2:00PM Water Cooler 9/11/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Make Shoes in U.S., or Pay Tariffs? A Footwear Company Seeks a Third Option” [New York Times]. “‘It’s hard to imagine shoes and clothing coming back to the United States just because they are so labor intensive,’ said Chad P. Bown, an international trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. ‘What matters is wage costs. It’s just cheaper to make those things in other places.’ Even if tariffs succeed in forcing production back to the United States, Mr. Bown added, human beings are unlikely to secure the jobs. “The companies will figure out how to do the work with robots and technology,’ he said.” • Automakers haven’t figured out how to make cars this way. Can shoemakers? Anyhow, since this company doesn’t hire U.S. workers, why do I care? I mean, I’m sorry they’re not getting rich, or as rich, on labor arbitrage in China or Vietnam. But not that sorry.

“The trade war is quiet. Smart money sees a chance to take risks” [CNN]. “After months of repeated escalation, the United States and China look no closer to hammering out a meaningful trade deal. But for now, at least, tensions look to be easing, not escalating. For investors, that provides an opening.

On Wednesday, Beijing said it had waived import tariffs on more than a dozen US goods — the first such exemptions since the trade fight began. They’ll kick in on September 17, as US and Chinese officials prepare to resume face-to-face talks in Washington.” • Mr. Market appears to agree, having flipped from Fear to Greed.


“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 9/11/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

Morning Consult, the behemoth, weighs in. Biden up (32.39%), Warren (15.39%) and Sanders (20.03%) 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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Biden (D)(1):

There really are voters for whom The West Wing is an ideal…

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “California real estate billionaire George Marcus prepares to host Joe Biden for 2020 fundraiser” [CNN]. “Marcus, a billionaire megadonor who bundled more than $100,000 for Hillary Clinton in 2016, is expected to be the lead host at a lunch for Biden’s return to San Francisco in the first week of October, according to people familiar with the matter….. The fundraiser signifies that Marcus is looking to dedicate his expansive donor network to Biden’s candidacy for president. Beyond his previous assistance to Clinton, Marcus also hosted a fundraiser that featured former President Barack Obama in 2014.”

Sanders (D)(1): “The Necessary Radicalism of Bernie Sanders” [Jamelle Bouie, New York Times]. • “Indeed, Sanders could probably go further [than his Workplace Democracy Plan]. … There is an opportunity, in other words, for Sanders or any other labor-friendly politician to give even more teeth to the right to strike, to dramatize exploitation through conflict and confrontation and to give labor the tools it needs to forge a path to a better world for people without the privileges of wealth or the power of capital.” • I don’t know what’s come over the Times. First, Sidney Ember writes something on Sanders that isn’t a hit piece; now this.

Sanders (D)(2): “Why you shouldn’t count out Bernie Sanders” [CNN]. “I’m not sure what chance Sanders has of winning the nomination, but the national and early state polling suggest Sanders shouldn’t be tossed aside as an afterthought. He remains a key player in this Democratic race. Sanders is at 15% nationally in an average of debate qualifying polls over the last month. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s actually very close to Warren’s 18% average. Sanders actually runs slightly ahead of Warren in a number of polls, including one released by ABC News/Washington Post this past weekend, in which Sanders was at 19% and Warren was at 18%. Importantly, Sanders isn’t dropping. His 15% in national polls is what he’s averaged basically all year with the exception of a post-announcement bump in March. Sanders is not like California Sen. Kamala Harris, who started in the single digits, rose after she announced, dropped, rose again after the first debate and then dropped a second time. Having 15% support is key because it means he’s at the threshold to receive delegates in primary contests.” • Dunno where this Warren at 18%, Sanders at 15% stuff comes from…

Sanders (D)(3):

Sanford (R)(1): “Who’s running Mark Sanford’s presidential campaign? So far, it’s Mark Sanford” [The State]. “The former South Carolina governor and congressman is banking on his own intuition to secure victories in primary states where he is eligible to compete, staffing his operation with a ‘band of volunteers’ with no expertise in his political history or experience running national campaigns. Further, Sanford says at this point he has no urgency to hire more seasoned political veterans to guide him…. ‘It would call into question the seriousness of his bid,’ said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball — a prominent national political forecasting newsletter run out of the University of Virginia.”

Trump (R)(1):

Averages conceal, however, in this case individual districts.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren is everything Hillary Clinton pretended to be” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. From April, still germane: “As a presidential candidate, Warren’s policy proposals are actually threatening to American oligarchs, and she evinces every intention of carrying them out as president. She wants to bust up corporate monopolies and oligopolies, and sharply regulate abusive tech platforms. She correctly wants to get rid of the filibuster, and has a decent proposal for guaranteed child care. She wants stiff tax hikes on the ultra-rich — a wealth tax on fortunes over $50 million, a larger one on those over $1 billion, and a 7-percent tax on corporate profits over $100 million. (In 2018, at least 60 Fortune 500 companies paid zero tax or even got a refund on tens of billions in profits, including titans like Amazon, IBM, Netflix, and Activision Blizzard.) Where Clinton mainly valued the appearance of being a policy wonk (remember the lavish articles about how she had rooms full of policy experts?), Warren is a genuine obsessive — and more importantly, values policy in terms of being able to improve the lives of the broad population, not just demonstrate her own competence. Currently Warren is bumping along somewhere around fifth place in most polls for the 2020 nomination, with about 6 percent support, which is surprising. If you liked how Clinton sounded in 2016, Warren is the woman for you.” • And now Warren is not fifth, but third, essentially because of the case Cooper makes here (for those who find it persuasive). Remember, there are voters for whom “a woman in the White House before I die” is paramount.

The Debates

“Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2020 Democratic Primary Debates” [Elle]. “The third debate will be hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision on September 12 in Houston, Texas, from 8 to 11 P.M. The debate will take place at Texas Southern University, a public historically black university. The moderators will be George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, Linsey Davis, and Jorge Ramos. [Candidates who will appear are]: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julián Castro, and Andrew Yang. Notable people who didn’t qualify, but you’ve seen on the debate stage before, include Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, and Tim Ryan…. This third debate is especially important considering it will be the first time all of the major 2020 candidates will appear on one debate stage at the same time.”

“They Meet at Last: Biden-Warren Matchup Is Main Event in Debate” [New York Times]. “It’s a highly anticipated matchup between the early front-runner, Mr. Biden, and a liberal standard-bearer, Ms. Warren, who has steadily climbed in the polls to challenge him. Mr. Biden is eager to stress his experience. And his advisers and allies suggested in interviews that, whether obliquely or overtly, he is prepared to seize on one of Ms. Warren’s perceived strengths — her extensive and boldly progressive policy plans — and use that to accentuate his own record of liberal achievements despite the sometimes-challenging political realities in Washington.” • The focus is on a contest between the candidate who leads, and the candidate who is third. Some horse race!

Obama Legacy

“Judicial Watch: New State Department Documents Reveal Last-Minute Efforts by Obama State Department to Undermine President Trump” [Judicial Watch]. • Interesting, but I want to know about “efforts” in October, November, and December 2016 (at the time of the “faithless electors” trial balloon).

Realignment and Legitimacy

I should put something together on 9/11, but I can’t even. This is pretty much where I am–

UPDATE “The 9/11 Attacks Accomplished Every Goal That Osama bin Laden Wanted to Achieve” [Paste]. • Quintili Vare, legiones redde!

UPDATE “The generation that barely remembers 9/11” [The Week] • What I think they remember is that 9/11 was the day the adults lost their minds.

