2:00PM Water Cooler 9/10/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


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

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

Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart:

And here is (are) the latest poll(s) as of 9/10/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

Morning Consult, the behemoth, weighs in. Biden up (33%), Warren (16%) and Sanders (21%) have exchanged the lead again, with Sanders stretching it out (if you accept an average of all polls with no “secret sauce” for poll selection). And the polling detail:

I think dk has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

UPDATE 2019-08-30: Now the polls aggregated (all available) are shown at the bottom of the poll. We also give more detail about each poll than RCP, and allow candidates to be selected or deselected. That’s three reasons what dk is doing beats RCP, and if we can make the individual polls selectable/highlightable, that will be four reasons. With more to come, grid willing.

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Harris (D)(1): “Scavenged ballot box lids haunt S.F. elections” [San Francisco Chronicle (Cat Burglar)]. From 2002, still germane: “The bright red box tops that keep washing up around the Bay Area are floating reminders of a problem in San Francisco, the remnants of ballot boxes that somehow got beyond the control of the city’s embattled Department of Elections. The corrugated plastic ballot box lids, each marked with the city seal and the words “Provisional and Absentee Ballots,” first raised the concerns of election watchdogs shortly after the city’s November election, when eight of them were found near the Golden Gate Bridge by the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. Since then, despite assurances from city elections Director Tammy Haygood that the box lids merely blew into the bay while election workers cleaned them on a city pier, the issue has resurfaced time and again.” • I hoisted this from coments on the PG&E post, because we need to remind ourselves that, irrespective of anything that happened in 2016, the California Democrat Party has a rich, not to say fishy tradition of election theft, as Yves’ recent post on CalPERS’ see-through ballot envelopes shows. And Harris is the “favorite daughter” of the California Democrats.

Sanders (D)(1): Good press from Dr. Oz:

Sanders (D)(2): “Bernie Sanders Went to Canada, and a Dream of ‘Medicare for All’ Flourished” [New York Times]. “A review of hundreds of pages of documents from the first chapters of his political career — including speeches, correspondences and newspaper clippings — as well as interviews with those who have known him throughout his life, show that while his democratic socialist worldview underpins his “Medicare for all” pitch, he was also guided by other factors. Chief among them were his mother’s illness and death, which instilled in him the desire to ensure everyone had access to medical care, and the adjacency of Vermont to Canada, which afforded him a blueprint for universal health care. Together, they help explain why he has staked not only his campaign, but also much of his political legacy, on promoting “Medicare for all.'” • I don’t know what’s gotten into Sidney Ember; this doesn’t read like a hit piece. Does Ember stick in the shiv in some subtle way that I’ve missed?

Sanders (D)(3): “What Bernie Sees in the New Deal” (interview) [Seth Ackerman, Jacobin]. “[Sanders] also says his campaign is about extending the principle of democracy to the economy with ideas like worker ownership funds. Decommodification and democracy at work are big parts of what socialism has meant from the very beginning. The earliest models of socialism that people fought for would sound remarkably modest today. In the early nineteenth century, the first socialist mass movement in France was pretty vague about socialism’s definition, but what it often meant in practice was a government program to give unemployed workers loans to start cooperatives. That was the de facto program of a literal revolutionary movement, with bloodshed, barricades, and all the rest of it. Politics changes over time and so do definitions of socialism. When we look at Bernie’s concept of socialism, we should remember that Marx and Engels always said it was more important to have a real movement of workers who understand their real interests than it is to have a perfect, doctrinally correct program. When Engels talked about American politics in the late nineteenth century, he said he much preferred the populistic Knights of Labor or “agrarian reformers” to the hyper-orthodox Marxists of the Socialist Labor Party, who sounded like Marxoid robots when they talked. He much preferred the messy, ideologically incoherent Knights of Labor because they actually represented a real movement of workers fighting for some kind of egalitarian vision in opposition to the established order.” • Many Jacobin articles feel like they’re written by grad students. This is not one of them.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Under Fire For Forcing Astronauts To Stay In Irish Trump Hotel While On Specialized Space Mission” [The Onion]. • The Onion is, once again, a pitch perfect index to our level of discourse.

Warren (D)(1): “The Legitimization Machine: Elizabeth Warren” [Jeremey Toback, Medium (CI)]. “While Warren did provide symbolic bluster as chairperson, [The Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP (COP)] did nothing to alter TARP’s commitment to funneling relief money through banks or prevent 10 million people from losing their homes. Whether COP was powerless to do more or not is immaterial….. Despite Warren’s claim that the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)] was ‘about making markets work for people, not making markets work for a handful of companies that scrape all the value off to themselves,’ the agency’s cop schtick has functioned as performative cover for escalating bank industry power, with profits of 236.7 billion in 2018, a record increase from 2017 of 44%-72.4 billion. The CFPB’s individualist ‘bad-actor’ approach has also made it vulnerable to rollback under Trump, because it has done nothing for the majority of millions impacted by usurious but legal practices. Both COP and CFPB are textbook examples of neoliberal legitimization. They brag about punching the big bad bully in the arm, while allowing him to smash his other elbow into our face, take our wallet, and leave us lying on the blacktop, breathing blood.”

* * *

“Just Who Are These Undecided Voters, Anyway?” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “The key takeaway from this analysis is that while swing voters don’t look too different from the overall electorate in terms of demographics, they are very different temperamentally. Since they pay less attention than other voters and are less likely to believe that the outcome is important, you just have to wonder how many of these undecided will really vote. Further, we can expect those who do to check into the race very late.”

Our Famously Free Press

“One America News Sues Rachel Maddow, NBC Over ‘Russian Propaganda’ Claim” [Hollywood Reporter]. “One America News Network, a small cable news channel that strongly supports President Donald Trump’s agenda, filed a lawsuit filed a lawsuit alleging that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow defamed the company by saying that it ‘really literally is paid Russian propaganda.’ The convoluted $10 million suit begins with the network’s claim that Maddow’s comment was partially in retaliation for a decision by MSNBC parent company Comcast to not carry OAN. ‘The Complaint alleges that Comcast refused to carry OAN as part of its cable programming because OAN counters the liberal politics of its own channel, MSNBC,’ the company said. ‘The Complaint further alleges that one week after OAN’s President, Charles Herring, called out and objected to Comcast’s anti-competitive censorship in an email to Comcast’s President of Content Acquisition, MSNBC’s most popular show — The Rachel Maddow Show — opened with the show’s host, Rachel Maddow, telling her audience that OAN ‘really literally is paid Russian propaganda.’ MSNBC has not yet commented on the suit, but OAN claims that Maddow ‘knew this statement was false’ and made it ‘to damage OAN’s business and reputation’ because of the network’s strong conservative leanings. A lawyer for OAN, Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, LLP, said the network ;is wholly owned, operated and financed by the Herring family in San Diego. They are as American as apple pie. They are not paid by Russia and have nothing to do with the Russian government.'” • As far as the apple pie goes, Robert Herring founded Wealth TV, so, yeah. “[R]eally literally is paid Russian propaganda,” though, yikes. I don’t know defamation law, but surely there’s a prima facie case here?

