Links 12/28/19

The importance of life’s simple pleasures Al Jazeera (JTM)

Prescott Valley man registers beehive as therapy animal ABC15. So I can take it on an airplane?

Changing Seas Bring ‘Turtle Stranding Season’ to Cape Cod New York Times (resilc)

The Story of the World’s Loneliest Tree National Geographic

Free Returns Come With an Environmental Cost The Verge

Warm ‘Blob’ of Hot Water Bigger Than Texas Heading Towards South America Newsweek (resilc)

In Australia’s drought towns, angry residents rely on charity, not government, for water Guardian (sscegt)

Incredible moment thirsty Koala stops South Australian cyclist to drink water W)

Stanford Researchers Have an Exciting Plan to Tackle The Climate Emergency Worldwide Science Alert (furzy)

Out of the lab, into the fight: climate change compels scientists to speak out about the threat Los Angeles Times

A South Florida town’s pioneering plan to fund retreat from sea rise Tampa Bay (JTM)

China electricity crackdown sparks concerns Asia Times (BC). A different aspect of “Bitcoin = prosecution futures”:

Pierse said the the recent raids do not indicate that Beijing is shutting down crypto mining operations per se, but merely going after illegal electricity users, AMBCrypto reported.

However, he pointed out that just four regions in China account for 65% of the world’s hash rate and Siachen alone is responsible for 50%. Therefore, if China decides to shut down network access, it could be very problematic.

Bitcoin’s Purported Creator Says His Fortune May Remain Locked Bloomberg

Revealed: microplastic pollution is raining down on city dwellers Guardian (Kevin W)


Another year of turmoil for US-China relations Asia Times (Kevin W)

Bills Come Due for China’s Local Governments Wall Street Journal

Internet cut off in parts of India as protests continue Financial Times

Italy Follows France in Levying a Digital Tax Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Rise of Biometric Authentication – The Rewards and Risks Data Science Central (PJH). Oddly ignores the way just about every financial institution I speak to asks me to authorize taking a voice print….and readers have said JP Morgan takes one whether you agree or not.

Uninstall This Alleged Emirati Spy App From Your Phone Now Wired. Since I don’t do apps, I can afford to be blase…but explain to me why the UAE spying on me is more worrisome that Uber stealing my contacts as well as recording my rides (including taking a video in the car) or fitness apps sharing my data with Lord only knows who?

Amazon, Ring Face Class-Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Security Camera Hacks engadget

Why an internet that never forgets is especially bad for young people MIT Technology Review (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Anguish and Anger From the Navy SEALs Who Turned In Edward Gallagher New York Times

Trump Transition

Trump remade Republican economic policy, lifting the stock market and planning for 2020 campaign Washington Post. UserFriendly: “If only…..”

Trump Could Mandate Free Access To Federally Funded Research Papers ars technica

Native leaders determined to avoid repeat of last census undercount Newsmaven (resilc)


House GOP vows to use impeachment to cut into Democratic majority The Hill

Biden Says He Won’t Testify at Trump Trial: Campaign Update Bloomberg. Throwing Pelosi under the bus.

Where’s Rudy? The Bulwark (furzy). Way out over its skis: “The House managers should call him to testify, no matter what.”. The time for the House to call anyone was when the process was in the House. The idea that the House can dictate process to the Senate in order to make up for cutting corners on fact-gathering is lunacy.

Health Care

In the U.S., an Angioplasty Costs $32,000. Elsewhere? Maybe $6,400. New York Times. Bob K: “Going according to plan….”

The Hell That Was Health Care Reform New Republic (UserFriendly)


Michael Moore Predicts 2020 Trump Victory: Trump’s Level Of Support “Has Not Gone Down One Inch” RealClearPolitics. Resilc flags this part:

They voted for the Democrats all down ballot and left the top box blank. She only lost Michigan by 10,000, 11,000 votes. Ninety thousand wanted to send a message to the Democratic Party: “You forgot us a long time ago out here, and we will not put up with this anymore. We’re not going to vote for Trump, but we’re not going to tolerate you sending us another Republican-lite Democrat.”

Who is ahead in the Democratic primary race? Economist. Dan K: “This is a good writeup, unfortunately the underlying dataset is sparse (as far as scraping goes).”

3 Ways the 2020 Election Could Go Very Wrong Vice

Democrats brace for ‘bloody’ primary season The Hill

AOC says ‘it would be an honour’ to be vice president for Bernie Sanders Independent (resilc). She’d be wasted as VP even if she were old enough. Better as head of HHS or whatever the Green New Deal boss is called.

Buttigieg health plan hinges on ‘supercharged’ version of unpopular Obamacare mandate Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Buttigieg shifts to the center, reflecting rightward trajectory of the Democratic primary Washington Post

Our Fabulously Free Press

A Newsweek Reporter Resigns, a Counter-Narrative Won’t Die American Conservative (resilc)

The Media Is Broken New York Times. Warning: David Brooks.

Ten years of social media have left us all worse off Financial Times (David L). “He would say that, now wouldn’t he?”

Still censored by Twitter Yasha Levine

How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation BuzzFeed (UserFriendly)

America’s marijuana growers are the best in the world, but federal laws are keeping them out of global markets Washington Post (Kevin W). Really? Not my category but wouldn’t most things being equal, locally grown weed be better?

Wired to Fail: What Went Wrong With PG&E Wall Street Journal

New Law Finally Bans Bullshit Cable TV Fees TechDirt. The bill proper: H.R.5035 – Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019

Class Warfare

Imagining a World Without Capitalism Yanis Varoufakis Project Syndicate (David L)

Owner-Occupancy Fraud and Mortgage Performance Philadelphia Fed. UserFriendly: “It was those no good lying borrowers that forced the banks to make bad mortgages!”

How the Democratic Party Learned to Wage Class Warfare New Republic

From the Pleasant Lake Protective Association newsletter, via Lawrence R:

Forktail damselfly laying eggs in water a lily stem. Aquatic insects and other invertebrates spend their lives, from egg through adult stages, in or near the water. This damselfly’s eggs hatched in August and the larva will overwinter in the mud.

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. ptb

      anyone notice the hat with the escape hole in it btw? I don’t think this was the first time the cat pounced on her hair . . .

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This would be a total waste of AOC. She is too famous to take the job of a glorified scheduler, and she serves as as much more effective bludgeon against the Team Blue courtier class and Pelosi types in Congress because the very first thing those people will do is attack policies such as the GND for not solving an ID Pol issue despite their own efforts to promote the ilk of the Clintons all these years.

      Also, she isn’t old enough to be sworn in as VP.

      1. jo6pac

        Agree she much better in the congress were she can help other true progressives run for office that dnc would normally stop.

        1. chuckster

          Well she spent a bit of time this month attacking Tulsi’s “PRESENT” vote during the House impeachment vote so I guess Mrs. Pelosi still has a few strings she can pull. Leave her in the House.

          1. dcblogger

            or maybe, just maybe Pelosi had nothing to do with it. Maybe AOC thought Present was not a good vote.

        2. neo-realist

          Yes, I want AOC to be in a position to help grow the progressive democratic numbers in the Senate, so the dems can wield serious power in government and select judges, stop judges from getting appointed, approve attorney generals, agency heads who will protect the public from the abuses of the private sector, real watchdogs on wall street, and not simply be hash tag posers pretending to have an impact on right wing governance, e.g., #resistance.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Chief of staff is far more than a “glorified scheduler”. It’s probably the most powerful position in the White House, depending of course on the executive occupant.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          “In the White House”.

          Not at all “in the Administration”.

          Even the head of a second-tier agency like the CFTC has more actual power. They make speeches, make appointments in their agency, and have their troops write regulations. They can even participate in drafting legislation.

    2. Phenix

      Ahh..Nina Turner.

      AOC will be in his administration but I struggle to see why you would take her out if the house unless her polling data says she loses in the primary or general.
      I want her on camera pushing back against the neoliberals in Congress. I do support her heading tge GND but wonder if she gas the bureaucratic chops to pull ut off.
      I am also not a huge AOC fan. I prefer Tulsi.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Agreed, she’s shown a good aptitude for working on committee hearings. Strong arm her into a chair position on ways-and-means.

        You’d want her calling and interrogating expert witnesses on a bunch of subjects in the run up to passing GND legislation.

        Now, Nina Turner as VP….put her on permanent campaign and organizing duties. Dispatch Nina to do rallies and advocacy wherever there’s votes being withheld in a particular district or senate seat.

        Bernie said he’s going to be organizer in chief, — that’s a big job and requires a lot of time. Nina should be sent to see if she can twist arms hard enough first. If needed, she can call for back up from Bernie.

        And yes, let’s do Tulsi as Sec of State. She believes in negotiations, let her have a try.

    3. Big River Bandido

      That’s exactly how I interpreted Sanders’ comment from a few weeks ago about a “very important” role in the White House. And she’d be perfect for it. I’d love to have someone with her strength of character in control of access to the President.

      1. chuckster

        Yeah, an 80 year old president with an inexperienced Chief of Staff fighting the Blob, the Democratic Party, the entire Republican Party and Wall Street all at the same time. What could go wrong?

        1. John k

          AOC has instincts second to none. And she’s more than held her own when going up against the powerful bc she does her homework and knows the issues. Who better?
          And chief of staff means not just pres schedule but getting to know the worlds most powerful… and daily one on one with most powerful of all. What better training for future veep or pres?
          Who is stopgap veep while waiting for AOC to grow up? Tulsi not progressive, not getting traction, better at state or def… Older, female… Liz fits the bill… move her to treasury in 2024.

            1. norm de plume

              Oh please. Dimon, Kushner and Zuckerberg not enough for starters? Did you miss those?

              Pharma, ICE, campaign finance, student loans.. and she’s been there how long? There must be hours of that stuff on youtube already. The lady has style, but man she has WEIGHT. How many Congress critters ever have ascended to ‘serious player’ as quickly as this?

              If you could poll all those who might potentially be scheduled to front Congress in defence of something inherently indefensible on which member they would most like to avoid, it is hard to imagine a challenger to AOC, let alone a victor.

              1. kiwi

                I didn’t realize that holding congressional hearings was so…extraordinary.

                Like I said, or like Nancy said, one could run a glass of water in AOC’s district, call it a dem, and it would get elected.

                I liked the squad at first, but now I don’t. I think they have created a backlash against some important policies because of their obnoxiousness. But that is just my perspective.

          1. Carey

            Thank you.

            ImpreachmentGate; GND in lieu of healthcare;
            the list goes on. “instincts second to none”?

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Sanders is a politician, as is AOC. AOC gave Sanders her endorsement and indicated her interest in higher office. Sanders made clear that he intends to reciprocate AOC’s endorsement. What post that might be will be a matter of negotiations in the future.

      Whom Sanders selects for his VP will be a very difficult decision. I believe he will be loathe to be a “one-of”.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        He would want someone guaranteed not to betray the Sanders Agenda. Or at least not guaranteed to betray the Sanders Agenda.

        I can’t believe that he would accept the functional equivalent of an “Andrew Johnson” type VP nominee.

    5. Bob

      AOC as VP to Bernie Sanders is a slight of hand squirrel to distract from whats going to happen. Either Sanders & Warren will team up or Gabbard is the real VP pick.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        With all due respect, you are out of your mind.

        First, Sanders needs a VP who is much younger and from a different part of the country. So no way Warren.

        Second, Gabbard is way too controversial, brings no meaningful geographic points (Hawaii is trivial in terms of votes), and she’s never ever been strong on econ policies, which is what Bernie is about. She has also rejected M4A, which makes her a non-starter and supports the horrific neoliberal Modi.

        I’ve said it before: someone like Tammy Baldwin (swing state, younger, even better gay) is way more on target with what Sanders needs. Not that it will be her but she checks a ton of critically important boxes.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Yves is definitely right.
          I can almost guarantee the Sanders running mate will be
          a) a woman or POC
          b) youngish
          c) from Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio or Florida.

          Might be from the House but will not be from the Senate.

          1. D.M. Dunkle

            Won’t be from FL. State Democratic Party is a corrupt shambles and barely exists. I agree with Yves.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I love her but she has been out of power for way too long. She’s now teaching in Bangladesh, fer Chrissakes. That shows how little reputation she has left in the US.

              And she’s 64. Too old.

            2. Oregoncharles

              She’s a Green, ran for Pres. on the Green Party ticket. So, not getting any Democrat office without a primary.

        2. Bob

          Balwin adds nothing to the voter base, simply draws on Sanders own supporters ((playing to the converted). Warren & Sanders don’t have overlapping voters bases so there is more to gain. Like diversifying a portfolio, Balwin’s correlation too high (same AOC) while Warren is either neutral or negative. You’re thinking about gains at the margin & that’s not enough to beat Trump because usual political rules don’t apply.

          Gabbard is one of the few politicans who is toxic to Trump. Just putting her out as a ‘potential’ throws Trump off balance, making him offend big Republic power brokers/donors.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Hell, even Democrats won’t vote for Tulsi.

            You think the “centrists” have knives out now? Add Tulsi to the ticket and they’ll campaign for Trump! Clinton and Neera Tanden would actively seek a 3rd Way independent canidate…

            1. hunkerdown

              > Add Tulsi to the ticket and they’ll campaign for Trump!

              They would anyway. They already have. Pied Piper what?

              In doing so this round, they would not only be accelerating the delegitimization of neoliberal centrism and stinking-thinking-tank culture itself, they would be destroying their own prospects of employment outside of real estate. If the American public didn’t believe centrists were fickle, venal, unreliable, and possibly certifiable before, well, the screencaps almost capture themselves.

              1. richard

                the odd thing is, tulsi used the language of “centrism” to explain her “present” vote
                “I am standing in the center” I believe she said, very clearly
                I don’t think she means it the way real centrists do ;)
                wouldn’t it be great if she could steal that word from them
                not that I think it’s such a helpful idea or image for our current predictaments, but…
                hmm, imagining their helpless fury is making me suddenly happy
                she might not be vp material this time out
                but I love tulsi gabbard for her enemies
                i mean i really do
                okay, another $27
                but this is the last one unless she gets in another debate and KOs langley pete.

          2. John

            I made the assessment in the second Democratic debate that Gabbard was the only one on the stage that could beat Tump.
            Gabbard, the good, kind mother/wife vs Trump, the bad, evil father/husband. The unconscious is very powerful and I think she would have won.

            That is until the Clinton/DNC knives came out for her.

            (I stopped supporting her when when changed to Medicare for Some.)

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Sorry, Sanders polls better one on one v. Trump than pretty much any other candidate. In 2016, he beat Trump by 10-20 points. I wonder how the current polls are constructed…..although Trump admittedly has the advantage of being Prez, which he didn’t have in 2016.

              Gabbard is a one trick pony. All she can talk about is getting out of “regime change wars” and being willing to talk to nasty dictators. This is refreshing but way way way way way too narrow a set of talking points. She is close to incapable of talking about anything else.

              1. John

                She was outgunned and out maneuvered. And made mistakes that can’t really be explained. At least I’m at a lose to explain them.

