2:00PM Water Cooler 9/27/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“WTO: US Can Sanction Nearly $8 Billion of EU Goods Over Airbus Aid” [Industry Week]. “The World Trade Organization will authorize the U.S. to impose tariffs on nearly $8 billion of European goods due to illegal state aid provided to aircraft maker Airbus SE, according to people familiar with the decision, a move that will likely trigger retaliatory measures from the European Union. The U.S. duties, which could hit as soon as October, will target planes and parts as well as luxury products, such as wine and spirits like Dom Perignon and Moet & Chandon — and leather goods under labels such as Givenchy and Louis Vuitton, according to a list published by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The people who spoke of the ruling asked not to be identified because the confidential WTO decision isn’t due to be published until Sept. 30.”

“A big bet that U.S. hardwood lumber companies placed on China is collapsing. Exports to China of the wood often used in furniture manufacturing have fallen 40% this year and prices are diving since Beijing placed retaliatory tariffs on the goods [Wall Street Journal]. “[S]everal companies are laying off workers and slashing output, and supply chains are resetting as other countries rush to meet Chinese demand while U.S. companies look for new markets along with government assistance tied to the lost trade. In the first seven months of 2018 the U.S. sent 54% of all of its exported hardwood lumber by volume to China, but that share has fallen to 41% this year. U.S. hardwood producers started ramping up to meet Chinese demand two decades ago. But the focus left the companies unable to quickly find new buyers as trade tensions flared.”


“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 Dem Primary Polling as of 9/25/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

Top tier down, bottom tier up. With this one poll.

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 2019-09-24: These screens are from a revised version that now includes Undecided-Refused, which is in grey.

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.

* * *


Patient readers, I should have more, but the impeachment saga drowned everything out. Once again! This will also be Warren-heavy, because impeachment crowded out some material yesterday. –lambert

Sanders (D)(1): Paris is worth a mass:

Warren (D)(1): #MedicareForAll. The audio is awful because Jailani recorded Plouffe’s podcast in a coffee shop:

“Overall, the program of MedicareForAll….” So Warren doesn’t support one bill, and in fact the campaign is looking at the all the candidate’s bill. Listen carefully, and you will not be able to reverse engineer the basic question out of Rospars’ answer: Will private health insurance companies be able to sell competing products to #MedicareForAll?

Warren (D)(2): Not a good look for an academic:

Warren (D)(3): Seems like a basic question:

Warren (D)(4): “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” –Mike Tyson (apocryphal paraphrase):

* * *

“The party decides:”

Nevertheless, it’s interesting to consider what Silver might consider “playing nice with others” means, operationally, for Sanders. Join Warren in throwing #MedicareForAll under the bus?


“Efforts to impeach Donald Trump” [WikiPedia]. • Universal.

“Here is a timeline of the Ukraine events that led to the Trump impeachment inquiry” [CNBC]. • First event: 2002, “Burisma founded.

“Trump impeachment inquiry: A timeline” [Los Angeles Times]. • First event: “2014: The United States becomes one of Ukraine’s strongest allies.”

“Trump and Ukraine: Timeline of the events of the scandal” [Al Jazeera]. First event: “Late 2018 – Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks to former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin by Skype.”

“A diagram of events in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump” [USA Today]. First event: July 29, 2019: “Special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before two House committees about Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” interference in the 2016 election.”

“When Impeachment Meets a Broken Congress” [Politico (RH)]. “…I venture a simple, sheepish question for the CIA operative turned freshman congresswoman…” • The elected before whom the reporter is fawning wouid be former (?) CIA operative Abigail Spanberger, from VA-07 in Northern Virginia. (If there’s a joke about today’s “Army of Northern Virginia” — the densely networked defense and intelligence national security class, who sleep in the bedroom communities of NOVA, it doesn’t seem to have been made yet.)

“Let’s get real: Democrats were first to enlist Ukraine in US elections” [John Solomon, The Hill]. • Immediately before Solomon’s defenestration.

Stats Watch

Durable Goods Orders, August 2019: “Fizzling capital goods orders are the unwelcome key to what at the headline levels…. look like a better-than-expected durable goods orders report for August [Econoday]. “[C]ore capital goods orders (nondefense ex-air) fell… which misses Econoday’s consensus for no change and include a major downward revision to July… These two readings are not favorable indications for third-quarter business investment, the lynchpin to Federal Reserve rate-cut policy and their concerns that slowing global growth will eat into US manufacturing.”

Personal Income and Outlays, August 2019: “Personal income and consumer spending corrected in August what were uneven readings in July” [Econoday]. “[T]he marginal August gain for consumer spending wasn’t expected and, despite July’s strength, will mark down third-quarter GDP estimates. Inflation readings, and their implications for Federal Reserve policy, are curiously mixed…. This report has a little bit of everything and will feed lively cross debate among the doves and the hawks at the Fed. Inflation is improving but it’s not quite there while consumer spending is soft overall but shows signs of underlying force.”

Consumer Sentiment, September 2019 (Final): “Consumer sentiment did improve in the last half of September…, yet this is still among the very lowest readings of the last three years” [Econoday]. “The rival consumer confidence report (data posted Tuesday of this week) showed a sharp decline in September to bring these two reports more in line with each other, that is struggling to hold steady in a year that has seen major trade frictions and general slowing for domestic manufacturing. Yet consumer spending has remained strong, at least so far this year though today’s data on August consumer spending, despite strength in durable spending, did come up short of expectations.”

The Bezzle: “Cashing in on dementia patients: drugmaker to pay $116 million in fraud settlement” [CNN]. “A pharmaceutical company that whistleblowers alleged paid doctors to prescribe its main drug and urged salespeople to push it as a way to control unruly dementia patients will pay more than $100 million to settle government fraud allegations. The Department of Justice announced the settlement with Avanir Pharmaceuticals on Thursday, four years after these whistleblowers alerted the federal government that they believed the company was paying kickbacks to doctors and illegally marketing its main drug, Nuedexta — particularly in nursing homes. Each of these three whistleblowers will receive a portion of the millions Avanir has agreed to pay.” • No executives in jail. No bonuses disgorged. Cost of doing business. More:

“Nuedexta, which hit the market in 2011, is only approved by the federal government for a rare condition characterized by uncontrollable laughing and crying, known as pseudobulbar affect, or PBA…. Avanir instructed sales representatives to provide false and misleading information that PBA patients could be exhibiting a wide variety of ‘behaviors’ such as crying without tears, moaning, or making other inarticulate sounds, when, in fact, those symptoms are commonly observed in patients who have dementia but do not have a diagnosis of PBA,” the DOJ’s press release stated. “This strategy worked, and Nuedexta utilization in (long-term care) facilities increased.”

So they strap to a bed in a nursing home and leave the TV on. Then you cry without years. So they drug you. Ka-ching!