Health Care

“Where the top Democratic U.S. presidential candidates stand on ‘Medicare for All'” [Reuters]. “‘I think for the general public, the debate’s been baffling,’ said Tricia Neuman, the director of the Medicare policy program at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘There’s been a lot of talk about Medicare for All and a lot of these other proposals, but the differences between them are fairly hard to decipher.'” • Lol, KHN is supposed to be educating the public, and if the debate’s confusing, that’s because they’re not doing their putative job. Also, there are two Medicare bills on the floor: Sanders’s and Jayapal’s (Jayapa’s is better). When Neuman says “there’s been a lot of talk about Medicare for All,” wowsers, what a tell.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE Union-busting at Neera Tanden’s talking shop, how surprising:

UPDATE “The Center for American Progress Is a Disgrace” [Splinter News]. “If there’s any lesson to be gleaned from this, it’s that liberal think tanks like the Center for American Progress are not a friend to media workers, or workers in general. These places, and the people who run them, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to ‘unify’ all of the various wings of the progressive and liberal movements (with a desire for less input from some wings than others, I imagine) under the banner of being on the same ‘team’ against the Republican Party. But it ultimately didn’t matter that these bosses were liberal and nice, rather than being some obvious shitbag like Joe Ricketts. The workers at this site still got jerked around for quite a long time before being unceremoniously dumped under the reasoning that the media industry just isn’t profitable enough. (This coming from an organization that gave the totally cash-poor Georgetown University law school over half a million dollars in 2017.) The fact is that these people, as they have proven time and again, will never really be on the same ‘team’ as workers. If CAP is the best that liberals can do when it comes to creating moral and principled institutions to further the progressive movement, it’s worth asking: With friends like these, who needs enemies?” • Apparently, CAP intended to refresh the TP brand with scabs doing to the writing, but that idea was shelved after the predictable outcry, and the site will now be archived.

UPDATE Somebody should ask SEIU if union-busting is what they intended their money to be used for:

“Poor People’s Campaign to register voters on 20-state tour” [Associated Press]. “The Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the campaign, said Monday at a news conference in Washington, D.C., that the tour begins Sept. 16 in El Paso, Texas, and will culminate on June 20 with an assembly on the National Mall in Washington. Three stops are planned in at least 22 states, with Day 1 focusing on the communities and their stories; Day 2 on voter registration and Day 3 on a march and rally.” • Shocking and shameful liberal Democrats do nothing to expand the base.

Stats Watch

JOLTS, July 2019: “[J]ob openings continue to edge lower in an indication that the risk of capacity stress in the labor market is easing” [Econoday]. “Yet quits, in a counter signal of labor market strength, rose sharply in the month.

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, August 2019: Unexpectedly, “small business optimism in August eased to its lowest level since March” [Econoday]. “Fewer respondents expect business conditions to improve and fewer see better sales volumes ahead, offsetting gains in hiring, earnings trends, and capital spending plans.”


My bank has been bought (again). I hope they don’t get rid of the tellers for my branch, but I bet they’d like to…

Shipping: “Trucking companies—like Uber and Lyft—say their drivers aren’t employees, worsening inequality and pollution” [Fast Company] (original). “‘The dirtiest trucks in the state [are] driven by a largely immigrant workforce that is highly exploited,’ says [Sam Appel of the UC Berkeley Labor Center]. These aren’t the people who can afford to pay more than $200,000 for a zero-emission electric truck, the projected cost of such a vehicle in 2024.”

Shipping: “Amazon Pushes Fast Shipping but Avoids Responsibility for the Human Cost” [New York Times]. “Amazon’s promise of speedy delivery has come at a price, one largely hidden from public view. An investigation by ProPublica identified more than 60 accidents since June 2015 involving Amazon delivery contractors that resulted in serious injuries, including 10 deaths. That tally is most likely a fraction of the accidents that have occurred: Many people don’t sue, and those who do can’t always tell when Amazon is involved, court records, police reports and news accounts show. Even as Amazon argues that it bears no legal responsibility for the human toll, it maintains a tight grip on how the delivery drivers do their jobs.”

The Bezzle: “It looks like Uber is getting into the small loan business for its drivers” [Recode]. • The drive toward profitability! Microloans have been very good to lenders elsewhere in the Third World, so I expect Uber will do well.

The Bezzle: “Welcome to San Diego. Don’t Mind the Scooters.” [New York Times]. “Since scooter rental companies like Bird, Lime, Razor, Lyft and Uber-owned Jump moved into San Diego last year, inflating the city’s scooter population to as many as 40,000 by some estimates, the vehicles have led to injuries, deaths, lawsuits and vandals. Regulators and local activists have pushed back against them. One company has even started collecting the vehicles to help keep the sidewalks clear. ‘My constituents hate them pretty universally,’ said Barbara Bry, a San Diego City Council member. She called for a moratorium on the scooters when they arrived, saying they clogged sidewalks and were a danger to pedestrians.” • Some of us were skeptical from the beginning…

Manufacturing: “Federal labor board overturns Boeing SC union bid” [Post and Courier]. “The National Labor Relations Board on Monday ruled that flight-line workers at Boeing Co.’s North Charleston plant can’t join the International Association of Machinists union as their own separate group.The board, in a 3-to-1 vote, said the proposed flight-line bargaining unit of just two job descriptions did not meet federal standards because the workers aren’t distinct from the site’s overall workforce of about 2,700 maintenance and production workers…. The aerospace giant argued that the flight-line readiness technicians and inspectors who voted to join the IAM must be included in the larger community of workers at the plant, where Boeing builds its 787 Dreamliner commercial jet. That larger community of Boeing employees voted overwhelmingly in 2017 not to join the IAM, which has tried for years to organize the plant’s workers. The IAM already represents about 35,000 Boeing workers at the planemaker’s plants in Washington state.”

Manufacturing: “SpaceX satellite was on “collision course” until ESA satellite was re-routed” [Ars Technica]. “”For the first time ever, ESA has performed a ‘collision avoidance maneuver’ to protect one of its satellites from colliding with a ‘mega constellation,'” the ESA said on Twitter. The “mega constellation” ESA referred to is SpaceX’s Starlink broadband system, which is in the early stages of deployment but could eventually include nearly 12,000 satellites.” • The larger satellite, where the operator has more skin in the game, had to move for Musk’s satellite, which is disposable and has buggy software. Commercialization!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 45, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 10 at 12:09pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly. I guess Mr. Market has priced in whatever he was dithering about pricing in?

The Biosphere

“Negative emotional contagion and cognitive bias in common ravens (Corvus corax)” [PNAS]. “Emotional contagion is described as an emotional state matching between subjects, and has been suggested to facilitate communication and coordination in complex social groups…. [Our result] critically expands upon observational studies of contagious play in ravens, providing experimental evidence that emotional contagion is present not only in mammalian but also in avian species. Importantly, this finding also acts as a stepping stone toward understanding the evolution of empathy, as this essential social skill may have emerged across these taxa in response to similar socioecological challenges.” • The word “contagion” seems a little loaded.

