2:00PM Water Cooler 10/9/2019

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Readers, I had toothgrindingly annoying issues uploading my images, so this is lighter than it should be. More later. –lambert


A long thread on the administration’s new blacklist:

From the investor’s standpoint:


“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 10/8/2019, 12:00 PM EDT:

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

Still waiting for the impact of Sanders heart attack. If there are no shifts by the end of the week, I’d say Sanders, er, dodges a bullet. Ditto for Warren’s various difficulties with oppo, And here are the poll results:

Thanks to everyone for the good discussion yesterday.

I think dk has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Feinstein officially endorses Biden: ‘I’ve seen firsthand his legislative ability'” [The Hill]. “‘I’ve worked closely with Vice President Biden and I’ve seen firsthand his legislative ability, his statesmanship, and most importantly his moral fortitude,’ Feinstein said in a statement Tuesday. “‘During his time in Congress and in the White House, Joe Biden has been a tireless fighter for hardworking American families.'” • Like condemning a generation college students to debt servitude; that bill was brilliantly crafted!

Buttigeig (D)(1): “Collin Martin, Openly Gay Pro Soccer Player, Is Endorsing Pete Buttigieg” [Buzzfeed]. “Collin Martin, a major league soccer player and the only openly gay man on a US professional sports team in the five majors, is endorsing Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. ‘I’ve been following along with Pete for a bunch of months now, and I’ve been completely impressed by the guy,’ Martin told BuzzFeed News over a phone call Tuesday morning. ‘Obviously, I think we’re at a really critical time in our country, not only concerning who’s in the presidency now but just with issues like climate and upholding people’s basic rights. And I think Pete’s the man for the job. I’ve been completely enamored by him.’ Martin pointed to Buttigieg’s remarks in April aimed at Vice President Mike Pence, when he said, ‘If you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.’ Martin said that as a gay man of faith that it was a moment when he thought to himself, ‘This guy just really gets it.'”

O’Rourke (D)(1): “Exclusive: Beto O’Rourke unveils sweeping women’s rights plan” [Salon]. “To expand access to reproductive health and rights, O’Rourke calls for repealing the Hyde Amendment — which bans federal funding for most abortions — and guaranteeing private insurance coverage for abortion…. [T]he former Texas congressman promises to champion the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution… O’Rourke proposes to allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the ability to require large employers to ‘automatically impose a remedy to close gaps, fining companies that fail to correct disparities.’ He also wants to sign the ‘Paycheck Fairness Act,’ which he alleges would prohibit employers from seeking salary histories, protect workers from retaliation for discussing pay with coworkers, require employers to collect pay data for an annual EEOC report and ‘prove pay gaps are job-related business necessities.’ The former congressman vows to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, authorize negotiation programs for women and girls and make it illegal for employers to pay their part-time workers a lower hourly wage than full-time employees, and illegal to deny those workers opportunities for promotions or time off.”

O’Rourke (D)(2): “O’Rourke: I won’t run for Texas Senate seat” (video) [MSNBC]. • Reiteration.

Sanders (D)(1): “The pundit class continues to misunderstand Bernie Sanders – and it shows” [Nathan Robinson, Guardian]. “In part, the media underestimates Bernie because it can’t understand Bernie. The new ad quotes CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson saying it’s “really hard to imagine who the Bernie Sanders voter is at this point”. And it’s true: if you are, like Henderson, a Yale graduate living in Washington DC, or you are, like the New York Times’ Sydney Ember, a former financial analyst for an investment bank, the source of Bernie’s appeal must be mystifying. That’s because Sanders returns again and again to issues that are of little interest to the political media, like environmental policy, social welfare, and education.”

Trump (R)(1): Where’s the lie?

Trump (R)(2): “Unpaid bills pile up in Trump rallies’ wake” [Politics]. • “That makes me smart” works for taxes. Not bills.

Warren (D)(1): “In Shift, Warren Says She’ll Forgo Big Money Events if Nominated” [New York Times]. “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has risen in the Democratic presidential primary on her pledge to forgo traditional big-money fund-raisers, said this week that if she became the nominee she would continue to skip such events, a reversal of what her position has been throughout 2019.” • Good, but “events” is a bit more carefully worded than I would prefer.

2016 Post Mortem

“Clinton jokes she could ‘obviously’ beat Trump in 2020 ‘rematch'” [The Hill]. “‘Obviously I can beat him again,’ Clinton joked on ‘PBS NewsHour’ in an apparent reference to her earning a majority of the popular vote in the 2016 election. Trump won the Electoral College vote, 304-227.” • Not a joking matter.

Our Famously Free Press

CBS. Note the color:

CNN. Note the saturation:

It’s almost like they want to make him look like stroke material, isn’t it?


“Whistleblower had ‘professional’ tie to 2020 Democratic candidate” [Byron York, Washington Examiner]. “Under questioning from Republicans during last Friday’s impeachment inquiry interview with [the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, he] revealed that the whistleblower’s possible bias was not that he was simply a registered Democrat. It was that he had a significant tie to one of the Democratic presidential candidates currently vying to challenge President Trump in next year’s election. ‘The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,’ said one person with knowledge of what was said. ‘The IG said the whistleblower had a professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates,’ said another person with knowledge of what was said. ‘What [Atkinson] said was that the whistleblower self-disclosed that he was a registered Democrat and that he had a prior working relationship with a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate,” said a third person with knowledge of what was said.” • Well, that’s interesting. National security advisor? Lawfare lawyer?

“Trump Finally Has His Lawyer” [The Atlantic]. “Whereas McGahn seemed to reflexively say no to the president’s orders, current and former senior officials said, [Pat] Cipollone has been eager to bring Trump’s vision to life—he is, as one former official put it, willing to ‘play ball.’ The officials rooted his willingness to cooperate in another quality that sets Cipollone apart from his predecessor: Cipollone, they said, came into office with no personal agenda in mind. ‘The one thing with Pat is, it’s not about him,’ Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, told us. ‘Things that go well are the president’s accomplishments,’ not Cipollone’s. None of the current and former officials we spoke with could name a single issue about which he was particularly passionate.” • Hmm. The very last thing Trump needs is a yes-man.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him Everywhere” [The Onion]. • From 2014, still germane.

A-a-a-n-d about the odd connections of Bush’s seat-mate, Ellen DeGeneres. Thread:

“Scapegoat Country” [Dissent]. “The subject of a Trump Country piece is usually white, disgruntled, and committed, still, to the jingoism the president embodies. The journalist rarely identifies the characteristics of that jingoism or shows much curiosity about the source of its appeal. This approach yokes rural America firmly to Trump in the public mind while sidestepping white nationalism. The stories are, as Ashley Feinberg of the Huffington Post wrote, a form of ‘pornography,’ produced ‘less as a way of explaining the country to their audience than as a way for media outlets to gratify themselves, or perhaps to atone for the perceived sin of overlooking Trump supporters the year before.’ Trump is not the president of just rural America. He won office because his message took root in coastal cities and suburbs, too. But national reporters found few occasions to explore the ascendant conservatism of these places. Consider Collier County, Florida, and McDowell County, West Virginia, two counties that voted heavily for Trump. Despite the fact that Collier County’s voter turnout was more than twice that of McDowell County, only the latter drew national attention. The wealthier, more suburban residents of Collier County did not inspire the derision of liberals—nor did they command the attention of conservatives, who were eager to pin Trump’s success to the reactionary yearnings of the mythologized heartland worker. This selective interest in a particular type of Trump voter—and the synonymization of white conservatives with rural geographies—reinforced perceptions many onlookers already possessed. Location alters a place’s material needs and shapes the struggles of its inhabitants, but rurality does not make a community simple.” • This is very good. (I would imagine that both Republicans and liberal Democrats are vying for the attentions of Collier County.

“‘Skeptics can be converted’: Stacey Abrams says convincing Americans of voter suppression is crucial” [Yahoo News]. “Fair Fight [of the groups Abrams started after the 2018 election] is funding a $5 million effort to place four staff members inside the state Democratic Party apparatus in 20 battleground states over the next year to conduct ‘voter protection operations.'” • As usual, liberal Democrats will never fight for universal benefits — like everyone deserving “voter protection” (whatever that means) — but only benefits for the worthy; in this case, those whose votes matter because they’re in a battleground state. I’d also expect the NGO to be dissolved after the election, to ensure that nobody learns anything.

Health Care

“Massachusetts Unions: Medicare for All, or No Endorsement” [The Intercept]. “Members of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO recently passed a unanimous resolution to endorse a presidential candidate only if that candidate supports Medicare for All, marking a break from the labor federation’s national leadership, which has equivocated on the question of whether to support universal health care.” • See on Massachusetts Senator Warren’s #MedicareForAll position here.

