2:00PM Water Cooler 9/18/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I have some posts to complete, and so this Water Cooler will be an Open Thread (which I regret, because there’s so much going on!). Here are some conversation starters.

Obama then:

Obama now:

C’mon, man.

* * *

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 (meeps):

Meeps writes: “These desert plants are new to me.” I’m gonna try fight through the EXIF data on this one, again!

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser.Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. dan Dundee

    Re: Obama’s oil boast, great call. I wonder what Obama would say if Greta has asked him about his presidency pushing drone warfare to new limits?

      1. marym

        And now it’s our turn.

        Just published

        The Second Founding
        How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution
        by Eric Foner (Author, Columbia University)
        From the Pulitzer Prize–winning scholar, a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation’s foundation and how those guarantees have been shaken over time.

        Again today there are serious political challenges to birthright citizenship, voting rights, due process, and equal protection of the law. Like all great works of history, this one informs our understanding of the present as well as the past: knowledge and vigilance are always necessary to secure our basic rights.


      2. JBird4049

        Actually that really is kinda the truth.

        Slavery was very, very profitable, but even in the late 1700s there was a growing abolitionist movement. During the debates over the Constitution, there was serious political conflict over slavery, with many, including Thomas Jefferson, wanting to ban it, albeit slowly, and a smaller, but politically power group wanting to keep it going in perpetuity. The Carolinas and Virginia were not going to allow an outright ban of slavery even, if decades away, but some of the other states were not going to allow it to continue.

        Because the Constitution could not be adopted over such strong opposition, a compromise was reached. Any state could end it at anytime with the possibility, and therefore the near certainty, of banning importation after twenty years. It was a very fine thread through a very small needle’s eye, but it worked.

        It was popularly agreed that cotton would never really become the cash crop it actually became because of the difficulties of removing the seeds from the cotton boll by hand, which was time consuming and labor intensive. I am sure there were other reasons, of which most were wishful thinking, but really the North at the time was already slowly ending slavery. and the Southern coastal states it were the cotton, rice, and tobacco growers that used slaves. Cotton and tobacco tend to wear out the soil, which means new ground is always needed, which was in limited supply

        The then expected ban on importing slaves and the the reduced demand for them was expected to gradual reduce it, perhaps even entirely.

        However, Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin, which made removing seeds easy, the Louisiana Purchase and the forceful acquisition of Florida from Spain added new farmland as well as the Mississippi River and the Port of New Orleans made shipping crops much easier, and the slave plantations in the states with tapped out soil turned to breeding and selling human beings to the states that could use them for farm labor and the active farms also did it for extra profit.

        In someways, banning slave importation made slavery more profitable as the slaves themselves increased in value because the owners/investors could not use them up, but rather tend to them as valuable property. Slaves were invested in, traded, used a collateral, and to back bonds and stocks. Just like any other piece of property especially one that automatically grew.

        Yes, in someways capitalism is a fabulous money making system.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the slaves themselves increased in value because the owners/investors could not use them up, but rather tend to them as valuable property.

          IIRC, slaves weren’t cheap; basically the same as buying a good new car today.

          And don’t forget “natural increase.” The children of slaves were also slaves. So you were buying a car that made other cars.

          1. BoyDownTheLane

            Sounds like what GM is doing with robots. At one point, I had been given to understand that Obama went out to the tech industry universities in Pittsburgh and later bailed out (bought, pro tem) GM to make robots that would make military weapons (tanks, drones, whatever). I could be wrong about this. Correction is welcome.

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I read quite some time ago about Jefferson’s solution to slavery which was mass deportation, until he realised the huge financial cost mainly in compensating the owners.

          There are some interesting examples of his thoughts on the slavery problem below. One rather startling one includes mention of an orang utan & there is also a line from Lincoln that as with the above surprised me & led me to undertaking a successful search elsewhere for corroboration, which turned up much more including his treatment of a runaway slave, his views on sex between a white woman & a black man ( presumably the other way around was just dandy ) & his proposed measures for the treatment of such a women & any freed slaves in Virginia.


      3. dearieme

        why the Constitution didn’t address slavery.

        It explicitly addressed slavery. WKPD: Article One, Section 9, Clauses 1 prevents Congress from passing any law that would restrict the importation of slaves into the United States prior to 1808.

          1. JBird4049

            And that was the compromise. Nobody really expected any great demand for slave labor by then and as the slaves were often treated poorly and died young because it was cheaper to import more humans than care for them. I think that the Northern framers were thinking of the horrific death rate and negative population growth of the Caribbean and Brazilian plantations especially those of the sugar cane growers. They expected much of the black population to be used up and die. Not all of them, but enough.

            It was one of the reasons why the British and later French Abolitionists Movements had such a hard time. The plantation owners were just filthy with their blood money and used it to buy seats in, or just buy off, Parliament.

            The British had to pay the owners for the lose of their “property” while the Haitian government was paying off the French until IIRC 1947 for the same reason otherwise the French navy would resume its blockade sometimes with American and maybe British assistance. So much for France’sLiberté, égalité, fraternité. It is also the original reason Haiti clear cut its forests as the choice was that and giving any “extra” money or the blockade.

            Yeah, so American slave families knew that their reason for their children’s existence was for them to be sold as well as that the entire family could be sold separately at anytime to anyone and there was a very real good chance you would never know what happened to them. For decades after the Civil War former slaves would post ads in the local papers hoping to find someone. And the French spent over a century clear cutting the economy of an entire country because its people dared to free themselves.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Nobody really expected any great demand for slave labor by then and as the slaves were often treated poorly and died young because it was cheaper to import more humans than care for them

              I’m not so sure. From the Monticello website:

              Did Jefferson think that slavery was profitable?

              Jefferson knew slavery was the primary economic engine for the South. Jefferson directly profited from the labor of enslaved people on his four quarter farms and at his retreat home, Poplar Forest. Tobacco was a labor-intensive crop that required a considerable enslaved labor force, and Jefferson was generally concerned about his profit. Additionally, the people themselves were profitable. In Virginia, unlike the Caribbean, enslaved women achieved fertility rates that allowed for a self-reproducing enslaved population. Planters could satisfy the demand for slave labor without having to import slaves from Africa. Many slaveowners, including Jefferson, understood that female slaves—and their future children—represented the best means to increase the value of his holdings, what he called “capital.” This would have been especially true after the abolishment of the slave trade in 1807 in America, which prohibited the importation of new enslaved people and thus increased the value of the people already living in bondage. “I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable than the best man of the farm,” Jefferson remarked in 1820. “What she produces is an addition to the capital, while his labors disappear in mere consumption.”

              I would love to read a history of slaveowner’s views, as a class, on this topic, not just Jefferson.

