2:00PM Water Cooler 10/16/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, a bit more on the election after I finish a laundry. –lambert UPDATE Done.


“After years of Western investment, there are more than 400 major automotive suppliers [in Turkey], including Bosch GmbH, Continental AG and Magna International Inc., and many feed auto factories in Europe. The sector has moved beyond producing cars for the Turkish market: Last year around 81% of the vehicles produced in Turkey were exported” [Wall Street Journal].


“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. Here is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of Updated: 10/15/2019, 11:00 AM EDT:

Just for grins, I thought I would add Yang, because he got some buzz from Q3 fundraising. Yang is remarkably stable… And here are the poll results:

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.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “The Biden Paradox” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. This is a fine profile, worth reading in full. The conclusion: “After the event in Vegas, crowd members almost all say the same thing. They like the way Biden has handled the beating he’s taken all around, from media jerks like me, from Democratic rivals, and especially from Donald Trump. ‘Class,’ says Alicia Tarr. ‘Goes nose to nose with someone, doesn’t put him down.’ ‘Experience,’ says a local print-shop owner named Richard. ‘Not too radical.’ Ellen Vernon, a kindly Belize native, wanders out of the community center last of all the audience members, wearing a smile. She’s a fan of Obama’s, and predisposed to Biden, but his forbearance this campaign season in the face of constant attacks added to her admiration. ‘He never gets mad,’ she says. ‘Now that is a man.’ I ask her how she thinks a candidate with so many issues could prevail in a general election. ‘People,’ she says with a sigh, ‘have soft hearts.'”

Biden (D)(2): “Hunter Biden is a reminder: Democrats are morally corrupt, too” [Guardian (Re Silc).] “The son of a longtime US senator gets his start as a lawyer with one of the biggest corporate donors to his dad’s campaigns; a friend of his dad’s gets him a job in the Clinton administration, and then as a lobbyist; later, while his father is vice president, he is given a $50,000 per month seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm, despite lacking any clear energy expertise. How does this all happen? It happened the same way that Chelsea Clinton became a “special correspondent” for NBC News, and Jenna Bush got a job as a Today show host, and the Trump children got jobs overseeing a real estate empire…. When you are the son of a famous and powerful politician, you are showered with opportunity, whether you deserve it or not. This is nepotism, but it is also, if we are being direct, a form of corruption. Moral corruption. Not only because these prestigious positions are not earned, and because these celebukids are taking something that rightly should have gone to someone more deserving; but also because, even though there is rarely anything so crude as a direct quid pro quo, this undeserved largesse is always motivated to some extent by a desire by some powerful interest to take advantage of the halo of influence cast by the parents. That influence should properly accrue to the public, who their parents work for.” • Sounds like college admissions.

UPDATE Klobuchar (D)(1): “In Iowa, Amy Klobuchar compares Trump inquiry to Watergate, says Democrats can ‘do 2 things at once'” [Des Moines Register]. • The Democrats can’t even do one thing at once.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “AOC, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar endorse Bernie Sanders for president” [Vox]. • So Minnesota (Omar) and Michigan (Tlaib) are looking good for Sanders. And AOC, despite her recent stumbles, is still perhaps the most interesing and charismatic politician of our day:

Sanders (D)(2):

I’d like to think there’s more to the Sanders campaign than defeating Trump. Nevertheless, Omar is correct.

Sanders (D)(3): Since AOC is a de facto Sanders surrogate:

“Plans.” Ouch.

Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie’s Policies Are Good, But How Can He Appeal to the Absolute Worst People Ever?” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “You see, Democrats must be able to maintain a centrist character and appeal to creepy freaks who would sooner microwave a hamster than vote to improve our crumbling social programs. Look ,  are these people a small minority, who we could easily and inconsequentially ignore, instead of focusing on millions of disenfranchised, dispassionate voters? Sure, but this is the Democratic Party for chrissakes!”

Warren (D)(1):

To be fair, “90% Top Rate Like Under Eisenhower F.F.S.” is not nearly to easy to chant.

* * *

Q3 funding results:

I believe that Sanders’ average contribution is now $18. And yet (?) he’s the leader….

The Debate

“Presidential ‘Debates’ Aren’t Debates at All – They’re Joint Press Conferences” [Consortium News]. “So presidential debates are not really debates because presidential candidates answer wide-ranging and broad questions, not specific propositions. And because candidates are answering questions from journalists, they are often not engaging each other. Instead, they focus on responding to the moderator and playing to the audience. For instance, MSNBC co-moderator Savannah Guthrie asked candidates at the June 27, 2019, debate, ‘Raise your hand if your government [health care] plan would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants.’ That kind of question focused on engagement between candidates and the moderator, rather than between candidates. The end result of these now-normalized conventions is that they make it hard to deeply discuss serious issues. Instead, this kind of format promotes the use of candidates’ focus-group tested messaging, ‘one-liners and canned mini-speeches.’ There is little back and forth between candidates. Viewers hear monologue, not debate.” • Yep.

“‘An Absolute Joke’: Debate Moderators Condemned for Asking About Ellen and George Bush After Completely Ignoring Climate Crisis” [Common Dreams]. “While they completely ignored the climate crisis, the event’s moderators—Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper of CNN and Marc Lacey of the New York Times—managed to find time at the very end of the debate to ask a question that infuriated environmentalists who were waiting all night for the planetary emergency to take center stage….’Last week, Ellen DeGeneres was criticized after she and former President George W. Bush were seen laughing together at a football game. Ellen defended their friendship, saying, we’re all different and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different,’ said Burnett. ‘So in that spirit, we’d like you to tell us about a friendship that you’ve had that would surprise us and what impact it’s had on you and your beliefs.'” • You’d almost think that the political class cares more about comity between its own members than voter concerns.

