2:00PM Water Cooler 2/9/2017

By Lambert Strether of

Trade

“The CETA Deception 2.0: How the Trudeau government is misrepresenting CETA” []. “CETA threatens the right to regulate in the public interest and the ability of governments to maintain control over vital natural resources and public services. CETA gives foreign investors extraordinary rights and powers – and for what gain? CETA’s promised economic benefits remain elusive. A recent study has shown that CETA will result in job losses, net losses in government revenue, and increased inequality in both Canada and the EU…. The EU’s 38 member states and regions must still ratify the agreement. Four regional governments in Belgium are set to refuse ratifying CETA unless their concerns about ISDS are addressed.”

Politics

2016 Post Mortem

Rahm Emmanuel and his “chill pill”: “Emanuel now says his goal [as DCCC chair] in 2006 was to “take cultural issues off the table” and “present economic issues.” But on economics, his candidates represented the Washington consensus in favor of free trade agreements that enshrine investor rights – the same tired consensus against which Sen. Bernie Sanders mobilized deep opposition in the Democratic primaries last year, and that Trump exploited so cynically in November” []. “The truth of the 2006 election was that the top three recipients of DCCC cash – who together got nearly $10 million – all lost, and of 22 initial candidates backed by Emanuel’s committee, only nine won their elections. What swung the election to the Democrats was the deep unpopularity of President George W. Bush and the Iraq war, nourished by a new “netroots” insurgency within the Democratic Party. Emanuel’s pro-war candidates had trouble catching the wave – but now he claims the election victory as his own. The Blue Dog Democrats Emanuel elected were a major source of trouble when President Obama was trying to pass an economic stimulus and health care reform. And these “Republican Lite” politicians were the first to fall in the Tea Party election of 2010.” Because voters for real Republicans when the alternative is a fake Republican. As Clinton’s failed turn to the right to pick up suburban Republican women shows. As the headline says: “Emanuel is the last person to give Democrats advice on strategy.”

“In Race for DNC Chair, Tom Perez Pledges to Woo Back Red, Rural America” []. “[Kathleen] Sebelius also announced her public support for Perez Tuesday.” The organizer of the ObamaCare roll-out debacle, never held accountable. So I’m sure her endorsement carries great weight (though she doesn’t actually have a vote; the article explains the mechanics of the “peculiar” race for DNC chair quite well).

“Tom Perez Apologizes for Telling the Truth, Showing Why Democrats’ Flaws Urgently Need Attention” [Glenn Greenwald, ]. A hilarious trainwreck:

This is what Perez said:

We heard loudly and clearly yesterday from Bernie supporters that the process was rigged and it was. And you’ve got to be honest about it. That’s why we need a chair who is transparent.

But Perez’s commitment to “transparency” and “being honest” had a very short life-span. After his admission predictably caused controversy – with furious Clinton supporters protesting the truth – Perez … quickly slinked onto Twitter with a series of tweets to retract what he said, claim that he “misspoke” (does anyone know what that word means?), apologize for it, and proclaim Hillary Clinton the fair and rightful winner.

Not only that, Perez never did explain how he “misspoke,” or what he meant to say. No doubt this ritual act of fealty to the perpetrators of the 2016 debacle will put him over the top.

Realignment and Legitimacy

To misquote Talleyrand on the Bourbons, the Democrats have learned nothing and forgotten a lot:

Palmieri on MSNBC says Dems should not use mass crowds to move left: "not everyone wants $15/hour…it's all about identity on our side now"

— Matt Bruenig (@MattBruenig)

(Alert reader Roger Smith located .)

And speaking of identity politics:

this sneering contempt for everything left-of-center is so obnoxious

— Leliana, hello (@sonaralee)

For more on Sady Doyle (), :

Here's a Wikileaks email showing some of the liberal bloggers huddling w/the Hillary campaign to push Bernie hits

— Lee Fang (@lhfang)

Putting the generals who built the Maginot Firewall in charge of #TheResistance. What could go wrong?

UPDATE Note that Will Bunch is one of the good guys, wrote a book on Sanders, so I take this “I do not think this means what you think it means” tweet more as symptom of the insanity than a personal failing:

6. Another core value for : The importance of education. So DeVos pick was more of a blow than any other nominee

— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch)

Translating, #TheResistance = what Thomas Frank would call the 10%, the professionals in Clinton’s base, and what Chris Arnade calls “Front Row Kids.” That’s what the outrage over DeVos — who isn’t a whole lot worse than charter advocate Arne Duncan on policy — as opposed to Tillerson or Price or Mnuchin really signals.

“Democrats are finding their inner Tea Party” []. “[T]he left is growing stronger rather than retreating after the historic setback on Election Day…. ‘As the Tea Party learned in 2010, you need a call to action that’s singular,’ said Matt Bennett, co-founder of the Third Way. ‘You can’t go to town hall and say I demand the following 10 things..but if you go and say I demand you oppose Obamacare, it works.’ Bennett said the party is unified against Trump, and he believes they need to take him on, one fight at a time.”

And still from Axios, another case of “I do not think this means what you think it means”: “Centrist Democrats were genuinely surprised by the intensity of the backlash against Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. It happened organically. Democratic strategists like Anne Caprara of Priorities USA and Matt Bennett of Third Way guessed opposition would zero in on more obvious targets: Tom Price and ObamaCare, Steve Mnuchin and his Wall Street ties, Rex Tillerson because of Exxon and Russia ties, or Jeff Sessions on civil rights. That the hottest rage focused on DeVos taught Dem leaders in D.C. that they need to follow the organic resistance rather than try to over-engineer it themselves.” But see above comment citing to Frank and Arnade; the “rage” — I thought liberals didn’t do rage? Or hate? — was the offended amour propre of Clinton’s credentialed base; nothing to do with policy at all. “Grassroots” my Sweet Aunt Fanny!

UPDATE “[W]hat we know about those districts that swung toward Clinton is that they’re full of rich people who voted for Romney in 2012. The five Republican-held House districts with the biggest swings toward Democrats in the presidential race in 2016 are in Texas and Georgia. All have average household incomes over $100,000 per year. Three of those five districts are on the DCCC list” [Conor Sen, ]. “Also on the list include four Republican-held districts in Southern California — the 39th, the 45th, the 48th and the 49th — which have average household incomes above $100,000. Democrats might be turning into the party of free trade, global business and immigration — the kind of party Romney hoped to lead in 2012.” So, when the Democrat establishment says “Resist now, and we’ll talk about economics later,” that’s why.

“As elections are their own protest against the powers that be, manifesting against an electoral fait accompli wastes valuable resources that could be better placed elsewhere, such as voter registration” []. I understand the argument, but I’m not sure it’s true, since protest in a location, as opposed to the ballot box, brings people in together in context. That said, it’s not clear to me that whether the marches expand the [?????]’s base of support beyond the election, or not.

“Meet Gregg Phillips, the Granddad Trump Is Citing for His 3M ‘Illegal’ Voters Claim, Who Hasn’t Released Any Proof” []. I’m let getting to this, but I think this is the source, if I may so call it, of Trump’s 3 million claim.

UPDATE “How Democratic Socialists Are Building on Bernie’s Momentum” []. “[S]ince last March, the DSA’s membership has nearly tripled, to more than 15,000 members, with 90 local groups in 37 states…. Eisenberg and other old-timers like self-described anarchist Carol Newton, 77, and 90-year-old retired social worker Jack Rothman are living evidence of one of the group’s advantages: It’s intergenerational, with activists from the Sixties passing along their knowledge to those of the social media generation, and vice versa. Ramirez recalls, for example, being amazed to learn about the time Newton knocked over a bus during a protest against the Vietnam War. “Somebody just goes, ‘How the hell do you knock over a bus?’ She’s like, ‘You just keep on pushing.’ And it was just like, Jesus Christ, she has this awesome attitude.'”

Stats Watch

Wholesale Trade, December 2016: “Inventories have been on the climb raising the risk of unwanted overhang. But overhang isn’t the story of the December wholesale trade report where a large 1.0 percent build is far outmatched by a 2.6 percent surge in sales” []. “The results pull the stock-to-sales ratio down sharply to 1.29 from 1.31.” And: “The headlines said this sector improved this month. The growth this month was in durables with non-duirables decelerating except petroleum with significantly grew. Overally, I believe the rolling averages tell the real story – and they improved this month. There is an obvious growth trendline in wholesale – and the data set is now showing normal growth for times of economic expansion” [].