              1. JBird4049

                I can see underestimating the desire of the American slave owners to breed their own slaves rather than import them. Even the worse of the American plantations were not as bad as the Caribbean ones, which usually not as bad as the Brazilian ones. The worse of them seemed like prototypes of the Nazi extermination-by-work camps. For whatever reason the idea of only importing replacements for the plantations did not hold in the United States.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Since Jefferson was mentioned, I don’t remember the figures, but Jefferson’s “hoped for” production of of nails made by slaves on Monticello was a pittance compared to the systems in free states being brought on line to make nails.

                  The slave owners might have believed their “investments” would pay off, but without the cotton gin, they probably wouldn’t have made it. Its memory, but I remember a class where we discussed turnover among plantations between the Revolutionary War and the cotton gin.

                  1. JBird4049

                    I think it was how, not if, the slaves were used that determined profitability. Just before the Civil War the South was experimenting with factories staffed by slaves. Small scale but apparently successful. Much of the required work from the skilled trades was done by slaves including most of the services needed at ports like Charleston.

                    The great majority of Southern whites were poor aside from a small business class, a small smaller, professional class like doctors and lawyers and the tiny class of wealthy plantation owners. Small scale farming usually on the second rate farmlands available and physical labor often side by side with slaves was pretty much the only way to make a (poor) living. The ability of the Southern elite to get the “masterless men” to fight and die for the continuation of the same system that kept them poor is disturbing.

            2. marym

              For decades after the Civil War former slaves would post ads in the local papers hoping to find someone.

              Help Me to Find My People
              The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery
              By Heather Andrea Williams

              Williams follows those who were separated, chronicles their searches, and documents the rare experience of reunion. She also explores the sympathy, indifference, hostility, or empathy expressed by whites about sundered black families. Williams shows how searches for family members in the post-Civil War era continue to reverberate in African American culture in the ongoing search for family history and connection across generations.


              1. JBird4049

                Thanks for the link although it might be a while before I get to it. As much as I love history it can be gut punching to read sometimes and personal first person accounts makes me want to weep sometimes.

      4. Mark Anderlik

        In the oh so infamous Second Amendment slavery appears to be addressed as well. According to Carl T. Bogus this amendment was a compromise between pro and anti slave states where he argues that “militia” is actually in reference to the armed whites (and some “trustworthy” blacks presumably) who caught runaway slaves and provided a defense of the outnumbered whites from slave revolts. https://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issues/31/2/Articles/DavisVol31No2_Bogus.pdf

        1. JBird4049

          An oversimplification.

          the Southern states were terrified of slave uprisings especially after the successful Haitian one with its general slaughter by, and of everyone, but the Southern slave patrols were also a means of quashing dissent and controlling the movement of any troublemakers like poor whites, reformists, preachers (early abolitionism was heavily religious), reporters, anyone who either did not have the legally required passes and identification or be a member of the upper classes. Parts of the country were something like a fascistic oligarchy.

          Also country as a whole, North and South, was hostile to a standing army of any size, and I mean any size. The British Empire had just spent fifteen years trying to suppress the American Colonies with its standing army. The opening battles at Lexington and Concord were the results of the British military then in effective control of Boston trying to seize gunpowder and artillery from the militia.

          So there was some thought of not having an army. West Point’s creation only happened because having a large number of trained officers to fight a true war with the British, French, and Spanish Empires takes time. Also the Corp of Engineers building things like roads, canals, and fortifications made politicians happy.

          So a full time effective navy, a very large numbers of state militias backed by a small group of engineers and artillerists, plus a some regiments of cavalry and infantry, which could also act as a framework for true expansion if the war became really bad. A military too small to control millions of people, but large enough to handle small conflicts and rapidly expand when needed, but that requires something like a militia as a backup.

  2. Massinissa

    I feel a little bad for miss Thunberg. Shes being used as a puppet by powerful political and economic forces who don’t actually a give a (family blog) about her cause. I wonder if she will ever even realize it, or if she will grow up believing in bankrupt liberal incrementalism.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Maybe I’m being nicer to Naomi Klein than I should be. I’m tellin ya, though, ever since I heard that Trillbillies broadcast on NGO grant-making (a.k.a. “the non-profit industrial complex”) I’ve just been so disgusted. A wretched hive of scum and villainy.

          1. Goyo Marquez

            I’m not finding that episode. A couple more hints please.

            Thanks for the Revolutions podcast super, super good.

            1. Conrad

              Revolutions is great he’s up to the Russian Revolution now. Mike Duncan’s earlier podcast The History of Rome is also great when you’re through all the 10 revolutions and waiting on the next episode.

          2. none

            Wherever there is a pile of money in one place, there is corruption and a swarm of army ants trying to get their hands on it.

      1. Roy G

        Thanks for providing some substance, definitely lots of food for critical thought there.

        That said, my kids are missing school on Friday to participate in this action. As my French-American wife often says, ‘Americans have forgotten how to strike,’ so I can’t help but see this action as something positive. Yes, I can see how the neolib Disaster Capitalists are hard at work figuring out how to profit off of this, but to throw away the baby with the bathwater strikes me as extremely cynical.

        I’m right there with going beyond incremental steps, but something is better than nothing and you have to start with hearts and minds. Sure, there is reason to look at this with a critical eye, but at this moment it looks like it’s just poisoning the well because nobody can pass the purity test.

        1. jessica

          As currently structured, the meme about climate change being an emergency that requires immediate action has the effect of saying “we can’t take the time to change the power structure (which created the problem), so we will have to work within the one we have now”.
          That is the big payoff for our current elites. Plus great cover for lowering the living standards of the masses. Two-for-one. What’s not to like?

          1. Carey

            That’s looking like a pretty good fit, isn’t it?

            I haven’t plowed through all that Cory Morningstar stuff yet, but what I’ve read so far passes the smell test.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Is it possible to keep some standard of living while using less fossil-carbon-burning energy than what we now use?

            If it is, is it then possible for millions of masses to lower their energy use by more than they lower their standard of living? And if THAT is possible, is it possible for those millions of masses to weaponize the difference between the greater amount of energy use reduction and the lesser amount of standard-of-living reduction . . . and direct that weaponizable difference against the upper classes?

            How much inconvenience are millions of masses prepared to accept into their own lives with the scientific assurance that their own greater inconvenience will really truly inflict actual pain upon their Merchants of Fossil class enemies? How much greater will that greater pain inflicted have to be in order to make the acceptance of greater inconvenience for oneself worth the greater pain inflicted upon the enemy?

            Can we translate voluntary personal and community energy-use-reductions into a thousand Hate Based Initiatives coming from a Thousand Points of Hate . . . all focused against the global warmogenic upper classes?

            1. inode_buddha

              Its possible to do quite a bit. The issue I see isn’t so much one of comfort or convenience; I know plenty of people who use so little energy that they wouldn’t know it if civilization stopped. They still have all the creature comforts. They also have anywhere from 5 to 100 acres of land, and their places are grandfathered in so far as construction standards.

              The trouble I see is, zoning boards and construction codes. You can have a near-zero footprint, but not under the current system. Ever try to get one of those regulations changed without spending years of time and lots of money? Not gonna happen, sadly.