                That doesn’t change the unconscious way people relate to her. Her voice is very even and calming, her looks are appealing and you want to keep looking, and her way of speaking makes you feel it’s the truth.

                Many of our decisions are based on what our unconscious drives us toward. The issues become secondary when the unconscious makes it’s judgement regarding a person. I firmly believe that.

                Now, back to where we are. Let’s hope that Sanders can win with his appeal to our common sense in this country. He isn’t a presence that draws you in. I’ve been to several of his rallies.

                But I tell you I only saw Trump 2020 signs over the holidays. A lot of them. And no one else’s. Very worrying.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  Then why aren’t her poll numbers better?

                  Her evenness can also be interpreted as overcontrolled and her manner of speaking is very strongly imprinted by her time in the military. That is not a plus for some people. People who swear, for instance, as seen as more sincere than people who never swear. Tulsi comes off as too self-censored to swear.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    What you say is quite true – unfortunately. But putting that aside, there is the issue of poll numbers. Between now and next November, I am not sure how reliable poll numbers are in reflecting the true position of a candidate.
                    Cannot find it at the moment but in a Jimmy Dore video, he showed how either CNN or MSNBC were ranking the candidates according to a recent poll. But when you saw the numbers of the original poll, both Bernie and Tulsi were ranked very high in it.
                    That media mob simply removed both their names from their reporting and showed only the two names (?) above them and the rest below them. Bernie and Tulsi were disappeared. It was propaganda at its worse and we are not even into 2020 yet.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      Sanders did well in 2016 despite starting with only 1%, being disappeared, treated unfairly when he was recognized, and not getting serious about building a campaign apparatus until too late. If the more charismatic Gabbard isn’t doing better, IMHO it is because her message is way too narrow. You can’t campaign for President on foreign policy. People care way more about what a pol promises to do for them. She isn’t even translating her “get out of regime change wars” into what she’d do with the budget savings.

                    2. PlutoniumKun

                      Even allowing for the media hostility, it can’t be avoided that Tulsi is stuck the wrong side of 5% in polling. She simply hasn’t been able to get much traction – much of this probably comes down to not having the staff or ground game that Bernie had in the last election in addition to the media hostility (which really matters with voters who are only casually politically engaged). She strikes me as something of a ‘lone wolf’, there are rumours that she isn’t great with staff, in contrast to Sanders who is a great local organiser. She is also what we’d call this side of the pond a ‘marmite’ candidate – people either love her unconditionally or hate her, there is little middle ground. And the middle ground is important in elections.

                      The one thing she really has that would make her a potential VP pick in my opinion is that she resonates very well with what I’d call ‘Joe Rogan type voters’. Libertarian blue collar types with as much hostility to government as to big business and vice versa. People who like their guns but are also open to arguments on issues like medicare for all. I think these constitute a significant proportion of swing voters who might once have voted for the Dems but who now support Trump on the basis that so many of the people they hate, hate Trump.

                      However, I think there are plenty of negatives about her too that her supporters tend to overlook, in particular her strange connections with Modi. While on paper she looks a great contrast to Sanders in a yin and yang kind of way, I think there is the potential that she could become as much of a problem as an asset for a Sanders candidacy. Although I do think she’d make an excellent VP, not least because she would act as Sanders bullet proof vest, the Blob would fear her even more than they fear Sanders.

                    3. PlutoniumKun

                      Even allowing for the media hostility, it can’t be avoided that Tulsi is stuck the wrong side of 5% in polling. She simply hasn’t been able to get much traction – much of this probably comes down to not having the staff or ground game that Bernie had in the last election in addition to the media hostility (which really matters with voters who are only casually politically engaged). She strikes me as something of a ‘lone wolf’, there are rumours that she isn’t great with staff, in contrast to Sanders who is a great local organiser. She is also what we’d call this side of the pond a ‘marmite’ candidate – people either love her unconditionally or hate her, there is little middle ground. And the middle ground is important in elections.

                      The one thing she really has that would make her a potential VP pick in my opinion is that she resonates very well with what I’d call ‘Joe Rogan type voters’. Libertarian blue collar types with as much hostility to government as to big business and vice versa. People who like their guns but are also open to arguments on issues like medicare for all. I think these constitute a significant proportion of swing voters who might once have voted for the Dems but who now support Trump on the basis that so many of the people they hate, hate Trump.

                      However, I think there are plenty of negatives about her too that her supporters tend to overlook, in particular her strange connections with Modi. While on paper she looks a great contrast to Sanders in a yin and yang kind of way, I think there is the potential that she could become as much of a problem as an asset for a Sanders candidacy. Although I do think she’d make an excellent VP, not least because she would act as Sanders bullet proof vest, the Blob would fear her even more than they fear Sanders.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      I don’t mean to sound as critical as I am. She is saying something very important that is too often suppressed in the media/political discourse. But she doesn’t yet have the makings of a credible President. And I agree that the intensity of her on-messageness, which some find appealing, to me sometimes comes off as mannered or wooden. It’s as if she has a touch of Aspergers.

                    2. paintedjaguar

                      Tulsi comes off as much more personable and appealing in her earliest appearances with Rogan, et al, before she was seriously running. There she was relaxed and appealing where now she does seem overcontrolled and stiff. To be fair though, a lot of that may be a defense against the constant attacks both in and by the media. Even Bernie doesn’t get as much hate.

                      She lost me with the Medicare “choice” nonsense. And someone needs to tell her she’s running for President, not Commander in Chief.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                I still nourish the hope that Gabbard’s description/analysis of Clinton in response to the Clinton accusations indicates that she would also consider pressure-washing every trace of Clintonite sewage off of the Democratic Party to be important.

                And picking her as VP running mate would indicate a no mercy/no quarter/ no prisoners approach to Administration politics and governating which would indicate that Sanders is not a McGovern-style appeaser of people who deserve to be destroyed. People might think twice about assassinating a President Sanders if they knew that a VP Gabbard was ready and waiting inside Cheney’s ” undisclosed secure location”.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Disagree. Baldwin is from a swing state and voters care about having someone in power who understand their issues. Vermont is not the Rust Belt. This sort of calculation is well established in Presidential politics because it actually does work.

            Warren is a non-starter. I don’t know why you are doubling down. No way will this happen. And she’s already fading in the polls.

            Plus I have actually spoken to Warren one on one for 40 minutes. She called me on an August Friday late PM when she was pondering her Senate run. She is the most domineering person I have every encountered. She’d be a total pain in the ass. She’d want to be noticed as VP as opposed to do the job, which is mainly going to funerals.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I would imagine that the funeral that every VP would most like to attend would be that of the President.

            2. Erick Borling

              Yves’ comment was thought provoking but I still regard Warren as one of the only two truly progressive candidates. As for her being domineering, I don’t find that compelling, merely biasing, and I’d like a whole lot more domineering (when it makes sense) among the female politicians. After all, one reason Nancy Pelosi is so reviled by the GOP — and the independents who’ve drunk from the poisoned well of misinformation — is her effectiveness. The electability argument becomes circular. You know; tone it down and be less assertive is what it usually implies.

              1. Carey

                Pelosi is effective primarily because of who
                she serves; i.e., not us. Doing the donor class’s bidding is not hard (yet).

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                You seem to forget I worked on Wall Street, in M&A have had billionaires as clients, and I know domineering. I score on tests as highly domineering myself.

                Being as far out as she is on that axis is not good and it has squat to do with gender. I can see how my tendency to dominate can be self defeating and her reflex is way stronger than mine.

                Warren would not hear “no” and would not even listen. This isn’t a good posture for someone in an Administration unless she has an empire where she is boss. So heading an agency would work but not being VP where she would chafe at her limited power.

        3. Bugs Bunny

          I voted for Tammy Baldwin and she’s probably the only decent politician in the great state of Wisconsin right now, as far as my inventory goes. There are plenty of pretenders, and plenty of weird attention seekers, but she’s actually in it for the passion of progressive politics. She doesn’t have the long term bona fides of Sanders but he could do worse. If he gets the nomination, that would be my dream ticket.

          At the same time, I worry that maybe we should not let a real progressive ticket flame out in the face of a Trump juggernaut.

          I’m pretty much convinced that absolutely no one can beat him.

          1. John k

            M4a beats him, more so now than in 2016.
            Dems and indies want it, at 40% indies are the largest party. Even some reps want it.
            Trump promised a great healthcare plan, where is it?
            trump easily beat the various rep contenders, all of whom offered more of the same.
            Then he beat the hugely unpopular Clinton, who promised more of the same.
            Granted he’s a sitting pres, and so far no recession. And he’s got his base…
            But he’s never come up against a progressive, and one who will ignore any and all trump taunts. He will do what he does, stay on message.
            IMO trump might lose not just Fl but Tx.

            1. John

              Think you are dreaming about Trump losing Texas. No polls I could find show any Democrat beating him there.

              And Florida, well, they voted in Republican Rick Scott for the Senate in 2018. A scammer if there ever was one. (they had him for governor so they knew his past) I’m not very hopeful about a Dem taking Florida.

            2. UserFriendly

              Bernie will not even be competitive in FL. The right-wing hispanic pink tide expats that vote for right wing dems will never vote for anything ‘socialist.’

              1. Lambert Strether

                I’d want to see demographics on that. It is true that the United States functions as a cesspit for reactionary emigrés (hence, Miami and New York real estate), and you can see the sort of campaign they would fund.

                However, Sanders does very well nationally with Hispanics — and there are a lot more baristas and maids than billionaires and bougies. Of course, votes take place state-by-state, not nationally. Trump did not win Florida by very much, however, and he faced a uniquely poor candidate. I think the most likely scenario for Sanders to lose Florida would be Democrat sabotage. Florida is, after all, the home of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Donna Shalala, and other dogs in the manger.

                1. UserFriendly

                  There were people questioning why he did so much worse with hispanics in FL in 2016 than any other state. That was my answer.

        4. John k

          There’s no ideal person besides AOC, and she’s too young and inexperienced. Tulsi has good foreign instincts, state or def.
          I’m not fond of Warren, but…
          He said, ‘a couple years younger’, didn’t say anything about geographical balance.
          warren is eight years younger, hardly too old per sanders. And sanders’ young voters are not put off by his age, they don’t need an age ‘balance’. She’s closest of all potentials to ‘couple’.
          What does warren bring? Solidify the nom, can’t win the general without it. Her endorsement certainly useful, maybe critical for first ballot.
          In the general it’s crucial to keep her older, female supporters enthusiastic enough to both contribute and vote…. disaster if they stay home. Granted they hate trump, but not fond of Bernie, many still blame him for Clinton loss.
          Sanders can bring in the left plus indies and some reps desperate for m4a, the danger is dem party remains divided, as much on age as policies. She might be best choice of all to help unite the party… he’s bringing in the young, she’s holding on to the elders. Her waffling on m4a is not so far she can’t smoothly step back into the fold. And anyway, dems too far right to support this combination were never going to support sanders.

          1. UserFriendly

            Tulsi would never make it past a senate confirmation hearing, especially with Harris still in the Senate. She’ll get National Security Advisor.

        5. pasha

          AOC will not be 35 years old by inauguration day 2021, and is thus ineligible to be a veep candidate, since minimum age for president is 35.

            1. John k

              She will easily win in 2020, by bigger margin. No danger until if when they try to eliminate her after census reapportionment. But I think it won’t work, there are too many downtrodden.

        6. UserFriendly

          Well he has already offered Warren the right of first refusal. As satisfying as it would be to watch team D flip out over Tulsi it wouldn’t help. I could easily see it being the straw that causes the establishment to push bloomberg into the race as an independant with lots of endorsements. The problem with picking someone as establishment friendly as Baldwin is he would almost certainly get assassinated. Ellison might be a better pick, the establishment hates him enough to not assassinate Bernie and he has won statewide in the midwest. Of course there is all that BS about his ex gf who thinks that him pulling her legs in an argument, not even with enough force to pull her off the bed, is abuse (he denies it even happened). IMO calling that abuse seriously cheapens what actual domestic abuse victims go through. But the Hillbots would go apeshit over it. There is no ‘good’ option.

          1. John k

            I enjoyed the refusal article, thanks.
            That offer doesn’t seem to be written in stone, but imo she’s his best option given nobody’s perfect. She would have to move left, less capitalist in those bones, but she’s flexible enough.

        7. kiwi

          Yet Tammy Baldwin’s presence did not stop the state from going for Trump.

          (not that her presence on the ticket wouldn’t have any impact at all….)

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Unless I’m reading the constitution wrong, its pretty unambiguous that both P and VP must be over 35, which rules AOC out. There maybe an argument that she can be VP, but can’t ascend to the presidency in the event of the presidents death.

        2. Big River Bandido

          You are correct. A Vice Presidential candidate must be on a different state as the presidential nominee, and must be constitutionally eligible to step into the presidency if necessary.

  1. kimyo

    from the stanford researcher’s ‘exciting plan’:

    Here’s how it would work. The plan involves transitioning all our energy sectors, including electricity, transport, industry, agriculture, fishing, forestry and the military to work entirely with renewable energy.

    Jacobson believes we have 95 percent of the technology we need already, with only solutions for long distance and ocean travel still to be commercialised.

    back in the real world: It Bears Repeating: Renewables Alone Won’t End the Climate Crisis

    I asked David Hughes, one of Canada’s most esteemed energy analysts, to comment on Pielke’s math, and here’s what he said.

    Pielke, he said, ignored some data on existing renewables such as hydro dams but basically his math “is close to correct.” Hughes added that it’s physically impossible to replace all primary fossil fuel energy on a business-as-usual scale with renewables.

    To Hughes, the implications are clear: “What this means is that we have to look at downsizing, degrowth, using less. The math doesn’t work to keep the party going with renewables.” Ecologist Rees delivered the same message a week ago in The Tyee.

    1. John Wright

      The Stanford plan seems to equate a man made construct (money) to actual resources.

      If an alien race arrived with a spaceship loaded with 73 trillion dollars in quite genuine 100 dollar bills the earth would not have any more resources after their arrival, other than one alien spaceship and a large quantity of dollars that could be burned as fuel.

      I may be a pessimist, but de-growth is the only method that I see buying time on the climate change clock in any short time frame.

      A visit to a big box store and watching the Los Angeles traffic this Christmas season seems direct evidence that de-growth will have to be forced on the populace.

      1. xkeyscored

        The Stanford plan seems to equate a man made construct (money) to actual resources.
        I don’t see that in the article. True, it does emphasise the affordability of these investments, but it also focuses on real resources, eg This plan “creates 28.6 million more full-time jobs in the long term than business as usual and only needs approximately 0.17 percent and approximately 0.48 percent land for new footprint and distance respectively,” the researchers write in their report. Building the infrastructure necessary for this transition would, of course, create CO2 emissions. The researchers calculated that the necessary steel and concrete would require about 0.914 percent of current CO2 emissions. But switching to renewables to produce the concrete would reduce this.
        Whether these figures are accurate and relevant or not is another matter, of course.
        As for degrowth, I think it will be forced on us, like it or not, unless we urgently take some pretty drastic action to combat climate change and mitigate its worst effects, and I see little sign of that – quite the contrary: CO2 emissions continue to grow, just when we need to be stopping them.

