2:00PM Water Cooler 10/30/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I have a couple of posts to finish, one on National Cat Day, and so today is an open thread (with a Plantidote and the latest polling, of course). –lambert


“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 10/30/2019, 1:00 PM EDT:

I went to the daily instead of a 7-day average (for now) to see what was happening with Biden. He’s back up, at least according to Morning Consult. And here are the poll results, as of 10/29/2019, 12:00 PM EDT.

The state polling is still miserably inadequate, but there’s a recent poll in New Hampshire:

Note the leader. The top two are within the margin of error, but that is not the usual focus; the leader is. And here is the latest result:

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.”

* * *

And just to get some conversation, if you’ve been wondering how Mr. Hope and Change is doing, here he is:

Also, for California readers, here is the wildfire map from the Los Angeles Times, said to be updated more rapidly than the State site.

* * *

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 (Jen):

Jen writes: “I took this photo at Sculptured Rocks Natural Area in New Hampshire a few years ago.”

* * *

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

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

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

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

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Danny

    Will there be an incumbent backlash? People in California are coming to realize that the streets of S.F. and L.A. were not campgrounds and open sewers when California had Republican governors

    State senator Bill Dodd, D, authored SB 901 back in April, 2018 that passes PG&E fire liability on to customers and authorizes PG&E to use a type of state-authorized bond to pay off the more than 200 lawsuits filed against the company over the fires and hundreds of deaths. However, no reverse condemnation of PG&E for damages is possible. Signed into law Sept 21, 2018 by Governor Jerry Brown.
    Gov. Brown gratefully appointed Dodd’s 29 year old daughter-in-law to the California Workers’ Comp board with a salary of $150k. Zero previous experience.

    Willie Brown, no relation, when speaker of the state assembly, similarly appointed his mistress, Kamala Harris, to the California Medical Assistance Commission. $70,000 a year and later the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, $97,000 year. She had zero experience in either field. Maybe Dodd’s daughter can run for president some day?

    After Michael Peevy, PG&E’s profiteering puppet on The Public Utilities commission left in disgrace, but without indictment, Governor Newsom appointed new all important over experience identity-politic controllable hacks to it; a gay, a lesbian, a transgender and two Hispanics. Zero utility experience. His mission, keep PG&E’s stock protected while he now pretends to be outraged and courts Warren Buffett to buy it, pretty please?

    p.s. Just got a robo-call from PG&E “apologizing for any inconvenience.”

      1. jrs

        Some of this (not all of this) is still the fallout of Prop 13. CA was not always deep blue, so long after the politics have changed, the laws the Republicans cursed us with remain!

        But yes much of it is causation and correlation, is the U.S. other than CA the same as it was 20 years ago or have things continued to deteriorate elsewhere too? See I kind of think it’s the latter …

        There’s corruption, but the Republican party as the solution to anything at all is laughable. Pressure from the left as a solution, yea maybe. People are trying!

        1. anon in so cal

          Prop 13 passed 41 years ago. That’s a long causal effect. What about all the intervening variables between then and now?

          Some problems, such as homelessness, have grown massively worse in the past few years. How much can be attributed to corrupt one party rule? Raising wages is crucial, along with implementing rent control and providing affordable housing.

          “Twelve percent of the U.S. population lives in California, but it’s home to nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless. In the spring, the results of a federal survey found rates of homelessness had increased by double digits across the state this year. In Los Angeles County, the rate went up 12 percent — 6,198 more people on the streets — and that was among the lowest percentage increases. Orange County saw a spike of 42 percent. In Alameda County, home to Oakland, homelessness was up 43 percent this year, and in the Central Valley’s Kern County, it was up 50 percent.

          California has been experiencing a “housing crisis” since at least the 1970s, but the situation has rapidly deteriorated in just the past few years. According to research by the San Jose Mercury News, in 2012, a family with an income of $100,000 could afford the median rent in 72 percent of Bay Area neighborhoods; as of 2018, the same family could afford the median rent in just 28 percent of those neighborhoods. Worse, there was not a single enclave in the Bay Area last year where a family with two parents working full-time making $15 an hour could afford the median rent.”

          1. Danny

            “Twelve percent of the U.S. population lives in California, but it’s home to nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless.”

            Also six percent of California’s population are illegal aliens. Some, especially in sanctuary magnets for them, like San Francisco, are also “homeless”.
            No mention of that in the state housing crisis?

            One of the strangest political combinations in recent memory, and the ultimate nightmare for the local and state Democratic Machine:
            Ellen Lee Zhou, A Chinese immigrant, union shop steward for city workers, NRA member, Republican, law and order candidate for mayor who wants to defund the over 900 non-profits in the city feasting off the needs of the Homeless Industrial Poverty Complex and to reverse the slide into the sewer that she blames squarely on Democrats.
            You think the 2016 fraud against Bernie was bad in California?
            Zhou,an official candidate for mayor, was threatened with arrest if she entered an official debate site.
            See her video on Youtube:
            “San Francisco is worse than a third world county”

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Prop 13 passed 41 years ago. That’s a long causal effect

            The US Constitution was passed 2019 – 1788 = 231 years ago. That’s a long causal effect.

            C’mon, man.

    1. steve d

      Spot-on regarding Newsom. IMO much of the public anger at PG&E is misplaced – it should be directed at the decades of abject failure by the state of california to effectively regulate its IOUs. In any case, in 2019 there are myriad ways to eliminate the need for an energy utility of PG&E’s scope, and they almost certainly would cost ratepayers less while improving service. Shameful that Newsom even mentions PG&E continuing as a privately owned entity.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Shameful that Newsom even mentions PG&E continuing as a privately owned entity.

        Yep. The Chileans, at least according to the Twitter, set the = private utility monopoly’s multi-story tower in Downtown Santiago on fire. I imagine that focused some minds.

    2. Oh

      If the citizens of CA don’t bring this up and harass the guv’nor nothing will comes of it. The citizens of this country think that going to the polls every 2, 4 or 6 years makes for a democracy. Sorry folks! You have to work at it everyday and keep these politicians accountable.

      1. deplorado

        People in other countries take to the streets for much less than cutting their power for days multiple times, and their towns burning down and fouling the air with toxic particles for hundreds of miles.

        Freedom-loving Americans – not so much. They just take it.


        PS. On governor Newsom – about 1 year ago he proudly introduced a bill to allow for savings accounts for minors to save for college. Instead of doing something about the rampant abuse of colleges’ pricing and other powers, he wants to empower little Dolores and little Johnny with learning to be better savers, as early as he can get them, so they can hand it all over later to their alma mater administrators. Great governor that governor Newsom, he really cares.

