2:00PM Water Cooler 12/2/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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

Here is a second counter for the Iowa Caucus, which is obviously just around the corner:

* * *


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 12/2/2019, 12:00 PM EST. Biden leads, Sanders strong second, Warren five points back (!), Buttigeig trailing. Quite a reversal for Warren, but Buttigieg, despite all the puffery, is still barely within striking distance of the leaders. This is the fourth post-debate national poll with the same pattern: Survey USA, Morning Consult, Quinnipiac, and now YouGov.

I think we have to track the polls because so much of the horse-race coverage is generated by them; and at least with these charts we’re insulating ourselves against getting excited about any one poll. That said, we should remember that the polling in 2016, as it turned out, was more about narrative than about sampling, and that this year is, if anything, even more so. In fact, one is entitled to ask, with the latest Buttigieg boomlet (bubble? (bezzle?)) which came first: The narrative, or the poll? One hears of push polling, to be sure, but not of push polling by herding pollsters. And we should really worry about state polls with very small sample sizes and big gaps in coverage. And that’s before get to the issues with cellphones (as well as whether voters in very small, very early states game their answers). So we are indeed following a horse-race, but the horses don’t stay in their lanes, the track is very muddy, and the mud has splattered our binoculars, such that it’s very hard to see what’s going on from the stands…

We have no polling over the Thanksgiving weekend.

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

* * *

UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “Biden Aims to Rejuvenate Iowa Campaign, Insisting He Can Win” [Politico]. “Biden kicked off an eight-day bus tour this weekend that focuses on rural areas. He’s traveling with Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor and agriculture secretary under President Barack Obama, and Vilsack’s wife, Christie…. Biden’s team believes he can attract at least 15% of the support of caucus-goers in each of the state’s 1,679 precincts, the threshold for earning delegates toward the Democratic nomination. ‘We’re going to go to 18 counties, on a 660-mile trip across the state, and we’re going to touch on what we think is a forgotten part of most campaigns — the rural part of your state, rural America,’ Biden said Saturday in Council Bluffs, the first stop of the 8-day bus tour… .Sitting down to breakfast on Sunday with the Vilsacks at Queen Beans Coffee House in Carroll, population about 9,800, Biden said he wants the tour to remind Iowans why he continues to lead in national polls. ‘We’re here to translate the polls nationally to here,’ he said. ‘Look, I feel good about Iowa and the fact is that my impression — and the Vilsacks have forgotten more about this than I’ll ever know but I know a little about it — is that Iowans make up their minds late. And they change. The front-runner ends up getting behind and the front-runner comes back.'” • Biden is in fact correct that Iowa is volatile. And if somebody needs to take Biden aside and tell him he’s losing his mind, it won’t be the Vilsacks. Personally, I’m a fan of bus tours, but I’d take careful note of Biden’s crowds, both in number and tone. And notice how low the campaign has set the bar. 15%? Sure, play the expectations game, but that hard?

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(1): “The Democrats Have a Big Decision to Make About Mike Bloomberg” [Vice]. “Bloomberg’s pledge not to accept any donations for his late-entry bid for the Democratic presidential nomination means that, as the rules currently stand, he’ll never be on a debate stage opposite his progressive opponents. The Democratic National Committee requires a candidate to have a certain number of donations to qualify (200,000 unique donors for the December debate, for instance). So unless the DNC changes its debate qualification rules, the entirely self-funding Bloomberg would not make the cut. There’s also a polling threshold, which Bloomberg has yet to hit.” • Rules? What rules?

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(2): “Here’s why Bloomberg insists he’s not crazy” [Politico]. “What Bloomberg contemplates is not so much an exercise in threading the political needle as pulverizing that needle as it has existed for decades. ‘We’re just going to rewrite a new system,’ said Kevin Sheekey, a senior Bloomberg strategist. ‘Our theory of the case is that we’re going to skip the first four early states and we’re going to run as intensive a campaign’ in other Democratic states as rivals do in Iowa and New Hampshire. That plan kicks in with the March 3 run of Super Tuesday states, but won’t stop there.” • So, Bloomberg does plan to buy the race? Sheekey managed Bloomberg’s three mayoral campaigns, and held various positions at Bloomberg L.P.

Bullock (D)(1): “Steve Bullock drops out of Democratic presidential race” [NBC]. • Who?

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(1): “Buttigieg has a serious Latino problem, too” [Politico]. “Buttigieg’s struggles to connect with voters of color, even as he’s vaulted into the top-tier of the Democratic presidential race, doesn’t end with black voters. The South Bend mayor polls in the low single digits among Latinos, too. And Nevada — the third state to cast ballots and where Latinos make up about a third of the population — threatens to deliver a blow to the 37-year-old’s campaign before South Carolina even votes.” • Hard to see how whoever’s inflating Buttigieg’s bubble couldn’t see that far ahead.

Buttigieg (D)(2): “Pete Buttigieg Admits Only Recently Realizing Black People Can Vote” [The Onion]. Buttigieg: “But going forward, my message to black Americans is that I want your vote now that I know that you have one.”

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders to Receive Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) Endorsement” [Blog4President.us]. “‘Some 2020 Presidential candidates have been embracing or acknowledging movement politics. But only one of them has been doing it for decades, just like Iowa CCI Action and our sister organization Iowa CCI,’ Iowa CCI Action Board President Cherie Mortice wrote in an email to members. ‘That’s why Iowa CCI Action is endorsing Bernie Sanders. We’re standing with Bernie because Bernie stands with us.'” • The headline is confusing. Iowa CCI (headline) and Iowa CCI Action (body) are sister organizations but not identical. Iowa CCI, as a 501(c)(3) cannot endorsel Iowa CCI Action, as a 501(c)(4), can. This is an important endorsement for Sanders on the left.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): ” A warm reception for liberal presidential candidates, lion’s den for moderates at CCI forum in Iowa” [Des Moines Register]. “When Mayor Pete Buttigieg argued at a presidential forum Saturday for a government-run health insurance option that people could buy into, while leaving the private industry intact, the crowd chanted ‘Medicare for All’ so loudly organizers needed to tell the shouters to calm down…. The forum only drew a relative handful of candidates, even as almost the entire field stopped by the Polk County Democrats’ Steak Fry four miles away…. Only U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose 2016 presidential campaign shifted Democratic politics in a distinctly more progressive direction, received an overwhelmingly positive welcome. ‘You did not eat any steak,’ Tom Rendon, with CCI, said in the event’s closing remarks. “… That’s what they’re doing on the other side of town — they’re practicing politics as usual. Here, we are practicing movement politics.'”

Sanders (D)(3): “Surprising candidate draws support deep in Trump country” [CNN]. • This would come as a surprise only in the Acela Corridor. And the Trillbillies make Newsweek! I just hope it doesn’t swell their heads so much they can’t get out the door.