“Crabs and shrimp are looking for love, finding sickness at the polluted Deepwater Horizon spill site” [The Times-Picayune]. “Deep-sea crabs and shrimp have been appearing in droves at the oil-soaked site of the Deepwater Horizon rig. The likely reason, according to new research: Chemicals released from old, degraded oil mimic the hormones that put crustaceans in the mood for love. But potential mates flocking to the polluted site 40 miles off the Louisiana coast aren’t exactly keepers. ‘Their shells were black, and they had a lot of parasites on them,’ said Craig McClain, director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, which led the research. ‘Many (crabs) were missing claws. They looked really unhealthy.'” • I’m reminded here of Dick Cheney. On several levels.


Rivers like tree structures:

Health Care

UPDATE Census reports on health insurance coverage:

I’d argue that Medicare enrollment is “stable” because the eligibility requirements are simple. They’re age-based, and can’t be gamed by income, location, etc.

UPDATE “‘UVA has ruined us’: Health system sues thousands of patients, seizing paychecks and putting liens on homes” [WaPo]. “The hospital ranked No. 1 in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report is taxpayer supported and state-funded, not a company with profit motives and shareholder demands. Like other nonprofit hospitals, it pays no federal, state or local taxes on the presumption it offers charity care and other community benefits valued at least as much as those breaks. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), a pediatric neurologist, oversees its board. UVA officials defended the institution’s practices as legally required and necessary ‘to generate positive operating income’ to invest in medical education, new facilities, research and the latest technology.” • Ralph Northam. Liberal Democrats, gotta love ’em, right? More seriously, funding capital investment out of revenues from patient care is insane and evil suboptimal, and preventing that is one reason Jayapal’s bill is better than Sanders’ bill.

Speaking of Canada:

Good one-liner for the next debate…

Class Warfare

“On “AI” replacing jobs and humans” [Nodes in a Social Network]. “While ‘AI’ company founders, Venture Capitalists, autonomous car fans, politicians hoping for a new industrial revolution to replace car manufacturing or scientists claim that ‘AI’ is basically just very few years if not months away (just as it has been for at least 60 years now) reality doesn’t fully comply with these vision statements. ‘AI’ services more often than not have to admit outsourcing work to underpaid and exploited humans – so-called fauxtomation. Or their impressive results fall apart upon closer inspection when their amazing emotion recognition system just doesn’t see black people or the self driving car just can’t deal with people moving around on streets.” • As we saw yesterday with companies that verify AirBnB addresses.

UPDATE “Tackle the epidemic, not the opioids” [Nature]. “The current opioid epidemic is a symptom of the fraying of the socio-economic fabric of the rural United States. The epidemic arose in the 1990s in areas that had experienced economic decline, a brain drain and population loss over decades. Many factors combined to create a monstrous situation in which small towns were flooded with prescription opioids: the preponderance of injury-prone hard labour jobs, requirements that physicians routinely ask patients about pain, aggressive marketing by the pharmaceutical industry, greed and extensive job losses from the collapse of key rural industries such as coal mining…. Federal grants come tagged for combating opioids and cannot be repurposed to deal with the rising incidence of methamphetamine misuse. The narrow focus on opioids means we cannot keep up with the drug du jour cycle: we will just keep playing whack-a-mole. Similar short-sightedness has kept us from addressing syndemics — epidemics that accompany the use of injection drugs.” • Everything’s going according to plan!

News of the Wired

“What’s next in making Encrypted DNS-over-HTTPS the Default” [Mozilla]. • Seems like it could be important?

UPDATE “The Alpha Hypothesis: Did Lateralized Cattle–Human Interactions Change the Script for Western Culture?” [Animals]. From the abstract: “Domestic cattle possess lateralized cognitive processing of human handlers. This has been recently demonstrated in the preference for large groups of cattle to view a human closely within the predominantly left visual field. By contrast, the same stimulus viewed predominantly within the right visual field promotes a significantly greater frequency of dispersal from a standing position, including flight responses. The respective sets of behaviours correspond with the traditional terms of “near side” for the left side of cattle and horses, and the “off” or “far side” for the right side. These traditional terms of over 300 years usage in the literature communicate functional practicalities for handling livestock and the recognition of lateralized cognitive processing. In this review, the possibility of even earlier recognition and the significance of laterality in cattle-human interaction was argued, from the earliest representations of the letter “A”, originally illustrated from nearly 4000 years before the present time as the head of an ox as viewed not from the front or from the right, but from the left (near) side. By extension, this knowledge of lateralization in cattle may represent the earliest written example of applied ethology—the study of the behaviour of animals under human management.”

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

Re Silc writes: “Doing well in southern Vermont.”

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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. Carey

    ‘UK government to target “far left” in revised Counter Extremism Strategy’:

    “..A report published by the UK government’s Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) has branded large sections of the “left” in Britain as “extremist.” It claims the left’s “revolutionary workerist ideas” are associated with increased sympathy for “violent extremist tactics..”


    1. Ibac Cibac

      Regarding the SpaceX and ESA satellite collision risk event, this is inaccurate:

      Manufacturing: “SpaceX satellite was on “collision course” until ESA satellite was re-routed”

      Here’s SpaceX’s side of the story, not disputed by ESA.

      Long story short: SpaceX and ESA were in contact when the initial collision risk was determined, and they jointly decided that neither of their satellites will have to move to a different orbit. Then, due to a bug on the SpaceX side, SpaceX didn’t notice when the collision risk increased a few days later beyond the critical risk threshold.

      The collision risk was never higher than 1:10,000.

      ESA was able to move their satellite safely and by ~200 meters in a routine maneuver that is performed dozens of times by ESA satellites every year, because they could rely on SpaceX not moving their satellite in the same direction, given their earlier agreement to not move the satellites.

      SpaceX addressed the bug and announced a review of their procedures.

  2. Tim

    Sanders ran a 4 minute 37 second mile? Back then it would have been on a cinder track with clanky heavy shoes. That is D1 college competitive athleticism, including cardiovascular.

    No wonder he is as healthy and energetic as he is at his age. God gave him a give of not just mind, but body as well.

    1. Geo

      If I could donate 10 years of my own life to Sanders I would. Not being hard on myself by saying that nothing I ever accomplish with my life will have the impact an additional 10 years for his would do.

      I’d also gladly give RBG a couple more years too right now.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think the Democrat establishment will turn on Sanders and savage him when he gets too close, but stuff like this insulates him. “Oh, I dunno. I saw Bernie on Dr. Oz and he was OK. ”

      I’m sure oil and steel money failson Kessler is feverishingly checking 4 minutes 37 seconds right now, and it’s going to turn out to be 4 minutes 36.5 seconds with an old-fashioned stop watch, hand-held, and so another bazillion Pinocchios for Sanders. I smell Pulitzer!

      1. JohnnyGL

        As far as trying to look at the tectonic plates moving beneath the surface, MorningConsult has Sanders improving his favorability, vis-a-vis Biden and on an absolute basis. He’s top dog, now!


        If the media shifts from ‘blackout’ to ‘attack’ mode, it might already be too late. Especially if it looks orchestrated. It hasn’t worked against Trump, and it’s not working against Biden, either!

