch so far:

    David Koch, 1940-2019

    David Koch, a radical plutocrat who funded right-wing extremist movements for decades and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction, has died at 79.
    The most profound consequence of David Koch’s life will likely be his contributions to climate change. In 2010, Greenpeace dubbed Koch Industries a “finanical kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition,” even as it grew into one of the worst polluters in the United States. Long after the scientific consensus had become clear and an international consensus had assembled for aggressive action against climate change, Koch-funded propaganda and lobbying organs maintained a radicalized opposition to action in the United States.If human civilization fails to act quickly enough to prevent the mass extinctions and social upheaval likely to accompany runaway climate change, much of the responsibility will lie directly and personally with him.

    Tragically, David Koch never saw most of the suffering and destruction his life visited upon our planet. In his final years, however, the libertarian movement he built had already fallen into decline; the Republican party he had worked to control had dramatically slipped the leash; and the largest socialist movement in modern American history, along with an ambitious and aggressive movement to fight climate change, were both on the ascent. David’s reactionary politics may yet win the day, but he died with every reason to believe that they may fail. Let us see that they do.

    1. wilroncanada

      Reading Jane Mayer’s book, Dark Money, chapter 1, the bio of the Koch family: Their investment in accelerating the climate denial movement began in about 1969, when they bought controlling interest in the Pine Bend refinery in northern Minnesota, which has ever since been the main refiner of Alberta tar sands bitumen. Their father had bought into the refinery a few years earlier.
      The general gist of her (limited) bio seems to be that while David was very important, Charles, the oldest, has been since the boys’ childhood, the super predator. He is still at it.

  38. Geoffrey Dewan

    Your comment: ‘Clearly, Sanders, Biden, and Trump are more alike than different.’

    I read the whole article and didn’t see Bernie mentioned at all. I guess in this case that could be taken for a good thing since the comparison of old white guys was clearly meant to “contrast” Biden with Trump.

    I do wonder why Bernie gets left out of these discussions, with the results of the Biden/Warren matchup the only thing worth considering. That old white guy from Vermont could surprise everybody…again. Just ask Hillary Clinton….

  39. Mary Wehrheim

    I am a lifetime resident of Wichita KS and I find it interesting that the article on Chase Koch failed to mention that Chase as a teen killed a 12-year-old boy while speeding in his car through a residential neighborhood, the punishment for which was losing his license and agreeing to pay for the funeral. The article gives the impression he was home schooled however he attended the local elite prep school Collegiate where he had a small group of courtiers that hung around him. The local news interviewed one of the students that attends his entrepreneurial “Wonder” school. The little kid looked like a cast member of the 1960 scifi movie “Village of the Damned,” towheaded, dressed in his junior executive suit gravely discussing sales trends in his marketing project.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The problem is that Washington has ignored places like Greenland and it is only now when they realize the mineral wealth there they they are now making a ham-fisted effort to catch up to the Chinese who are into building infrastructure. But the real problem is that when someone from Washington negotiates with locals, they end up talking past each other. Here is how it works out in practice. Washington will send a negotiator to a place like Greenland to talk about what they can do in the way of investment and development.

      “So I believe that you want another military base built in Greenland?”
      “No, no. We just want to talk about regular stuff like an upgrade for our main port for our fishing boats.”
      “Ah, so you want a naval base, do you?”
      “No. Nothing like that. We just want normal stuff like help with electronic communications”
      “So you would like us to build an electronic surveillance post to spy on the Russkies? Good idea that”
      “No, no, not at all. Just help with our mobile coverage.”
      “So you want to cover your towns and cities with CCTV coverage to track everybody better. Gotta keep a watch on those Inuits!”
      “Look, you are not listening to us. You still haven’t found that H-bomb that you lost here back in 1968 you know!”
      “We could offer tactical nuclear missiles to defend you country against Iranian nuclear missiles. Is that what you want?”
      “Look, how about just a resupply of pistol ammunition for our local police force?”
      “We can offer you our new F-35 with easy financial terms. You are spending 2% of your economy on your military, aren’t you?”
      “We don’t even have a military! Never mind. It is time for our meeting with the Chinese now. They are talking about roads, bridges, harbours and mobile towers”
      “You realize that we will sanction you if you talk to the Chinese?”

    2. wilroncanada

      I want the Canadian Lotto 649 winnings this week, $5million. So I propose that the Canadian government give it to me, even though it is under the direction of the BC Lottery Corporation. They’d better give it to me, or they’re all nasty, and I won’t leave my home to pay my taxes!

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      What was absurd was to think the Danish government would entertain such an offer.

  40. Ex-Pat

    The Joe Biden physical condition makes the VP selection even more critical. Is Hillary Clinton waiting for a call so that her turn, or Her Turn, or HER TURN, can finally arrive? Many hope that is not the case around the world.

  41. petal

    Where am I? Campaigning in Keene, Biden says he won’t criticize Trump on foreign policy while president is overseas
    “Biden spoke earlier Saturday at Keene State, where he received a warm welcome from the crowd. But when he addressed reporters outside Lindy’s, he misspoke on the city’s location.

    “What’s not to like about Vermont in terms of the beauty of it and what a neat town,” he said.

    That came just before a question about some voters having concerns about Biden’s age.

    “I’d say if they’re concerned, don’t vote for me,” he said.

    Voters who spoke with WMUR said they were inspired by Biden’s message to unite the country. They’re interested in a candidate who can beat Trump and believe Biden is that person.”

  42. richard

    Hey, NC and Yves just got a boost in the latest Radio War Nerd podcast (their first podcast in front of a live audience).They were talking about suspicious suicides (epstein) and co-host Mark Ames mentioned Naked Capitalism and the fearless Yves Smith in the context of the “suicide” of a state’s witness in a Nevada case against a foreclosure robo-signing mill.
    Anyway, the crowd cheered you Yves and NC :) It’s a little after the 1:37 mark in the latest episode, 194.

    1. CoryP

      I only recently started listening to Radio War Nerd after hearing Tom Dolan/Gary Brecher on Chapo (Syria episode — fantastic).

      Long very informative interviews. Highly recommended. I just finished their pre-election 2018 episode on the 20th century history of Brazil. Good stuff.

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