Jobless Claims, week of February 4, 2017: “Layoffs remain extremely low and are pointing to another strong employment report for February” []. “There are no special factors in today’s report, one that confirms strong demand in the labor market.” And: “This was below the consensus forecast” []. But: “The trend of the 4 week moving average iinsignificantly worsened this week…The general trend of the 4 week rolling average is a slowing rate of improvement year-over-year which historically suggests a slowing economy” [].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, February 2, 2017: “pressing to new post-election highs and new cycle highs” [].

Commodities: “The boom-and-bust farming business is falling deeper into a bust period in the U.S. A multiyear slump in prices for farm commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide is pushing many farmers deeper into debt… and the impact may send waves of change across supply chains built on agriculture goods. The U.S. share of the global grain market is less than half what it was in the 1970s, and farmers’ incomes are due to drop 9% in 2017, extending the steepest slide since the Great Depression into a fourth year” []. Possible explanation for those rural votes?

Commodities: “Globalization and speculation are fueling a rapid increase in the price of tires. Rubber prices are soaring” []. ” It is the latest illustration of the growing influence of China’s futures markets, whose wild swings last year shook global prices for commodities. The volatile trading on the Shanghai Futures Exchange has triggered sharper swings at the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, where benchmark rubber futures are traded.”

Shipping: “Yang Ming Transportation has a tough road ahead, but it is unlikely to go bust or become an acquisition target, according to analysts.The highly leveraged balance sheet of the Taiwanese carrier has stoked mounting concerns over its financial sustainability” [].

Shipping: “Commerzbank AG on Thursday warned that its losses on shipping loans could be as high as EUR600 million ($641 million) this year after nearly doubling last year to EUR559 million. Last week, Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s largest bank, said its expected losses from shipping loans nearly tripled, to EUR346 million, from a year earlier. In Germany’s port of Hamburg–one of Europe’s richest cities–state-owned HSH Nordbank is racing to find a buyer or face liquidation after suffering massive losses on shipping-related debt” [, “Sinking Feeling: Shipping Is Latest European Banking Worry”]. But no derivatives, presumably. More: “Before the crisis, German lenders became the world’s biggest issuers of shipping loans. As of last year they owned roughly $90 billion worth, or almost one-fourth of all outstanding shipping loans made by large banks, according to Petrofin Global Bank Research. German banks and investors own more of the world’s container-ship capacity than any other country–roughly 29%, according to the German Shipowners’ Association. Plunging world shipping rates and the bankruptcy of Korea’s Hanjin Shipping last year helped create a bloodbath for the sector, which had previously seemed a safe bet for export-oriented Germany. Banks world-wide now are racing to dump bad shipping loans while shippers scramble to unload worthless ships. ‘The market is deteriorating and everybody is trying to exit,’ said Basil Karatzas, founder of Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co. in New York. Shipping losses are especially hard on German banks, which are trying to recover from the euro crisis, record-low interest rates and, at Deutsche Bank, scandals. Rather than aggressively write down shipping loans early, German banks let them linger and eat into profits.”

Shipping: “The government warns nearly a third of the country’s remaining shipyards must close as Beijing wrestles with overcapacity in a range of heavy industries. It’s a sharp turn from the rapid growth in shipbuilding that began in the early 2000s as China pushed to become the world’s biggest producer in a heavy industry tied closely to global trade. Most of China’s private-sector shipyards have fallen from the map since tumbling industrial demand left major shipping operations with excess vessel capacity, but Beijing is keeping some state-run yards alive with subsidies. And any rebound in shipping demand will raise new potential for another rapid buildup in shipbuilding” [].

Shipping: “True, owners and operators are traditionally focussed on debt-funded assets and much of shipping is highly commoditised but its inherent inefficiencies and opaque business relationships create the means to make money. This structure theoretically makes shipping secure from disruption, but has not stopped the conversation about ‘Uberisation’ and the threat from non-industry players” []. Then on to the arguments for “transparency.”

The Bezzle: “‘Wiped out’: Hedge fund assets could drop by 30%” [].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Neutral (previous close: 61, Greed) []. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 9 at 12:09pm. Trump confirmations?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Neural face recognition network tuned with 650,000 pornstar images” []. “So yes, depending on where you live, there are laws against facial recognition without consent. It’s not clear whether Pornstar.ID’s use of facial scanning falls foul of these laws.” And: “Users can upload photos to Pornstar.ID’s site or send an image via tweet to have Pornstar.ID identify a woman performer (for whatever reason, Pornstar.ID is only focusing on women, not male adult film stars). If Pornstar.ID can’t figure out who the performer is, it will suggest a list of similar-looking women.” What could go wrong?

“De-anonymizing Web Browsing Data with Social Networks” (PDF) []. “Can online trackers and network adversaries de-anonymize web browsing data readily available to them? We show— theoretically, via simulation, and through experiments on real user data—that de-identified web browsing histories can be linked to social media profiles using only publicly available data. Our approach is based on a simple observation: each person has a distinctive social network, and thus the set of links appearing in one’s is unique.”

“What Vizio was doing behind the TV screen” [ (!)]. “Consumers have bought more than 11 million internet-connected Vizio televisions since 2010… Starting in 2014, Vizio made TVs that automatically tracked what consumers were watching and transmitted that data back to its servers. Vizio even retrofitted older models by installing its tracking software remotely. All of this, the FTC and AG allege, was done without clearly telling consumers or getting their consent. Vizio then turned that mountain of data into cash by selling consumers’ viewing histories to advertisers and others. And let’s be clear: We’re not talking about summary information about national viewing trends. According to the complaint, Vizio got personal. The company provided consumers’ IP addresses to data aggregators, who then matched the address with an individual consumer or household. Vizio’s contracts with third parties prohibited the re-identification of consumers and households by name, but allowed a host of other personal details – for example, sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education, and home ownership. And Vizio permitted these companies to track and target its consumers across devices…. Vizio put its tracking functionality behind a setting called ‘Smart Interactivity.'” Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. And never buy anything that’s sold as being “smart.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Gannett managed to handily beat earnings expectations. This may be aided by acquisitions, but the flux within the media sector at this time is a situation that is likely to persist” []. “Digital-only subscriptions rose by 71.1% and the “digital-only Sunday” rose by 62.4% and topped 200,000 for the first time. Gannett showed that the USA TODAY had organic revenue growth of 1.4% as the growth of digital acted to offset print declines.” FWIW, I felt that USA Today didn’t succumb to the insanity, as did WaPo and the Times and even, at some points, McClatchy. Cool heads survive?

“How Silicon Valley Can Help Save Journalism” []. By keeping very far away?

The 420

“Rule number one of marketing marijuana: Avoid stoner clichés” []. “Products will be successful – whether that be the plant itself, or as part of a food for example – if they are targeted carefully. ‘The trends are leaning towards use-cases specific markets – this is good for a concert, this is good for date night, this is good for Sunday morning,’ [Pamela Johnston, senior vice president of strategy and special projects at cannabis advisory services company Electrum Partners] says, adding that symptom-specific brands will also do well.” And so corporatization proceeds apace [gag, spew].

Gaia

“Researchers confirm the existence of a ‘lost continent’ under Mauritius” []. “Scientists have confirmed the existence of a “lost continent” under the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius that was left-over by the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.The piece of crust, which was subsequently covered by young lava during volcanic eruptions on the island, seems to be a tiny piece of ancient continent, which broke off from the island of Madagascar, when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up and formed the Indian Ocean.”

“A 2016 RM Wrap Up & 2014 RMC Vids” []. Interesting site!

“Shell launches bid to leave massive, sludgy oil rig remnants in North Sea for 500 years” []. I don’t think there are oceanic fungi. If there were, they could eat the oil…

Class Warfare

“Why I’m Homeless” []. I don’t want to summarize. Well worth a read. What do you think?

“How often do we hear something like ‘thank you for visiting Engulf and Devour’ repeated semi-robotically?” []. “Colonization introduces an amazing array of bargain-priced goods and services.The ‘natives’ are happy to have access to all the goodies, but a short time later, the colonizers own the land, the markets, the politicians, the media and the labor force, and everyone who once had an independent livelihood and independent political voice is impoverished or is now an employee of the plantation, taking orders from the Big Boss.”

“When the Census Bureau released its estimates for the U.S. population in December, most press coverage focused on which states saw the fastest population growth last year. What many missed, however, was that the Census Bureau significantly reduced its population estimates for each of the past several years, with the major reason for the downward revisions stemming from reduced estimates of net international migration” []. Hmm.

And then there’s this (, but I like the comment):

It's almost as if a shadowy cabal figured out how to get people to pay more to die faster.