        1. Hepativore

          To be fair, the “attack” strategy might work in his favor, as people might see him as a martyr against the wealthy and corporatists that despise him.

          I have been hearing reports that several states have voted to cancel their Republican primaries so that nobody challenges Trump. The chances of a serious Republican contender to Trump would be laughable, but the idea of cancelling a primary to favor a candidate should be outlawed.

          I wonder if the Democrats could and would try something similar? I am cautiously optimistic about Sanders. The problem is the DNC leadership hates him so much that I do not think that there is any length that they would not go to at this point to stop him from winning the primaries or becoming president, blatantly illegal or not.

          1. Grant

            “I do not think that there is any length that they would not go to at this point to stop him from winning the primaries or becoming president, blatantly illegal or not.”

            Is it illegal if a private entity denies someone the chance to lead that (corrupt) private party? The DNC has argued in court that it can deny someone the nomination if those running that party want to. I think what could happen is that party could face an existential crisis if it is caught, and if you read that NY Times article about the anti-Sanders contingent in that party (which includes Pelosi, Tanden and Pete B, among others), they said that they don’t want to get to the point where he has such a strong lead that they can’t go with someone else. They realize that if he were to win solidly over others that they couldn’t just give it to someone else, for no other reason than it would look horrible. But, nothing to stop them from doing what they did last time in places like NY and California. It is hard to put into words how corrupt and undemocratic that party is. That is why I think Biden will stay in the race as long as he can and as long as he continues to get some votes. Even if he has no chance and will not actually become president, he has a role in denying Bernie the presidency.

            What I want to know is how it is legal for two private entities to take control of our political system as they have. We have something against this in the economic realm, which is anti-trust law (not really used much these days I know). Is there not something similar in the political realm? If not, why not? How can two parties take control of the political system, make it impossible to face other competitors and write the rules as to which their competitors have to abide by? Can Coke or Nike explicitly do that? Why should the Democratic and Republican parties be able to do that?

            1. Carey

              I don’t have an answer, though I recall a Supreme Court opinion stating that
              we do in fact have a “two-party system”, despite that not being codified.
              Maybe someone else remembers the particulars.

              To your last sentence: because the donor class want it that way.

              1. Grant


                I agree, but the question is why should they be able to do that? Can anything be done? It seems that two party states are not radically different than one party states. I used to live in China, and there is far more ideological diversity in the Communist Party there than there is in this system, dominated by these two parties.

                1. Hepativore

                  From what I understand, the argument put forth by Mike Spiva is that as a private organization, the DNC can do whatever it likes. However, since it takes public money for a specific “stated” purpose, then it has to use said money for said purpose, otherwise it is misappropriating said public money. Yet, if the DNC is a public organization as most people thought it was before 2016, then it is bound by the rules of a public institution.

                  I am a mere histologist, not a legal professional, but it almost seems like the DNC is trying to have it both ways by defining itself as whatever is most convenient at the time.

                  Also, the lawsuit regarding election fraud brought against the DNC was rejected on a technicality by the judge, so it would seem that the argument of what the DNC actually is from a legal standpoint is still up in the air. In any case, Spiva’s argument does not seem like it passes the smell test.

                2. Carey

                  Well, Sanders sure seems to be working on it, as does the Movement for a People’ Party.

                  “.. I used to live in China, and there is far more ideological diversity in the Communist Party there than there is in this system..”

                  I have never been there, but can sure believe that. My take on Our Political Economy is still well-expressed in the Jim Jarmusch film ‘Dead Man’.

          2. wilroncanada

            As has been noted here previously, US political parties are private clubs. You cannot outlaw a private club from changing its rules.

    3. Winston Smith

      4:37? Pretty good. My best time in high school was a 4:05 1500M which translates to roughly 4:23. That was in 1979 and Bernie’s was probably in 1959-60. Go Bernie (or EW)!

        1. John k

          I did 7.5 a couple of times. In the days of my youth. Pretty proud of it.
          I’d give you fleet of foot.
          Bernie? Bloody fast.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          As available as any dead person. I’d take his infamous brother Charles over any likely D foreign policy snake as a high-level foreign policy adviser the the President. The Kochs have leaned against interventionism and bloated defense budgets for decades. This is an area where a left-right alliance could be fruitful.

      1. The evil you know

        In the “security business” one of the reasons for not killing off people because their successors would be even worse…

        1. jo6pac

          LOL sorry I didn’t mean to ruin the moment for you;-) Who knows maybe the trumpster will leave the position open since stable genius.

      1. Jen

        That seems infinitely less satisfying than driving over him with a tank, backing up and repeating, but given the nature of the beast, a stake is probably our best bet.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Bolton didn’t deliver for the Boss on anything, war or peace. Not on North Korea, not on Iran, especially not on Venezuela. So he got fired. Next! (Worth noting that for all the hysteria and the yammering, Trump hasn’t gotten us into a major war, not even on the scale of Libya, let alone Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s still time, though.)

      Maybe that Nye dude to replace Bolton? The one who thinks we should have dropped some more nukes after 1945?

      1. Geo

        It’s depressing to think that Trump is the best “peace president” we’ve had in my lifetime. Depressing, but so far it’s the truth.

        That said, his Clintonian reliance on sanctions is horrendous and his veto of the Yemen bill still makes him very much a murderous monster.

        1. John k

          But, one must say, more worthy of the peace prize to date than anybody since when?
          Maybe bill? IMO he gets a pass in the balkans, the eu shoulda and coulda stopped all that.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > more worthy of the peace prize

            That’s the other thing the liberal Democrats are yammering about: “Trump only wants to get out of Afghanistan to win the Nobel Peace Prize!!!!!” But (1) so [family blogging] what and (2) good for him, if true.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Did Bolton first offer to resign last night, with Trump responding that he would think it over?

        And did that temporizing give the latter the opportunity to fire the former?

      3. rd

        Bolton was his most baffling appointment. Trump had run on getting us out of wars. He then appointed Bolton as his NSA. Bolton has spent his entire career trying to instigate invasions of other countries. As far as I can tell, his philosophy is that the US should invade every Muslim or socialist country unless the countries allow themselves to be occupied by a US multi-national corporation instead.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Just a personal anecdote, an example of your reference: my first roommate in college was a gearhead (future scientist) who took the lock on our door apart down to the tumblers and rearranged them so our key worked and the master key didn’t. About this time, I realized that the steel frame of the roof was bolted together – very alarming. Fortunately, a wise contractor had welded the nuts. Whew.

    2. The Rev Kev

      So, how long before the media makes Bolton a Hero of the Resistance and feature him on all their talk shows?

        1. Procopius

          To hear the senior Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee say it, Bolton was a valuable counterweight to Trump.

          From the Rev’s linked story. I.Can’t.Even.

  3. Hepativore

    It is still too early to predict much since voting has not started yet. However, I am rather relieved to see Sanders starting to creep up over Warren again. I am worried that the politically uninformed are going to see Warren and Sanders as largely interchangeable and give in to the DNC’s attempt to prop up Warren should Biden fail now that Harris and Buttigieg are flailing. Also, the identitarians might try and latch on to the fact that she has two X chromosomes. On the other hand, Warren’s attempt to pal around with Hillary Clinton might backfire considering how unpopular Hillary is among many people and rightly so.