        1. urblintz

          RT had a segment on “watching the hawks” today about NYC and DeBlasio paying the poor to leave the city and move elsewhere on the city’s dime with a years rent to boot! Only problem, most were housed in squalid situations and in less than a year many of those are back on street.

          Apparently Newsom did it first many years ago in S.F. according to T. Wallace.

          1. jrs

            To be fair NYC also spends more on homelessness than I suspect any other city in America (yes much more than L.A. etc.) and shelters many. So to an extent they have done more than their part, even though it sucks they are shipping homeless they can’t deal with elsewhere and no other cities really want them either of course.

            Perhaps we really have a NATIONAL problem with homelessness, that cities are increasingly being blamed for, even though not all of the homeless originate there, with some cities like NYC adopting bugger thy neighbor policies, and other cities just having a huge homeless problem.

            1. JTMcPhee

              And there’s a whole armada of Greyhound busloads of homeless veterans. Who also, many of them, are too damaged to work on pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (especially where one or both legs, other appendages and eyes are missing.) Not sure if the numbers cited by posters include veterans (which for Jeebus’ sake, speaking of root causes, can us mopes get the Empire to stop making any more of them – excuse me, us). Here’s a summary article: http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics

              Focus, people! Piss-poor wages, labor arbitrage, costs of “health care” and necessities, up against the “Oooh, look at how much my house is worth TODAY!” Realtor ™ assisted price zooms powered by greed and Moving-to-another-job necessity, rents racked up to intolerable heights, so yes, you get a bus load of people “sleeping rough” as the Brits say.

              Build a political economy where the working class is paid a true living wage, and rents are controlled and all the “development” explosion is excised from the process. Stop cheering information on “housing starts” and “resale values” that go up double digit percentages every year. ANd (not likely in our selfish and puritanical culture) take care of those who really cannot take care of themselves. If they can live at home with family or groups, fund that, and maybe build institutions stripped of profit incentives and staffed by all the actually really caring people Out among us who would love decent jobs doing what they are called to do.

              There are homeless people everywhere in the country. A very few by choice, a whole lot more having been driven out of housing by looting PE creeps, grasping landlords, short-sighted local and state government functionaries who just love property tax increases brought about by greedflation and the 6 percent or so transaction levy imposed by those “Realtors” ™ like the ones who pester me with robocalls and SMS messages multiple times a day, telling me how they are Really Excited about the Numbers they emailed to me showing how I can Make A Killing letting them sell my modest house out from under me, dumping me into a “Market” where an equivalent replacement home for what I now have (and hope to die out of) is over 4 times what I paid for mine, with a mortgage that on my fixed income I could never meet. And rents for an equivalent 2 BR 1 BA are over four times my current mortgage.

              We got people right close to where I live who work at Walmart and live in their cars or in tents in the few spots that still provide some cover, have not been stripped of vegetation and turned into Crapville condos or stick-built apartment tenement or some pig’s “estate” or another strip mall.

              Living wage, rent control, policies to halt “investor” inflation of housing prices, public housing, care at home for those who want and need it with decent and kind institutions for those who don’t have that option, simple recognition that the policies and greeds that make up the current system will make ever more desperate homeless people who can never “get a leg up” because they have no fixed address, no place to keep decent clothes, to bathe, to (big item for the EEEWWWW snotty-ass urban privileged prigs) defecate and urinate “like ordinary folks” (albeit into that vast wasteland that uses potable water to flush the crap to billion-dollar industrial treatment plants).

              How about a national commitment to those ideas and probably a few more that aren;t occurring to me right now?

              Yeah, just saying it makes it obvious that it is blessed unlikely to happen, in the land of I Got Mine… More likely continue pounding the lower mopes into the dirt, forcing them to accept a bus ticket to “somewhere else,” turning the blind eye to needful fellow humans. Hey, it’s what we mostly do.

    3. laughingsong


      “The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state body that regulates PG&E, traditionally had been one of the toughest in the United States. From 1966 to 1974, however, when Ronald Reagan was governor of California, the CPUC became more sympathetic to utilities. One decision by the Reagan-appointed commission allowed utilities to increase rates without public hearings as the price of oil increased. By early 1974, with the price of oil soaring, rate increases were enacted almost monthly.”


      “SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — PG&E has had its share of massive blackouts since the state deregulated utilities in 1996 [Republican Governor Pete Wilson]. Some have been planned, others have not.

      “In June, 2000, PG&E experienced rolling blackouts caused by deregulation of the energy industry. It left 97,000 customers without power in the Bay Area.

      “In Jan. 2001, then Gov. Gray Davis declared a state of emergency when blackouts caused by the energy crisis [Caused by ENRON, run by Dubya’s BFF] left several hundred thousand customers without power.

      “In March 2001, another blackout turned out the lights on 1.5 million customers. Two months later, in May, another 167,000 had the lights go out.

      But sure — let’s bring back those magically great Republicans, it’s sure to cure California’s ills.

      BTW, not saying the Democreeps running the show now aren’t corrupt as hell, just pointing out that California’s historical issues are bipartisan.

    4. smoker

      You must be kidding to imply that California’s Republican Governors have no fault in this epic disaster of a State.

      Fact is, all of the California Governors have veered highly conservative, classist, racist, misogynist, and ageist (ageist except for themselves and their ilk) underneath the sheets, which is exactly why there are so many homeless, and so much inequality in the state of California at this point in time.

      All multiple termed Republicans: Regan; Deukmejian; Wilson; Schwarzenegger; didn’t contribute to this current horror story? Really? They are all major contributors to the misery in this state (thousands and thousands of homeless do not appear all at once), right along with Multiple termed Democrats: Davis, the Browns; and now horrid Newsom.

      California has always been ultimately conservative, subsidized by the DOD/Pentagon, ‘Ancient’ California Moneyed Families, Wall Street, and Foreign, Global Elite, all about the money. That’s why so many are suffering here.

      1. Danny

        And the last Republican governor was?
        Right, Republicans are partially to blame, but the veneer of stability still existed under Republicans. i.e. no pools of steaming human feces in the cities best shopping areas.
        The Lanterman–Petris–Short Act (Cal. Welf & Inst. Code, sec. 5000 et seq.regulates involuntary civil commitment to a mental health institution in the state of California. The bipartisan bill was co-authored by California State Assemblyman Frank D. Lanterman (R) and California State Senators Nicholas C. Petris (D) and Alan Short (D), and signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan[1].

