2:00PM Water Cooler 10/10/2019

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Lambert here: I want to put in a plug to pick up the pace on Original Reporting. Up to this point we have, as it were, funded the tour bus, the venues, the roadies, and the rhythm section. All those are essential! But Original Reporting is the lead guitarist and the singer!

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Trade

“Two Gadget Makers Look to Move Manufacturing Out of China, Citing Trade War” [Industry Week]. “Tile Inc. said it’s considering plans to make its Bluetooth-enabled location trackers in other countries, after the company was hit with tariffs last month. Fitbit Inc. said on Wednesday that it would stop Chinese manufacturing of its health trackers and smartwatches by January…. ‘The biggest challenge for a company like Tile is our ability to plan for shifting changes in U.S. policy toward China,’ said Chief Executive Officer CJ Prober. ‘With recent impacts, we are looking at other regions.’… The gadget maker does the majority of its manufacturing in China, but as the U.S.-China trade war has escalated, it’s now considering Mexico, Malaysia, Vietnam and ‘possibly the U.S.’ as future manufacturing hubs, Prober said.” • “Possibly….”

Politics

“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

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2020

Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. Here is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 10/10/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

Note that the implicit narrative of this chart diverges radically from the implicit narrative of RCP’s chart.

Still waiting for the impact of Sanders heart attack. If there are no shifts by the end of the week, I’d say Sanders, er, dodges a bullet (though the impact may be to set a ceiling on his support). Ditto for Warren’s various difficulties with oppo (which I think will affect her in the general anyhow, not the primary). And here are the poll results:

Thanks to everyone for the good discussion yesterday.

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.”

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Harris (D)(1): “Kamala Harris State Chair Says It’s ‘Unsound’ For Bernie Sanders To Be Elected After Heart Attack” [NewsOne]. “Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who chairs the Illinois Sen. Kamala Harris campaign, told the Chicago Sun Times about Sanders, ‘Don’t be so egotistical, so self-centered, that you want to put the American people and your family into that position where day by day they don’t know whether you are going to have another heart attack. You don’t want to do that. The demands, the rigors of campaigning, the rigors of that office is too great, too important.'” • I can just imagine Bobby Rush telling that to Fred Hampton, back in the day.

Sanders (D)(1):

Sanders (D)(2): “Physicians: Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, but OF COURSE he could still be president” [CNN]. “The fact is, this expectation of immaculate health for our political leadership is unrealistic and naïve — an American obsession reflected in presidents’ long history of sanitizing their medical conditions. For example, John F. Kennedy’s treatment for Addison’s disease, a potentially debilitating illness, was hushed up but did not materially affect his presidency in any way. Franklin D. Roosevelt took pains to disguise his paralysis, which nonetheless became an inspiration to differently-abled people.”

Trump (R)(1): “Donald Trump is Blowing It” [The American Conservative]. “Yes, the Donald Trump haters are blowing the Ukraine story out of proportion in their frenzied effort to drive him from office just months before Election Day—or at least to humiliate him and his followers with a House impeachment. And, yes, many of those same partisans carried out a years-long project to destroy his presidency with that so-called Russiagate investigation, which turned out to be based on bogus suspicions and allegations. And, yes, Trump is correct in his complaint that no president has ever before been subjected to the kind of relentless political assault that he has endured from the nation’s political, governmental, and cultural establishment. But all that misses a fundamental point about American presidential politics—that presidents get the credit for what’s going well in the country and the blame for what’s not going well. And the man most responsible for the current impeachment mess that’s tearing the country apart is Trump himself.” •. It is known. More: “The nation’s elites and their most fervent followers—globalist in outlook, anti-nationalist by instinct, increasingly contemptuous of national borders—want to remake the country through mass immigration, global finance, and a fierce demand for diversity, all enforced through the bludgeon of political correctness and the weapon words deployed in its behalf*. Trump’s followers don’t see why they should simply acquiesce in this transformation that seems destined to leave them marginalized and their heritage in shreds. They needed a champion, and nobody throughout the firmament of American politics seemed interested in the job—until Trump. But it was a big job, rendered politically dangerous by the ferocious resolve on the part of the elites to continue their transformation project unimpeded. Anyone who got in their way would have to be destroyed, and Trump got in their way.” • NOTE Silly conservatives and their red meat culture wars. Can’t they see how finance “enforces”? Or even mass surveillance?

UPDATE Warren (D)(1): Elizabeth Warren Vows to Remake Capitalism. Businesses Are Bracing.” [Wall Street Journal]. “Companies are used to Democrats criticizing business…. But no front-runner has issued so comprehensive an indictment as Ms. Warren…. ‘I love what markets can do, I love what functioning economies can do. They are what make us rich, they are what create opportunity,’ she said on CNBC last year. ‘But only fair markets, markets with rules. Markets without rules is about the rich take it all, it’s about the powerful get all of it. And that’s what’s gone wrong in America.'” • I wish I knew something about the real history of markets, as we have with money. I suspect that nobody, ever, created a market without simultaneously figuring out how to arbitrage it (or rig it). Why would they?

Impeachment

“Trump Gears Up for Fight, Vowing to Stonewall Impeachment Probe” [Bloomberg]. “Trump on Tuesday enlisted former House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy in his impeachment fight. Gowdy, a former prosecutor from South Carolina who left Congress after the last session, will help lead Trump’s legal strategy and coordination with Republican lawmakers…. Until Tuesday, Trump’s push-back was mostly confined to his Twitter feed and television appearances by his GOP supporters. But the risks of an improvised self-defense have become more clear, and the administration appears to be adjusting.” • My bestiary of Republicans is not nearly as exhaustive as my bestiary of Democrats, so what I remember of Gowdy is that he butchered the “ZOMG!!!! Benghazi!!!!!” scandal (though IIRC, and I could be way off on this, the real scandal was that Clinton’s State Department wasn’t competent enough to run a successful arms-smuggling operation to the Syrian “rebels” out of our consulate basement, which of course neither party could talk about). Anyhow, my recollection is that at the very least Gowdy didn’t make shit up (and he might have been more successful if he had). The real issue was Gowdy never managed to create a narrative where Benghazi was anything other than an enormous hairball. However, I’m sure the White House has amply facilities to create narratives for him! More: “The administration’s plan, which still appears to be taking shape, involves grinding the impeachment inquiry to a crawl by refusing requests for witnesses and documents. That could frustrate House Democratic leaders, who are pushing to complete articles of impeachment by the end of next month.” • Surely US Attorney John Durham’s forthcoming report on the origins of the “Russia investigation” must also figure largley in the administration’s “plan.”

“Must the House Vote to Authorize an Impeachment Inquiry?” [LawFare]. “Impeachment has frequently been analogized to a grand jury indictment, and the analogy is informative here. The House is a prosecutorial body in an impeachment context. The House members themselves must decide what steps they think are necessary to satisfy themselves that a particular impeachment is warranted and to prepare a credible case that can be argued in the Senate, where the defense will have an opportunity to poke holes in it. It might be prudent for the House to create a more robust adversarial proceeding in order to help the House members themselves assess the strength of the case, but any such process is for the benefit of informing the House, not protecting the accused from a possible impeachment. A federal officer has no particular right not to be impeached, and the bar for impeachment is consequently set low. The Senate trial, by contrast, provides an opportunity for an accused officer to mount a robust defense, plead his or her case, and seek total vindication. The procedural bar for a Senate conviction is set high.” • This is worth reading. It’s level-headed response to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter to the House (also worth reading). Even if the Grand Jury analogy holds up, I’m not sure that’s a good thing; everybody knows that a Grand Jury would indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor says it should.

UPDATE “‘What legal strategy?’: Trump relies on Trump to survive impeachment” [Politico]. “For a president steeped in marketing and branding, impeachment offers new terrain on which to run the Trump playbook of defining an issue, waging war and then never backing down. And the White House’s new strategy of treating impeachment primarily as a political argument puts President Donald Trump directly into his comfort zone.” • Vox: “There’s no evidentiary standards or necessity for legal grounding of charges — it’s a political action. Practically, a majority of House members can impeach the president for whatever they want. If they have the votes, that is.” So.