    Warren has been analyzed in-depth on this blog in prior posts and comments. Still, it is rather interesting on how now she does not even list her stance on healthcare on her campaign website.

    At this point, Warren simply cannot be trusted not to do the bidding of the DNC establishment in the odd chance that she becomes president.

    1. Knifecatcher

      Every once in a while, in spite of my best efforts, I allow some hope and optimism to creep into my black, withered soul. I had such a thought recently…

      What if… bearing in mind that Bernie and Warren are supposedly legitimately friendly with each other… the neoliberal waffling from Warren is, in fact, strategic? So these news stories about Warren meeting with Hillary, saying things like “access to healthcare”, meeting with Wall Street, etc. are her way of getting the centrists behind her rather than one of the right wing DINOs like Biden.

      At some point, assuming Biden continues to fade and Bernie continues to remain strong she and Bern announce that they’ll be joining forces, with Bernie as Pres and Warren as VP.

      The Bernie hardliners (who would prefer Tulsi as VP) swallow hard and say OK, as long as he’s head of the ticket.

      The Hill-bots swallow hard and talk themselves into the ticket – they hate Bernie, but he’s really old, and they’ve bought into Liz 100%, and having their now “preferred” candidate an 80+ YO heartbeat away from the presidency isn’t all that bad…

      The Sanders / Warren ticket cleans house at the convention and proceeds to wipe the floor with Trump, winning the general in a landslide with a clear mandate. Warren as VP then completes her progressive “face” turn / neoliberal “heel” turn (depending on your perspective), becoming Bernie’s attack dog as VP to bring the banks to heel…

      Yeah, I know. It’s a nice thought anyway.

      1. JohnnyGL

        For perspective, Liz Warren’s campaign is well to the left of any ‘serious’ contender for team dem since, at least 2004. Actually, she’s probably running to left of any ‘major’ candidate since Jackson ’88.

        Kerry, Dean, Clinton, Clinton, Obama, Edwards….none would have dared to say they’re going to break up wall street banks or silicon valley behemoths. They didn’t try to give workers 40% of the seats on corproate boards. They barely pushed tax hikes on income and didn’t dare touch ‘wealth taxes’.

        Of course, it doesn’t really make sense to view Warren’s campaign in a vacuum next to those other campaigns….because she’s filling in the space that Bernie opened up!

        That, right there, is probably the STRONGEST argument for Bernie. He reshapes the political landscape and opens holes on the left for others to run into.

        Can Warren do that? Perhaps, but Bernie’s already been doing it for at least 3 years.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Trouble is (if you read today’s and yesterday’s Links) that Warren talks a great game but nothing ever comes of it. All the sturm and drang in hearings is just for show. So she may say she’ll break up big banks and tech titans.

          There’s no reason to believe she would ever actually do anything about it. Classic Liberal.

        2. Grant

          “For perspective, Liz Warren’s campaign is well to the left of any ‘serious’ contender for team dem since, at least 2004. Actually, she’s probably running to left of any ‘major’ candidate since Jackson ’88.”

          Bernie ran in 2016 and did better than she will do this time around, probably better than he will do, given how many are running. He won 22 states and got shafted out of more. Obama ran well to the left of where he governed, and my guess is that it would be the case with Warren if she was elected. In fact, I would guess that the gap between how she ran versus how she would govern would be wider than Obama’s. I think, if she was elected, that she would be to his left on some issues, but I don’t think she has the radical inclination at all to make her plans a reality. On the most difficult issues of the day, where a politician really needs courage to step out and fight (foreign policy, single payer and the environment), I think she is well short of what we need, but far ahead of others running. That says a lot about the field though. On foreign policy, she is highly problematic, I don’t trust her on single payer at all, and her environmental plan is good, but not nearly as much as Bernie. If she is only going to operate within capitalism, her environmental policies will fall well short of what is needed, and that will have huge implications. I think she is better and more to the left than many others running, but I think that says more about them than her. If we lived in a sane country with a strong social democratic or socialist party, she would not be on the left flank. But, she shares a party with Joe Manchin, the machine in charge of running its candidates in the House is the DCCC, and the DNC is run by Tom Perez. So, relative to that, she is on the left flank. Given what we are facing, we need someone to push the system to the limits, at least as close as possible, and that isn’t her. But, it would be her if Bernie wasn’t running, and I don’t think that bodes well for the future.

          The problem though is that people are not paying tons of attention, and some that identify as being on the left have no interest in thinking critically about actual differences between Bernie and Warren. There are pretty large differences, and if you are to Warren’s left, she is highly problematic. But, many don’t seem to have any respect for critiques of Warren from the left. They will hear critiques from her right in her party and at least respond with some respect, but any critique from her left is dismissed, the person voicing those critiques attacked and what they have to say shot down (no matter how factual and well-reasoned). The left is essentially not allowed to take part in political debates and critiques like others are, and many on the so called left work to make it so that people to Warren’s left have no space to take part in these debates and discussions. It is probably not their intention, but that is the end result of dismissing all leftist critiques of Warren as a Marxist purity test. In actuality, as we know, many of those supporting Warren are economically more well off, whiter, older and have more formal education than Bernie supporters (generally). The relatively well off have never cared tons about the poor, the working class or communities of color, they never really looked at issues from their vantage points, so what the hell do they care if the same healthcare system stays largely in place and thousands still die because of it? It won’t be them. They just need some moderate improvements to point to, so they can show progress. If it isn’t enough, well, you just want the impossible.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            If you put the working class first, you’re on the left. Sanders does. Warren puts markets, and secondarily consumers, first. She’s not on the left. She’s a liberal, a throwback to the days when one could still believe that liberals were principled. I grant that she is not without empathy, especially for the victims of “market failure.” That is an appealing personal characteristic, but, as we know, hope and big structural change is not a function of personality alone. That said, one of Sanders’ appealing characteristics is that he listens to his base, and will change; he’s not in a bubble. A lesson of Warren’s Cherokee debacle is that she doesn’t listen enough to enough people (e.g., the Tribes). She’s much more in a bubble (though I grant not to Clinton’s level).

        3. Carey

          “..For perspective, Liz Warren’s campaign is well to the left of any ‘serious’ contender for team dem since, at least 2004. Actually, she’s probably running to left of any ‘major’ candidate since Jackson ’88..”

          Not seeing it.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I think the urgency of #StopWarren is Defcon1

            They learn. They learn. They slipped in our previous saintly melanoderm one-time state Senator while everyone was bedazzled by Bush’s implosion and the 2008 crisis. Then they learned via Hilary that the plebes need more than just pig lipschtick.

            So now there’s Deus Ex Machina: Angry Library Lady who spouts comforting progresso-speak and who says she’s going to “work toward” solving problems by making sure “everyone is at the table”.

            No. Jamie Dimon doesn’t get to be at the table. Madeleine Albright doesn’t get to be at the table. Jeff Bezos doesn’t get to be at the table.