UPDATE “Liturgy is the Best Antidote to Identity Politics” [The American Conservative]. “So many theological and religious debates neglect the significance of the physical reality of collective worship. For the vast majority of believers, the weekly event is more important than any doctrine or pronouncement or even preaching. True, church attendance is often associated with staid village fustiness, sinister charismatics at mega-churches, and pleasing but empty smells and bells. Yet neither can the secular world offer anything more surprising and humbling than seeing a stranger kneeling before what we kneel before—especially one with whom we would not normally associate, who we might even avoid or deprecate. Stereotypes and prejudices are instantly demolished, even the ones we do not know we have. Suddenly the world and its people seem limitless in their possibilities. Nothing can do as much to break down barriers and let in new things, undoing what critical theorists like to call ‘the Other.'” • Before you dismiss this, Arnade said the same thing, in his own way, in Dignity. I think DSA would do well to remember this. Because being in a congregation is the opposite of intersectionality, is it not?

Stats Watch

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, September 2019: “Inflation expectations at the business level held unchanged… extending this year’s extremely flat trend.” [Econoday].

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), August 2019: “Sharp contraction in food and energy prices held down producer prices in August” [Econoday].

Wholesale Trade, July 2019: “The second estimate for wholesale inventories in July rose” [Econoday]. ” roughly in line with the inventory build to keep the inventory-to-sales ratio in the sector unchanged at a favorable 1.36.”

Retail: “It just got very hard for Amazon’s online pharmacy to access patient medication data” [CNBC]. “Surescripts, a company that manages electronic prescriptions, said this week that it is ceasing its relationship with ReMy Health over a patient data dispute. That move has serious repercussions for Amazon-owned PillPack, which had a deal with ReMy that allowed it to access patient medication history collected by Surescripts. Now, PillPack officially has no clear way to access that data automatically and has to call the patient or their doctor. That’s a highly manual process that might lead to errors.” • Errors like people getting sick, or dying. But sure, let’s run our pharmaceutical industry like cable fighting over a franchise.

UPDATE “Want to Do Business in Silicon Valley? Better Act Nice” [New York Times]. Venture capitalist Jason Palmer tweeted on why he passed on a deal: “We passed on @Altschool multiple times, mainly because disrupting school was a terrible strategy, but also b/c founders didn’t understand #edtech.” And the reaction: “Many said Mr. Palmer should be boxed out of future deals. A start-up founder funded by Y Combinator, an influential start-up training program and investment firm, flagged Mr. Palmer’s firm to his funders: ‘We might want to warn future edtech founders (YC or not) about their best practices,’ Alex Bouaziz wrote on Twitter.'” • Lol, it’s almost as bad as how DNC treats challengers to incumbents. Perhaps this is why Silicon Valley and liberal Democrats have formed such a bond.

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Equifax claims administrator says victims must provide more info to claim cash” [Ars Technica]. “[U]nless there are fewer than 240,000 claimants—unlikely, given that about 147 million people were affected—nobody’s getting $125. You may, however, still get something if you fill out the required information before the deadline.” • That something being “the free credit monitoring.” Nice work from the FTC on this settlement. Equifax screws you over, and you get compensated by getting further enmeshed in their buggy, insecure system.

The Bezzle: “Uber Undone” [The Baffler]. “Kalanick, who Waymo considers to be something of an unindicted co-conspirator, is the name at the center of the cork board, to whom all the strings of Uber’s sprawling improprieties and disasters can be traced. He urged Uber to ignore local taxi commission rules, presided over the creation of a software designed to fool city regulators, rejected any meaningful financial oversight, and built a corporate culture that became globally renowned for its callous treatment of its workers. Silicon Valley began this decade as the bleeding edge of the American economy, where new technologies were said to be building a better future for the whole planet. By its end, the American tech industry will be largely viewed as the labor-destroying, profit-hungry behemoth that it truly is. While Facebook’s inadvertent election-rigging and Google’s near-monopoly on digital advertising might draw more attention as the culprits behind that pendulum swing, it is Uber’s Randian capitalism that most transparently lays bare Silicon Valley villainy. And even from outside the C-suite, from which he was ejected in 2017, Kalanick remains its smug, unapologetic face.”  • “Unindicted co-conspirator.” Great idea for a T-shirt. A very expensive one.

The Bezzle: “How does an autonomous car work? Not so great” [WaPo]. This is one interactive that actuall works; I just let the robot car roll and do random stuff. Here’s a paragraph, where the car stops because there’s a kangaroo in the other lane: “Yes, but the car had no idea what it was or what it would do. Despite how much engineers train their self-driving cars, there’s always the possibility they’ll encounter something unexpected. For example, Volvo tested its vehicles’ Large Animal Detection System in areas with mooses, but, during a 2017 test in Australia, a car detected a kangaroo and was confounded by its unusual hopping habits.” • It seems like the press is belatedly (see NC at 2016-09-29, 2016-10-03, 2016-10-20, and 2016-10-30)realizing that robot cars are an enormous Silicon Valley scam. The billionaires won’t be able to depend on them to drive to the adjoining bunker!

UPDATE The Bezzle: Another start-up hellscape, PodShare:

Looks like the staging for a Brecht play. Why are the Founders smiling? PodShare’s labor practices:

Tech: “Apple Finally Confronts Its Growth-Starved Reality” [Bloomberg]. “With its most important product category not growing anymore, Apple Inc. on Tuesday confronted its changing circumstances by doing two unusual things: hustling hard and displaying a willingness to change its business model. The hustle is all about Apple’s willingness to do something against its nature: go wide in the number of devices and internet-tethered products it offers…. Apple now has at least three different iPhone models that it refreshes every year, a dizzying number of iPad and Mac versions, many flavors of computers for the wrist, multiple headphones, a voice-activated speaker, smartphone cases, iPad keyboards, and a growing number of online collections of video entertainment, video games, news and much more. The potential downside of this explosion of products is that some of them may not be very good or in demand.” • Steve Jobs was a brilliant editor. That seems to be gone, now. The iPhone is Apple’s cash cow. Soon it’s going to turn into a dog. What then?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 55, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 28 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 11 at 12:03pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly. Back to normal!

The Biosphere

“Veterans with PTSD, anxiety turn to beekeeping for relief” [Associated Press]. “Researchers are beginning to study whether beekeeping has therapeutic benefits. For now, there is little hard data, but veterans in programs like the one in Manchester insist that it helps them focus, relax and become more productive. The programs are part of a small but growing effort by Veterans Affairs and veteran groups to promote the training of soldiers in farming and other agricultural careers….. Similar stories have been heard from beekeeping programs from Brockton, Massachusetts, to Reno, Nevada. Those running the programs said there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that beekeeping is making a difference for those who spend time managing hives and harvesting honey. Beekeeping gives them a sense of purpose, helps them relax and allows them to block out dark thoughts, they said.” • Honeybees respond well to calm, I think.

“Want More Energy and Less Climate Change? Plant Trees” [The American Conservative]. “[T]rees are central to any plausible plan for reducing greenhouse gases…. [In the] words of the U.S. Forest Service, “Forest ecosystems are the largest terrestrial carbon sink on earth and their management has been recognized as a relatively cost-effective strategy for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions…. So if we wish to rally as many people as possible to the cause of sequestering CO2, we should wish to plant as many trees as possible.” • You can also plant trees, either as a guerilla aborists, or on land (if you have it). Tomatoes, that is annuals, are the gateway drug for gardening, but if you’ve just started gardening, plant trees at once, because that way (with nut trees, say) you’ll have trees in five years. Don’t be like me, and figure out that you need to think about the canopy after five years of thinking only of beds. Then you won’t have trees until ten years!


“As the Elwha River makes a comeback, beavers return and the wood chips fly” [Seattle Times]. “Beavers are back. It’s not hard to tell. The signs are everywhere: felled trees and branches, with telltale tooth marks. Soft sedge meadows dimpled with belly tracks from beavers hustling to and fro. And in thickets of young alder and willow — a 24/7 beaver cafe — multiple dams, built in a side channel of this reborn river. The dams are subtle, just sticks pushed into a row, bank to bank, and a bit of mud. But the dams do the trick these genius eco-engineers are so good at, creating pools to ease their travels by swimming, rather than walking, to their favorite snack spot. Created in the making of their dams, too, is a boost for salmon: These pools are perfect spots for juvenile salmon to rest and feed…. The intertwined lives of beaver and salmon emerging here is one more sign that the ecosystem-scale restoration of the Elwha, with the world’s largest-ever dam removal project, begun in 2011 and completed in 2014, is taking hold.”