        1. The Historian

          When reading The Stanford Plan, it is also important to read this:

          Not everyone agrees with his methodology.

          In any event, articles like The Stanford Plan just feed the deniability trap we humans have again got going that tells us we won’t have to sacrifice anything in our way of living for the future, that we can keep growing and using as much energy as we want, that global warming won’t be so bad – there will be places we can run to, and that not to worry, some technology will save us.

          1. Brian (another one they call)

            If we stop inflation, we may save the world for the future. Complex solutions are the hardest to implement.
            We need simple plans that can be put into practice and those practicing can see why it works with their own lying eyes.
            Inflate and die. The truth hurts.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Making shit up is against our written site Policies.

              Hard dollar policies are anti labor. They also screw savers and pensioners by denying them safe sources of income (interest on bonds).

              Even pro capital neoliberal economists agree that an inflation level of 2% is desirable, and some are coming around to the view that 4% could be even better. If the inflation rate is pretty stable, asset prices will reflect the underlying rate of inflation so that investors will make out fine too.

              The only way a super low rate of inflation is not anti worker is if monetary policy isn’t used to manage the economy and a Job Guarantee sets the price of labor instead.

          2. RWood

            Moreover, the PTB are not interested:
            FERC’s order is shocking. It is a more extreme and naked bid to help coal plants than even jaded observers expected from what has historically been a fairly reasonable, empirically grounded commission. And the commission seems likely to extend similar use of MOPRs to other RTOs/ISOs, possibly NYISO next.

            The order will substantially raise prices on 65 million customers, force them to pay twice for capacity, intrude on state jurisdiction over resource planning, increase capacity spending in a region already oversaturated with capacity, and disrupt several established and emerging clean energy business models.

            and they are bipartisan:
            US responded emphatically that climate change is the most political [sensitive] question for the US, stating it is a ‘lightning rod issue’, mentioning that as of 2015, USTR [US trade representatives] are bound by Congress not to include mention of greenhouse gas emission reductions in trade agreements. US stated this ban would not be lifted anytime soon.”

          3. polecat

            Ah Yes … those auspicious lionized soothsayers fore-telling to us mopes .. that the Progress Fairy will come to the rescue, as they tap their en(upper)crusted ruby-lasered slippers whilst uttering with baited academic breath “I do believe in kooks, I do believe in kooks, I do I do I do beileve in kooks !!”

            ‘Have Cake and all that …

          4. buermann

            And the first person the NYT goes to is David Victor, Pete Buttigieg’s fossil fuel backed climate advisor, whose research has been paid for by BP, has a cherry gig at petro-state financed Brookings, and whose “Deep Decarbonization Initiative” has two white papers listed on its website, one of which complains that “limited political support, unfocused funding” for nuclear has held it back, which is a funny way of describing decades of bipartisan consensus that provided $85 billion in R&D subsidies — more than any other energy industry — and produced basically unlimited federal backstops guaranteeing loans for new nuclear power projects, billions in state subsidies to the industry, and ongoing hundreds of millions in Energy Department research projects, which has produced a sum total of two nuclear turbines in the past twenty years.

            What’s an international relations expert with no engineering or science background doing on top of all these random climate change initiatives?

            And then the next guy is from the Council on Foreign Relations. No suspect associations there!

            I dunno, maybe one should feel obliged to go sort out the Jacobson v. Clack 17 mess, and Jacobson’s anti-nuke priors are evident in his work, but the whole debate circles around finding cheap environmentally sound ways to store excess intermittent supply, and there are abundant solutions to that but they all face a chicken and the egg problem where there’s no market for them until you’ve created the problem of regularly having too much energy to store rather than fossil sources to shut off.

          5. UserFriendly

            My favorite part is how discontinuing fossil fuels saves lives that would have been lost via pm2.5 and pollution, which is awarded a dollar savings and deducted from the net cost of transition. How did anyone let that out of peer review? I am shocked that the Journal ‘One Earth’ has less than rigorous standards.

        2. anon in so cal

          “As for degrowth, I think it will be forced on us, like it or not, unless we urgently take some pretty drastic action to combat climate change and mitigate its worst effects”

          Degrowth *is* the “drastic action to combat climate change.”

          1. polecat

            Yes ! .. Degrowth, as in DEAD !

            I’m quite sure that ‘Little Greta & the Rebellionites’ will smile a wide, satisfied grin.

      2. Oh

        The world would be a better place if we had no growth but stayed flat in all areas. Up and down economies only help the rich.

    2. Grumpy Engineer

      Yep. You’re not the first person to bring up “real world” concerns:

      Jacobson’s 2015 plan for the US listed 541.6 TWh of energy storage. A today’s prices of $200/kWh, that would cost over $100 trillion, which is 6X as expensive as the most expensive GND being peddled by candidates today.

      For Jacobson’s 2018 “worldwide” plan, see the following analysis: Key quote is as follows:

      I’ve been complaining about how renewable energy studies tend to underestimate the massive amounts of storage that will be needed to support high levels of intermittent renewables penetration, yet J2018’s global storage requirements for cases A and B amount to more than 15,000 terawatt-hours, an astronomical number.

      I haven’t read this newly published 2019 plan in detail yet, but I’m betting it’s similarly flawed.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      As the article points out, just electrifying most energy sources reduces energy requirements by over 50%. Anyway, there is nothing in the article or the original proposal that argues against the need to reduce energy use, it is simply showing that it is technically and economically feasible.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      The link ties to a long essay [136 pages] by Professor Mark Jacobson et al. This is the same professor who has already received a certain notoriety in previous links. I like to believe we can drop money on Stanford and Prof. Jacobson and solve all our energy problems … but Prof. Jacobson’s band-wagon has a funny smell. The Solutions Project home page is headlined with “Committing 100% of our resources to elevate feminine leadership & frontline leaders of color”. That is very nice but instead of people of color I would feel far more comfortable with people of knowledge and wisdom … and I could care less about their color, sex, sexual orientation, or any other Identity categories they fill.

      I am already leary of the “Green New Deal”. It appears to me as little more than a vague omnibus for profits tendered to “Greeness”. My feelers are already up after some entity or entities have successfully passed legislation into the Energy acts to subsidize solar and wind ventures. I don’t oppose the subsidies per se but I am very suspicious of their origins and provenance. I imagine the red queen’s gardeners claiming they could paint green — just give them a green enticement and whatever green paint to use.

      As for the Science — at this point I have decided I cannot explore all claims of “Greeness” and new wondrous technologies. I lack time and expertise. Instead I look at contexts. Prof. Jacobson’s band-wagon has a very funny smell about it.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        I decided to pull down the full report and skim it: If you go to page 54, you’ll find details on energy storage, which is the first section I always review of any renewables-based energy scheme to see if it’s feasible or not.

        The numbers are weirdly inconsistent. Taiwan is listed as needed as needing 3.69 TWh of batteries, while the US (with 13X as many people, a harsher average climate, and much larger homes) needs only 6.40 TWh. And the US only needs 15.5 TWh of underground thermal energy storage, while more temperature Europe (with their smaller homes) needs a whopping 122 TWh.

        And the cost numbers on page 57 are flat-out unbelievable. $14/kWh for pumped hydro? $60/kWh for lithium-ion? And $0.90/kWh for underground thermal energy storage? A recent US Department of Energy study (available at puts the first two costs at $165/kWh and $365/kWh, respectively. And that last cost should be about $25/kWh, based on numbers from the Drake Landing project. That’s factors of 12, 6, and 28, respectively.

        1. Grumpy Engineer

          Ye gods, I needed an editor on that last comment. “Taiwan is listed as needed as needing” should be “Taiwan is listed as needing”, and “more temperature Europe” should be “more temperate Europe”.

          1. JB

            Load shifting is a way to decrease storage needs if people are ok with having their end uses internet connected and undergo demand response. There are some autonomous technologies under development at ARPA-E that don’t call for internet connectivity in which the end use senses and responds to grid stability. Regardless, people would have to be agreeable to some energy use, and thus comfort, inconvenience for the greater good. That will mean a shift in the current paradigm (e.g., real-time rates), which won’t happen without more pain/crisis.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks for the detailed analysis. I lack sufficient expertise to do that — which is a handicap. It is comforting to have my gut feelings so clearly confirmed.

          As for your need for an editor — I read through the errors you pointed out and never saw them.

  2. Kevin C. Smith

    “27 times the speed of sound” sounds more impressive than “18,000 mph”.
    We [and the Russians, et al] have had ICBMs with a velocity ~18,000 mph since the 1960s.
    What is missing from this story?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      ICBM’s follow ballistic paths outside the atmosphere which (in theory) makes it easier to track and intercept them. The Russian missile can fly unpredictable paths at high altitude but within the atmosphere which makes accurate tracking and interception almost impossible.

      1. Lee

        I’m so relieved that missile defense systems are being rendered ineffective by this new technology. In Mutual Assured Destruction lies our salvation. As to whether or not I’m being ironic, I really can’t say with certainty.

        1. JTM cPhee

          MAD, since disarmament is “impossible,” given that psychopaths will almost always end up running things, because that, on all the evidence, is the best humans can do. With few local exceptions that prove the rule and are quickly rubbed out by the others — will Bernie and AOC and such avoid a Dealey Plaza moment?

          And of course there will be no accident or errors, Murphy’s Law being the fundamental postulate of the universe. Not like the MADness hasn’t skated us up to the razor’s edge any number of times:

        2. polecat

          That’s because you, I, we .. wouldn’t have time to say anything ….. most certainly !

          B00M ! P00F !

          The next apex species however ….

        3. richard

          I don’t think you are at all. The literally mad are close enough to using nuclear weapons already; imagine if they thought there would be no retribution,

        1. JBird4049

          Why, it’s my old childhood friend Cold War! You’ve come back to terrorize my days and nights and give a bit of, okay a lot of, love to the Congressional-Military-Industrial-Complex. F********k!

      2. skippy

        I think the flight time is a factor, point A to point B, made even more difficult by its orientation in the atmosphere vs reentry payloads.

        That’s just the MT nuke delivery to geographical locations, conventional ordinance to capital ships or other strategic assets is a whole new ball game.

      1. JeffK

        I’m having a hard time understanding how an object going at mach 27 can do “sharp turns”. Seems like it would not be physically possible. Going mach 27 straight is one thing; sharp turning at mach 27 would require some materials and engineering that I find hard to conceive. If I were a betting man I’d put money on this press release being an exaggeration – which was effective in generating fear and concern. The reveal video the Russians released this year was CGI.

        1. Bill Carson

          Sounds like some of the research that is being performed with the X-37B Space Plane.

          Former SecAF Explains How Secret X-37 Space Plane Throws Off Enemies

          “Wilson called the X-37B ‘fascinating’ because it ‘can do an orbit that looks like an egg and, when it’s close to the Earth, it’s close enough to the atmosphere to turn where it is.’

          “‘Which means our adversaries don’t know — and that happens on the far side of the Earth from our adversaries — where it’s going to come up next. And we know that that drives them nuts. And I’m really glad about that,’ she added.

        2. bob

          Yup. And it’s going to have to turn eventually, if it wants to stay near earth.

          It’s not going to be hard to track these things, they aren’t going to be able to maneuver, or their maneuverability will be easy to guess because it is so limited.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          ‘sharp’ in this context is a relative term. Obviously, its not going to be able to do a 360 turn in a laneway at mach 18. But given the velocities, even a series of turns of a few degrees at random intervals will take it well out of any blast range of any interceptor missile within seconds The interceptor missile of course will have similar limitations on manoeuvrability.

    2. td

      The Russian weapon is launched atop an ICBM and for most of its trajectory operates like any other ballistic missile. A thousand kilometers or so from the target, it separates, re-enters the atmosphere and then maneuvers at hyper-sonic speeds to avoid terminal interception. The downside is that it is large and expensive and would typically be the entire payload.

      The US anti-ballistic missile system requires an interceptor for each incoming warhead and could not cope with the multiple-warhead missiles already in use. It really is only effective against the relatively crude missile systems of new nuclear powers and only against a maximum of a dozen incoming warheads.

      I rate the Avangard as being primarily cold-war PR and designed to try to get the US and China to spend a lot of money on equivalent systems and enhanced defenses. So we now have the New and Improved Cold War with multiple participants, and just when we could really use all that effort applied elsewhere.

      1. David

        It may also be a attempt to deter the US from developing a genuinely effective multi-layer missile defence, a prospect which has been a nightmare for Moscow since Soviet times. The Russians are aware that current US systems have very limited capability, and are aimed at countries like Iran and N Korea . Missile defence is a numbers game, and I think they want to show the US that numbers will always be against them.

        1. a different chris

          >from developing a genuinely effective multi-layer missile defence

          That, as per your last sentence, is likely impossible. Quite likely given the calcification of the US’s ability to do, well anything at this point.

          Thus I don’t think that’s it, because making the US waste money and materials on something that won’t work would be a pretty good strategy.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, this sort of investment is all about perception – whether or not you think its a good thing, the strategic aim of having a nuclear deterrent is to make your opponent think that ‘whatever I do, the nukes are going to be launched, and the nukes will get through’. The Russians were clearly beginning to think that the US strategic high command genuinely believed it could nullify a Russian nuclear attack. This is an expensive way of saying ‘don’t even think about it’.

        3. RMO

          Missile defense IS a numbers game – denominated in dollars. No one with a brain that functions at a higher level than a flatworm believes that any possible missile defense system has a snowball’s chance in hell of stopping more than a minuscule proportion of the missiles that any of the major nuclear powers possess. It sure can do a good job at keeping the money flowing to well connected people and companies though. In other words, it’s like almost all current US military spending.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I view this link as related to the MAD-doctrine. Why does the U.S. or any country require a first strike capability? If you believe in MADness how does MADness fit with a first strike capability? The supersonic Russian missiles works to undermine any U.S. belief they might have a first strike capability — and let’s suppose either side has a first strike capability — the Nuclear Winter effects from a few hydrogen bombs makes any nuclear exchange a matter of time. Who is the winner if Nuclear Winter extinguishes the “victor” of a nuclear exchange along with the rest of the world of innocent bystanders?

      The only aspect of the MAD strategy I can agree to is the meaning of its acronym. I recall how one air force general believed we might call it a ‘victory’ if one American survived but all the Russian enemy were dead. I cannot view that as a victory for either side.

  3. Mark Gisleson

    Best way to think of US cannabis vs the world’s is to think back to when the US had a commanding lead in microbrewery ales. The world caught up, but technology gave us a boost and for years we were doing stuff with beer no one else was doing (and I gained 30 lbs doing research).

    What the growers in the western states are currently doing with cannabis is amazing. From one generation to the next they tweak their strains in amazing ways. Earlier this year I more or less stopped drinking alcohol. Not an issue for me but something I enjoy and I was rather surprised at how much less I was drinking (well, not at all, really).