          3. witters

            As currently structured, the meme about climate change being an emergency that requires immediate action has the effect of saying “we can’t take the time to change the power structure (which created the problem), so we will have to work within the one we have now”.

            Brilliant analysis! So its NOT an Emergency and we don’t need Immediate Action. For that would entrench BAU (which, of course, insists there is no emergency and no need for immediate action)! 11ny Dimensional.

    1. divadab

      Well ya exploiters jump on a photogenic bandwagon. It doesn;t negate the power of having a young woman communicate the reality of anthropogenic climate change to young future leaders.

      Yes you can criticise and cavill at any useful person. I prefer to support them.

      1. Darius

        Obama’s got some nerve to exploit this young woman to keep his profile elevated. The few useful things he did were loaded with escape clauses and don’t compensate for all the useful things he blocked or refused to do. Although to be fair he presents well.

        1. jrs

          He wasted time on climate when we had more time. He is a failure. He will die with that on his hands, that he could have made a difference and didn’t. He might even feel remorse, who knows, and at this point who cares. If his tweets now are a plea for redemption, sorry but there isn’t any to be had.

          He made healthcare not climate change his priority and then did it badly (if it was done right it wouldn’t continue to be a top issue, it wasn’t).

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            He will die happy counting his millions of Big Tubmans. He won’t be troubled by anything at all.

            That’s our Obama!

    2. Dan

      You will like this I believe:

      John Michael Greer is back with a vengeance:


      “At this point, in fact, one of the current heartthrobs of climate change activism, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, refuses to fly anywhere because of commercial air travel’s gargantuan carbon footprint. Sensibly enough, she travels through Europe by train, and her rich friends have lent her a sailboat to take her across the Atlantic for her upcoming North American tour. This would be bad enough if Thunberg was an ordinary citizen trying to raise awareness of anthropogenic climate change, but she’s not—she’s the darling of the Davos set, a child of privilege who’s managed to parlay the normal adolescent craving for attention into a sizable cultural presence. Every time she takes the train, she adds to the number of people who look at the attendees at the Sicily conference mentioned above and say, “So what about your carbon footprint?”

      1. Dan

        Forgot this, it makes more sense:

        “Celebrities will find some other cause that will allow them to play at doing good while still living their absurdly extravagant carbon-intensive lifestyles. As for Greta Thunberg, she’d better enjoy wallowing in elite attention while she can; not too long from now, unless she’s canny enough to stop talking about climate change and follow the celebrities to whatever their next cause du jour happens to be, the rich and influential people who are fawning all over her right now will be saying “Greta who?”

        “The bitter irony in all of this is that anthropogenic climate change is a reality. It’s not the end of the world, not by a long shot, but it bids fair to cause a vast
        amount of human suffering and economic impoverishment in the decades ahead. What’s more, the celebrity activists who currently make so much noise about anthropogenic climate change could actually do something about it, if only they were willing to lead by example, cut their own carbon footprints sharply, and show the world what those of us who’ve taken that step already know: that you can have a perfectly pleasant, decent, and comfortable life on a small fraction of the energy and resource inputs that the comfortable classes of the industrial world think they have to have. “

        1. jrs

          they could show no such thing by their example, as they don’t live lives we can relate to. If they don’t relate to commuting to work 5 days a week, pray tell what use are they in showing us how to do it better, especially as it’s a societal problem. They are the last people on earth one would turn to for that. While they what show themselves getting solar panels installed on their roofs while we struggle to get the landlord to fix the damn A/C or something. Yea, pass.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The one question I have is whehter being a celebrity makes one a more virtuous person.

          Looking at some not-so-virtuous celebrities, one is tempte to answer, no.

          But…but, it’s a diverse world. Maybe other people can benefit from celebrityhood, unless we say, reversing the cause-effect relationship, you have to be virtuous, first, in order to be a celebrity. That’s obvioulsy false.

          And if being a celebrity can possibly make some, or many, of us more virtuous, should we try to make more of us celebrities?

          Can we all be celebrities?

    3. dcblogger

      She is not pushing incrementalism, but massive restructuring to avert climate catastrophe. Always a reason not to take young people seriously, always a reason to put down citizen activists. We have 11 years to save the climate, she and her supporters are trying to do something, where are the rest of us?

      1. polecat

        We humans will have x years to save ourselves. The climate will do what it has always done – Shift and Change !

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m not getting the carping about Thunberg. Anybody who can hand the IPCC report to Congress and say “this is my testimony” is doing OK. I don’t get the personal, offended tone.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Perhaps, I’m reading too much into body language, but Obama doesn’t seem like his jovial self in the picture. I bet young Greta didn’t even thank him for increasing oil production.

            1. Anonymous

              ” Obama doesn’t seem like his jovial self in the picture.”

              Perhaps he’s realizing Greta was only 7 at the time of the Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill.

              210 million gallons of oil.
              1.84 million gallons of corexit

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Eleven years.

        Do we know, with some confidence, that it’s 11 years, and not, say, 5 years or – 3 years (i.e. 3 years too late)?

        If it is -3 years, would it help not to be too active, but be more passive? For example, sitting quietly, and not gyrating wildly to some loud music?

  3. Greta-way is a no way

    It looks like Greta is a neoliberal hoax and/or diversion
    1) 0 movement behind, only her as an individual yakking away about “we must do something”
    2) she has already published a bunch of books about achieving whatever dreams you have, i.e., airport self-imrprovement crap
    3) she gets to speak in Davos and, well, Obama embraces her, which is typical for token persons with zero impact or threat to the current order

    1. divadab

      Ok, let’s criticise everything to justify doing nothing. Greta is of course exploited by the fame machine. This doesn’t negate her sincerity or the value of what she does.

      1. Garrett

        Promoting green capitalism doesn’t negate the value of what she does? “Inspiring young leaders” was Obama’s beat too–Was he the solution?

      2. jrs

        She draws attention to the issue (not that it’s that it’s not obvious) and the urgency. I don’t know what else anyone really expects her to do.

        I don’t even know what they think a legitimate threat to the current order would look like, and without that fleshed out, I am not convinced it’s not just some fantasy image in their head.

        Is it it more criticism of capitalism they want? More calls for civil disobedience? More direct political endorsements of candidates globally? Or what?

        1. PKMKII

          IMHO, the problem is not what Greta has been so far. That has been highly admirable, even if it is more PR than organic. The problem is if Greta becomes the face of a global Generation Z call for their elders to “do something” about climate change, then she becomes a branding of sorts, assuming that hasn’t happened already. Greta is attached to your protest, your political party, your NGO, it lends a certain gravitas. That’s where the green capitalism becomes a problem. If she speaks out positively about a particular green capitalism venture, or even worse, a paid spokesperson, the brand value created by the Greta PR machine is transferred to said venture. Which effectively makes the whole thing just PR.

      3. Carey

        I value your comments and read them with care; and, also suggest checking out the JM Greer piece
        linked just above, if you haven’t already.