The Bezzle: “This adviser’s excessive trading cost a retired client $171,000 in commissions” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra, recently barred an adviser and fined his firm for his excessive trading of 14 clients’ portfolios, including two retired women. In one scenario, the adviser, referred to as ‘CJ,’ made 267 trades over three years for a retired woman with a net worth of less than $500,000, causing her to pay more than $61,000 in commissions. CJ placed 533 trades in a three-year period for another client, a retired woman with a net worth of less than $1 million, which led her to pay more than $171,000 in commissions.” • If you have a portfolio, especially one on this woman’s scale, McKenna has what looks to me like good advice on how to avoid fraud like this.

The Bezzle: “L.A. drops lawsuit over DWP billing errors. Now ratepayers could owe millions” [Los Angeles Times]. “The city of Los Angeles moved Thursday to abandon its high-profile lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers in what amounts to a stunning defeat for City Atty. Mike Feuer, who had tried to blame the consulting firm for the massive overbilling debacle at the Department of Water and Power. City attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox said that key witnesses in the city’s case — namely David Wright, the former head of DWP, and Paul Paradis, an attorney who formerly consulted for Feuer’s office — have invoked their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, impairing the city’s ability to proceed with its lawsuit. Wright and Paradis also were named in a recent FBI search warrant, in which investigators were seeking information about potential crimes, including bribery and financial kickbacks.” • Maybe the whole crew could get on at CalPERS?

Tech: “Apple Inc. is trying to keep one of its major suppliers running as the company rolls out its latest iPhone models. The electronics giant is looking at doubling its planned investment in financially-strapped Japan Display Inc. under a revised bailout plan for the manufacturer” [Wall Street Journal]. “Japan Display says a Chinese investment fund is dropping an agreement to supply more than half of the $742 million needed to rescue the business, leaving the manufacturer of liquid crystal displays for the new iPhone 11 to look for new investors. Apple has already put $100 million into Japan Display, and the new wrinkle is a sign of the closely intertwined relationship between the supplier and buyer. Japan Display gets about 60% of its revenue from Apple. And Apple’s new phones cost so much partly because there are a limited number of suppliers for the screens.”

Tech: “Hedge Fund Buys iPhone Suppliers Betting Apple Will Raise Orders” [Bloomberg]. “‘Based on our supply chain data, we believe orders for iPhone 11 Pro for suppliers will be revised up,’ Narci Chang, a Taiwan-based portfolio manager at Timefolio Asset Management SG Pvt, said in a telephone interview. ‘I think that is going to be very encouraging for entire supply chain.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 57, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 27 at 11:59am.

The Biosphere

“The uncanniness of climate change” (interview) [Amitav Ghosh, Yale Climate Connections]. Hmm:

Amy Brady: This has happened to you before. I remember in your 2004 novel The Hungry Tide you describe an enormous storm surge in the Sunderbans, and not long after, a catastrophic tsunami happened there in real life.

Amitav Ghosh: Oh yes, and you may remember in Gun Island that there’s a scene in Los Angeles with a fire headed toward a museum. This also happened just last year. The Getty Museum was in the path of the wildfires. But I wrote that scene six months before it actually happened. It’s all so uncanny.

Amy Brady: Are you a prophet?

Amitav Ghosh: [Laughs] No, we’re just living in an age where the improbable is becoming the probable.

Many opportunities for financial engineering!

Health Care

“Why the Private Health Insurance Industry Faces an Existential Crisis” [Wendell Porter, Portside]. “Our health insurance companies, in contrast, are not essential. They don’t treat anyone. They don’t prevent anyone from becoming sick. They don’t take you to the hospital or make sure you take your pills. They don’t fund or discover medical innovations. They’re simply middlemen we don’t need. And in the industry, we always dreaded the day American businesses and patients would wake up to that reality. That day has come. A majority of America’s small businesses now support Medicare for All. So do a majority of Americans who receive health insurance through their employer. In my 20 years working inside the industry and the 11 years I’ve been watching from the outside, I have never seen such high support among the people who get their coverage through their employers for switching to a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system.” • Well, hopefully the liberal Democrats can stand against the tide for another few Presidential cycles. For example–

“Why Is Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten Attacking Medicare for All?” [Jacobin]. “[Weingarten’s most recent] column contains a series of vaguely progressive-sounding premises that somehow lead Weingarten to a full-on right-wing conclusion: that “preserving the option for employers and unions to continue to innovate in health care is critically important, and there is support for public and private options to coexist.” Her appearance on The Hill’s Rising on Wednesday is even worse. For reasons I can’t quite fathom, Weingarten is on the offensive this week against a policy that union members support and from which almost all of us, myself included, would benefit. Her argument doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny.” • Ah, “innovation.”

Class Warfare

“What the Apps That Bring Food to Your Door Mean for Delivery Workers” [New York Review of Books]. “Throughout it all, this high-tech speculation is powered by low-tech, physical labor. The digital-age customer interface may have changed, but the nature of the job remains what it has always been: ferrying food through hazardous roads from point A to point B. And that relies on the same inequities that have always enabled dangerous, low-wage work, both locally and globally: in the particularly clear example of Colombia, delivery apps are flourishing as Venezuelans fleeing hunger across the border provide a workforce reliably willing to work for less. ‘Platform labor is migrant labor, everywhere,’ said [Niels van Doorn, assistant professor in the media studies department at the University of Amsterdam]. … Bonuses encourage riders to work at certain times, in certain areas, and to accept orders that they generally wouldn’t in order to hit targets with such motivational names as ‘Quest’ or ‘Lunch Hustler’ or ‘Weekend Crusher.’ Couriers value these bonuses, without which the job would often be barely worth their while, and there is a certain win-win logic to giving riders financial incentives to meet the algorithmically determined needs of the app. But the bonuses also reveal that the much-touted flexibility of the job is disingenuous, as the aggregate result is that couriers deliver more orders that individually pay less. ‘It’s physical work,’ said Nazmus Saquib, who has worked as a courier for two years. ‘Eight-hour work schedules should not be dependent on working more to be paid more. You should be able to make a living without wearing yourself out.’ [V]an Doorn refers to this intricate system of bonuses as ‘gamification.'” • So the bonuses are loot?

“‘They Don’t Need Us Anymore’: Auto Workers Fear Electric Unrest” [Bloomberg]. “The milkman went missing thanks to the rise of refrigerators. Switchboard operators were done in by the dawn of direct dialing. And in the car industry, auto workers are deathly afraid the engine assembler will give way to battery builders. Dread over the prospect that plug-in cars — which have fewer parts and require less labor to build — will doom auto jobs helped spark the first United Auto Workers strike against General Motors Co. in over a decade. Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which are rolling their own battery-powered models to market in the coming years, could face a similar fate if they’re unable to quell the UAW’s concerns that widespread adoption of EVs endangers the employment of 35,000 union members.”