    I did some research and stumbled across caryophyllene, a cannabis terpene that among other things reduces the craving for alcohol. I cross-checked and all the strains I’d gotten in that time span were ‘high’ in caryophyllene. Examples like this are as numerous as there are terpenes/CBDs.

    The world will catch up but for now you’ll get your best Thai strains in California and Colorado, not Bangkok.

    1. jo6pac

      Thanks for the info and do you have any links?

      Sadly as soon as corp. Amerika gets involved the laws will change

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        No links to give you, but I think it is safe to say that even if what peeps are doing currently is amazing…what they were doing in the underground 40, even 50 years ago was *also* amazing, and much as the basic craft and art of zymurgy is something that ANY peasant can get into cheaply and easily…and craft gallons of excellent beer/ale on their own with great success…the craft and art of growing cannabis is definitely not something ‘big business’ will be able in ANY way to zone off, retard, or control against we little people.

        You see, the state-sanctioned security apparatchiks tried this very process of suppression – in the heavy handed ‘shoot them kill them jail them’ kind of way that corporations cannot approach, and yet the govt still failed miserably.

        In the Willamette Valley in the early-mid 80’s, at the height of the drug war, we high school and college kids that cared to could acquire metal halide lights for vegetative growth…HP sodium for flowering, used rockwool and other growing mediums along with drip/flood and other sorts of irrigation. (all automated) We knew to use canisters of C02 on timers to inject the gas for speedy growth, used cuttings/clones to propagate our favorite strains, all grown in easily insulated and smell-filtered ventilated closets that produced bumper crops on regularly monthly rotations.

        We created and consumed some pretty heady stuff, and never wanted for potency, volume, or variety. Just as we built off the experience of our crazy uncles who had to grow outdoors in the dark ages…so modern growers build and experiment. LED lights, more data and precision computer control. More access to analysis, genetics, hybridization success, etc.,

        But in the end – maybe big business can patent sell and monopolize some fancy strain that will be the equivalent of a $10000 bottle of single malt scotch – that doesn’t bother me because any of us peons can simply and easily grow our own cannabis that is 99% as good anyway.

        Smoke up, Johnny! :)

        1. Duck1

          Looking for the cannabis store with a time machine that deals in Colombian gold, Panama red, Thai stick, and that Oaxaca sensamilla.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            There’s a site that tracks this sort of stuff and where available. I was surprised to hear about it when I asked at a shop in Denver. Really kind people. Led me to some pretty much authentic Jamaican Lambs Bread. Google it. Trip back in time. There’s Panama Red out there but it’s an outdoor land race and hard to find. Check out getting your own seeds if you’re a decent gardener and have the time (and it’s legal in your state).

            Unfortunately, Europe is very, very far behind the US right now. Though Italy legalized home growing a few days ago.

      1. ambrit

        Oh, come on diptherio. Mendel was a monk under “orders.” In pre War Austria-Hungary no less. However, he did come from a farm family of long standing, so, Mother Nature might not have been alien to him.
        Saying that, the attitudes towards ‘soft’ drugs back then seems, from this remove, to have been much more ‘relaxed’ than today. So, Mendel might have ‘experimented’ with cannabis, but, how to measure the ‘variations’ between plants? That question sets off a quite disparite and interesting train of thought encompassing testing techniques, potency measurements and scales, and ‘quality control’ issues.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I have noticed that different strains tend to amplify/[alter???!!!!!] different perceptions. For example I noticed I was much more aurally acute given one smoke vs. another. I cannot claim a scientific sampling — much as that is attractive to me — but the one sample I enjoyed did indeed heighten my perceptions of sound, rhythm and amplitude primarily … but also pitch. In the past I noticed strains that affected other categories of my perceptions.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    “‘Beehive as therapy animal….’ So I can take it on an airplane?”

    Flying buzzed can be pretty cool.

        1. ambrit

          I want to see a sequel to “Snakes on a Plane” featuring Air Force One. Much hilarity would be expected.

          1. Oh

            Put more of our ex Presidents with the current one on the same plane and you’ll have “Snakes on a Plane”. Or should I say vipers?

              1. polecat

                He was definately the bees knees with regard to That crowd ! …. being the supreme filler/stirrer of the Honey pot.

  5. John

    “They voted for the Democrats all down ballot and left the top box blank.” This is precisely what I did in 2016 the difference being I live in New York so it was a gesture without a consequence. I shall do the same if the nominee is another “Eisenhower Republican” although I suspect Eisenhower was to the political left of many of today’s aspirants for the presidency and so-called centrist democrats.

    1. Darius

      Vote for the Green Party candidate to boost their vote total. Cast a vote against the two-party system. An easy choice in a solid blue state.

      1. Mike

        Sorry, that is an act of no consequence if done. Cast your vote for the party you believe will do the proper job, regardless of state, regardless of “solid blue”, regardless of pain to the Demoplugs. They need to hurt so they can get the message, just like a swift kick gets the attention of a stubborn mule. IF Republicans are so bad, we need a party that is oppositionally that good, and get the canker sore of “mild and tepid” out of the way. Being lazy got us to this situation, so there is no painless way to get better.

      2. chuckster

        Why? Jill Stein has a better chance of running for Miss America than president, And may be more qualified for the role.

        1. a different chris

          Because, for the 1000th time, if you don’t vote for anybody there is then no indicator of where they need to go to get your vote. So they just assume that, given say 100 people that don’t vote, those people if forced to vote would simply split the same way the 110 million that did vote.

          And nothing changes. *If* somebody could look at a previous election, and say “hey we can throw one or two scraps these people’s way and not lose our base votes” then you get said scraps.

          1. hunkerdown

            They’re going to assume that anyway, because that’s the narrative that supports Lippmannites’ class interest.

            I dispute your assertion that elective aristocracy considers itself subject to the will of the people. A look at history yields no evidence that that they actually intend to “go” anywhere to get votes, when they can just wave in that general direction until the votes are cast and return to business-as-usual on the first Thursday of November. At some point, it’s better strategy to deprive a non-binding, rigged-by-design system of its mandate and go on without it.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Dr. Jill isn’t running this year – she’s done her part.

          You really think the present system is stable? It’s breaking down in many ways, the nomination and election of Trump being the most obvious evidence. Nobody knows when the collapse will occur – I thought 2016 might do it (well, in a way it did). When it does, as it has in multiple other countries lately, somebody has to be ready. I think we’d rather not leave it to the Libertarians.

      3. Expat2uruguay

        I agree Darius. I vote green party in California, always. The state’s going to go to the Democratic candidate no matter how I vote, so the only vote that can matter is a vote that supports a third party. It’s not about getting Jill Stein elected, it’s about growing a third party and scaring the crap out of the two existing parties, who are more afraid of someone voting third-party than they are of someone not voting at all. As they should be.

      4. Joe Well

        In 2016, in a solid blue state, I also voted straight Dem except for Stein for president.

        I wonder how many of the “Blue Wall” residents would have held their noses and voted for Her Majesty if they had known their states weren’t that safe. Clinton declining to campaign there may have lost her those nose-holding votes.

      5. Carey

        >Vote for the Green Party candidate to boost their vote total.

        That’s what I and many others did here in California, but I do not believe that our, and many others’, votes were accurately
        counted. Stein and Baraka, the tabulators tell us, received
        nationally 1.03% of the vote, despite the two brand-name
        candidates being arguably the worst in recent memory?

        Yeah, bull$hit. s/he who *counts the votes*, rules.

    2. mistah charley, ph.d.

      eisenhowerism – and ‘rockefeller republicanism’ – was to some extent an american instantiation of the ‘red tory’ approach – see wikipedia – i wonder to what extent bloombergism, if it takes power, will follow this direction

      the neglect of eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial-congressional complex has resulted in many, many unnecessary deaths inflicted by the u.s. military on our fellow human beings

      1. JTMcPhee

        Give the MICC credit — by sapping even the potential for “better” and more equitable and more autarchic and growthless political economy, it’s killed a whole lot of “my fellow Americans.”

        (Is it just me, or has that phrase pretty much disappeared from the political lexicon? I wonder why that is…/s)

        1. polecat

          It’s essentially now become “my ‘fallow’ americans ….

          Courtesy of Silicon socials, non-stop entermaintainment, a complete lack of REAListic education of, and for, the youngins … a government of, by, and for the !$FERENGI$! … and a media groping for insider-influence, always in pursuit of acquisitioning such, by selling their withered, sinful souls for a cheap ‘shill’ing !

      1. Kurtismayfield

        You are right, let’s keep voting for Third Way Democrats who nominate Merrick Garland.

        A native of the Chicago area, Garland attended Harvard University for his undergraduate and legal education. After serving as a law clerk to Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States, he practiced corporate litigation at Arnold & Porter and worked as a federal prosecutor in the United States Department of Justice, where he played a leading role in the investigation and prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombers.

        This background might as well be in Trent Lott or John Ashcroft’s Biography. So let’s please stop holding up the SCJ card Everytime someone asks us to vote for a Centrist Democrat. When push came to shove not only did they go for the Republican lite candidate, they didn’t even fight for it.

        1. richard

          this along with letting trump’s lower court appointments go completely unopposed
          why do democrats even exist? Because someone needs to *stand in the place set aside for opposition*, excuse me, be the opposition! (Clapping hands) “People, people! We can’t have a two party system if one of those parties is honestly and consistently interested in reform. It would win all the time, and where is the fun in that?”

      2. Pat

        Gosh, if the last few years have made anything clear I would think that the lack of importance of the courts to Democrats would be tops of the list. The Supreme Court isn’t the be all and end all. But Obama dragged his feet on lower court nominees and was more corporate than I would like being “bipartisan”, Reid hamstrung rather than ramrodded through those nominations, and Schumer hasn’t put much effort in blocking Trump’s nominees which continue at a breathless pace.

        Not for nothing, I might find that argument more persuasive if they weren’t so obvious.

        1. Carey

          >Schumer hasn’t put much effort in blocking Trump’s nominees

          As in: none. Mr. Schumer said he/they needed to recess
          so as to “campaign”, IIRC, thereby allowing President Trump’s appointees a free ride to those Judgeships..

          DC kayfabe

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Michael Moore Predicts 2020 Trump Victory: Trump’s Level Of Support “Has Not Gone Down One Inch”

    ‘We will win when we put somebody on that ballot that excites the base — women, people of color, young people.’

    So if you stand a candidate that is female, black and relatively young you have your next Democratic President of the United States. They tried that idea with someone that was black and young (two out of three is not bad) in 2008 and it seemed to work. Seemed to. The identity politics part worked but his Presidency was so catastrophic for so many people that when they tried the female part in 2016 it blew up in their faces and brought in Trump.

    Having learned their lesson – not – the DNC decided to go for the trifecta and go direct for someone that was a female, a person of colour and relatively young. But people recognized Kamala as nothing more than a west-coast Obama and she went down in flames to a real campaigner. Said it before and will say it again – unless the Democrats choose someone capable of going head to head in a debate with Trump, they may as well save their money and concede now.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Bernie Sanders has a gargantuan task ahead of him in the coming year and beyond. First, he must convince millions upon millions of deeply, deeply skeptical and hard-pressed Americans to risk trusting him and depending upon him. I’m going to help in any way I can in that process because I think it’s the last, best hope we have to keep things from going very far south.

      And if Bernie can lead us through that, the real “fun” begins.

    2. Darius

      I think he’s talking about Sanders, who would benefit the majority of women far more than any other candidate.

      1. chuckster

        Both Sanders and Moore endorsed Ms. Inevitable in 2016 so they have something in common. Then again if Hillary had donated just a small portion of her billion dollar ad budget to replace the pipes in Flint, she probably would have won Michigan’s electoral votes.

        1. pretzelattack

          from what i’ve read, sanders had to agree to do so to be allowed to run as a democrat. is this not true?

          1. dcblogger

            Sanders endorsed HRC because he thought it was the right thing to do, as did his campaign manager Weaver. Both of them wrote about it in their books.

            1. inode_buddha

              … as opposed to reneging on his word, which would have ended his political career.

              You know, I find it interesting how some people can’t get over it. I’m sure they would rather he didn’t run at all, since you’re not going to get on the ballot as an independent.

        2. skippy

          I would offer that Sanders wanted to keep the architecture of the Dem party, which could be reformed not unlike Bill Clinton agenda.

          Would think an attempt at starting from scratch both increases complexity and timelines whilst simultaneously providing the GOP more power and opportunity to entrench itself.

          It is a mugs game after all …

          1. norm de plume

            ‘the Dem party, which could be reformed’

            maybe time for the Return of Howie Dean and his scream… the pro-single payer who became anti-single payer because he was a health care industry lobbyist, after being an anti-lobbyist… and he’s run the DNC! Flexibility, experience, flexibility, connections, flexibility – he’s got it all. Maybe Buttigieg could be his VP. Silverback and Freshman Ken Dolls unafraid to bravely defend the commanding heights (MIC, Wall St, Israel, Pharma, etc) – neoliberal heaven.

            Implausible, sure. But how much less plausible than a Jew partnered with a female POC? We will know reform has arrived and will continue to flourish if and when such a ticket becomes a reality.

              1. Carey

                The DNC themselves will “blow it up”,
                sooner than allow the party to be transformed into a truly democratic vehicle.

                My take, ATM, is that those who no longer mcVote probably have it right.

                the organizing’s the thing.

    3. a different chris

      The election will as always be a referendum on the incumbent* if there is one. The debates, assuming they actually happen, won’t and maybe never have swayed a Presidential election.

      Also, it doesn’t matter how rabid Trump’s base is, they are not nearly enough to win even in the states that he surprised in. Neither is Bernie’s base, for that matter.

      So the economy looks good, he says the right things (but doesn’t seem to do them) about overseas wars, but he’s a clown show and everybody gets tired of that eventually. We’ll see, I guess.

      *My only hedging is that maybe Biden is pathetic enough to lose even if people want to get rid of Trump, and Bernie is a freak, who is good enough to win. But we won’t get either so doesn’t matter.

      1. BobW

        Chris, you say debates “won’t and maybe never have swayed” an election.

        The Kennedy-Nixon debates apparently had an effect in a very close one. “Polls revealed that more than half of all voters had been influenced by the Great Debates, while 6 percent claimed that the debates alone had decided their choice.”

        Kennedy-Nixon Debates

        Of course, that was a real debate, not the pageant we see now.

      2. hunkerdown

        But we MUST vote because the marketing professionals in either party need to know how to sell neoliberal centrism better for next time!

    4. ptb

      Just watched Moore’s extended interviews with Matt Taibbi and Amy Goodman. He makes great points, and has an amazing delivery too, better than almost every political pundit.

      But boy, does he know how to put his foot in his mouth … weird comments on abortion, characterizing all Repub voters as racist (huge mistake), comments on personality of baptists vs other protestants (he is neither). Also a pretty fanciful theory that evangelicals in the Senate will vote for impeachment on principle …

      Also his anecdote that candidate Clinton refused to give their MI campaign free yard signs? dang…

    5. Joe Well

      It is bizarre that Michael Moore, aged cis-het white man with a diverse and younger following, keeps beating the IDPol drum. Preemptively trying to keep from getting cancelled? Did anyone try to cancel him?