“CNN Moderator Desk Crowded After 16 Pundits Qualify For Debate” [The Onion (TH)].

“Democratic debate speaking time: By the numbers” [CNN (Ernie)].

* * *

“Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Is Alive and Well” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “At the Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio — his first major campaign event since taking ill — Bernie wasn’t just his old, bizarrely sharp and energetic-for-a-septuagenarian self. He was better, crisper, and funnier than before. The hoarse voice that plagued Sanders on the last episode of this (wretched) TV show was gone…. Later, he delivered a rousing defense of his desire to expropriate Tom Steyer’s wealth; interrupted Joe Biden to crack a joke amusing enough to earn him an impromptu embrace from the former vice-president; and still managed to stick a shiv between Uncle Joe’s ribs when the time was ripe:”

“Meanwhile, in the face of heavy incoming fire, Warren’s answers often came off as less crisp and self-assured versions of Sanders’s (which had not, in my infinitely objective view, been the case at previous debates). The Massachusetts senator put up a solid performance. But the combination of Sanders’s vitality, and Warren’s incessant obligation to play defense, made Bernie look like the more effective messenger for the party’s left flank (at least, for this evening).” •

UPDATE “There Are Only 5 Candidates Still Standing After the Latest Democratic Debate” [Frank Rich, New York Magazine]. Warren, Sanders, Klobuchar, Harris, Buttigieg. More: “[Biden] couldn’t stop himself from repeating more than once his newly favored shtick (intended as a stab at Warren) trumpeting himself as the only candidate who’s gotten anything done. That claim is not only false, but is wielded as a dodge to avoid any treacherous policy question. Worse, it left him open to this memorable riposte from Bernie Sanders: ‘You got the disastrous war in Iraq done.’ [Ouch!] Sanders damaged Biden in a less explicit way as well. Post–heart attack, he seemed looser, sharper, and less programmed than he did pre–heart attack. He seems younger than Biden though in fact he’s two years his senior. Who would have ever imagined that Bernie Sanders could be a comeback kid?” • Clever character sketches of all the candidates.

UPDATE “5 winners and 3 losers from the October Democratic presidential debate” [Vox] Deck: “Winner: Bernie Sanders. Loser: Joe Biden.” • Go figure.

“Warren takes fire from 2020 rivals: Takeaways from the fourth Democratic debate” [McClatchy]. “All told, eight of Warren’s rivals launched some level of attack against her, focusing primarily on her health care and tax proposals. The Massachusetts senator repeatedly declined to say whether middle-class taxes would go up under Medicare for All plan. ‘Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything — except for this,’ Buttigieg said.” • Sanders supporters would find it hilarious if Buttigieg took out Warren, bless his heart.


“Dems Torn Over How Much to Punish Rudy Giuliani for Ignoring Subpoena” [The Daily Beast]. “To some Democratic lawmakers, the idea of Trump’s personal attorney skating by without a punishment while the courts decide whether he has to comply with their subpoena is infuriating. And it dredges up bad memories of their struggles to hold Trump administration officials to account for ignoring subpoenas over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. In response, they want Giuliani to feel some pain, either personally or financially…. But the party’s leadership is increasingly convinced that its Ukraine-focused impeachment inquiry is getting results—and that going after Giuliani with threats of contempt of Congress would turn a success into a show that unnecessarily muddies the waters.” • Oh, heck, it’s only a subpoena:

“Trump And GOP’s Handling Of Impeachment Inquiry Get Low Marks In New Poll” [HuffPo]. “Americans are evenly divided on congressional Democrats‘ handling of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, but disapprove of Trump and the congressional GOP’s actions, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. The poll, conducted last week, also suggests public support for impeachment has reached at least temporary stasis following an initial bump last month.”

Stats Watch

Retail Sales, September 2019: “The consumer cooled but not enough to not knock back a still rising trend for retail sales which in September fell an unexpected 0.3 percent” [Econoday]. “Perhaps the best gauge to this report is the control group, which is part of the GDP mix and which came in flat. Limiting the unwelcome message from September is a revision to the upside for August… Today’s report will limit expectations for the third-quarter contribution from consumer spending, which nevertheless remains favorable and the central underpinning for economic growth.”

Business Inventories, August 2019: “Businesses are holding back inventory growth as sales growth stalls” [Econoday]. “When it comes to production and employment, nimble inventory management helps smooth out disruptions from economic ups and downs, yet however positive this may be for general economic health a slowing inventory build does hold down GDP growth.”

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, October 2019: “One indication that may have an even greater dovish effect on monetary policy than this morning’s soft retail sales report is this morning’s business inflation reading from the Atlanta Fed which is down” sharply [Econoday]. “The tandem moves in these reports, likely reflecting the general sinking in global demand and related trouble for US manufacturing, are certain to be pointed to with concern by those Federal Reserve policy makers who, routinely citing the primary importance of expectations in inflation policy, see risks to the economy tilted to the downside and see the need for further rate cuts.”

Housing Market Index, October 2019: “Low mortgage rates are making for increasingly positive signals from the housing sector” [Econoday]. “Components showing the most strength are present sales and traffic… This move offers evidence perhaps that low rates… are attracting new buyers.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 11, 2019: “In contrasting signals, the purchase index fell 4.0 percent in the October 11 week while the year-on-year rate, which is subject to less volatility, rose” [Econoday].