News of the Wired

“Red Sox And Rangers Cast Aside All Dignity In Battle Over Individual Statistical Milestone” [Deadspin]. “We can be sure that the Red Sox were determined not to let Minor get to 200 strikeouts on the season, even if it meant losing the game, because of what happened next.” • Baseball is a wonderful game, actually. There’s no clock!

* * *

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 (SV):

SV writes: “Grasshopper on… Er… Hops!”

Readers, I think one more round on plants? Just to take us through up to Autumn and the leaves changing. All plants and honorary plants welcome (as well as more of those very interesting garden projects).

* * *

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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. Isotope_C14

        “Cuomo greenlights extended voter registration deadline

        From October 11th to February 14th”

        … If you were born prior to 1971

        If you were born post 1971, you will have to submit 3 forms of residential proof, including mortgage, 15 years of complete state and federal tax returns, and at least one of the following documents: TSA pre-check, Global Entry approval, or Jeffery Epstein approved flight-status.

  1. nippersmom

    Nate Silver, “playing nice” gets us nominees like Hillary Clinton and policies that result in a majority of the population not being able to afford a $1000 emergency, millions of people with no or inadequate/unaffordable healthcare, more people in prison than any other country on the planet, and decades-long wars that serve no purpose other than to enrich the MIC. I realize that is not a problem for Silver and his ilk, but for those of us who aren’t fans of the oligarchy, it is.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      I think he was playing nice to Hillary when he predicted that there was almost no chance Trump would win in 2016.

    2. ambrit

      Also for those of us who actually suffer to ensure the oligarchs ease. This is one of those Pseudo-Venn Diagram cases where there are many circles, all impinging on each other in a chrysanthemum pattern.

      1. RMO

        Nate Silver is like a guy who buys a winning lottery ticket and then uses the experience to make himself out to be a financial and investment genius. He got notice and credibility with that one prediction years ago and has since exploited that – quite effectively too. His function isn’t to accurately reflect reality or to make accurate predictions now, it is to back people in power, tell them what they want to hear, justify their views and policies and move the narrative in ways that will benefit them.

        He is still well worth reading for insight to what passes for thinking in the blob though.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I remember Nate mostly pointed out a flaw in the methodology of CNN’s Poll of Polls which forgot to reweight the polls and simultaneously had a good track record predicting elections for a legislative body which has a lower turnover rate than the Soviet Politburo. CNN simply averaged the headline numbers. They never reweighted the polls. Silver noticed having subscriptions to all of the polls out there. Basically, CNN’s Poll of Polls with so much extra data should be more accurate than other polls, but they were never rewaiting. So Rasmussen with its traditionally conservative voter bias and Monmouth were treated as equals despite polling different perceived electorates. In the Glory Days of BLOGS, Nate became a star for being smarter than Wolf Blitzer when there were less options.

          One of the linked to sources more so around election season wasn’t a national pundit, despite being on the record, and did have the highest rate of election predictions correct when Silver was being hailed.

          1. curlydan

            At this point, his name should be Nate “Sliver”…he’s just picking pieces little slivers of data that fit his world view.

    3. Deschain

      Yeah, it took a while but people have woken up to the fact that the elites aren’t playing nice, and never have been. They’re playing to win.

    1. Jen

      Ah but a neighbor is now discretely sporting a traditional BLM sign in their overgrown garden and a Pete sign in their window.

      Glad to see that irony continues to be alive and well in our fair city.

      1. petal

        Oooo I will have to look closer! I knew the BLM sign was there but haven’t seen the Pete sign. This entertainment is wonderful.
        Is it bad that whenever I read “our fair city”, it is in either Ray or Tom Magliozzi’s voice?

    2. foghorn longhorn

      From what I read back in my youth, it is possible to graft hops uppers to cannibis roots. They are closely related, but never have seen it done.

      1. taunger

        I believe so, but I generally have heard it done vice versa – cannabis uppers to hops roots. Limits the energy spend by cannabis on developing root structure.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Seems like that would get you a plant that would still get you arrested, but wouldn’t get you stoned.
          The hops on top scenario gives you a camouflaged plant that still has the thc from the roots.

          1. Tyronius

            I’m terribly sorry to inform you that it doesn’t work that way. Probably not altogether a bad thing. In truth, cannabis has no trouble growing great roots if given half the chance. Indeed, the plant has had to adapt to overcome the inept growing styles of thousands of years’ worth of stoners!

            1. Procopius

              My grandfather was licensed to grow hemp one year during World War II. Ten years later he was still dealing with wild plants all over the farm (half a square mile). Apparently cannabis is one of the most robust plants in the world, and is very good at growing roots.

      2. ambrit

        I have seen it done. Quite pretty flowering vines running along someone’s front porch railing. Alas, I encountered it after I had stopped indulging. So, no ‘quality control’ metrics available.

    3. Jeff W

      “…no sign changes this morning!”

      They’re on to the fact that we’re on to them—obviously! Hahaha!

      1. petal

        Ha! I will fake like I’m ignoring them and see what happens.
        Jen, saw the Pete sign in the window. So sly!

          1. petal

            I know, right? They need to be bold and confident expressing their choice! Not like anyone’s going to steal or damage it around here. I really had to look hard to catch it.

    1. Hamford

      Probably, I’m still a little wary of Act Blue having their mittens in the process. I’ve sent a check to the campaign and received a pleasant post card thank you in return!

      Bernie 2020
      PO Box 391
      Burlington, VT 05402

  2. neighbor7

    Amitav Ghosh, in “The Great Derangement,” argues that we need to widen our ideas of narrative, from the “personal” to the planetary.

    1. Plenue

      ‘Personal isn’t the same as important’, is a line from one of the Discworld books that’s always stuck with me.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Maybe from the personal to the community would be a better first step. Easier to do a potluck.

      And pretty hard on it’s own. My little area just fended off the forces of the Historic District through a complete failure to respond.

  3. ambrit

    The last real technocrat I can think of who ran for President as a Democrat was Jimmy Carter. Look how that ended up. Reagan and the Republicans colluded with a ‘hostile’ foreign government to defeat Carter in his re-election bid. Not too surprisingly, it was all downhill from there. I seem to have missed the Democrat Party’s agitation for the impeachment of Reagan for that bit of “collusion with a foreign government.”
    Later calls for the impeachment of Reagan centered on the Iran Contra affair. An early example of “outsourcing” in the political sphere.
    From my sub-ground level vantage point, the only appropriate word I can think of the describe the controlling elites of the Democrat Party is: Corrupt.
    I’m with the king in the play “Beckett;” “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome technocrat?”