      1. ptb

        Moore’s whole message is not one that NAFTA Dems want to hear at all, and he is (or at least was) a pain in the ass to his interview subjects with very direct questions. Goes back 30 years, so I’d give him serious credit for that.

        Since OWS and especially since Trump, doubts about outsourcing finally have some currency. A bit late of course, but there are “respectable” parts of politics / media / business willing to hear it.

        Seems he’s trying real hard to establish his bona fides with them. Going all in on IDpol is a mistake tho. Moore is right that swings in Dem turnout are the big factor, and he had the weakness of the centrist Dem position nailed down for decades… His political strategy for a leftist is not as good. you can’t alienate white obama-trump voters, and if you think about it there’s no good reason to.

        1. richard

          strategy does not seem to be the long suit for anyone involved with Blue 2020
          it shouldn’t have been too hard for people to see what would win for the dems:
          1) focus hard on concrete universal benefits
          2) shut up about innovation and working families and most of all, shut up about tone. Quit pearl clutching about culture war cartoonery and process, and especially about injuries to elites. No one will dance at that party and trump will win.
          Moore sort of gets this, but he also wants people to like him, fears burning bridges, etc. He’s been this way for some time, imo
          I mean, what is russia cubed and the 2019 Peachery Scandal but one 3 year long pearl clutch about injuries to elites? One is made up and the other is real, but they share a defining characteristic in that no one except the koolaid drinkers gives a %^&*.

          1. rowlf

            In the book “Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line” author Ben Hamper got Michael Moore’s number pretty well. Moore lost me when I saw him do business with a company that had a labor strike going on in 2005 and union members picketing outside. To be a Michigan native and do that shows a real Me First MF attitude.

      2. Carey

        >aged cis-het white man

        Weird. Why is this kind of pejorative-by-default description acceptable? Imagine its opposite..

        I’m betting, too, that its writer is a cosmopolitan white dude, himself, doing the Clinton thing: casting peremptory aspersions.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, this is pure ad hominem. A violation of written site Policies. Plus tacky.

          Joe Well has been accumulating troll points for a while but I have not called him out and have therefore been remiss. He needs to shape up if he is to continue in good standing.

    6. Oh

      It’s not their money. WHy would they care? Besides, they can throw the money around for future favors. People are obcessed with voting for the President. If they spend more time in voting third party for Reps, Senators and other offices, we might make some progress in breaking he two party duopoly.

  7. Socrates Pythagoras

    Re: The ars technica article

    Let’s praise the President on occasion when he gets something right. This is a small step away from the publicized risk, privatized gain practices that are so rampant in the current gig economy approach, and it also undermines the rent-seekers of the publishing world.

    One of their arguments is that this move will undermine the quality of peer review, but it actually could do the opposite. If scientists now have open access to research, more eyes can review it. Furthermore, by putting the science in the public domain, the findings can spur more research and more discoveries.

    It’s a positive feedback loop that promotes the progress of science and useful arts. Seems like I’ve read that phrase somewhere before……

    1. a different chris

      Yes. Let’s also just about kill patent and copyright protection. If you can’t make something work in 7 years then let somebody else try (maybe they’ll hire you at least). And why is Mickey Mouse still protected?

        1. Socrates Pythagoras

          I agree that seven years is waaay too short for copyright, but life plus 70 to waaay too long, and we are guaranteed to see that go up around the time the Mouse(TM) is once again scheduled to go into public domain.

          The original term for copyright in US was 14 years with an opportunity to extend for another 14. Something along these lines makes more sense, especially in the Internet era, but I have some sympathy for the argument for a term covering the author’s life. Anything beyond that is excessive. Mark Twain agrees with that position, and I would never argue with that guy. My tender nature wouldn’t stand up to the ridicule.

          Based on the way he formed his comment, I think Chris is confusing copyright with patents (which is a common mistake). Seven years on patents? That’s a conversation worth having.

          1. turtle

            I agree that seven years is waaay too short for copyright, but life plus 70 to waaay too long, and we are guaranteed to see that go up around the time the Mouse(TM) is once again scheduled to go into public domain.

            While I agree with your perspective on the length of copyright, the idea that Mickey Mouse falling into the public domain was the primary motivation for those extensions always seemed inaccurate to me.

            I’m not an IP lawyer (or any kind of lawyer), but the way I see it even if Steamboat Willie (Mickey Mouse’s 1928 debut cartoon) fell out of copyright and could be freely reproduced and distributed, it would not affect Mickey’s status as a trademarked character, which would prevent anyone from using the Mickey character in any new works. And trademark is perpetual as long as the registrant keeps using the trademarked work.

            So in other words, I think that even if copyright were only 7 (or 14) years, no one aside from Disney would be able to legally use the Mickey Mouse character in any new (unauthorized) works, ever.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      free and open access to scholarly/scientific journals was one of the best things about the internet.
      that swiss company(elsiviere? or something) is evil for killing that.
      If trump follows through on this, I’ll raise a joint to him.
      and shame on Team D for never getting around to it…or(more likely) not even knowing/caring that it was a thing

      1. petal

        Elsevier is awful. So is Frontiers Media(a Swiss company). Last time we published a paper with them it was $2950.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I have very mixed feelings about open access research. The journals are being very foolish in their attempt to monetize scientific research. Like many things — publications of scientific research seem an area where the government is the best provider [assuming a relatively trust-worthy government — a matter of growing question to me]. The problem with open-access is definitely the problem of competent peer-review. The open-access model makes it all too easy for us to enjoy the best Science money can buy. This is a long-term goal of the Neoliberal enthrallment of Science in a Market-place of ideas. Science is not a Market.

      1. hunkerdown

        What, exactly, are publishers themselves doing for the material? Peer reviewers are rarely, if ever, paid for their service. Typesetting is basically done by the authors. Minor copy-editing is a commodity task, easily done for a few bucks. I see nothing that stands in the way of review boards self-organizing and lending their endorsement to papers, slapping their masthead on them and posting them on the Internet. Who needs Elsevier when WordPress or PubMed performs all the same functions?

        Never attribute to incompetence that which can adequately be explained by class interest.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I don’t know about science journals, but even in a fake science like economics, the papers are reviewed to see if they merit publication. Most articles are rejected. The notion that journals print anything tossed to them over the transom is false.

          Having said that, Elsevier is just horrible in the fees it charges. It’s extortion.

            1. Vikas Saini

              Why the conflation of Open Access and peer review? One is about who gets to read, the other is about who gets to publish. Apples and oranges.

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                My conflation originates from my impressions of way open access operates — apparent in the quality of some of the product. The other source of my ‘conflation’ lies in assuming an open-access shortcut to the Neoliberal concept of a Marketplace of Ideas — the notion that no peer review is needed. Readers can make their own judgments based on their own expertise. The Market can identify the ‘quality’ matter better than any human filter. I also sense a feeling on the part of open-access that journals too often use their peer review filtering as a way to control what is accepted doctrine. That is a complaint made about how some economic journals treat material of evident quality that deviates from the particular doctrine promoted by the journal in question [and made in the comment below by oliverks]. So conflation in principle — yes — but I am not so sure there is conflation in the way open-access is implemented. I should have noted this in my original comment, but I was concerned about its inflation as I wrote it –I am sometimes given to a lack of brevity.

                Science has already been made a handmaiden to Corporate money. I view open-access as a less expensive alternative to buying up the existing journals happily extracting high rents for access to research papers. The goal is to achieve a world where for any question we can find our answers in the best research money can buy. That world would have made ‘dealing with’ concerns about Global Warming less costly and less burdensome. However, that goal may be realized in time for the efficient exploitation of the Market opportunities which the Green New Deal and various schemes for geoengineering will make available.

      2. oliverks

        I have found the trend towards open access via to be incredibly helpful. With some subjects like Math or AI/ML, authors have adopted the approach of publishing their proofs and code. I can often verify fairly easily, if the paper holds up.

        In those cases what value are the paid journals offering. Arguably they are creating a dis service, as the review process is very fraught politically. Hence useful ideas or papers are not seeing the light of day because the authors don’t come from the right backgrounds, or petty fights delay, or prevent stuff from being published. Frankly I have heard of some pretty nasty stuff in the review process designed to steal or sabotage work, because often the reviewers are directly competing with the authors.

        I don’t know if other areas of science could move in the same direction of more transparency and verification, but if they could, it may help solve some of the reproducibility crises in science.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Where’s Rudy?”

    He’s in disguise which is why nobody can find him. He was last seen wearing round glasses, a red & white horizontal stripped top, blue pants, a red & white stripped cap and carrying a brown, wooden cane. You would be surprised how hard it is to pick him out of a crowd.

  9. Carla

    Re: Stanford Researchers Have an Exciting Plan to Tackle The Climate Emergency Worldwide — I really hope members of the Commentariat with expertise in this field will weigh on the feasibility of the Stanford plan.

    Yves, as always, thanks for the great Links, and for this morning’s open Comments section!

    1. Carla

      Oops — I see that I failed to refresh before commenting and kimyo and John Wright have already weighed in, above. Sorry for being out of order.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its an interesting study, but a little broad brush. In my experience, once you go from ‘broad brush’ estimates of renewable outputs down to practical implementation, then the total feasible amount of energy that can be produced goes down. As an example, there was a study in Ireland a few years ago that looked at the feasibility of using 100% wind power along with the construction of a small number of massive coastal pump storage stations. The estimate was that around 15GW of installed wind capacity along with 5GW of pump storage would be sufficient (Irish power demand tends to fluctuate from around 2GW on summer nights to 5GW on a cold winters evening). Both targets were entirely feasible technically and probably not excessively expensive compared to alternatives. The problem is that once they started looking in more detail at potential sites, they found numerous problems, practical, environmental, and political, especially with the pump storage facilities, which would have involved completely flooding several scenic and populated coastal valleys in salt water. It wasn’t (and isn’t) impossible, its just that on the ground realities tend to get in the way of broad brush studies like this.

      But the flip side is that since that study was done, there has been a huge decrease in in the costs of solar energy (at the time, around 10 years ago, solar was considered stupid for Ireland – but it is now as cheap as gas). Similarly, there have been major breakthroughs in reducing the cost of decentralised storage options other than hydro pumped storage. So a similar study now would probably recommend a very different mix, but come to similar conclusions – i.e. it is entirely feasible technically, but there are all sorts of potential issues when it comes to building the infrastructure. But the good news is that renewables technology is advancing at a huge rate – lots of things that were considered unfeasible just 10 years ago are now fully economic.

      The other side of that study is that it talks about not just replacing electricity generating capacity with renewables, but almost all energy use. Again there have been major breakthroughs in this recently, but as NC readers will know we may well hit natural barriers in terms of materials usage (e.g. for manufacturing so many batteries) and in terms of land use. There are also geographical implications – for example, shifting many high energy use industries to countries with lots of sun. Its unfortunate that most of these countries tend to be corrupt and unstable (although arguably producing lots of jobs in places like North Africa could be a very good thing in the long term).

      The other aspect that is rarely addressed in the open is that to achieve a rapid transition takes more than money and ‘will’. It also involves a high degree of compulsion. It means unwilling landowners being told they have to allow wind turbines on their land, and unwilling neighbours that they will have to put up with the new view from their windows. It means flooding valleys. It means privatising large swathes of industry. It means banning all sorts of things that people enjoy or profess to ‘need’.

      1. heresy101

        It’s possible that wind could work in Ireland, because Trump doesn’t have a golf course there that would have its view destroyed by the “ugly and dangerous” wind turbines.

        But, some of his rich buddies may own golf courses in Ireland.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If the Irish public wanted to hurt Trump, they could perhaps pressure their government into denying TrumpCo Incorporated the sought-after permission to build that seawall. The Iris govenment could say ” application denied because Trump has stated that global warming isn’t real. . . and therefor has no legitimate reason to even need a seawall.”

      2. tangfwe’

        Had me until “privatizing large swathes of industry.” Negative. That’s what got us here. Deregulation is /never/ the way to go. “Authority” is how we limit the plague to Skid Row, where it’s doing its job as planned.

        We already are subject to compulsion right now, in the opposite direction (race to the bottom). We hear so much about the “sacrifice” entailed in this transition. Is it really sacrifice to give up fast food/ fast fashion / fastertainment culture driven by being chained to commutes, busywork-stations, and the kiss-up-kick-down humiliathon of today’s life?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Sorry, must be post Christmas alcohol damage, I meant to say ‘nationalise’, not ‘privatise’.

      3. xkeyscored

        “Both targets were entirely feasible technically and probably not excessively expensive compared to alternatives. The problem is that once they started looking in more detail at potential sites, they found numerous problems, practical, environmental, and political, especially with the pump storage facilities, which would have involved completely flooding several scenic and populated coastal valleys in salt water. It wasn’t (and isn’t) impossible, its just that on the ground realities tend to get in the way of broad brush studies like this.”
        Sounds rather like the article and its supporters:
        At least 11 independent research groups agree this type of transition is possible, including energy researchers Mark Diesendorf and Ben Elliston from University of New South Wales, Australia.
        They reviewed major criticisms of 100 percent renewable energy transition plans and concluded “the principal barriers to [100 percent renewable electricity systems] are neither technological nor economic, but instead are primarily political, institutional and cultural.”
        In 2009, Jacobson and Delucchi5 calculated that transitioning the world’s all-purpose energy to 100% WWS energy by 2030 could be technically and economically feasible, but for social and political reasons, a complete transition by 2030 was unlikely and could take up to a couple of decades longer.

        1. tangfwe’

          Just deleted a long comment about fashion, having missed the point about flooding valleys. Yes, that will meet with social and political resistance in a very different way from other types of change in consumption. Again, though, once private development and production for profit are out of the picture, wouldn’t there be less pressure on available land and therefore less panic on the part of preservationist activists? Environmentally-minded citizens could be reasoned with. Displacement could be eased, especially with economic safety nets inherent in the new society that we’d /have/ to have, in order to make any real change.
          Bottom line: toughest resistance and challenge will be rooted in the needs of private capital accumulation.

    3. Wyoming

      It should be noted that Jacobson’s plan (in its first version) was put forward over 6 years ago. Despite a few updates the practicality of it has always been questioned very strongly by a wide variety of experts and others who have experience in engineering, building, or working with the government on projects of scale.

      Jacobson actually sued a critical review of it in a scientific journal which he eventually dropped.

      A long time ago now (on other blogs) I wrote a number of critical posts about the assumptions and impracticalities of his plan. But it is just marketing when it is referred to as an exciting new plan. Given the time that has passed since its introduction and the fact that we have continued to follow RCP 8.5 trajectories those criticisms from the past are even more pertinent. But it is easy to find the various versions and read them and decide for yourself how practical this ‘solution’ actually is.