Shipping: “Mediterranean Shipping Co. is adding five mega-container ships to its order from South Korean yard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co….. in a new sign that ocean lines are building up their capacity despite falling freight rates and weak global trade growth” [Wall Street Journal]. “MSC’s $762 million order confirms options the carrier had carried over from a previous order, and it shows that carriers are committed to an operating model built on economies of scale. The unit-cost advantages for ships now stretching to more than 23,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs, are compelling. But shipping executives say those efficiencies work best when the mega-ships are full, and faltering global trade isn’t cooperating with the container lines’ economic plans. Freight rates on the big Asia-Europe lanes are at the lowest levels in three years.”


The Bezzle: “Tulips from Amsterdam? Not so much says new probe” [France24]. “Tourists are being ripped off at Amsterdam’s famous flower market, with just one percent of all bulbs sold at the floating bazaar ever producing a blossom, investigators said Tuesday. A probe commissioned by the Dutch capital’s municipality and tulip growers also found that often only one flower resembled the pictures on the packaging, and that there were fewer bulbs than advertised. ‘The probe showed that there is chronic deception of consumers,’ at the sale of tulip bulbs at the flower market, the Royal General Bulb Growers’ Association (KAVB) said.” • Tulip markets, tulip markets… Something about tulip markets….

Tech: “SpaceX seeks permission to launch 30,000 more satellites” [Los Angeles Times]. “The new batch of 30,000 satellites are set to be in orbits ranging from about 200 miles to 360 miles above the Earth, according to filings submitted Oct. 7 to the International Telecommunication Union, which allocates radio spectrum and satellite orbits. The filings did not include details of when the satellites would be launched.”

Tech: “Mail Data Loss in macOS 10.15” [Michael Tsai]. Ugh:

What I’m hearing:

  • Updating Mail’s data store from Mojave to Catalina sometimes says that it succeeded, but large numbers of messages turn out to be missing or incomplete.
  • Moving messages between mailboxes, both via drag-and-drop and AppleScript, can result in a blank message (only headers) on the Mac. If the message was moved to a server mailbox, other devices see the message as deleted. And eventually this syncs back to the first Mac, where the message disappears as well.

I don’t know whether these are due to Mail bugs or to other factors such as problems on the Mac or with the mail server. But my advice is to hold off on updating to Catalina for now. These sorts of issues are pernicious because:

  • You may not notice that anything is wrong unless you are looking at the particular mailbox or messages that are affected.
  • Because the data is synced to the server, problems can propagate to other Macs and iOS devices.

Tech: Use burner account wherever you can:

Tech: “Docs Show Navy Got ‘UFO’ Patent Granted By Warning Of Similar Chinese Tech Advances” [The Drive]. “The United States Secretary of Navy is listed as the assignee on several radical aviation technologies patented by an aerospace engineer working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) headquarters in Patuxent River, Maryland. One of these patents describes a “hybrid aerospace-underwater craft” claimed to be capable of truly extraordinary feats of speed and maneuverability in air, water, and outer space alike thanks to a revolutionary electromagnetic propulsion system.” • Worth a read…

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 42, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 30 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 16 at 12:30pm.

The Biosphere

“WSJ, NYT Celebrate ‘Shale Revolution’ for Investor Class, Despite Its Leading to Our Doom” [FAIR]. “[I]t is hard to think of a more palpable example of corporate journalists seeing themselves aligned with the interests of the investor class, against literally everyone else on the planet, than the celebration of the ‘shale revolution’ and US ‘energy independence,’ found in their cheerleading coverage of the US’s journey to becoming the world’s top oil producer despite the ongoing climate catastrophe.”

“Green Islands” [In Defense of Plants]. “Autumn is here and all across the northern hemisphere deciduous trees are putting on a show unlike anything else in the natural world. The range of colors are spectacular both from afar and up close. If you’re like me then every single leaf is worth investigation. The trees are shedding their leaves in preparation for dormancy. The leaves aren’t dying outright. Instead, the trees are reabsorbing the chemicals involved in photosynthesis as a way of getting back some of the energy investment that went in to producing them in the first place. If you look closely at some leaves, however, you may notice green spots in an otherwise senescent leaf. Why is it that certain parts of these leaves are still photosynthetically active despite the rest of the photosynthetic machinery shutting down around them? The answer to this question is way cooler than I ever expected.” • Read on for the solution!

“Press Release: Axis Capital Becomes First U.S. Insurer to Restrict Both Coal and Tar Sands” (press release) [Insure Our Future]. “‘We welcome AXIS Capital’s new policy as a major win for our climate and for Indigenous rights. Without insurance, destructive energy projects cannot be built, and AXIS joins a growing movement of insurers taking action to keep fossil fuels in the ground,’ said Elana Sulakshana, Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network. ‘AXIS has raised the bar for U.S. insurers by restricting both coal and tar sands insurance. The ball is now in Liberty Mutual and AIG’s court to take responsibility for their role in the climate crisis.'”

Class Warfare

“General Motors Co. and the United Auto Workers are getting closer to ending a 30-day strike even as broader labor tensions spread into the trucking sector. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra met with UAW officials at the bargaining table for the first time since the strike began… signaling the sides have made progress during lengthy bargaining sessions in recent days” [Wall Street Journal]. “The UAW has set a national meeting of its GM council for a contract update on Thursday, typically a sign that the sides are nearing an agreement. The upbeat signals from Detroit come as the UAW is moving against Mack Trucks, calling a walkout at the heavy-duty truck manufacturer’s U.S. factories.” • Watch for the elimination of two-tier.

News of the Wired

“Pumpkin Spice: Now For Men” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “But through the darkness, you see a light in a gas station store refrigerator. You see a product called Jacked-O-Lantern Diesel Energy presented by Man Juice. You wonder whether this beverage could solve your problems.”