    1. dcblogger

      I don’t think that Warren is capable of getting us a Panama Canal Treaty or Camp David Agreement. I don’t see Warren appointing professional environmental activists or civil rights veterans to government positions the way Jimmy did. There was a lot more to Carter than being a technocrat.

      1. Watt4Bob

        And then there was the time Jimmy Carter saved Canada from nuclear disaster.

        In his book “Reflections at Ninety,” Carter recalls preparing for the task. The team built a replica of the reactor on a nearby tennis court to practice their next move and track the work they’d already finished. Every pipe, bolt, and nut was rebuilt exactly as it was in the damaged reactor area.

        Lieutenant Carter divided himself and his 23 guys into teams of three. Each worked 90-second shifts cleaning and repairing the reactor as per what they practiced on the tennis court. A minute and a half was the maximum time the human body could handle the amount of radiation in the area.

        By today’s standards, it was still way too much radiation – Carter and his men were exposed to levels a thousand times higher than what is now considered safe. He and his team absorbed a year’s worth of radiation in that 90 seconds. The basement where they helped replace the reactor was so contaminated, Carter’s urine was radioactive for six months after the incident.

        The guy’s reputation has been under constant attack as part of what I call the ‘full-court-press‘ of neoliberal myth building, the one that resulted in the demented Reagan being our most beloved, and a saint, and Carter being portrayed as a fool.

        And let’s not start the discussion about the dawn of balls-to-the-wall deregulation, union-busting, and de-industrialization that bloomed like kudzu under the ensuing republican renaissance.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Carter wasn’t a fool; he was just corrupt. And not a good president: he caused the Teheran hostage situation, then bungled the response to it.

          His environmental gestures seemed like posturing to me – solar water heaters on the roof, but no mass purchase of solar electric to jump-start the industry.

          He’s done his best to make up for it as ex-President, and deserves credit for that, as he could have just laid back, like Bush II.

      2. ambrit

        Agreed that his experiences in both the Navy and Georgia politics ‘seasoned’ him in a manner that Warren has not been, so far. I just hope that Warren does not alienate too many ‘people of importance’ this time around. She still has a few active years left ahead of her.

        1. Jack Parsons

          Yeah, state governor is really the only school we have for being President.

          However, Warren did Harvard faculty politics for years, and I suspect that was a cutthroat bunch. I think she is actually better at ‘retail’ interpersonal politics than ‘wholesale’ (media based).

    2. The Rev Kev

      Not the first time that there was foreign collusion. Nixon, while running for President in 1968, colluded with the South Vietnamese to opt out of a peace process that President Johnson was trying to put together as an “October Surprise”. He let the media think that he had a “secret plan” to end the war – which he did not.

  4. Bill Smith

    How would any plan concerning who works where, if the son of the P or VP was already on the board of a foreign company?

    Brother / Sister?

    What about the son’s/daughters significant other?

    These issues can quickly become messy.

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Randi Weingarten / Rising

    Yikes! Nine minutes and six seconds of the most massive incoherence and wild gesticulating I may have ever witnessed. (Not counting beto, of course.)

    She kept emphasizing words and definitively gesturing as if she was making some sort of an important point and–not one damn cogent thought that I could discern. Also not one positive comment on the performance.

    Who is this woman and what has she done with Randi Weingarten?

    1. shinola

      Had me wondering too. This from the article:
      “…if AFT members voted to support Medicare for All — a policy that would benefit not only union members but also guarantee free, comprehensive health care for every American — why on earth is our union president crusading against it?”

      The only conclusions I can draw involve bribery, blackmail or conflict of interest (what’s in her portfolio?)

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Never underestimate the need and/or desire to seem or feel important.

        Even if said ploy backfires completely, the perpetrator may double down because they have no other impulse but the need for attention.

        Call me an armchair psychologist. :)

    2. Pat

      I don’t know but the replacement happened a fair time ago. Weingarten has been on the wrong side of so many issues in the past 8 to 10 years I have lost count. She is one of the union leaders I automatically assume will be one who lends the oligarch class support.

  6. Carolinian

    Solomon’s defenestration

    Had to look this up on Wiki but said he is “leaving” The Hill rather than being subject to structural egress.

    Care to expand?

  7. Chris S

    Small point of order: the reporter on the MarketWatch article “This adviser’s excessive trading cost a retired client $171,000 in commissions” is Alessandra Malito, not Francine McKenna.

  8. Jeff W

    Nathan J. Robinson is a bit late to the party, I think.

    The plagiarism issue is one thing but what I find truly weird is that Warren thought to contribute these recipes to some collection called “pow wow chow.”Somehow I’d think there would be some attempt at a connection, however remote, to native American cooking, unless I’m inferring a different premise from the title of the book than it actually has—or maybe that is Warren’s idea of native American-inspired cuisine.

    1. anonymous

      You can find the book, published by Five Civilized Tribes Museum, in 1984, on Amazon. It was clearly one of those books to be sold as a fundraiser. The full title is: Pow Wow Chow: A Collection of Recipes from Families of the Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. It does not claim that the recipes are Native American, just that they were submitted by family members of those tribes. I have some of those fundraiser spirals, and, while the contributors are associated with the organization, the recipes are a hodgepodge – Italian recipes in a Southern junior league cookbook, Chinese stir fries in a temple cookbook, etc. Also, this was before widespread use of the Internet. Women tended to save recipes by copying them on file cards, since newspaper and magazine clippings quickly became a mess, and attribution was quickly lost, or a recipe, if the source was noted at all, was tagged with the friend or relative from whom one got the recipe, instead of the original source. One couldn’t search the Internet for a recipe, the way the gotchas seem to have done to Warren. There is no reason to assume that Warren, at the time of submission, was aware of the original sources of her recipes. By contributing recipes, Warren and her husband were helping a Native American organization and a relative putting together the book. If anything, I think this bolsters her claim that she identified as Cherokee. Nathan Robinson has presented valid criticisms of Warren, but this one is nonsense.

      1. Divadab

        Sure thing, slick. And her husband’s claim also to be Cherokee?

        The issue is not the recipe- it’s Warren’s fraudulent claim to be Amerindian in order to advance her career as a “person of color”. She’ll apparently say anything to advance her career and I’d give her “commitment “ to end fracking as an example. Trump would eat her alive. She’s such an easy target by her own bad actions.

      2. Stephanie

        Thanks for the tip. I am tempted to buy it, if only for the Holly Hobby-esque cover art.