UPDATE “Pelosi Confronts Decision on Formal Trump Impeachment Vote” [Bloomberg]. “Case Western law professor Jonathan Adler said the administration’s assertion that the House must vote to conduct the inquiry is without legal merit. It is instead a political argument to voters that they shouldn’t consider the investigation legitimate.” • But see above. And speaking of “legal merit,” are the Democrats still thinking of having the so-called “whistleblower” testify anonymously? That would be a hoot!

UPDATE We forget to include Kiriakou, along with Assange, Manning, and Snowden, in the whistleblower pantheon:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Liberal Democrat Rehabilitation (1):

As liberals continue to move the Democrat Party’s center of gravity toward the conservatives… For those who came in late, Axelrod was “Chief Strategist” for Obama’s Presidential campaigns. I’m so old I can actually remember when people thought Obama had taken a principled position against the Iraq War!

Liberal Democrat Rehabilitation (2):

And speaking of celebrities with weird intelligence community connections, Moby:

“New York Democrat Nita Lowey won’t seek reelection” [The Hill]. “After 31 years in the United States Congress, representing the people of Westchester, Rockland, Queens and the Bronx, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2020,” [Lowey] said in a statement…. The district has traditionally been a Democratic stronghold.” • I take note of this only because of the curious role played, if played it was, in the Brooklyn voter supression scandal of 2018. See here and (more concise) here. Of course, this is all a tale of New York real estate, so it’s more likely than not to be completely on the up-and-up. The New York Post (2016) says that [genuflects] Chelsea Clinton is being groomed to take over Lowey’s seat, but will Chelsea really want to mix with the proles in the House?

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, September 2019: “The inflation outlook has softened, underscored by a lower-than-expected… September rise in the core CPI that follows this week’s decline for producer prices and the prior week’s flattening out in average hourly earnings” [Econoday]. “Consumer inflation had been edging up in a shallow but favorable climb but now, despite lift for housing and medical care, is more flat than up, results that do not point to any unwanted tariff effects, at least for consumer prices. Signs of slowing growth in the labor market together with lack of punch for inflation make further rate cuts by the Federal Reserve all the more likely.”

Jobless Claims, week of October 5, 2019: “Job growth may have slowed this year but layoffs have not increased at all, on the contrary they remain firmly near historic lows” [Econoday].

Commodities: “Cocoa prices are skyrocketing and for once it has nothing to do with supply and demand. The surge is coming as traders grapple with a new method for pricing exports… in a plan designed to alleviate poverty among farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s largest growers of the chocolate ingredient. That’s helped push futures up by double digits in recent weeks but it’s also sowing uncertainty and confusion among traders and investors over how to account for the shakeup from the ‘living income differential'” [Wall Street Journal]. “The premium is supposed to kick in when prices fall below a prescribed level, and it’s due to apply to next year’s cocoa crop. It’s already having an impact, however, as companies that normally buy directly from West Africa appear to be buying beans from exchanges that stockpile cocoa at a U.S. East Coast warehouses.”

Real Estate: “Small is getting much bigger in U.S. industrial real estate. A new analysis by CBRE Group Inc. says rents for warehouses between 70,000 and 120,000 square feet rose by more than a third over the past five years… more than twice as fast as the leasing costs for big distribution centers” [Wall Street Journal]. “The higher rents come as availability of smaller facilities is getting tighter, the result of what CBRE says is a push by businesses including online retailers and their logistics providers to get goods closer to dense population centers to speed up deliveries. Some analysts suggest other commercial trends could be leading some operators away from sprawling warehouses. The WSJ’s Carol Ryan cites a UBS report on online retailers that says the ever-larger warehouses needed to store a vast range of online stock may make it harder to process orders efficiently.” • Lol, why not start selling oods out of the front of the new small warehouses? Then we’d come 360° back to bricks-and-mortar retail again!

Tech: “Apple’s Unpleasant Behaviour Is Hurting The Macbook Pro” [Forbes]. “Even restricting a comparison to the headline feature (increasing the screen size to 16 inches), the new MacBook Pro is falling short not just of Apple’s previous large screened MacBooks, but also of the top line large screened laptops where the going rate on the diagonal is seventeen inches. It might be ‘the biggest and best MacBook Pro from Apple’ but it’s nowhere close to being the biggest or the best laptop in the market.” • That’s because Tim Cook wants to kill their laptop line. Cook and Muilenburg should get together and compare notes.

Tech: “Apple Confirms Serious MacBook Pro Problems For Media Creatives And Others In MacOS Catalina” [Forbes]. “The Mac platform is especially popular with DJs, who cart around MacBook Pro machines jam-packed with music, playlists, mixes and specialist software to allow them to perform every evening. These have been tied to iTunes’ underlying XML database. But after nearly 20 years, iTunes has been discontinued in macOS Catalina, and the XML file no longer exists to index a local music collection….. It’s not just music applications that are suffering under the public roll-out of software that has been in public beta since shortly after WWDC. A number of creative tools—including Apple Aperture, Microsoft Office 2011 and Adobe CS6—are experiencing issues.” • That’s nice. Destroying client relations at the best, businesses at the worst. More: “Although you can step back from Catalina to the previous version of macOS (Mojave), that is a destructive process that requires you to erase your hard drive and have a back-up from before the upgrade to Catalina.” • [Cthulhu voice:] Fools! You trusted Apple! [laughter].

Tech: “HP to hike upfront price of printer hardware as ink biz growth runs dry” [The Register]. “Traditionally, printers were sold at a loss and the profit was generated by consumables over the lifetime of the device, in much the same way as the razor industry operates…. [HP’s incoming printer president, Tuan Tran] discussed ways HP is attempting to safeguard its supplies revenues by shifting to Smart Tank and Neverstop printers that come fully loaded with an estimated two years’ worth of ink or toner. This is for customers that want to exclusively buy the printer and supplies from HP. ‘They [customers] will get a model that delivers a more secure, more reliable, higher quality and sustainable print experience,’ said Tran.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 32 Fear (previous close: 23, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 34 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 9 at 12:27pm.

The Biosphere

“Mutual Aid for PG&E Shutdown” [Google Docs]. • This spreadsheet may be useful to readers in the PG&E shutdown area.

They tweet:

“Please use your own resources….”

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“Two-thirds of North American birds are at increasing risk of extinction from global temperature rise.” [Audobon (NippersMom)]. “Audubon scientists took advantage of 140 million observations, recorded by birders and scientists, to describe where 604 North American bird species live today—an area known as their “range.” They then used the latest climate models to project how each species’s range will shift as climate change and other human impacts advance across the continent. The results are clear: Birds will be forced to relocate to find favorable homes. And they may not survive… By stabilizing carbon emissions and holding warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, 76 percent of vulnerable species will be better off, and nearly 150 species would no longer be vulnerable to extinction from climate change.” • This is one of those mobile-friendly layouts that are informative but inefficient on a laptop. Can any readers who use mobile tell us what their experience with it is?

“Warm ocean water attacking edges of Antarctica’s ice shelves” [Phys.org]. “Upside-down “rivers” of warm ocean water are eroding the fractured edges of thick, floating Antarctic ice shelves from below, helping to create conditions that lead to ice-shelf breakup and sea-level rise, according to a new study.” • Sounds like how ice melts in the Spring thaw.

“Compressor critics say website issues impeding research” [Patriot Ledger]. “Residents say they need more time to review more than 1,000 pages of data on a proposed natural-gas compressor station and related documents because of technical errors with the state Department of Environmental Protection’s website that have delayed and even prevented their research…. [Weymouth resident Margaret Bellafiore] said scientists, doctors and residents have been ‘stymied’ trying to evaluate the plan due to technical problems with the state agency’s website, including links to necessary reports that don’t work. ‘The missing documents appear to include most, if not all, of the documents related to MassDEP guidance on site cleanup and human health risk assessment,’ she said. ‘These documents refer to guidance on risk characterization, soil contamination calculations, and risk to construction workers at contaminated sites, among other topics.'” • Sounds legit.