— Honest Hillary (@Honest_Hillary)

“Marx’s Revenge” []. Review of a new biography of The Bearded One.

News of the Wired

“The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is preparing to implement its authority to certify to the U.S. State Department an American citizen’s ‘seriously delinquent tax debt.’ The State Department may then refuse to issue, or even can revoke, the person’s passport” []. “According to the IRS website, seriously delinquent tax debt is ‘an individual’s unpaid, legally enforceable tax debt’ totaling more than $50,000, including interest and penalties. There are certain types of debt that are excluded from that definition, including timely payments being made under an agreed installment plan.”

“What We See When We Read” [].

“Chill wind blows though naturists’ ranks as row splits world of nudism” [].

* * *

Readers, feel free to with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (via):

Newfoundland Black Ash. Plus snow!

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Cfdtrade fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.

Donate

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

About Lambert Strether

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

161 comments

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      McDowell County is in West Virginia (you know, the state with all the KKKers who figured putting a Socialist Jew in the White House was the only way out). From the article, which is another MSNBC Town Hall (and kudos to MSNBC on this):

      McDowell County native Sabrina Shrader, who now resides in Princeton, said she helped MSNBC local people who were interested in telling their stories and sharing their concerns about issues impacting the county.

      “The number one thing people have been saying is jobs,” Shrader said. “Number two is food, then housing, health insurance and better health care, transportation, and treatment centers for addiction. And another big one is that some people can’t get jobs because they have felonies on their records. Those are the really big ones. Also people are talking about legalizing medical marijuana, which is cannabis oil, because that would create jobs and get people healed from addiction.”

      Interesting on marijuana, but and so see the article on marijuana corporatization under The 420. I doubt those local jobs are going to come, unless West Virgina legislates to support local growers toot sweet.

      1. Gorgar Laughed

        Back before they became extinct, there lived in the watersheds of the Tug Fork and Guyandotte Rivers some of the most spectacular species of Suffuragium furantur ever found in North America.

        My late father often claimed to have encountered some of these specimens in his youth. I pretended to believe him. One time he told me, “Son, back then things were so crooked they were straight.”

        Take me home, country roads…

          1. aab

            A certain French historian has argued, IIRC, that the French Revolution was triggered by the failure to get enough wheat into Paris for everybody’s daily baguette.

          2. redleg

            Laki lava eruption in Iceland was 1783. That’s the largest volcanic event in recorded history based on volume. Huge amounts of sulfur dioxide and fluorine were expelled that created “dry fog” over Europe and kept temperatures low for a few years, low enough to cause famine.

  1. Chris Hargens

    Readers might be interested in hearing/reading this NPR segment (mostly upbeat, and positive) on eliminating high-value currency. The lead is misleading.

    1. oho

      definitely smells like someone is ing these stories to editors and/or journalists.

      Can NPR at least take a commission if they’re going to be so blatantly manipulated?

      Wish someone would astroturf stories about nationalizing Visa or Mastercard.

      1. sgt_doom

        Most NPR shows are Koch brothers financed through the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston, which they have been pumping their money through since 2008, which means they full finance and control PBS and Frontline, etc.

        I do listen to NPR from time to time but usually their lack of content and pro-hegemon and Wall Street stories nauseate me.

        Plus, there’s that little bitty problem of hearing the exact same voices for the past forty years, having an NPR job appears to be having a job-for-life, unless you are blatantly fouling up like that neocon (dem poseur) Juan Williams.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Maybe so but Robert Siegel is head and shoulders above all the others at NPR. That guy is the only reason I still list to ATC sometimes.

    2. UserFriendly

      We won’t be needing currency anyways…. if this CFPB gutting, gets through I’m sure Wall Street will explode in a fit of greed and we will be regressing to neo feudalism in no time.

    3. different clue

      If the DC FedRegime starts “rogoffing” the currency, many people will obstruct the effort in various passive aggressive ways. They will load up on 20 dollar and ten dollar bills and do bussiness in big bunches of those. Non-criminal people with hundreds will be able to spend them in the Patriot Currency Markets ( which the DC FedRegime’s MSM will call the Black Markets). And if various seedy shady types try discretely spending reasonable numbers of Benjamins in the Patriot Currency Markets, the Patriot Currency Market participants may well accept them, understanding them to be “mediators of exchange” . . . which can continue mediating tens or hundreds of exchanges among the Patriot Currency people long after having been spent INto the Patriot Currency Community by a seedy shady person from outside that community.

      There will also be stealthily massive purchase of money orders and such like and the money orders will be treated as currency to be spent and spent and spent in circulateral fashion before finally coming to rest somewhere.

      This will all be done in a spirit of ” I obey but I do not comply”. Massive passive obstruction. Widespread uncivil obedience.

  2. Deadl E Cheese

    If Hillary Clinton had squeaked by in 2016, Tom Cotton in 2020 would be cramming a copy of the Constitution with the 13th and 14th Amendments crossed out up her nose. Just in time for a new round of Gerrymandering, too.

    Mommy Wokest going down gives the Democratic Party a CHANCE to reform. Or, alternatively, for voters to build a parallel power structure Religious Right/Tea Party style. Not saying that they’ll die/reform, but at least Trump gives us a chance. The Democratic establishment blithely walking into the White House in 2016 with no levers of power other than their insular, crooked party wouldn’t have even given us that.

    Because, let’s face it, with the quadruple specters of military confrontation with Russia/China, untethered AI development, the rise of herrenvolk authoritarianism, and above all else climate change Hillary 2016/Cotton 2020 isn’t much better for humanity as a whole than Trump 2016/Cotton 2020.

    1. different clue

      I could imagine a bunch of rebellion-minded people forming such a thing and calling it the Pot Party.

  3. WheresOurTeddy

    Re: Greenwald intercept article –

    Best part, should be copy/pasted into a word processor, printed out by every citizen, and mailed to every democratic officeholder in America:

    “Trump did not become President and the Republicans do not dominate virtually all levels of government because there is some sort of massive surge in enthusiasm for right-wing extremism. Quite the contrary: this all happened because the Democrats are perceived – with good reason – to be out-of-touch, artificial, talking-points-spouting automatons who serve Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the agenda of endless war, led by millionaires and funded by oligarchs to do the least amount possible for ordinary, powerless citizens while still keeping their votes.”

    The path back from the wilderness for Democrats is JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS.
    And they won’t do it being led by a woman (Pelosi) worth over $250M.

    1. Carolinian

      Quite right. The vote for both candidates was “anyone but him/her.” The neoliberals gave us Trump and now they are just going to have to lump it. With luck Trump may even do some good things like easing the new cold war that Obama started. But regardless of what happens we should blame the Dems, not the deplorables.

    2. sgt_doom

      Except the masters the faux crats serve today (financial hegemons) are interested in only one thing: inflating financial assets, which occurs within their Globalization Agenda.

      Now Trump (and I have never voted for a Bush, a Clinton nor a Trump) appears to be throwing burning oil on this agenda — and I admit to being surprised by it.

      The other day in Seattle, the Seattle Times had the sweetest headline I’ve seen in thirty years:

      Deep Worry Here Over H-1B Visas

      Incredible!

      Now, I watched that “valiant” effort by Sen. Patty “I love voting for privatizing education” Murray, because Erik Prince’s sis, Devos, wants to privatize education, just as our Washington state Governor Jay Inslee recently allowed a pro-charter schools bill to pass (he refused to sign it, but DID NOT veto it, therefore it became the law in 48 hours, and later he can claim to have not signed it).

      I also recall that Obama’s Department of Education spent billions, in conjunction with the Koch brothers’ American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) promoting charter schools across the land.

      And no, I don’t want Devos for the same reason I vote against Murray and Cantwell and Jay Inslee who was heard, when he was Rep. Inslee in Bangalore in 2003 or thereabouts, promising the Indian government that more American jobs would be offshored to them!

    3. Brad

      Read the article, and that is exactly right. There is too much overestimation of the strength of the Right. This isn’t the 70’s-80’s. The ‘don’t tax my stack’ Republicans and the right wingnut god/guns/whiteman identity politics bloc ain’t enough to push the Repubs over the top, they need the declasse Reagan democrats who have now run out patience. Trump’s chances of delivering for this last group is, if not impossible, pretty slim. And a recession is likely by 2020. Trump and the Congressional Repubs could try to push it out beyond 2020 by blowing a credit bubble somewhere, but that means a Bank War with the Fed (and that could happen).