        The fun thing about fund-raiser cook books like this one is they show how people actual ate vs. what was fashionable at the time. Generally I think there’s about a 10 – 15 year lag between when something becomes the hot new potluck dish and when someone stops making it to share. One of the Amazon reviewers (one of the few to actually discuss the contents) complained about the amount of cream of mushroom used throughout, but that seems right for casseroles in 1984. People are gonna contribute what’s popular, what the organizers of group dinners have asked them to share. In my experience the popular recipes contain a lot of dairy, but my mother had a recipe for Cherry Coke Salad that got passed around alot before making it into a church cookbook in the early 90s. As I recall there was a bit of a kerfuffle over whether the recipe “belonged” to her or to another woman at the church. These things happen.

      3. Jeff W

        I guess it’s one thing if Warren wants pass off Pierre Franey’s omelettes as some old family recipe passed down for generations to her Sunday brunch pals but, really, if you’re going to have these recipes published in a book and you’re a, y’know, full professor at the University of Texas School of Law, you might want to take care to have the recipe properly attributed. (I would, as a courtesy, if nothing else, and I’m a full professor nowhere.)

        It kind of confirms for me just how slipshod Warren really is. When it comes time to provide some recipe of her own for a lousy  cookbook, she can’t just contribute, say, her grandmother’s tried-and-true recipe for oatmeal cookies, she has to submit, almost word for word, a recipe that had been published just five years before. She didn’t have to be “aware of the original sources of her recipes”—it was sufficient for her to know, as she had to have, that she and they were not one and the same and to at least make some effort at attribution. (It was possible, even in the Dark Ages of 1984, to go to the library and pretty easily find recipes from Franey’s “60 Minute Gourmet” column.) It’s not the plagiarism that gets me—it’s the sheer bungling obliviousness.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          How slipshod she “is”? Or how slipshod she “was” at the time of that cookbook?

          Her crafting of the CFPB appears to have been a very non-slipshod operation.

            1. anonymous

              Oh, come on, guys. How old are you? Massinissa, it was a 1984 cookbook; Jeff’s linked article was from 2012. In 1984, it would not have been easy to use the title of a recipe to find the original source. She could have saved the recipes hand copied without attribution, she could have clipped just the recipes (look at the photos in Jeff’s article – clipping just the recipes would leave off Pierre Franey’s name), or she could have asked a friend for any good recipes that she could submit for a cookbook. In those days, one didn’t share with computer links, copy text with a swipe and click, or have home photocopiers. Why was her cousin the editor – doesn’t that give support to her claim that her family believed themselves to be part Cherokee?
              I have some similar cookbooks and was involved in the publication of one. Most of the recipes were likely copied from elsewhere, not original creations. The contributors usually looked for recipes that already had measurements, which a lot of original dishes do not. The contributors were associated with the organizations and were pestered to send something in. The contributors were noted in the books for having submitted the recipes, not for having created them. The recipes were grouped by type and taken to a local printer to be made into a spiral book. Almost nobody really wanted those cookbooks – the biggest purchasers were the members of the organizations themselves, who made sure to buy enough copies that the organization would make money above the printing costs. These weren’t “real” cookbooks, like the NYT Cookbook that was on every home’s bookshelf. Do you think Warren listed Pow Wow Chow on the authorship section of her CV?
              Go after her for being vague about her health care plan. For helping to raise money for a Native American cause, leave it alone. This is just silly.

              1. Massinissa

                On the one hand, you are right, the cookbook is from 1984. I had misread and that was a mistake on my part, and got the year of the article confused with the year of the cookbook.

                On the other hand… The recipe was printed in the New York Times in 1983. So its not as if it was a recipe from the 50s or something that she couldn’t properly cite. Still, even if it was plagiarism, 1984 was a rather long time ago, so I, at least, mostly concede on that.

  9. lambert strether


    Holy Lord, an oppo time bomb like this lying around for that long.

    Yes, the recipes are rather 70’s dinner party, aren’t they?

      1. T

        You are haters. I am sure that early cultures living in what is now Oklahoma used fresh crab, butter, and mayo almost daily. Every day, we learn more and more about the vast trade networks of the Americas prior to a certain set of ships arriving in the area.

          1. ewmayer

            And don’t forget the dessert course, traditionally consisting of a squash-shaped Jello mold and a Cherokee-lime pie.

        1. ambrit

          Re. “…vast trade networks…” Well, those would be the first American versions of a “Shell Corporation,” eh? (Now give me a second to go and cowrie in fear under this desk.)

  10. David Carl Grimes

    Given what we know of the complaint and the transcript (or call summary), did Trump really do something impeachable? Or is this another Russiagate narrative that will only strengthen Trump’s claim that he was being persecuted by the media? Tulsi has jumped on the impeachment bandwagon.


    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I don’t think there must be a crime to impeach.

      From the wikipedia entry,

      “The majority view is that a president can legally be impeached for “intentional, evil deeds” that “drastically subvert the Constitution and involve an unforgivable abuse of the presidency” — even if those deeds didn’t violate any criminal laws.” (apparently from Harvard Law Review)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the Constitution, high crimes and misdemeanors are mentioned.

        Not sure if there is an exact defintion of misdemeanor. Jaywalking could be one.

        It also sounds like we are not talking about just crimes, but high crimes, whatever they are.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          One interpretation is that “high” refers to the office, not to any specific nature of a crime.

    2. dcrane

      Hmm. Maybe some like her support having an inquiry but will ultimately argue in favor of censure rather than impeachment. I guess I can aways hope.

    3. Yves Smith

      Let me repeat my pet peeve.

      I can’t stand the hypocrisy.

      The Dems could have impeached Trump the minute they had a majority in the House on violations of the Emoluments Clause. They have him without doing any evidentiary heavy lifting or parsing of “Was their a quid pro quo” based on foreign diplomats staying in the DC Trump Hotel. There was a huge outcry re Trump refusing to divest or even put his holdings in a blind trust.

      This would have been simple from a narrative and factual standpoint. If there were other suspected cases, it would have given them an excuse to root around in the files of at least some of his major properties and/or entities.

      Instead, this looks like another RussiaRussia, admittedly some actual bad facts here, where the purpose is to keep him getting bad headlines.

      1. flora

        The Dems could have impeached Trump (passed universal medicare for all, re-instituted a modern Glass-Steagall banking bill, re-regulated Wall St. ,etc) the minute they had a majority in ( 2009) the House on violations of the Emoluments Clause.

        Could’a, should’a, would’a… that’s the modern Dem estab in a nutshell, imo. They must find their bread is better buttered by not acting against corruption. They’re always “fighting for you”… if shadow boxing counts as fighting… meh.

      2. dcrane

        If they tried to impeach Trump on emoluments, DC would erupt into a furious crossfire of allegations over the countless ways everyone else is enriching themselves and their buddies with only somewhat less overtly corrupt arrangements involving govt contracts, corporate board seats, college admissions, cushy jobs, and the like. I’ll bet there is an unspoken agreement never to go there.