Sanders (D)(4): Sanders ad on Amazon:

Sanders (D)(5): “A Hillary ‘shill’ goes all-in for Bernie” [Politico (Re Silc)]. “[Peter Daou’s] devotion to Clinton was such that he co-founded “Hillary Men,” a website aimed at creating a “safe space” for her male fans…. Fast-forward to the 2020 primary: Daou has appeared on the Sanders campaign’s official podcast, praised the Vermont senator to his nearly 300,000 social media followers and passionately railed against the Democratic establishment… Daou discussed his transformation last week on an episode of ‘Hear the Bern’ with host Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ national press secretary, whom he had brawled with in 2016. “I just took it too far,” he told her of that campaign. ‘After 2017, 2018, I thought, ‘I need to take responsibility for how toxic things became. I can’t put it on everybody else and just keep blaming others.'” • I remember Daou from the blogosphere 2003-2006, and from 2008. While I’m leery of conversion experiences — David Brock from Republican to Democrat, for example — I never saw Daou as a mercenary; just very stubborn and very wrong. People do change!

UPDATE Steyer (D)(1): Reading the room:

Trump (R)(1): [Axios]. Brad Parscale: “Bloomberg News has declared that they won’t investigate their boss or his Democrat competitors, many of whom are current holders of high office, but will continue critical reporting on President Trump. As President Trump’s campaign, we are accustomed to unfair reporting practices, but most news organizations don’t announce their biases so publicly. Presented with this new policy from Bloomberg News, our campaign was forced to determine how to proceed. Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events. We will determine whether to engage with individual reporters or answer inquiries from Bloomberg News on a case-by-case basis. This will remain the policy of the Trump campaign until Bloomberg News publicly rescinds its decision.”

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Trump has turned the suburbs into a GOP disaster zone. Does that doom his reelection?” [Los Angeles Times]. “The orderly subdivisions and kid-friendly communities that ring the nation’s cities have become a deathtrap for Republicans, as college-educated and upper-income women flee the party in droves, costing the GOP its House majority and sapping the party’s strength in state capitals and local governments nationwide. The dramatic shift is also reshaping the 2020 presidential race, elevating Democratic hopes in traditional GOP strongholds like Arizona and Georgia, and forcing Trump to redouble efforts to boost rural turnout to offset defectors who, some fear, may never vote Republican so long as the president is on the ballot.” • As we started to see in the mid-terms, as my worksheets showed. That’s the liberal Democrat theory of change: Appeal to suburban Republicans, especially women, and don’t expand the base.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Trump Shows Off His Own Circle of Hell” [McSweeney’s]. “As we step inside the mansion, I want you to look at those spikes. Those came from 1400s Spain. Everything is deluxe. We’ve got copies of all the magazines I’ve been on. This is me on the cover of Rolling Brimstone. This is me on the cover of Playboil. I’m one of the only men to get a cover. This is me on the cover of TIME Magazine, which we still get down here.” • I know I ran this once, but it’s so good I have to run it again.

Warren (D)(1):

Indeed. And this is a big issue to make “patently false” statements about.

UPDATE Warren (D)(2): WTF:

Nah. If Warren’s campaign doesn’t use internal polls, they’re guilty of malpractice. And if she truly doesn’t know that, she is. And if she doesn’t….

Warren (D)(3):

Ostensibly pro-Warren, but never a good sign when goofy or repellent photos of your candidate start appearing (as they have for Sanders, consistently, though my subjective impression is that favorable photos increased after he recovered from his heart attack, oddly).

* * *

“The 2020 corporate hit list” [Axios]. “Presidential candidates have called out more than 80 companies across 30 industries on Twitter over the past six months — mostly in a negative context… Why it matters: From Amazon to Lyft, many of these companies are facing populist attacks from candidates including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the left — but also from the right by President Trump, who’s lashing out over his own issues.”

“A guide to the millions pouring into Maine for the 2020 US Senate race” [Bangor Daily News]. “The candidates have raised nearly $13 million so far, with 98 percent of it coming from either Collins, a Republican, or House Speaker Sara Gideon, the nationally backed frontrunner in a four-way Democratic primary — more than two hopefuls have raised in a race in Maine history. National interest has led to $6.3 million in advertising related to the race, according to data from Advertising Analytics. That exceeds spending on Maine ads in the past two presidential races combined. The firm projected $55 million in ad spending — more than double the money spent on any Maine race in history — would flow into the campaign by 2020’s end.” • So far as I can tell from her site, Gideon (supported by the DSCC) opposed #MedicareForAll, though to give credit she did good work on Medicaid expansion and opioids.

“New York Democrats Try to Take Working Families Party Off the Ballot” [The Intercept]. “At a meeting on Monday, a commission created to implement New York’s public campaign finance system voted to pass a proposal that would make it significantly more difficult for alternative political parties to operate in the state… Both party leaders and the WFP say the change would also build a structural advantage for Republicans in swing districts across the state by eliminating the WFP’s margins and boosting numbers for the state’s biggest minor party, the right-leaning Conservative Party.” • I don’t know why Cuomo is so committed to boosting conservatives (like “the Independent Democratic Conference, including Cuomo allies who helped stall progressive legislation for years under a power-sharing scheme with Republicans”). To be fair to national Democrats, they’re against this, fearing loss of seats in the House.


“‘I Don’t Trust Anyone at All.’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Speaks Out on Trump, Putin and a Divided Europe” [Time]. Zelensky: “America, first of all, has its direct relations with Russia. To influence Russia, to make everyone see that this [war] is a big tragedy, and that it must end, I think that Mr. Trump can speak directly, and I think they do talk about these things.”

“Here’s the Proof that Trump’s “No Quid Pro Quo” Call Never Happened” [Just Security]. “At the heart of the impeachment inquiry, members of Congress may have been mistakenly led to believe that there were two phone calls between President Donald Trump and Ambassador Gordon Sondland in early September—with the second call having the possibility of helping the President’s case. That’s not what happened. There was only one call, and it was highly incriminating… As this article was in the publication process at Just Security, the Washington Post published a report raising doubts about the existence of the September 9 call. The analysis that follows is consistent with the Post’s report and, among other points, shows why Sondland’s “no quid pro quo” call is in fact the same as the September 7th call that Morrison reported to NSC lawyers on September 7th.” • Call me crazy, but didn’t we have hearings to straighten this kind of thing out? With cross-examination and stuff like that?