      1. RopeADope

        The Save the Whales campaign back in the 70s and 80s was amplified by Western powers to make the Soviet Union look bad as the Soviets were still whaling. Fun fact, that campaign was also started by a teenager.

        As Stephen Walt has explained, it worked then because Nice countries finish first.

        Today the US is very much not a nice country (the last time I checked it was voted the biggest threat to humanity by the world’s population) so the Blob is having difficulty co-opting this new campaign and turning it against China.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The Save the Whales campaign back in the 70s and 80s was amplified by Western powers to make the Soviet Union look bad as the Soviets were still whaling. Fun fact, that campaign was also started by a teenager.

          I think I’ve put my finger on the disconnect here. A common view, not mine, is that the intelligence community (at least on the operations side) is intelligent, and competent. In fact, they’re stupid and colossal fuck-ups, as demonstrated in case after case (amplified with lack of accountability and limited funds.

          I grant that Walt, since he tells the truth about Israel, is smarter and more prinipled than the norm. But I was alive during the Save The Whales campaign and I had, until this moment, no notion whatever that the former USSR was a whaling nation.

          It us a far more parsimonious explanation to regard intelligence agencies as dim-witted opportunists who seize on organic movements and seek to bend them to their ends. They are a fact of life. It does no good to clutch one’s pearls and head for the fainting couch. Because it’s also good to save the whales, no? Regardless of whether the movement has been rendered ritually impure?

          1. RopeADope

            I listen to Walt because of his view that the US should not be empowering nuclear armed regional hegemons that can later cause problems for the US, as it has been doing recently.

            One of the main reasons I have complete scorn for the Clinton network is that I have not forgotten when they were taking money from Chinese businessmen to give China PNTR in 1999 so it could join the WTO.

            And in 2016 they were taking money from the Middle East to set up a regional energy hub. Why, only a few months ago Clinton spokesman Dick Morris, of Jeffrey Epstein’s power network, was saying Trump should not be impeached because he needed to go after Iran and subordinate it to the new M.E. hegemon and fill the energy shortfall for supplying Europe. All this while Nancy Pelosi of MEK conference fame is saying Trump should not be impeached and who’s son apparently liked to date lingerie models, not Epstein’s Victoria Secret ones I hope.

  4. Plus ca change

    How about the successor to Bolton? Just another crazy from the basement, as Bush the elder described the neocons, or something new?

    1. dearieme

      But he won a Nobel Prize!!!!!!

      OK, the fact that it was for “Peace” show that a bunch of Norwegians had a wonderful anticipatory sense of irony.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More than one peace award.

        From Wikipedia, List of Peace Prizes:

        Under the title of Peace Prize, the following prizes are awarded among others:

        Aachen Peace Prize
        Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize
        Albert Einstein Peace Prize
        Bruno Kreisky Award
        Community of Christ International Peace Award
        The Peace Abbey Foundation Courage of Conscience Award
        Confucius Peace Prize
        Dresden Peace Prize [1]
        Gandhi Peace Award
        Gandhi Peace Prize
        Gusi Peace International Prize
        El-Hibri Peace Education Prize
        Firmin Sword of Peace (formerly the Wilkinson Sword of Peace)
        Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
        International Children’s Peace Prize
        International Peace Prize
        Joliot-Curie Medal (and others) awarded by the World Peace Council
        Lenin Peace Prize (formerly the Stalin Peace Prize)
        W. McCarthy Award
        Michael Sattler Peace Prize awarded by the German Mennonite Peace Committee
        National Malala Peace Prize
        Niwano Peace Prize
        Nobel Peace Prize
        OPCW-The Hague Award
        Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold
        Pacem in Terris Award
        Paul Bartlett Ré Peace Prize
        Peace Medal of the Third World dispensed by the United Nations
        Pfeffer Peace Prize dispensed by the Fellowship of Reconciliation
        Ramon Magsaysay Award
        Sean MacBride Peace Prize
        Seoul Peace Prize
        Sydney Peace Prize
        Student Peace Prize
        Sunhak Peace Prize
        Templeton Prize
        Thomas Merton Award
        UNESCO Prize for Peace Education
        United Nations Queensland Community Award
        War Resisters League Peace Award
        Wateler Peace Prize
        World Peace Prize

        According to the article, the International Stalin Prize For Strengthening Peace Among Peoples Prize was renamed International Lenin Prize For Strengthening Peace Among Peoples, previous winners were asked to return their Stalin prizes.

        Later, it was renamed, again, as International Lenin Peace Prize, in 1989, and the program was terminated 2 years later. It is (was?) regarded as a counterpart to the existing Nobel Peace Prize.

  5. shinola

    The push to directly blame Iran so quickly for the missile/drone attack on the Saudi refinery complex, to me, has an air of “Saddam’s WMD!” (and/or Gulf of Tonkin for those of a certain age) about it.

    Anyone else get that feeling?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        yellowcake, aluminum tubes, babies in incubators, Remember The Maine, Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin

        Maybe they can trot out Colin Powell again, and he can hold up a piece of an Iranian-made drone at the U.N.

        Although maybe it’s a good precedent: bomb the crap out of the country that manufactured the drone, no matter who deployed it

    1. katiebird

      Me too. I was too young to have an opinion on the Gulf of Tonkin, but the WMD thing never fooled me for a second.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        WMDs were my first summer blogging, playing whackamole with all the lies. And they were such crude, badly constructed lies. But as soon as one lie fell apart, another would appear.

        1. inode_buddha

          You should see what happens in the comment threads on Facebook whenever Sander’s campaign posts… the “lie” posts are numberless and relentless. Rather than try to counter them directly, I simply tell a different story that anyone can confirm for themselves in a matter of minutes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Among the potential beneficiaries, directly or indirectly, are Russia and China.

        (We are talking about reverse psychology, double reverse, triple reverse, etc. or we can console or counsel ourselves with Occam’s Razor.)

        And with that, we pause, and reflect that perhaps we have to add other criteria, in addition to solely cui bono.

      2. Eric Anderson

        It’s not unusual for a regime to promote a defensive war in order to quell dissent within their country.

    2. WJ

      IMO there is no way Iran would have been involved in this incident without taking extraordinary pains to ensure there would be no decisive evidence pointing back to their involvement.

      The US has no such decisive evidence. The US might also be aware there is possibly exculpatory evidence, which is why the US can’t say anything too specific.

      Something like this operation, if Iran could pull it off without leaving any hard evidence of its involvement, *would* arguably serve Iran’s interest by demonstrating a small taste of what would be in store for the world’s oil supply if Trump were to be so stupid as to do Nettyyahoo’s bidding….