“Brain tunes itself to criticality, maximizing information processing” [Washington University in St. Louis]. “Over the past 20 years, evidence mounted in support of a theory that the brain tunes itself to a point where it is as excitable as it can be without tipping into disorder, similar to a phase transition. This criticality hypothesis asserts that the brain is poised on the fine line between quiescence and chaos. At exactly this line, information processing is maximized.” • I need more caffeine.

“Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore” [The Atlantic]. “Whereas we once shared the same temporal rhythms—five days on, two days off, federal holidays, thank-God-it’s-Fridays—our weeks are now shaped by the unpredictable dictates of our employers. Nearly a fifth of Americans hold jobs with nonstandard or variable hours…. A 2018 review of the retail sector called the “Stable Scheduling Study” found that 80 percent of American workers paid by the hour have fluctuating schedules. Many employers now schedule hours using algorithms to calculate exactly how many sets of hands are required at a given time of day—a process known as on-demand scheduling. The algorithms are designed to keep labor costs down, but they also rob workers of set schedules…. It’s a cliché among political philosophers that if you want to create the conditions for tyranny, you sever the bonds of intimate relationships and local community…. [W]e don’t need a secret police to turn us into atomized, isolated souls. All it takes is for us to stand by while unbridled capitalism rips apart the temporal preserves that used to let us cultivate the seeds of civil society and nurture the sadly fragile shoots of affection, affinity, and solidarity.”

“3000-year-old toolkit suggests skilled warriors crossed Europe to fight an epic battle” [Nature]. “Bronze Age Europe was a violent place. But only recently have scientists uncovered the scope of the violence, at a 3000-year-old site in northern Germany where thousands of well-armed young men fought with sophisticated weapons in what appears to be an epic battle. Now, a bagful of bronze artifacts and tools found at the bottom of the river in the middle of the battlefield suggests some of these warriors traveled from hundreds of kilometers away to fight. That suggests northern European societies were organized on such a large scale that leaders could call warriors to distant battlefields, long before modern communication systems and roads.” • Mercs?

* * *

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 (GlennF):

GlennF: “Attached is a photo I took yesterday in Durango CO before the cold air arrived. View is in town showing the Animas River (runs through the middle of town) and the riparian trees along the banks. Photo taken from the second floor outside balcony of the Durango Public Library (quite a beautiful building), which sits on the west bank of the river, looking east.”


The cat has returned to winter quarters, wherever they are, so here is a photo from the summer, when the grass was green.

* * *

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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. petal

    Lambert, found a typo that might want to be fixed. It’s at the end of the McClatchy Warren article: “Sanders supporters would find it hilarious if Buttigieg took out Warren, bless his hard.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Let me adapt a punchline of an ancient National Lampoon parody of World War II GI Joe comix: “He’s a nice boy, but he’s still thinking in terms of inches.”

          1. gnatt

            buttigieg is positioning himself to pick up some centrist backing when biden goes down, as he expects. he’s got a lot to spend and he needs to do it now. he’s launching a huge ad campaign against medicare for all, doing trumps’s work avant le lettre. it won’t help him enough. biden’s african american supporters ain’t going to mayor pete, but it does hurt bernie and warren. what an ambitious fellow he is.

            1. richard

              oxford pete
              military intelligence pete
              langley pete
              police state pete
              private insurance pete
              ambitious yes, but as you indicate, not really trying to win

    1. JTee

      The mind immediately strains to fill in the blank and to complete the sentence. Would a preposition be appropriate here? A noun?

  2. Wyoming

    Re: your auto parts supplies in Turkey.

    There are also a large number of agricultural equipment manufacturers (or off shore factories for US/EU companies) located in Turkey.

    For instance a large number of the low to mid horsepower New Holland and Massey Ferguson tractors are made in Turkey. Some Lamborghini and Deutz-Fahr tractors as well.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And of course lots of weapons manufacturing jobbed out. Kind of like conditions before WW I? Though I guess the Krupps concentrated the work in their home state and just sold the war toys to all the combatants — best and biggest being reserved for the Kaiser, of course… And a thumbnail of weapons industry in Turkey, a very busy and growing market, with lots of growth potential as the stuff they make gets blown up or captured or collapses from lack of maintenance… https://www.army-technology.com/features/featureturkeys-formidable-defence-industry-rising-star-or-natos-unruly-ally-4207115/

      Note the dark tone of the opening paragraph — seems like the would be opening for a Caliphate based in a state not dependent on NATO for arms and stuff is well in the offing: https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/fikraforum/view/the-turkish-safe-zoneand-erdogans-territorial-ambitions He even is looking to acquire nuclear weapons. What a guy! He and Bibi ought to get along just swell! Old news next, but still — https://www.cfr.org/blog/between-barack-bibi-and-tayyip

      All exhibits in the proof that humans may not be much good at anything but seeking the Iron Throne and making war…

      1. GF

        Saw on PBS News Hours yesterday that there are 25 nuclear bomb type weapons stored in Turkey right now at Incirlik Air Base. So he has his nuclear weapons.

        1. Procopius

          The number I’ve seen is 50, but Ergogan only “has” them in the sense that he “has” all the American troops and aircraft at Incirlik.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      This news made me feel ripped off. I bought a few bags of bulbs in the Amsterdam flower market some years back and only about a quarter of them sprouted. Now I know why! I wonder if the online Dutch flower sites are practicing the same ruse?

      I’ve bought gardening stuff in Netherlands over the years and I always leave with a sneaking feeling they’ve managed to get the best of me. Could just be me. Or maybe not.

  3. JustAnotherVolunteer

    “Docs Show Navy Got ‘UFO’ Patent Granted By Warning Of Similar Chinese Tech Advances”

    Am I the only one who read this and thought “Fireball XL5” ?