  11. dcrane

    “The party decides:”

    Primary is a long way from over. But Warren rising while trying to unite the various factions of the Democratic Party, and Sanders flat/falling while not playing nice with others, is a datapoint that really supports the political science view on how nominations are won.

    — Nate Silver (@NateSilver538)

    I wonder how the science explains Trump’s GOP nomination in 2016.

    1. Mike

      And he’s talking now, way before a year of further BS that will load the chambers. We all know the fix is in, so I’m waiting for the sound of Silver’s knees hitting the floor and his bank account jingling.

    2. Carey

      Gotta see it from Silver’s handlers’ POV: it’s important to play nice so as to win the nomination
      and then get crushed in the General Election, again.

  12. Harry

    I watched “An evening with Mike Tyson” once. He think he used that phrase “everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth” (Im so old my memory should no longer be trusted). However he may have started using it AFTER it was attributed to him.

    1. Watt4Bob

      It’s also possible that Tyson was quoting Cus D’Amato, his coach and mentor, known for such nuggets of boxing wit and wisdom.

  13. Roquentin

    Watching the same liberal news outlets repeat the same Democratic talking points on this impeachment stuff has been nauseating. The rage at being humiliated by losing an election to Trump and then having to live under him has broke too many people’s brains. When I’m at the gym and they have CNN or MSNBC on the TV I usually just think “Imagine the kind of warped view you’d have if you used this as your primary source of information.” Impeachment is extremely unlikely to happen, and even in the very unlikely scenario that it did, what then? Do so many of them actually believe most of the problems in the US start and stop with him? Never mind the people who voted for him, let along actually coming up with better answers to the problems facing the country.

    And not only that, people who should know better, are cheering on what amounts to a CIA backed coup within the United States. They’ve let their hatred of Trump blind them to that too.

    1. RMO

      “Do so many of them actually believe most of the problems in the US start and stop with him?”

      Personal, anecdotal evidence suggests yes they do believe this. Some of the wealthier who believe this may well be right as it would seem that a lot of the problems in the U.S. (overpriced health insurance, poor healthcare, deindustrialization, crap jobs, overpriced housing, extortionate tuition, financial predation, declining civil rights, militarization of every sphere of life, crumbling democracy, vast corruption and the disintegration of even any real pretense to rule of law) are actually considered large scale wins from their point of view.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      There’s something else going on here.

      The next election is 13 months away. If Trump is so bad and so many people want him out, the logical thing to do is beat him at the ballot box. All we’re going to get for the next 13 months is campaigning and “poll” data anyway.

      The dems must be petrified that they cannot defeat Trump in an election, so the only thing to do is get him off the ballot through impeachment before the big event, even though it’s very risky for them.

      They’ve thrown the kitchen sink at the guy for the last three years, and they’ve only managed to embarass themselves. This latest dirt is hardly grist for the campaign mill. biden can’t use it at all, and warren goes all Elmer Fudd when asked about it. They don’t want Bernie anywhere near the ballot. The rest of them weren’t going anywhere anyway.

      I’ll go out on a limb and say that when all is said and done, “political miscalculation” will be the nicest thing you’ll be able to say about this latest gambit. With any luck at all, it will finally be pelosi’s undoing.

      1. Tom Stone

        I’m sorry to hear that Solomon got tossed out the Overton window, let’s hope he didn’t land on his head.

      2. Tom Stone

        Katniss, I wandered over to the “Muddy Economist” blog earlier today to see what some of the commenters were up to, it’s where a number of regulars from the old “Calculated Risk” site hang out.
        Several people were discussing how Russia had used the National Rifle Association to completely take over the Republican Party.
        This is apparently accepted as a given among some segments of the Democratic Party.
        I stuck my head on under the faucet and let the cold water do its work for a few minutes…

      3. Rosario

        Yeah, either it is Trump derangement syndrome, or something else is at play.

        The cynic in me sees this as a case of the Dem blob needing to win on their terms or not at all. The impeachment will probably throw Biden under the bus (something I’m not sure they are totally aware of yet), but it will also create a media storm so large that Bernie, and possibly even Warren, will disappear from the political discussion that has been consistently pushed left (thanks to Bernie) for three years now.

        There is also the potential for this to turn into a constitutional crises for obvious reasons. Not the “boy crying wolf” constitutional crises we have been hearing about since Trump got elected (the constitution has been a shibboleth among blob politicians since Nixon), but a real, material, working-peoples-lives-are-affected one. A constitutional crises where the federal government is no longer functional, for who knows how long. It is one thing to have a dysfunctional federal government as is our current state of affairs, but quite another for it to be inoperable. No regulation, no fed enforcement, no federal funds, nothing. Good for the crap stuff, not so good for the good stuff, but if the blob doesn’t believe in their office as being in the service of the public good why would they care? IMO, the long term strategy of impeachment is obviously s***.

        Anyhow, going this route the Dem blob gets to keep its delusions and their mythical voter base continuing to vote the most rotten of the batch in power, but most importantly, they don’t have to change a damn thing. What good is winning the executive if it destroys their raison d’être?

        1. inode_buddha

          “…real, material, working-peoples-lives-are-affected one. A constitutional crises where the federal government is no longer functional, for who knows how long. It is one thing to have a dysfunctional federal government as is our current state of affairs, but quite another for it to be inoperable. No regulation, no fed enforcement, no federal funds, nothing.”

          You say this like it hasn’t already happened.

          1. Rosario

            Probably a worn out saying living in a world of dysfunction, but I’ll go ahead and say it: It can always get worse.

            1. ambrit

              Alas, it is guaranteed to get worse under both Republican and Democrat administrations.
              As the old joke goes:
              Apparatchik Dollar: “Psst! Comrade! The fix is in!”
              Nomenklaturoid Buffy: “How? I don’t see anything broke.”
              Apparatchik Dollar: “Give us time. Give us time. It will be.”

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The current Pelosi situation is a response to the long term effects of using “OMG Russia” to avoid blame for the election. #Resistance types missed brunch and know the Orange Man is bad. This is the group Team Blue elites have used as a bulwark against the left through calls of unity against the Evil One. Without their support, there isn’t a genuine “centrist” faction within the Democratic Party potential electorate. When elected Dems have left the district, they aren’t receiving praise for offering to build a shorter wall with all of the negative environmental impacts or praise for really sticking it to Putin by giving Trump even more money for the MIC than Trump asked for.

          Even with their “sprint” of a process, I think Pelosi thinks she can do a sassy clap and this will go back to when she was a meme.

        3. macnamichomhairle

          I suspect that the impeachment affair is a conjunction of the elite and professional classes’ blind hatred of a small-time hustler who has gotten into power (instead of one of them), by finessing the crowd; together with a desire to shift the focus of the election from issues to a scandal circus.

          They know Biden is hopeless by now, and he is a necessary sacrifice. The groundswell of enthusiasm for change is too strong for them to stand obviously against it. They have to appear to walk a little way with it, so that means Warren.