      1. RMO

        Also too young for the Gulf of Tonkin but was never fooled for an instant with the whole WMD thing. I WAS completely fooled by the allegedly “completely unprovoked invasion of innocent Afghanistan by the pure evil USSR” though. Finding out, from Zbignew himself no less that the US started supplying the Taliban with weapons via the CIA to deliberately bring the Soviets in to the war was a life changing experience for me. I can still remember him rhetorically asking “What’s more important, some riled up Muslims or the destruction of a nuclear armed existential threat to the US?” Then, later on when asked whether with the USSR gone the US could cut back on military spending he stated that experts agree that since the fall of the Soviet Union the world has become MORE dangerous… The guy deserves his own special level of hell.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Well, his daughter is married to and works with Joe Scarborough, so I mean I know Brzezinski escaped the mortal coil but even that knowledge must gnaw at someone.

          Imagine Joe Scarborough being part of your family. Zbignew might be one of the only American war criminals who faced a form of punishment in this life.

    3. VietnamVet

      Yes, there is a media propaganda push ongoing even though the Saudis said the attacks were “sponsored” by Iran. Rather than war, the agitprop seems intended to continue the ongoing chaos to make even more money for military contractors. A hot War with Iran would crash the world economy and would really escalate after American bases there were damaged. Blaming Iran also avoids discussing Saudi Arabia’s support of Sunni Jihadists in Syria/Iraq and the Saudi’s ongoing war against the Houthis in Yemen. Shiites in Syria and Iraq and the Houthis all have a good reason for launching attacks against Saudi Arabia – revenge.

  6. Pat

    The plantidote looks like one of the versions of Indian Paintbrush I saw growing up in New Mexico. There are multiple species (thinner leaves, thicker leaves, longer stems, shorter stems) and colors, but that lovely coral color was my favorite.

    But no guarantees, memory and not a field I have any real knowledge in so I could be way wrong.

    1. meeps

      Thanks, Pat. I’ll scan through images of other specimens online and see if I can nail an I.D. This was in Utah, not far from your and Eureka’s spotting.

      A hat tip to Lambert, also, for being a trooper and sorting out the exif issue.

  7. Plenue

    So a few weeks ago there was a trio of sexual assault allegations against people in the video game industry. An update on this doesn’t seem to have ever reached naked capitalism. One of the accused, Alec Holowka, killed himself on August 31, five days after being accused. The rough timeline seems to be Twitter accusations > his friends and Night in the Woods co-developers disown him > he kills himself. One of those developers then put out a fairly lengthy post on Medium claiming that Holowka was always a toxic personality that actively made their lives worse, but it took the assault allegations to finally push them over the edge to cutting ties with him.

    I have no idea of the truth of the matter, I suspect it’s probably all true (what reason do they have to lie?), but the way this went down really is awful. I get that formal channels of accusation and investigation are often unresponsive, but there has to be a better way than this trial by Twitter stuff.

      1. Plenue




        And here’s the Medium post from the co-developer: https://medium.com/@bombsfall/alec-2618dc1e23e

        The weird lack of agency in the headlines rubs me the wrong way. Also if you look in the comments on the Kotaku piece the article author tries to get out in front of it and curtail any discussion that cancel culture caused Alec’s suicide, even though, from where I’m sitting, it kind of did. To the extent that any of the #gamergate crowd actually genuinely cares about a lack of ethics in games journalism, this is the kind of thing they mean.

    1. Carolinian

      We had a Boeing pilot commenting here who also said–as the NYT article apparently does–that the pilots have some of the blame. His main point was that the extreme case represented by the two accidents only happens after too many critical seconds of inattention or bad decisions by the pilots. Both accidents happened during the climbing phase when pilots are supposed to be attentive and manually flying the airplane.

      MOA is not a pilot–although he claims to have some background in airplane certification–and neither am I. But I do question his assumption of bad faith on the part of anyone who disagrees with his rather extreme stance on Boeing (he thinks all of the 737 NG should be grounded as well). It could be that those who have thousands of hours of actual filght experience have something useful to tell us and are not just shills for those very much blameworthy Boeing executives.

  8. polecat

    “Nice little Hi-Tech sailing craft there, Greta …

    “Be a sham, if those of us who manned & piloted it across the Altantic for your media splash greenwash benefit, had to JET back homeward … oh wait !”

    I’m sure Greta’s parents must really be proud .. elites !

    1. Carey

      Super-awesome PR, though.. Mister Obama’s recent attentions are justified, at least in the short term.



  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    But Obama had to do those awful things or else the Republicans would win. For every awful thing Obama did, Republicans couldn’t take credit for it, and can you imagine how many seats Democrats would have lost if Obama had not done those things? Well, it would be high, probably higher than you can count. Effin’ plebes who don’t understand politics.

    Its mildly amusing Obama feels the need to attach himself to someone else’s celebrity, but then again, he’s been largely absent from political discourse since the 2014 election season when Pelosi promised donors HR would set things right. My instinct is Obama won’t be producing a memoir.

    1. Plenue

      “My instinct is Obama won’t be producing a memoir.”

      We’re talking about a guy who wrote two autobiographies, and is currently defacing Chicago public land to erect a monument to his own ego (which apparently isn’t even going to be his presidential library. It’s…something else?). I’m not sure he has the restraint to not write more about himself. He’s probably just waiting until things have further shaken out so he has a clearer idea of what he needles he needs to thread to make himself look good.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ah, yes, but those “autobiographies” weren’t about the Presidency. And monuments are so blank…I think a Presidential memoir will be expected to be about something, even from Obama’s perspective.

        Mentioning his success picking better seeds in a March Madness bracket isn’t exactly the 21st century equivalent of the Gettysburg Address no matter the talent of the ghost writer.

        His snotty “thanks Obama for increasing oil exports” won’t agree with his chapter on how he was a “green warrior” because he once threw a can into a recycling bin when it was convenient and liked to golf.

  10. Zagonostra

    Tulsa- ‘Trump is the Saudi’s bitch’

    That alone should qualify her for next debate.

    All the posturing/pandering about how bad Trump is on last debate fails to even come close in my mind’s recollection as that pithy statement.

    1. Carey

      Myself, I’m a little disappointed in hearing that kind of language from Gabbard.
      I do hope she’s “allowed” back into further debates, though.

  11. dcblogger

    from yesterday’s Politico:
    The Sanders campaign says it has 14 times as many identified voters in the Granite State than it had at this time in 2016 and it is doubling his field staff there from 26 to 50 employees.
    the fact that Bernie has identifiend 14 times as many supporters as this time 2015 and he still is not satisfied tells me that he expects a massive turnout in 2020, and I suspect he is correct.

    1. RMO

      We already know the Democrat party doesn’t believe it has to run a fair primary or follow its own rules – and that they apparently believe that a handful of insiders can just go into a back room and declare whoever they want to the candidacy, so the only way I can see Sanders winning is if he is so overwhelmingly popular that not selecting him would cause a party destroying rift. I have little trouble believing that the power players in the Dem party would be willing to burn the whole place down rather than let this happen. Even if that doesn’t happen I can see the same people and the mainstream media doing everything they can to ensure he would lose the presidential election to Trump. That would be a double score as they would both kill all Bernie’s progressive policies they oppose in utero AND be able to use the loss as “proof” that left wing candidates can’t win.