AOC v. the Military Industrial Complex:

Obama Legacy

A clip from Michael Moore’s new movie, Fahrenheit 11/9:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Faithless Electors’ Could Tip the 2020 Election. Will the Supreme Court Stop Them?” [New York Times]. “On Dec. 19, 2016, a little more than a month after the presidential election, members of the Electoral College gathered around the nation to cast their votes. Ten of them went rogue. A swing by that number of electors would have been enough to change the outcomes in five of the previous 58 presidential elections, according to a petition filed last week in the Supreme Court. In the 2000 election, after an assist from the Supreme Court, George W. Bush beat Al Gore by just five electoral votes. The petition asked the justices to decide whether ‘faithless electors‘ were free to disregard pledges they made to vote for their own parties’ candidates. It urged the court to act quickly. ‘This case permits the court to issue a decision outside of the white-hot scrutiny of a contested presidential election,’ the petition said…. Two things are reasonably clear. The first is that the framers of the Constitution and the language they used seemed to contemplate that electors would use independent judgment. The second is that over time people have come to assume that electors are meant to vote for their parties’ candidates.” • Erased in all this is that Clinton supporters, in 2016, advocated shifting the votes of faithless electors based on material provided by the intelligence community.

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index, November 2019: Within consensus change [Econoday]. • Again, the number is current, but the prose interpretation is not. What’s going on at Econoday?

Institute For Supply Management, November 2019: Within consensus range [Econoday] • Ditto.

Construction Spending, October 2018: Below consensus range [Econoday]. • DItto.

Shipping: “Empty container movements signal freight shift to the East Coast” [Freight Waves]. “The number of empty containers moving into the Elizabeth New Jersey market over the past two weeks has almost tripled, while inbound empties moving to the Los Angeles market has dropped 46%. Pair that with the fact outbound Los Angeles trucking volumes have dropped approximately 14% since the start of November, it seems the country’s capacity is in need of re-balancing. The question to ask is whether this is a proactive or reactive move to import behaviors by the large shipping companies and what does this mean for domestic freight. The impact of the U.S. trade war with China has been discussed ad nauseum to this point, so it would seem the international shipping companies, who own the most of the 20 and 40-foot containers in the world, have already figured out shippers have begun to ship more freight to the East Coast from Asia. Domestic 53-foot containers have also been increasingly re-positioned to the Northeast over the past several weeks. Many shippers have started sourcing production in southern Asia versus China to avoid additional tariffs. Shipping from southern Asia directly to the U.S. East Coast via ship becomes more attractive to freight destined for the major population centers in the eastern half of the U.S. Shippers can shave a few days on the water and a few dollars when shipping through the Suez Canal in the Middle East versus the Panama Canal from China.

Shipping: “Maersk Line parent A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S will cut about 200 jobs at its headquarters in Copenhagen and at the Hamburg Süd German shipping business. … [T]he labor move comes as the shipping giant prepares for significantly higher fuel spending next year just as it prepares to invest more in inland logistics services” [Wall Street Journal]. “The rising energy costs will come from a new emissions-reduction mandate. Maersk’s attention to its business model is also at work as the company directs resources to growth outside traditional port-to-port services. The carrier is reining back capacity growth and automating more ocean operations with tools like instant digital quotes for booking.”

Retail: “Retail workers this year are behaving a lot like distribution center staffers. Chains including Target Corp. and Walmart are trying to adapt to a world of changing consumer behavior and competition by staffing stores differently: [Wall Street Journal]. “Target says it now sources 80% of its online orders from stores, not warehouses… Target is responding by having workers take on more tasks, including tracking inventory to both stock shelves and fill online orders.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73 Greed (previous close: 79 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 2 at 12:40pm

Seven Fear & Greed Indicators.

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on earthquakes: “Albania hit with 6.4 magnitude earthquake” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. I wonder when, in 2020, the index will start flirting with 190 again. So far, the latest impeachment push hasn’t affected the Index.

The Biosphere

“Maine lobster catch headed for decline but not crash, scientists say” [Bangor Daily News]. “Noah Oppenheim, author of one of the studies, said his model projects the lobster catch in the Gulf of Maine “will return to previous historical levels.” That means tens of millions fewer pounds of lobster per year, but still enough lobsters to support a robust business and supply hungry seafood lovers. Oppenheim and colleagues base their opinion on a finding that temperature and the number of young lobsters populating shallow coastal areas allow scientists to predict what lobster catches will look like in four to six years. …The other article states that recent high catches have been aided by an expanded area in the eastern Gulf of Maine that is especially suitable for baby lobsters to grow. The article, written by UMaine graduate student Andrew Goode in the journal Global Change Biology, states that the cool deep-water habitat might have protected the baby crustaceans from the negative impacts of a warming ocean.” • good news for Maine. The Gulf of Maine is one of the most affected by climate change.

Massive takedown of GMO by Taleb:

See the table.

“Banks worth $47 trillion adopt new U.N.-backed climate principles” [Reuters]. “Banks with more than $47 trillion in assets, or a third of the global industry, adopted new U.N.-backed “responsible banking” principles to fight climate change on Sunday that would shift their loan books away from fossil fuels…. The principles’ main backers say the norms will encourage banks to pivot their loan portfolios away from carbon-intensive assets and redirect capital to greener industries. Critics argue that banks should go much further by explicitly committing to phasing out financing for fossil fuel projects and agribusiness that drive deforestation in the Amazon, Southeast Asia and other regions. However, the new standards could also force participating banks to choose between foregoing business from clients in high-carbon sectors and the risk of being accused of backsliding on the principles if they continue to finance such firms.” • What “risk”? Reputational damage? (And “worth” is doing a lot of work in that headline, too.)

“Climate Change: How Lucky Do You Feel?” [Reason]. “Will climate change be apocalyptic? Probably not, but the possibility is not zero. So just how lucky do you feel? Frankly, after reviewing the scientific evidence, I’m not feeling nearly as lucky as I once did.” • Note the source.

Thanksgiving Post Mortem

Tell me it’s not a great country:

Health Care

Horror story (1):

Horror story (2):

Horror story (3): Thread:

@laurenecrawford’s bio: Partner; Forbes Tate Partners; Director of Expansion State Programs, Hillary for America (2016); Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) for Health Care; Senior Associate, Dewey Square Group; GOTV Hillary Clinton for President (2008). How odd that such a well-connected liberal Democrat is working so fervently against #MedicareForAll.

Our Famously Free Press

“Sacramento Bee receives grant to hire new reporter covering the region’s Latino communities” [Sacramento Bee]. • It’s great that there’s a new reporter — how horrible that a single reporter being hired is headline news — but apparently the Bee doesn’t have the reporters to cover CalPERS. So it’s too bad there wasn’t a grant for that.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Sir is this your cat:

News of the Wired

“One diorama at a time, miniaturist reconstructs aftermaths of ‘lonely deaths'” [Japan Times]. :Her jobs often involve cleaning up after what is known as kodokushi — ‘lonely deaths’ — where those living alone are found dead in their homes, sometimes going unnoticed for days or even weeks.” • This is more than a little gruesome, but on the other hand making kodokushi the word of the day allows me to suggest that if you have the holiday blues, get up, go outside, look up at the sky, and talk to people! If you are not doing that. Of course, even better, make a project of taking pictures of plants :-) And now another gruesome story from Asia–

“K-pop stars get prison terms for gang rape” [Deutsche Welle]. ”The defendants are well-known celebrities and friends, but the chat they’ve had showed that they simply considered women as objects of sexual pleasure, and committed crimes that were extremely serious,’ Judge Kang Seong-soo said as he handed down the verdict. ‘Strict punishment is inevitable as the damage inflicted has not properly been recovered and the victims demand harsh penalties.’ Both men wept as the verdict was read.”