            1. pretzelattack

              everyone will have “access to the table”. according to our capitalist meritocratic system, as god intended. yay capitalism.

        1. The Rev Kev

          In the end they claimed that Obama was playing 11 dimensional chess. And there lay the problem. All his “victories” were in the 11th dimension but we never saw any of them as we live in a humbler 4th space-time dimension.

      2. Phenix

        I will vote against that ticket. Warren is a warmonger and too close to neoliberals for me to ever vote for her. A Sanders Warren ticket tells me that Sanders will betray our electoral rebellion.

        Sanders Tulsi or bust.

        People overestimate Warren’s support with Bernie supporters from 2016. She supports Clinton. She is dead to me.

      3. Roger Boyd

        Bernie dies days after the inauguration from “old guy related natural causes” a few hours after his first briefing with the CIA.

    2. jrs

      “Warren has been analyzed in-depth on this blog in prior posts and comments. Still, it is rather interesting on how now she does not even list her stance on healthcare on her campaign website.”

      Since this is mostly a talking point that most don’t verify: It’s listed but in effect in the very fine print, “by this revenue measure we will have money for things like GND and M4A”. That’s how it’s listed. It’s certainly not emphasized.

    3. John k

      Too many of Biden’s votes are going to Warren, meaning neolib dems see her as safeguarding their interests.
      My fond hope is that young and indies come out for Bernie in big numbers that get him to victory on first ballot.
      Won’t really know until primaries start.

      1. Carey

        From my POV, Plame’s ad is way, way too slick. No mention of policy, of course.
        “Turn our country around” is empty, meaning anything to anyone (as perhaps intended).

    1. Big River Bandido

      Just what the Democrats need. Another MILO type in Congress. After all, they’ve done so well for the people so far this year.

  4. Carey

    “The Legitimization Machine: Elizabeth Warren” [Jeremey Toback, Medium (CI)” is just

    Not to be missed; with fine framing, quotes, and links. Bravo, Mr. Toback.

  5. Geo

    Getting rid of bank tellers: I’m old enough to remember the hype around ATM’s bringing convenience and savings for consumers – but with ATM fees continuing to increase (most charge $2-3 per transaction it seems now) they’ve become just another way to make us pay Banks more. I’m surprised there isn’t a fee for tellers at this point but can foresee there being all kinds of new “convenience fees” for dehumanized teller-less banks.

      1. Titus

        My sister has been a bank teller in a small NH bank for thirty years. Not ever having to speak to her, sort to speak, was a lost chance to meet a fine human.

    1. Tim

      I have never paid for basic bank services, like a debit card, using an atm, etc. I don’t live in the land of the free.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Teller are most important when making deposits, as I do constantly, having a very small business, because you get a receipt that proves you really made the deposit. Stuff happens, and that proof could be very important.

      I ALWAYS go to a teller when depositing.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I have had to visit a newly refurbished bank branch of a major bank here in OZ and it was a WTF experience. You had ATMs along one side that required a staff member to help people to learn. Then you had all these desks along the other side like an old-fashioned ice-cream parlour. A bird at the front would ask you what you wanted to do and if it was more than a machine could do, she set up an “appointment” with one of the staff at one of these tables. The whole thing was so forced and convoluted and I was glad that I had only temporary business with this major bank.

  6. Geo

    I liked the idea of the CFPB when it was announced but agree it is a very neoliberal approach to fixing the system. Like hiring a low-wage security guard to protect us from a mafia cartel.

    The analogy I’ve started using when speaking of my support for Sanders over Warren and others is this: We’re in a car barreling toward a cliff. Most Dems are more concerned with the car’s performance and whether it has enough gas; Warren wants to make sure we all have our seatbelts on. Only Sanders is willing to make a hard turn -potentially crashing the car but averting the impending plunge off the cliff.

    1. JohnnyGL

      We need 21st Century solutions to the need for tenement-style housing! We need more innovations on time-use like sleeping in shifts in our communal sleeping!

  7. Mark K

    Re: Rivers like tree structures

    I’ve enjoyed teaching my kids, and now grandkids, about the immensity of the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio river system and the tremendous volume of water the lower Mississippi carries, so I am glad to see it get top billing in the map by American Rivers. Actually, the map doesn’t even show the full extent of the Mississippi watershed, since it omits the small part of Alberta and Saskatchewan that are drained by the Milk River and other tributaries of the Missouri.

    1. Wukchumni

      The Sierra Nevada is a most effective draining system of channels cut through granite capable of handling anything from extreme drought to deluges of enormity, whadya got. So many creeks in a normal year, this bountiful winter produced an array of new ones, everything feeding into the river in a mad rush to what would’ve been the largest freshwater lake in the west, Tulare Lake. It never gets there, as in the lake went bankrupt a long time ago, for it was the victim of a holdup at a dam opened in 1962.

      No matter how much snow we get in a winter, it’s all gone by mid August, with just a few small patches on high holding out, and yet the rivers flow is pretty steady, for almost all the water comes from mountain springs, bursting at the seams.

      There’s a couple we fill up water bottles with along Mineral King road, perfect little springs that’ll fill up a quart Nalgene in about 10 seconds. The H20 is about 45 degrees and just what you want on a hot summer day.

  8. WobblyTelomeres

    My sons are musicians, one a guitarist, the other a drummer. When trying to communicate, I asked the guitarist about a popular guitarist OTHER than the ones I have made them listen to from birth (Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Duane Allman, etc), my guitarist listened to maybe 5 seconds and declared flatly, “He’s masturbating.”

    As an old programmer, I have a similar reaction when I read about Elon Musk’s thousands of satellites. This despite my admiration for his accomplishments with reusable rockets.

  9. Roy G

    Sneera Tanden and the Center for ‘American Progress’ neatly represent everything wrong about the Democratic Party. Smug, smooth-talking apparatchiks who punch downwards and denigrate those who aren’t in their DC kool kids klique while wrapping themselves in the progressive flag and holding on tightly to the pole. At least the Republicans are straight up with their poison.

  10. dearieme

    functional practicalities for handling livestock

    I’ve never handled livestock. But I did routinely cross pasture on my way to and from school. I always stayed on the left of the kye. I had no idea why I did that – now I know. Goodness me!

    As a one-off I once went into a pasture that had stirks grazing. I paid them little attention, concentrating on my business which was using an auger to take a soil sample. They chased me out: I had to vault the hedge. Maybe I had strayed to their right. Or maybe they were just lively boys.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Looking back on it, we always herded our cattle from the left flank.
      It just seemed the most comfortable for the animals and us.
      Watched the better half leading her horse yesterday and she was on the left of him.

  11. Winston Smith

    4:37? Pretty good. My best time in high school was a 4:05 1500M which translates to roughly 4:23. That was in 1979 and Bernie’s was probably in 1959-60. Go Bernie (or EW)!

  12. Cal2

    Talk about ballot boxes blowin’ in the bay…
    How about California’s unique ballot harvesting process?