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Boy, did I just get lost in that story! Down the rabbit hole for this believer…how did I miss the Tic-Tac incident? ??

      Lambert, you always bring the best sh..stuff!

    2. Kurt Sperry

      The most likely explanation seems like an attempt to fool the PRC into investing trillions in a dry hole. But maybe there’s more to it.

  4. Summer

    RE: The Biden Paradox…”I ask her how she thinks a candidate with so many issues could prevail in a general election. ‘People,’ she says with a sigh, ‘have soft hearts.’”

    Until someone without money seeks healthcare…

  5. RMO

    “The cloud is code for “we can end your livelihood at any time” Or as I call it: A.Y.S.I.O.S.E.S.S.S. (All Your Stuff Is On Someone Else’s Server Somewhere Sucker).

    1. pretzelattack

      i noticed on my last windows update a little box that read “windows is a service”. my bad, thought it was a product i bought.

      1. RMO

        The drive to make seemingly everything a “service” is getting rather manic isn’t it? Even the games companies are all pushing streaming and “games as a service” – and as Ross Scott says, that is pretty much fraud.

        For some time I’ve been trying and failing to come up with a pithy saying based on the old “give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a meal, teach him to fish and you’ve fed him for life” and contrasting it to how our tech and corporate overlords these days would approach the same situation. I see it as them getting the guy to install a feeding tube connection to supply their own proprietary nutrient fluid to his system. The fluid would be engineered to cause atrophy of the digestive system so it would be impossible to go back to eating regular food, it would use software in the container and hookup so that only fluid from the company would be allowed to pass and changing that software would of course violate the DCMA.

  6. NotTimothyGeithner

    “Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore”

    With kids’ schedules, this has been why games like Fortnite have exploded, even watching other people play games on YouTube. Distance (suburbs), homework, after school, time on the bus, and a lack of kids commons leads to less leisure time even for kids. A proper round or two of Fortnight takes about 30 minutes.

  7. David Carl Grimes

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib to Endorse Bernie Sanders. Will It Matter?

    “After months of polling roughly even with Elizabeth Warren — and not that far behind Joe Biden — he has started to lag behind the duo in recent weeks. As of Tuesday night, RealClearPolitics notes that he is polling at an average of 15.6 percent, compared to Warren’s 23.4 percent and Biden’s 29.4. At the beginning of September, Sanders was leading Warren, 17.0 to 16.3.”


    1. pretzelattack

      with the way the dnc fixes the primaries, and the way the media is now promoting warren, perhaps not. i don’t think his supporters are likely to be swayed though. i’m heartened by this, people are clarifying which side they are on, and that’s useful to know.

  8. Geo

    > The cloud is code for “we can end your livelihood at any time”

    This has always been the fear with the subscription model. Even just the simple fact that if I am broke and can’t pay for a month or two I lose the ability to work. I’ve had to sacrifice food and other bills just to keep my Adobe subscription active at times.

    Between this, and some of the recent tech issues I’ve had with newer versions, it’s like they want to make me pirate their software. I’ve used Adobe for two decades and I’m against pirating (even still buy music and movies) but this is making me seriously consider it regarding Adobe. They are actively suppressing media creation in a nation that is in desperate need of a means to have their voices heard. It’s disgusting and I don’t want my subscription dollars going to a company that would do this.

    Adobe should be non-political if they are going to be in the business of making media creation tools. If they are going to take sides on politics then they are actively sabotaging speech.

    1. Summer

      I think they’re trying to train “AI” to be as creative.

      That’s one other reason they want to put creatives on the cloud.

      I’m keeping all versions of music software and various OS.

      Not worried about non-service of older OS or software. Keeping some computers offline.

      1. Geo

        Agreed. I’ve tried to do that but as a filmmaker there are new technologies I’ve had to keep up with that has forced me to get more recent software and hardware. The video codecs the cameras I use have literally will not work on older software. I have an older machine and have to get specially customized graphics cards for them to be able to continue working (and it’s still finicky). Have to use newer OS as well.

        If I was just making videos for the web I could get away with a different set up but much of what I make needs to be cinema quality. It’s a niche market and most in the field have big budgets so I understand my “problem” isn’t really a big deal for most. But, as a little indie filmmaker trying to compete with bigger fish it’s important to me that my work is of a compatible quality. Sorta makes me miss the days of splicing film. :)

        Right now it may not be an issue for most. Maybe I’m just being a Chicken Little, but, I think I’m more of a canary in a coal mine, and as older generations of tech become obsolete more and more will be forced into this new subscription model. Those that hold on will have computers they keep alive like the Cubans have kept their old 50’s era Chevy’s.

        1. Summer

          I get the latest when it it really is something new that I couldn’t do with old software. And most updates don’t make that much difference for workflow and a lot of new sounds are tweaks I can match with the tons of modules I already have. A sine wave is a sine wave, etc…
          But I keep the old stuff too.

          1. Carey

            Tape sounds good to my ears; so much so that
            I’ve dubbed a few treasured CDs to that format
            for the listening pleasure, despite the nominally-worse (much worse) specs.

  9. shinola

    Re. Taibbi’s article about Biden – it’s worth a read and maybe a little bit scary to those of us who think/hope Biden will crap-out. Also contains this bit that perfectly describes how I feel about listening to Biden:

    “…few politicians can say nothing quite like Joe Biden. Listening to one of his speeches all the way through is like being beaten with a cliché hammer” – Nice turn-of-a-phrase, that.

    And a comment on last night’s “debate” – I sure wish Tulsi Gabbard was given more time. I was impressed by what little I heard from her.