      The only thing that makes the Right look stronger than it is, is the Liberal Democrats. That’s a feature, not a bug. The Liberals aren’t frantic and crazy because they just lost a POTUS election. They are never going to wake up from 5 stages of grief and say, “OK, we’re over it now”. Mark my word: The liberals will stay crazy, ugly and reactionary because they have only one thing in mind: “Save the Republican Party. Screw the Left”.

      These people and their organization need to be done in for good. Period.

      1. andyb

        “and a recession is likely by 2020”

        Except we are already in one and have been for most of Obama’s term. When factoring in “true” inflation, GDP has been NEGATIVE for the greater part of the last 8 years. Government economic statistics are propaganda; no relevance to reality.

  4. Carla

    I agree with Palmieri : “not everyone wants $15/hour…”
    We want $15/hour to be the FLOOR.
    How’s this for a chant?

    15’s the Floor!
    We want More!

    1. Tom

      $15’s the floor is right.

      $15 an hour x 40 hours x 50 weeks = $30,000

      And that’s if you’re lucky enough to get 40 hours in a week. Employers have to offer insurance to employees who work 30 or more hours weekly.

      So it’s more likely $15 x 29 hours x 50 weeks = $21,750

      Now we’re livin’ the high life!

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The minimum wage in 1964 was $1.25. That’s five silver quarters. The value of five silver quarters today is: $15.00.
          We don’t have a “wages” problem, we have a “money” problem. Haters can hate, dem’s da facts

          1. different clue

            Well . . . we have a “real wages value” problem, then. And if we can’t make a dollar as valuable as it used to be, we should raise minimum wage to as many of the new little-dollars as it takes to restore its 1964 5-silver-quarter-value.

    2. ProNewerDeal

      Palmieri, sounds like an arrogant incompetent, a horrid combination. Failed incompetent unproductive PR “professional” for Hellary, thinks that actually productive workers like restaurant cooks or janitors don’t “deserve” $15/hr.

      1. Darius

        They wonder why they lost. Actually, they probably know. But some things are more important than winning. Like sandbagging the left. It’s all about the rice bowls.

  5. John k

    Today’s LA times, business:
    Garlic grower can’t find workers no matter how much he spends on ads (remember Obama expelled millions of illegals).
    In desperation he tries something crazy… he offers more money! From 11/hr to 13! And promises 15 in 2018! And filled all openings 180 more hopefuls on waiting list!

    Hugoodanode… probably just a one off, special circumstances, etc… we all know the country has a major labor shortage…
    don’t tell Yellen or rates will jump sooner… gotta get some workers sacked to refill the spares bin…

      1. polecat

        If RICO laws were actually adhered to, than perhaps pricing for much of what we need for daily existence would be vastly lower, though real competition via the end of monopolies that would otherwise keep prices artificially inflated …. as is the case with medical care & pharmaceuticals for instance …but no, our JUST-us system, on behalf of CON-gress, won’t go there ! For them to do so would mean no spoils, right?
        So goes it for this unrepresentative ‘public !

    1. oho

      Don’t know about garlic.

      For tomatoes from the major growers canned/pureed tomatoes all come from varieties that are easy to machine harvest.

      the future’s been already here for a few years. robots displacing human farm labor.

      1. Hana M

        Many veggies are harvested by machine now. You can tell because of the cuts in skin…I see that especially w. potatoes and zucchini. More fragile fruits are still hand-harvested.

        In the Boston high-end gardeners and plant technicians earn at least $15/hr and crew supervisors as much as $35/hr. When I did this for a few summers the crews were mostly white and well-educated. It’s hard work but there is a great deal of pleasure to be had admiring a well-mulched newly planted bed or a perfectly pruned rose garden at the end of the long work day.

        1. Tom

          Oho
          They’re hard at work developing too.
          If someone ever develops a robot that can keep up with the riotus growth of my cucumber plants, I’ll really be impressed!

    2. Dave

      What! How can I live if I have to pay ten cents more per head of lettuce! That’s the cost difference between illegals and paying minimum wage. Hell, I’m feeling generous, pay the field workers $20 an hour and add a quarter to a head of lettuce. Think of the lower social costs….nobody eats that much lettuce to add up to that.

      The fast junk food purveyors of heart attacks and cancer demand we taxpayers subsidize their serfs and keep field hand wages low so they can continue to offer one dollar “ham”burgers.

    3. fresno dan

      John k
      February 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      “….more money!”

      Inconceivable
      can’t possibly work in any other employment situation….

  6. dcblogger

    ““As elections are their own protest against the powers that be, manifesting against an electoral fait accompli wastes valuable resources that could be better placed elsewhere, such as voter registration” [Counterpunch]. I understand the argument, but I’m not sure it’s true, since protest in a location, as opposed to the ballot box, brings people in together in context. That said, it’s not clear to me that whether the marches expand the [?????]’s base of support beyond the election, or not. ”

    has this writer ever DONE any voter registration. Arguing movement politics vs electoral politics is a little better than arguing diet vs exercise. How about both? Without the Fischer Body sit down strike we would never have passed the Wagner Act. But w/ out Senator Wagner and FDR we would never have passed the Wagner Act. So yeah, we need both. this is not complicated.

  7. Hana M

    “Shell launches bid to leave massive, sludgy oil rig remnants in North Sea for 500 years” [Independent]. I don’t think there are oceanic fungi. If there were, they could eat the oil…

    There are microbes that consume oil and other hydrocarbons but they might have a tougher time with the sludge.

    Like cars, some microbes use oil as fuel. Such microorganisms are a big reason why BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was not far worse.

    “The microbes did a spectacular job of eating a lot of the natural gas,” says biogeochemist Chris Reddy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The relatively small hydrocarbon molecules in natural gas are the easiest for microorganisms to eat. “The rate and capacity is a mind-boggling testament to microbes,” he adds.

    As Reddy suggests, the microbes got help from the nature of the oil spilled—so-called Louisiana light, sweet crude mixed with natural gas, as opposed to bitumen or other heavy, gunky oils. “It’s a whole lot easier to degrade,” says Christopher D’Elia, a biologist at Louisiana State

    1. Lyle

      It is a question of the time scale involved over multiple human lifetimes they do work wonders, The time does depend on the temperature however, so things in the gulf go faster. A question occurs, would tipped over rigs work as artificial reefs in the north sea like they do in the gulf, where lots of fish occupy them. providing good fish habitat,

  8. Sam Adams

    Re: IRS Can Revoke Americans’ Passports for Unpaid Taxes

    Now thegood ole USA is to be a full on prison. Not like FACTA and FBAR weren’t bad enough to discourage the population from leaving the country. Welcome serfdom.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Having personally received an erroneous six-figure tax bill (which went away upon filing the proper forms), I can see the potential for passport revocations based on mistakes.

      When I had a work permit in Taiwan, government permission was needed to leave the country, after the tax department confirmed that my income taxes were current.

      Although this procedure never caused any problems, it always made me nervous that in the event of an emergency, I was effectively imprisoned on an island until permission was granted. Now this is an upgraded benefit of American Freedumb. USA No. 1!

  9. Vatch

    DeVos — who isn’t a whole lot worse than charter advocate Arne Duncan on policy

    I have no argument with this about policy — both DeVos and Duncan are bad. But there’s a severe problem with DeVos that hasn’t been mentioned much — her support for the superstition of “Intelligent” Design or Young Earth Creationism. Millions of young Americans are trained to reject science by the creationists, and then they grow up to reject other scientific realities of our world, such as the value of many (perhaps not all) vaccines. DeVos both represents and actively supports the dumbing down of America. I guess ignorant people will be easier for the oligarchs to control.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Young Earth Creationism = God’s Fake Fossils

      Or as ol’ Epimenides (a Cretan himself) used to say, “All Cretans are liars.”

      That this paradox could apply to the Deity as well never crosses the tranquil mind of Betsy DeVos.

    2. aab

      I agree that as a person, she is worse.

      It isn’t clear to me that as a cabinet official, she’s worse than Duncan. I’d like more insight into that. Is Trump going to be able to clear out all the functionaries in the department and let her replace them with Dominionists? Will he want to?

      She’s a trust fund baby. She has never worked at a real job, has she? Will she have the skills and ability to push her agenda through without a vast team of bureaucrats aligned with her religious vision?

      It’s be great if the liberals who won’t protest for economic justice would at least hound dog her. Duncan and his dreadful short-term successor got to do their dirty work mostly in the dark.

    3. Jake Mudrosti

      her support for the superstition of “Intelligent” Design or Young Earth Creationism

      There’s a funny thing about that….

      Neil deGrasse Tyson, the relentless self-promoter who tests the winds with perpetually moistened fingers, has officially stated on the record that the probability of Young Earth Creationism & Intelligent Design being objectively true “may be very high.”