        The mentally ill were to be “returned to their communities.” Most headed to the most tolerant place they heard about, San Francisco, that plus the Haight Ashbury’s magnetization of the drifters and wayward youth of America, began the slide into the cesspool the city has become. Half a century of tolerance–how’s that working out for ‘ya?

        I will be glad to further debate this with anyone who has lived here all this time.

          1. JBird4049

            Because the City has a growing amount of human fecal matter here, there, and everywhere. If the increasing numbers of the homelessness have no access to public facilities, then they will do what they have to do.

            Also, does anyone still believe that it is the “illegals,” the “crazies,” and the addicts who are all the homeless? (Rolls eyes).

            Yes, I think that we do have too many people here illegally, and yes we a problem with the mentally ill living on the streets, what with the joke of a healthcare system, and too many of people who do drugs.

            However, most homeless are Americans and native to where they live. Many have jobs. The problem is the lack of ***affordable*** housing.

            1. bob

              Your well reasoned and articulated argument might benefit from these-

              Episode 85: Incitement Against the Homeless (Part I) – The Infestation Rhetoric of Local News

              Episode 86: Incitement Against the Homeless (Part II) – The Exterminationist Rhetoric of Fox News

            2. jrs

              It’s likely mostly not the illegals who are the homeless themselves, they often come here because they have connections that may get them housing even if overcrowded, connections for jobs etc., it’s a more comunitarian world. American society is way more individualistic than that though, so lots of white Americans, black Americans etc. don’t have anyone to help them. Since we seem to have a raw shortage of housing period though illegal immigration (mostly not happening much these days but has in the past) probably hasn’t helped.

              The mental illness overlap with homelessness is a dicey one, because judging from the amount of crazies about actually acting out and out crazy, it almost seems like we have a mental illness epidemic ALONG WITH a homelessness epidemic. But that doesn’t mean all the homeless are mentally ill. They aren’t. Costs of living *especially* housing are crushing people, people who aren’t drug addicts or mentally ill.

            3. Danny

              “does anyone still believe that it is the “illegals,” the “crazies,” and the addicts who are all the homeless?”

              4.4 Million syringes handed out by the city of San Francisco last year might indicate that there’s a bit of drug use?

              1. JBird4049

                Drug use? Oh, yeah. It is the claim by some that homelessness is primarily due to drug use and/or mental illness that I am disagreeing with. The days of skid row drunks or the man thinking he’s from Mars are the primary reasons for and inhabitants of the streets ended in the 80s.

        1. smoker

          The last Republicn Governor was Schwarzengroper, nazi admirer, who rode the traumatizing [Father] Homeland ™ Wave to office in the 2003 recall, and termed out in 2011, not really that long ago at all. Just for one political maneuver, he let Enron totally off the hook. An odious human being.

          I’ve lived here for decades and witnessed all those above named Bipartisan, Pay to Play Aholes as Governor except Regan (thank God).


    5. Michael

      No way Bill Dodd ever did anything but submit that bill for behind the scenes authors. He was a County Supervisor who only rose due to term limits of others. I’ve seen him work many a wine country event with a lack of sincerity you only show when others are pulling your strings. Part of the cost of gaining a foothold in CA politics is sleeping with someone. Patronage follows…

    1. toshiro_mifune

      update on the update. From the article;

      He[The pathologist] also said that, during his 50 years of examining bodies, he had never seen the fractured bones seen in Epstein’s thyroid from other hanging deaths.

      “Hanging does not cause these broken bones and homicide does. A huge amount of pressure was applied,” he said.

        1. DJG


          No, I believe that what the doctor means is that death by hanging doesn’t usually cause broken bones to penetrate the thyroid gland in the neck but that violence will do so.

      1. DWF

        NYC shipping homeless to other cities or states is nothing new.

        For instance. Salt Lake City was caught doing the same thing over a decade ago.

        Name a city or town.

        In WA State, homeless or indigent people from Spojane, for instance, were being housed in rural areas like Steven’s County and other counties through a business that also owned the apartment complex used to house them.

        Phoenix, Dallas, Philly… they all do it to one degree or another. Homeless people are most likely vastly under counted by such a large margin that it has become a game of hot potato.

        And Sheriffs still run homeless people out of counties.

      2. Yves Smith

        Haha, as we said! The early reports said Epstein had broken “bones” in his neck and then went on about the hyoid, a really itty bitty bone. If you look at any anatomical guide of the neck, the hyoid is a teeny thin bones. The other bones are the cervical spine. You don’t break your neck easily.

      1. DJG

        Cuibono: Sorry, I have read Whitney Webb, and this is too much of a double-axel in her usual clear thinking.

        If it is a murder case, then you have to find perpetrators. Now who might they be? The case has some urgency.

        If it is a suicide, the case becomes a legal dead end. You blame the various guards.

          1. Expat2uruguay

            I don’t think that this report deflects attention from that at all. In fact I think it draws people’s attention back to the overall issue of a horrendous crime that no one was prosecuted for. It reminds me of the Catholic Church. just my two cents

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Giving the hits to the Miami Herald, “Jeffrey Epstein’s injuries look more like murder than suicide, noted pathologist says:

      Baden said that these are all questions that should be answered before concluding that Epstein committed suicide. And, he pointed out, that questions about the federal facility’s apparent security lapses, should also be a factor that should be explored.

      Following the autopsy, it was revealed that the two prison officers who were assigned to monitor Epstein at 30-minute intervals fell asleep and that at least some of the security cameras in the wing were not operating.

      Baden, who has conducted more than 20,000 autopsies, said that in 50 years, he has never had a prison death where two corrections officers fell asleep, nor has he ever had a case where three bones were broken in an alleged suicide by hanging.

      Move along, people, move along. There’s no story here.

      1. clarky90

        Epstein’s “suicide” is a message to anyone (left or right) who may be a threat to the Neo-Narrative-That-Be. “Do not mess with the story-board, or else!”

        Meanwhile….House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., revealed that she frequently prays for President Donald Trump…..”It’s really sad. We have to be very prayerful. I pray for the president all the time,” Pelosi said Friday morning in an exclusive interview with “Morning Joe.” “I pray for the safety of his family….”


        1. Acacia

          Pelosi worries the plan B snipers might accidentally take out Trump’s children instead of their intended target?