Groves of Academe

“Lawsuit claims former UIUC professor assaulted, bullied and raped multiple students” [Capitol Fax]. From the lawsuit: “Hanging over the entire relationship was the huge power imbalance between them. She was his student. He could fail her, drop her from his course. She could lose her F1 student visa status and be forced to leave the country if she displeased him. ….

Guillotine Watch

The excellent Francine McKenna. Thread:

Class Warfare

“Is Meritocracy to Blame for Our Yawning Class Divide?” (review) [Thomas Frank, New York Times]. Reviewing Daniel Markovits’ The Meritocracy Trap: “in other ways Markovits doesn’t go nearly far enough. When he squares off against the meritocratic elite, he keeps pulling his punches, assuring us that its members’ educational credentials really are excellent, that their skills are real and that they work extremely hard. At times he even seems to lament the psychic toll that all that work takes on our white-collar professionals, as though one might simply persuade them to give up their system of privileges. A more resolute critique would zero in on the fraud and folly and hubris that always seem to accompany the deeds of the best and the brightest. A fuller account of the last real-estate bubble and the global financial crisis would have been helpful here; or the story of the Wall Street bailouts, when one set of high-achieving professionals simply forgave the sins of another; or a comprehensive discussion of the 2016 presidential election, when the Democratic team of geniuses managed to lose to the most unpopular presidential candidate of all time…. we have this book, which forcefully interrupts the comfortable bath of self-flattery in which our well-graduated professionals pass their hours.” • Like I said, I don’t know what’s come over the Times; they took Thomas Frank off the black list?!

“California church leaders charged with forced labor of homeless, US attorney says” [CNN]. “Imperial Valley Ministries leaders recruited people by promising food and shelter, and instead forced them to beg for money for nine hours a day, six days a week and to give up their welfare benefits ‘for the financial benefit of the church leaders.’ prosecutors said in a news release Tuesday that announced the indictment had been unsealed.”

“Trump pushing for major crackdown on homeless camps in California, with aides discussing moving residents to government-backed facilities” [MSN]. “Administration officials have discussed using the federal government to get homeless people off the streets of Los Angeles and other cities and into new government-backed facilities, according to two officials briefed on the planning. But it is unclear how they could accomplish this and what legal authority they would use. It is also unclear whether the state’s Democratic politicians would cooperate with Trump, who has sought to embarrass them over the homelessness crisis with repeated attacks on their competency. Among the ideas under consideration are razing existing tent camps for the homeless, creating new temporary facilities and refurbishing existing government facilities, two other officials said. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning hasn’t been publicly revealed. The changes would attempt to give the federal government a larger role in supervising housing and health care for residents. The talks are fluid and concrete plans had not been reached.” • California is a one-party state controlled by Democrats. And they gave Trump the opening.

“The Next Wave of Labor Unrest Could Be in Grocery Stores” [In These Times]. • A compilation of strike moves in the Pacific Northwest, California, and (earlier this year) New England.

News of the Wired

“TakNet: A Community White Space Network” [Adisorn Lertsinsrubtavee, intERLab]. “Plenty of spectrum allocated to TV broadcasting is currently idle, specially in rural areas of developing countries.” • An interesting idea. I wonder how relevant this would be to the United States.

“We tested a messaging app used by Hong Kong protesters that works without an internet connection” [Abacus]. “Telegram has proven the most popular communication app in the “be like water” toolkit of the leaderless protest movement, helping with spontaneous road blockades and adapting to quickly-changing conditions on the ground. But Hongkongers are also looking into other options, and one of them is messaging app Bridgefy. The app received a sudden surge of downloads over the past two months in Hong Kong, according to Apptopia. The most attractive feature of Bridgefy is that it works without the internet, instead relying on Bluetooth to create a mesh network. Bridgefy’s co-founder and CEO, Jorge Rios, told Forbes last week that the app is usually downloaded for mass events when there’s a chance that the internet will be spotty. This could mean a large sports game or a big concert… or a mass pro-democracy movement.” • Hmm.

“Robert Frank’s Curious Perspective” (R.I.P. Robert Frank) [The Smithsonian]. Of Frank’s frame-shattering The Americans: “Motorcycles and racial divisions are among the motifs that help to unify The Americans, along with jukeboxes, crosses, televisions, luncheonettes, cowboy hats, fedoras, cigars, highways, the old and the young, lonely offices, huge automobiles, run-down parks, blowhard politicians and American flags. Frank observed all of these things during years of cross-country wanderings, funded partly by the Guggenheim Foundation. He had stated on his 1955 grant application that the project would be driven by “what one naturalized American finds to see in the United States that signifies the kind of civilization born here and spreading elsewhere.” Frank, who celebrates his 84th birthday this year and who long ago moved on to making films, videos and images that combine photographs with text, arrived on these shores in 1947 in search of artistic freedom. Trained as a photographer in Switzerland, he once said he knew after World War II that his future lay elsewhere: Switzerland ‘was too closed, too small for me.’ Europeans who venture to America often focus their cameras on the gulf between our ideals and a grimmer reality, between rich and poor, black and white. Although such differences were all too visible in ’50s America, Frank did not take cheap shots at his adopted land. He never acted the shocked foreigner or wide-eyed innocent. Instead, his complicated feelings about the country were expressed so obliquely that the book remains as open to interpretation today as when it first appeared 50 years ago. Published in Paris in 1958 and New York the following year, it was denounced by many critics at the time as a sneak attack on Americans’ general view of themselves as happy and harmonious. But as the book’s downbeat style has been absorbed and widely imitated over the years, Frank’s detractors have retreated.” • This is not one of the famous photographs, but it’s a favorite of mine:

The West!

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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 (CR):

CR comments:”A hosta-lawn! Cleveland, Ohio.” Impressive.

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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. Donna

      What is also fascinating about Anya Parampil is that she can be found on RT (Russian TV), a show called Watching the Hawks. I would bet that Tucker Carlson knew of her association with RT. Getting the truth wherever we can find it.

    1. grayslady

      I watched about 10 minutes of the YouTube and couldn’t stand anymore. This woman is a PhD, not an MD, and what she doesn’t know about menopause could fill a real book. When she discusses historical info on menopause, she neglects to mention that the reason menopause was viewed as a cultural symptom, rather than a true complex of physical symptoms, is that all of the “scientific” literature was written by men, if anyone bothered to write about it at all. Please don’t promote individuals such as Susan Mattern.

        1. grayslady

          Thanks. I admire Ehrenreich and have actually found a copy of the book that I can read on the web for free! Appreciate it.

  1. Wukchumni

    “As the Elwha River makes a comeback, beavers return and the wood chips fly”

    I was talking to the Sequoia NP head wildlife biologist last week, and mentioned that no less than legendary mountain man Jedediah Smith thought our area the best he’d seen for beavers, and he gave me a ‘you must be joking’ look.

    Jedediah Strong Smith was probably the first American to visit the Four Creeks area. Searching for a mythical river that supposedly flowed from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, he went south from Great Salt Lake, picked up the old Spanish Trail to the Colorado River, and, after crossing the Mojave Desert, eventually reached Mission San Gabriel late in 1826.

    Smith and his party were well treated by the Spanish but were regarded with suspicion and, in January 1827, were ordered to leave California by the same route by which they arrived. However, the party turned north from San Bernardino, crossed Cajón Pass into the desert, then over the Tehachapis into the San Joaquin Valley, probably by way of the old Garcés route. They traveled up the east side of the valley, trapping beaver on the Kern, Tule, Kaweah, and Kings Rivers as they went. Smith later reported this to be the best beaver country he had ever seen.