      He simply didn’t realize that he said that. But he did.

      Elon Musk, the reigning emperor of futurology fans, said so. He too didn’t realize what he said. But he said it.

      You won’t make any headway trying to discuss this with their fans. So in context, you’d pretty much just say that DeVos is a person of these times.

      1. Lyle

        Actually if you reject the uniformitarian principle and assume that god does directly involve himself in day to day life, then because you have changed to set of base assumptions about the world the young earth model does work, because in this model god being all powerful can do anything he desires, including setting things up to look like evolution was real.

    4. sgt_doom

      Sorry, but parsing the privatizers doesn’t cut it, anyone who supports the privatization of everything is a Globalist in thrall to the hegemons.

      Period!

  10. Synoia

    the same tired consensus against which Sen. Bernie Sanders mobilized deep opposition in the Democratic primaries last year, and that Trump exploited so cynically in November

    Sanders mobilized and Trump exploited.

    I’m happy the writer exhibits no bias.

    1. Vatch

      I’ll hazard a guess that you’re being sarcastic. I wonder what Trump will do for his exploited supporters:

      1. If they have a retirement account, it will be easier for their financial advisor to fleece them than if Sanders were President.
      2. It will be harder for low income people to afford broadband internet, because the FCC has ruled against subsidies.
      3. Net neutrality is likely to disappear.
      4. Increases in the minimum wage will be much less likely under Trump and the Republican Congress.
      5. Lead in drinking water? No problem — Scott Pruitt will look the other way. Who cares about permanent brain damage?
      6. Money for public schools will be rerouted to poorly regulated “charter” schools.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        7. Millions will lose health care both through a doubling down on the flaws that hobbled Ocare and the gutting of the safety net

  11. JP

    Re today’ 420: I go against the corporatization of weed too, but, as we are slowly finding out, the incredible properties of the whole plant for different illnesses have been not studied in depth. It seems that every day, certain strains are found to help with different diseases. and while I go against the Monsanto-ization of a weed, I still think there’s room for serious study that will lead to breeding it for medicine.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Had a chance last week to revisit a dispensary in rural southwest Colorado. Compared to six months ago, prices have gone down 20 percent, and quality has gone up even more.

      They had a new indica/sativa hybrid called Kryptonite, with 28.1% THC content. It’s strong medicine: sleep aid, muscle relaxant, etc.

      As for “corporatization,” this particular dispensary consists of a growmaster and a bunch of twenty-somethings in a metal building on a hill. Looks more like grassroots innovation to me — Hewlett and Packard in their garage, as it were. ;-)

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Somebody needs to tell all the hedge fund geniuses investing in marijuana that it doesn’t just “grow like a weed”, it IS a weed. Hard to make it NOT grow in fact, not at all like finicky tobacco. Then they should look up Operation Chokepoint…and ask just exactly how all those mainstream customers will pay for the product.

      2. pretzelattack

        i saw where durango had some (?) stores. i’m more of a sativa fan, to the extent that makes a difference ( i read different accounts of what effects strains actually have).

  12. Foppe

    From Jan 31rst, on a lawsuit filed by a group that wishes to audit the San Diego Dem Primary election:

    We won! Press conf details how San Diego County (and many others) cheat on election audits. Court case PROVES election audit fraud in San Diego, where they left out 285,000 ballots from the audit, and then carefully rifled through and pre-counted 192,000 in the audit. Bernie Sanders won 58% to 42% in the polling-place ballots but lost 58% to 42% against HRC in the “rifled through” and precounted vote-by-mail ballots. Court would not allow us to force the primary to be reaudited, and delayed a long time so we could not stop certification of general election either. Now, we need to raise money for the APPEAL.

    Ilnk:

    1. Dave

      Watch “Uncounted” on youtube for a coverage of this.
      San Diego County hired as their registrar of voters a guy who was fired for vote fraud in Ohio where he was registrar of voters.
      Go West Young Plan!

      1. Vatch

        Technically, he was convicted of electoral fraud, not vote fraud, although not everyone distinguishes between the two practices. See this:

        “Election Fraud is the illegal interference with the process of an election.

        Voter fraud is a popular, if vague phrase, which in general seems to mean that individual voters misrepresenting who they are. When organized, this becomes electoral fraud.

  13. flora

    re: “Translating, #TheResistance = what Thomas Frank would call the 10%, the professionals in Clinton’s base, and what Chris Arnade calls “Front Row Kids.” That’s what the outrage over DeVos — who isn’t a whole lot worse than charter advocate Arne Duncan on policy — as opposed to Tillerson or Price or Mnuchin really signals. ”

    My thoughts, too. I mean, Arne Duncan – champion of charter schools at taxpayers expense – was supposed to show that neolib Dems’ admin had better respect for public education than does the GOP? eeesh.

  14. Altandmain

    Perez strikes me as a moral coward. In many ways, he is representative of the Democratic Establishment. They know the real reason why they lost. They just don’t have the integrity to admit it because all they care about is their filthy little skins and not anything else.

    Worse, they don’t want to upset the donor class, which is why they cannot bring themselves to face up to the dirty truth. They are not public servants, but rather careerists who care nothing about the well-being of the American people. They also care nothing about ethics it would seem. I would be prepared to bet that if many of them took a test on psychopaths, that many would be diagnosed as psychopaths and perhaps narcissists as well.

    The other thing that struck me was the Bloomberg article. They cared more about winning a small number of upper middle class Romney voters (and still do) than they did their huge left base. Actually, Clinton and Romney voters are pretty much indistinguishable at this point. Both are in total contempt of their less well off citizens and care nothing, but about themselves. That’s why they lost – they went out of their way to alienate the middle class “Swing” voters.

    I think though that there must be a large number of Clinton supporters that are in total denial about the real reasons why they lost.

    1. Darius

      They don’t want to win. They want to control the party and just enough of the government to occasionally block the far right. The worst thing is to control everything like in 2009. They have no agenda they can talk about so they’re stuck twiddling their thumbs.

      1. Vatch

        I doubt that the establishment leaders of the Democratic party have a desire to thwart the far right at all. So long as they can keep their jobs, either in government or in the party, they’re satisfied. The more the far right succeeds, the greater will be the incentive for the Democratic party’s rank and file membership to donate money.

        I know I will end up donating some money, but it sure won’t be to people like Chuck Schumer or to the party organization itself. It will be to outsiders whose positions resemble those of Bernie Sanders.

        1. Marley's dad

          Looked at my spam folder today to see if anything was in there by mistake & clean it out the rest. I found dozens of emails from the DCCC & Nancy Pelousy begging for a donation.

          Instead of donation I sent them an unsubscribe for the second or third or fourth time & then blew away all the spam.

          1. polecat

            Your too kind …

            Feeling as I do about the Demorat machine, I would have told them to f#ck off !

        2. Romancing The Loan

          Their donors are happy even with electoral failure, as long as they take up the room that could be used by a genuine opposition.

      2. LT

        Yep, you can tell them all day ways to get the votes of the people.
        But they’ve made it clear through actions whose votes they really value, despite the rhetoric.

      3. LT

        That was what the “Executive Branch” above all strategy has been about. Keeping just enough power to serve their mega donors, but not enough to be put on the spot for prioritizing people over profits.

  15. PKMKII

    Was at one of the anti-Trump protests organized by the DemSocs. As much as they were vocally unhappy about Trump, they also made it clear they wanted no more supporting Democrats just because they’re marginally less terrible than Republicans. The Democrats come to us, not the other way around. Definitely the direction “The Resistance” needs to head, and away from Rahm.

    Regarding that life expectancy chart: Being generous to the U.S. of A., the worst country, besides us, at the 79-year life expectancy mark cost is Denmark, at $4,400 per person, to America’s $9,000. Which would put the amount we’re ponying up for no reason other than rent seeking at, at least, $4,600 per person.

    1. Altandmain

      I bet in terms of “quality of life”, the average Danish citizen, despite the austerity madness in Europe and the right wing governments of Denmark (ok right wing by Danish standards), is a lot better for those 79 years too.

  16. jsba

    On the homeless blogger: with respect to his criticisms of the official homeless services system, he is 100% right.

    The official homeless services system in this country is an abject failure. And that failure ultimately derives from the hiving off of “the homeless” as qualitatively different from any other low-income or working-class groups. Beginning in 2000, policy wonks and large non-profits began pushing for “10 year plans to end homelessness” and by 2009 their program became official HUD policy.