“Virginia Woolf’s First Car” [The Virginia Woolf Blog]. “Virginia confessed that driving began to invade her thoughts: ‘All images are now tinged with driving a motor. Here I think of letting my engine work, with my clutch out…’ She later declared driving a great evolutionary leap: ‘Soon we shall look back at our pre-motor days as we do now at our days in the caves’ and stated ‘the motor is turning out the joy of our lives, an additional life, free & mobile & airy alongside our usual stationary industry.'”

* * *

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 (TD):

TD: “Recently the muhly grass began blooming and saw this effect from a setting sun.” Lovely, and good observation! More on this ornamental grass.

* * *

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. Isotope_C14

    “Indeed. And this is a big issue to make “patently false” statements about.”

    Warren has a plan for that IIRC.

    Something along the lines of using bio-diesel for aircraft carriers and “greening” the military.

    Instead of depleted uranium shells, they will use leftover pound-cake from Christmas.

    I’m sure the MIC is quivering in fear of a Warren presidency.

    1. jrs

      Actually it makes some sense as a plan if you accept that the U.S. military is the biggest GHG emitter on the planet. If it’s that large a target then it should be targeted.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem is Warren’s foreign policy views require even more “greening” of the military than would happen from not having an aggressive foreign policy. Climate control bases in the Iraqi desert are the problem. If we go green, why are we there?

    2. rowlf

      The DOD had a few bio-fuel programs in the last twenty years but it is hard to tell what happened to them. Some airlines and the DOD were working on jet fuel but I’m not sure if lobbyists got the congresscritters to kill the programs in the cribs as a military scale program could be almost viable.

      (Yeah, I was reading Janes at age three but I’m pretty sure I didn’t get into Aviation Week & Space Technology until preschool.)

  2. Synoia

    Firefighters demonstrate the dangers of deep-frying a frozen Thanksgiving turkey…

    But, they didn’t report on:

    (a) Was it now cooked?and
    (b) How it tasted.

    Actually it was a steam explosion (1 ml of water -> 1,600 ml of steam)

    1. Lee

      Had a spatchcocked turkey this year. If one must eat these cooks’ conundrums at all, it’s the best way to prepare them that I’ve yet encountered.

      Alas, no Dungeness crab this year so as to save the whales. Our suffering is not in vain.

  3. Matthew G. Saroff

    “I don’t know why Cuomo is so committed to boosting conservatives?”

    Assuming that this is not snark, it is because Cuomo is conservative by nature, and he knows that by divided government in New York state makes him more secure.

    It allows him to point at the Republicans and look good by comparison, and also it increases corruption which allows him to buy or rent allies.

    1. Pat

      I would add that the last couple of years have been a hard time for Cuomo. The legislature has actually acted upon a couple of long delayed Democratic wishlist items and without a divided legislature he had no where to hide. Hell think of the blowback when he slow walked signing the election reform bill that allowed primary voters to register in the same year as the primary. These initiatives have upset the rice bowls of more than a few of Cuomo’s ‘friends’. This cannot be allowed to continue.

      While I think he should realize he will never be President, I’m pretty sure he has yet to give up that ambition. Not being Bloomberg, he actually needs the whole FIRE cadre to back his attempts. Pissing them off is not in his long term interest. And the overall well being of NY state and its citizens doesn’t exist on his list of priorities. As for the interests of the Party nationally, well having a divided Congress or pretending to have one enriched our last Democratic President, Cuomo would want no less.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Can it also please be broadcast far and wide that Mayor Mike ran as, was elected as, and governed as a Republican mayor?

        (He supposedly converted to Dem after realizing, as I think ambrit pointed out, that his last name meant he would never go any further inside the Republican Party).

        Truly a sign of the times.

        Nefarious billionaire #1: “How can we get the rest of our agenda done?”
        Nefarious billionaire #2. “I know, we’ll run a few Republicans as Democrats, nobody will notice”

    2. ptb

      WFP is a NY state trick to let standard Dems collect votes from progressives and union households who don’t trust them, by giving voters the symbolic (and completely effect-free) option of selecting the same candidate on a different party line. The most committed WFP voters also remove themselves from the Dem primaries where they could actually make a difference.

      Cuomo etc may now be concerned about the possibility of losing control of the WFP nomination process.

      If this move pushes WFP voters into returning to the Dem party and actively participating in primaries, that may be a good thing. Likewise if WFP’s move to Green.

    3. Synoia

      Appears as a typical mainstream Democrat.

      Only does what the major donor$ want, and uses a divided assembly to avoid other choices.

    4. bob

      It also allows the republicans to pretend they’re against Andy.

      Andy and republicans are the love that dare not speak its name. Andy has done more to put very effectively evil republicans in appointed offices that the republicans could ever hope to do on their own.

  4. a different chris

    What’s wrong with misanthropy? If the human race behaved differently than it does (for example, not raising dumbs(family blog)s like ol’ Steve to the top of society) then maybe Mr. Pinker could criticize.

    But me, I’m looking at the facts and “misanthropy” looks like a pretty darn logical reaction.

      1. JBird4049

        Sure, let’s bring in some Existentialism, which is better than some Nihilism, but perhaps Dadaism would be more appropriate; considering our current suicidal political economy is being run by insane, clown children.

  5. douglass truth

    the comments on the Reason article are a real horror show. They should have called the magazine Rage.

    1. JBird4049

      Honestly, Reason is not as bad or at least not worse than some of the larger liberal sites. I I do not think that rage is the reason, but really some don’t like having THE TRUTH as they perceive it challenged and will flatly deny facts.

      I once had a… discussion with commenters there on the minimum wage. Even though I had the official minimum wages both federal and local including the rules regarding tips from the Department of Labor and I believe from PBS’ Frontline, that refused to accept that people were being paid IIRC $2.15 plus tips. In theory, if the tips didn’t make the hourly wage higher like 5(?) the management was supposed to make up the difference, which quite often did not happen.

      So I had the feds and reliable news sources, describing a simple fact, not metaphysics or discussing some bit of theology. The responses were complete denials with no evidence or even explanation. WTH do you do with that? Just like dealing with Neoliberal True Believers or the Clintonistas who similarly refuse to examine any evidence that contradicts what must be the Holy Truth and deny physical facts.

      I have had better discussions with shellbacked Baptists, neo nazis, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is disturbing. Then again, most of those conversations were face to face where giving respect and just listening goes a long ways.