    1. Punxsutawney

      Thanks for this. I once lived on a road named after him. And am quite familiar with the Kern River all the way up to Mt Whitney.

  2. a different chris

    >“The companies will figure out how to do the work with robots and technology,’ he said.”

    With a nod to the correct comment about automakers, so what? That should happen anyway…better to have people maintaining machines than making shoes. Hey and if the machines work well then everybody can go home early on Friday. Or Tuesday! Like they once promised…

    Also – I suspect an army on the march goes thru a lot of shoes. So if we are at war with China and our soldiers boots come from there, how exactly does that work? Tell me about how superior our suddenly barefoot army will be. It’s all such a joke.

    Here’s an interesting theory – free trade has cost technology progress at this point. If there is no value in developing a shoe-making machine because we can always find a group of poor screwed-over souls to do it, then how do you ever get paid to learn how to make that machine? And if your tech base can’t make and maintain that machine, you’re pretty much stuck with chess playing toys because you sure aren’t going to make something better.

    1. Drake

      Didn’t Lee’s barefoot army get drawn toward Gettysburg in quest of shoes, or is that an exaggerated legend? I’d hate to think we have to attack China to keep ourselves shod.

  3. Jason Boxman

    I too, read that Sanders piece on M4A and Canada and couldn’t decipher what the hit is. Up is suddenly Down and it’s hard to believe there isn’t some angle involved. The article pointing out that Warren collected big donor cheques for her assured reelection before swearing them off for the Democrat primary was surprising, too.

    1. Cal2

      Nothing wrong with a candidate taking big checks from a corporate criminal and then once elected, nailing them to the wall via policy and executive action.

      In fact, that’s preferable to never taking their money, or taking their money and then acquiescing to them. Hit them twice, use their money to get elected to prosecute them.

      As to Kamala’s staff leaving her secret memo in a restaurant:
      You can see her campaign in any restaurant. Just order the toast.

      1. Cal2

        Burnt toast update:
        Here’s at least a million votes fewer for the Kamaleon in the California primary, and for Trump, were the ‘democrats dumb enough to taint the 2020 ballot with her.

        Uber announced on Wednesday that it will ignore new California legislation which requires companies to reclassify contract workers as employees – a measure which may affect up to one million residents who work as contractors.

        Wonder how many tens of millions of Uber riders = voters will get an earful of what a disaster she is?

        Kamala’s Brother in Law Uber counsel Tony West had pointed to legal rulings in making this argument. “In fact, several previous rulings have found that drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which is serving as a technology platform for several different types of marketplaces.”

        — Faiz Siddiqui (@faizsays) September 11, 2019

      2. Big River Bandido

        Nothing wrong with a candidate taking big checks from a corporate criminal and then once elected, nailing them to the wall.

        Nothing wrong with it except that it ain’t gonna happen, and certainly not under a Liz Warren.

  4. epynonymous

    World of Warcraft Classic:

    Slight hold-over from the week off. Some publishers choose to focus on this story negatively, decrying long lines, but the spontaneous bottom-up development of these lines is quite remarkable.

    Instead of competing over the scarce resources to progress in quests and levels, players are cooperating. Furthermore, with no disincentive and no ability to “harass” misbehaving players beyond maybe an unkind word… and no developer interference, these players got organized all by themselves.

    Article theorizes that the need to form new friendships in the new environment combined with the equal starting footing for the players led to the cooperation, compared to the much less friendly and more clannish activity in established WoW servers.


    1. Kurtismayfield

      Anonymity breeds awful behavior online. With all of those players knowing that they are on the same server for a long time, they know their reputation matters. This is the reason for a more cooperative environment.

      1. Drake

        Things are great on a brand new server precisely because there aren’t established clans who scorn newcomers, there aren’t characters 50 levels higher than you who make a sport of killing you, or gold farmers, or people who sit in major cities all day spamming the general chat channel with nonsense, and there aren’t people who’ve spent the last 6 months waiting for a piece of gear to drop from a raid, or fighting for the latest PVP armor. And everyone has only one avatar, that they’re strongly connected to, rather than the next 10 they’re going to roll when they get bored.

        1. ChrisPacific

          I believe there is a pretty strong selection bias at work. I played the game at release and I don’t remember the community being anything like the description in the article, even though Classic has been explicitly designed to replicate the experience. I never saw anything remotely like that queue in the article picture, for example.

          It sounds like a kind of Utopian experiment, like Woodstock or the hippie counter culture. I am personally of the opinion that most of the changes to the game over the years have been improvements, so I am not playing Classic. The ones that are playing are the ones that have a rosy nostalgic vision of the earlier game as a better and purer place, so that’s the kind of game world they are creating. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts. Unlike the original, it is never going to be the Next Big Thing and won’t see the kind of influx of a broad cross section of gaming society (and associated bad behavior) that the original did, so that should help.

    2. fajensen

      When I played W.o.W. together with ‘my’ teenagers, the most entertaining parts of the game was to “pull” epic monsters into towns so they would get into fights with the town guards and the monsters ‘area-of-affect’ spells would kill scores of low-level characters. There would be piles of skeletons once the monster finally went down, which could take an hour or more for a good ‘pull’.

      Getting a really big party together and raiding one of the enemy towns for a while before dying was also fun. Setting off a monster-fight before the Alliance-team assembled for the fight were ready is also fun. Spoiling and Griefing is what the ‘Evil Horde’ characters are about :).

      I also liked that one could run into ‘insta-death’-level monsters pretty much everywhere in the map. And there were little side stories and fragments of things in even the most deserted corners if one was looking.

      I stopped playing W.o.W. because Blizzard removed more and more the ‘fun’ parts (making the monsters impossible to pull, weakening spells like mind control, swimming a long way would be deadly, having insta-spawn guards in all the towns, removing the deadly monsters from most areas, nerfing upon nerfing), making the entire game more and more like an enclosed linear path revolving around acquiring stuff, making ones Gaming Character follow a career almost.

      The final nail in the coffin for me was the many, many, ‘collection of trivial stuff for some thing that never actually change in order to progress’-quests. If I wanted to hear about a war-effort that consumes resources, but never really ends and never changes anything, I can get the MOD-spokespeople waffling on on YouTube any time I want (which is never)! I play games to get away from reality for a bit!!

      If I get a decent computer again, I might give it a spin for nostalgia’s sake and of course to be evil again.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Planting stuff:

    Two years ago, I planted bare root Ukrainian almonds and bare root Cayuga White grapes. This year, I harvested a few almonds (within walking distance of a Great Lake!) and have finished with the fermentation of a few quarts of white wine. Not much harvested yet, but all the plants are healthy and growing, and I’m hoping to see yield increase over the next few years.

    In the last two years, I’ve planted 10 blackberry bushes, hops vines across the front of the house, Jerusalem artichokes and a strawberry bed. On tap for next year are 3-4 fruit trees and some raspberries.

    And Lambert is right. I started with garden beds 7 years ago. I wish I’d been planting trees and shrubs beginning back then!

    1. laughingsong

      I’m trying to be thoughtful about the tree planting as our yard is small and I do need the sunshine for the veg and flowers, the blue-, rasp-, and strawberries, etc.. I try to pick trees that are either slow-growing (a holly for example), or not known to grow too large or are more shrub-like (a witch-hazel, I love how they flower – and a paper-bark, which blooms in January (!) and smells wonderful).

      Himself, on the other hand, I constantly have to reign in. He planted two California laurels which grow fast and very tall, and a maple, which ditto. The maple is being taken out as it isn’t doing well and is on the south edge of the property. One laurel is also being taken out and the other is being moved to the sidewalk-adjacent strip in front. I am replacing all three trees with fruit trees; peach (oh yum), pear, and apple.