      4. Massinissa

        “the dems must be petrified that they cannot defeat Trump in an election, so the only thing to do is get him off the ballot through impeachment before the big event, even though it’s very risky for them.’

        Do they think they would have an easier time having an election against President Pence, or would they just find President Pence more acceptable? The latter would be very clarifying.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          There are already those saying this Ukraine business is sure to involve Pence as well, leading to his removal and the installation of President Pelosi. Oh, and Hillary is booking TV appearances, leading to speculation she’s not given up on having another go. ????

      5. richard

        They are trying to lose. They are determined to saddle whoever is the nominee with this useless, obviously partisan, incredibly unpopular, pretend “resist” bullshit. It will weigh down anyone, even sanders, because trump will return to it again and again, like a boxer aiming for a cut.
        This is exactly where I call the fix. This is where it is visible, to me at least.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          The ArchDruid’s Fall predictions about the DNC leadership allying with the administration is ringing in my ears. My Eleven-Dimensional Hat tells me that this move is a reach across the aisle to Trump to just embrace the Benghazi and get along with grifting in a bipartisan way. It also tells me that while the Dems will go along, if it works, they will get pantsed on the way.

  14. barrisj

    Another timeline, this from the justsecurity.com website…begins Nov. 2013 with “Maidan”:

    Timeline: Trump, Giuliani, Biden, and Ukrainegate (updated)
    A months-long campaign by President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to reportedly pressure the Ukraine government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential rival in the 2020 election, has gripped the nation’s capital. The situation escalated following the Sept. 13 revelation of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint reportedly related to a “series of events” including a phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

    As these events unfold, the aim of the chronology below is to provide a useful reference for the context and timeline on Ukraine, the roles of Joe Biden and his son Hunter there, and Trump and Giuliani’s efforts to persuade Ukraine to pursue investigations against them. We attempt to present an accurate picture of events, favorable and unfavorable to the players involved. Our assessments and views of the available public information are reflected in two pieces: Viola Gienger’s “Trump and Giuliani’s Quest for Fake Ukraine ‘Dirt’ on Biden: An Explainer” and our forthcoming, “The Swiftboating of Joe Biden.”


    Biden gets some cover here.

    1. ewmayer

      “…campaign by President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to reportedly pressure the Ukraine government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden…”

      The Hill’s John Solomon (h/t to ‘anon in so cal’ who posted the URL in today’s Links) says the above narrative has the causality precisely reversed:

      Ukrainian prosecutors say they have tried to get this information to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) since the summer of 2018, fearing it might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws. First, they hired a former federal prosecutor to bring the information to the U.S. attorney in New York, who, they say, showed no interest. Then, the Ukrainians reached out to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

  15. Carey

    ‘Nestle Steps Up Testing After Weedkiller [glyphosate] Found in Coffee Beans:

    “..The move comes at a time when many countries have either banned or are seeking to prohibit the use of glyphosate, used in the Roundup weedkiller. Bayer AG, which spent $63 billion buying the product’s maker, Monsanto, is now facing billions of dollars worth of lawsuits claiming it causes cancer..”


    1. Oregoncharles

      That’s odd; I’d think glyphosate would be very bad for coffee bushes – as in potentially fatal.

      It’s a sign of just how pervasive the stuff is.

  16. Pat

    On the sign front, saw my first and only the other day. There in the second floor window of an UES apartment was a Yang sign.

    Pretty sure it is not indicative of any overwhelming crush of Yang supporters in NYC, but it was interesting.

    1. neighbor7

      My first and only sign sighting in this Tar Pit adjacent old-apartment L.A. neighborhood–TULSI. Surprised and pleased me; our Nextdoor blog is filled with NIMBYs…

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: John Soloman, The Hill

    (Poor Zelensky. He must be thinking, “All I ever wanted was to make Ukraine great again. How the hell did I get myself caught in the middle of this lunatic american shitstorm?”)

    Following a link in Solomon’s piece, to the nyt no less, there’s this from September 9:

    But Senator Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and met with Mr. Zelensky last week, said the Ukrainian president, a political neophyte who had been a comedian before winning the presidency, seemed confused about why the assistance was being withheld.

    “The first question President Zelensky asked us was whether we knew anything about the security aid,” Mr. Murphy said. “There seems to be very little understanding from anyone in the government as to why the aid has been withheld or what they need to do in order to get it released.”

    Mr. Murphy said he urged Mr. Zelensky not to heed the requests from Mr. Giuliani, warning that to do so could threaten bipartisan support for Ukraine in Washington, which Mr. Murphy called Ukraine’s “most important asset.”

    It would be “disastrous for long-term U.S.-Ukraine relations,” Mr. Murphy said, if Mr. Zelensky were seen as basing prosecutorial decisions on pressure from Mr. Trump’s political allies.

    Mr. Murphy rejected the suggestion that his advice to Mr. Zelensky constituted meddling in Ukrainian affairs similar to Mr. Giuliani’s efforts, which he had previously called “private foreign policy engagement” and into which he had sought an investigation.

    “If there are investigations that influence American politics one way or another, but the foundations of those investigations are based upon facts rather than political requests, I think that’s legitimate,” Mr. Murphy said.

    There proabably won’t be an adam schiff dramatic interpretive reading….er….”parody” of murphy’s conversation with Zelensky because when dems shake someone down it’s “based on facts.”


    1. Jack Parsons

      I’m pretty sure that the story of today’s Ukraine is “massive transshipment of opium”. Look at the Crimean Peninsula on a topo map- the coastline is all beautiful smuggler’s coves. I believe Putin grabbed it as a favor to Russian billionaire gangsters. But all of Ukraine is right there in the middle of opium going North to Russia and Northwest to Europe.

      1. John A

        The US wanted to grab the naval base in Sevastapol, which would have been a devastating blow to Russia. The US had already drawn up invitation to tender documents for building work in the port. That was the real reason behind all the Ukraine coup politics. Crimea may or may not be a haven of drug smuggling, but that is irrelevant to the big picture of Who controls the Black Sea.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    President’s son…board of a foreign company…

    Earlier this morning, in Links, there was a comment about JPMorgan paying some princelings of China. Those sons of Beijing’s elite today contrast with the eldest son of Mao, the Great Helmsman. The young man died in Korea, fighting to defend North Koreans.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      Yes. How is Hunter Biden not a princeling? He was no energy expert. He had no expertise in foreign policy. How is this different from JPMorgan hiring some princeling from China?

  19. Plenue

    Regarding ‘how to pay for Medicare for All’, two points. One is that Sanders still, to his eternal shame, has yet to bring up MMT. He didn’t do it in 2016 and he still hasn’t done it now. Does he just not believe the things Kelton told him? Or does he think it’s too wild for voters so he wants to win first and then use it in practice once he has power?