  10. KLG

    A few nonrandom thoughts on the new year…The national Democrat Party of Pelosi Obama Schumer Clinton & Biden LLC doesn’t want to win, because that might jeopardize their status in DC and their futures on K Street and the Vineyard. The top line will be left blank on enough ballots to ensure this, if Biden or equivalent (Warren, Mayo Pete, Yang) is the nominee, which is a feature and not a bug. Spending “their” money on (losing) campaign consultants is also a feature, not a bug. Other than that, Happy New Year to all! It will be an interesting time.

    1. JCC

      I agree. The article “How the Democratic Party Learned to Wage Class Warfare” was interesting, but the headline is very mis-leading. The Dems have Sanders, AOC, and a few others, but it’s pretty obvious the DNC and their Media quislings hate their guts.

      As long as people like WallStreetPete and Uncle Joe, Bloomberg, (and Harris, almost) are the favored DNC candidates, we are pretty much assured that the top line will remain blank.

      1. norm de plume

        Doesn’t she also own a vineyard and has interests in other businesses which are non-union shops? How can the leader of a (notionally) progressive party get away with that?

        1. inode_buddha

          There is a part that is published loudly, and another part that is not talked about. That’s how.

          I have worked in many places like that winery, with high-net-worth individuals, and it seems to be a universal modus operandi.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Sounds like a status thing to announce that you have achieved a certain level of worth. I would imagine the possession of a personal jet would work the same as would setting up a foundation bearing your name.

  11. allan

    The Geologic Toll of Helicopter Flights [Physics]
    A passing helicopter can induce high-speed vibrations in rock arches, potentially causing long-term damage to these bridge-like structures and shortening their lifespan.

    Industrialized tourism is the ultimate expression of the “I’ve got mine, Jack” society.

    … The team monitored between two and nine helicopter flybys for the different arches over the course of the study. For each flyby, the team measured intense bursts of infrasound, up to 100 decibels in magnitude. This high-intensity, low-frequency sound—around 13 Hz and multiples thereof—would be inaudible to humans. But for the arches, which naturally oscillate at frequencies in this range, “it’s like being at a live concert,” Finnegan says.

    Looking at the seismic data taken during these periods, the team determined that the arches reverberate with high-speed vibrations, with the shape of the ripples looking like the standing waves produced on guitar strings after they are plucked. At Squint Arch, where the velocity of tremors was highest, the team measured vibrations with a velocity of 0.1 mm/s, a level 100 times greater than the few-micrometers-per-second vibrations caused by Earth’s background rumble. Finnegan thinks that only earthquakes of magnitude 4 could cause vibrations like those induced by helicopters, and they occur “maybe once in a hundred years.”…

    And this is on top of ruining the experience for everybody else.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Why an internet that never forgets is especially bad for young people”

    2068 AD:

    “In a shock announcement today, the leading Presidential contender for the DemRep Party had to withdraw his candidacy when a video surfaced of him taking part in a fart-lighting competition while in his first year of college at a place now know as the Fort Lauderdale Maritime Park.

    1. Daryl

      Perhaps we’ll figure out, as a society, how to move past the fact that sometimes people do stupid things, make bad decisions and change their views.

      Or treat privacy with the seriousness it deserves, and stop allowing corporations to harvest, repackage and sell personal information with absolutely no limit.

      Or we’ll just elect and employ the most banal and uninteresting presenting people available. Which wouldn’t be too different from today.

    2. ewmayer

      Said ex-candidate missed the obvious PR spin: “I was doing my part to combat global warming by flaring off my personal natural gas emissions.”

    3. HotFlash

      Well, you know, since we don’t hold it against presidential candidates when they do stupid things in present time, why should we care what they did way back when?

      1. Massinissa

        The problem is is that theres a double standard. This kind of thing sticks to those left of center like Corbyn but bounces off those right of center like Boris Johnson and Trump.

    4. JP

      You won’t have to run for office for all your information to be any interested party that has influence or money.

    5. norm de plume


      first, the two parties, while joined at the hip (below the waterline, out of sight from land) will ALWAYS have two heads. They will never merge; kabuki needs ‘conflict’. The circus must go on so that our bread can continue to be stolen uninterrupted.

      second, only those potential leaders with the balls or the recklessness to make waves big enough to expose the neoliberal trunk below will suffer the exposure you imagine. And most of those will be Democrats, along with the odd Borg-averse ‘rogue Repug’ like Trump. The rest, say Mayo Pete and his ilk, are fairly safe.

      third, the way the deep fake business is developing, creating grainy footage of such a fart comp will by 2068 be a cinch.

      fourth, the jury is out as to whether certain candidates would indeed be negatively affected by such revelations even now. Warren, sure. Sanders, probably. But Trump? My guess is his numbers would go up… especially if he won!

  13. petal

    Sanders was back in the Upper Valley of NH yesterday. Says 400+ people attended(it was held inside). They interviewed some people and got their views on other candidates like Mayo Pete.

    1. petal

      Received first piece of mail from Mayo Pete. It’s a 2-sided letter. On the back it talks about his plan “Medicare for All Who Want It”:
      “It will create a public health insurance alternative which covers everyone, makes care affordable, incentivizes insurance companies to compete and bring down costs, and lets you choose the plan that’s right for you. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also how we’ll bring together-rather than divide-Americans.

      Some candidates in this race are proposing we ban private health insurance and take away Americans’ ability to choose what health care works best for them This would force all Americans, including the 20 million seniors on Medicare Advantage, off their current plans and onto a government-run insurance plan-whether they want it or not.

      Not my plan. My plan will preserve Americans’ ability to choose. And instead of raising taxes on the middle class, my plan will be funded by repealing Trump’s corporate tax breaks and forcing pharmaceutical companies to lower prescription drug prices.

      My plan isn’t the “My-Way-Or-The-Highway” approach that Washington politicians from both parties are offering. But it will deliver real change for Americans and help bring us together. It’s a different approach based on my experience as a Midwesterner, a mayor, and a veteran.”

      The whole thing is so obnoxious. That was just the back of the page. I can post more if you guys want it. Let me know.

      1. Daryl

        “Compulsory Draft For Those Who Want It”

        “Taxes For Those Who Want Them”

        “Democracy For Those Who Want It”

      2. ambrit

        Sorry. I was eating my lunch when I read that. I think I’ll have to invest in a waterproof keyboard if this keeps up.
        Mayo Pete looks to be a ‘spoiler’ deployed against Sanders. Maybe willingly, at that, given his background. The ‘tell’ will be in what position or emolument he gets after the election. In other words, who pays him off.
        We’ll see soon, after Iowa and the other early primaries, how well Sander’s ‘stealth mode’ campaign works out.
        This will be a test of the democracy ideal.

      3. Jeff W

        …and lets you choose the plan that’s right for you.

        Um, I don’t want to “choose the plan that’s right” for me—I’d rather just go to the doctor and get health care, without even thinking about “plans” or premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles.

        It’s a different approach based on my experience as a Midwesterner, a mayor, and a veteran.

        Aside from the transparently disingenuous content overall, what does that even mean?

        1. petal

          I know, right? And I didn’t even post half of it. There’s the whole other side. I took photos of the whole thing and sent it to Lambert, thinking he might enjoy it. If I feel better tonight, I’ll type in the other side of it. I don’t know if everyone in the state got this thing, or just unaffiliated NH voters. The Steyer mail stopped a few months ago, and this is the first piece of mail from Mayo Pete. Steyer’s had a lot of radio ads, though. I stopped listening to the radio in my car because of it.
          Sorry about your screen, ambrit. Next time I’ll put *trigger warning* at the top!

          1. ambrit

            That’s all-right petal. I keep a roll of paper towels handy as standard practice. I’m a bit clumsy, so, ‘accidents’ are a semi-regular occurrence here.
            Alas, that Mayo Pete screed reminds me mightily of the DCCC fund raising disguised as polls letters. Could the same bunch of propagandists be involved in both endeavours?
            Take care of yourself in this aberrant weather.

            1. petal

              Thank you-I think we’ll get 5-8″ and a little ice before the snow. It’ll be nice to have some snow. My cells growing in culture should be good for a week so am going to stay home and rest.
              Here is the rest of the letter. Y’all can tear it apart. He(or them?) is definitely gunning for Sanders.

              My name is Pete Buttigieg, and I’m writing to you because our country is running out of time. That’s why I’m running for President. From climate change to soaring health care costs to pay checks that can’t keep up, we face urgent crises. It was a failure of Washington politics that got us to this point. We can’t rely on more of the same Washington politics to get us out.

              I’m asking for your support because my experience shows me that we need a new kind of politics-one that brings us together behind bold ideas, instead of one that pushes us further apart. It may not be Washington experience, but it’s the experience we need right now to move our country forward.

              I’m from South Bend, Indiana, a town a national magazine once called “dying”. I understand what it means to grow up in a forgotten community, with closed factories, empty storefronts, and neighbors not sure how they’ll get by.

              I’m a Mayor that was re-elected with 80% of the vote. Unlike politicians in Washington, local leaders are more interested in people’s lives than ideological battles. That means reaching across the aisle and focusing on solutions that will bring people together. And the results of that effort are clear. The same city that was written off as dying is on its way back. With fresh ideas and a different approach, we brought new industry and jobs to our community. We’ve got more work to do, but we’ve already cut poverty by a third and unemployment by half.

              I’m a veteran. As a Navy Lieutenant in Afghanistan, I saw firsthand that when you bring Americans from different backgrounds together in common purpose, you can build the strongest fighting force in the world. IF we’re going to meet the challenges our country faces, we need a leader that calls upon our talents and builds a place for every American.

              These experiences are why I’m running for President of the United States. It’s the kind of leadership that will not only build the coalition that will defeat Donald Trump, but also pick up the pieces after him. I am running to begin a new era, one that starts after Trump leaves office. It’s time for leaders that are less interested in simply fighting with each other and more interested in making our lives better.

              There is no issue for which this is more true than health care. That’s why I’m proposing a bold new approach: Medicare for All Who Want It”….(then start where I posted before above)
              “Paid for by Pete for America” is at the bottom.
              There are sentences that are underlined: “These experiences…”, “It’s time for leaders that are less interested…”, “There is no issue for which this is more true…”, (above) “my plan will preserve Americans’ ability to choose…lower prescription drug prices”.

              1. Jeff W

                If Pete Buttigieg as mayor of South Bend has “already cut poverty by a third,” he still has a ways to go.

                Benjamin Studebaker (of the Studebaker auto family of South Bend) notes that South Bend’s poverty rate (at above 25%) is well above its county, its state, and the US as a whole and its median income (roughly $35,000) is lower.

                Studebaker says

                Buttigieg ran for mayoral office, promising to turn South Bend into a “Silicon Prairie” with “data centers and start-ups” but, after Buttigieg’s seven years in office, only 1.5% of jobs in South Bend are in the computer/mathematical sector.

                A resident of South Bend is more than three times more likely to be murdered than the average American, twice as likely to be raped, and three times more likely to be robbed or assaulted. In the years Buttigieg has been in power, the public schools have continued to lag behind Indiana averages in reading and science, pushing a whole new generation of residents into poverty, low wage employment, and criminality.

                The local newspaper, the South Bend Tribune, reports the schools get “F” ratings by Indiana’s standards. And as we all know, Indiana’s public schools aren’t anything to run home about.

                [Buttigieg’s] big idea was to threaten low income residents with fines if they didn’t pretty up their homes. Those who couldn’t afford the residential plastic surgery had their homes seized and bulldozed. He brags about this. He calls it “1,000 homes in 1,000 days”. South Bend became better looking by paying a blood price. Of course, once the city looks better, Buttigieg can claim to have ‘revitalised’ it, even though large numbers of residents remain mired in poverty.…

                Sanders housed more than a thousand people. Buttigieg bulldozed more than a thousand homes.

                Or, as this Jacobin piece “Mayor Pete’s War on the Homeless,” citing a Vanity Fair piece about Bernie Sanders, says:

                Faced with a scheme to convert subsidized housing into luxury condos, Sanders is said to have replied to one landlord: “Over my dead body are you going to displace 366 working families.”

                And I’m not sure what, exactly, is “a bold new approach” about Buttigieg’s “Medicare for All Who Want It”—it sounds pretty much like the “public option” to me. Do we have to go through 2009 all over again? Really?

      4. BobW

        I’ve got one of those Medicare Advantage plans, one selected with professional advice, as a way to defray drug costs. Now in the “donut hole” (furriners and young-uns may have to web-search that) and counting my pennies ’til the end of the year. I sold a three year old car and bought an 18 year old Honda to help with that and other expenses. Maybe I’ll just die before the money runs out next year.

    2. Jen

      I was there. It was a packed house, and there was a palpable energy in the room. Bernie riffed on his standard themes. On health care he started asking people how much they were currently paying for insurance. It was like a perverse auction. 8K/year with a 7K deductible. 9K/year, 10K per year, just for single coverage. One man stood up and said as retired active military, he was paying $600 per year, and that everyone else should be able to have what he had, to long, loud applause.

      Bernie invited questions and comments from the audience. Most were about health care. One woman who was clearly an anti-vaxer asked him where he stood on choice for vaccines. His response was something along the lines of while she had a right to her beliefs, he had the right not get sick with a preventable illness. He talked about measles outbreaks, and said we need to look at the science. The older couple sitting across the aisle from me seemed pretty impressed by his very direct response.

      Bernie was loose, engaging, and often quite funny. The most memorable comment, for me, though, came from a woman in the audience who said she was a medical student. She talked about working in a clinic for abused children. She said she sees a lot of terrible things, and she recently had a single mother who was at risk of losing her child because she couldn’t afford the health care her child needed. Imagine a room of 400 people going dead silent. Bernie looked genuinely horrified, and responded that this is the kind of cruel, dysfunctional system that we need to end.

      I signed up to canvas right after the event. Will report out on what I see.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation”

    I never thought about it before but this article made me wonder about something. Millennials cop a lot of flak about their behaviour though I am old enough to remember when boomers were being regarded as only a bunch of hippy slackers back in the 60s. Anyway, millions of people lost their homes after 2008 and there are commenters here who had that happen to them. So, what about the kids in those families?

    How much did it mess with their development to be kicked out of their homes when they saw trillions of dollars being thrown at the banks to save them. What was it like to live in a neighbourhood where this was happening? Would you have whole families move out of their homes and disappear like in some pandemic disaster? Did the kids wonder who of them were next to go? It must have affected them but how exactly?

    1. JTMcPhee

      I’ve heard a disconcerting phrase from a couple of kids recently, one I haven’t heard since the really bad old days of the Cold War (several times when I was teaching Sunday School to third-graders, and other occasions):

      “IF I grow up…”

      Not “When,” but “If…”

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      I made a comment some months ago on a post about the rise in suicides in that exact cohort about what those kids would have gone through, losing their homes and therefore probably having to switch schools, leave familiar friends and teachers behind etc. This whole millennial bashing is beyond me.

  15. Craig H.

    > In the U.S., an Angioplasty Costs $32,000. Elsewhere? Maybe $6,400.