  6. Rod

    We can’t be sure exactly what will happen—but there is a case for letting global warming run its course and letting markets figure out how to respond.

    Standard blather before the tell–and without explanation.

    One of the tenets of Extinction Rebellion is to “Tell the Truth about Climate Change” not striving for Fair and Balanced.
    That this should be put forth in a Publication called ‘Reason’ on the opening day for the Climate Summit, is imo, an Irony.

    1. Massinissa

      Have you seen the comments? They’re even worse than the article. All of them think that the article is ‘alarmist’ even though the article is saying “Eh maybe the climate catastrophe can be corrected naturally by capitalism and markets”.

      If these are ‘reasonable’ people we are truly doomed.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Nice try. There’s probably going to be some article in whatever trade publication college administrators read, about why BYU failed and what to try next time.

    2. dearieme

      Can someone explain to this foreigner why it’s any business of the university which insurance its students have? Or, indeed, whether they have any?

      1. Romancing The Loan

        BYU is a heavily religious Mormon college and Medicare covers birth control, which the student health plan does not.

      2. Off The Street

        Universities cut deals with insurers. They force students to take their coverage, as sick students are mobile germ pools. They build the premiums into the tuition bill. No premium, no enrollment.

        They relent only when you get in their face about how your family healthcare coverage already includes a local clinic as one of the network facilities.

        We went through that with the UC system, which is one reason that they aren’t likely to receive one dime more from us.

        How many parents just paid the bill without reading the details?

        How many students took out larger loans to pay for what was duplicate coverage?

        Somewhere, there must be a class action lawsuit in the works.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Nice way too of having students from the poorer classes kept out of their university. Sort of like a wealth filter as in, if you can’t afford the healthcare, you can’t afford to study here. Very clarifying that.

    3. anon y'mouse

      this is not really new.

      a few years back, i was attending PSU and they forced me to purchase their student health coverage as part of the fees of attending, because i could not prove that i had my own insurance. this was BEFORE the ACA passed, with the tax mandate.

      i ended up paying 2 years of premiums with financial aid, because grants do not even really cover the class tuition, much less books, fees, transportation etc. (i calculated these then at $9k per year for regular class load, non honours, and not including room and board)

      when i was graduating, i calculated that nearly $3k of my student loan balance was due to this very fee, applied every term. i wrote them a stern letter, but that was one of the requirements of admission and i had my diploma, so i am essentially eating it. IF i ever manage to pay off my loans…

      btw, after my letter, they announced via email at the next term that they would “counsel you on how to obtain health care” if you could not afford this fee. before that, you had to figure it out on your own, i guess. i wonder what their counselling consisted of? my guess was “sign up for medicaid”. but this was before the ACA medicaid expansion, so who knows if you would have been one of the lucky ones to get that. usually they reserve it for the “genuinely” needy–those with children or the older people prior to medicare admittance. or did. getting medicaid as an adult usually required you be somehow permanently disabled.

      and yes, if i had been a younger, more traditionally aged student i probably could have skated in with my parents’ policy covering me. so in a way, it is an additional economic cost applied to older students as well.

      this matter was reported to NC at the time.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Jonestown Clintonite women hate Trump enough that they would consider President Pence an acceptable price for no-more-President Trump.

      I suppose we will see just how many women are Jonestown Clintonites.

      1. jrs

        he also couldn’t win, so R’s would have to nominate someone else and probably lose the next election. So yes it would result in no more president trump as opposed to the prospect of 5 more years of it.

        1. ambrit

          I really like your ‘misspelling’ there!
          Again, we all know that ‘punch’ is reserved for Hippies! The Dems have become quite good at providing ‘punch’ for the Hippy Left. (Truly, the lucky Hippies died of overdoses while young.)

        2. Tony Wright

          “Punch bowel” – is that a new form of colonic lavage? US politics would certainly benefit from it.
          Actually, make that politics worldwide would benefit.

  7. Robert Valiant

    Re: Massive takedown of GMO by Taleb

    Really good!

    Unfortunately, I think a fundamental problem we have in responding to “science” (rational thought) is that we have given up on a belief in objective reality. So, post-modernist philosophy coupled with ever greater subtlety in science, exacerbated by an education system (schools, celebrities, advertising) that seeks to produce credulous, insatiable consumers (certainly not critical thinkers), creates various groups of “we” who just pick our preferred epistemic authorities and believe whatever they tell us about “science.”

    Kind of like believing whatever your priest/rabbi/minister/imam/witch-doctor says about God.

    1. pjay

      What you say is not wrong, but it is only half the problem. We can’t blame “post-modernism” for people like Pinker, who use their credentials to assert their “scientific objectivity” against those poor goofs who lack the intellectual capacity to see that they’re right. Academics do this all the time. They are not asserting epistemological relativism, but rather the superiority of their “scientific” understanding.

      1. Danny

        Did anyone catch this howler at the bottom of the supplied link?

        “We discuss the implications for GMOs (compared to Nuclear energy) and show that GMOs represent a public risk of global harm (while harm from nuclear energy is comparatively limited and better characterized).”

        “Better characterized”, like Chernobyl, Fukushima and half million year long toxicity of radiactive waste?

        1. Grebo

          Chernobyl and Fukushima have happened, so can be accurately characterised. So far the GMO apocalypse remains a speculative fear.

          Arsenic, lead, mercury etc. are toxic forever. Don’t see people with their hair on fire about that for some reason.

          1. John Zelnicker

            December 2, 2019 at 8:19 pm

            It may not have been “hair on fire”, but in the early 1970’s there were a number of laws and regulations passed to eliminate as much lead as possible from the environment as the neurological damage to children had been proven.

            Tetraethyl lead was removed from gasoline, and in 1974, IIRC, lead based paint was banned. In addition there were substantial sums spent on removing lead paint from housing, especially that which might have children living there. I worked for the City of Philadelphia for a while using a blow torch and scrapers to remove lead paint from abandoned and low-income housing owned by the city.

            As a result of removing lead, when the cohort born starting in the late ’70’s reached teenage and young adulthood, there was a dramatic reduction in the types of crime that young folks most often commit. Crimes such as shoplifting, simple assault, vandalism, etc., declined substantially in the ’90’s.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Ah, yes, that favorite defense tactic in toxic tort litigation: try to educate and sucker the jury into buying into the concept of “relative and comparative risk.” Which comes after the chemical company has ridden down any application of the precautionary principle by lobbying and regulatory capture.

            The principle is used by policy makers to justify discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from making a certain decision (e.g. taking a particular course of action) when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.

            When has Monsanto or Carroll ever had to prove under that principle that their products do no harm? And making motions to satisfy the lobbying-weakened provisions of health and environmental laws, further debilitated by limp enforcement and intentionally bad science and crippling “policies” initiated by captive or infiltrated regulators does not begin to satisfy that principle.