    Two major non-profits spearheaded these changes and are now widely regarded as having the “solutions” to homelessness: the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Corporation for Supportive Housing. They say nothing about the political economy of housing, the fact that systemic homelessness reappeared in this country just as funding for genuine public housing was mercilessly slashed in the 80s, etc. It’s all low-income tax credits to private developers, targeted Section 8 vouchers (that private landlords often refuse), and the new Magic Bullet: something called “permanent supportive housing.”

    I’ve been following this massive transformation in homeless policy since 2009 as part of my dissertation research on democratically-organized homeless encampments. And one thing that has always struck me as bizarre is that, in the face of the massive failures of these org’s policy program to “end homelessness,” they never seem to go away or rethink their hyper technocratic “evidence based” approach. Not only that, they go out of their way to denigrate anyone else who proposes anything different.

    The board membership of these two organizations is… interesting. For example, in October the Corporation for Supportive Housing invited a Blackstone manager (!) onto its board (a Fannie Mae official is already on it). As we continue to see studies identifying the role that Blackstone and others play in contributing to housing instability in the rental market, one wonders why on earth CSH would do such a thing…

    1. Alex Morfesis

      CSH was a LISC funding vacuum cleaner project from day one…the other organization has a number of firecracker programs designed to “educate” & fundmor…

      an example is their “end youth homelessness “initiative”…

      there are 1.9 million homeless youth in america…unless you read the full outline from NAEH…which will then show 1.3 million are basically “run aways” who take a few days off from home and then go back “home” in less than a week…

      and they conclude 50-80 thousand do not “return home”…and need more intense services, arguing half of those are disabled in some form…

      And they stretch youth to age 24…

      There are probably more than 50 thousand kids involved in gangs in chicago and nyc alone…

      These types of organizations hoover up all the funding and resources…directing “tax credits” to “qualified & properly experienced” organizations…

      or what I like to call
      the volvo 4:59 klub

      At 4:55 the alarm is set at the taxpayer subsidized* non profit as they walk to their car and at 4:59 their tire hits the asphalt on the road back home to suburbia or the local nymby hood where poo’foke aint invited…

      As to your being frustrated these organizations are not willing to go outside their box to think outside the cage…

      you probably have not noticed…the organizations wrap themselves around the “funding” not the problem or issues…the problem or issue is just window dressing to get the funding…

      You are probably better off starting your own thing…three warm bodies and some pro bono law organization to fill out the standard 501(c)3 irs documents…but be warned…or better yet, just do a look up in your immediate zipcode or city on the irs website for 501(c) filed & approved organizations…there are plenty sitting around with hardly enough funding to keep the lights on…

      Dont buy into the “vanity” board of directors nonsense…there are plenty of ways to raise funds without waiting for “photo op man” to spend 5 grand on catering, 2 grand for the photographer & 5 grand on pr, to hand your organization a check for 3500 bux…

      Start with some basic tax primers from cch in chicago(wolters kluwer) & then work your way up the food chain…find a retired cpa who understood donations and charitable contributions vis a vis what the irs considers acceptable and mainstream…

      And always be asking for money…

      Or you could just start a religion & make ending homelessness part of your doctrine…less paperwork…

      There are no “solutions”…there is only action…it sounds as though you have taken the time to get a big picture view of what is percolating…dont waste your time waiting for someone to pat you on the back or invite you to the party…crash the party and accept that rice bowls must be broken…

      Action…take action…accept failure and keep falling forward…forget consensus…do what you think must be done…and ignore the fools who will work to stop you…work hard and sleep when you can (& nap when your body demands it)…good luck

  17. Dallas C. Galvin

    The Election
    I don’t believe NC has published this before. On scholarship and the Big Data/Psychometrics profiling of Cambridge Analytics:

    From Motherboard:

  18. Dave

    All this talk about voter fraud and ”’Russian hacking of our elections””” could be put to bed by simply requiring citizens being required so show some form of picture I.D. when they vote.

    The millions of illegals who illegally vote after being registered through motor voter laws would still be allowed to vote, so even the Democrats couldn’t object to this.

    1. PKMKII

      How exactly would that stop someone from “losing” a few thousand votes here and there in the counting?

      1. aab

        That’s election fraud.

        Dave is mixing together voter fraud, election fraud and the completely mythological “outside entity hacking.”

        There’s no evidence of serious voter fraud. Picture ID would do nothing to prevent election fraud or mythological Russian hacking.

        Having said that, while I have never seen valid evidence of voter fraud, organizing poor, recent immigrants to vote for the Dems and not checking if they’re valid to vote wouldn’t shock me. The California Secretary of State is super-corrupt. But suppressing people from voting en masse is a lot easier than pushing people through to vote who shouldn’t en masse.

        I worked the corrrupted and contaminated California primary. If a busload of day laborers pulled up at most polling stations and handled them through the process, those not legally registered wouldn’t be listed in the voter books. At best, they’d get a provisional ballot, which would be set aside for further confirmation, and never counted barring a more complex conspiracy. I know someone who worked after the general election, processing all the mail-in and provisional ballots that normally go uncounted. It sounded like they were hunting for every last Hillary ballot they could add to the popular vote count. But the process was straightforward and not easy to game: temp workers checked each ballot to confirm it was cast by a legal voters, going through the state database. I believe their results were double-checked by someone else before the envelope was actually opened and the vote counted. So unless someone altered the database, even a more localized conspiracy would be ineffective. You’d have to pay off a lot of people to funnel the pre-sorted by name or area envelopes to only those paid to pass them through even if they weren’t in the database and then pay off the team doing the next stage of checking. It’s a clumsy, labor-intensive way to cheat.

        A better way would be to conspire to have a particular polling place ready to wave through the illegal voters and falsify the records at the polling place, so their ballots would go straight into the box with the legit ballots. There’s some evidence the Democratic Party did something like that in the general election in Detroit, although there it looks like they just changed the tallies; they didn’t bother with fake voters or fake ballots. That’s the way to do it: much shorter paper trail, far fewer conspirators needed. They wouldn’t have gotten caught if not for Jill Stein’s clumsy attempt at a recount (which uncovered the extra “votes” not matched by ballots in the physical boxes, but Michigan law required that the original, clearly false, number stand.)

        My point is that if “millions” of illegal voters went to the polls, it would be a big, organized conspiracy. Let’s see evidence. And the onus should be not on the day laborers herded onto the buses, but the high level officials organizing and executing the fraud. It would be election fraud. We have a lot of evidence of other types election fraud being perpetrated by both major parties. I’m in favor of stopping it.

        ID cards won’t help with that. If your average 16 year old can get a fake ID, then I presume if the Secretary of State of California was engaged in a conspiracy to get illegal voters to the polls, he could also get them cards — or they simply would not have to produce them at the specially prepared polling place. But again, why bother with live humans when you have the capacity to simply change the ballots and tallies afterwards; so much simpler and cleaner.

        ID cards would solve a problem that doesn’t exist, but leave the gigantic problem that does exist untouched.

        1. cm

          We know the Kennedy vs. Nixon race was won by bogus results from Illinois & Texas. In your opinion are the CA measures against voting fraud effective?

          As a Sanders delegate, I have no faith in the existing system…

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      huh? this is one of the primary mechanisms Rs have used to disenfranchise the poor, many of whom lack stable housing, and who are disproportionately black

      1. Gorgar Laughed

        I don’t think that argument is going to work much longer outside of California.

        Tying SNAP freebies to possession of a valid national ID card will solve this problem.

        1. aab

          “SNAP freebies”?

          You’re in favor of starving people to death?

          I don’t have numbers in front of me, but I think it is highly likely that if you added up every single government payment to a non-citizen in California over the past decade, it would amount to less than any ONE of dozens of government handouts to Facebook, Google, Microsoft, every single national bank chartered in California, ExxonMobil, Nestle, etc.

          Disneyland is covered under Prop. 13. That means Disney is paying the same property tax on that land it did in 1979. Same with Anheuser-Busch, which has a huge facility in what is now an expensive part of the San Fernando Valley. That law was supposedly designed to help little old ladies stay in their homes, but guess who benefits?

          So before you get riled up about the children of housekeepers, dishwashers and gardeners not starving in the streets, work to get Prop. 13 changed to exclude corporations. That would benefit the California economy and infrastructure in numerous, powerful ways, and maybe fewer children would need SNAP.

          And yes, I think the system by which California’s elite gets low-cost indentured servants is also gross and exploitative and should be changed. But not by starving children to death.

      2. cm

        Can you explain? IRS/DHS requires I-9 be filled out during the new hire process, which requires govt ID.