      We have a local small craft ciderhouse that does a “Community Fruit Drive” – you bring in fruit like that, they give you a voucher for a free drink in the tasting room. With the free fruit, they make the “Community Series” – varies depending on what’s collected — and a chunk of the profits go to 4 different local environmental groups.

      I have gone around the neighborhood collecting fruit for this, and also solicited from co-workers, but I can’t wait to contribute my own, as well as preserve/dry/bake. Along with all my berries, it’ll be great!

    2. JohnnySacks

      Do a little research on the hardiness and susceptibility to disease of the variety you choose, what they didn’t tell me at the local nursery. I did a Stanley plum and babied it for a few years, but only managed to get one massive harvest before I lost the fight against black knot fungus. Finally throwing in the towel and feeding it to the meat smoker, alas, back to square one with a couple Japanese varieties less susceptible to the fungus.
      I’m doing my own protest against my city’s planting of god awful Bradford pears – kill them with fire! by doing my own bartlett and asian pear and apricot out front of my house. (any hints on how to stop all the apricots from falling off early in the season?)

      1. Phil in KC

        Great Ceasar’s Ghost!–Bradford pear trees!?! There’s ample evidence from municipalities across this land that the Bradford is a horrid tree, and the evidence has been accumulating for at least 30 years! They are a hazard, and I can only guess that 1. Priced very attractively, or 2. Someone with too many saplings knows someone at city hall, or 3. Your city hates people, pedestrians in particular. Sad and puzzling!

    3. polecat

      I have a freezer full of this season’s Logan berries to be soon canned for jam, sour cherries, and black rasps for the next batch of mead, and grapes (Mars) to pick for drying into raisins. Then, in Oct/Nov, harvesting the Medlars .. to blet indoors in a cool spot, before processing them into a very fine pepper jelly ! Lastly, honeycomb to press from one of last year’s hives.

      For a standard city sized lot (with domicile) it’s a productive venture, but hella work during the growing season, plus canning in the fall. But that’s ok … I’m just an unemployed shlub, who hasn’t no desire to pull himself up by his bootstraps whilst running the money-for-nothing hamster wheel.

  6. Watt4Bob

    Dunno where this Warren at 18%, Sanders at 15% stuff comes from…

    The necessity of stopping Sanders is so well accepted that there is probably an app for that.

    All manufactured consensus is probably being automated now, why pay people?

  7. John Beech

    Automakers haven’t figured out how to make cars this way. Can shoemakers?

    Are you kidding me? I’ve got a video of a Mercedes fully automated plant – robots everywhere – employing but a small fraction of the people of a conventional plant.

    But that’s not all. As soon as someone sets up an assembly line for shoes, the liberals will begin whinging how these jobs are ill paid and not dignified. Want proof? They already carry on about Amazon workers. Worse, they cheerlead those quitting with claims they’re doing it for the environment, the carbon footprint, or some such nonsense about hardship in the work environment. Hardships my left foot! A job is a job, and one at Amazon is inside and out of the sun – and – it beats welfare. Doesn’t pay enough? Make yourself more valuable!

    My dad worked two jobs for several years I’m aware of (yes, Mom was working too). He wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. Goodness gracious, the hypocrisy of the left!

    1. Another Scott

      Can’t make shoes in the US? Both New Balance and Wolverine World Wide do. I remember when Converse made them too, before they went bankrupt, closed the plants and sold to Nike, making the company largely a marketing one. I doubt that the price of labor has as big impact on the margins of pair Chuck Taylors than whatever their marketing department decides.

    2. Baby Gerald

      This is too good to be true… a real ‘by-your-bootstraps’ capitalist here on NC.

      Those spoiled Amazon warehouse slaves don’t know how good they’ve got it, right? Don’t like peeing in a bottle in order to not miss your quota? Bootstraps, son! ‘Make yourself more valuable!’ he says. My old man worked three jobs while my momma worked two. Why can’t everyone just suck it up?


      1. Jeff W

        “Get on yer bike”
        —a common allusion to the (in)famous speech, given by Norman Tebbit, then the Employment Secretary under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in which he gave advice to the unemployed:

        I grew up in the 30s with an unemployed father. He didn’t riot; he got on his bike and looked for work and he kept looking ’til he found it.

        (speech to the Conservative Party Conference, 15 October 1981)

    3. Robert Valiant

      Are you kidding me? I’ve got a video of a Mercedes fully automated plant – robots everywhere – employing but a small fraction of the people of a conventional plant.

      If the plant is “fully automated,” what are the people for?

      1. Lee

        The people are de trop. In a more perfect future, robots will be making cars and everything else for other robots.

        Now, if the benefits of robotization were equally distributed, thereby obviating the necessity for socially useful labor only then, according to Marcuse IIRC, will we be truly free. As a retiree living in modest comfort, I find myself inclining (or should that be “reclining”) toward agreement.

    4. pretzelattack

      inside a non air conditioned warehouse on a very hot day is a hardship. that’s why amazon at one point had ambulances standing by, iirc.

        1. ambrit

          If anything like how ambulances are ‘run’ here in Mississippi, those medical conveyances are truly conveyances, since the passengers are automatically assumed to be the payers of last resort. One’s meagre ‘assets’ will be conveyed into the pockets of the ambulance ‘service’s’ pockets.
          Just as with the Uber related comment above; blame the victims.

    5. Roy G

      Automotive OEM worker here: show us your video, please. Yes, there are robots on the assembly line but the ‘fully automated plant’ isn’t a reality; in fact, the reason Tesla has been in such production hell is because Elon thought he could automate everything but was wrong about the complexity and flexibility required.

      Your other point about Amazon workers just shows your bias. It’s not ‘the liberals’ that are ‘whinging’ but the Amazon workers themselves! You might as well have ended your post with, are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

      1. ambrit

        In whose cheeks? Which cheeks? We will not even venture into the ‘terra incognita’ of labial osculations.

  8. JohnnyGL

    Re: grocery workers strikes

    Just speaking anecdotally with a few employees at Stop & Shop, it seems union leaders didn’t take advantage of a tremendous opportunity to achieve real gains for its workers. Instead, they seemingly just contented themselves with limiting losses and sticking it to new hires.

    Watching how the traffic dropped off at the store, it seemed like they’d won a crushing victory. They all should have been able to get at least a $1/hr raise for themselves.

    I’ll happily defer to those with more insider knowledge of the state of play if I’m misreading things.

    1. Another Scott

      I tend to agree. I don’t remember the details, but when I saw the news stories after the strike ended, I found it hard to categorize the Stop & Shop strike as a union win. They mostly just held their own, nothing new was gained, the same as the National Grid strike the year before. Foreign companies by local firms and attack the workers to justify the price they paid.

    2. cm

      wrt Kroger strike in the Pacific NW, here is the union’s statement. Kroger’s brands include:
      Food 4 Less
      Fred Meyer
      Harris Teeter
      Home Chef
      King Soopers
      The Little Clinic
      Ruler Foods

  9. XXYY

    The focus is on a contest between the candidate who leads, and the candidate who is third. Some horse race!

    The corporate media strategy in the last month or six weeks seems to have changed from actively disparaging Sanders to just pretending he doesn’t exist or is somehow rapidly vanishing from the scene. (This was not possible in 2016, I guess, since there were only 2 Dems in the race; pretending Clinton was running against no one at all was apparently too implausible even for the US media.) This leads to absurdities like the one here.

    This seems like the reverse of the “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” aphorism, but at least they’re hitting the notes!

    Note that Warren has by this display cemented the role of establishment second-choice if and when Biden deflates. This is despite her supposed “progressive” credentials, now highly suspect.

    1. Drake

      When I encounter any mainstream news I always get the eerie feeling that something is missing. It was there a minute ago, what was it, hmm, seems to have vanished down the memory hole. Oh yeah, Bernie Sanders! Is he still alive? Wonder what he’s doing these days. One for the ‘where are they now?’ file.