            1. dearieme

              There is no general precautionary principle But if there were, to adopt the precautionary principle would violate the precautionary principle.

            2. Grebo

              @ John And JT

              I don’t disagree. My point was that words like ‘nuclear’ and ‘GMO’ seem to provoke irrational fear in some people. And fear is the mind killer. These things are not voodoo.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            The GMO food and ag rollout appears to be more of a slowpocalypse. Professor Don Huber of Purdue University has written and talked about that. He can be googled.

      2. Robert Valiant

        Good point: not fair to lay all the blame on the consumers of post-modernism.

        I do think that there are plenty of producer/elites (probably not plenty of good scientists), who claim and cherish their own relativism. Remember Karl Rove?

        We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

        Really, I don’t believe any scientist, or even any rational thinker, can accept that reality is merely “lived experience” so we’re left with delusion or dishonesty on the part of Steven Pinker and his ilk. That he puts so much faith in the values of the Enlightenment is somewhat ironic.

        1. @pe

          No — Pinker et al reflect precisely what post-modernism intended to critique, which is the game of authority by using an undue certain and reductionism. Pinker is not an enlightenment bug, but a feature of a certain sort of “scientism” as Taleb points out.

          To go beyond enlightenment limitations (which is one of the problems of post-modernism, it is just a council of despair), you have to include inherent problems of dynamical, chaotic, multiscale systems which limit your certainty and ability to do inverse solutions on them.

          In fact then, you find that Marx was at least going in the right direction with the dialectic, even if he was too primitive (early in the field) to really see that there was a mathematical formulation of the class of problem — and that Popper was just mostly wrong.

          Thus, you would immediately throw out most of the fields of economics and evolutionary psychology as witchcraft, and have to, at best, restart them from scratch. Much rationalism isn’t rational, but just stereotyped thinking with political goals.

          (And we haven’t even started with the peek-under-the-bed rationalistic arguments that Steve-o has for his buddy situation with ol’ Jeff)

  8. zagonostra

    > Imperial Collapse watch

    Below was written over 100 years ago and is as relevant now as ever. Impeaching Trump will have no impact on changing this fundamental trajectory. From Gaetano Mosca’s “Elements of a Science of Politics” pg 146.

    The relative ease with which money, or mobile wealth, can be
    organized and the possibility of concentrating control of large
    amounts of money in the hands of a few individuals help to
    explain its growing preponderance in power. In this phenomenon
    we have one of the many examples of an organized minority prevailing
    over a disorganized majority. A very small number of
    individuals can control all the banks of issue in a country or all
    the companies engaged in transportation by land or sea. They
    can own and control great stock companies and industrial corporations
    which deal in commodities that are indispensable to
    national defense, such as iron and steel. They can carry out
    public works for which not even the finances of the richest
    governments would be adequate. With hundreds of millions at
    their disposal, such, individuals possess the most varied resources
    for threatening or cajoling other interests however far-reaching,
    and for intimidating and corrupting public officials, ministries,
    legislative bodies, newspapers…

    If one looks closely at any country, be it commonly known as a monarchy,
    a tyranny, a republic or what one will, one inevitably
    finds that actual power is wielded never by one person, the
    monarch or head of the state, nor yet by the whole community
    of citizens, but by a particular group of people which is always
    fairly small in numbers as compared with the total population.


    1. Stephen V.

      Wow. 10 years from now people will tell each other where they were when they saw the Biden hairy leg cartoon…

  9. Vegetius

    On Obama’s approval rating among Democrats, how much of it is preference falsification and how much is simply reflexive anti-Trumpism?

    1. Oh

      The people in Flint, MI have finally woken up to Obama’s flim flam ways. But most of the other ObamaBots are still in stupor. Their attentions has been diverted to Trump’s activities (which make Obama look good by comparison) and these idiots will never awaken.

      1. richard

        I don’t know. Never is a long time, and we have a long way to fall yet. I’m not exactly sure how that relates to things getting clarified, but I feel that it does anyway.

  10. kareninca

    “No Malarkey.” Biden’s campaign slogan in Iowa.

    I have a friend who pleads with me periodically to stop checking the comment section on ZH. This is the sort of thing that makes that impossible.

      1. polecat

        Anyone remember that Hillary Campaign bus that was caught emptying their sewage into some municipality’s storm drains? Let’s hope that holey joe spongiform doesn’t do something similar .. inadvertently sucking out whats left of his brains in the process ..

        then again, it just might be an improvement.

      2. kareninca

        I told my 95 year old father in law about this, and he thought I was joking. But no, it really is Biden’s campaign slogan. My father in law told me that he hadn’t heard that word in fifty years. Seriously, this is right up there with Corn Pop (he was a bad boy; sharpened his razor blades in a rain barrel). I hope that his buses have enough chamberpots for the whole staff.

        Did you see him chewing his wife’s finger? Really. Actually. As she waved her arm about in introducing him, he bent forward and chewed her finger in front of the audience. WTF.

        1. Heretofore

          > Seriously, this is right up there with Corn Pop (he was a bad boy;
          > sharpened his razor blades in a rain barrel).

          Sorry … this allusion goes completely over my head. ???

          1. kareninca

            Here’s an article about Joe Biden and Corn Pop:

            “In this entry into the overstuffed genre of guys talking about fights they almost got into, Biden recalled the days when he was a lifeguard for a public pool in a black neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware. Speaking onstage at a 2017 ceremony in which the city named the pool after him, Biden described an interaction in which he called out a “bad dude” nicknamed Corn Pop — the leader of a local gang called the Romans — when he was bouncing high off the diving board. “Esther Williams,” Biden yelled to Corn Pop, referring to the synchronized swimmer and Hollywood actress. “Get off the board, man. You’re out of here.” It gets stranger from there.”

            I had totally forgotten about the existence of Pomade, until I saw this.

            There are also really bizarre racial aspects to all of it.

            Watching Biden tell the tale is even more amazing than reading about it. The article above links to a 2017 video of him recounting it. The MSM did its best to make this sound like a “normal” yarn.

            It has been described as “the weirdest political speech you will ever see,” and that may be right. Oh, here, I found a script of it: https://lybio.net/joe-biden-corn-pop-story/people/

  11. anon y'mouse

    yesterday, in “extremely creepy advertisements” there was a neurostimulating device touted for regulating mood, by more-or-less permanently implanting it in your body. presented in all seriousness.

    haven’t seen it since.

    cyborg yourself to happiness! especially since this “selling (legal) drugs” thing is now bringing on so much fallout.

    just wait til the “smart device” people get a hold of that one. then i can blame my depression on russian hackers.