Stats Watch

JOLTS, August 2019: “Job openings remain plentiful but nevertheless continue to shrink” [Econoday]. “This report is not pointing to increasing capacity stress in the labor market and will offer doves at the Federal Reserve arguments that interest rates can continue to come down without risking an unwanted spike in wage pressures.”

Wholesale Trade, August 2019: “Wholesale inventories rose” [Econoday]. “Sales at the wholesale level are subdued, unchanged in August to keep the stock-to-sales ratio in the sector unchanged.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 4, 2019: “Purchase applications fell… though year-on-year growth … remains favorable [Econoday].

Shipping: “International Business Machines Corp. is taking steps to turn supply-chain management toward artificial intelligence. The company is bundling several of its supply-chain management tools into a single platform called the Sterling Supply Chain Suite…. extending tools aimed at navigating an increasingly complex landscape for the flow of goods and services. The suite is part of a broader push to automate business decisions between buyers and suppliers” [Wall Street Journal]. “The newest wrinkle for IBM is a program that can forecast how a hurricane or other event might disrupt a supply chain and then recommend alternative suppliers or other actions. That adds to the growing attention companies are paying to risk management in supply chains.”

The Bezzle: “In a world full of strained relations between companies and their suppliers, the tensions between Tesla Inc. and Panasonic Corp. stand out. The partnership between the electric car maker and its automotive battery supplier is causing headaches for both companies… with the fortunes of the two very different operators now closely tied to a relationship that began in Tesla’s early days more than a decade ago” [Wall Street Journal]. “The relationship that led Panasonic to invest billions in a shared Gigafactory battery plant in the Nevada desert has exposed a culture clash between the conservative, century-old Japanese conglomerate and the 16-year-old Silicon Valley upstart. The companies are pointing fingers at each other over the handling of battery production and remain at odds over pricing and expansion, adding stresses to supply-chain questions that loom over the futures of both businesses.”

* * *

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

The Biosphere

“Unprecedented power outages begin in California as winds bring critical fire danger” [Los Angeles Times]. “In an unprecedented move, Pacific Gas & Electric early Wednesday began shutting off power to about 800,000 customers across Northern California in an attempt to avoid wildfires caused by winds damaging power equipment…. Southern California Edison announced it, too, was considering preventive power outages.” • Welcome to the Third World, California! (On California wildfires, see NC here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. But good for public libraries:

Here is a map of the proposed outages. Note that “800,000 customers” = “800,000 accounts,” i.e. households. So many more are affected.

“The human small intestinal microbiota is driven by rapid uptake and conversion of simple carbohydrates” [Nature]. “The human gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) contains several compartments with distinct anatomy and function, and is of utmost importance in supplying the body with energy and essential nutrients by converting and absorbing food components. The GI tract is colonized with approximately 1000 microbial species, commonly called the microbiota, and may harbor more than nine million unique genes.” • At some point, we’re going to discover that the gut microbiota is doing quantum computing, and then a lot of thinking will have to change…


“How Stormwater Affects Your Rivers” [American Rivers]. “Rivers are dependent on their surrounding lands (known as the watershed) for a consistent supply of clean water. Altering a watershed does many things; one of the most significant is to alter the way stormwater soaks into the ground or flows to the local river. When managed properly, this water is a valuable resource. However, when stormwater is managed like a waste product, it exacerbates flooding and becomes contaminated with pollutants…. Impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and roofs associated with sprawling urban development significantly change natural river flow patterns and the recharge of underground water supplies. Rainfall cannot soak into the ground through these surfaces and thus does not replenish groundwater supplies. Impervious surfaces also increase the amount and speed of water entering rivers and other water bodies.” • Impermeable surfaces are bad, bad, bad!

Health Care

“D.C. to Move Disabled Medicaid Patients Into Private Managed Care Plans” [Washington City Paper]. “The District’s health insurance program for low-income and disabled people will be fully managed by private companies beginning in October 2020. The rollout will take roughly five years. It’s a massive change. The individuals that rely on this insurance are among D.C.’s most vulnerable: They have a disability, behavioral health diagnosis, or chronic illness like HIV. Some patient advocates are wary if private insurance companies should coordinate their care and services in exchange for a set fee per month, as the evidence is thin on whether these contractors can effectively do so…. ‘We just can’t do things the way we’ve been doing year upon year,’ says Mary’s Center Chief Medical Officer Tollie Elliott. ‘Any time you have a change, there are always going to be growing pains associated with it … ultimately, a coordinated effort is going to drive down costs.'” • It’s not your pain, champ.

“Between life and death, patients left with little choice on air ambulance costs in rural Nevada” [Nevada Independent]. “‘[A]ny emergency situation it’s hard to think about the cost when you’re so focused on access to care. ‘When you’re in that situation, you’re not thinking about the cost,’ Wichman said. ‘You’re thinking about, ‘I want to live.'” • “Nice little cut you’ve got there. It would be a shame if you bled out.”

The 420

“Marijuana Business Seeks Full 10th Cir. Review in Overtime Case” [Bloomberg]. “A Colorado marijuana business wants the full Tenth Circuit to reconsider whether marijuana workers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, even though their work violates federal drug laws. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently ruled that employers in the marijuana industry aren’t excused from complying with the FLSA’s overtime rules simply because their business practices are federally prohibited.”

Our Famously Free Press

“WHYY says it will not recognize the union. Now what?” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “It’s hard to say why WHYY is doing this, but generally, employers want to keep unions out at all costs. Once unions are in, it’s hard to get them out. That said, Braman said more than 80% is an overwhelming majority. WBUR’s union had the same amount of support when it first declared its intent to unionize and won the election, 73-3.” • WHYY sold a lot of tote bags, too….

Black Injustice Tipping Point

An experience I have never come remotely close to having. Thread:

Groves of Academe

“To Improve Our University We Must Move Massive Amounts of Human Waste Into Your Offices” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. • This is great. Everything you would expect it to be!

Class Warfare

“Kentucky Coal Miners End Blockade After More Than 8 Weeks, Still Owed Earned Wages” [Daily Wire]. “Kentucky coal miners demanding weeks in back pay have ended a high-profile railroad blockade despite still being owed their earned wages. The demonstration, which lasted eight weeks and three days, concluded on Thursday as the number of participants had significantly dwindled. According to one reporter at the protest site, many of the unpaid miners left ‘to take new jobs, start classes, or move away from their coal-dependent communities.’… The parked coal, once valued at $1 million, will stay put until a federal bankruptcy judge decides its fate. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) argues the coal is considered ‘hot goods’ and must be ‘cooled’ – meaning those who mined it are paid their owed wages before the product can be transported in interstate commerce. The court is expected to rule on the DOL’s motion in October. Felicia Cress, the wife of a former Blackjewel miner, told the Ohio Valley ReSource: ‘This happened because we got shafted, which happens all the time,’ she said. ‘You got these rich people that s*** on these poor people, and people just overlook it.'” • See, there’s your “economic anxiety,” right there. Last to go was Chris Rowe, who played a somewhat equivocal role in the departure of the anarchists supporting the effort.

“Coal company offers deal that could pay hundreds of Kentucky miners for unpaid wages” [Herald-Leader]. “After months of litigation and weeks of protests in Harlan County, the deal could provide Blackjewel LLC with about $5.5 million that it would use to pay its former Kentucky employees. While the deal has yet to be finalized, officials with the U.S. Department of Labor said during Wednesday’s court hearing that they expect to come to an agreement with Blackjewel as early as next week. Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said Wednesday’s proposed deal provides hope for a resolution that miners stood on the train tracks for weeks to accomplish: getting paid all their back wages and any other money they have been shorted, including 401(k) contributions. ‘It’s very, very encouraging,’ he said of the proposal. “They deserve to get what they’re owed.'” • Amazingly, Trump’s Department of Labor actually did the right thing here, by declaring the train “hot goods.”

* * *

“I ran a business. I know a CEO doesn’t need to make 1,000 times more than his workers.” [USA Today (S)]. “At the ripe old age of 98, I’ve now been around long enough to watch the American business landscape evolve over the grand sweep of time — and I haven’t liked that evolution. Top executives today can pocket more for a morning’s labor than their employees earn in an entire year. Last year, the Institute for Policy Studies reports, 50 major U.S. corporations paid their chief executives more than 1,000 times what they paid their typical workers. I never paid myself more than four or five times what my employees were making. I lived like my friends in my hometown of Spirit Lake, Iowa. I drove an older car, served as a scoutmaster and resided in a modest home. I had a good life. The younger me would have found today’s corporate world — where share prices mean everything and workers and communities mean just about nothing — unimaginable.”