Health Care

“CCHF Victory! POTUS Signs Executive Order on Medicare” [CCHF]. “Last June, CCHF formed a coalition urging President Trump to separate Social Security benefits from Medicare Enrollment. Forty-three other free-market organizations co-signed CCHF letters (November 2018| June 2019) to President Trump requesting him to sign an executive order that would allow senior citizens to voluntarily opt out of Medicare – without losing their Social Security benefits. Today’s executive order includes this provision in Section 11. ‘This executive order couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Twila Brase, president and co-founder of CCHF. ‘It is estimated that 10,000 baby boomers enter Medicare every day. With Medicare six years from insolvency, seniors need the freedom to opt out of Medicare and into private coverage without losing their Social Security benefits.'” • The currency issuer cannot become insolvent. Still, that’s why they believe!

Class Warfare

“The Abandonment of Small Cities in the Rust Belt” [Industry Week]. “During the 20th century, America built thousands of manufacturing plants in small cities in the Midwest. There were food processing plants, auto manufacturers, textile fabric mills, cut and sew apparel mills, paper mills, foundries, hand tool manufacturers, major appliance manufacturers, machine shops, and many others, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data from that era. When these plants were built, whole communities formed around them providing good paying jobs for millions of people without college degrees, as well as jobs for all of their supplier companies and the merchants in the communities.” • This is the America I remember. More: “Things began to change for these communities in the 1980s, when American corporations began to outsource production and re-engineer their organizations to adapt to globalization. But, at the turn of the 21st century, two things happened that would seal the fate of many of these communities. The Chinese were allowed into the World Trade Organization and the NAFTA Agreement went into effect. These changes led to the devastation of many smaller cities and towns…. But so far, Trump has made little progress in bringing manufacturing jobs back to these suffering communities. It will be interesting to see in the 2020 election if either a Democrat or President Trump will propose policies that will genuinely help the communities and citizens in these Rust Belt towns–because the outcome of the 2020 election may depend on Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio.” • The story gives really good detail on ten towns, including Muncie, IN near where I grew up. Sort of amazing to see a story like this in Industry Week.

“Some Places Are Much More Unequal than Others” [Liberty Street Economics]. “[T]hat the most unequal places tend to be large urban areas with strong economies where wage growth has been particularly strong for those at the top of the wage distribution. The least unequal places, on the other hand, tend to have relatively sluggish economies that deliver slower wage growth for high, middle, and lower wage earners alike. Many of the least unequal places are concentrated in the Rust Belt. These differences in the degree of wage inequality are tied to powerful economic forces arising from technological change and globalization, which have pushed up wages strongly for high-skilled workers in locations that have become the most unequal. Yet those same forces have kept wage growth compressed within a fairly narrow range for workers in places that are the least unequal…. Many large urban areas, such as New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay area, are among the most unequal places. Inequality is also relatively high in parts of the South, such as metro areas in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. By contrast, wage inequality is lowest in metropolitan areas in the Midwest and the Great Lakes region, often referred to as the “Rust Belt,” as well as in Washington State and some parts of Florida.” • So whaddaya know, “just move” isn’t necessarily an answer.

“Uber and Lyft Drivers Talk About Getting Ripped Off” [Splinter News]. From one driver: “The apps do not offer the value to us or to the customer to justify the amount of money they hold back from drivers and keep for themselves. We are not being compensated fair market value for our services, not even slightly. When gas rates go up, our fees should be passed along to the consumer, because the consumer requires the service and therefore must pay the costs. There is no trusting the app companies who are defrauding us by denying our value and input. It’s the fattest, greediest, most unfair business model that exists, and its only saving grace is feeling like you are helping the people of the community.”

“The Fantasy of Opting Out” [The MIT Press Reader]. “For all the dramatic language about prisons and panopticons, the sorts of data collection we describe here are, in democratic countries, still theoretically voluntary. But the costs of refusal are high and getting higher: A life lived in social isolation means living far from centers of business and commerce, without access to many forms of credit, insurance, or other significant financial instruments, not to mention the minor inconveniences and disadvantages — long waits at road toll cash lines, higher prices at grocery stores, inferior seating on airline flights.”

“Why Good People Still Can’t Get Jobs” (transcript) [Peter Cappelli, Wharton School (David Carl Grimes)]. Cappelli: “[T]he evidence suggests that we have doubled the amount of time we spend interviewing, which is typically about the worst way to hire people. Because unless you’re trained as to how to interview, the questions you’re asking probably aren’t predicting anything. What they probably are doing is leading to demographic biases.”

News of the Wired

“Unexpected Gains: Being Overweight Buffers Asian Americans From Prejudice Against Foreigners” [SAGE Journals]. “[O]verweight Asian individuals were perceived as significantly more American than normal-weight versions of the same people, whereas this was not true for White, Black, or Latino individuals. A second meta-analysis showed that overweight Asian men were perceived as less likely to be in the United States without documentation than their normal-weight counterparts.”

“Is Death Reversible?” [Scientific American]. “Evolution equipped our species with powerful defense mechanisms to deal with this foreknowledge [of mortality]—in particular, psychological suppression and religion. The former prevents us from consciously acknowledging or dwelling on such uncomfortable truths while the latter reassures us by promising never-ending life in a Christian heaven, an eternal cycle of Buddhist reincarnations or an uploading of our mind to the Cloud, the 21st-century equivalent of rapture for nerds. Death has no such dominion over nonhuman animals. Although they can grieve for dead offspring and companions, there is no credible evidence that apes, dogs, crows and bees have minds sufficiently self-aware to be troubled by the insight that one day they will be no more. Thus, these defense mechanisms must have arisen in recent hominin evolution, in less than 10 million years.” • Anyone for violating Betteridge’s Law?

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral 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 (WB):

WB writes: “Chestnuts belonging to the Sackville-Wests, Knole House, Sevenoaks, Kent.”

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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.

144 comments

  1. Another Scott

    There’s one aspect of the rehabilitation of Bush that people are missing – his politics. Trump won the Republican primary in large part as a repudiation of Bushism, opposing policies such as increased immigration, “free trade,” and an interventionist foreign policy, which defined Bush’s presidency. Since being elected, Trump has somewhat acted on his goals. Democrats, especially the DC establishment, agree with Bush on those issues and have embraced Bush’s policies as the defining features of The Resistance.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      opposing policies such as increased immigration

      Not to quibble, but Shrubs “pro-immigration” stance was to bring in guest workers under happy branding and make sure to keep them all registered to be removed at the first instance of organizing while bringing in new workers to replace them. The loops immigrants had to jump through under his proposals weren’t a concession. They were meant to keep them away from green cards and at the mercy of employers.

      I don’t believe Team Blue is ready for the fallout from their embrace of Shrub. The #missedbrunch crowd may not have cared except the “I’ve got mine” crowd there is nothing from 43’s Administration to point to as “not that bad.” It was a monstrous clown show from start to finish since Gore rolled over for Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris. Didn’t even Tucker Carlson condemn W as cruel?

      I do wonder if Team Blue types are ever worried about the integrity of the 2000 election when they are lamenting the time they missed brunch.

      Reply
      1. Harold

        I seem to remember all sorts of embarrassing things that Bush did in his dealings with France and Germany and even Ireland, not to mention his repudiation of the Geneva Conventions — all of it seems to have been scrubbed from google, at least I can’t find it.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2009/aug/10/religion-george-bush

          Congressional Republicans, the kinds who were the sort of moderates Democrats could work with before Trump, renamed French Fries to Freedom Fries on the Congressional lunch menu.

          In 2000, the McCains campaigned in South Carolina with their children, including Bridget. So Bush’s mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the idea of robo-calling voters and calling into talk radio, asking the question, “If you knew McCain had an illegitimate child with a Black woman, would that affect how you felt about him.” The Republican Party in South Carolina is solidly white, although the state is 1/3 African-American, and what they were pleased to call ‘miscegenation’ had been a crime in South Carolina until the late 1960s.
          Because people had seen Bridget at the rallies, Rove’s smear was widely believed, and it contributed to McCain’s loss in the GOP primary

          https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/10/20/george-w-bush-gop-lack-standing-bash-trump-racism

          Now that’s South Carolina, Lindsey Graham country, and South Carolina is known for its welcoming white population until Donald Trump. Putin must have something on him…its the only thing that makes sense or so many “liberals” are just Republicans pigs with slightly different taste in music.