      I’ve still got hope that I’m wrong about this and really appreciate the people who are doing everything they can to put someone in the White House who will actually try to make the world a better place. I would be willing to wager that you’re going to have Biden or a similar person as the candidate and that the world is going to see a second term of Trump as president though.

      1. inode_buddha

        “We already know the Democrat party doesn’t believe it has to run a fair primary or follow its own rules”

        The flip side to that is, they don’t get to use the rules to enforce their view. If they try, they can be called out and hounded mercilessly on it.

    1. Geo

      “… the extent to which power and the ability to get things done in the House were dependent on personal relationships and respect for the hierarchy.“

      Did anyone on the Left pay attention to how the Tea Party took over the GOP in a few years by doing exactly the opposite of respecting hierarchy? Granted, they had some billionaire backers and Glenn Beck (during his Fox News era) doing major rallies for them, which the Left doesn’t have any equivalent of… but, I seem to remember them doing everything they could to dismantle the old guard. Now, no more Bushes, Boehner & Ryan gone, and they have Trump in the White House.

      I’m sure things are different in the halls than in the street but I really have no respect for “submissive progressivism” like this. The hierarchy is against our values. Bowing to it is submitting to the established power structure that were supposed to fight.

      I guess it’s not as much fun to rock the boat when you’re lounging on it but for those of us treading water out here it’d be nice if those we elect remember why we put them in the boat in the first place. It wasn’t to rearrange deck chairs.

      1. Grant

        Oh, come on. When the civil rights movement wanted to get things done, they relied on personal relationships and had a healthy respect for the hierarchy in the south. Bull Connor, as horrible as he was, was someone to hash things out over a beer and it was imperative that good, wonky policies hit his desk, after going through the proper channels of course. Same with the labor movement. How do you think we got the 40 hour work week, the weekend, child labor laws and the like? The socialist radicals developed good personal relationships with the power structure that existed and respected the hierarchy. Besides, it certainly does help by not explaining what it means to “get things done”? What gets done? Things, stuff, that’s what. The hierarchy creates the stuff, AOC or others like her, if she plays the game, can maybe make that stuff a little less bad. If she’s smart, she’ll get rich in the process. Am I right?

        1. John Zelnicker

          September 18, 2019 at 4:34 pm

          “Same with the labor movement. How do you think we got the 40 hour work week, the weekend, child labor laws and the like? The socialist radicals developed good personal relationships with the power structure that existed and respected the hierarchy.”


          Those things were achieved by the workers putting their lives on the line by going on strike and picketing their employers, with many of them being murdered in the process.

          40-hour work week: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day#United_States

          Also see: Haymarket Riot

          1. Grant

            It was sarcasm. Anyone believing that the radical changes we need will happen by playing by the rules of the corrupt system in Washington or by respecting the existing hierarchy is ignorant about how structural changes have historically come about.

            1. John Zelnicker

              September 18, 2019 at 5:13 pm

              Aha! Thank you.

              Perhaps a /s at the end would prevent misunderstanding. Without verbal cues it is so hard to tell sometimes.

              1. Robert Valiant

                My opinion is that if someone has to tell me they just told a joke, it wasn’t funny to begin with.

                But that’s just me, my sense of humor is sardonic in the extreme, and I frankly just don’t fit in.

    2. Grant

      I wouldn’t be shocked if she endorsed Warren, as crazy and depressing as that would be. She came into office protesting in front of Pelosi’s office. Went after those in power, and since Pelosi really cracked the whip, one of her chief advisers that the corrupt elites don’t like has resigned and you notice that she has been a lot quieter. Nothing changes by working within the system as is and by working with those with power. They, their policies and institutions are either confronted and removed from power, with better people, policies and institutions replacing them, or things continue to get worse. So, if she learned how to play by the rules of Washington, whatever that means (can’t read the article) she becomes the left flank of the corrupt power structure. I don’t know what to think of her, but I have come to like Tlaib more than her over time. AOC is smart and seems to have entered office with a needed radical inclination. But, who knows if that remains the case. If she does support Warren, the answer is obviously not. What I have noticed too is that the targets of her critiques is less the corrupt elite in her own party that she focused a lot on early on, and instead on targets that they seem to feel more comfortable with (not them, their donors or their corruption). Ultimately, mass social movements are what lead to structural changes, but you need people in power that will push too. Warren too is a Democratic Party team player. Remember the strong defense of Joe Manchin on TYT? That, among other things, was telling. I am sure her notes or whatever to the corrupt Democrats in charge are pretty interesting.

        1. Dan

          Maybe, but her chief of staff and Cortez’s ancestors never owned slaves. This does not look good at all.

          Kamala Harris’s Ancestors Owned Slaves,Her Father Says.
          Quoting him:
          “My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town)”

          The National Archives in London is a repository for records from the West Indies and Jamaica in particular. These records include wills, manumissions, correspondence, slave registers...

          “A return of slaves in the parish of Saint Ann in the possession of Hamilton Brown as owner on the 28th day of June, in the year of our lord 1817”


          See page 3/13 for the 88 slaves Kamala’s ancestors owned. PDF below


          Get out your checkbook Kamala–put your own money where your reparations mouth is at before you expect we taxpayers, whose ancestors never owned slaves, to do so.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Her chief of staff was an aide to Kamala Harris.

          Ariel Eckblad. Punching every ticket on the liberal Democrat cursus honorum, including Oxford. Interestingly, though she graduated from Spelman in 2010, she’s had a lot of positions, and not stayed long in any of them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If one has never been tested, tempted, one can not be sure of the strength of one’s conviction.

        This is generally correct.

        If you don’t doubt, but just believe what you are told, you can be misled.

        And so, we have ‘I doubt, therefore I am.’

        About 2,000 years ago, there was a doubting Thomas. He doubted, and asked for proof, and got it (per one of the books).

        Was Doubting Thomas a sound philosopher, or even the first scientist?

        Was his belief, subsequently, stronger than the other disciples’ (because he went through Descarte’s doubting exercise)? Presumably. But we can’t be sure.

        Interestingly, those who had not seen, but yet believed, was said to be ‘blessed,’ as written in that book.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Library Liz whispering in her ear “I’m really as radical as you are but we have to play their game a little to get what we want” could easily sway AOCs young mind. Not yet 100% firm in the knowledge that the entire system is corrupted. Then Liz, playing Lucy, merely pulls away the football at the last minute. Child’s play.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I hope you’re wrong, too. She’s so smart and so skilled, it would be a shame to see AoC go over to the dark side. I think if she just tends to her district, and says “working class,” “working class”, “working class”, over and over again, she’ll be as impregnable as Sanders is in VT. But I agree “we have to play their game” could poison her mind. She doesn’t need to do that.

  12. Geo

    “The Fed made an emergency injection of more than $125 billion over the past two days, its first major market intervention since the financial crisis more than a decade ago.”

    I didn’t realize the invisible hand of the free market was a panhandler looking for handouts from the Fed. Wonder when the media will stop calling banks “job creators” and start calling them “welfare queens”?