“Reserve Army Of The Hungry” [Bond Economics]. “In the industrialised countries in the post-war era, providing workers with the resources to allow for ‘food security’ was not considered that big a deal. Hunger was an issue for the jobless. Although I am not an expert on the Soviet system, I believe that even the 1980s Soviet Union managed to feed its workers (a major concern was that they were dipping too much into the vodka rations). Courtesy of the economic policies provided by a highly educated economist class, this is no longer the case. We now have people who are employed, yet need to lean on assistance — either from charities, or governments — to get adequate nutrition. Meanwhile, I am unaware of any collapse in productivity in the agricultural sector that could explain this shift. The question is straightforward: does it matter what the official unemployment numbers are if the people who are working are dependent upon food aid? If we look at the chart at the top of the article…, we can see the explosion of SNAP recipients in response to the Financial Crisis, and the slow rate of decay. (I did not have time to better present the data, but by comparison, the official number of unemployed on the U-3 measure is currently bouncing around 6 million people.) It seems straightforward that if workers as a class had bargaining power — which is what the monetary policy hawks have been warning against since 2010 — SNAP participation would have fallen a lot faster. As a result. it is no surprise that forecasts of rising inflation based on NAIRU estimates would fail. My concern is that it is unclear that even the underemployment indicators will become misleading in this environment.” Well worth a read.

News of the Wired

“‘Collapse OS’ Is an Open Source Operating System for the Post-Apocalypse” [Vice]. “According to the Collapse OS site, Dupras envisions a world where the global supply chain collapses by 2030. In this possible future—kind of a medium-apocalypse—populations won’t be able to mass produce electronics anymore, but they’ll still be an enormous source of political and social power. Anyone who can scavenge electronics and reprogram them will gain a huge advantage over those who don’t… Collapse OS will work with Z80 8-bit microprocessors. Though less common today than 16- and 32-bit components, the 8-bit Z80 can be found in desktop computers, cash registers, musical instruments, graphing calculators, and everything in between. In a Reddit Q&A, Dupras explained that the Z80 was chosen “because it’s been in production for so long and because it’s been used in so many machines, scavenger have good chances of getting their hands on it.'” • News you can use!

* * *

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 (Late Introvert):

Late Introvert: “Way more jalapeños than I know what to do with, from 3 small plants.
Still more on the way. Suggestions welcome. I have a ristra of the older
red ones, that I will use for pepper flakes. Yum.”

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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. David Carl Grimes


    “Ellen DeGeneres message about being kind to ALL is so needed right now. Enough with the divisiveness. We can’t let politics tear us apart. There are things we will disagree on strongly, and things we agree on — let’s treat each other with respect, aloha, and work together for the good of the people. #Nonpartisan”

    Hard to believe Tulsi said that we should respect Bush and Cheney.

      1. Drake

        Any distance that would place him in a country where he would be arrested for war crimes is fine with me. I believe Canada would suffice, at least in theory that would likely never turn into reality.

    1. Dan

      Why is Tulsi associating herself with that hideous freak?
      Great way to alienate herself from the large number of past Trump voters that would support her otherwise.

      “Feinstein officially endorses Biden: ‘I’ve seen firsthand his legislative ability’” [The Hill]. “‘I’ve worked closely with Vice President Biden and I’ve seen firsthand his legislative ability, his statesmanship, and most importantly his moral fortitude’

      Tales from the political crypt, Mausoleum maties

      1. dcrane

        We all have to live together as citizens of this country. We don’t have to be buddies, but we should keep communicating despite even severe disagreements, to the greatest extent possible. The country is going to suffer if we divide into groups that won’t have anything to do with one another.

        I say this although I’m well aware of problem we have in which the rich and powerful protect one another from the consequences of the law. That they instinctively see themselves as allied against the rest of us. Ellen should feel guilty if she has never pressed W. on his damaging actions as president. She ought to support public investigations into the origin of the Iraq war. But if at the end of the day she still feels something in common with W., she should be able to go to a football game with him. In this way I’m with Tulsi on this question.

        1. pretzelattack

          is it his disdain for gays? would she go to a football game with a deplorable who voted for trump? how about harvey weinstein? i think members of the club have something in common with each other, as we increasingly see, but i’m not seeing a lot of kindness trickling down on us from the enclosed corporate viewing suites at the top.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            given that the division in this country are often purely artificial, and based on media and socmed caricatures promoted by giant unaccountable entities who benefit from that division…yes…i agree that we should give our fellow citizens the benefit of the doubt, and endeavor to engage them where they’re at.

            I admit that i have problems applying this to the 1% and the 10%….however, it may be that this is a lack of exposure(me to them and them to me). I’ve known and interacted with a great many 10%-ers in my time(mostly in my 20’s, before i transcended mundane politics(and absconded into the hills)), and have even interacted with a couple of 1%-ers(hard to tell, since they don’t have team shirts in places i go)….and it appears that they are “just people”, too…just like the klansmen i grew up around.
            circumstances, upbringing and life-experiences make them into what they are…it ain’t in the blood.
            ergo, they can all potentially be engaged, and can potentially learn.
            none of this means that i don’t think that darth cheney, or jamie dimon,or lil george shouldn’t be on the menu, come the revolution/collapse…

      2. jrs

        problem is many of those Trump voters also voted for W, so a heck of a lot of triangulating needed if one wades into that.

      3. MichaelSF

        ” and most importantly his moral fortitude, um, turpitude”

        fixed that for you, and please stop being a senator for CA and take Pelosi with you.

    2. Massinissa

      Also, is it really necessary for her to say Aloha constantly? We get it Tulsi, you’re elected from Hawaii, we get it.

      1. Tim

        You apparently don’t get it. She uses the term Aloha here in it’s proper context as a more all encompassing idea than the word “kindness”.

        1. Massinissa

          I’m very aware of that, but she still uses it constantly. Proper context or no, it still gets very repetitive.

      2. ambrit

        “We” might ‘get’ it, but “we,” as in the Commenteriat, are not your average bunch of American Consumers. A main precept of advertising, and what else is a political campaign but an advertising campaign, is repetition. There was a reason that Goebbels studied Bernays. Running the Reich was like a huge selling campaign. Repetition inculcates the retention of a meme. Said retention engenders ‘programming’ of responses. Such programmed responses enable social control.
        Tulsi saying ‘Aloha’ constantly is Politics 101.

        1. russell1200

          LOL – NO, no, no! It is a sneaky attempt to steal the Marianne Williamson faithful away!

          After all Marianne Williamson’s book is titled “A politics of Love”, and Aloha being peace, love and all that stuff.

          1. dcrane

            In her recent interview on the inaugural Halper/Taibbi RollingStone podcast, Tulsi said that Aloha means “I come with respect”. Or at least she emphasized that side of it.

            1. pretzelattack

              with respect to bush, there’s been way too much respect and far too little criminal prosecution for war crimes.

        2. Carolinian

          So Goebbels made her do it? Maybe she’s just really friendly.

          As for

          “Clinton jokes she could ‘obviously’ beat Trump in 2020 ‘rematch’”

          your horrifying prediction becomes ever more credible as Halloween approaches.

          1. ambrit

            “Countess Clinton Rises From The Tomb!”
            A political ‘Tales From The Crypt’ episode.
            This election cycle has hammered home to me, like a stake to the heart of one of the Undead, the essential advice for those trying to navigate the unmarked shoals of modern life; “One cannot be too cynical.”
            I would love to do a pastiche of Lovecraft and name it; “The Call of Clinton.”

                1. ambrit

                  One of Clinton’s acolytes should write a book about the DLC and Third Way and call it “The Oligarchonomicom.” Most certain to be a tome with which to invoke Names.
                  A certain Epstein tried to do so and ended up suffering a horrible fate. Let that be a warning to those who would dabble in the Dark Arts! Indeed, the Fell Fate assigned to Epstein was so terrible, even his very name has been erased from the public memory. (Curious that.)

    3. laughingsong

      Respect goes both ways and sorry but I don’t believe for a second that Bush, Cheney, Graham, Trump, Hillary, etc., would care one whit for anyone not rich, connected, or a celebrity.

      So since they did sooo much to ruin lives out in the actual world, I say . . them first. Show US some respect, then we can talk. Otherwise I will keep working on my design for a shoe trebuchet.

    4. jax

      The rehabilitation of war criminals like George Bush is why we have Gina Haspel directing the C.I.A. My admittedly muddled impression of Tulsi Gabbard just went black-mud dark.

      1. dcrane

        I would just keep in mind that Gabbard’s primary refrain is one of stopping the endless regime change wars. Unless she is not being sincere, this places her in direct conflict with the Haspel/CIA types. No other candidate offers this as their primary message.

        1. pretzelattack

          at some point, if she is sincere, a direct conflict with the haspel/cia types is going to require some unkindness, and even –gasp– a risk of divisiveness. in one possible future, trump, ellen, the clintons, the kissingers, all extant bushes and gina haspel will never share the joy of watching the cowboys lose from jerry’s skybox.