          Reply
  2. Dan

    “If you are power-dependent for medical reasons and in a potential shutoff area, please use your own resources to relocate to an unaffected area.”

    So THAT explains the conga line of electric wheelchairs on the Bay Bridge heading to San Francisco, PG&E headquarters, from wheelchair friendly Berkeley.

    “PG&E CEO Bill Johnson could earn up to $110 million if the company’s share prices return to their 2017 peak.”
    https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article234225797.html

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      “If unable to relocate and power loss will cause immediate life threat, call 911 for transport to an Emergency Room.”

      No! No! No! Take it from someone who’s tried it in the midst of a fight with a burglar in South Berkeley (aka Oakland): 911 gets you a voice recording and a ‘please hold for the next available operator.’ At no point did a human ever pick up.

      Fortunately for me, the burglar wasn’t keen on using his knife, and the (highly professional and kind) BPD just happened to be nearby. He went away for a year, for the weapon not the break in.

      911 is a joke in yo town, Amriki. Always keep the local 7 digit numbers for both PD and FD in your phone contacts list.

      To mash up a metaphor: When seconds count, no one can hear you scream.

      Reply
  3. a different chris

    Maybe their minds are so “self-aware” that they just simply aren’t troubled? Here I am, at sometime I won’t be. So I’m going to lay in the sun. Prove that my dog didn’t make that decision.

    PS: Unrelated, but we are about 30(!) posts past the fracking one so I am going to thank Charles2 here for a thoughtful response to my comment there, even though I don’t agree with it.

    That’s what I get for working for a living.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      yah, no kidding, impossible to keep up around here for me these days or make any but the briefest comment

      Reply
    1. Summer

      You might be looking at part of the reason (other than SS payouts) behind the urge to keep the retirement age rising.

      Reply
  4. BrianC

    Last month, after my mid 2015 Macbook PRO case started to expand… I had the battery replaced and bought a Dell Xps 15 laptop. After 10+ years of daily use I’m headed out the door and back to Windows 10.

    Next up is replacing my Apple 5s with a cheap Motorola Android device. At that point I will have severed a relationship with Apple that spans almost 30 years. (First publishing solution was a Mac CI with page view monitor hooked to a TI laser printer.)

    I ditched my HP inkjet this year as well. Picked up a color laser printer for $260.

    Both brands have been running on brand fumes for awhile.

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      “a more secure … print experience”

      I mean, other than
      – DCMA code that prevents an end user from refilling their cartridges
      – cartridges that lie about remaining ink levels
      – printers that embed identifying information within the printed image
      – and which retain a copy of the print images for some indeterminate time?

      Must be why I take a USB stick to the library when I absolutely must have a paper copy (something I’ve been able to avoid for quite some time).

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Whatever you do, do think twice, even three times, about migrating to Windows 10. If you thought that Apple was bad….
      (Full disclosure: I am so Techno-Luddite, I recently ‘upgraded’ to Win-8. My old Win XP was failing at every turn. The number of sites that it would not connect to over the internet, due to “certificate errors” etc. kept rising. However, Linux gives me nightmares. Why, I know not, but, there it is.)
      I can see, looming on the horizon, a time when many of us will begin to institute multiple ‘cut outs’ between home base and the internet to try and forestall data mining intrusions. While our backs were turned, the Panopticon was rolled out and bought up to speed. To steal a corny old trope; “The Future is already here.”

      Reply
      1. Robert Valiant

        Linux gives me nightmares. Why, I know not, but, there it is.

        In the olden days, we Linuxers used to call that FUD.

        Reply
      2. The Historian

        Last month my 10 year old MacBook started dying – microphone and speakers didn’t work, could no longer connect to a printer, etc. and it’s not like anyone here was able to dick around inside that MacBook to fix things – so it had to go. I didn’t want to replace it with another $2000 Apple product so I bought an Acer with all the same capabilities (they claim) but half the price. And then my real troubles began. Today I finally broke down and bought a Windows 10 for Dummies book. Lets hope that helps this techno-luddite!

        Reply
        1. Darius

          I recently got an unopened 2017 MacBook Pro off eBay for about $950. My 2010 was increasingly buggy and was about to be abandoned by Apple. This week I upgraded to the Catalina OS. So far I’m happy with my purchase.

          Reply
    3. Mark Gisleson

      Not going to mourn iTunes. I stopped updating at El Capitan and other than the OS itself, I don’t use Apple products anymore which means I have a better keyboard, a better internal hard drive, a cheaper monitor and better software.

      Aside from this country, I can’t think of anything that’s disappointed me more than Apple in the 21st century.

      Reply
    4. Jason Boxman

      My mid 2015 had that happen last year. Apple did replace the battery for free, at least. The right speaker crackles now, though, and it’s $112 to get it replaced, so I bought an external bluetooth speaker for $25.

      I can’t imagine ever running Windows again, though. Ugh. The last useable version was Windows 7, and that’s EOL I think. While Microsoft seems to have made strides with GNU/Linux compatibility on Windows, I still loathe the idea of doing any software development work under Windows.

      Also, I think you’ll need to find and run a tool that removes/disables spyware stuff that ships with Windows 10, from what I’ve read. It sounded irritating.

      Our world continues to crap-ify at an alarming rate.

      Good luck!

      Reply
    5. Dr. Roberts

      Linux is the answer for those who value privacy and control over their own machines. The price is the unavailability of some software and the requirement that one be able to google problems and copy and paste solutions into the command line, though that’s rarely needed in distributions like ubuntu and linux mint these days. Free software is really great if you’re adventurous enough to try it.

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        I gave up on desktop Linux back in 2016, bought my first MacBook Pro just in time for Apple to stop caring about the MacBook line.

        I’ve probably spent at most an hour of my life since then dealing with this or that weirdness. Meanwhile, my Linux laptop never entirely worked satisfactorily. My favorite issue is, after one distro upgrade, whatever kernel Ubuntu shipped with stopped working with my audio card correctly, so if I unmuted it went to 100% volume, potentially damaging my hearing.

        Never been maimed by a personal computer before, so that was a shocking experience.

        I installed multiple distros, looking for a solution. Some random patch in Fedora (for the kernel) fixed this particular issue.

        But that’s just one issue I had out of many over the years. (Not even getting into software availability/quality.)

        Meanwhile, with my MacBook Pro, I simply get stuff done. Period.

        I can’t imagine going back, but to each his own.

        (FWIW, I say this as a former Linux systems administrator, software developer, and current technical writer in the cloud ecosystem working with Git and CLI tools daily.)

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          So buy a USB sound dongle for ten bucks which is what I did with my Chromebook to Linux conversion. Linux has problems with some hardware drivers because the manufacturers don’t care to make the source code available. I’d say these occasional fiddly problems are far outweighed by the advantages of open source.

          Reply
        2. inode_buddha

          FWIW I started with Linux when win98 came out. Slackware and red hat (before fedora), then Debian. I’m now on FreeBSD and never been happier. Would ask you to at least give the latest a look. I bailed out of Linux due to systemd and the brain-dead approach to UI.

          Reply
        3. makedoanmend

          I changed from using windows 7 on an ASUS n2600 atom processor with 1gb RAM to Lubuntu 16.4 (Linux Distro based on Ubuntu) because:

          1) windows 7 will no longer be supported 2) the system just became bloated and so slow that I could only run 1 program at a time if I was lucky.

          Lubuntu 16.4 gave the computer a new lease of life. I can have the web browser open, play some tunes and run a spread sheet at the same time on multiple virtual desktops. (Strangely, if I update to the newer version 18.4, the system stops working.) The RAM footprint is less than 125 Mg, and I get all the security updates just fine.

          Linux is a new landscape. Like any new landscape, you have to adjust to the terrain. You have to learn new things, including some command line – just in case.