          1. inode_buddha

            I think she needs to have a visit from the secret service, I’ve heard they don’t take kindly to these things…

    3. Lost in OR

      There has to be far more for cover-up than two sleeping guards and a non-working camera. Whoever offed Epstein had to pass from the point of entry with associated cameras and searches through multiple inner corridors with security gates, cameras, and guards into the cell block with security gates, cameras, and guards (and other inmates?). And then, after reports of a screaming Epstein, they had to escape without being detected… Not likely. It is as hard to sneak into a prison undetected as it is to sneak out of a prison undetected. And this perp did both? Nope.

      This is a massive cover-up or it’s not a cover-up.

    1. zagonostra

      He is defending is own failure and compromises. The word casuistry came to mind:

      From Wiki:

      [Casuistry] is a process of reasoning that seeks to resolve moral problems by extracting or extending theoretical rules from a particular case, and reapplying those rules to new instances.[1] This method occurs in applied ethics and jurisprudence. The term is also commonly used as a pejorative to criticize the use of clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions (as in sophistry).[2] The word casuistry derives from the Latin noun casus (“case” or “occurrence”).

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Ooooh nice word! #TIL

        IMO he’s defending a few things:

        1. He’s the defending what I call the “compromise as capitulation” paradigm of the status quo. That’s the incrementalist, sound-finance approach that provides cover to the “adults in the room” like himself and the other Dem kleptocrats as they give concessions to the feral GOP and the donor class, while kneecapping any progressive agenda as too extreme or too costly (how are we gonna pay for that?!).

        2. He is providing a little bit of cover for his boy Biden – LOL. To wit:

        ” … listen we all have flaws! Whomst amongst us hasn’t during the course of a lifetime of service embellished a story rife with racist undertones about confronting a black pool gangster named Corn-pop? Or perhaps held a position against integration? Or even occasionally supported legislation to impoverish those with student debt? See? We all have flaws!!! But that shouldn’t prevent you from supporting us!”

        Obama will go down as one of the greatest political frauds of all time, and I hope I live long enough to read that in a textbook.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Does Obama possess this kind of self reflection or acknowledge failures or even missteps?

    2. Acacia

      Seen on Twitter:

      “The world is messy, that’s why I executed US citizens without due cause on my own initiative by flying death robots,” says former president in defense of not being woke.

  2. a different chris

    >People who do really good stuff have flaws

    Dude, I’m not worried about the people who “do really good stuff”. It’s the guys that don’t (please consult a mirror) that bother me.

    PS: I always appreciate the pictures but never bother to comment. Jen’s today is beautiful, as are all of them (even, maybe especially the fungus of I think last week).

    1. Robert Valiant

      1. People who do really good stuff have flaws.
      2. Obama has flaws.
      3. Therefore, Obama did really good stuff.


      1. Anthony G Stegman

        People who do really good stuff go on to make $100M peddling books and speeches. We should all be so good.

  3. Hepativore

    Compromise is perfectly fine if you actually make an effort to start from a position of trying to get all of what you are after, and then negotiating to get at least some of what you want in return for concessions from the other side.

    The problem with “compromise” Obama style is that he usually conceded everything without getting anything in return and considered it a political victory. Compromise does not work if the people you are bargaining with are not acting in good faith and you are not making any sort of effort to negotiate for your own stated goals.

    I do wonder how Obama will react in the unlikely event of a Sanders presidency.

      1. Potted Frog

        Since partisan means “a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person” then post-partisan means NOT “a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person”.

        But Obama was not really post-partisan. He was a partisan of financial criminals, war criminals, the security state & secrecy, and profiteers generally. And he’s being well paid for his partisan efforts.

    1. XXYY

      This was definitely the most heinous aspect of Obama’s presidency (well, if you don’t count the wars, flying killer robots, kidnapping, torture, gulags, and so on). He seemed to think that being nice and pre-compromising his proposals would prompt a similar friendly and cooperative response from his opponents. Maybe this is how it was back in the faculty club or something.

      In the real world, opponents read this as weakness and just stonewall and/or press for more concessions.

      I think Bernie has a much more realistic take on how to get what you want in the Washington environment. Fight on a large number of fronts with maximalist policies that are broadly supported by the public, then fight a spirited rear-guard action as needed, publicly shaming opponents for their retrograde positions.

      Looking forward to it!

    2. RubyDog

      Obama’s statement taken in isolation is an obvious truth, and “purity” in the political realm is an impossibility. However, to be an effective leader of change, you need to have some sort of internal guiding principles or moral compass, even if your means to a desired end may have to get “messy”. Can anyone say exactly what Obama’s guiding principles are? If you don’t really have any, you will either end up being a monster, or a weakling who is easily rolled over.

      The last president who was able to accomplish any significant progressive change was probably LBJ, and he had his obvious flaws, so that point is well taken. He was a master of the power game though, which Obama was decidedly not.

      However, it’s apparent that progressives and Democrats (I know, not the same thing), can be their own worst enemy, when they focus on ideological purity and identity politics, to the detriment of getting anything done.

      1. Robert Moore Williams

        progressives and Democrats…can be their own worst enemy, when they focus on ideological purity and identity politics, to the detriment of getting anything done.

        True. But that’s a feature, not a bug.

      2. Darius

        The problem with Obama is that he is an obsessive appeaser. He thought if he gives everything away before the deal has even begun, then, Republicans will like him, pat him on the head and tell him what an impressive young man he is. If he throws immigrants under the bus and makes himself the Deporter in Chief, Mitch McConnell will like him, which satisfies his golden retriever-like need for approval from the powerful. If he throws whistle-blowers under the bus, then Republicans will like him. If he throws Yemen under the bus, the Saudis will approve him. If he throws Venezuela under the bus, Republicans will like him, etc., ad nauseam.

        The Pod Save America guys tout these same positions and tactics without embarrassment, irony, or self-awareness. It’s another flavor of “Democrats always cave,” or “Democrats always betray.” This is why Trump is president. “Democrats always blow it.”

    3. nippersdad

      Gabbard weighs in on this interview.:

      “In a nutshell, Obama is saying we all need to have a little more aloha spirit — being respectful and caring towards one another. That means not being so quick to judge, and not seeing everything as black or white. I hope you will join me is bringing the spirit of aloha to the White House.”


      Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the BLM movement will be happy to forgive the crushing of their movement in the spirit of aloha. As will, I am absolutely certain, Occupy Wall Street, the Water Protectors, anti-war, single payer and environmental activists./s

      One wonders how she thought she got on that stage.

  4. JohnnyGL


    Apparently, there’s support for a Federal Job Guarantee.