      Bernie Sauron, apparently. He who must not be named.

  10. dearieme

    “Elizabeth Warren is everything Hillary Clinton pretended to be”

    What, human?

    Anyhoo, Hillary Clinton isn’t everything Elizabeth Warren pretended to be. Eh? Eh?

    1. russell1200

      “Elizabeth Warren is everything Hillary Clinton pretended to be”

      LOL – That really jumped out at me too.

      I am assuming that all this Clinton – Warren stuff is directed at the super delegates?

      1. polecat

        Is Warren to allow herself to being thrust into a waiting van, ala HER-> .. like a goldman sachs of potatoes … ??

    2. John k

      Warren is pretending to be everything Clinton pretended to be… and then some.
      While I dislike the latter because of her willingness to deliver for $, I give Hillary credit for being reluctant to promise things to the lower classes that she didn’t intend to deliver.

      1. Jeff W

        Forgetting President Obama’s name, after you’ve been his Vice President for eight years—that, in itself, is pretty bad. Everything else, including the meandering answers to questions as ably documented by petal, is simply more data consistent with that observation. (Superfluity, as they say, does not vitiate.)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner


      Biden has always been bad. A gaffe is a gaffe. When you are synonymous with “gaffes” as a part of the brand, its representative of character. Biden is a celebration of ignorance and callousness with a sprinkling of “aw shucks.”

      In a way, Biden is Trump from a different background with different means.

    2. VietnamVet

      A vote for Joe Biden in the primary and the general election is a vote for America’s endless wars and the continued occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Eastern Syria.

  11. dk

    look at the pretty stasis ribbon

    Averages conceal, however, in this case individual districts.

    I think you’re missing the point, as does the Trump Has Figured Out How to Corrupt the Entire Government New York Magazine piece from today’s Links. The people who stick by Trump believe not only that favor and bad faith rule the nation and create wealth for the participants, they basically accept it and they want in. They want to old bad faith thrown out and to have their loyalty to the new regime rewarded. Trump’s variability and character are not net negatives for them, they are signs of credibility and good faith; such a person facilitates their pragmatic philosophy and their strategies for the near-term (which they see as essentially stable and that the long-term will simply mirror the present).

    1. Drake

      “They want to old bad faith thrown out and to have their loyalty to the new regime rewarded.”

      It’s hard to imagine how anyone who knows the slightest thing about Trump could think this. His entire personal history is one of demanding total loyalty to himself and giving none in return (insert “he’d run over his own grandmother if…” joke here). I’m not someone who needs to insult or disparage him on principle, and I’m fairly neutral about him personally, and even prefer him to most of the alternatives, so this to me is a cold factual description that seems pretty obvious. Why anyone would want to subject themselves to that, at least outside the bounds of a TV show, is beyond me. It’s not like the outcome is in any doubt. But I guess there are always the Christie’s and Scaramucci’s of this world, and we will never run out.

      1. ewmayer

        “His entire personal history is one of demanding total loyalty to himself and giving none in return…” — So Trump’s M.O. here matches that of modern corporate America? Shocking!

      2. dk

        “His entire personal history is one of demanding total loyalty to himself and giving none in return”

        This isn’t strictly true. Trump’s loyalty to LEOs for example is completely uncritical and the exceptions are those the defy him for example on immigration detentions. Not saying he’d take much real risk for them, but he’s not willfully capricious if he perceives an advantage. And the posture of loyalty conveys an underlying quid-pro-quo, I’ll back you to the hilt if you back me (with an implicit “when the time comes,” and it might work too).

        And such offers are attractive to people who feel thy haven’t gotten what they wanted from government or institutions. Quite a lot of people think that government does very little beyond tax collection, that commerce and civics function of their own accord, through shear belief and no particular action or constraints. If it’s all just a charade (kayfabe), then gesture and claim is the real thing, while it’s there.

  12. Mark

    That photograph of Butte is one of my favorites, too. An exhibit at the Bowdoin Museum last year displayed a lot of Frank’s pre-“Americans” European work and it was a treat to see his style develop — I love that “drunken horizons” has become a part of photographic vernacular. I confess I find most of his subsequent work impenetrable, but I always admired his restlessness and willingness to take enormous chances with his art.

    The NYT obit is here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/10/arts/robert-frank-dead-americans-photography.html

    1. Carl

      Years later, another photographer visited that room and made his own version of that view. Wish I could remember who….

  13. Grant

    You know what is really interesting about Warren? Usually, when a someone like her “pivots”, they usually do so after they have the nomination. So, they lie, pretend to be something, but then once they have the nomination and most people have nowhere to go if they are at least moderately on the left and won’t vote third party, they then start taking bribes and selling out working people. But, she is so desperate to get ahead of Bernie and to get power that she is “pivoting” months before any actual votes are even cast. It makes her look bad not only because it proves what her leftist critics have been saying is correct, but it looks desperate. People are really sick of people that just want power and are a blank slate. While that may be going too far with her, she is certainly not in Bernie’s area on policy and doesn’t share his radical inclination. She is willing to do things to be president that he wouldn’t be willing to do. Her doing this makes it much harder for the corporate media pushing for her to pretend that there is little difference between the two. And her campaign has to be really mindful of the fact that the left, but even more broadly the public, has seen this movie too many times. Even if she is calculating but would in some magical universe govern to the left of where she is telling the big donors that funded her and will again, it takes a hell of a lot these days to maintain faith in these politicians, and her actions make her look like every other liar that wanted power. But her relatively well off supporters are fine, so oh well. Many at least seem privileged enough that they have the option of voting based largely on identity. Must be nice.

    Beyond that, if she is writing notes to the establishment, if she takes money from big money donors (some of them are now even calling her hypocrisy out) and will again, if she waffles on single payer and will be horrible on foreign policy, once again, it is a sign that little will change. Those in power probably realize that they have to give more than they have, and have to do something more on the environmental crisis, but she would fall far short of Bernie. All the hacks on TV will maintain their place in the power structure, and their access to power. As a result of that, things will get worse for most people, as they have been for some time. Even if she gets the nomination, there will be a backlash, because it will once again be throw the bums out time. Her moderate improvements, at best, would be an election or two from being reverse, just like the ACA.

    There is Bernie and there is everyone else.

    1. chuck roast

      With that said, maybe this is the reason for her rise in the polls. The Clintonoids, hating on “the bros'” and recognizing a sister when they see one are finally getting over their whinging and getting on board. Crunch time will come when Harris folds and Biden’s flaws are well and truly revealed. Where do these voters go?
      ‘Course, with no access to corporate propaganda, useful idiots or knucklehead apologists I may have no clue. It’s all guesswork.

      1. Grant

        It really rests on whether or not Bernie does get support from those supporting Biden, his ability to motivate people that normally don’t vote to vote and all the horrible things that party is going to throw at him. I always thought that Harris would play this role, in part because I thought that Warren was more genuine than she is and was more serious about change than she is. She is better than most others running, but that speaks to the quality of choices more than anything.

    2. nippersmom

      There is Bernie and there is everyone else.

      Yes. And if the Democratic party tries to foist someone else off on voters in the general election, this left-independent will be voting third-party once again.

      We will have a second term of Trump and the Democratic establishment and their flunkies in the MSM will continue to blame everyone but themselves.

        1. Donna

          I am donating to Sanders and plan to donate to Howie Hawkins of the Green Party as a back up plan. I have heard tell that he originated the Green New Deal some years ago.

    3. NigelK

      Excellent comment. I fear the female-president-before-I-die winds are working against bernie, in addition to everything else.

      1. russell1200

        I like Warren. I am ok with Sanders. But the Sanders only comments, and bashing Warren makes me a lot less likely to support Sanders if he is the one that pulls ahead.

        It works both ways.