    5. T

      Kind? She wasn’t merely civil. That’s what really galls me about her statement. She makes it sound like she was supposed to spit on him and walk out, instead of not sitting next to him and being a pal.

      If she was merely nice, simply polite, then it wouldn’t be such a big thing.

    6. pretzelattack

      so does this mean ellen will be going to an mma event with trump, soon? they can giggle together, take selfies, the whole 9 yards. maybe share a bonbon or two. maybe get together with bolsonaro for a really festive occasion.

      1. Chris

        Damn right. Cheney and the rest need to spend time in a grave sized cell to reflect on their crimes too.

        Seriously cannot believe things that happened less than 20 years ago are being completely whitewashed.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Seriously cannot believe things that happened less than 20 years ago are being completely whitewashed.

          And by the party that enabled those things, to its great political cost (arguably, their loss in 2020, when Clinton’s Iraq vote was not forgotten or forgiven).

          1. ambrit

            It seems that your subconscious has jumped on the “Two Mommies” bandwagon, and predicted a quite reasonable fiasco ensuing; “…their loss in 2020,…”

  2. Isotope_C14

    “Clinton jokes she could ‘obviously’ beat Trump in 2020 ‘rematch’” [The Hill]. “‘Obviously I can beat him again,’ … • Not a joking matter.”

    She’s going for the brokered convention.

    It’s like a drug resistant tapeworm.

    1. Big River Bandido

      The Clintons and their minions have to be some of the most clueless dolts I’ve ever seen in politics. Beat him “again”??? She didn’t even beat him the first time. If your popular vote “victory” is so narrow that it comes from a single state — you simply don’t have anything close to a winning coalition, or even a governing mandate.

      If she were to be nominated again, she’d do even worse.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Admittedly this is the plan I think.

        Bribe a few “Republicans” to turn on Trump and succeed in impeachment and get Pence to serve out the rest of the term.

        (Those who are so old they don’t care about re-election anyways.)

        Surely Hill and Bill have triangulated that she has at least a 42% chance to beat Pence, and 42%, is 42% more than 0%.

        Now if Pence didn’t get the nomination, and it was say Cruz, wouldn’t it be a hoot if she lost to him?

        I’d actually vote Cruz just to stick a gangrenous squirrel leg in her eye.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Despite being much more dangerous than Trump, I think Pence would handily beat Hillary, if for no other reason than not enough attention has been paid to him for voters to really get what he’s about. The only chance she’d have is against a seriously weakened Trump. Given the way everything else has gone with him, I wouldn’t want to bet on impeachment getting him there.

        2. Vastydeep

          I think we’re seeing the return of Mitt Romney. His position should be invulnerable in Utah, so he’s doing some heavy water-carrying for the party by raising his voice against Trump (who really should be one-and-done). He didn’t beat Obama, but Hillary or Biden are *very* different campaign-opponents than Obama was.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I was told by an old Democratic hand about a strategy session with the famed Clinton brain trust from the documentary “The War Room”. The team of Carville and Stephanopolous were discussing a strategy to produce a map where 1992 Clinton would lose even with Perot siphoning voters from 41. Bill arrived and changed the course of the discussion and directed resources to be sent to push states (most notably New Jersey at this meeting). But until Bill came Carville and little George were brow beating DNC aligned types about how their strategy to lose was brilliant as in they had no concept of the electoral college. The moral was that Team Clinton was dedicated to establishing their brand on the coattails of Bill, who is natural on the stump.

        This person loved Bill, but she admitted it was a Bill centric universe with little to no ability outside of Bill. She suggested Bill failed on healthcare because his team wasn’t up to the task without his direct hand, and that “we” (there was another person there) should read between the lines.

        1. Matthew

          I take it the point of the healthcare story is that Hillary lacks political ability? Because she already demonstrated that during the last campaign, by (among other things) overruling Bill and standing with her campaign advisers who told her she’d be fine ignoring the Rust Belt.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > She didn’t even beat him the first time

        Again, Clinton saying she won because she won the electoral college is like a football team saying it won because it gained more yards, even though it failed to put enough points on the board. She knew the rules going in (and it ill becomes a candidate selected with the help of superdelegates to yammer on about one-person, one-vote).

        1. Big River Bandido

          The analogy I always use is that by Clinton logic the 2016 World Series was actually a tie, since both teams scored 27 runs during the Series.

          This line of argument is especially potent with Cubs fans.

          1. Acacia

            I gather Lambert meant “popular vote”. Also, that’s good point about the contradiction between selection via superdelegates and then appealing to having won the popular vote.

      4. Matthew

        Popular vote lead or not–there was an actual election, with actual rules, that she actually lost. But if she accepts that, she accepts her standing as the biggest chump in modern American politics, and I think her continued sanity depends on avoiding this.

    2. ambrit

      I’m beginning to feel like Hillary is ‘channeling’ Baldrick. She has a “cunning plan,” and it is about to be sprung on an unsuspecting public. Alas, with a typically Baldrickian denouement.
      I too have suspected the “brokered convention” ploy to be in the offing.
      I’m also thinking it will be an all female ticket. “America Needs Two Mommies!”
      A curious site, with a gambling sensibility: https://www.predictit.org/markets/detail/3633/Who-will-win-the-2020-Democratic-presidential-nomination
      They, or their crowdsourced ‘brains trust’ consider Hillary a contender too.

      1. russell1200

        Interesting ordering. Her odds are way too high. That being said, she is such a sneaky git, I’d say her odds should be as good as Mayor Pete’s, but not better than Sander’s. In 100 worlds, she becomes the candidate in 3 of them.

      2. Isotope_C14

        How does one get a patent on the “Thelma and Louise” images that will be memes with “Elizabeth and Hillary” driving the democratic party off the cliff?

        It will be perfect and they can even blame Susan Sarandon for their loss.

      3. RMO

        Specifically, she seems to be channeling the Baldrick of the three later series where he was a complete and utter dolt – but one who still regularly advanced cunning plans that ranged from “pathetic” to “Far and away, and without a doubt the worst and most contemptible plan in the history of the universe. The Baldrick of the first series was an truly effective schemer, as seen in his well developed plans to sell fake holy relics and curses when Blackadder was made Archbishop.

        A nicely relevant blast from the past when it comes to HC I think is ” ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

        By the way, I wasn’t at all poorly disposed towards her until I saw what she did as Secretary of State. When she ran against Obama I really didn’t care too much who won, just that whoever did went on the win the White House. By the time she ran against Trump I was completely revolted by her. I still don’t know who I would have voted for if I had been unlucky enough to be a US citizen in a riding where my vote counted… I probably would have voted for her in the end, but would have thrown up in my mouth in the voting booth.

        1. ambrit

          I can see the electors in the counting room of any local precinct now.
          “Onesixtyfour for Trump.”
          “Twooheight for Sanders, as write in.”
          “Twentyfive for Clinton.”
          “Ninetyone for Cthulhu, write in.”
          “Check! Oh God preserve us.”
          “Oneeighteen bags of barf. What’s this?”
          “Check! Those must be for Clinton too.”
          “Oh, good. Where does that leave us?”
          “Uh. That makes it the following. 164 for Trump. 208 for Sanders. 25 plus 118, that’s 143 for Clinton. 91 for the Dread Lord.”
          “It’s a shame we don’t do run offs, isn’t it.”
          “Yeah. I can’t figure out if Cthulhu stole votes from Clinton or vice versa. What a mess.”
          “Literally, as in, do we have to store those bags of, stuff, for ever, like ‘regular’ ballots?”
          “Thankfully, that’s above our pay grade.”

  3. Seth Miller

    Jalapeno suggestions:

    Jam (just sweetened with sugar)

    Chutney (with spices, salt, vinegar and sugar)

    Chipotle powder (smoked Mexican style, slowly over oak, or american style over pecan or hickory wood).

    Pickled (Mexican style, with oil and carrots)

    1. Phacops

      Making your own Chipotle is a fine way to prep those jalapeno. I have grown pasilla negro then smoked over pecan to have a passable substitute for pasilla oaxaqueno.

      For the ripe ones I have combined them (seeds removed) with very ripe poblano for a sweet chili relish . . . but need to either freeze or pressure can for safety.

    2. HotFlash

      Ferment them. Here is a super simple recipe that doesn’t require anything more than packing those peppers just as you have them in the picture in a mason jar and covering with salt water and waiting a couple of weeks. The good bacteria do all the rest of the work. You may add onion, garlic, herbs and spices to your taste. Same method works for most veggies, famously cucumbers (pickles) and cabbage (sauerkraut), and even for some fruits.