    And two, both Sanders and Warren keep failing hard with “will taxes go up?” questions. This isn’t difficult. “Yes, but by less than you already pay in premiums and copays”. There, simple. You don’t even have to open with the admission, if you’re scared it’ll be soundbited and used against you. “By less than you already pay now.”

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I dont understand this either. America doesnt need to ‘pay for’ anything so long as congress passes the bill.

      Huge self own if you ask me!

    2. Oregoncharles

      If MMT still isn’t politically acceptable, I’ll happily take “we’ll take it out of Pentagon waste.” That’s a win-win – especially since MMT clearly DOES apply to military spending.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      National debt and all that is just a deflection for centrists and libertarians (out and out Republicans don’t care). MMT has no real useful political metric. Besides just mutter something about less f-35 and demand something that works. So much has been done to foam the run way politically, there is no point.

    4. inode_buddha

      Its too wild for most people. 99% of people I know anyway, are convinced their taxes pay for everything, including all the bailouts. Sanders knows this, among other things, so he’s trying to feed people the “lite” version until they are ready for reality. Which might take a long, long time given our so-called “media.”

    5. Jack Parsons

      Running for President is very much about appealing to sub-intellectual instinctive reactions. For him to bring up MMT is way too complex. Just say, “you won’t have to pay health care premiums”, and “remember your friend who got cancer and was shafted by his insurance company”.

      The game is the game, don’t hate it for what it is.

    6. Mo's Bike Shop

      There’s no narrative out there for MMT.

      A clever politician would just say something on the order of “we’re pulling the money from Defense/Orphans to pay for it” and then just continue funding both. Department of the Interior can run their budget like the DOD.

      We don’t have clever politicians.

  20. XXYY

    “‘They Don’t Need Us Anymore’: Auto Workers Fear Electric Unrest” [Bloomberg]. “The milkman went missing thanks to the rise of refrigerators. Switchboard operators were done in by the dawn of direct dialing. And in the car industry, auto workers are deathly afraid the engine assembler will give way to battery builders.

    More serious than the loss of auto assembly work with electric cars is the loss of service work. Electric cars are vastly more reliable than internal combustion cars, and have far fewer moving parts. We were recently told by a Kia EV salesman that there is no scheduled service in the first 10,000 miles on their EV, and the 10,000 mile service itself is to rotate the tires!

    While this is not a bad thing for “society” if there is such a thing, it will obviously be a big dislocation for the millions of auto service and repair shops in the US (muffler and radiator shops are gone, for one thing!)

    1. eg

      The “Just Transition” is going to take some heavy lifting, but it is work that must be done — the neoliberal carnage of globalization surely has taught us that much?

  21. ewmayer

    “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” –Mike Tyson (apocryphal paraphrase) — Nothing apocryphal about it, Lambert, except in the multiple-versions-of-it-floating-around sense:


    As with most pithy sayings there are multiple versions of it floating around, and various alleged contexts – some articles place the quote in the runup to the infamous earbite-fight with Evander Holyfield. My memory – possibly faulty – is that it was in relation to a different fight, pre-Holyfield, and I recall the wording as “everybody’s got a strategy until they get hit in the mouth”.

    This rundown places it in the runup to Tyson’s late-1987 fight vs challenger Tyrell Biggs:


    If someone manages to dig up an actual interview video clip of Tyson making said saying, I would be most appreciative!

  22. ewmayer

    The Bezzle: “L.A. drops lawsuit over DWP billing errors. Now ratepayers could owe millions” [Los Angeles Times] … City attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox said that key witnesses in the city’s case … have invoked their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, impairing the city’s ability to proceed with its lawsuit. — Wha? The standard way of proceeding in such a circumstance is to offer at least one such key witness immunity in exchange for testimony, thus obviating said witnesses’ invocation of the 5th. I don’t understand what’s keeping the city attorney from doing that.

    1. The Other Tony

      I had the same thought, then i read the witnesses were part of an FBI search warrant related to a federal investigation. The witnesses are most likely arguing that their testimony in the city lawsuit would incriminate them in any future federal trial. The city attorney could not offer immunity to those charges and probably could not convince federal prosecutors to grant it.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      A Warren win would not inherently crash the stock market.

      The StockMarketeers themselves would crash the stock market deliberately and on purpose in order to sabotage and smear her presidency right from the start.

    2. Massinissa

      A Sanders win might, but Warren? Ridiculous.

      Besides, a stock market crash would make it easier for Sanders, or even Warren, to make a push to properly regulate that nonsense.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Warren has her problems, but in this case, the ramifications of Eric Holder and Obama’s DoJ means bad actors have remained and been rewarded. Its unlikely they’ve gone clean. With concentration, what does even moderate digging do?

    1. Carey

      Oh yeah, “Mattress Mac”. I remember him because the men’s pro tennis year-end championships
      were held at his new-at-the-time venue in Houston awhile back. He’s an interesting one, heh.

    2. Drake

      Jordans Furniture in MA does stuff like this all the time (for the Sox and Pats of course). I believe they’re owned by Berkshire Hathaway, so they must know what they’re doing on the financial end of things.

      1. Another Scott

        Jordan’s buys insurance to cover the promotions. They are upfront about it, even mentioning the insurance in some of their commercials. I’m assuming it’s just part of the marketing cost. I haven’t read any further, but I did wonder who is insuring the purchases. It sounds like the type of thing that Berkshire Hathaway might do, but insuring a subsidiary’s marketing promotion doesn’t seem like a good idea.

    3. Jack Parsons

      This business plan has a strong whiff of Bertie Wooster, sans Jeeves. Or maybe the movie Buffalo 66.

  23. RMO

    Headline in the Vancouver Sun newspaper “Trump “Not Taking Impeachment Talk Seriously”” Geez… I wonder why. I’ve lost count of the number of things which were supposed to utterly destroy Trump. He beats Jason Vorhees for bouncing back from ostensibly fatal blows.

    Now that I think of it, I suppose this implies that those who have been convinced multiple times of his certain, impending destruction must have the same intelligence and thought processes as the victim-to-be in cheap slasher movies…

  24. Big River Bandido

    I’m catching up late and just eyerolled my way through the Politico article on Congressional dysfunction. “Never has congressional power been so concentrated in the hands of leadership.”

    Honestly, do the politicians and reporters who spout this crap really believe it? They speak and write as though James Madison, Henry Clay, William Allison, John Coit Spooner, Joe Cannon or Lyndon Johnson had never existed.

    Add to that the bootlicking, Blob-fellating treatment of the CIA, MILO and Blue Dog factions and I can see why Americans who claim to follow politics are so ill-informed. My hope is that average voters are repelled by this.

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