    1. Donald

      Predictably the NYT columnists all hated her. She must have said something right about Syria, I’m guessing, because they called her an Assad apologist. ( note— I am not an Assad apologist either— I just don’t think we should have been arming jihadists as Obama did.)

      1. ChrisPacific

        She also launched a broadside directly at them for (among other things) calling her a Russian asset. She is correct – calling people Russian agents with zero supporting evidence just because you disagree with them used to be frowned on in the US media. The fact that it’s perfectly normal and unremarkable now is not a positive development.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Zack Beauchamp from Vox had the audacity to claim the US wasn’t trying to do any kind of regime change in Syria and accused her of lying.

          Operation Timber Sycamore, Mr. Beauchamp. Spare Vox readers your ignorance!

          I’d have considered dropping a comment in there, but of course, Vox doesn’t do that sort of thing.

      2. Carey

        Gabbard is making all the right enemies, at least on the surface.
        Just hope it’s not more kayfabe (No, I am not denigrating her).

    2. petal

      Yeah, it was like being beaten with some kinda hammer…and I can’t say that it was enjoyable. More like “Dear lord, when is this going to be over?!?”

      1. nippersdad

        I had the same thought, and the answer turned out to be when a balding, red faced, buggy eyed old man stared at me and then started shouting spittle flecked platitudes.

        I wasn’t even on his lawn, either.

        It reminded me of when Hillary Clinton was screaming that she should be fifty points ahead in the polls. It ain’t over until you reach peak shrill. I think Biden made it there early.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Very cryptic article. Didn’t say Postol got anything wrong, just said there were disagreements and it ‘could be misused to cover up Assad’s crimes.’

      1. JohnnyGL

        In a broader sense, it’s very curious how we’re told that there is a dictator in a small-ish, fairly poor, war-torn country that he doesn’t even have control of.

        We’re supposed to believe this same guy somehow has an amazing power to both commit and cover up tremendous war crimes and also has tremendous media and academic influence in western institutions.

        1. anon in so cal

          Calling someone a “brutal dictator” is the first step in NeoCon regime change.

          Smear the target, propagandize the public, etc.

          The US has been attempting regime change in Syria since approximately 1950, using one CIA tactic after another.

    2. Jessica

      Thanks for posting that.
      The way I read it, those demanding that the paper by Ted Postol be censored did not even try to claim that it had problems scientifically. It was just that the facts it showed logically led to conclusions inconvenient for the liberal imperialists. And the journal folded under the pressure for pro-imperialist censorship, also without even trying to claim that there was any scientific problem with the paper.

  10. Synoia

    Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore…

    And that’s why we had the Sabbath.

    It is unpleasant to reflect that our current mammon driven economy has rode roughshod over all our custom and practices which made life a pleasure.

    All this from a country that professes to be Christian in practice, but claims not tp permit a state religion.

    Well we have a state religion, and greed (capitalism in extremis) in reality) it is, with its attendant mammon.

    It is well past time to take down these shibboleths, and restore the peoples dignity, livelihood, privacy and time for their pleasures.

    1. dearieme

      And that’s why we had the pub: drop in for a pint and chat to whoever is there. A revolving cast of characters means there will always be one or two familiar faces.

      1. Yves Smith

        I adopted a pub a half a block from me when I was in Sydney and it was terrific. People from a very big age, background, and current activity range. I can’t imagine I’d find such a cross spectrum anywhere in the US. And there were a lot of regulars who came to see the other regulars.

      1. MichaelSF

        A neighbor has cats named Jefferson and Hamilton.

        Unfortunately, they live between where our visiting tomcat lives and our house, so I have to be on watch to prevent rumbles when it is time to send him home. He and Hamilton can’t seem to figure out that they are middle-aged and ought to cold-shoulder each other instead of engaging in fisticuffs.

  11. dcblogger

    I thought that Bernie looked relaxed and confident. I watched at a bar in DC along with fellow Bernie supporters, and that made it more fun. No doubt Bernie feels better after a rest. No doubt he was feeling good about his new endorsements. But what must have made him feel truly good was the 1 million calls his supporters made last week. His numbers in Iowa must be looking good.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Thought he looked confident and calm also.
      Then looking at the money totals this morning, it kind of points out the bs polls.
      Bernie 30ish
      Liz 20ish
      Biden 9ish
      That sure seems more accurate.

  12. joey

    RE: Navy Patents

    This being an official US government action, My gut reaction was that they can only be smokescreens as there is no rational reason to file a US patent for a truly revolutionary government-owned technology. The big question is if they are trying to waste other governments’ time on false technology to get a head start on a real technology (like the lead hound drawing the arrow the way the hare didn’t go to lose the pack)
    …or is it an invitation to a new space race to get more minds working on the same project, hoping our secrecy beats theirs for the final push? (Which might be a rational reason, after all.)

  13. flora

    RE:“Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore” [The Atlantic]

    I wonder if the 20% working in jobs with unstable schedules are more or less affected by the opioid epidemic?

    Circadian rhythms have a large effect on health.

    Circadian rhythms can influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, eating habits and digestion, body temperature, and other important bodily functions. Biological clocks that run fast or slow can result in disrupted or abnormal circadian rhythms. Irregular rhythms have been linked to various chronic health conditions, such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

  14. Oregoncharles

    ” a bagful of bronze artifacts and tools found at the bottom of the river in the middle of the battlefield suggests some of these warriors traveled from hundreds of kilometers away to fight.”
    That’s the weapons, not the people. The Bronze Age was distinguished by long-distance trade routes, because the ingredients of bronze were relatively scarce. So all that by itself means is that the WEAPONS were traded over long distances. You’d need locality data on the bones to conclude they traveled a long way.