          I can fully understand why people who have used windows or Mac all their lives would find Linux buggy and strange. And the number of distributions combined with several different desktop environments just makes finding a distribution to your liking quite bewildering.

          My take, returning to Linux after 10 years, is that Ubuntu/Mint distributions have made huge strides in stability and ‘out-of-th-box’ usability; including automatic updating of programs and the kernel. Linux distros are still not the polished landscapes we know that Apple and Microsoft deliver. Full stop. Linux just doesn’t have the bucks to do what the mega-corps did.

          On the other hand, both Apple and Microsoft have mostly reached the apex of their operating system innovations. The turtle is catching up with the two hares.

          If you only have one computer and have been using Mac or Windows, I would stay in those environments. If your workflow depends upon Mac or Windows, I would stay in those environments.

          If your system has become bloated or too old and you’re willing to learn some new tricks, give a Linux distro a try. I have another machine upgraded to 16 gb RAM and with an i5 8th gen processor (bot c. $150 in a sweet deal) running KDE Neon Plasma distro based on Ubuntu for 3 mos. I run a daily backup using Timeshift. I easily created an Apple style desktop environment. Near daily security and program updates done smoothly. Not a hint of trouble or crashing. (knock wood).

          I tend to think the security angle people espouse about Linux is a little bit overblown. You still need to be aware of your security environment. Linux allows you to encrypt your operating system out of the box. You have the ability to create a strong password that pops up every time you are making changes essential to the system (i.e. if somebody took over your computer they could only superficially change your files but not the sytem). The newest kernel is being developed so that no one can access it once it is downloaded.

          All in all, Linux kinda forces you to take more control of your computing experience. If you are security conscious, Linux is a definite area to explore, along with DNS management and VPN implementation.

          I still like older windows distributions (do so hate windows 10) but I like how my Linux systems boot up quickly and turn off almost instantly. With Llinux all you get is an operating system – not a corporate experience.

          Oh, and the operating systems are free to download as are the programs like LibreOffice software suite.

          To each their own.

          Reply
          1. Acacia

            Good points by @makedoanmend, especially this:

            both Apple and Microsoft have mostly reached the apex of their operating system innovations. The turtle is catching up with the two hares.

            I’ve used macOS and Windows for many years now. More recently, Linux has become my go-to for servers (media, web, etc.). Of the three, Windows is clearly the most primitive, and the payware code can break, leaving you unable to backup, unable to upgrade, etc. My feeling is that in the future I’ll be moving to Linux.

            This discussion recalls a passage from Neal Stephenson’s “In the Beginning was the Command Line“, written way back in the dark ages of 1999:

            The operating system market is a death-trap, a tar-pit, a slough of despond. There are only two reasons to invest in Apple and Microsoft. (1) each of these companies is in what we would call a co-dependency relationship with their customers. The customers
            Want To Believe, and Apple and Microsoft know how to give them what they want.
            (2) each company works very hard to add new features to their OSes, which works to
            secure customer loyalty, at least for a little while.

            YMMV

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              Recall that when Apple bought NeXT, it basically put a more Mac-like GUI on the NeXT OS, which was a proprietary version of Unix, hence it might as well have been Linux. The NeXT was a phenomenal user experience and going to the Apple compromises was a downgrade.

              And Apple has ruined what it has with making the Mac OS more and more like IoS.

              Reply
              1. Acacia

                All true, though it’s worth bearing in mind that the NeXT was quite expensive ($6500 in 1989), and thus well beyond the price point of the Macintosh (the SE was $2900). You get what you pay for. MacOS uses the same basic architecture (derived from the NeXT, minus the use of slow-ish Display PostScript), and thus the stability and graphics have always been superior to Microsoft OSes. I’d say Apple did okay, all things considered.

                The main issue for some years now seems to be … surprise! … progressive crapification — or could we say “crapple-ification”? — i.e., lots of little annoying problems that impact the user experience, and a seemingly out-of-touch group of software engineers pushing these “improvements” on a user base that wants “it just works”.

                Reply
        4. laughingsong

          Drivers were always the *NIX weakness, especially for peripherals, but also for onboard items like audio and network adapter. I have used Apple, Microsoft. and various *NIX (fedora mostly, and ubuntu) and I am a fair hand at getting things working, but I am tired of futzing.

          Right now, I tend to buy laptops from Dell. Not consumer: I pretend I own a small business and get their business laptops (and the business tech support), which are better. I also buy business/pro versions of Windows which give you more control. I do this because, having been in software development, I know that the testing of software will have included Dell, especially the “prepackaged, preconfigured” editions. I also know that the various components will have been tested together. Finally, their website is easy-peasy to use, with a decent KB and a wealth of expertise on the internet also.

          I really got tired of getting tech support from freeware part-timers. Not that they were bad; but they were part time.

          Reply
    6. Elizabeth Burton

      Changing to some other OS might work for some, but my entire workflow relies on Mac apps with no Windows versions, and I don’t have time to learn new software from scratch. So far, I have no issues with Catalina, and I’m liking the increased connectivity with my iPad. As for Windows 10, I’ve not had any major problems anywhere near the level Windows users have, probably because most of the new stuff was “borrowed from Mac to begin with.

      Reply
    7. ChiGal in Carolina

      Ugh, Windows 10…been lucky enough to have had Windows 7 all these years having resisted the upgrades. But knowing 7 won’t be supported after this year, AND that MS was crapifying, I made the switch (with advice from Yves and the commentariat) to a refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro earlier this year.

      Also started de-googling then, switching to proton mail and ddg. This week I’m taking the next step by getting a refurbished iPhone X.

      I always had Motorola phones in the past and never spent this much for a phone EVER but no way to get away from Google using an Android phone.

      so ships in the night as we seek to navigate this brave new world…

      Reply
    8. elkern

      A big thx for the Linux perspective above. I never went Mac (employed by mfgrs who all go PC), but long respected Apple. Been able to make my PC’s last long enough to skip a lot of bad OS’s. Bought a tower in 1995 with Win95, loved it. Bought a laptop in 2005 with XP, liked it just fine. Bought a new machine a couple years ago, and now I’m stuck with Win10. Maybe it knows I don’t like it as much as it’s ancestors.

      So I’m finally starting to really consider Linux. I want a computer that does what I tell it to do, not one that has to go kiss Mommy in Seattle before it lets me click anything.

      Is everything getting worse, or am I just getting old?

      Reply
      1. Dr. Robert

        Try it out on a Live USB first. It will run slower than it would off of your hard drive, but you can make sure your system works with it and check the lay of the land.

        Reply
  5. DonCoyote

    re: Is Death Reversible?

    One of my favorite books is Passage, by Connie Willis, which is about near-death experiences (among other things). And one of my favorites quotes from it is:

    They say the dead can’t speak, but they can! The people in this book died over sixty years ago, in the middle of the ocean, with no one around them for miles, but they still speak to you. They still send us messages—about love and courage and death! That’s what history is, and science, and art. That’s what literature is. It’s the people who went before us, tapping out messages from the past, from beyond the grave, trying to tell us about life and death! Listen to them!

    Which is not at all the same as the death reversibility in the article, but it’s what came to mind when I started reading it.

    Reply
  6. Synoia

    Evolution equipped our species with powerful defense mechanisms to deal with this foreknowledge [of mortality]—in particular, psychological suppression and religion.

    Looks like a combination of mass denial, and coercion while alive (You will get your reward after death).

    And yes, there are no complaints from the dead, so it must be true.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I Think I Could Turn And Live With Animals…
      By Walt Whitman
      from Song of Myself

      I think I could turn and live with animals,
      they are so placid and self-contain’d,
      I stand and look at them long and long.

      They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
      They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
      They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
      Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
      Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
      Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Walentka

        I thought of that poem last month when I saw one of the local, human-friendly deer in my town casually grazing on grass with its femur bone broken and visibly protruding from its skin.

        On the original quote…

        Enlightenment, to me, is not the ignorance of our mortality, but the notion that life/death is a dualistic notion born of human thought, merely conceptual. While I think non-humans have consciousness, I do not think they have dualistic thinking.