      1. Linden S.

        First had these simple brine fermented last year…they are a revelation. Amazing as a pizza topping or anything you would use hot peppers for.

    3. Adam Eran

      Mince the jalapenos with garlic and freeze in small packets. When you want salsa, mix with rough-pureed tomatoes and onions.

      You can also roast and skin them before mincing (and the tomatoes too).


    Piece the wive forwarded me, curious what the commentariat makes of it: Is Your Retirement Fund Ruining Our Economy?

    But index funds don’t really discover prices. Investors just dump money into these investments, which mindlessly hold stock in companies whether they’re doing well or not. [Michael] Burry believes the fall of active buying and selling has led to overvaluations, and he’s predicting a crash in the value of the large companies held in index funds. “I just don’t know what the timeline will be. Like most bubbles, the longer it goes on, the worse the crash will be,” he told Bloomberg. He’s now investing in small companies, which he says are often ignored by index funds.

    On one hand, I can see what his issue is. On the other, it seems like he’s telling pedestrian 401K/Roth IRA investors, it doesn’t matter that you want stability, modest growth, and low fees, you must sacrifice your needs for the good of Mr. Market.

      1. RMO

        Rough translation: “I HATE these index funds because they make it hard for me to con people in to letting me manage their money and suck up most of it for myself in fees”

    1. turtle

      I believe that this was linked on water cooler a few days (weeks?) back. Look there for additional comments.

  5. Seth Miller

    Welcome to the Third World, California:

    I was thinking more along the lines of welcome to the Middle Ages. The last set of wildfires suggested to me that California needs to redesign its cities and towns as walled enclaves surrounded by fireproof barriers.

    1. Tim

      Fireproof Barriers would need to be 500 feet high. The worst fires typically are caused by winds 50-90 miles an hour throwing embers miles through the air.

      It would be better if the electrical infrastructure was taken care of instead of just being turned off. It would be a lot cheaper for the economy on the whole too, but deregulation is irreversible I guess.

      1. ambrit

        In politics, nothing is irreversible. One or two major crisis that disrupt entire regions of a state will bring some sort of response. One possible scenario, used on occasion in past periods of upheaval is to use fire as a means of ridding a polity of it’s parasite class. Burn the McMansions. Of course, make it look like an ‘accident.’ Then blame PG&E.

        1. Acacia

          They can easily turn on each other, it seems. Some years ago, when the wealthy hills behind Oakland burned up, I saw some TV coverage of local residents trying to find the remains of their mansion (it was thinly-disguised Schadenfreude, disguised as news). The couple couldn’t locate their home, but they did locate another one — “the castle” they called it — biggest on the block that had also burned down. In an unscripted moment, the husband turned to the wife and said: “that one deserved to go down”. At that point, the anchor quickly wrapped the segment.

        2. Oregoncharles

          When the Oakland hills burned, the death rate in the rich areas was higher than he cheaper ones.

          Something about people looking out for each other – or not.

      2. Adam Eran

        The entire land use planning setup in most of California is designed to reward developing the least suitable land, the edge city and longer commutes with more fire danger. The speculators (like Angelo Tsakopoulos, one of Phil Angiledes mentors) can buy outlying agricultural land, even floodplain for a few thousand dollars an acre, and if they can get the entitlements to build, they can sell it to builders for 50 – 100 times what they paid for it. They don’t even pay income tax on that 5,000% – 10,000% “profit” (subsidy is more like it) if they exchange for income-producing property like apartments or shopping centers.

        It doesn’t have to be this way. In Germany, the developers have to sell the agricultural land to local governments at the ag land price, the repurchase it at the upzoned price. All of that egregious profit (AKA “the unearned increment”) goes to the public realm. Germans have very nice infrastructure, free college tuition even for foreigners, single-payer health care, etc. The arts budget for the City of Berlin exceeds the National Endowment for the Arts for the entire United States, while California cities (see Stockton, Vallejo, etc.) are begging for crumbs from the land speculators’ tables.

        Incidentally, the publicly owned Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) has none of these fire problems. The privately-owned PG&E is not only 30% more expensive, its managers are huddling with criminal attorneys in case they’re charged with murder.

        But hey! Private is always better!

    2. Wukchumni

      Welcome to the Third World, California:

      I was running errands in Visalia (pop 138k) yesterday, and the Wal*Mart superstore which used to be open 24/7, is now open 6 am to midnight, as homeless had become such a nuisance, they deemed it not worthy to stay open for them.

      Hadn’t got my car washed in a few months, and the place I go has a help yourself popcorn cart, been there for at least a dozen years, now gone. I asked the young fellow working the counter what happened to it?

      He said homeless had become the best customers, and not being the most sanitary types, they decided it wasn’t worth the bother.

      About once a year i’ll go to 7-11 and procure a hot dog, and as I got out of my car, Piano Sonata 16 by Mozart was playing loudly from speakers on high in front of the store to ward off hangers on, but what if homeless are classical music fans?


      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in Tucson, the nearby supermarket stopped offering public bathrooms. I suspect that the homeless — who hang out in the parking lot — made a mess out of things.

      2. ambrit

        Our local “ghetto” WalMart now has two solar powered ‘radio’ blasting trailers set up in the parking lot. They are turned on around twilight. The ‘music’ played is a mix of dinosaur rock and bro country. That mix would run off a deaf dejay. The ‘suburban’ WalMart, a few miles ‘up the road’ does not have this setup. When I asked one of the friendlier, middle manager types who works at the offending WalMart why the radio towers, she replied that it was to deter loiterers and panhandlers, code for homeless. No one ever parks their RV overnight in that parking lot now.

        1. pretzelattack

          haven’t seen the noise repellant tactic used here, yet, but two nearby walmarts went from 24-7 to being closed between midnite and 6 am.

        1. Off The Street

          Low tech version was to tune the radio to the static in between stations.
          Mid tech involved a mosquito buzzing sound.
          The latter cleared parking lots of younger people as they had a wider range of hearing, while oldsters wondered what all the fuss and hasty exiting was about.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            works for coyotes, too.
            and raccoons, if it’s turned to talk radio.(but the coons get used to it eventually)
            what a sad, sad commentary on the state of our civilisation.

      1. Wukchumni

        She really nailed the future in 1993, and here we are 26 year later and all is going according to plan…

        My favorite dystopian novel is the masterful Earth Abides by George Stewart. Written in the late 1940’s, it holds up well, and tells the tale of one of the few survivors, Ish. Just re-read it last week in one sitting.


        1. JBird4049

          An excellent book although I am not sure I would be up for a re-read. A both hopeful and depressing book. End of the world, but life goes on.

    3. Skip Intro

      The ‘accounts’ referenced are not just households but some large and well-known businesses. The impact is far more than 800k households. While it feels like a ‘shot across the bow’ by PG&E, hopefully they are overplaying their hand and will soon be seized and run by the state… (as if)

  6. dearieme

    the tensions between Tesla Inc. and Panasonic Corp. stand out.

    I suppose Panasonic has the better PR department. After all, everybody talks about Teslas bursting into flames. Nobody says Panasonic batteries burst into flames.

    By the way, I hope to persuade the world that when Musk gets his comeuppance the matter must be referred to as Elongate.

    1. hunkerdown

      Old-timer in the electronics hobby here. I’ve designed a couple of lithium battery chargers at the component level. I was just reading a lithium battery protection IC datasheet not an hour ago, so the topic is fresh in my mind.

      Look, I’m as much of a cynic as anyone else who’s paying attention, but that’s gone all the way to tendentious. Lithium-ion batteries by their nature are electrically fragile and react catastrophically to abuse. Nobody says Panasonic batteries burst into flames because Panasonic batteries have no special reputation for doing so, when treated according to spec. (The “9900mAh” batteries you get at the vape bar, on the other hand…)

      Remember the Galaxy Note 7? Samsung’s over-complicated, probably unnecessary custom charger circuitry ran them out of spec and failed spectacularly. Nothing wrong with the batteries. Panasonic sells reliability. There are too many other lithium-ion battery vendors ready to eat their lunch if Panasonic gets a reputation for selling crap batteries. Tesla, on the other hand, sells limit-pushing. They, too, have a reputation to uphold, that of teenage omnipotence and invincibility. Battery fires are part of the package.

      The moral of the story is twofold:
      1. Basic troubleshooting: swap parts until you find the one that causes the trouble.
      2. Just as programmers should strenuously avoid rolling their own crypto, system designers should strenuously avoid rolling their own lithium-ion battery charger. There are numerous well-tested components to help the designer in either case.

  7. marku52

    ” rates can continue to come down without risking an unwanted spike in wage pressures”

    Unwanted by whom?

  8. arielle curtin

    I would pickle those peppers. Look for an escabeche recipe and adapt. Nothing too complicated; just do it in fridge.