    Three years ago the state legislature passed a law making it lawful for anyone to collect voters’ absentee ballots and drop them off.
    This includes non-profits that register people to vote using their address and then handle large numbers of ballots that they kindly take to the registrar of voters. Any potential for fraud there?


    Separate issue sidebar: We met several people who registered to vote at tables set up at a county fair. The partisan woman at the fold up table had a pile of registration forms she picked up at a library. The friend who registered Democrat got her mail ballot. The other who chose Decline to state, never was registered. It’s easy to discard someone’s private registration if you are a citizen doing it for them. One less vote not in your party.

    Moral: Never let anyone handle your ballot, to and including possibly partisan poll workers who feed it into the scanner. Do it yourself, or mail it in.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > We met several people who registered to vote at tables set up at a county fair. The partisan woman at the fold up table had a pile of registration forms she picked up at a library. The friend who registered Democrat got her mail ballot. The other who chose Decline to state, never was registered. It’s easy to discard someone’s private registration if you are a citizen doing it for them. One less vote not in your party.

      “Every little bit helps,” a.k.a “death of a thousand cuts.”

  13. Matthew G. Saroff

    Maddow has gone full Mort Sahl on the Russia stuff, but the suit has no merit.

    You have to show malice or disregard for the truth for a public figure, like a cable network, and that will be impossible for 2 reasins:
    1. It’s an opinion, and clearly so.
    2. Kristian Rouz, their on-air politics reporter, wrote some 1,300 articles for Sputnik News.

    Now I do think that Maddow is being unfair, and I do think that she is unhinged, but she is also protected by Times v. Sullivan.

    Not a lawyer, so YMMV.

  14. Summer

    The Bezzle: “It looks like Uber is getting into the small loan business for its drivers” [Recode]. •

    Just like sharecropping and buying at the company store.

    NC should start a header line:
    19th Century…PROGRESS!

  15. Democrita

    Re: Warren v Sanders
    One line that I have found effective is to ask ‘do you think she has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with mitch McConnell and win?’ I find even her supporters will pause at that.

    She’s strong on finance, not so much elsewhere. I think wall street sees that she would be less dangerous to them as president than in a strictly finance-focused role. That’s why they’re willing to entertain her candidacy more now.

    Oh please don’t throw br’er Warren in our brier patch!

    Also, I see a parallel between EW and all text GOP-lite candidates the Demo run. Given a choice between a real Republican or a real leftist, and a DINO or fauxgressive, voters prefer the real. Right? Am hoping so.

  16. Camp Lo

    Short list of Bolton replacements [the sixth to hold the position]: Sgt Slaughter, an amygdala in a jar, Peng and Kun: the 2,000 year old mythological phoenix and fish creatures of Chinese literature [because the benevolent one would not know irony even if he laundered irony’s lucre], the guy Motley Crue calls “Dr. Feelgood”, TV’s Hunter Fred Dryer, and anything with XY chromosomes willing to kick up some coin. Moving on…

    Maddow’s reporting falls under “fair comment and criticism” in pursuit of the public interest, so plaintiff is burdened with proving negligence. Maddow’s story appears fact checked: OAN employs journalists from Russian state-run media, and the network is offered as a package deal with RT. But I’m sure O[N]AN’s celebrity lawyer is ready go to trial to uncover the truth because the rich and powerful dissemblers really need a win here.

    1. Cal2

      Shorter list Tulsi,
      a.k.a. Major Tulsi Gabbard, unlike the talking rectum, mustached chickenhawk Bolton, she is a combat veteran.

      Trump would harvest a huge number of Democrats if he named her Secretary of State. Imagine if she was his vice presidential running mate?

      Bernie, if nominated, would win with her against Trump.

  17. Bugs Bunny

    Re: “It looks like Uber is getting into the small loan business for its drivers”

    When your core business is a joke, get into finance. That’s where the margins are!

  18. rd

    Re: Parking at Canadian hospitals

    I had to spend time visiting someone at the Victoria General Hospital. Here is their parking rate structure: https://www.islandhealth.ca/our-locations/hospitals-health-centre-locations/victoria-general-hospital-vgh

    Normal urban parking rates for a few hours but the price of an all-week parking pass is the cost of a 16-hour parking block. So in and out short term visitors pay normal rates but the compassion sets in for somebody who is there visiting people for extended periods or frequently. Clearly a lost opportunity for peak revenue enhancement. This would be unacceptable at an American hospital.

    1. rd

      BTW – parking was the only charge for the person’s 3 week stay in the hospital. Amazingly, everybody was in-network in the single-payer system and there was no balance billing.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      This is also interesting from a French standpoint. Back in April, I was at the local hospital every day for a week or so, helping Mrs Bunny recover from surgery and more generally, keeping her company. Cost me about 9€ in parking for each visit.

      One Saturday afternoon there was a horrible ruckus in the parking lot with some Gilets Jaunes banging casseroles, etc. At first I was upset about the noise in a hospital zone but then I saw what they were on about: they wanted free parking for hospital visitors and had tied open all the exit gates.

      High fives.

      1. wilroncanada

        Bugs Bunny
        We on Canada’s west coast have also had some protests against the idea of charging parking fees at hospitals, and not just the level of the fees themselves. The health authorities make a surprising amount from those fees yearly. The Vancouver Island Health Authority takes in over $.8 million each year from parking. I don’t know how much they pay the contractor. Protests her don’t bang kitchen ware. Instead they bang native red cedar box drums in deference to the original peoples who have never ceded the territory.

  19. Jerry B

    ===The word “contagion” seems a little loaded===

    Lambert — Borrowing from Stephen Covey’s “Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”, could you elaborate on the above statement?

    I have done some reading on the concepts of social and emotional contagion. There has also been a lot of research in the area, so before I counter your view that in the above article the word contagion is a little loaded (actually not) I want to know your thoughts.

  20. Carey

    Good to see that CAP are continuing in doing God’s work by laying off their unionized Think Progress staff. People’s memories are working more acutely these days, though, so…

  21. Wukchumni

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our utopian socialist community that held sway for about 5 years here with much inspiration from Marx & Engels, from the mid 1880’s until they were effectively kicked out when Sequoia NP was established in 1890. Descendants of the colony still live here…

    Missing from this commemoration are the machinations of corporate power brokers, specifically the Southern Pacific Railroad, in the founding of Yosemite National Park. The very same legislative act that created the park in 1890 also destroyed a socialist experiment in collective living and enterprise – the Kaweah Colony – that had been organized socialists and labor activists based in San Francisco.

    The Kaweah Colony posed a political and economic challenge to the dominance of capital in general, and to Southern Pacific in particular. With the support of Southern Pacific, the act that created Yosemite National Park was amended in secret at the last minute to expand the newly created Sequoia National Park, in order to expropriate lands that the Kaweah Colony had settled.

    Southern Pacific had its way, and the days of the Kaweah Colony were numbered. The road that the colonists had hacked out of the wilderness with their collective labor was stolen by the park service, without compensation, and served as the main route into Sequoia National Park for decades. The giant sequoia that the Kaweah colonists had named the Karl Marx Tree, by volume the largest known living tree in the world, was renamed the General Sherman Tree.