    Of course, there were also mass migrations, which might explain people from far away fighting.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Should have read farther: apparently they do have locality data on some of the bones. However, mass migration – leading to a fight – makes more sense to me than mercenaries or an empire.

      Plus, this being the only such stash in the area means only that they haven’t FOUND any others – there’s a big random element there. This one was preserved by being at the bottom of a river. Interesting that they would carry around scrap bronze.

      1. JBird4049

        A very large migration is possible, but unlikely although the entire area has not be excavated. The dead have injuries that match being speared, bludgeoned, stabbed by swords, and embedded arrowheads of flint and bronze. All the bodies are of men from 20 to 40 years of age.

        Somethings to consider. According to the article the local population density was less than 5 people per a square kilometer. Northern Europe did not have that high a population density three thousand years ago or interestingly roughly during the Bronze Age Collapse.

        IIRC, a village of say a hundred would be decent sized. A fair size city, which would not have existed in Northern Europe, then might have around ten thousand people, which would have been found in what is now Crete,Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and probably Iran. The very, very few approaching 50,000 to 100,000 would be very large cities.

        Using the number of bodies determined to have been found, 130, from the estimated 3-10% of the “find field” excavated leaves likely between 1,300 to 4,300 dead and very likely several times that injured, say 4,900 of the minimum total casualties. That’s 4,900 men between the ages of twenty and forty dead or injured. Unless it was a complete bloodbath, let’s say half of the fighters were not hurt enough to matter. Minimum here is 9,000 men of fighting age. Guessing here, but that is from a population of at least 40,000 or more people, not some tribe on the move. This would be of both sexes and all ages.

        If the excavated area contained all the dead, maybe a tribe on the move, but how likely is that?

        Also, people often carried all their possessions on them especially something as valuable as bronze, which could be considered a kind of money. Iron was just coming into use, but only in the Hittite Empire.

  15. Matthew G. Saroff

    My analysis of the UFO patent is that this ie either disinformation directed at the Russians or Chinese, or an attempt to stake a claim before someone else finds a way to extort rents from a similar patent.

    If this patent were reflecting some existing real world technological developments, it would have been classified.

  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    The Simpsons screen cap of the Democratic National Convention comes from an episode that aired on March 31st, 1994. From start to airdate, the average episode of The Simpsons during the glory years was made in two years.

    This particular joke doesn’t seem relevant to the central plot and isn’t an animation of a Springfield landmark meaning it was probably drawn in the U.S. after the bulk of the animation was done in Korea. I’m guessing this particular joke was written in October 1993.

    This isn’t a joke about the Democrats having been shellacked in 1994 but a joke about a party that held both Houses of Congress and the Presidency.

    1. JohnnyGL

      The more things change, the more they stay the same, indeed. Could have been repeated in 2009, too.

      It’s still crazy how they held the house for like 40 years and only sleazy Bill Clinton could ruin a winning dynasty like that. I suppose Tip O’Neill and Foley did some set up work, of course.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I went through the House races some time ago, and there were a few factors at play.

        Its overlooked, but term limits are better than realized for the incumbent party. It makes developing a bench a priority. Basically many Congressional districts were held by Congressman X who was friends with everyone, even people who would have been Republican nuts by that time. When these people started to get to the point where they retired or would be retired, there wasn’t a party structure or natural successor. The GOP starting after their disappointing Congressional results in 1984 under Gingrich’s leadership moved to rapidly develop a bench and have ready made campaigns all set to go when an opportunity presented itself.

        The 1992 Congress was very diverse and was a story of minorities and women. Their election or hoped for election was too dependent on “car dealer” types who switched to the GOP or cut off their support for Team Blue when their long time friend and power broker was gone.

        Then generations might be overblown at times, I’m not sure it isn’t in relation to electeds and party officials. The new “white” first entered political life around 1960 (JFK being rich was ahead of the game), but he was representative of the WWII generation who entered political life after having worked a little and gone to college. Guess what, the guy who ran for city council and wound up as a Congressman was retiring. The force that brought him to office wasn’t necessarily ready to bring a successor.

        Then the New Democrats who were brought in by Carter and at other levels moved Team Blue away from being FDR’s Party to being a party of candidates recruited for being cyphers and self-funders at least at the opening stage. A party that is supposed to be diverse is a party of the bar association.

        For temporal reasons, Bill dropped the ball with healthcare. Small businesses really did want a way to compete with larger employers, but they needed it done in a way they could operate which HRC was adamant about not doing, even when the White House staff assigned to her begged her to change course.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The more things change, the more they stay the same…

        That follows from the quote from an Italian film (with Burt Lancaster) mentioned a few times here recently – for everything to stay the same, everything must change.

      3. foghorn longhorn

        “It’s still crazy how they held the house for like 40 years and only sleazy Bill Clinton could ruin a winning dynasty like that.”

        It wasn’t just at the federal level either, most of the south was under dem control at the time also. Hell deep red Texas had a woman, democrat governor. (Ann Richards for you younger gens)
        It took the clintoons exactly two years to fook all that up, permanently it appears.
        The stuff they couldn’t destroy was accomplished by the younger bush the stupid and obama.

        Trump holding rally in Dallas tomorrow night, they started camping out for tickets yesterday around 1:00 pm.

        1. pretzelattack

          most of the south started turning republican in the two decades after the civil rights act. those dems were dixiecrats at heart, and conservative generally. richards was an anomaly in texas, and after karl rove torpedoed her with smears, it’s been republican ever since. dolph briscoe the last democrat to be reelected as governor in the early 70’s. john connally and phil graham were typical of the kind of texas democrats who switched to being republicans.

        2. inode_buddha

          “It’s still crazy how they held the house for like 40 years and only sleazy Bill Clinton could ruin a winning dynasty like that.”