      1. Geo

        That’s about $325 for every person in the United States.

        Wouldn’t it be nice if every time one of us got in over our heads and couldn’t pay the bills for a month the Fed just sent us an overnight check for $325? Or, for a family of four a check for $1,300…. all just because they fell behind on some payments and needed a quick boost to stay on their feet?

        But, that would be socialism and socialism is bad. Bailouts are for billionaires, not for peasants.

          1. Geo

            True. It is by definition but not always in practice. Going deep on the subject is well beyond my expertise but I’ve read numerous times about how banks use cheap loans from the Fed for easy profiteering.

            Here’s one example from a quick search:
            “A study from the Congressional Research Service bolsters claims that the nation’s largest banks profited off the Federal Reserve’s financial crisis-era programs by borrowing cash for next to nothing, then lending it back to the federal government at substantially higher rates.”

            Imagine if us peasants could get 2 or 3% interest loans and then use the cash to buy municipal bonds at 5%.

            If all of us had access to nearly free money from the Fed it’d be a lot easier to make money too. Not saying this is how it should be, just that bankers have this ability to profit from cheap loans yet still manage to need bailouts. We don’t get that advantage and don’t get bailouts – then get told socialism is bad. The whole system is a cruel joke at this point.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Little noted: with interest rates at the lowest they have been in millennia, the interest rates banks charge on credit card accounts just hit an 18-year high

              Bela Lugosi (when he wasn’t drinking formaldehyde) would gnash his fangs and turn green with envy

  13. DonCoyote

    A couple of funnies from Beet Press (satire)

    1. DNC Creates Super-Duper Delegate, Just in Case

    According to the DNC, the super-duper delegate will be the previous party nominee and will comprise 50% of the vote in the third round of voting.

    As Lambert would say, sounds legit.

    2. Warren Concerned as 23andMe Releases Political Ideology Test

    According to 23andMe, the test measures a series of genetic predispositions including the likelihood of mobilizing a mass movement of supporters in order to achieve populist victories, pivoting right during a general election campaign and abandoning previously states principals in favor of an ‘I’m not the other guy’ approach, and a willingness to shift policy positions based on certain financial and political pressures.

    “I think what we’ll find is that Warren will score very similar to Obama, that being centrist opportunistic,”…

    But not to worry, Warren has a plan for that.

    As of press time, BeetPress has confirmed that Elizabeth Warren was in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office offering $500 for a saliva sample.

  14. Jason Boxman

    Since we’re open today, there is a huge article in the NYT Magazine about the Max, with the thrust being as awful as Boeing may have been, the real issue is poorly trained pilots:

    The paradox is that the failures of the 737 Max were really the product of an incredible success: a decades-long transformation of the whole business of flying, in which airplanes became so automated and accidents so rare that a cheap air-travel boom was able to take root around the world. Along the way, though, this system never managed to fully account for the unexpected: for the moment when technology fails and humans — a growing population of more than 300,000 airline pilots of variable and largely unpredictable skills — are required to intervene. In the drama of the 737 Max, it was the decisions made by four of those pilots, more than the failure of a single obscure component, that led to 346 deaths and the worldwide grounding of the entire fleet.

    But you can’t prove the negative. Boeing provided no training, as we know, and in fact had a stated goal of ensuring no additional training or disclosures were necessary for the Max. So who’s to say if these four pilots might not have, with training and awareness, successfully recovered? Or for that matter, if subjected to proper scrutiny, who’s to say the software would have been coded the way it was, which on its face seems insane as implemented?

    It feels like a defense of Boeing masquerading as in-depth discussion and reporting.


    1. Carey

      Langweische also wrote this muddying-the-waters piece on the Valujet Flight 592
      crash, from twenty years ago, which is why I perked up when I saw who was the
      author of the latest NYT MAX piece.


      Too bad, really; his father was quite an esteemed figure in aviation circles,
      having written ‘Stick and Rudder’, one of my father’s and many others’ flying bibles.
      Some good comments over there at MoA, IMO.

      1. Carolinian

        Would you concede that the notion that the pilots bear none of the blame is also an extreme position? Without a doubt Boeing made many mistakes–ethical and technical–and bad assumptions in this case but the claims that foreign pilots are undertrained and overly dependent on automation could also have some merit. One example would be those pilots who crashed just short of the runway in San Francisco–insufficiently trained in the airplane they were flying. A lot of fear is being generated over these two terrible accidents but the reality is that while flying you are far more likely to die from bad piloting than machine failure even while flying overall is quite statistically safe.

        All accidents have multiple causes and waters that may indeed, at times, be somewhat muddy.

        1. Carey

          To your first sentence: We will see. Two crashes in a row linked to the same system (MCAS) that the pilots knew little (second crash) to nothing (first crash) about, tells me that pilot error
          is not the first place to look. Also, who benefits from a finding of “pilot error”?

        2. Plenue

          Whether foreign training or worse or not is immaterial. Boeing sold MCAS with the lie that retraining wasn’t required, and buried the information about it deep in the manuals.

          They don’t get to market something as not needing new training, and then turn around and blame poor training.

          1. Carey

            ..and are claiming , even now, that no simulator training is needed!

            “Y’all just need more training, er, no you don’t ,er…

            fatigued system (and culture)

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the claims that foreign pilots are undertrained and overly dependent on automation could also have some merit

          Not in this case. Boeing took the maneuvers that would have saved them out of the manual, and all the training the pilots were given was from an iPad, ffs. Boeing’s explicit requirement was that there be no training, because the flight characteristics of the 737 MAX were identical to previous 737s. They weren’t. “Some merit,” sure, in that a pilot with out-of-band skills and/or no cognitive overload (sitting in the jumpseat) can solve the problem, but that’s like saying “claims that all baseball players can hit like Ted Williams on any given pitch” “have some merit.”

          1. Carolinian

            The reason airplanes have pilots is to cope with unpredicted events when humans are better than computers. If airplanes could be designed to be algorithmically perfect machines that could fly themselves (what MOA apparently advocates) then one can feel assured that cost cutting airlines would get rid of the pilots altogether.

            We all know the long list of reasons why Boeing is to blame and will pay the price and have already paid it. But when experienced airline pilots say that the pilots in these accidents made mistakes then perhaps we should listen. As I said above, in the more general case you are in more danger from bad pilots than bad airplanes. Boeing is to blame but the pilots made mistakes. Both can be true. Obviously this story gets lots of attention because it makes people more afraid of flying. But if that fear is the motivator then there’s lots more that should be talked about, not just Boeing and its dubious management.


    1. Wombat

      Wow… he killed two people by overdosing them with meth. He has lured countless men into his house where he injected them with meth. Pictures were found of men in his home in compromising positions.

      But don’t worry, Elite justice is about to be served:

      “If convicted as charged, he faces up to five years and eight months in state prison.”


      1. Chris

        Yes. It is UN-familyblogging-believable.