  9. Lambert Strether Post author

    Adding, Trump’s statement on the Iraq War is quite extra-ordinary, not least because most of official Washington, including many (most?) Democrats — certainly Biden and Clinton — would vehemently disagree with it.

    1. Carey

      >Adding, Trump’s statement on the Iraq War is quite extra-ordinary

      You bet it is. The Blob will have to remove him, it seems to me, because his statement is aligned with the great majority of
      the citizenry, now.

      “norms!” eff your debased DC “norms”.

      1. richard

        This is really amazing to me
        so much that I am really forgetting to be outraged to a froth
        trump is running to the left on the forever war
        he is president, in full charge of all these wars, murdering people as i write this right now
        and he is running against the war
        because apparently he gets to do that
        since the dem establishment is willing to cede ALL of that territory to him
        absolutely all of it
        and apparently we’re all okay with that happening (msm)
        nancy pelosi is right, actually
        the langley takeover was what really happened to the dems in ‘18
        for now, aoc and that lot are just window dressing

        1. Carey

          >the langley takeover was what really happened to the dems in ‘18
          for now, aoc and that lot are just window dressing

          I see it similarly.

          “For your own good.”

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            >the langley takeover was what really happened to the dems in ‘18
            for now, aoc and that lot are just window dressing

            We saw that when the CIA Democrats and MILOs the DCCC/Pelosi put on the ballot in 2018 came out for impeachment, and everybody who is anybody treated that as the game-changer. I wouldn’t have put it past Pelosi to have put them on the ballot for that very purpose; not as a plan per se, but as part of her portfolio of options to deployed when the opportunity arose.

    2. barrisj

      But, again, Trump has zero compunction for substituting horrific bombing and drone campaigns in lieu of “boots on the ground”, with the exception, of course, of JSOC assassination teams and so-called “training units”. Let’s first see complete withdrawals of US forces from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, etc., etc., before nominating the dude for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

      1. Another Scott

        Given his reported attitudes towards briefings, can we even be sure Trump knows all of the places where U.S. troops are stationed? He seems very queasy about sending them anywhere.

      2. Carolinian

        substituting horrific bombing and drone campaigns

        So we didn’t already have horrific bombing and drone campaigns?

        Trump seems to go with whatever flow he’s in. As president he has to deal with the Blob on a daily basis. But as he shifts to campaign mode he at least has the smarts to know that the public are sick of the Forever War.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The first thing Trump did after swearing in, I recall, was to visit Langley.

          Has he been trying to go along with whatever, or playing Hamlet faking madness?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Maybe Langley, the Pentagon, Rand Corp, Goldman, the Atlantic Council and the Cato Institute all want out of the wars, but none wants to take the massive economic hit for it. Kinda like Eastman Kodak and silver film: tied to the mast of a massive but sinking economic ship.

            I’m sure the female Senator from Raytheon Massachusetts will want to break her state’s rice bowl. Then again…maybe not.

            Only Nixon could go to China: Only Trump could leave the ME?

        2. barrisj

          Look, it’s not Trump who’s launching these deadly air and drone missions, it’s the bloody Pentagon that’s running the show. Wherever one sees the US military and/or local “allies” engaged with “the enemy”, there always will be (1)close-air support, usually in conjunction with an operation, or called in to rescue units caught out by superior forces; and (2) targeted assassinations, either by Special Forces ground units, or drones, directed against “high-value targets”, and with the usual “collateral damage” soon to follow.
          And that’s the reality of it all. Do you want these wanton killings to stop? Well, get the goddam military OUT, and then watch the bombing and droning rapidly slack off.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Let’s first see complete withdrawals of US forces from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, etc., etc., before nominating the dude for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

        What I wrote was that Trump’s “statement” was “extraordinary,” and so it is, by Beltway standards.)

        I did not write that Trump would either seek or deserve the Nobel Peace Prize (though since those darn Swedes gave to that con-man, Obama, why not?)

    3. Josh

      The first lie is that it’s being done slowly and carefully. I don’t know whether it’s better to leave slowly and carefully or to just leave, but Trump’s policies have tended towards the latter from all the reporting that I’ve seen.

      The second is the inference that we are ending military action in the middle east. Thats just not true as civilian deaths and drone bombings have escalated under the Trump administration.

        1. marym

          Chicago Sun-Times 05/08/2019: Under Donald Trump, drone strikes far exceed Obama’s numbers (Link)

          Statistics – Afghanistan and Somalia (Link)

          Statistics – Afghanistan (from today’s Links)

          U.S. military aircraft dropped more bombs and fired more missiles in Afghanistan last month than it has in nearly a decade, Air Force statistics show.

          Statistics – Iraq and Syria 9/2014-12/2017 > 10,000 coalition airstrikes in Trump’s first year (Link)

          1. pretzelattack

            and civilian deaths? and i’m not just counting airstrikes. how many people died in the in the wars in libya and syria that the u.s. fomented and pushed under obama? people are just as dead if they get beheaded by axes.

            i know it’s hard to say, because the u.s. military isn’t into counting civilian deaths since, well, ever afaik (used to subsume them under enemy body counts in vietnam), but the lancet estimated several hundred thousand during the iraq war. are there other comparably reliable sources on the total number of civilians killed which include u.s. interventions in places like libya and, practically speaking, honduras?

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Yep, like so much else, including the Border, Trump turns the knobs that Obama installed up to 11.

            None of this is on point. Reread the Tweets. Please tell me who else in the Beltway is saying anything remotely like:


            [x] TRUE (with allowance for puffery)

            2) a false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

            [x] TRUE

            Although of the Beltway, and certainly The Blob, believes, or at least says, that these statements are FALSE.

          1. pretzelattack

            i skimmed these 3 articles, but i didn’t see any hard numbers, nor numbers separated by
            administration. i did see an assertion, from newsweek i think, that if trump continues on this pace he will be responsible for more deaths. i didn’t see any references to libya at all.
            what are the numbers comparing civilian deaths during obama’s administration to those occurring during trump’s administration?

            not that i buy trump’s latest “give peace a chance” about face for a second, i just haven’t seen a discontinuity from the obama administration. and i shudder to think how many civilians would have been killed under a clinton administration, with her insistence on provoking russia.

            1. marym

              Statistics specifically for civilian casualties resulting from drone strikes are problematic to document, as far as how they’re counted and reported. You probably remember discussion over the years about any military age male being counted as an insurgent, for example.

              There are organizations that compile statistics from various sources and document their methodology. Here’s a link that gives a sense of the issues.

              There was news this year of Trump discontinuing an Obama-era civilian casualty reporting component, but that’s described as a requirement established only in 2016.

              I don’t have statistics, but it wouldn’t be surprising for Trump era numbers to be far less shocking than the numbers from the destruction in Libya. During the Obama years, his supporters would point out that his numbers weren’t as shocking as those from the huge and prolonged invasion of Iraq. Credit to Trump that, whatever his reasons, he hasn’t started a big new war, but he hasn’t ended or (afaik) scaled back any existing wars.

              Then there are the casualties that owe their numbers in part to US arms trafficking – Saudi-inflicted casualties in Yemen, and now, with Trump clearing the way for Turkey’s attack on the Kurds, where we’ve armed both sides.

              1. pretzelattack

                yeah, it’s a long sorry history of war criminals. i’d just like to see some accountability, but i don’t ever expect to.

              2. JTMcPhee

                Per its own definition in its own “Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,” including the latest revision, the US Imperial Military is an “insurgency:”

                insurgency — The organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region. Insurgency can also refer to the group itself. (JP 3-24)


                They’re not even trying to put the lipstick on the right end of the pig’s alimentary canal any more…

            2. Josh

              I’d suggest reading the articles then. The merip article is particularly well documented with footnotes, basically arguing that the Trump administration has essentially taken Obama’s playbook and stripped away most of the rules.

              Also, you seem to believe that geopolitical conflict is somewhat constant year over year but I don’t think a situation like Libya or Syria has occurred during his time in office, so raw death totals would like not make any sort of meaningful comparison. What is clear is that he’s more willing to deploy troops and drone strikes. Whatever he tweets has little relationship to the truth.

              1. notabanker

                The merip article is footnoted by blue state corporate owned media sources, dominated by WaPo and NYT , with Newsweek, Frontline, COFR, Politico and LAT thrown in for good measure. Hardly reliable nor trustworthy sources to report on Trump administration activities as compared to Obama. This is like siting RT coverage of Ukraine.

                1. Joshua N Cliburn

                  So, since we can’t use my sources (and one was the intercept which has been relentlessly critical of both Trump and Obama’s polices – but whatever), and you won’t provide any, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

              2. Carey

                >Whatever he tweets has little relationship to the truth.

                Most unlike all the other postwar administrations!