    The graphic was hard for me to read on my monitor. Four of those colors were nearly indistinguishable. Anyway it looks like the Netherlands is way cheaper than us for the same procedures. Has anybody suggested we just import the Netherlands system and install it here and trash ours?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sure. Discussion of other systems has always been part of the conversation. M4All is simply the pragmatic path forward given various issues. The infrastructure and bureaucracy already exist, and it isn’t dependent on radically different institutions found in other countries.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Here in Northern Ireland mine was free as was the stent that went with it, the 35 mile ambulance trip & all of the rest of it.

        Perhaps I was lucky to get it over with then & be able to change my then idiotic lifestyle before the NHS gets sold off.

        Now there is one less local ambulance according to one of the PM’s that saved me, which might well have made all of the difference.

    2. Monty

      But then how would insurance execs afford private jets and medical specialists afford their 4 homes and multiple Bentley’s.

      1. HotFlash

        I work with a non-profit that would probably be happy to supply refurbished bicycles for all of them.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      The Dutch system really can’t be replicated. A few years ago some Irish politicians got excited by it as it was rated the best in the world and sent a team over to study it. Basically, they found that its so complicated that not even many Dutch understood it. It works because most of those who do understand it are the senior administrators, and they happen to have a high degree of integrity. The system, like a lot of European insurance based systems, was never ‘designed’, it developed over the years as work based insurance systems expanded to cover everyone, the overcomplexity has been dealt with by very rigorous administrative systems which are very hard to replicate.

      The great merit of Medicare for all (as with all single payer systems) is its simplicity. Thats why its just about the only healthcare system that can be taken ‘off the shelf’ and applied in any country – this is what the Taiwanese did in the mid 1990’s – after studying systems all over the world, they concluded Medicare was the best, they just made it universal.

          1. ambrit

            I see that removal of the ‘complexities’ as the main ‘sticking point’ for the entrenched power players in the American medical establishment. So many ‘rice bowls’ are going to be broken…..
            Of course, the “breaking of the rice bowl” is one story of how Zen was “discovered.”

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Not when starting from a mixed private system. Creating the NHS was probably only feasible in the context of a post war world with lots of public servants looking for something to do, and the opposing establishment in some disarray. Plus, it involved outright bribery of many potential opponents. A late in-law who’s father was a GP at the time said their income more than doubled thanks to the NHS, simply because (like most other doctors), they pretended that all their patients had paid previously, when in reality this wasn’t the case. It actually took quite a long time for them to get the NHS cost curves downwards, the early NHS was riddled with inefficiencies and sometimes out and out fraud.

          Trying to nationalise every hospital system in the US would be an enormous undertaking, administratively and politically. Single payer health systems avoid this need by simply imposing a cost and purchasing system on the existing structure.

          It is also (arguably) the case that single payer is ultimately cheaper – comparing the costs of different systems (especially in Asia), usually shows that in terms of cost compared to outcomes, they seem to be a little more cost effective.

          1. John A

            The Health Minister who brokered the deal to create the NHS famously said he was only able to achieve this by “stuffing doctors’ mouths with gold”.

          2. HotFlash

            Here in Canada the well-to-do surgeons and specialists fought single-payer tooth and nail, and the dentists and the anesthesiologists flatly refused. Country GP’s were all in favour, “We’ll get paid!”

      1. Joe Well

        >> It works because most of those who do understand it are the senior administrators, and they happen to have a high degree of integrity.

        Hmm…I wonder if any of those senior administrators would be interested in taking a trip to sunny Aruba to discuss new ways of innovating healthcare and achieving efficiencies through partnerships with American leaders in the healthcare field? /s

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I confess to engaging in cultural stereotypes, but the Dutch are fabulously stubborn and in your face. And they aren’t impressed by new money.

          1. inode_buddha

            It makes me proud of my ancestry :) Dutch, German, and Ulster Scots. (Dutch surname, American born)

  16. diptherio

    “The Media Is Broken”

    David Brooks still has a job writing at NYT, so yeah, that’s pretty obvious, dude.

    1. chuck roast

      Back when I was still watching The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Brooks and Shields would come on every Friday. I would say to my wife, “Here come Frick and Frack,” and I would wait for it…it didn’t take long…
      Shields: “Well Judy, I agree with David on that.
      At which point I would start laughing up uproariously and head to the ‘fridge for another beer.

      1. Jeff W

        Alexander Cockburn’s 1982 take on The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (an earlier name of the current PBS NewsHour), of which Cockburn said “Tedium is of the essence”:

        macneil: Good evening…Tonight, should cannibalism be regulated? Jim?

        lehrer: Robin, the debate pits two diametrically opposed sides against each other: the Human Meat-eaters Association, who favor a free market in human flesh, and their regulatory opponents in Congress and the consumer movement. Robin?

  17. flora

    file under class warfare:

    Why France’s ‘unsustainable’ pension system may well be sustainable

    The reason for such discrepancies, says demographer and historian Hervé Le Bras in an op-ed published by French daily Le Monde, has more to do with spending cuts than the system’s supposed unsustainability.
    Referring to recent policies that helped widen the pension deficit, Cohen added: “it’s a bit rich of the government to deprive our pension system of resources and then complain of a deficit.”

  18. FreeMarketApologist

    Uninstall This Alleged Emirati Spy App From Your Phone

    Not surprisingly, it doesn’t recommend that you uninstall Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ring, Nest, and every other app from your phone. It would be nice if they spent as much time analyzing how much personal, location, and other identifying data the other social media apps sent to their corporate masters.

    I guess it’s only bad when foreign people spy on you.

    1. xkeyscored

      I guess it’s only bad when foreign people spy on you.
      No, it’s only bad when we’re not being spied on by Five Eyes. We’re all supposed to forget the likes of Snowden’s revelations, or be grateful we could be drone-struck at any moment.

  19. Synoia

    Stanford Researchers Have an Exciting Plan to Tackle The Climate Emergency Worldwide

    Really? More accurately:

    Stanford Researchers Have an Possible Concept to Tackle The Climate Emergency Worldwide.

    IMHO Plans require specific details, identifying sites, including funding.

  20. Summer

    RE: “Anguish and Anger From the Navy SEALs Who Turned In Edward Gallagher” New York Times

    Interesting profile of a future Republican candidate for President.

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Why an internet that never forgets is especially bad for young people”
    This came up in my family years ago. Older sister (not my sister – exact relationship shall remain unclear) recounted explaining to younger sister that the latter might NOT want those cute drunken pictures on the internet, once out of college. Fortunately MySpace went the way of all things (not really your space, was it?). Both are now successful professionals, so no harm done.

    Which is the other side of the coin: embarrassing material on the internet, like tattoos, is now so prevalent that employers may not be able to discriminate. Not something you want to count on, though.

    1. norm de plume

      I don’t think that embarrassing pix or comments are the primary concern here. The ease with which our entire online history – private as well as public – can be accessed, is the issue. Porn searches and extra-marital affairs are only the most obvious avenues, but even more worrying is the potential for any evidence (gleaned from the cloud) of political, economic or environmental activism, union activity, etc, to be factored into not just party political appointments, but also candidate appraisals for jobs in the government or bureaucracy or private enterprise. Much of this work is now done via online HR systems (such as Oracle’s Taleo) which is used by govts worldwide. The familiar lone lefty in the office may become a thing of the past, gifting us a future of conservative, grey, yes-man sameness wherever we may go… and the perps can plausibly claim ignorance, even innocence of bias on the matter because they had nothing to do with it. No alibis required: the algorithms in the software made the call, no humans involved!

      It’s kind of neat. You have to admire it at some level, while the rest of you fumes and sighs…

  22. dcblogger

    impeachment has touched a nerve among white evangelicals
    the impeachment seems to have brought things to a head, there is some sort of crisis

    Christianity Today
    Trump Should Be Removed from Office

    Christianity Today receives boost in new subscriptions after calling for Trump’s removal, editor in chief says

    Meet Mark Galli, evangelical magazine editor who called for Trump’s removal

    Announcement: Today, rather abruptly, I was forced to make the difficult choice to leave The Christian Post. They decided to publish an editorial that positions them on Team Trump. I can’t be an editor for a publication with that editorial voice. …

    Behind Christianity Today’s editorial is a deeper crisis of America’s religion of whiteness

    this is coming from the strongest part of Trump’s base. Something big is happening

    1. flora

      The prospect of elevating fellow evangelical Vice Prez Mike Pence to the presidency must be intoxicating! /not a snark

      1. flora

        This fantasy is matched by the TDS Dems’ fantasy that impeaching/removing Trump first, then impeaching/removing Pence, would elevate Nancy Pelosi to the presidency. /not a snark

        adding: I don’t buy the ‘melancholy of whiteness’ trope on this matter, considering the persons involved. Guess writers feel pressure to ad an idpol hook in their essays in order to get published. imo.

        1. flora

          adding: my guess on the “crisis” for some churches is in trying to find and toe the line that lets them maintain their tax exempt status as a non-political religious organization; should they step too far beyond that line they’ll lose their tax exempt status. my 2 cents.

          1. flora

            Wouldn’t surprise me if the IRS sent a friendly reminder about tax exemption requirements to ‘Chrisitanity Today’ after that editorial appeared.

            Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” (emphasis in original)


            Sounds like the editorial went way over the line prohibiting participation, intervening, and publishing statements in opposition to a candidate for public office. (Since I can assume T will be the 2020 candidate for public office, again.)

            1. skippy

              I thought Bush Jr pretty much took the chains off the churches back in the day. Anywho it seems the fundie evangelicals don’t poll well outside their flock, but are organized and have strong networks in advancing their agendas.

              I would think it significant if this group were to abandon Trump, due to his lack of morals in their eyes, and its brand damage – completely unrepentant E.g. got them this far and defeated Hillary, but at some point its self defeating.

            2. ChiGal in Carolina

              actually, it seems Christianity Today customarily advises their readers when in their estimation politics and Xian ethics clash.

              They are a publication, not a church. And don’t evangelicals have a long tradition of looking to their spiritual leaders for political guidance anyway? Think Billy Graham.

              This could be significant. Overall evangelicals are about a quarter of all voters, same as Catholics, with the vast bulk of the remainder being mainline Protestant. About 15% identify as atheist/agnostic (we need to grow that number!).


              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I suggest you bother checking rather than mislead readers. Christianity Today is organized as a 501(c) 3, meaning tax exempt, so donations to it are also tax deductible:

                465 GUNDERSEN DR, CAROL STREAM, IL 60188-2415 | Tax-exempt since Nov. 1958

                EIN: 52-0231554
                Classification (NTEE)
                Religious Printing, Publishing (Religion-Related, Spiritual Development)
                Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3)
                Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

                Donations to this organization are tax deductible.


                It is not a (c) 4, (“social welfare organization”) which is for groups like Public Citizen, where the organization does not pay taxes but donations are not tax exempt.

        2. kiwi

          It is ironic to me that people like J Kameron Carter, who supposedly desire equality, knock the very people who brought the whole notion to the forefront in modern history (I’m thinking of the US and France, not ancient Greece) and made it the law of their respective lands.

      2. Daryl

        Yeah, I’m not really sure why people are calling this a big deal. If impeachment somehow succeeds, they get rid of the guy who says all the things you’re not supposed to say out loud as a Virtuous Christian Leader (TM) and replace him with a cookie cutter evangelical.

          1. flora

            There’s crisis, of sorts, in the Dem party now that 25 years of Clinton and Obama’s smooth seductions about universal healthcare and ending wars and reining in financial abuses have proved meaningless. There may be an equal crisis in the GOP after Reagan and W’s smooth seductions about a new ‘great awakening’ have proved meaningless.

            I think there’s much the progressive left and the religious right have in common: feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick. Too bad we let some important things we disagree on divide us from working together for the important things we do agree on. Both parties take advantage of that, imo.

            1. inode_buddha

              AMEN. I’m still waiting for the trickle-down. Your 2nd para. exactly nails it, I think that would be a worthy project.

              1. Carey

                Thirded. The Few are working to hard to prevent a Re-Brown alliance though, or
                any homegrown alternatives at all to
                what they have planned for us..

          2. Lambert Strether

            > only that impeachment seems to have touched off some larger crisis.

            Makes me wonder of Reverend Barber has been exerting pressure on the margins. My impression is that the mega-churches are money machines, and that might be getting old. So it’s not so much editors resigning, but evangelical congregations split from their leadership more than their leadership understands.

            Purest speculation!

    2. ewmayer

      “Something big is happening” — Rachel Maddow’s been saying more or less the same RussiaRussiaRussia for 3 years now. And Trump not being a paragon of moral virtue is somehow something the evang community only realized recently? Did all those same folks think the p*ssy-grabbing tape leaked during the campaign was about Trump being an aggressive cat fancier? “He needs to learn to be more gentle with animals, but I voted for him anyway”, something like that?

        1. kiwi

          Too funny:

          During one of her MSNBC segments, Maddow claimed, “In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America is really literally is paid Russian propaganda,”

          I’m guessing her use of the words “really literally” don’t help her much.

          1. The Rev Kev

            When you quoted those words “really literally” I could actually hear her say that in my head. What is surprising is that there are not a lot of comedians mocking her and her show by imitating her and her style.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          that is one funky publication, but they sure do seem to be having themselves a ball.

          it’s like the national enquirer of alt-right politics! I don’t do social media or spend time browsing YouTube, so my goodness I guess I am spared quite a bit of noise.

          1. inode_buddha

            IMHO most of the noise is on TV and in the papers — I’m on social media and youtube every day because the mainstream media suck so bad. I threw out the TV 5 years ago, I don’t regret it for a split second — probably my blood pressure stabilized.

            1. Lambert Strether

              It’s so unfortunate that audio/video seem to be the last mass refuges of non-mainstream content, because the bandwidth and functionality is so much less than print. If I want to quote Jimmy Dore, it’s no longer a matter of copy, blockquote, paste, post, but “Here, listen to this video about 15 minutes in.” It’s such a loss of capacity.

              1. inode_buddha

                Indeed I prefer print wherever possible, due to being profoundly deaf. I’m sure there is a technological way to lift a close-captioning track from a video, but I’m not up on the computer programming.

                1. Carey

                  Why I don’t do ‘podcasts’, and avoid video, if possible (besides all the mugging/posturing/time-wasting on the latter).

      1. Biph

        The issue for Trump is more about if the Evangelical community come out for Trump as strongly as they did 2016, or without the bugbear of HRC opposing him will a small but not insignificant portion of them stay home or leave the line for President blank..

        1. kiwi

          All Trump has to do is run commercials with Gov. Northrop in Viriginia comments about legislation allowing abortions up to the moment of birth and woops! There goes dems’ fantasies about getting some evangelicals’ support beyond those who don’t support Trump anyway.

          1. Biph

            I don’t expect any significant Evangelical support to flow towards the Dems whomever they nominate. There will however be less people willing to crawl through glass to vote against the Dem nominee (assuming the DNC doesn’t shoehorn HRC in at the convention). The Democratic nominee isn’t going to have the decades long deep seated anger against them that HRC had. Add in a 5 person majority on the SC willing to overturn Roe v Wade and an ebb in evangelical turnout is a possibility, if far from a certainty. If the court hands down any anti-abortion rulings before the election the liklihood of such a downturn increases . In a close election everything matters and Evangelical turnout dipping by 5-10% would be devastating to Trump’s re-election.
            I’m willing to bet all my money that Northam won’t be on the Dem ticket so I doubt that his comments will matter much in the GE.