        Why can’t they use the same ID when they vote?

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          from the article:
          Donald Trump won Wisconsin by just 27,000 votes, but 300,000 registered voters lacked strict forms of ID to vote, according to a federal court. The state’s voter-ID law depressed turnout, particularly among black voters.

          this is not a new thing: you could just google voter suppression – a lot of links will come up, including the ACLU, Atlantic, Rolling Stone, etc. etc.

          also, some people are unemployed in this country…

          1. cm

            And they will remain unemployed if they cannot fill out an I-9. How come Democrats can’t ensure poor people can get legit jobs by ensuring they have their I-9 (and voting) required IDs???

            While vote suppression certainly existed in the past, govt ID is now required to do so many things (open bank account, rent a video, visit the doctor, etc.) that there is simply no excuse to not have govt ID.

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              lol check out the additional link below and use your imagination – or better yet, get out in poor communities and try to register voters – you cannot imagine all the barriers that come up, and the rollback of social services that is ongoing doesn’t make it any easier

              most people in the hood i have known didn’t have bank accounts – even if employed they cash their check at the currency exchange

              also, if you don’t have a stable address, what do you fill out on the forms – it’s an extra bunch of paperwork to get someone certified as not having an address so they can still get ID, and good luck getting to the public aid office and actually getting any assistance there.

              most people in that situation don’t have a personal social worker who goes to where they are and facilitates.

              my hospice patients did.

              1. ChiGal in Carolina

                How come Democrats can’t ensure poor people can get legit jobs

                yeah, that’s the million dollar question all right – i encourage you to actually READ the links I posted along with other articles you discover in your google search – it’s a good question, and there are a lot of answers, which if we can figure them out will be a guide to action

              2. cm

                You’re not making a strong case here. I’m completely unsympathetic to the ACLU’s paper. Democracy requires educated voters.

                You’re arguing voter suppression when the suppressed voter:

                1. cannot attend school
                2. cannot open a bank account or cash a check
                3. cannot go to the doctor
                4. cannot get a job

                Can people get govt welfare w/ no govt ID? If so, that needs to change.

                1. ChiGal in Carolina

                  i am unconvinced you have done much reading on this. the point is that for some people their address changes frequently and the circumstances of their lives – basically a daily struggle for survival – mean that getting to the zillion offices to change the ID to where they are now takes time and then boom! they have to move again.

                  if you want educated voters you are going to need to take on the public schools and corporate media.

                  if you think we need change, by all means work toward it!

                  1. ChiGal in Carolina

                    Adding, if you actually read the ACLU article you would have seen this:

                    States exclude forms of ID in a discriminatory manner. Texas allows concealed weapons permits for voting, but does not accept student ID cards. Until its voter ID law was struck down, North Carolina prohibited public assistance IDs and state employee ID cards, which are disproportionately held by Black voters. And until recently, Wisconsin permitted active duty military ID cards, but prohibited Veterans Affairs ID cards for voting.

                    1. bob

                      cm is a great example of an educated illiterate. Just because they can read, doesn’t mean that they will read.

                2. bob

                  “Democracy requires educated voters”

                  That’s the preamble to the constitution, right?

                  What about the rest? camps?

                  1. cm

                    Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882 -1945

                    Lots of ad hominem attacks on this thread. I thought NC was above that sort of thing.

                    1. bob

                      What’s your point? What the hell does FDR have to do with your statement?

                      You don’t argue with any sort of logic, only quotes that kinda sorta resemble what you pulled out of your ass.

                      Neither is law.

                      I’d also question if FDR would approve of you using his words in order to STOP people from voting. But that would be taking the bait.

            2. reslez

              Uh, plenty of people are retired or students or don’t work for entirely valid reasons. Their inability to fill out an I-9 causes them zero problems in life.

              Plenty of people were born overseas, or on farms, or so long ago that the paperwork is very difficult to find, or they married/divorced far away so name change paperwork (to match birth certificate) is very hard to obtain.

              It would be great if everything were cut and dried and easy but real life is a little more complicated than that. Now, if the Democrats (to pick a political party at random) were committed to helping people obtain legal ID for voting then maybe this would be less of an issue, but the Democrats DGAF so you’re effectively denying people their right to vote in what is ostensibly a democracy. So there you go.

              1. cm

                How are they paying into Social Security?

                If born overseas, how did they get US citizenship without documentation?

                Can you explain the farms comment?

                Voting has legal requirements, including ID. I don’t see why this is at all controversial. Do enlightened countries such as Sweden & Switzerland not require ID? People in the US are voting in more than one state.

                Do you all have the same hang-ups about driver’s licences? Should anyone be allowed to drive, even if we don’t know who they are?

                An interesting Democratic Party platform would be free govt ID. Why has this not been done?

                As Lambert has stated repeatedly (and as I have alluded to), why hasn’t the DNC helped the lower class to be able to legally vote? Is this more “soft bigotry of low expectations?”

                1. Yves Smith

                  No, voting DOES NOT require an ID. In NYC, I go to my polling station, give them my name and address, and sign the book. The book is cute, it has my signature every time I voted before going back 20 years.

                  1. bob

                    I’d prefer to go even further back, to his underlying assertion that too many people are voting.

                    He claims authority on a process (voting) with which he has no familiarity at all.

                    He couldn’t pass his own test – Educated.

                    No one is talking about taking away his right to vote, but he IS talking about taking away others rights to vote, by imposing a cost, and now…”education”.

                    His conclusion, after the sermon-

                    “I’m being called names!”

                    This is the worst issue, set up and “educated” by the worst set of brats out there. Jim Crow redux

                  2. cm

                    The premise of this thread is that voter ID is in effect voter suppression.

                    If you argue that there is no voter ID requirement then that negates the argument of voter suppression.

                    However, “ChiGal in Carolina” and I both agree there are states that require govt ID in order to vote. says photo govt ID is required in the following states: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin.

                    I don’t understand Bob’s line of reasoning.

                    Yves — are you in fact enforcing your anti ad hominem rules? NC is an oasis in the toxic desert of the internet…

                    1. bob

                      Just in case you need a walk-

                      “The premise of this thread is that voter ID is in effect voter suppression.”

                      And you seem to be of the opion we need more of it.

                      “However, “ChiGal in Carolina” and I both agree there are states that require govt ID”

                      That’s not mutually excuive, based on your first point. It’s a giant shift in position. That it exists does not mean that more of it is required.

                      Or, that more of it should be required.

                      Let’s go back to the beginnig-

                      “The premise of this thread is that voter ID is in effect voter suppression.”

                      You are arguing for more voter ID, which is arguing for more voter suppression.

                      And, you keep calling for MOMMY!

                      That makes you a brat.

            3. bob

              “that there is simply no excuse to not have govt ID.”

              Get granny, she’s stealing all your voting rights, and giving them to illegals.

            4. aab

              Surprise, surprise: lots of poor people don’t have/can’t open bank accounts; “rent a video”? Does Redbox check IDs?; and if they see a doctor, it’s in a free clinic.

              And many of the ID laws are designed to make it very hard to get the very specific ID demanded by the law. IIRC, in Texas, you can’t use a college ID, but you can use your gun license. Hmmm….

              Some states require you go to ONE location on ONE day in a given month, during a limited window of hours, to serve a large geographic area, which oddly is in a location that public transportation doesn’t serve. Then you have to answer a host of unnecessary questions that oftentimes people don’t know, and pay a fee that’s cost-prohibitive. So guess what kind of citizen can’t get the necessary card then?

              Voter fraud is not a problem. This is not about voter fraud. We have perfectly fine systems in place to protect against that, according to all available evidence.

              I agree that the Democrats suck, but that doesn’t mean voter suppression via ID card is okay. Poor citizens have a right to vote.

              1. bob

                Just the idea that too many people are voting, when we’re lucky to get 40% of the eligible turning up on election day, is laughable from the start.

                Then you get really pissed of people, like cm, who want justice for all of the voting. Damn the cost! Liberty must be preserved!

      3. Dave

        So you’re saying that blacks are somehow more culturally deficient that poor whites, are drifters, and aren’t serious enough about voting to get a decent I.D.?
        “That’s white of you.”

        But, there you are choosing who they should vote for and bashing their participation in our society.
        Another class bigot speaking for another group.
        If you are a poor black, I apologize in advance.