              3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                LOL, a “situation” like Libya. Oh, you mean where we voluntarily flattened the richest country in Africa for no reason whatsoever, other than to sow chaos and to keep UniCredito Bank from having to pay back the $4B it had borrowed from Gaddifi? Yes, that Gaddifi, the one who a year earlier had dined with Tony Blair and received the UN Humanitarian Award. And now Libya is an Islamist hellhole.

                Or maybe the “situation” that “arose” in Syria, where a CIA cell based in Idlib provided the arms and cash to local disgruntled Arab Springers so they could sustain a real uprising when the rest of Arab Spring died off? That little self-inflicted “situation” cost at least a half million lives.

                So thanks, Obama. Thanks, Hilary. And thanks Trump, for not starting any new wars of choice, for not overreacting to the Saudi attacks, and for tweeting the bleeding obvious about our ME wars.

              4. Lambert Strether Post author

                >What is clear is that he’s more willing to deploy troops and drone strikes.

                Deploy troops like in… Like in…. Like in. I mean, compared to Clinton under Obama rebooting the slave markets in Libya with a bombing campaign? Really?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Civilian deaths…

        From all causes?

        For example, in Iran, long term drought affects 97% of the country (a Feb. 1, 2019 Tehran Times article).

        And The River of Life, in Isfahan, for example, was dry, (at least as recent as the filming of Our Man in Tehran a few years back) though the residents were not sure why. Water would mysteriously reappear for a few days, from time to time.

        Is it related to Iran’s selling of fossil fuels, more deals with China, and Global Warming?

  10. Wukchumni

    A friend that works for NPS told me they’ve been calling this summer, the fire season that wasn’t. Usually there’ll be 5-15 lightning strike caused wildfires in the Sequoia NP backcountry, but there’s only been a couple.

    They just did a prescribed burn in the Giant Forest among Sequoia groves and it went well. I would have named it:

    “Sherman’s March to the Tree”

    SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. October 4, 2019 – Fire staff completed ignitions on the last segment of the Sherman Prescribed Burn unit today, with 244 acres treated since Wednesday. The other segments of this prescribed burn were treated in July 2019, and this final segment brings the project to a total acreage of 489.


  11. nippersmom

    If I knew nothing else about him, Biden being endorsed by Feinstein would be enough reason not to vote for him.

      1. Carey

        I don’t know, but that seems like a good surmise. I never saw Harris as
        having an organic base here, though it seemed to me for awhile that she might be installed™.

  12. Daryl

    > “Marijuana Business Seeks Full 10th Cir. Review in Overtime Case”

    This is really brilliant. I’m sure that every other business, customer and person involved in this industry appreciates them putting the legality of things under a microscope in order to violate labor practices.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Huh? You mean the doyenne of liberal pro-people-against-the-tide-of-bad-Republicans good person lady?


      Totally out of touch 89-year old multi-millionaire with private equity grifter husband working hard to oppose M4A while cashing big checks from Big Pharma, Big Military, Big Prison, and Big Tech?

      My problem is not with Repubs. They show their hands and declare who and what they are. My problem is with Dems who fool people into thinking they are not Repubs.

      1. Hoppy

        “I believe the Patriot Act is vital to the protection of the American people.”

        ’nuff said.

        Hey, speaking of the Patriot Act and Fein*

        What the heck is Feingold up to now days. He might be an interesting VP choice for Sanders or Warren.

  13. pretzelattack

    “The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE…..”

    I’d like to see rachel maddow’s response to this. i bet it would involve putin.

  14. ewmayer

    o “Feinstein officially endorses Biden: ‘I’ve seen firsthand his legislative ability’” [The Hill] … ‘Joe Biden has been a tireless fighter for hardworking American families.’” — DiFi is of course referring to hard-working swamp-affiliated American oligarch families, but hey it’s a big tent!

    o “Exclusive: Beto O’Rourke unveils sweeping women’s rights plan” [Salon] — Great, by why limit things to sweeperwomen? How about floormoppers, windowcleaners, toilet scrubbers, and so forth? Is that some special constituency of Beto’s, a “mi abuelita was a sweeperwoman” thing, mayhap?

    1. notabanker

      Joe Biden has been a tireless fighter for hardworking American families.’”

      Particularly his own!

  15. howseth

    PG&E: Confusing mess here in Santa Cruz – When will they shut off our power? For how long? They re-drew they’re map of affected outage areas today it seems – now our neighborhood is included – last night it was not. The PG&E website not properly working some of the time.

    Meanwhile, we do not have high winds, yet. Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

    1. Carey

      The softening-up™ continues. I’m a couple of hours south of you,
      and if the east winds are similar to last year’s, it’ll be quite a ride.

    2. Steve H.

      Thank you, howseth. You have well spoke the uncertainty. I had started to understand the breadth of the situation, but the aspect of maybe I’d only got from war zones and third world.

      If my vague math is right, this situation affects about 1% of the U.S. population. That’s not nothing.

    3. Hoppy

      I had to deal with multiple long outages over multiple weeks (actually months) as our power company replaced poles. I was more pissed they were replacing poles instead of putting lines underground but it was more than annoying resetting clocks, being unable to work from home, dealing with OS/hard drive corruption issues.


      I have since come to conclude that it is silly to be annoyed by such things as there is probably ZERO chance that we can address climate change with the 100% stable power grid we have become accustomed to.

      So bring it on, the sooner we get used to it and adapt, the less headwind the necessary changes will face.

      Half full, right?

      1. barrisj

        A good point…only through personal suffering as a consequence of global warming can those of us in the over-developed West begin the consciousness-raising that is the necessary first step in demanding governments and industry do a radical 180 and get on with the real business at hand. Unfortunately, the well-documented cockups and corporate misfeasance of PG&E dilutes the real message, at least in CA.

  16. Hoppy

    In Shift, Warren Says She’ll Forgo Big Money Events if Nominated

    Hmmm, didn’t Sander’s just get a good news cycle with his DNC corruption plan?

    Too bad ‘Microsoft Warren’ doesn’t have quite the same ring as ‘Moscow Mitch’


    Seems like a sleazy move from her team with the timing on this one.

    I’m still hoping she and Sanders are coordinating but the evidence against that level of chess grows daily.

    1. Big River Bandido

      “Pocahontas” will kill her candidacy faster than either of the other two choices.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese entities…police state in Xinjiang.


    A particular unique, traditional Chinese character is the propensity to record everything for posterity.

    So, each dynasty history (there are something like 24) records what eachh emperor has for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, and which concubine(s) he favors each night.

    They are all still there.

  18. David in Santa Cruz

    PG&E’s “Welcome to the Third World, California!” is nothing but political theater. Everything is CalPERS.

    PG&E has allowed their expertise to wither in the wake of 23 years of a willfully stupid and corrupt “privatization” scheme pushed through by GOP Governor Pete Wilson and Rancho Cucamonga Republican Leader Jim Brulte — unanimously abetted by the state legislature and by many in the media. This was all down to pay-offs from energy financiers including Enron, Reliant, and Duke Energy.

    The public utilities were forced to give up the power generation infrastructure that had been built through a century of public subsidies; to purchase what had formerly been their own power through the tender mercies of said players such as Enron, Reliant, and Duke Energy at “market” rates; and to retain the distribution infrastructure while continuing to deliver energy at fixed prices. It only took about 24 months for those “market” prices to be manipulated from $42 a MwH to $1400 a MwH. The whole system collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001 amid “rolling blackouts” statewide. Ironically, this catastrophe was largely responsible for the recall of Wilson’s Democratic successor.

    Since the 2001-2004 bankruptcy, PG&E has been “led” by a series of out-of-state financial carpet-baggers who ended any pretense of doing anything besides rent-extraction from the system by reducing staffing levels and abandoning virtually all infrastructure maintenance. Since 2010 about 100 people have been killed due to infrastructure failures, resulting in a second post-“privatization” bankruptcy earlier in 2019. The corporation — but not a single individual — remains on felony probation to a federal court for the crime of manslaughter.

    It’s evident that PG&E’s current carpet-bagger CEO Bill Johnson could not care any less about the impact of cutting-off power to millions of people in California. He is a scumbag rentier/lawyer from North Carolina who already personally profited by tens of millions from similar “privatization” schemes in his own state. The 110-year old transmission towers that caused the Paradise firestorm have been de-energized. Rather than inspect the system, Johnson is just shutting the whole thing down.

    While Johnson is pleased to screw-over PG&E customers, the corporation has made major donations to both political parties, the current governor, and 8 out of 10 members of the legislature. The political leadership act as if millions of their constituents being without power is due to the weather, when it is in fact due to greed.