    *please note, device cannot be used if the person has a pacemaker

  12. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re extract from Politico: “What Bloomberg contemplates is not so much an exercise in threading the political needle as pulverizing that needle as it has existed for decades. ‘We’re just going to rewrite a new system,’ said Kevin Sheekey, a senior Bloomberg strategist.”…

    $31.5 million initial spending for a self-funded television ad campaign for the presidency by a deca-billionaire?… Wow! Seems to me that this “new system” harkens back more to an ancient class-based political system, one that a citizen of ancient Rome would instantly recognize, than to cutting edge innovation. As that talented Minnesota congresswoman said, “It’s all about the benjamins.”

    1. RMO

      Let me guess: his vision of this new system is simply paying outright for office and dropping all that messy, tedious, inefficient, dated, democracy stuff? Let the market decide! It is so obviously the best method possible throughout all time of accomplishing anything, is it not? /s

      I am also confident that Bloomberg will spend wisely so none of those millions manage to end up in the pockets of those in the lower class so he won’t have to worry about them using it to buy fortified wine or meth or fatty foods etc. and thus harming them.

  13. Summer

    Re:“The 2020 corporate hit list” [Axios].

    Boeing didn’t make the tops of the top list and neither did any banks, health insurance, or oil companies. Those are often discussed in general terms, no specific names used, by the great majority (99%) of the candidates.

  14. Summer

    “@AOC to military contractor exec: I could have covered the insulin costs of a community of 21,400 people for the cost of your price-gouging. I could have sent 21 kids to college. I could have sent 18 toddlers to free preschool for a year. Why should we give you another dime? ”

    Applauded. But did they answer truthfully? That it is because so many of AOC’s fellow elected officials take big campaign money from them…

    1. John A

      Who audits incoming invoices? Does nobody say, hold on a minute, that’s an outrageous mark up, we can’t authorise that?

  15. ewmayer

    “A clip from Michael Moore’s new movie, Fahrenheit 11/9” — Uh, that film came out over a year ago. BTW, like Peter Daou, Moore was a crazypants heart-all-aflutter-at-the-delicate-rustle-of-the-royal-pantsuit Hillary fanboi … I wonder if, like Daou, he has rethought that, or not.

      1. jrs

        Moore has endorsed Sanders on MSDNC. Jimmy Dore meanwhile hasn’t endorsed Sanders and won’t. He’s a goofball.

        1. WJ

          No. Dore is not a goodball. He supports Gabbard because of what he feels is her superior foreign policy. I don’t know why he must support Sanders now.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          We must be watching different Jimmy Dores. He’s a legend and endorses Bernie early and often

  16. Summer

    RE: “A major university is telling students on Medicaid: buy private insurance plan, or drop out….”

    They have business majors like other schools. Guess that’s the education for the “hope for the future.”

  17. Danny

    Massive takedown of GMO(s) by Taleb

    Some problems that face humanity are too complex to do anything about on a personal level. Others allow your meaningful contribution and sacrifice, but you’ll never see the effect. Eating high quality organic food is an exception to that.

    Buying locally produced organic food helps farmers, prevents sprawl, and saves energy. Organic farming improves the environment, creates healthy soil which grows nutrient dense crops that taste better and satisfy, therefore one eats less, getting a full range of minerals, enzymes and vitamins, losing weight, looking and feeling better, and most of all, you are not deliberately poisoning yourself with traces of pesticides and weedkillers that the patented GMO plants are specifically designed to be drenched in, as well as the allergic reaction symptoms from consuming foreign genes inserted into cloned plants.

    1. MrQuotidian

      I appreciate the optimism, but there’s a lot of exaggerated and false claims here. “Organic” is primarily a marketing label is just as likely to be produced by large corporate monoculture as conventional crops are. Also, organic farming uses pesticides, sometimes even more than conventual farming (always wash your produce). There is no evidence of “allergies” to foreign genes (most gmos don’t even have “inserted” genes in the first place). Even so, the designation “organic” doesn’t even exclude GMO foods. Lastly, organic farming does not necessarily save energy or reduce carbon expenditure, since it’s fertilizer must be procured from livestock.

      That doesn’t mean “conventional farming” is a-ok. No by a long shot. It just means that buying items that say “organic” isn’t a panacea, and it is going to take more than a marketing label to improve agriculture, food safety, and labor/business practices.

      1. Danny

        “large corporate monoculture” is not local…true. Go for the local preferably.

        “organic farming uses pesticides, sometimes even more than conventual farming”
        Yes, but when “sometimes” and not often used, the products are far more benign and in some cases are natural, rather than the carcinogenic complex chlorine and other compounds that don’t occur in nature.

        There is no evidence of “allergies” to foreign genes (most gmos don’t even have “inserted” genes in the first place). The common ones that do mimic allergies, Crohn’s, prolapse, sicken and can kill people. Fish genes inserted in cloned vegetables to act as antifreeze, for example if one is allergic to fish.
        “Ninety percent of food allergies are caused by the common allergens in peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, and fish[9]. In 1996, researchers found that the main allergen from Brazil nuts retains its allergenicity after being transferred into a GMO soybean.”

        Hundreds of kids dying from eating peanuts, or food handled near peanuts? That has only happened since the introduction of GMO foods that sensitize those who might eat them.

        the designation “organic” doesn’t even exclude GMO foods.
        “The use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.”

        organic farming does not necessarily save energy or reduce carbon expenditure, since it’s fertilizer must be procured from livestock.”
        “Organic farms were found to have 26 percent more long-term carbon storage potential than conventional farms.”

        I will assume that you are innocently un- or misinformed, rather than a corporate chemical company shill deliberately spreading misinformation.

        1. MrQuotidian

          I stand corrected on the usda designation of organic excluding gmos – I was repeating some foggy memory that is obviously incorrect.

          Claiming that hundreds of children have died as a result of eating gmos is a sensational claim if true. All evidence I have seen regarding nut allergies suggest that it is lack of exposure that has caused increased negative reactions.

          Your impulse to insinuate “shill” accusations isn’t helpful. It closes down any meaningful discussion.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I am going to limit my comment about “organic” to “USDA Certified Organic” which is supposed to adhere to certain actual laws about what may and may not be used to use the label USDA Certified Organic without breaking the law.

        Organic agriculture uses pesticides from a set list of legally permitted pesticides. Conventional agriculture uses a wider range of other pesticides which are not on the organic-permitted list. It is that wider range of other pesticides one hopes to avoid by eating organic-ag produced food.

        The allergies are not to the foreign genes themselves, but rather to the proteins or other chemicals which are coded-for and produced by those foreign genes. Here is an article about an example of that problem in GMO corn from, of all places, Elle Magazine. ( I also saw it on Commondreams for those who feel Commondreams confers more credibility).

        Legally speaking, the designation Organic actually DOES exclude GMO foods, legally speaking.
        ( There may be lawbreakers putting the Organic label on GMO foods).

        Does organic save energy or reduce carbon emissions ( which is what I assume is meant by carbon expenditure)? It probably depends on the scientific knowledge and eco-technological skill and agronomic-artistry level of the practitioner. The kind of high-soil-nutrition agriculture written about in Acres USA may very well save energy and reduce carbon emissions over its conventional analog. Some Acres USA-type farmers are claiming such results and have so far not been successfully debunked in their claims. That publication and the books it carries and sells would be a starting-point-place to go read about that.