              1. Biph

                It’ll go one of three ways. Close Trump win, Close Dem win or comfortable Dem win (I’ll classify a comfortable Dem win has +5% in the popular vote and 300+ EV). Trump may not have lost an inch of support but he hasn’t gained an inch either.

            1. inode_buddha

              “The Democratic nominee isn’t going to have the decades long deep seated anger against them that HRC had.”

              Um, a little while ago there was this Dem called Obama, who simultaneously bailed out the banks and allowed millions to lose their homes. There will be deep-seated anger and mistrust against the Dems for decades to come.

              1. kiwi

                Not to mention that the dems have fought so much harder for illegal immigrants than they ever have for citizens – at least in my memory, which goes back to Reagan. And currently, dems are far more concerned about the welfare of the Ukrainians and other populations in other countries that have been involved in centuries old conflicts.

                Well, there is Bernie who has consistently fought for his policies, but he isn’t a dem.

                Healthcare seemed to be a big opening for dems, but I don’t even know if that is true anymore.

              2. kiwi

                But, but, but AOC had a hearing in which she questioned Dimon – so there is that yuuuuuge accomplishment that is sure to turn that tide in favor of the dems.

              3. Biph

                That’s ignoring the way Presidential elections become a clash of personalities.
                There is maybe 1/3 of the electorate which are die hard Dems and 1/3 that are die hard Reps the other 1/3 is more a pox on both their houses so it’s gonna come down to the individuals running for POTUS. There just isn’t the long standing animus towards any of the Dems currently running that there was against HRC, meaning fewer people willing to hold their nose and vote for Trump just to spite the Dem nominee and in a close election (which is the only way Trump can win) everything matters. Add in the fact that with executive branches of MI, PA and WI under Dem control less ability for the Reps to put a thumb on the scale in those states.

                1. kiwi

                  You again are simply assuming that animus toward HRC was the sole driver in Trump’s success.

                  Hmmm, it is interesting that you think a republican ‘thumb’ somehow controlled the voters in MI, PA, and WI.

                  I used to think that the dems promoted all of the winning policies, and that these were largely supported by voters across the land. At least, that is what dems led me to believe.

                  Except that the voters just didn’t cooperate over the years with these beliefs. They kept voting in those pesky repubs here and there, just like they vote in dems here and there.

                  I can no longer believe that dem policies are supported by most people (knowing that ‘most’ is a vague word); the belief is simply not supported by reality.

                  But dems can keep believing whatever they wish, of course, which includes the assumption that the population across the US supports their agenda.

              4. Lambert Strether

                > Um, a little while ago there was this Dem called Obama,

                And then there were Pelosi’s Dems, who spent three years saying they were going to impeach Trump over Russia on a daily basis, and then didn’t, preferring to impeach him because he was slightly less hawkish on Ukraine than The Blob.

  23. ewmayer

    Belatedly, allow me to present this year’s sponsor-riddled College football bowl games list:

    Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
    Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl
    Celebration Bowl
    New Mexico Bowl
    FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl
    Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
    Camellia Bowl
    Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
    R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
    Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
    SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
    Walk On’s Independence Bowl
    Quick Lane Bowl
    Military Bowl
    New Era Pinstripe Bowl
    Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
    San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
    Cheez-It Bowl
    Goodyear Cotton Bowl
    Camping World Bowl
    Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
    PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
    SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
    Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City Bowl
    Redbox Bowl
    Capital One Orange Bowl
    Belk Bowl
    Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
    AutoZone Liberty Bowl
    NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
    Valero Alamo Bowl
    Outback Bowl
    Vrbo Citrus Bowl
    Rose Bowl Game
    Allstate Sugar Bowl
    TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
    TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
    Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
    Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
    LendingTree Bowl
    College Football Playoff National Championship

    o What business does the San Diego County Credit Union have sponsoring a bowl game? How about paying some non-joke interest on those savings accounts instead?
    o Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for Tony the Tiger to sponsor the Sugar Bowl?
    o The Outback Bowl organizers missed an obvious sponsor pitch to Outback Steakhouse restaurants.
    o the CFP National Championship thankfully has no cheesy sponsor name preceding it, but it is being played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in NOLA.

    1. richard

      Late stage capitalism rips up everything, even the nice, predictable 7 or 8 non-sponsored college bowl games of my youth (themselves sitting on a mountain of unpaid labor and genteel corruption) have been topsy-turvied into your horrific list.
      (clutches breast) I am shocked, SHOCKED at the level to which… (nation changes the channel to a football game)

      p.s. were the sponsors of the “Vrbo Citrus Bowl” sucking an eponymous lemon when they came up with their name? It looks very pinched, and missing vowelish.

      1. Carey

        E.B. White summed up the Few’s game plan well, in his (exceptional, IMO) short story ‘The Door’:

        “there will be no not-jumping.”

        worth digging up, along with Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’.

    2. inode_buddha

      Your comment reminds me of the old quip that congressmen should have their sponsors names embroidered on their jackets.

      1. xkeyscored

        I’d prefer to hear their speeches and debates interrupted every few minutes with a message from their sponsors.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It is true that Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, who incubated so many neocons in their youth, was nicknamed “the Senator from Boeing”.

      2. Carey

        Yes! Make the congresscritters trade uniforms w/ NASCAR drivers.. way more fitting.

        “Brought to you by..”

    3. Ernie

      I always find it amusing to think of the excitement in the college team locker room when it’s announced, “We’re going to the Cheez-It Bowl!” Also, how proud other players will be to reminisce with their future children and grandchildren about their exciting experience at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. Such magic!

      1. richard

        the cheez-it bowl sounds like something from Idiocracy
        the harmless and dumb little movie (about the dangers of getting too dumb)
        that somehow gained the power of prophecy

    4. Bugs Bunny

      I have to keep going back to David Foster Wallace on this. Amazingly prescient in Infinite Jest. Corporate naming of almost everything. And lots more that simply makes sense.

      Worth the long read.

      And all his other work as well.

  24. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Incredible moment thirsty Koala stops South Australian cyclist to drink water —
    I am most impressed by this story about the Koala that approached the cyclists for a drink of water. That is most unlike what I had thought about Koalas. I believe the other animals in our world are more aware of us than we might at first believe. They are very cautious about us after the many Millennia of our predations on them and their worlds. We must become more aware of the hardships of other humans in this world. We must also become more aware of the other creatures that we live with. I imagine some kind of new covenant for the future with the other life in our world. I believe there is far more sentience than words alone can capture. In the not so distant future we must form alliances with these other sentient creatures. They can do things we cannot as we can do things they cannot.

    1. ewmayer

      I bet the folks at The Onion are working hard on an upcoming piece about the drought in Oz: “In Australia, aggressive leather-clad wombat biker gangs are shaking down cyclists and tourists for their water.”

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Thank you for this very sensitive observation. I completely agree. They shouldn’t have to fear us any longer.

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    I look out my window this evening at a gathering of crows — a murder — but there is no dead crow they mourn. They come to gather for crow reasons I do not understand and they seem somewhat aware that I watch them every evening time and on those mornings when they gather and I am up to see them. I feel strangely kin to these crows. They may be ‘dumb’ but they communicate to me by their presence. We are prescient of a collapse. We are kin.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      There’s a crow in my yard who I’m convinced doesn’t like me. He was banging on the window one morning at 5, and when I came out to look, he puffed up, cawed loudly and flew back to his nest. His wife was watching the whole thing and stayed out of it. Since then he sometimes he swoops at me when I come out of the house. Not touching me, but to frighten me. His wife sits in a tree watching it. I don’t know why he’s doing it and moreover, I really love crows. Wish I could figure out how to communicate with him.

    2. Carey

      Lots of crows these days where I live, and I talk to them most early mornings:

      “Hello, crows! Walkin’ around in your crow-way again, this morning?”

      They feel like a harbinger to me, too; it’s part of why I talk to ’em.
      They seem pretty smart to me. ;)

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I am very upset that one of my favorite crow intelligence stories, from Cracked years back is no longer on their site. The short version is some farmers in Canada were upset that crows had taken a liking to their area and in their opinion were eating too much of their crops. So they planned a crow mass murder. They set a morning to go out and wipe out as many crows as they could.

        How many crows did they kill? One.

        The crows somehow rapidly transmitted word the one of their own had been killed and they all started flying above the range of gunshot.

        1. Jeff W

          “…one of my favorite crow intelligence stories…”

          Ah, but there’s even more to our brainy corvine friends:

          “It’s not just their intelligence, it’s their attitude,” says Laurie Ulrich Fuller, a graphic designer in Lancaster, Penn. [and founding member of Lancaster Crow Coalition], explaining why the crow became her favourite animal after 60,000 of the birds invaded her town two years ago [i.e., in 2005]. “They saunter when they walk; they don’t pip along like a little bird.”

          Apparently, you don’t mess with crows:

          Bird expert Sylvia Bruce Wilmore, author of [the more than 40-year-old] Crows, Jays, Ravens And Their Relatives, declares: ‘Crows are quicker on the uptake than certain well-thought-of mammals like the cat and the monkey.’ She admits her own tamed crow so effectively dominated the other animals in her household that it would even pick up the spaniel’s leash and lead him around the garden!

          1. Carey

            Good stuff. Yes, the crows have *all kinds of attitude*; that’s
            partly what I meant about walking in their “crow-way”..

      2. petal

        I talk to them, too. In the winter, I put out some peanuts for them along with the regular bird seed. Last week, 2 of them were in the yard loitering, watching and waiting for me to get in the car and leave before they’d walk over to the feeder. Sometimes when I put out food, they’ll send out a few caws and some more crows will show up to eat. They’re very observant. I love watching them.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you these many thoughts on crows. From time-to-time I have tried to imagine a story of the future — after the collapse — when crows and ravens have interbred and their offspring have gone through the population bottleneck with all other surviving creatures. I think intelligence will be very important to survival and adaptability so I imagine these crowvens will be even more intelligent than their corvid ancestors.

      An old crowven observes a human working at an agricultural station attempting to bring back corn and suit it to the new extremes of weather in the future climate. The crowven tames the human and in return for crowven mobility the human helps the crow with devices fashioned by human hands and shares knowledge of how to grow corn. The crow flies off and returns with wild corn seeds that help provide the human with genetic material for adapting old varieties of corn discovered at the agricultural station.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “The importance of life’s simple pleasures”

    Jerome K. Jerome talked about this too in his famous 1880s book “Three Men in a Boat”-

    Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.

    You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good, plain merchandise will stand water. You will have time to think as well as to work. Time to drink in life’s sunshine—time to listen to the Æolian music that the wind of God draws from the human heart-strings around us—time to—

    1. norm de plume

      I gave that book to my wife last week to give to her father for Xmas. She is down the coast with him, her mother and our daughter and they have all received bushfire warnings on their phones. Fingers crossed.

      The old boy is nearing 90 with multiplying health issues – says it’s his last festive season – so bad that he has been mainly room-bound on the trip. I hope he read 3 Men and had a few laughs..

      1. The Rev Kev

        If he likes that book, he might like another of Jerome’s called “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow”. But if he was born in in Australia, I bet that he might like some older books by John O’Grady such as “They’re a weird mob”. Actually any of John O’Grady’s books are pretty funny and he may have come across them when he was younger.
        Meanwhile, I hope all goes well with your family and those bushfires. As you say – fingers crossed.

        1. Norm de plume

          They have been told to evacuate just now and not sure where they will end up tonight.

          Not being able to pray, the best I can do is hope.

          1. The Rev Kev

            They should be ok. The Fire Brigade has had a lot of practice on when to send evacuation alerts lately and as soon as they reach a designated shelter, I am sure that they will send you a message saying that all is well. I am afraid they they will be in for an uncomfortable night or two but there will be a lot of people in the same situation. But they will have quite a few new stories to tell you when you get back together.

            1. norm de plume

              Just heard from them. Almost at Cooma for dinner on the way to Cantberra. The RFS map shows fires either side of the journey but too far away to be an issue I reckon.


              1. The Rev Kev

                Whew indeed. That’s good news that. Maybe time to grab & open up a cold one and sit back for awhile.

  27. Anthony K Wikrent

    How the Democratic Party Learned to Wage Class Warfare

    This is a very misleading title. Much more accurate would have been:
    How the base of the Democratic Party was radicalized by Obama’s decision to side with the bankers against the people in the global financial crisis

  28. Susan Truxes

    Interesting piece by Varoufakis on the destruction that corporations have caused capitalism. He explaines a new type of capitalism – not marxism, nor communism; no state appropriations; no nationalizations. Instead he is offering a solution by way of changing corporate law. Legislate change by making shares/shareholding illegal. The sale of corporation shares should be prevented by law because it simply creates a debt to the future either by speculation on a future windfall or by encouraging unsustainable financing. Creating shareholders, beginning with the East India Company 1599 to raise money to become cutthroat mercantilists, was the bad idea that started it all. Instead Varoufakis is advocating corporations as companies that have no shareholders telling them what to do but instead a cross section of employees making the decisions and the state imposing a simple tax structure, freeing up the money captured by shareholder demands and financialized debt burdens. Sounds logical. That would certainly be one way to prevent the progression of corporate feudalism. An idea that is so dysfunctional it is all but dead anyway. It made me remember when some western person advised Putin that he could use blind trusts to repatriate all that pilfered money by the oligarchs (then in the banks in Cyprus) and prevent losing all those rubles to other “authorities”, rubles which Russia needed. He said he had never heard of such a method. There are all sorts of tricks to reasonably protect the person of interest in a confrontational transaction with the state – just as there’s no reason to make shareholder demands the law of the land.

    1. Carey

      “Clarified”, huh? “No” to “Yes” is something other than a clarification.

      D’oh Biden: For the [Right} People!

  29. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Perhaps this highly successful & sold out French board game could be manufactured in English & as I am away for a few days, ” Happy New Year ” to all who contribute here, particularly to those who have constructed & maintained this oasis in the midst of an increasingly large desert.

    Don’t let the bastards grind you down !!!

  30. drumlin woodchuckles

    About American marijuana growers being the best in the world . . . . and wouldn’t local be best in every locality in the world, all things being equal . . . first all things have to be equal.

    American growers spent decades of persecution perfecting the craft of growing marijuana in greater or lesser levels of hiding and seclusion. I suspect they are ahead of most others for the moment. If all the countries of the world repealed all their anti-marijuana persecution laws and cancelled all the International Marijuana Persecution Treaties, then marijuana would return to being as legal as cabbage and potatoes . And once that happened, wannabe-growers in every locality would be free to learn from the best of methods from every other locality. Then all the growers in all local localities would elevate themselves and eachother to the highest common denominator and American growers would no longer be among the default-best growers in the world.

    Places where the law is weaker and persecution is lighter . . . like the Bekka Valley in Lebanon . . . are probably excellent growers now.

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