  22. VietnamVet

    Another Interesting Day. John Bolton was fired. The Russian Kremlin insider who corporate media said was extracted because of Donald Trump’s big mouth was outed. The purported top-secret source of Vladimir Putin’s 2016 election hacking claim bought a house in Stirling Virginia under his and his wife’s real names. Astonishing Incompetence. Moon of Alabama and Colonel Lang’s SST site have the details.

    The Blob has split apart and nationalists and globalists are fighting each other for ascendancy. Inconvenient facts are exposed. Nothing corresponds to reality. The British Special Forces seizes an Iranian tanker. Gibraltar releases it. Its oil is delivered to Syria. With the ascendancy of corporations over nation states in the age of nuclear weapons; literally, nobody is in charge. None care about what is best for the citizens of the USA or the UK. All are concerned only with what is best for themselves and their family. Both nations are literally splitting apart in front of our eyes.

  23. Carey

    Recent from Caitlin Johnstone- https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/09/10/how-to-defeat-the-empire/

    “..By decentralized I mean we should each take responsibility for weakening public trust in the propaganda machine in our own way, rather than depending on centralized groups and organizations. The more centralized an operation is, the easier it is for establishment manipulators to infiltrate and undermine it. This doesn’t mean that organizing is bad, it just means a successful grassroots psywar won’t depend on it. If we’re each watching for opportunities to weaken public trust in the official narrative makers on our own personal time and in our own unique way using videos, blogs, tweets, art, paper literature, conversations and demonstrations, we’ll be far more effective..”

      1. Carey

        You might try another browser. Her site, along with a few others, are very slow to load these days, IME (draw your own conclusions).

  24. richard

    Hey, I didn’t see anything unfair about the Ember piece either, actually rather warm. Was Ember supposed to be their hitperson? Maybe she’s working up to it.

        1. Carey

          Seems to me that Ms Ember and her corporatist backers are going for the fair-minded award this week, before moving in for the kill later (not much later!) v Sanders and his supporters.

          We will see soon enough.

  25. scarn

    Some more detail on Seth Ackerman’s (to my eyes) somewhat unhistorical characterization of Engels’s opinion of the SLP vs Knights of Labor:

    Certainly, Engels would have wanted the enormous Knights of Labor to develop into a revolutionary movement. It was big (at one point it may have had 100,000 members), popular, and class conscious. It’s worthy and militant program supported and helped strengthen working class power, especially because of it’s strong support for unions and syndicalism, anti-racism, and women’s rights. Engels was always supportive of working class success, and especially of large popular working class movements. It would be pretty weird if he had not been. The Knights fall apart after Haymarket in 1886.

    The SLP was closely monitored by Engels, who lived until 1895. It was extremely German and East-European in it’s membership, with little native-born American support, at least initially, and Engels didn’t like that. Native-born support increases in the 1880s, and Engels wrote letters to the SLP leadership giving advice. He also did this for the Knights and for the AFL, though. SLP had a bunch of internal problems in the 1880s, because this is a period of extreme class conflict. The SLP split as Libertarian and Anarchist elements bounce, then in 1890 De Leon takes control. De Leon’s syndicalism eats up lots of the space left open by the demise of the Knights and Anarchist groups, and the party finds it’s way for the next 20 years. None of this can usefully be described as “Marxoid Robots” arguing pointless theory in opposition to the direction of the masses. Engels definitely liked SLP and wanted it to survive and grow.

    The divisions on the left of today do not map well onto the divisions of the nineteenth century. As always in politics, historical arguments are actually arguments about contemporary political reality. I think Ackerman’s assertions are a way of saying that if a leftist doesn’t Feel the Bern then that leftist is a Marxoid Robot devoid of class feeling and under interdict by the ghost of Engels. I don’t like those terms. I would argue that the history of the 1880s actually shows that we do need left unity in the USA, that we do need a mass working class movement that combines as many threads of the left as possible. Sanders, IMO, is absolutely leading the mass of the working class leftwards. Even though I am far to the left of Sanders ideologically I will do my small part to get him that Imperial Chair. But to my fellow leftists who want to stay outside the tent because they want to pull it even farther left, I wish only the best.

  26. AstoriaBlowin

    She called for a moratorium on the scooters when they arrived, saying they clogged sidewalks and were a danger to pedestrians

    Wow, wait till the cars arrive in San Diego, then those pedestrians will really have to watch out!

    Sarcasm aside, the continuing negativity about scooters on here is bizarre. The auto age has killed millions of American, absolutely gutted our citie and driving is the biggest GHG emitter in the US. So why all the negativity about an alternative way of getting around that is vastly safer for users and pedestrians than any automobile, would mean less pollution, less traffic, etc.

  27. inode_buddha

    I’ve finally figured out what bothers me so much about “AI is gonna take our jobs”. Mainly, have you ever noticed how AI never takes any C-level executive positions? And yet, those jobs could easily be replaced by a fairly simple Perl script.

  28. Anthony K Wikrent

    Some state run by Democrats somewhere is going to have to take on this problem of completely removing any humans from public transactions. The Illinois Toll Road has automated toll machines which simply do not function accurately and quickly enough. I’ve found the same problem machines in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Last week I was stuck for a half hour in a Harris Teeter grocery store because the nimbus brains in Harris Teeter management have decided to not have any human check out clerks after 10 pm, and the self-scanners used by customers simply cannot keep up with the traffic. Heaven help you if you want to buy some wine or beer, and there is only one employee monitoring eight malfunctioning scanners.

  29. roxan

    Re: UVA suing over bills.They were locally notorious for nastiness. I worked for them awhile, and it was a well-deserved reputation. They were incredibly ugly to their staff, with hidden cameras and even microphones all over–even in the offices. They are the biggest business in Charlottesville and rule like a medieval king.

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a replay of a policeman bodycam video showing an officer abusing a citizen-and-a-veteran. Others might say that if the citizen-and-a-veteran had been black, the officer would have shot him for the fun of it and therefor the citizen-and-a-veteran should be ashamed and guilty for not getting shot because of his White Privilege.

    I would say this should be considered an example of Police Cop-ism against Citizens. Perhaps things like this might be considered to merit their own category . . . a Police Injustice Report . . . if one wills.

    The link is of terribly poor quality. The only link given is to “public freakout”. As I type this, the ” body cam footage shows cop abusing 69 year old veteran” is the second video encountered while scrolling down the “public freakout” page. As time passes, it will be further and further down the page.


  31. Late Introvert

    My bank has been bought (again). I hope they don’t get rid of the tellers for my branch, but I bet they’d like to…

    Site owners may correct me here, and I welcome it, but there is a demand by the Feds that employees in certain financial industry categories are certified in various ways. Like most requirements in neoliberal times, they can be shuffled off to a training program that is “certified”. That is a cost to banks, which in this case would benefit a 3rd party commercial product including video with test material. The Finan-ducation Company, in Springfield. Which pays me well, so I’m hardly innocent.

    It is a forward looking company, and for 3+ years now they have been promoting the idea of a bank free of tellers. Automated Pods for the riff raff and personal bankers for the guillotinees.

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