    Like CalPERS and all things California, there is only one solution: “Follow the Money…”.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Don’t forget the role of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). They are a completely captured regulatory agency that has aided and abetted utility bad behavior for a very long time, through multiple state governors. Without first reforming the CPUC (a total purge) any changes to PG&E will be meaningless.

      1. David in Santa Cruz

        The CPUC is wholly appointed by the governor and approved by the state senate. Their “capture” is down to the capture of their masters.

        Blaming the CPUC without including the governor and senate would be utter sophistry — the classic California buck-pass. Just like the corruption at CalPERS going on under the noses of a board majority directly appointed by the governor and senate. Who coulda node?

        Follow the money…

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Amen, brother.

          An additional note, not to you specifically but because it often gets raised, undergrounding existing power infra is simply uneconomic.

          Utilities would love to do it. It’s far less work to maintain, and the capital costs add to the rate base they earn on. For new build, the RE developers pay the cost.

          But to retrofit the existing OH system without jacking rates through the roof, each homeowner would need to fork out about $25k to retrofit a service drop and 3 phase local distribution system with a ducted system that doesn’t have the utility ripping up the street again every 20 years. And that’s just for a 170 foot average property line alone.

          UGing thousands of miles of MV subtransmission and HV transmission in Quakeafornia would run into hundreds of billions. Yes, the Europeans did it, but again newbuild is fundamentally different economics than retrofitting a (functioning) system.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      As anyone who has worked with the budget process of a utility, public or privately owned, will sigh deeply and tell you:

      1. No amount of tree trimming you can do will ever be “enough” to meet every contingency. And citizens *hate* having their trees trimmed btw, until that fire or storm has them all yelling for blood in hindsight.

      (Same goes for pole replacements and bucket transformers. These are basically run-to-failure components, although thermography helps with the latter).

      2. Tree trimming is the “plug” you use to hit your operating budget numbers. In a capital rationing environment, any new program you introduce or are compelled to introduce by the regulator comes out of your tree budget first and foremost, until other efficiencies can be found.

      One doesn’t have to like that for it to be true.
      And it holds whether you’re an investor owned utility whose egomaniac CEO rounded up his EPS forward guidance from 7.6% to 8% on an earnings call (setting in train a frenzy of short term cost cuts, which we just learned is… where?), or a muni staggering under pension obligations it took on to buy labor peace for 50 years, but flat out forbidden to raise rates by its political masters.

      All that being said, PG&E definitely sweated its assets to keep up with the Joneses on TSR, and also put itself in the hands of unqualified executives, and armies of even less qualified consultants (Archie McCardell, to the red flaming courtesy phone…). Its shareholders now need to answer for that malfeasance, probably by being wiped out. But then its creditors will become the new owners. If the state wants to expropriate the system, it will need to buy out those owners, and that will take years to work out in court.

      On the other hand, California has now effectively welshed on the Rural Electrification program of the New Deal, part of which was an understanding that certain force majeure risks like fires would be ‘self-insured’, with costs to be recoved later in rates. And our supposedly hard right SCOTUS just declined to review a CA court ruling barring Sempra from recovering wildfire costs in rates.

      So, malfeasance or not, the utilities’ costs of equity and debt are going to price in those risks going forward. Also, look for private insurers (friends of Gavin?) to underwrite them for fat juicy premiums. Either way, rates are going to go up up up while Californians freeze in the dark, or put in climate unfriendly gensets. There’s no free lunch here kids. Learn to do without.

  19. barrisj

    Man, that CNN photo of Bernie Sanders looked like an image from a ‘60s CRT colour telly with the flesh-tones calibration waaaaaay off…brutal.

    1. Fern

      They definitely tampered with Bernie’s skin tone. I just downloaded a different photo of Bernie taken at the same time and recreated their tampered skin tone by moving the tint slider 100% to the right and moving the saturation slider 40% to the right.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    Collin Martin, a major league soccer player and the only openly gay man on a US professional sports team in the five majors

    I’m sorry, five?!? Nice try, soccer.

  21. barrisj

    As an exercise for tomorrow’s comments section, just google “Trump business dealings Turkey” and be prepared to do a boatload of reading…Kurds? Eff the Kurds, Trump has real money in play within Turkey, and needs to keep Erdogan on-side.

    1. Wukchumni

      Interesting that…

      80% of all platinum comes from South Africa, wonder if that was the source?

      1. ambrit

        Oh boy. Reminds me of Fred Hoyle’s science fiction story, “Element 79.”
        A precis: A meteor of much mass, mainly of the element with atomic weight 79, gold, crashes to Earth in Scotland. Hilarity ensues.

  22. Danny

    This probably goes in “Class Warfare” as a complement to the Black Jewel coverage. More bankrupt coal companies, and the millions in back taxes still owed to several Kentucky and West Virginia counties.

    Of course, as the title suggests, this might could also fit into “Groves of Academe.” The bankrupt coal operator, Jim Booth, was also appointed to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees in 2013:


    Below is another 2013 article on Booth. Interesting to see how much of Martin County, Kentucky, that he owned. And who supported him. From the 2013 article:

    “Booth and his wife, Linda, have given at least $955,000 in political donations over the past 15 years, including bucketfuls to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who in July put him on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who last year praised Booth on the Senate floor as “this treasured citizen of the commonwealth of Kentucky.” Bipartisanship!


    In a couple weeks, voters in Kentucky will got to the polls to elect either the Republican Matt Bevin (a sort of first-genTrump, elected Governor a year before our Orange-skinned president), or the Democrat Andy Beshear, son of Steve Beshear, the man who put Booth on the UK Board of Trustees.

  23. boots

    Water Is Unaffordable For Nearly Half Of Kentucky County’s Residents, Report Finds

    “Martin County’s ailing and outdated water system has left residents without water for days at a time…. Martin County residents are likely to face a water rate increase that will mean more than half the county’s residents cannot afford water. As populations in rural America continue to drop, the rising cost of maintaining aging water systems falls on fewer residents….

    “Martin County is under investigation for the third time since 2002 for financial mismanagement, service interruptions and excessive water loss. The district has violated federal water quality standards 90 times since 2001… Once a coal-producing mecca, Martin County has seen employment fall by 32 percent since July 2010. The water affordability analysis showed that 25 percent of Martin County residents live on $15,000 per year or less, with about 18 percent surviving on just $10,000 or less….

    “The United Nations says water is unaffordable when it costs more than 3 percent of household income; the Environmental Protection Agency places that figure at 2.5 percent…. 46 percent of all Martin County residents are paying a share of household income that exceeds the EPA guidelines. Martin County’s poorest residents, those earning less than $10,000 per year, pay as much as 6.5 percent of their income toward water bills…. Breathitt County, Kentucky, has the state’s highest water burden, at 2.7 percent, and Martin County has the second highest at 2.4 percent….

    “The potential upcoming increase could be the second within a year, after a series of rate hearings increased the average bill by 41 percent since January 2018 to an average $54.37 per household in November of the same year. The November increase also mandated that Martin County hire an outside management company to run the district’s affairs, …that will likely render another rate hike necessary. Missouri-based Alliance Water Resources was the only company to submit a bid…. At a recent meeting of concerned citizens at Martin County High School, residents expressed anger that their limited dollars would be used to pay a for-profit, out-of-state company….”

  24. Oregoncharles

    SMOKE those jalapenos (that is, treat them with smoke); an ordinary kettle-style BBQer with the lid down (but vent holes open!) should do. Once they’re chipotle, either freeze them (easy) in small amounts or can them (more work).

    Or just make a big batch of salsa to freeze (again, in small batches). Can add more tomato, etc. when you use it.

    I’m jealous; seem to have trouble growing peppers that well. But I do trees and fruits more than veggies.

  25. George Phillies

    Polling graphs “…diverges radically from the implicit narrative of RCP’s chart….”

    That appears to be related to the omission of a bunch of recent polls showing Biden in the 20s rather than the 30s. RCP includes these polls so it gets a different result.

    1. ambrit

      Times have become decidedly degenerate when you cannot even trust political polls anymore! /s
      Are we living through “late stage kleptocracy?”

  26. cnchal

    > “Reserve Army Of The Hungry” [Bond Economics].

    Under current institutional arrangements, the presumption that private employment is efficient is misguided. We have employers who are incapable of paying their workers a starvation level wage, and this is obviously unsustainable. However, charities and government assistance are bailing them out. These firms are destroying capital, and are undermining the profitability of legitimate firms. Euthanising these firms will raise domestic productivity. A Job Guarantee that pays a living wage will accomplish exactly that, whereas the “reserve army of the unemployed” strategy preferred by neoclassicals leaves those firms in place.

    Number one on the hit parade, Amazon, number two, Walmart, number three McDonalds, number four . . .

    Capitalism and socialism. Throw the dictionary away. These words have lost their meaning, if they ever had any.

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