    The right wing noise machine has yet to turn its gunz on this idea, though. It’ll be predictably attacked as make-work junk, wasteful spending, and sucking resources away from the private sector.

    I think it makes sense that people instinctively like the idea. It would be very comforting knowing there would always be an option available ensure you don’t go broke.

    1. XXYY

      Also, there are literally millions of things that need to be done in the US that the private sector is never going to do because it is too busy gambling and looting. Cleanups, rebuilding and refurbishing, instructing, helping, servicing, feeding, building, everyone in the country could make a huge list.

      Imagine what the typical mayor could do with an ongoing paid federal workforce, one that actually got bigger during economic downturns. Imagine how people will feel seeing their towns getting better instead of worse, and how people will feel doing productive work for decent pay and benefits.

      Hard to overstate.

    2. inode_buddha


      Apparently, there’s support for a Federal Job Guarantee.

      The right wing noise machine has yet to turn its gunz on this idea, though. It’ll be predictably attacked as make-work junk, wasteful spending, and sucking resources away from the private sector.”

      Don’t they already have a Federal job guarantee called “The Military”? I’ve never heard a right-winger question their budget.

  5. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you so much for a beautiful photo from New Hampshire that captured the colors and sense of the end of the season. Different perspective.

  6. dcrane

    So we have Sanders at the top in NH and NV. If Bernie somehow catches on and looks to be a real threat, we will presumably begin to see “dirt” deployed that has been held in reserve.

    Two questions:

    1. Any ideas what they will throw at him? Some stories from the last campaign tried to make him look “icky” from his hippie days. There is also the stuff about Jane Sanders’ financial dealings, and of course the weird “rape essay”.

    2. Will any of it matter? The usual sort of dirt doesn’t hurt Trump because it doesn’t undermine what he representes to his base – that he’s an outsider with his middle finger extended at Washington. The same sort of thing may go for Bernie. The power of his campaign is the unique combination of his FDR/working class message and his authenticity. People believe Sanders like they believe no other candidate. To get him, his opponents need to undermine that authenticity. I’m beginning to think they won’t be able to.

    1. jsn

      It will be interesting to see what they try.

      When they went after Trump, he won because his responses made great TV, making money for his accusers while boosting him with the extended middle finger audience, in a sort of symbiosis of scum (symbiosis of Trump and the Corporate Media, not the middle finger audience with whom I have more sympathy).

      The new, relaxed Bernie may make good TV too, but I try not to get my hopes up: the class risk of elevating Sanders via good TV may violate the acceptable risk to reward profile of our oligarchs who will reign in there corporate voices.

    2. nippersdad

      I think it will be on foreign policy.

      It is going to be hard for him to get us out of neoconservative wars when he is spending his time pushing resolutions against Russian interference with our elections and foreign policy objectives. They are going to have him on tape saying all of the things that our intelligence services most want to become conventional wisdom when he decides that he has to cooperate with the Russians, or anyone who could be construed as their allies, for just about anything. He is putting the anti-war community in the very same trap that Trump presently finds himself in.

      Is it a coincidence that there is a resolution about the Armenian Genocide (1914-1923) NOW, a hundred years later, that it is politically expedient to discredit Turkey for using our very own jihadists to attack the Kurds and that it is the Russians who are throwing them out of Syria?

      I can hear Hillary Clinton cackling all the way to the bank that she told us all he was a Russian asset, but we just wouldn’t listen…….It will be Russians, Russians all the way down.

      1. OH

        You’ll hear Hillay cackling and flying high on her broomstick all evening and into the night tomorrow.

      2. urblintz

        I believe if things look to be moving seriously in Bernie’s favor and the slings start to fly, that he might surprise and start flinging back. I’m not sure he is buried so deeply in the russiagate narrative that he won’t find a way out. In this, his political finale, perhaps he’ll decide to go the full measure of his political vision and call them liars.

        Trump did just that with absolutely no political vision and won by tapping into the great dissatisfaction.

        I think there are plenty of people just waiting for someone on the left to do the same.

        And, miracles of miracles, should Sanders actually win the big enchilada, he will not be seeking compromise with republicans but I think he’d use the ill gotten power which the presidency has acquired through the decades in an attempt to correct the bi-partisan neo-liberal/neo-con tragedy infecting our deadly polity.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “I think there are plenty of people just waiting for someone on the left to do the same.”

          i think and hope the same.
          if trump catching the car taught us anything, it’s that there is a lot of unrest and dissatisfaction out there, under the surface.
          …at least that’s what i find when i wipe away the propaganda goo.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            give me FDR 2.0 with updated views on race and gender, breathing fire and welcoming the hatred of the economic royalists

            PUT. IT. IN. MY. VEINS.

          1. inode_buddha

            They don’t. What they are saying is that both (all) sides are hypocrites, writ large. Why do the Democrats act like they’re so pure?

          2. Kilgore Trout

            Re: “Why does everyone believe Russia is as pure as the driven snow?” Not pure as new snow, but….there was more than one occasion during the Cold War in the 50s that Soviets made overtures about ending the arms race–always rebuffed by SoS Dulles and others. Given their experience in WW2, they were far more realistic about the consequences of a WW3 than our hawks. Krushchev famously said the living would envy the dead after a nuclear exchange. As I understand it, in Ukraine, Russia only “invaded” after their naval base in Crimea and ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine were threatened. Recall the Clinton/Nuland coup that we encouraged/fomented, with assistance of far-right neo-Nazi thugs, likely knowing Russia would enter to protect its vital interests there. US actions entirely cynical and self-serving; under Clinton we began to expand NATO to the east, after telling Gorbachev we would never do that. Right. Why do so many USians think we are “pure as the driven snow”?

          3. WheresOurTeddy

            why does anyone believe anything an American politician or press outlet says about Russia after what we did to them from 1917-1921 and in the 1990s?

          4. Plenue

            We don’t. We believe (read: know) that Russia has legitimate concerns and sensible foreign policy goals, and that it isn’t a wannabe Empire ruled by a Bond villain and eager to conquer Europe.

            In regards to Syria, it’s their Southern Front. They’re sick and tired of the US destroying the Middle East, and they’ve put their foot down that it ends with Syria.

          5. bob

            Why does it matter to you? There’s an entire network on tv dedicated to anti-russian sentiment. They’re keeping an eye on the rooski’s for you. You can let the few people here get off without a loyalty oath. This time.

          6. The Rev Kev

            I rang Rachel Maddow and she assured me that the Rooskies were pure evil and that they stole the 2016 elections from Hillary.