        1. Grant

          Can you give your logic? Cause I did. I didn’t bash her, I gave particular critiques and voiced what I think are valid concerns. Do you have any responses? With Bernie, do you have particular critiques, or do you vote just to spite his supporters? I am a cancer survivor, their differences on healthcare could be life or death for me. Would be nice if I was so removed from the consequences of these policies that I could vote for the reasons you are stating.

        2. Grant

          By the way, I never said Bernie or no one. I said there was Bernie and everyone else, meaning that in my mind, he is head and shoulders above everyone else. I like Warren more than most others, but she us just as much like Harris as she is Bernie. So, I think of her as the left flank of the not Bernie crowd. And, by the way, it isn’t just the left doing this. The Third Way and the corporate media sees this. They would prefer someone like Biden to her, but they are supporting her in ways they never would him. They too see him as a unique candidate, fundamentally different from everyone else. I think it is that obvious at this point.

        3. nippersmom

          So you choose who to vote for based on whether you like the candidates’ supporters, and whether they criticize another candidate whose policy proposals they do not like? Wow. If you don’t want to vote for Sanders, that is certainly your prerogative, but to not vote for a candidate you otherwise like because you think some of the people who do intend to vote for him are “mean” to your preferred candidate strikes me as cutting off your nose to spite your face.

          I don’t support Warren because I think her policies don’t go far enough, her statements leave way too much wiggle-room for her to revert to establishment status quo, and, most importantly, because she is an unrepentant hawk. I have very specific reasons for not supporting her– none of which have anything to do with Warren supporters being “critical” of Sanders.

    4. polecat

      There’s Tulsi Gabbard, currently persona non grata amongst our Betters – who coincidentally got put on duty, I might add .. almost like a form of banishment ! … who Sanders should, if he was smart, bring her under his umbrella as his choice for maybe VP, or Defence Secretary. She did quit the DNC when it became apparent that they were going to screw him out of the nom, afterall …

  14. Lee

    In a case of synchronicity, you link to articles about broadcast tv and mesh networks on the very day I have acquired a broadcast tv indoor antenna and signed up for a mesh network internet service. Having had first Dish and then Comcast, I’m done with their long-term contracts and bundled services for which I am overcharged for a zillion channels I never watch. Also, although I still use Google for some things for which it is still convenient, as it continues to get worse and worse as a search engine, I use it less and less.

  15. Pavel

    Re PodShare… perhaps less Brecht and more Sartre?

    L’enfer, c’est les podestrians…

    Sure looks like Hell to me.

    1. curlydan

      I immediately thought of the movie, “Stalag 17”. Maybe put some barbed wire fence around the lot surrounding it.

    2. clarky90

      Tiny homes and living pods sound like such a good (for goodness) idea…….
      however, words/concepts are being repurposed

      Beware of “the wellness check”

      From Project Veritas,

      “(San Francisco) A Google insider who anonymously leaked internal documents to Project Veritas made the decision to go public in an on-the-record video interview. The insider, Zachary Vorhies, decided to go public after receiving a letter from Google, and after he says Google allegedly called the police to perform a “wellness check” on him…

      …(At about [.30], we see Vorhies forced to do a perp walk outside his home. This seems to be the “wellness check” referenced earlier.)”


  16. WJ

    RE: “I don’t know what’s come over the Times. First, Sidney Ember writes something on Sanders that isn’t a hit piece; now this.”

    “Like I said, I don’t know what’s come over the Times; they took Thomas Frank off the black list?!”

    Well, one thing that I think we can all agree is *not* coming over the Times is any kind of genuine solidarity with the American working class.

    So what else might have come over the Times, if not this? Let me hazard two possibilities:

    1. Nothing has come over the Times. The coincidence of two not-obviously-negative pieces on Sanders and Thomas Frank’s discussion of America’s class war is just that, a coincidence. Possible but statistically improbable events can and do happen. And this is one of those cases.

    2. The Times has come to believe that its regular coverage of Sanders was *so* obviously distorted that it risked being identified as propaganda by even the Times’ own ideal readers–i.e. liberal urban professionals and enlightened managerial types of the top 10%, and older civic-minded retirees who have just enough money and time to read “the paper of record” on a semi-regular basis.

    If enough of these readers begin to dismiss out of hand the Times’ coverage of Sanders, then this coverage can no longer achieve its intended effect–which, of course, is first to plant and then to cultivate the belief in these same readers that Sanders is unelectable and his policies unpopular and infeasible.

    Why does the Times seek to plant and then cultivate such a belief? Because its newsroom and editorial desks are dominated by people who, for the most part, *really do* believe it to be true true. (*Why* they believe it to be true is a more complicated question. But it has a lot to do with who these same people hang out with and are paid by.)

    On this analysis, the suddenly open-minded and even appreciative tone struck by the Times’ coverage of Sanders (and the closely related topic of class) is an attempt to reestablish or reinforce the wavering trust of its targeted readers, so that the paper may more successfully “inform” them about these same topics going forward.

    I like this possibility. For if the Times has reason to believe that its regular coverage of Sanders is now *failing* to achieve its intended effect, then I take this to be a small but palpable sign of hope.

    1. Carl

      It may be surprising that the Times ran a story on Sanders at all, but I didn’t see it as positively or neutrally framed. Ember (formerly an entertainment reporter?) inserted all manner of coded snideliness, IIRC twice referring to his ‘dogmatism.’ To my eyes, the Gray Lady still looks down her nose at we upstart inferior provincials and our presumptions of self-governance.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think the ramifications of the Obama DoJ often get overlooked. What happens with an even vaguely honest Justice Department? Asset inflation as an economic policy didn’t make anyone stronger.

      I don’t think Warren is ready, largely because she’s a Republican, to lead us through the fallout of dealing with the ramifications of what is now 10 years of letting white collar crime be celebrated. Even Shrub put on appearances at times. What is the fallout of having an Attorney General who expects the job to be hard and doesn’t use that as an excuse to not do stuff?

      For Wall Street, an honest Republican is just as bad as Sanders except under Sanders they might get healthcare when they go broke.

      1. voteforno6

        Out of all the candidates, Bernie is the one to most likely bring in a completely different group of people than the usual suspects…that alone should be a good enough reason to vote for him.

        1. Carolinian

          Which may be why Warren is more likely to get the nod from the Dems and, honestly, they could do worse if the alternatives are Biden or Harris. Warren at least seems to be sincere about something, even if it’s not the FP issue that I think is most important.

    2. hunkerdown

      Lol no, they’re just running the same angle Suskind said they did on Obama. Even if she turns out to be a complete doormat for high finance, if they keep calling her mean, she’ll give them more of what they want. In this race, anyone who speaks to high finance in private is an enemy.

  17. ambrit

    Re. the American Conservative article; well, when it comes down to brass tacks, the “…emptiness of smells and bells…” is exactly the point.

  18. Big River Bandido

    Thank you for NOT putting much together on 9/11. As a New Yorker, who was there that day, I’m really sick of it. I especially despise reading pieces about it by people who obviously weren’t there, or who try to extract “meaning” from the event. These pieces read like the reviews of a teevee show…which is exactly what they are.

    I think I’d rather watch paint dry.

    1. Drake

      Agreed. And I remember 9/11 as the “never let a good crisis go to waste” shock-doctrine event that saved W’s faltering presidency, gave him cover to invade Iraq (on top of Afghanistan), and gave the hyperpower fringe the forever-wargasm they had been dreaming of since the USSR collapsed. All it took was playing the burning towers over and over on constant loop for about a year to traumatize the generation that now can’t look away from their cellphone screen for longer than twenty seconds.

      I think we should never forget 9/11 because of the lessons it teaches about the average human being’s susceptibility to propaganda, and also because it helps to remember that when you make war on the entire world they sometimes hit back. There’s scarcely anything else I’d care to remember about it.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Yes time to move on, however, remember this ditty reminds us of events some 400 years ago:

        Don’t you Remember,
        The Fifth of November,
        ‘Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,
        I let off my gun,
        And made’em all run.
        And Stole all their Bonfire away.