        Like I can see my hand but I still see it as part of “me”, non-humans, and the enlightened (which I think is a regression to the non-human state), can see all things as this same extension.

        Without dualism there is no time, with no time, no birth and death. “I am”, with no “I was and I will be”.

        Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Or it could be that the deer have no play-by-play announcers in their heads annoyingly asserting their primacy; a troop of drunken monkeys screeching to high heaven, absolutely convinced they are running the show.

          To dispel this notion, catch a baseball, shoot a free throw, pick up an infant, meditate. You’ll find that “consciousness” is always late to the show.

          Reply
    1. Montanamaven

      Double Wow! Was wondering why everybody defending Ellen mentioned that ALL the criticism of her sitting with George came from the gay community and how unfair it was. I wondered why nobody from the anti-war left had mentioned that he was not a good friend to have cuz he’s a war criminal and cuz lots of people were tortured and/or died. So thanks for pointing to this post. I can understand being civil, but chummy?
      I went to an annual party where Robert Rubin also showed up. After 2008, I couldn’t trust myself not to pour a bowl of potato salad on his head, so I stopped going. I have conservative and Republican acquaintances who I like having drinks with, but they haven’t killed anybody or wiped out their neighbor’s savings.

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        When one’s political leanings are heterodox you have to be generous and tolerant to make your life work on a social level. I have no problem with and like people who have political leanings far from my own. Obviously however, the inevitable line is somewhere this side of “war criminal”.

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            He was also very kind to children, was a vegetarian, did not drink and gave up smoking when younger. His driving was so-so as usually he took a left turn ok but which usually ended in a third reich. Apart from the genocide thingy, he would have made a great modern woke liberal.

            Reply
    2. Steve H.

      It’s because the word ‘class’ is in the title. There’s no class in America!

      : “film class”

      Oh. Well, there’s still no class…

      Reply
  7. Amfortas the hippie

    been busy clearing 50 feet of fenceline(i’m full of microscopic cactus thorns, as a result…and the pantyhose trick ain’t working!), so i’m slow to get to all the important, but horrifying, things y’all are linking to.

    running over and over on track 5 in my mind during all that is a snip from the comments to the article from yesterday(?) about the Reserve Army of the Hungry:
    “being employed is not a meaningful indicator for well-being”

    that’s almost paint it on the tailgate level verbiage, right there!
    —————
    i’m doing this fence in stages….current dilapidated version is 30+ years old…the cedar stays haven’t touched the ground in decades, and the whole thing is held up by brush and cacti and turkey pear…
    all fences are merely psychological deterrents to cows, but this one is the worst,lol.
    I’ve been buying stock panels, in stages…collecting them when i have an extra few bucks…and free 12′ telephone poles from the dump, when i have labor(damned football)—(also obtain a lot of stock panel from the metal pile at the dump. people are so wasteful!)
    50 feet at a time, and it’ll be a 50+ year fence, specifically designed for trellising blackberry vines.
    (cows come to that field in winter, so they can trim the spent vines, i guess…we’ll see)
    got 50 3 inch cuttings from several extant berry bushes in pots, rooting over the winter.
    tired already of “impeachment” and syria/turkey war…and would rather be literally immersed in cactus than listen to msdnc coverage.

    ….and i finally built a top bar beehive, too…from free scrap. only cost was wood screws and left over white paint.

    Reply
      1. Fiery Hunt

        Ummm….in answer to your simple-minded question of “Who gives a ?”, I do.

        And so do a hell of a lot more people on this site who have come to know each other as neighbors, as a community, people who actually give a shit about others.

        Hey, Amfortas…
        Let me apologize for Jack wagon Randy.
        Know you don’t need it, from me or him, but hell, I needed to say it.

        Now, excuse me but I gotta look up top bar beehive…

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith

        Playing moderator and being an asshole are against house rules.

        So as Lambert would say, we are taking your comment as an assisted suicide note and are only too happy to oblige.

        Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve been working on a hedgerow for an interior fence(one not shared with neighbors).
        sheep and geese are all it needs to be a barrier to.
        mostly prickly pear, turkey pear, algerita, greenbriar(ugh) and what we call elms(wiry, rubbery branches; wont cut, wont burn)…all removed from some other fencerow on the place.
        and all providing habitat/food for the locals.
        i’ve wanted to try a bois d’arc fence for a while, but i can’t find any.

        Reply
    1. pjay

      From the linked article:

      “At a party, he met a guy named Moby, who heard about what Broeksmit was doing and suggested that he speak to one of his friends, who had recently opened an investigation into Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank. This friend of Moby’s was Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and therefore an actual big deal in the actual intelligence community… and apparently an actual friend of Moby’s!”

      Alrighty then!

      Reply
      1. polecat

        This is why I find myself more and more disgusted with Greater Celebristan & Glitterainia. They think they’re woke … when, in fact, they just can’t grok how badly they look in the public’s eye.

        Reply
  8. Tim

    “I wish I knew something about the real history of markets”

    The earliest markets create themselves. Take the oldest profession for example…first there was one source of supply then once there was two, then you had a market with supply and demand; then gamesmanship.

    A market is a naturally occurring thing. How it is handled once it is created is another matter, which is why I agree with what Warren is saying here, not that I trust her or believe markets are good everywhere and always. Healthcare and utilities prove they are not.

    Reply
    1. russell1200

      The earliest markets that I know of don’t just form, they have some sort of enforcement mechanism. Even if it is just the people doing the trading having sufficient physical strength to harm each other would be needed. Otherwise you have tribute, not trade.

      The Champagne Fairs are often taken to be a self-organizing entity, and greatly favored by libertarians as a no-government solution to business needs. Unfortunately, the reality is that the area had numerous courts and regulatory groups that people could, and did, protest to. The Count of Champagne is often stated to be the main enforcer of the fair trade, but there were also ecclesiastic courts as well. It was one reason that they were popular. You couldn’t just get ripped off and not be able to do something about it.

      ” I suspect that nobody, ever, created a market without simultaneously figuring out how to arbitrage it (or rig it). Why would they?”

      They do, but if one party does not feel it is getting a fair shake, they are likely to walk away. If they cannot walk away, than you have something other than a market. And I believe that is one item that Warren is addressing: the “markets” aren’t always much of a market.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          The way I have experienced the “labour market” over the years, it most certainly is not a market. Why? Well, I do my own mental exercise and wonder where the ‘utility’ is in having a choice between ‘submitting to authority’ and ‘starving.’ A dead ‘rugged individualist’ is a contradiction in terms.

          Reply
  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Lets leave George W. Bush alone. Sure, he’s a butcher, but its not like Laura killed anyone She is so…hmmm…what’s that? Its not like she’s killed multiple people.

    Here is 43 showing so much dignity. Oh to go back to these glory days of the Republic!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbLO0vVNNlE

    Its embarrassing that now we have to quiz every politician if they even can identify the 43rd President.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      What Hekuba says is the truth. Grover Cleveland screwed the count up by having two nonconsecutive terms, which are counted as separate presidencies.

      Reply
  10. blowncue

    “That is a destructive process that requires you to erase your hard drive and have a back-up from before the upgrade to Catalina.”

    Uh, no, it’s not a destructive process. It’s a process. There has never been an automatic rollback tool to downgrade from a current Mac OS to a prior one. Time Machine will let you retrieve older personal data at the user account level.

    And backups are best practice, period. One should never not have a backup. Not having a retrievable backup is destructive. Backing up prior to an operating system upgrade is best practice.

    Do I support the approach of move forward fast and break stuff? No. Does Apple have processes in place to respond to issues related to OS upgrade? Yes (first-hand knowledge, cannot say more). Do I think Apple needs to do better with beta road-testing with rollouts? Yes.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Can’t you just buy a HD cheap, make that your boot drive, and either plug in your old HD (desktop, remember those?) or get a USB thingy for it if you have a laptop? You know, C: and D:?