            1. polecat

              Is not the Ghoolag now pure evil .. ?
              …. as of it weren’t apparent, from its Clearly lntended Assimilation of para$itic intent ….

              If its a toss-up between modern-day Russia ..and say, Google …with the attachment of it’s blobbly klingons, then which would you choose as the lesser of two Be-eviles ??

          7. NotTimothyGeithner

            Why do you make straw man arguments?

            The real problem is its clearly an excuse for betting on Hillary, a notably weak candidate. For example, this was the lowest minority turnout in a Presidential election since 1996. Now who was on the ballot in 1996? That would be “new left” third way democrat Bill Clintion with his appeals to “surburban soccer moms” who they later reclassified as “moderate republicans.” He eked out a win over a corpse, and his stewardship ended 50 years of Democratic control of Congress.

            Nope, it wasn’t the Clintons. It was the Russians and the KGB. By relying on the KGB as an excuse, the “OMG Russia” crowd doesn’t have to produce evidence because its a secret. Then of course, there is the usual Republicans clod that Republicans vote for despite Democratic efforts to run the dimmest bulbs they can find to win those votes.

            What is more likely? A person who significantly underperformed Gore (not exactly a charismatic) in 2000, blew one Presidential election, and had little in the way of accomplishment losing to a Republican, or a shadowy plot to use facebook ads run after the election to influence low turnouts in areas the Clinton campaign to bother organize.

            You should look up Occam’s Razor.

      3. Rhondda

        Accepting the, ahem, interagency consensus (as borgist Vindman so helpfully termed it) framing — is a doomed strategy for an effective change agent. Big mistake for Bernie, in my estimation. Wish he hadn’t. But he’s done so several times.

        Weak on foreign policy, as I have said so many times. He’s still the best we’ve got.

      4. anon in so cal

        If it looks as if Bernie Sanders can win the nomination, or if he does win, it will be Russiagate all over again. That’s why some thought Sanders should have denounced the psy ops early on instead of going along with it.

        Getting The Squad’s endorsement will help him with the nomination but will it help in the general? AOC is in favor of open borders. It’s not clear how that will play out, or how it reconciles with Medicare For All.

        1. dcrane

          Very much agree that the Democrats – Bernie included, so far – are making themselves extremely vulnerable with their (at least implied) open borders messages. It’s a huge worry for the general election.

        2. Acacia

          Given his clear position on cutting off the flow of corporate money into the DNC and Washington, I’ve concluded there is really no chance that Sanders can win the nomination. He represents an existential threat to the DNC and DC trough feeders. The party threw him under the bus and cynically manipulated his supporters before, and they’ll certainly do it again.

          It’s probably a done deal, but it makes sense that they string the voters along, just like in 2016, banking on the fact that many of Sanders’ supporters will vote for Warren (or whomever gets chosen in the smoky back room) as “the closest option”.

    3. Hepativore

      They might further expand on the dig that the New York Times tried to do a few months ago in portraying the Sander’s campaign team as being rife with misogynists.

      Actually, the establishment media might try “MeTooing” Bernie Sanders. Imagine if they paid a bunch of women to pose as people around Sanders or his associates and falsely report numerous incidents of sexual assault or inappropriate sexual conduct and try and have it erupt into a Twitter storm and media circus. This way they could get even more mileage out of the “Bernie bro” smear and portray Sanders as being a dirty old pervert.

      It would be highly dishonest, but the damage could be catastrophic.

      1. False Solace

        They’ll come up with complete nonsense, like the anti-Semite smears against Corbyn. Whatever it is, they’ll flog it 24/7. It will never end. Never. It will just get more and more outrageous and unsupported by evidence they’ll shout it louder and louder and most people you meet will buy into it unquestioningly. The smears will never stop. Until he’s gone.

        RRR is the most popular smear here, so that’s probably the avalanche they’ll bury Bernie with. He visited the Soviet Union, you know.

        And Trump will help them.

        1. Plenue

          They’ve already been doing that for years. Two of the most prominent are that he’s a rich hypocrite who owns three houses, and the other is that he wrote an essay in support of rape. Nothing they use has stuck.

        2. polecat

          Who has the power to rescind broadcast licenses ?? .. because clearly, with the Major Knews! Corpse spewing soo much lying crap, both in print and over the ether .. if now is not the time to bring the M$M to heel, then when ? Then there are the Big IT Giants !, who ALSO need to be curbed ..

          They are, to a one, in my estimation, implicit in any actions developing ..that could ignite a civil war.

      2. Kilgore Trout

        Alas the smears will be multiple, none alone fatal, but the right will do their best to make the cumulative effect sufficient to hurt him with those on the fence. For starters: his Soviet honeymoon, the fact he’s recently become a millionaire from his best selling books, and now owns 3 homes, one in DC and two in Vt., his wife’s management of a local college that went belly-up. Doubtless more they’ll dig up.

      1. dcrane

        And the question is whether that sort of thing will matter. I don’t know that story well – does it damage Sanders’ authenticity? Why would a spouse who made questionable decisions cause a voter who wants M4A (and a shift to worker-friendly government) not to vote for Bernie?

        I will read up on that issue now.

  7. DonCoyote

    Listening to Kyle Kulinski on Joe Rogan, and out of nowhere they brought up Saudi Arabia’s Anti-WitchCraft Unit:

    “In accordance with our Islamic tradition we believe that magic really exists,” Abdullah Jaber, a political cartoonist at the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, told The Media Line. “The fact that an official body, subordinate to the Saudi Ministry of Interior, has a unit to combat sorcery proves that the government recognizes this, like Muslims worldwide.”

    The unit is charged with apprehending sorcerers and reversing the detrimental effects of their spells. On the CPV website, a hotline encourages citizens across the kingdom to report cases of sorcery to local officials for immediate treatment.

    The belief in sorcery is so widespread in Saudi Arabia, that it is even used as a defense in criminal court cases. Last October, a judge accused of receiving bribes in a real-estate project told a court in Madinah that he had been bewitched and is undergoing treatment by Quranic incantations, known as ruqiyah, a common remedy for the evil eye.

    This will be Trump’s defense next week…

    1. ambrit

      I can see the attack ‘articles’ now: “Evil Mastermind Behind Putin’s Satanic Puppet Masters Exposed! Baba Yaga Directorate Unveiled!” Or: “Nancy Reagan Kept America Safe From Russian Sorcerers! American Astrologers Protect Nation!” Etc.