          Made a lot of money doing it, too.

        3. tegnost

          Re waiting for tickets
          I saw trump flags flying under old glory at a couple of houses in anacortes today. Which Dem candidate can match that loyal following? Bernie comes close at least, and would definitely (imo) siphon away trump support, which I don’t see any other blue candidate doing…

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Also this is at the 20,000 seat basketball/hockey arena, not some podunk townhall like biden and warren.

            Bernie has filled arenas himself, but he is the only dem that can and has. Just feel that his best chance was in 16, but there is still a long time left.

            1. tegnost

              I agree, incrementalism is b.s., he could have been the trump, the unexpected, the party crasher, and that was his big chance. But, he did gain more power in the spiritual sense, while the nominal loser took a beating for being a sore loser. There is no question his issues rule the day.

          2. Jessica

            Guessing that Tulsi would too. I saw a poll on Breitbart about who won the debate and Tulsi won that poll by a huge margin.
            Interesting that a clear anti-imperialist stance gathers more support from the right than from liberals.
            There was one study after the 2016 election that claimed to show that the districts who suffered the most military fatalities swung the heaviest toward Trump.
            That is the liberal’s biggest nightmare: not just that a Sanders or Gabbard would win but that they would create a new governing coalition that wouldn’t need the coastal 10ers at all.

            1. foghorn longhorn

              I think Tulsi needs a new campaign manager, she is very lucid when you hear her speak. The problem is you never see or hear her speak.

              They seem to be playing small ball instead of swinging for the fences.

              Regarding the coastal 10ers, trump is eviscerating them, which is causing their wholly public meltdown for all to see.
              Dallas is what they had in mind when they said, for every one vote we lose in the country, we’ll gain two in the city. Yeah right.

  17. JohnnyGL


    There’s a lot of the usual Trump-ian fluff in here, because it’s…well, it’s Trump. He’s kind of an idiot.

    But listen/look at the content of what he’s saying. He starting to sound a lot more comfortable as CinC and a lot more resolute about drawing down military engagements. He’s even starting to get an understanding of what the players in the region want, which is a good sign.

    Just the other day when Newsweek had leaked details of his call with Erdogan, — on the heels of the whistleblower complaint, I came away thinking, ‘it’s been 3 years and the guy still doesn’t have a grip on the nat’l security apparatus. He’s failed. That’s disastrous and a bad omen for the next president.”

    Then, I see the withdrawal which was, at first, very minimal and overhyped seems to be more substantial (1000 troops out) got me thinking, ‘interesting, that’s a rare bright spot’.

    Now, I see this speech, — after Pelosi backed off on bringing a floor vote on impeachment authorization, and I’m realizing that Trump is still in this fight. Much like during the election….just when you thought he was done and dusted, he’d suddenly look like he was rising from the ashes.

    Taibbi’s excellent article the other day on the ‘permanent coup’ really framed the context here.

    As a pro-peace crowd at NC, we have to cheer for Trump in his fight to bring the nat’l security apparatus under control. Even if you don’t like the guy (and lord knows I don’t), you want that dog housebroken before a Warren or Sanders presidency.

    If the nat’l security apparatus wins against Trump, the next president will have to spend years fighting it or be forced to acquiesce. Let’s not set the stage for another multiyear fight on this front.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the current fight impacts the next White House occupant, shouldn’t Warren (not much hope) or Sanders join force with Trump, per your analysis?

      1. pretzelattack

        depends on how it impacts him, and what he wants to do. if he wants to sell all the national parks to the oil companies for a dollar, then no. but politics makes strange bedfellows, and i agree with taibbi that the intel agencies are more dangerous than trump, just as i thought an h. clinton presidence would be more dangerous than a trump presidency. i’ve moved from “lesser of two evils” to “less imminent danger”–progress!

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Yes, peace above all else. I think we saw the War Party Press at its peak outrage when Trump called in 1000 soldiers. Trump needs to crush the CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS, et al. Shine on a light on those career dplomat cockroaches. They literally do nothing for the betterment of mankind.

      Oh, and f elon musk/spaceex for pumping all that junk into orbit. What a horrific idea.

  18. GF

    Tech: “SpaceX seeks permission to launch 30,000 more satellites” [Los Angeles Times]. “

    A few more launches of this many “mini” satellites will lead to global cooling as the sun will be blocked out – we are saved!!

  19. Michael

    GET OUT!!

    Chipping away at the MIC…progress is slow! Vote out incumbents!!

    “In a rare break with a president they are normally unwilling to criticize, two-thirds of House Republicans, including all of the party’s elected leaders, joined Democrats in approving a resolution that opposed Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to the Turkish assault against the Kurds, who have been crucial American allies in the fight against the Islamic State. The measure passed, 354 to 60, in the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office. ”

    Well it is the times……………………

  20. notabanker

    Democrats are morally corrupt too…..

    I think this is missing perspective. Whether it is the US, UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, I think people expect that birthright is going to result in a level of privilege. It’s how that birthright is managed and used that is really relevant. You can give Chelsea a bye for marrying into hedge funds after your parents raise billions in their charitable trust. Jenna Bush or McCain getting a TV talk show spot kinda sucks, but who on MSM TV doesn’t. You can rightfully criticize the extravagance of Trump’s kids positions, but at least they are competent and run complex organizations.
    Siphoning 100K+ a month, 50 of which goes to your personal account, off of a Ukraine oligarch? Come on, completely different league. This isn’t nepotism, it’s flat out criminal corruption.

    To me, just another attempt to normalize things which are just not normal, and I have faith that most people in this country still have good sense and are filtering the noise.

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