      Reply
      1. Titus

        No. For Apple. Yes for everything else. Having said that with specialized disc cloning hardware that manufacturers use, yes for any OS, but I unless you have a lot of money, or the need for Maximum control, or are in a BZ of some sort, or having been driven crazy I don’t recommend it. I have been driven crazy so no one has anything on me. My stuff does what I want them too.

        Reply
          1. inode_buddha

            You can do the same thing for free from the command line on almost any *nix like OS, which likely includes any recent apple product. See “man dd”.

            Reply
    2. notabanker

      Do users care what Apples policies, programs, processes and other assorted authoritarian nonsense about how you should have known better is when Apple’s software breaks their stuff? No. First hand knowledge.

      Reply
  11. Cat Burglar

    The Sanders heart attack.

    Eisenhower had one in 1955 during his first term, then beat Stevenson in the 1956 election, and served out his second term in office.

    I haven’t read any article citing this in relation to Sanders. Circulate it.

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Yes, I was thinking that every time Gabbard was asked about something she could say; “I refuse to answer is solidarity of the other candidates who were unfairly excluded from participating.”

      Reply
    2. Carey

      Gabbard is right in what she said- the debate requirements are certainly rigged-
      but how on earth is boycotting the debate helpful?

      s/ confused

      Reply
      1. Dan

        Tulsi,

        Get on stage, or get flushed as an irrelevant past good idea. “Tulsi Who?”

        From a fervent financial and political supporter.

        Reply
  12. Montanamaven

    The entire interview with John Kiriakou on Tucker Carlson Tonight last night is worth it. I first heard Kiriakou explain the difference between a whistleblower and a leaker last week on Jimmy Dore. Spooky! John Kiriakou on Tucker

    Reply
  13. UserFriendly

    Gowdy always struck me as a relatively honest broker, He was a prosecutor and got famous for that in his CD and was pressured into running for congress got elected and then hated every minute of it, from what I’ve seen anyways.

    Reply
  14. Tim

    “Lol, why not start selling goods out of the front of the new small warehouses? Then we’d come 360° back to bricks-and-mortar retail again!”

    Better yet, start with closed down Malls, turn them into managed warehouse complexes, then it becomes quite easy to do to what you just said. They will become outlet malls offering lower prices through right now delivery, as saleable items are all stashed away in the back with demo units up front, and you have to wait for them to get around to grabbing your item.

    Wikipedia JafCo. That was their retail business model, a “catalog showroom retail outlet”. Many of my most memorable toys were bought from one in Gresham Oregon when I was a kid.

    Amazon could do that model with a whole Mall! Bezo’s should pay me billions for the idea.

    Reply
  15. Tim

    Regarding Bush junior, are we sure he was smart enough to really be in on the whole WMD thing? He plainly stated in the 2000 debates with Kerry he had been tricked by the data he was provided by the blob, insinuating that Kerry had seen the same data and would have reached the same conclusion he did despite not having to act on it.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Shrub was a nasty guy. Gore was right about W being intellectually incurious. He simply didn’t care.

      https://edition.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/27/bush.war.talk/

      This excuse doesn’t involve WMDs.

      Then they switched gears to that spreading democracy nonsense fairly quickly without any kind of mea culpa. Then there was the intelligence on display for elected in a secure room where the Congress critters couldn’t even make copies. It was all a con job. Who knows what Cheney was up to given his relations with KBR (Halliburton was a rebranding exercise; the old KBR was the villain) and their questionable work history during the 90’s in the vicinity of Iraq.

      Even Rummy in Woodward’s book was openly worried about the lack of targets for the 630 news in Afghanistan. Oh were would they find some place to show how Presidential Bush would look.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O35NA6TywAg

      What a wacky guy! No wonder he’s so popular with Ellen. They can yuk it up over jokes! 43 is awful, and the outrage over Trump by the people who would embrace W is a clear sign the #missedbrunch crowd is upset their friends weren’t going to get to play “The West Wing.” Not that people shouldn’t be outraged about Trump, but its clear “liberals” have a separate problem with Trump that has nothing to do with his attitudes or policies.

      Reply
    2. Darius

      Bush’s stake in the Iraq war was his fragile male ego. So many bottom feeders were able to manipulate him and enable destructive behavior by playing on it. So many others died.

      Reply
  16. anon in so cal

    Liberals in 2020:

    Support the CIA:

    Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald

    “Amazing: this new Fox poll shows the groups that most trust the CIA – THE CIA! – are liberals, Democrats & Clinton voters. 77% of Dems trust the CIA; only 22% don’t. 64% of liberals trust CIA; 22% don’t. This is the enduring sickness of Russiagate/MSNBC”

    https://foxnews.com/politics/fox-news-poll-results-october-6-8-2019

    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1182309703562518528?s=20

    Matt Taibbi @mtaibbi

    “The CIA engages in drone assassination, rendition, torture, indefinite detention, and warrantless surveillance, in addition to a long history overturning democratic governments. If self-described “liberals” feel positively about the agency, “liberal” is a meaningless word.”

    https://twitter.com/mtaibbi/status/1182371586596315136?s=20

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My suspicion is this kind of poll isn’t going to have all the problems that primary polls and polls in general have plus the trigger word “liberal.” How do “socialists”, “progressives” or “independent lean Dems” feel?

      As Obama continuously lurched to the right, he did strongest with self described “very liberal Democrats”. Taibbi is right about “liberal” being meaningless in the current context.

      Reply
    2. John k

      It has been obvious for many years that liberal does not mean now what it once did.
      IMO it means Reagan republican views. Bear in mind Reagan is far too left to win in today’s rep party… he raised taxes multiple times.
      But neither party would like his aversion to foreign wars… when marine barracks were bombed in Beirut, the marines were withdrawn the next day. If bush or Obama that would have justified a full blown war.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not so sure about this. The perception America is simply going to get away with it is a major factor in much of our foreign policy. Obama kept a destabilizing effort, but why didn’t he start lobbing cruise missiles into Syria? The answer is he feared a Navy ship sinking and dead sailors washing ashore and being on the 630 news.

        A handful of dead West Virginians and residents of the urban ghettos are okay, but 200 #WARRIORS in barracks…this would send a shock through officialdom.

        During the Persian Gulf War, there was a good deal of official messaging (I’ll refrain from using propaganda) about the safety of the troops and the planning. Desert Shield lasted six months and included the USSR. The coalition didn’t rush in. Now, I’ll use propaganda, but the propaganda about the wunder weapons allowing the U.S. to strike while drinking beer on a cruise ship anchored off the coast of Saudi Arabia was non stop. There wouldn’t be a Vietnam because U.S. soldiers had super advanced weapons not M1s. Then on and on we go from B2 to drones, and now we get stories about ships and planes that would be awesome if they could set sail or fly, providing even more opportunity to strike without the risk of retaliation.

        Then there is morale of the army too. How will the 21st century army function fighting in a foreign land for Ellen’s BFF when they are faced with the prospect of no air conditioner of Blooming Onion from the TGIFriday’s between the KFC and the Burger King? A few nutty special forces guys might be up for this, but what happens when its a random division that needs to be in the field for a few months? Or what happens if guys can’t simply be airlifted to hospitals in Germany in under six hours but have to hope they can get moved to a field hospital if they are lucky? The threat of retaliation and an army that might not be so eager to fight this kind of war is an issue. The investment in drones and operators in Florida isn’t an accident.

        Reply
      2. pretzelattack

        he invaded grenada shortly after iirc. fomented wars in nicaragua, supported bloodbaths in guatemala and el salvador. ramped the arms race back up with the ussr, backed out of peace treaties.

        Reply
    3. flora

      That liberal support of the CIA will stop on a dime if:

      1. the draft is reinstated
      2. no college deferments allowed
      3. men and women both subject to the draft.

      Easy to ignore endless wars if it’s someone else’s sons and daughters who do the fighting; someone else’s kids who enlist.

      imo.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Absolutely. Bringing back a universal draft ends foreign wars.
        Sell it on it’s the patriotic thing to do. Or saving money.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          The Korean and Viet Nam Wars went on for a long time – WITH a draft. Yes, the draft was a big factor in developing opposition to the latter; I can vouch for that. But it didn’t prevent either of those blood baths.