    2. a different chris

      >has a unit to combat sorcery

      Man why can’t I land a gig like that? Screw this real work s(family blog)t.

    3. The Rev Kev

      So are we talking about CSI: Riyadh here? Or would that be AWU: Riyadh as in Anti-Witchcraft Unit: Riyadh. It would be a cross between a Crime Scene Investigation and X-Files. It would be a racy TV series in Saudi Arabia where you might get to glimpse the heroine’s wrist.

      1. polecat

        ‘Hope you enjoyed your holiday of detachment … and don’t forget to come back again …
        Just don’t let things go to your head next life.’

    1. chuck roast

      Sorry, this link didn’t work, but the showed a picture of this big building on a hilltop almost surrounded by smoke and flames. They claimed that it was a library…a Reagan library in California. How could a guy who never picked up a book in his life have a library? It defies logic. Well, with any luck they mislabeled it. We can only hope that it is the Getty Museum.

        1. Kilgore Trout

          A full-size mock-up of the Borax wagon with its “20 mule team”. And GE commercials on an endless loop.

    2. polecat

      That’s because one only needs to choose a disc from the era, time, or place that they wish to escape to.

      Ask The “Librarian” for proper assistance, whether by push, or by shove .. just try to avoid any ice-age planet named ‘Hillary’ ..

        1. ambrit

          If only this edifice were another “Unseen” erection.
          Although I would not be surprised to find the finished project has a ‘Hidden Basement’ where Eldritch Tomes were secreted. (Maybe the thrice dreaded Epstein Tapes?)

    3. hunkerdown

      Q: How many copies of the neoliberal instruction manual The Road to Serfdom can you fit into a building that size?

      A: All of them.

  8. Phacops

    Re: Sculptured Rocks Natural Area

    Was that due to work by the stream, or part of another event? There are areas that look like that, along the Ottawa River or the Petewawa River, that were due to the rapid draining of massive lakes toward the Atlantic as the glaciers receded from the Canadian Shield.

    1. ambrit

      The sides are the key. These look to have nearly vertical sides, indicating rapid erosion. Slow erosion water channels usually have sloping sides.
      Right now, there is an unanswered question as to how many cosmic impactors to the ice shield there were at the beginning and end of the Younger Dryas period. One site is the newly discovered crater under the Greenland ice sheet, another is Lake Nipigon in Ontario Province. The latter also has vertical walled canyons emanating from it. The Slate Islands in Lake superior are another.
      Read: https://astrobob.areavoices.com/2009/03/09/meet-lake-superiors-meteor-crater/

      1. Oregoncharles

        More evidence of an Ontario impact on the ice is in the form of a large number of oval craters in the Southeast US. They’re quite shallow and there’s no evidence of meteorites in the bottom. The axes, collectively, point to an area in Canada. Theory: large impact on the ice sent chunks of ice all the way to Alabama. Would have been a terrifying bombardment.

        Not sure where I saw this – probably Discover, a couple years ago, so no link.

        1. ambrit

          The Carolina Bays I believe. One of the original signs that the ‘official’ narrative was not sacrosanct.
          The Younger Dryas theorized impacts were at probably 12,800 YBP +/-.
          Also, there is the Burckle Crater at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Roughly dated to around 3000 BC, it would have created gigantic tsunamis. That one needs more investigation. I’m all for looking into a suggested catastrophe site, even if it disproves the Catastrophist Hypothesis. Oddly enough, few “reputable” scientists want to find out either way.
          Sometimes I think that Sloth should be declared the Patron Sin of Credentialed Academics.

  9. Robert Hahl

    Back to the ’60s.

    Antônio Carlos Jobim – Wave

    Andrés Segovia – Guitar Concerto N°1, Op.99 – Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

    Dr John – Jump Sturdy

    Tom Lehrer – National Brotherhood Week

    Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove

    The Mamas and The Papas – Creeque Ally

    1. urblintz

      “…It’s fun to eulogize
      the people you despise
      as long as you don’t let ’em in your schools!”

      1. hunkerdown

        There are three ex-NSA employees I respect enough to not spit on. Edward Snowden , William Binney, and Tom Lehrer.

    1. scarn

      Talking voices on one of the local NPR affiliates (KCRW) were concerned about the fire burning over sainted Ronnie’s grave. Seems right and natural to me.

      1. ambrit

        Someone has to ‘Deep Fake’ flames coming up out of that Unhallowed Spot. Especially on All Hallow’s Eve.
        I hope that Nancy’s ‘Court Astrologers’ are still on the job to protect the Nation against the Forces and Powers of Darkness that will issue forth from Anti-Saint Ronald’s Grave for that justly feared night.

      2. urblintz

        ironic twist.. that the deserved scorn for Reagan provokes schadenfreude for his grave being burned, the event would also symbolize the current destruction of the one good thing he accomplished: nuclear detente with Russia

    2. polecat

      My worry is not for the Library .. but for that wax replica of the smartest one in the entire bunch ! – ‘Bonso’

  10. BoyDownTheLane

    “… “Y’all were running from us, and you’re still running,” she said…..“As we moved in, white folks moved out, because they were afraid of what our families represented,” she said….”

    Trump tweeted: “Was this message brought to us live from Martha’s Vinyard? I hear it’s lovely there.”


    “… For those wondering why so few national media outlets are covering this mass shooting with wall-to-wall coverage (all in a bid to convince white gun-owners to give up their firearms and abandon their 2nd Amendment rights), the initial shooting at the “Twerk or Tweet” Halloween party and subsequent retaliatory shooting at the vigil didn’t involve any white people.

    You can go back to watching your regularly scheduled program of Bob and Abishola on CBS now.”


    “… for some inexplicable reason, in Q3 the American consumer was scrambling to buy… recreational vehicles.”


    “… “We’re talking about the bag tax, a progressive tax, a rain tax, a mileage tax, a TV tax, a beer and tobacco tax, a farm tax, a parking tax, a car trade-in tax…”….”


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Trump tweeted: “Was this message brought to us live from Martha’s Vinyard [sic]? I hear it’s lovely there.”

      That’s Don Junior, but it’s still a sick burn, all the sicker because Oak Bluffs is the historically black part of Martha’s Vineyard, although not where the Obama’s chose to locate. The people and the noise, ya know….