        I know there are lots of bad people in this world. I’m sure there are heinous actors on Team Red too. But I seriously can’t believe this person was allowed to be within an arm’s length of the Democrat party for any length of time. There’s no amount of money or advantage this person could have provided that would be worth the permanent stain of their association.

        This type of behavior, if found to be true, is what capital punishment was intended to address.

        There’s nothing you can do for someone who acts this way. They can never be allowed to rejoin society. Never. There is no possibility of ever accounting for their crimes in jail. They deserve the comfort of a quick death and a cold grave.

        If anyone here enjoys graphic novels, and you follow these kinds of things, you might enjoy reading The Dregs. Deals with similar issues, kind of a hazy drug trip through A Modest Proposal by way of pulp fiction. Really good art work. Great comic for spurring conversations with people too.

      2. Acacia

        Note also: two drug deaths already in the man’s home and the strongest charge against him is battery.

        I guess his campaign contributions to Pelosi and Harris the cop are paying off.

  15. super extra

    Apologies if this was posted earlier, I didn’t see it when I skimmed links earlier but the news this week out of Israel prior to the (now-deadlocked) legislature election – gotta wonder if Bolton was fired for pushing too hard on a war for Bibi last week?

    Israel Was Preparing to Delay Election Due to Possible Gaza War

    Netanyahu’s national security adviser met Central Election Committee chief to prepare for delaying election in light of Gaza military operation

    thrilling to think netanyahu’s power has been clipped!

  16. John Wright

    I wonder if someone might explain to me exactly the capital behind the 125 billion dollars infused into the banks. I do not quite have the knowledge to “follow the money.” I think that I understand why the NY Fed injected the capital into the system. I don’t understand exactly whom the infusion subsidizes and how. Also, it seems that the NY Fed suddenly “owns” MMT as a means of stimulating the economy against market failures.
    Thank you!
    John Wright

      1. bob

        This is wrong-

        “It is specifically bad because banks no longer function daily on their deposits. It used to be that banks would make sure they have enough deposits (from you!) to keep going. Now they depend on short-term lending to keep going and meet their obligations day-to-day.”

        It was never that they used deposits to ‘keep going’

  17. Fern

    Regarding yesterday’s water cooler item on the New TYT Buttigieg police tapes issue — the TYT article is explosive, although it could do a better job of summarizing the main points up front.

    Buttigieg always claimed that he had no idea what was on the police tapes because he “was afraid” it would be illegal to listen to them or even to ask about them; he said that he fired the police chief because the chief was being investigated (the police chief’s lawyers have said the chief wasn’t even being personally investigated, and point to the fact that the feds asked the chief to retain possession of the tapes).

    Well….TYT got hold of two leaked written reports in which the fired police communications director who listened to the tapes revealed their contents. These reports were in the possession of the City of South Bend, and one of them was in possession of the city BEFORE the firing of the police chief and the communications director. The reports in the city’s possessions detailed graphic racist remarks by a cabal of white police officers, a plot to get Buttigieg to fire the black police chief by getting the mayor’s donors to talk with him and illegal attempts to fix traffic tickets.

    Some of my personal takeaways:

    1: Buttigieg claims he had no clue as to what was on the tapes, but that now seems highly unlikely.

    2: Buttigieg claims he didn’t listen to the tapes because it might have been illegal to do so, but it turns out that his city attorneys actually DEMANDED that the communications officer tell them in detail what was on the tapes. This resulted in the second set of documents in the city’s possession. I’m not an attorney, but I would think that if it were illegal for Buttigieg, who was the chief executive, to ask what was on the tapes, then his attorneys shouldn’t ask what was on the tapes on his behalf. I know that city attorneys work very closely with the strong mayors (the city’s chief executive) and they would have discussed how they were proceeding with the lawsuit. Maybe someone can weigh in on this.

    Takeaway 3: This isn’t new, but it’s even more confirmation that Buttigieg chose to surround himself exclusively with local, powerful inside players, even in the crucial role of city attorneys, and that these inside players had very unsavory networks which included white racists.

    Takeway 4: Buttigieg’s actions coincided with what his largest donor wanted him to do, even when what they wanted was very wrong.

    Buttigieg was invited to apply to be chair of the DNC in his mid-thirties with virtually no experience and no accomplishments. This wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t taken extraordinary efforts to curry favor with the powerful, inside players. This pattern seems to be deeply ingrained in his personality, to the extent that he was willing to take immoral actions, such as firing an innocent 25 year veteran in the police department for trying to do the right thing and report racism and corruption in her department. and it’s becoming increasingly clear he did it in order to appease the powerful and the donors. I don’t think Buttigieg has the right character for any high position.

    Here again is this week’s new TYT article on the issue:

    Here is one of the original TYT articles on the issue:

      1. JohnnyGL

        Jonathan Larsen has done some great work here. It shows what happens when you send just 1 reporter to do some digging.

        I was listening to this the other day, what seems to be new here is that the racist cops were plotting to push out the police chief and demote other black cops and were working closely with donors, —
        ‘money people’, was the supposed phrasing used, — to accomplish this. Previously, it was just assumed they were saying more casually racist sorts of stuff. Now, it seems, what was caught on tape was more sophisticated and nefarious.

        Per the above takeaway #4, we have coincidence, not causation, at this stage. But the fact set is pretty damning.

        Also, per Cenk Uygur, the number of black officers in SBPD was cut in half during Buttigieg’s tenure as mayor (not necessarily his fault, but certainly not a move in the right direction).

        Mayor Pete comes out of this looking like someone that can be easily manipulated by powerful insiders.

        To paraphrase NFL coach Dennis Green, “he is who we thought he was”.

        1. Geo

          “Mayor Pete comes out of this looking like someone that can be easily manipulated by powerful insiders.“

          No wonder he’s so beloved by the big dollar donors. :)

    1. Carey

      As a Cal resident, it’ll be interesting and instructive to see how it’s implemented and enforced.

      follow the [yawn] money

  18. NotTimothyGeithner

    So how soon before Justin Trudeau calls the Governor and Attorney General of Virginia for advice…

    1. Carey

      I know what a Republican is. Can someone say clearly what a Democrat is?
      What does a Democrat do, in definite contrast to a Republican?

    1. Carey

      My provisional take, having gone quite far down the smartphone™/ privacy rabbithole, is that
      there is no privacy to be had there, under any circumstances. A cynical person might suggest
      that this is by design.

      1. Acacia

        Agreed. This option is more about something that can be repaired, isn’t built by child or slave labor, and comes with a pre-de-crapified version of Android. Real security on a mobile device is going to be difficult to impossible.

  19. Carey

    Is it too obvious to say that that Cillizza is a corporatist’s dream-shill?

    “..Sanders, the self-described Vermont Democratic Socialist, is stuck in neutral. And that’s a very bad place to be with the day when actual voters will cast votes is getting closer and closer. (Just 138 days until the Iowa caucuses!)..”

    Only 138 days, oh dear oh dear..

Comments are closed.