          A lot of the people who fought the draft in the 60’s are still around; trying to draft their grandchildren would cause a political firestorm. It’s involuntary servitude, morally and constitutionally unforgivable.

          Reply
          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Amen.

            To force someone to choose becoming a trained killer, going into exile or going to jail is wrong. Disabling the draft was a hard-won (Kent State) victory. We should never go back.

            Plus it is pure fantasy to think that any draft will be fair and include the rich. That didn’t happen even in WW II. It was just that some of the rich still believed in noblesse oblige, like the Kennedys and the Roosevelts. That ain’t the case today.

            People also used to argue that extending the franchise to women would end wars. LOL.

            Reply
      2. Jen

        Whenever my liberal friends start screeching about the need to intervene in some other country for “humanitarian” reasons, I tell them that if they think they’ve identified a mission that’s important enough to put our troops at risk they should get right down to the nearest recruiting office and sign the [family blog] up. Too old? Frog march your kid down there, and sign them up.

        The response is usually “something something apologist…orange man bad.”

        Reply
  17. anon in so cal

    2016 Democratic primary voting irregularities:

    “We saw irregularities in vote patterns. For example, everyone knew that there were discrepancies between most exit polls and reported polls. However, we found that there were more discrepancies in states with strictly electronic voting machines.

    Clinton won 65 percent, Bernie Sanders 35 percent in those states.”

    https://sfbayview.com/2019/09/election-interference-2016-paper-trails-suggest-fraud-in-democratic-primaries/

    (apologies if this was already posted)

    Reply
    1. notabanker

      This is why HRC will come back. If there are enough e machines to guarantee the outcome, they will put her in.

      Reply
  18. a different chris

    From one of the LAT stories:

    “Due to our location in a highly urbanized area with far fewer wildfire prone areas, we do not face the same threat of wildfire as many of the rural counties located in other service areas served by the larger investor-owned utilities,” LADWP said in a statement.

    Did you notice the passive aggressive dig at “investor – owned” utilities? I mean that particular modifier has no real reason to be in there, and it isn’t like they don’t know what they are saying. :D

    Reply
  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘Don’t be so egotistical, so self-centered, that you want to put the American people and your family into that position where day by day they don’t know whether you are going to have another heart attack.

    —-

    What are the odds of some one like Sanders getting another, versus someone never having who is of 1) the same age, 2) different age, 3) different gender?

    Do we discount disabled people (not legal, I believe) for that particular job? So what if a person is disabled?

    Do we favor women, based on probability, though everyone is different, because females tend to live longer?

    Having a heart procedure is likely not the same as undergoing Tommy Johns surgery (ask a baseball fan) which, for many pitchers, makes them throw harder afterwards.

    Many factors to consider here.

    Reply
    1. John k

      I don’t know the relative odds. But on the plus side, he will be watched far more carefully than the average, and medicine has really advanced in this field. So his chances are likely much better than Eisenhower’s after his attack in his first term.
      No doubt this will affect the primary, but maybe not much, more an excuse for those that would anyway vote warren. For those behind Bernie’s stump speech bullets, probably not so much, nobody else can be trusted to never stop pushing these policies.

      Reply
  20. John k

    Just thinking out loud… what if Bernie did a rally on closed circuit to all, or at least most, colleges? Get fired up, then go vote.
    And Ca really counts in the primaries. The

    Reply
  21. flora

    re: CCHF victory

    ‘This executive order couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Twila Brase, president and co-founder of CCHF. ‘It is estimated that 10,000 baby boomers enter Medicare every day. With Medicare six years from insolvency, seniors need the freedom to opt out of Medicare and into private coverage without losing their Social Security benefits.’” •

    hmm… sounds just like the sales pitch in the ’80s and ’90s to switch people from defined benefit pensions to 401K defined contribution (yer on yer own) plans. ‘freedom’! (401Ks made wall st and the financial services companies a boatload of money; retirees, not so much.)

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      It looks like a prospectus for “Bank ‘Funds Removals’ Futures.” Bought to you by, Dillinger, Sutton, and Clyde.
      There are a number of films from over the years where old folks rob banks. It must be some sort of societal wish fulfillment at work. Freud would understand.

      Reply
  22. George Phillies

    Note that the implicit narrative of this chart diverges radically from the implicit narrative of RCP’s chart.

    That appears to be related to RCP having a mostly-non-overlapping set of polls, ones showing Biden in the 20s.

    Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Revenge Of The Blob™

        No wonder the Democrats wanted the “whistleblower” to testify in secret.

        Worse, I suppose, whatever faction in the “intelligence community” that’s making the running on this is dangerously close to seeming to endorse one of the candidates in the Democrats primary.

        Reply
  23. drumlin woodchuckles

    It warms the cockles of my heart to see how very con-cerrrRRRRNNNnnned Bobby Rush is for Sanders’s health.

    I am sure it is motivated by the old revolutionary Black Panther spirit of long ago. It couldn’t possibly be that Rush has gone “boozhwa” in his old age and has become a COW-leftist Identy Ray-cyst of Color. Could it?

    Reply
  24. Michael

    In Environmental news: On Tuesday there were two articles from the Telegraph and Newsweek, reporting a massive methane eruption in the East Siberian Sea, right where Natalia Shakhova, ice scientist, predicted in 2013. Nobody else appears to have covered the story. Depending upon the extent of the eruption, this could have game changing consequences.

    It’s definitely something to watch.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/08/russian-scientists-find-powerful-ever-methane-seep-arctic-ocean/

    https://www.newsweek.com/methane-boiling-sea-discovered-siberia-1463766

    Reply
  25. dcrane

    Lambert here: I want to put in a plug to pick up the pace on Original Reporting.

    Just watched a podcast of Useful Idiots in which Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper mention Google changing its metrics to emphasize sites with original material (negative for sites with fewer resources, and negative for aggregators). Good reason for NC to emphasize this to whatever extent is possible.

    Reply
  26. Oregoncharles

    ““The Abandonment of Small Cities in the Rust Belt””
    Just the Rust Belt? I grew up in one of those small industrial cities, Columbus in southern Indiana. As it happens, it’s still in pretty good shape; it’s biggest factory, Cummins Engine Co., is still independent, still operating, and several Japanese companies moved in a couple of decades ago (I still have family there). One important factory a snack maker, did shut down, but seems not to have been catastrophic.

    Oddly enough, the Oregon town I live in is about the same size and also surprisingly industrial, with two major factories: one makes fiberglass, and is thriving but may be the reason my eyes burn; the other is HP, which has greatly reduced its operations but was replaced by an assortment of other offices. Of course, the main industry here is Oregon State.

    We’re fortunate; it’s a prosperous town. But the Willamette Valley is surprisingly like flyover: small towns and cities sprinkled with factories. That’s even more important now that wood products seems to be a dying industry. There are towns that will dry up and blow away if the mill shuts down.

    Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Yeah, that was my point; Columbus is just lucky. But the pattern extends way beyond the old midwest.

        I remember Gary, from a summer in Chicago. Something over there was producing decorative but scary pink smoke.

        Reply
      2. polecat

        I reside in the Sawdust Belt northwest of the the Green Duchy of King County, W., where tourism revenue is intended to be the replacement of our local tax base, as it relates to our diminishing logging & fishing industries. All I can say is good luck with that senario ! I’ll keep tending my garden …. while I watch things degrade further.

        Reply
  27. VietnamVet

    Like one’s self, it is very hard to acknowledge the death of functional government by the triumph of the global corporate supra-state. But the prime directive has changed from serving the people to maximizing profits. In its end state, 21st century capitalism has one goal – to increase looting. Healthcare, Housing, Education, Municipal/State Fines can exceed yearly incomes. PG&E shut off electricity to 2 million people because they can. It will take days to turn it back. Incompetence reigns. Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities are completely vulnerable to missile and UAV attack from the Hountis and Iraqi Shiite militia. Unless the Saudis make peace with its neighbors, the petroleum facilities will be attacked again, and again. The destruction of Saudi oil infrastructure will crash the world economy. All ignored.

    Reply

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