  11. ewmayer

    So, after 3 days sans power/internet here in my lovely corner of Marin county — I’m actually near downtown Novato, near sea level, only a few low hillsides around, per the PG&E website early Saturday afternoon not supposed to be preemptively ‘outed’, — busy catching up on normal life activities, including lots of NC material. So indulge me as I take the especially snark-worthy headlines from the past 3 days as they come:

    o Pelosi, Schumer call for briefing on death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi The Hill — I thought y’all were too busy doing impeachment puppet theater. Anyhow, couldn’t one of your pet secret Intel-Complex spook-warrior-hero-whistleblowers brief you on what really happened?

    o President Donald Trump greeted with boos at Game 5 of World Series, fans chant ‘lock him up’ USA Today — Well, this *is* a bunch of folks whose patriotism involves cheering for a Canadian team called “The Nationals”, after all.

    o Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan — About which The Rev Kev wrote, “Bezos idolizes the captain of the starship USS Enterprise-D, Jean-Luc Picard? I’m not sure why. When you look at the character of Jeff Bezos and that of Jean-Luc Picard, I cannot see the similarity.” — Rev, I think it’s an “aspirational handsome visionary bald man” thing going on here.

    o Democratic Rep. Katie Hill to resign amid allegations of improper relationship with staffer — Would a “rising polls” quip here be considered outré?

    o California’s Governor Wants Berkshire to Bid for Bankrupt PG&E | Bloomberg — Right … because selling PG&E to another bunch of profit-seeking greedheads is the answer. Gavin Newsom, neoliberal twit extraordinaire. Hey, Gav, put down that preening mirror for a sec and let me run this crazy idea by you: How about the state of CA use whatever legal leverage it can muster and use that rainy day fund and bond issuance capability to buy out PG&E in bankruptcy court? I’m sure a case could be made that CA has a compelling interest compared to the usual hierarchy of creditors. (Perhaps one of NC’s legal experts could comment on this.) Then run it as an actual, you know, *public* utility, not-for-profit, and use the many $billions/year currently going to lavish executive compensatio and shareholder dividends to instead begin the necessary and long-criminally-neglected overhaul of PG&E’s statewide infrastructure. Jeebus frickin’ Christ, “Berkshire should own it”, together with PIMPCO and notorious vulture Paul Singer’s griftCorp, Elliott Management.

    o Increasingly popular single-use bans pose hurdle for plastics industry | Waste Dive — Where did I put my nanoscale violin? I can never find it when I need it to play a weepy molecular-scale dirge for poor victims of repressive government policies, in this case the woe-is-us plastics industry.

    o Better batteries are fueling a surge of electric scooters in India and China | The Conversation — Ginormous sidewalk-collisions, toxic-materials-disposal and battery-fires crises to follow hard upon. The price of progress!

    o Best Lines in Fiction — my tiny contribution is this Bertie Wooster confession in Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehous: “How it happened, I couldn’t tell you to this day, but I once got engaged to [Sir Roderick Glossop’s] daughter, Honoria, a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rock-bound coast.”

    o S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, August 2019: “Home prices failed to improve in August, showing disappointing results” | Econoday — Equating less affordable housing with “improvement” and more affordable housing as a “disappointing result” is rather revelaing of Econoday’s priors, wouldn’t you say?

    o California shows the difficulties of hardening the nation to climate change | Editorial Board, WaPo — One of said difficulties apparently being the sheer impossibility of operating public utilities like, you know, public utilities, rather than letting a bunch of Wall-Street-inspired greedheads skim off the revenues and run.

      1. ewmayer

        Here is latest from the Mercury news website – on the main page it was well below multiple articles about the Warriors’ Steph Curry breaking his hand. Main article is about the SoCal fires, but links below and in sidebar have news about e.g. the Kincade fire near Santa Rosa. My housemates’ parents live in the Santa Rosa area, currently staying with friends, hoping to go home today:


  12. The Rev Kev

    In good news, there is not much chance of a major military strike by the US in the Middle east anytime soon. The reason is that every US carrier on the east coast is in the shop for repairs at the moment and won’t be out for months at least-


    No wonder the US Navy is looking to “borrow” the British carriers for their squadrons to use.

    1. Yves Smith

      His report was totally off base. Lots of people who are not at all in bed with Corporate America, like insurance expert John Hempton and short seller David Einhorn, said the report had quite a few fundamental misreadings.

  13. ewmayer

    Just saw an ad for the upcoming (December-release) Clint Eastwood film about security guard Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Park bombing. Yah, those hero-warriors of truth, justice and democracy at the FBI and in the Big Media covered themselves in glory in that incident, as well … we really should let them, the CIA and the MSM chnage the head of state, should they deem the elected one not to their liking.

  14. ambrit

    It’s Karinewsy Night, so, I’ll throw this in.
    Yuri Gregarin was not the first Russian in space. That honour should go to a famous Russian test pilot named Vladimir Ilyushin. He circled the Earth several times, and landed, alive, but his mission went somewhat wrong and was covered up by Moscow for reasons of national pride and propaganda.
    If you have the time, almost an hour. From 2003: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKYfEjg0liU
    A cautionary tale about the reliability of “Official News” sources and the biases of elites.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the article:

      GayDonna Vandergriff has spent much of the year running for the House of Delegates with Hillary-blue campaign signs and a website that touts public schools and the environment but makes no mention that she’s a Republican.

      But days before Tuesday’s state election, Vandergriff is executing a hard right turn toward her GOP base.

      Why early voting is so, so stupid.

  15. JohnB

    I don’t see pensions mentioned too often on NC. The rollout of government-mandated auto-enrollment into pension funds is a thing in the UK, and now in Ireland – I have big objections to this, because I view it as a forced subsidization of the finance industry thrust onto the public, and I do not believe it is easy (maybe not even possible at all) to properly identify pension funds that are ethical to invest in.

    So in short, I view it as government-forced investment from the entire working population, into unethical financial investments, subsidizing the finance industry as a whole, as well as exploitative/unethical businesses outside of finance, too.

    I can’t get my head around all of the concerns regarding pensions, about ethics, the potential to be defrauded by funds being pilfered/mismanaged, the need to prepare financially for retirement, information asymmetry and the lack of transparency with funds and their management, and just my general cynical mistrust of the finance industry – including other general ethical concerns about ‘money making money’, which pensions are a form of (sort of, despite investment/risk).

    It leaves me a bit unsure of how to view all of that, and what to do with money I’d want to build up for retirement, when I have that spare.

    I know about the need to advocate for proper political solutions – that economically, governments are completely capable of providing 100% of a persons basic retirement funding – and that this presently isn’t politically palatable, and needs to become so. I can’t depend on that happening though, so it leaves me a bit lost with trying to figure things out, with the way things presently are.

Comments are closed.