        I won’t forget and I wasn’t there.

        But there are bigger fish to fry (us) at the moment, so I can understand that repetitive reminders of old news are presently unwanted

    2. Lost in OR

      Like the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, I suspect 911 will be a defining moment for anyone aware at that moment. In a sense, we were all there. I was in Korea at that moment, and I was there.

      What I remember searching for, back then, was some wisdom. It was in precious short supply. Still is. So what is left is just a really bad taste. And I don’t expect the next dose will be any better. Yeah, just sick of it.

    3. ChrisPacific

      I have my own memories of it – not the event proper, as I wasn’t in NYC, but I wasn’t too far away, and nobody knew for a while whether it was over or who else might be at risk. I have rehashed them all I care to at this point. I’m also not sorry to be living elsewhere now and free of the kind of seasonal deja vu that used to be associated with perfect weather in September.

    4. Pat

      Another NYer here, who is of the opinion that it is long past time that any memorial or commemoration of the day be private. No reminders, no television coverage, nothing except accommodation for friends and family at the site.

      And this is not just because of the fear mongering of the event that enabled so much damage to this country and the world. But because anymore it is like the BS of thanking veterans for their service even as we allow the government to shortchange the entities meant to help them and do nothing to rein in our war crazy Congress and DoD. It is largely a front, a pose, hideous and offensive propaganda.

      And don’t get me started on how bad (and yet appropriate) the Ground Zero memorial is.

  19. dearieme

    Autonomous cars and the AI scam.

    Strictly I don’t know that it is a scam but I suspect it is. Decades ago I worked round the corner from a pioneering university lab that worked on AI – then called “machine intelligence”. Their problem back then was said, for public consumption, to be lack of computing power. But in private, especially after having drink taken, there would be outbursts of candour, along the lines of “we don’t know how to do such-and-such even if we had all the computing power in the world.” And perhaps the same is true today: maybe many practical problems are just too ruddy hard. After all, it would hardly be a surprise if people whose success has been largely confined to writing computer programs should find that physics and engineering are full of problems that are a great deal more difficult than the little puzzles that they are used to enjoying.

    Perhaps they’ll finally conclude that humans are equipped with a combination of sensors and software that give them remarkable powers of pattern recognition that are hard to emulate.

    I’d be perfectly happy to be proved wrong but it all might turn out to be a protracted struggle. Consider what the first humans to see ‘roos thought. They probably didn’t think “that does not compute”. They probably thought “those rats are bloody big and they certainly skip around.” And that pattern recognition would, tens of thousands of years later, be quite enough to let them avoid a ‘roo.

  20. David Carl Grimes

    Navient is a pretty sh*tty student loan servicer

    Student Loans | Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj | Netflix


  21. dcblogger

    Trump pushing for major crackdown on homeless camps in California,
    first immigrants, now homeless, who will be next?

  22. Plenue

    Regarding that West Wing email, it’s simply wrong. Bartlett almost never did the right thing. At least 3/4’s of the episodes in that terrible show would involve some element where there were clearly reasons to take a stand on some issue but Bartlett and his staff just…wouldn’t. Usually while smugly explaining to all the ‘idiot progressive’ types why it was politically infeasible to do so. There’s a scene in the first season that involves Bartlett screaming at a guy about how he (Bartlett, the man throwing a temper tantrum) is the reasonable one who understands how politics ‘really’ works.

    Ideals and principles have no place in Sorkin’s West Wing; they’re pretty words that are only to be used to get elected, after which they need to be discarded and the adults in the administration need to get down to the work of not leading or accomplishing much of anything. If you actually believe in anything, the show mocks you. You’re the annoying activists the administration occasionally has to allow into the building, hopefully while preventing them from sullying up the premises too much with their filthy plebeian selves. ‘Serious’ politics in the West Wing is to not do anything on any issue without first looking at the polling data. Except it’s actually not, as the real world Democrats demonstrate constantly by not supporting things that poll extremely well. West Wing is a fascinating look in a worldview that is both cruel and profoundly stupid.

    There’s a couple guys currently screwing the show episode by episode in a podcast called The West Wing Thing. The episode a couple weeks back involved the show literally not taking a stance against freaking child slavery.

  23. Whoa

    Re: homeless in SF

    (and every other town in Northern California including mine. Encampments are everywhere.)

    I keep thinking about the fact that Trump is at least trying something and the D political machines are not, will not, and did not.

    If people can get a warm bed, a place to get a shower, and a safe place to stay for a while— then good for Trump.

    1. notabanker

      Well let’s see what those “government facilities” are that they are going to revive. I’m sure there are ‘warm beds’ and showers in Alcatraz. And those ICE contractors are probably freeing up some capacity now that Mexico is playing ball.

    2. VietnamVet

      Good for him. Too bad nothing will happen. Likewise, Bernie Sander’s elimination of education and hospital debt. The black helicopter detention camps will remain unused. But, Donald Trump sure has a nose for pointing out the Democrat’s basic hypocrisy. Politicians so wedded to Elite donations that can’t see what they really are.

    3. marym

      If the currently unaccountable federal government’s response to homelessness is rounding people up and shipping them to camps, it seems unlikely that a warm bed, a chance to shower, and a safe place to stay are the goals. The way to do that would be to support local shelters, mental health and social services, job programs, and transition living arrangements. It’s fine to criticize the Dems for their failures on these fronts, but there’s no evidence the Trump administration has any interest either.

      Maybe it turns out that as a society we really aren’t willing to solve problems, but we should at least acknowledge that, not tell ourselves some comforting story.

      1. Late Introvert

        Too true marym, and when the children get separated from the parents for their own good without records and follow up and strict guidelines, well ho hum.

  24. richard

    Here is Warren trying to answer how her vote for pentagon uber bloat squares with her “progressive” domestic agenda. I don’t agree with K. Kulinski that it was a very good question: “squares with” gives way too much leg room. And then of course Warren does her faux leftist open field run. Kulinski is perfectly dismissive of her word belch. I know I link to him a lot; i think this clip kind of shows why. Reasoned, savage, and doesn’t sound like a grad student :)
    Sometimes I find him a little predictable. I kind of like his voices, could care less about all the fan club stuff with Corin, etc

  25. duh

    Silicon Valley began this decade as the bleeding edge of the American economy, where new technologies were said to be building a better future for the whole planet. By its end, the American tech industry will be largely viewed as the labor-destroying, profit-hungry behemoth that it truly is. While Facebook’s inadvertent election-rigging and Google’s near-monopoly on digital advertising might draw more attention as the culprits behind that pendulum swing, it is Uber’s Randian capitalism that most transparently lays bare Silicon Valley villainy. And even from outside the C-suite, from which he was ejected in 2017, Kalanick remains its smug, unapologetic face.”

    What in the world? Only Kalanick remains its [Silicon Valley’s] smug, unapologetic face???? Pendulum Swing – only in the last decade????? …. and only: Election Rigging?????? and a monopoly on digital advertising are Facebook and Googles’ crimes?????????

    First of all, Kalanick is an utter scumbag. But, UBER is a small, small fry sardine, as compared to the social damage; stunning privacy violations (including MEDICAL RECORDS) and surveillance; MIC Crimes and Law Enforcement™, and impoverishment that Google, and Facebook –along with their horrid predecessors – have wrought. Those entities founders and mentors are just as (if not far more) amoral/immoral as Kalanick; and their lack of transparency amongst all the damage done indicates something way more nefarious than Travis Kalanick, as nasty and odious as he is.

    Silicon Valley’s Kingmakers (generally IVY Leaguer White Males) began this last decade with the same publicly subsidized, billionaire making, DOD/CIA Funded, Multinational Corporations as has been the case for over half a century now, none of it for the purpose of benefiting society at large.

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