        If the “organic” agriculture in question is USDA Certified Organic, AND if its practitioners are not lawbreakers fraudulently using the label, it is more than just a marketing label. It is also a legally binding promise of certain unwanted chemicals not being used.

        But it is true that with the entry of industrial-scale operators into the Organic field, the smaller more-semi-artisan practitioners have been raising questions about just what Organic should be required to mean with regard to improving agriculture and labor/business practices. Conventional agriculture introduces more dangers into the food supply than organic agriculture does. That is why some people are fleeing the greater danger of conventional for the lesser danger of organic.

        Organic practitioners concerned with long-term sustainability and land-soil-ecosystem restoration and improvement are experimenting with the concept of Regenerative Agriculture.

        A very good way for persons with access to a sun-soaked suburban back yard to get food of known quality and freedom-from-poison would be to start a garden and grow their own. The more they learn, the better they can do.

  18. smoker

    Re: “Sacramento Bee receives grant to hire new reporter covering the region’s Latino communities”

    The grant announced Monday comes from Report for America, a collaborative partnership between nonprofit media outlet the GroundTruth Project, Google News Lab and other foundations.

    Oh lord, Google News Lab? (whose involvement is utterly opaque at the above linked site), and none other than Steven [Beliefnet™] Waldman (not at all to be confused with Steve Randy Waldman of the Interfluidity website) is a Co-founder of Report for America The USA. Not familiar with and didn’t have the time to vet the other Co-founder, Charles Sennott.

    And looking at the Bee’s link to their Report for America reporter reporting on Asian affairs:

    … graduated with honors from the University of Hong Kong in 2016 and will complete her master’s degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism this May. Yu is a Toni Stabile Fellow in investigative reporting.

    No one local, ofAsian descent, in Sacramento could be found? Really, not even from the State of California? Must have (cherry –picked) Ivy League and International credentials? No background in the local dynamics whatsoever, no Asian American, or decades long Asian Sacramento resident need apply, HUH? Why doesn’t the US just shut down some of its actually excellent non-Ivy League™ schools (many of which won’t grade below a C, last I read) and stop the blatant lie of pretending to offer equal footing to all.

    1. smoker

      Correction, had meant to write that many Ivy League Schools™ (versus non-Ivy League Schools) won’t grade below a C, last I read .

  19. Duke of Prunes

    I heard two old midwestern white guys talking about Thanksgiving dinner:
    a: “No politics… until the host, my aunt whose a crazy liberal started pushing Bernie, and if not Bernie than Warren”. b: “Oh boy, Bernie has no chance, and they’re both too old”.
    a: “You’re 65, how can you say they’re too old?”.
    b: “I can say whatever I want”.
    a:”Then who do you like?”
    b: “Buttigeg”
    a: “Me too”.

  20. chuck roast

    Steyer: make it stop!

    I always thought that the people of New Hampshire were very enthusiastic about their early primary status, and consequently very involved in the retail politics of it all. Last week I cruised up and down Rt. 302 from Conway to Bethlehem…about 50 miles each way. I saw a guy at a filling station with a Trump toque. I saw a hand made sign that said Trump Thinks We Are All Stupid. I think I saw a Warren lawn sign. I saw a big Tulsi billboard. That’s it. Lameo, lameo! Not even any bumper stickers that I recognized.

    Of course it could make a difference that there is only one party engaged in a primary, but hey, are these people all asleep? Or perhaps Steyer is putting them to sleep. Anyway, maybe they will give a primary and nobody will come.

  21. Stillfeelinthebern


    Vilsack out on the trail with Biden and this is in the news today in Wisconsin. He’s a fine grifter, with his near $1 million/year compensation taken from farmers via a mandated checkoff program.

    “Farms must pay into the program even if they are operating at a loss — and dairy farmers pay a larger share than do other types of farmers.

    Last year, the programs collected a combined $895 million to promote the various commodities. Of that, more than $420 million — 47% — came from dairy producers.”

    Talked with a local accountant last week, of 36 farm clients still in business only one does not have an off farm job.

  22. VietnamVet

    Corruption is the reason why the risk management of black swan events is ignored. The prime directive is to make more money by any means and don’t worry about the consequences. Once gene modification techniques were discovered, they allowed beneficial traits to be expressed without the time and expense of breeding. But, the natural development of herbicide resistance by weeds to GMOs was ignored, for example. The GFC, the Opioid Crisis and Americans dying younger are other expressions of corruption. Yet no CEO was jailed.

    It is our nature to see the world as constant but there are black swans lurking; 40% of the global pig population has died, 90% of the kelp forest off the coast of California is gone, cyclones in Oregon, and $246.5 trillion in global debt.

    What corruption? It is how corporate democrats make a living.

    1. Big Tap

      It was the Washington Post not Trump that mentioned her affair with Peter Strzok. Page has obvious animus toward Trump. So she’s angry Trump’s keeps needling her but now she is a public figure and I don’t know what she can do about it legally. No one ever said Trump had manners. As documented in Page’s texts with Strzok she doesn’t like Trump either and supposedly had an “insurance policy” with Strzok and maybe Andrew McCabe to prevent Trump from becoming president. At least Lisa Page was allowed to resign instead of being sacked like McCabe.

  23. Tomonthebeach

    Billionaire Debate Shutout.

    The DNC has now made it official. In the USA, you vote with your wallet; not your ballot. The more money given to candidates (thank your Citizens United) the more debate stage exposure you get. Ironic that the rich SOBs are the ones hurt by this rule.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Firefighters demonstrate the dangers of deep-frying a frozen Thanksgiving turkey ”
    I’ve never deep-fried a turkey, but in college I did try making french fries. The result looked a lot like the picture in that tweet. Happened more than once, too; I used up a whole box of baking soda putting out the burning grease. And spent a long time cleaning it up.

    Turns out when they tell you to dry the potatos (or turkey), there’s a reason.

    1. polecat

      We soak potatoes we crinkle-cut in clod water for 20 min., then dry-off using a salad spinner ..and tossing with olive oil & polecat’s special seasonings before arranging on baking tray to bake at 400°F for approx. 1 hr. , turning once @ the 30 min. mark. Tasty, heathier, with the added plus of the appliance not becoming an impromptu medieval feudal-style fireball.

      Hey, I just had an epiphany !! .. Take frozen turkey and deposit into catepult basket. Light hot scalding oil in vat large enough to accommodate said basket, then dip until rotted bird becomes a raging fireball. Finally, release siege-engine trigger .. flinging turkey, thusly .. at any congressperson, lobbyist, neoliberacon pundit, msm plastiboy .. or girl, of your choice !

Comments are closed.