        PKMII, paper ballots prevent this. Defense contractor computerized voting systems allow it. I think we should also stain the thumbs of voters before they can cast their one ballot, with semi permanent ink, just like “primitive election officials” do.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          the assumptions you make about the only possible reasons for my comment above suggest to me that you would benefit from clicking on the link above and educating yourself about voter suppression

          i do not appreciate being called a bigot by someone who appears to know little about the most recent iteration of disenfranchisement of the black vote in this country.

          let me guess – you’re not racist, some of your best friends are black?

      4. Irredeemable Deplorable

        If the “poor” are too incompetent and/or stupid that they cannot show any form of acceptable ID to vote, they don’t deserve to have a vote.

        Are you seriously trying to say that a citizen can function in today’s society with absolutely no form of identification? How did they get an EBT card, exactly? The only people I can think of who can’t prove their identitty would be illegal immigrants – and somecriminals who could, but don’t want to.

        Indonesia has a population of well over 1 Billion, about 4 times the USA, and everyone who votes there has to show an acceptable form of ID – are you contending that America is unable to do what is routine in Infonesia?

    3. pricklyone

      Yeah, how about we could have a national ID card, which doubles as a gun registry and tax ID card.

    4. dcblogger

      there is zero evidence that non-citizens, legal residents or undocumented, are voting in our elections.
      millions of urban dwellers to not have a driver’s license, have no photo ID, and forcing them to acquire one would be an undue burden to solve a non-existent problem.

    5. Lyle

      On a side issue related to voter ID, the texas rule about which ID’s to use relates to the law about residence, if you register to vote that is where you live and your drivers license is supposed to reflect it with 30 days or so. So showing an out of state ID to vote in an election means one way or the other you are engaged in fraud. Voting absentee if out of town is usually a matter of just a stamp or two. The point is that the address on your drivers license (or state id card) should be the same as the address on your voter registration card. (This is never mentioned in the discussion)

  19. voteforno6

    Re: Tom Perez Apologizes for Telling the Truth, Showing Why Democrats’ Flaws Urgently Need Attention

    It was nice to see Glenn Greenwald give the Democrats the rhetorical curb-stomping that they so richly deserve. Unfortunately, as they don’t have much in the way of brains, I doubt that they quite realize that they’re dead.

  20. Jim Haygood

    Across the board record closing highs:

    Dow Industrials … 20,172
    S&P 500 … 2,308
    Nasdaq Comp … 5,715
    Nasdaq 100 … 5,212

    Don’t try to stop a highballing freight train with your bare hands.

  21. LT

    The messaging of Rahm Emmanuel and the DNC: exhibit A why most voters still believe in the bipartisan fairy and why the Democrats keep losing elections.

    My father actually said that John McCain could be a “check” on Trump. Democratic Party voter fantasy example right there. This is the same McCain who wouldn’t jeorprdize his military pork for anything.
    This is the guy who picked Sarah Palin as VP. But still they harbor these fantasies, probably courstesy of MSNBC.

  22. Vatch

    I don’t know whether this has been reported here yet — I hope it’s not true. Supposedly the White House is planning to issue an executive order that suspends the Conflict Minerals Rule:

    Here’s a description of the rule at the SEC web site:

    1. bob

      He’s planning on encrusting The White House in diamonds.

      He’s moved up from gold, that stuff is for lowly execs, who don’t get to charge the Secret Service rent.

      Losers

    2. Alex

      The Conflict Minerals Rule is actually kind of horrible. The only requirement it sets is for publically traded companies to report on their use of “conflict minerals”. That’s it – no ban or penalties for using conflict minerals, only penalties for not filling out some paperwork essentially, where “we don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer to the SEC. Additionally, many companies that use these minerals simply stopped buying from that region in Africa, instead of trying to create transparent, healthy supply chains. So thousands of workers at the beginning of that chain who were mining legitimately and legally were suddenly out of . The intentions of the Rule are good, but it was very poorly thought out in regards to what it does, and how it works. I’d call it a symptom of “awareness culture”.

  23. hreik

    I left the dem party after the CA primary. If they let Ellison lead the DNC I’ll be back. If not, I won’t.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      i’m thinking democratic socialists of america for now… gonna wait and see on the dems, even ellison voted against letting Medicare get pharmaceuticals from Canada

      1. pretzelattack

        yeah, i’m more of a socialist these days anyway. my hopes for forcing the democrats to the left are not high.

  24. Josh Stern

    Interesting bit of evidence here for Econ critics of the Patent system: Microsoft is now making an actual business out of selling reverse patent troll protection. The cost is $$$$ but affordable, in context, for some clients. My take is that Microsoft is neither “good-guy” nor “bad guy” with that move, but rather responding in a biz way to a legal/regulatory system that is not acting in the public interest.

  25. Musicismath

    I like the concept of the “front row kid,” but having encountered a lot of hardcore Clintonites in Internet spaces over the last 18 months or so, I have to wonder whether they’re all paid up members of the 10%. Some of the most viscerally anti-Sanders, pro-Clinton, “Hamilton”-loving types I’ve argued with lately aren’t doing so well. They’re IT support workers; low level administrators; dropouts from various lowly ranked PhD programmes. But they love anti-socialist progressivism with a desperate passion, even though it’s doing nothing to serve their interests.

    Instead of the front row kid, I’d like to posit the category of the “B+ average graduate.” Now, anyone familiar with a marking grid knows that you award top marks to students who demonstrate some degree of independent thought, who go beyond the course material and lecture notes to produce something original and unasked for. They realise intuitively that what’s being offered to them is only one interpretation. They know they’re playing with arbitrary language games and they bend them, play with them, see beyond them to other possibilities. These are (in an ideal world) the students you’d want to see coming through into graduate programmes. They’re few and far between.

    The B+ student, though, sees none of these outside possibilities. For her, the rules of the game laid down by the professor constitute the full set of rules for the entire physical universe. She is quite good at applying them in a formulaic kind of way, but she never asks herself why, or if there might be a better set of rules out there somewhere. No; the lessons of college (and that particular set of courses at that particular college) are universal, simply “reality.” The B+ average student is loyal, passionate, and hardworking, but lacks any sense of perspective or context. She is formal; “idealistic” in the worst sense of the term.

    But she *loves* school. A PhD and an academic career are her dream, her passion. She cannot understand why her professors are distant and lukewarm towards her. She applies the rules so well! So she signs up for some second tier grad school and ultimately drops out — for impeccable reasons, of course. She finds a non-academic university job. IT support maybe, or booking seminar rooms and organising events for other, “luckier” people. She is still living the life of the mind, isn’t she? In the evenings, on the Internet, she deploys the language and the rules she learned during those, the best years of her life. It’s so easy to diagnose people as white supremacists, racists, and transphobes from what they say on Twitter. Close reading! Critique! We learned it in college! Here’s my hot take on your 114 characters based on my misunderstanding of Foucault!

    These, I fear, are some of the most committed Clintonites. They’re credentialed, sure, but those credentials aren’t doing anything for them. Despite having been screwed over, they *love* and are devoted to the institutions that issued them. They cannot understand why their tepid and unoriginal critiques do not win them universal praise and overwhelming political victory. Was it not the case that they applied the rules of the game impeccably? What else could they possibly have done?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      first, i love your handle. second, i appreciate your wit and the analysis – i cannot disagree that there may be a wannabe contingent.

      but – just sayin’ – you do run the risk of being interpreted as just a wee bit elitist!

    2. Bittercup

      While I agree completely with your description of the B+ student, I have to say — grade inflation. These B+ kids are, in practice, getting the same A’ses and grad school recs as the other ones, and now the only way to tell them apart is to actually read their work.

      At least that was the case at the boutique college I graduated from, anyway. I’m a millennial, so this was fairly recent.

    3. UserFriendly

      Nailed it. I think I remember reading somewhere that Bernie actually did better with PhD’s than Clinton. That might just be the racial divide though.

    4. JTFaraday

      Well, but you could say the same thing about a lot of other political proclivities. Around here people have gone to school with Uncle Tom Reed, and so around here you have a bunch of Uncle Tom Reeds.

      Also Foucault is a neoliberal because the Jacobin says he is. Etc.

  26. Altandmain

    I don’t like the Atlantic very much as of late, as it is little more than an Establishment Democrat Pravda site, but this article is interesting

    I think that people put too much into the idea that Apple is innovative. What it really is these day is a high margin systems integrator. It’s biggest innovation was putting together the technologies that already existed into a format that was user friendly.

  27. cm

    A nice for the day, from Muse’s Drone album.

    Killed by drones
    My mother, killed by drones
    My sister and brother killed by drones
    Our lives between your
    Fingers and your hands
    Can you feel anything?
    Are you dead inside?
    Now you can kill
    From the safety of your home
    With drones
    Amen

  28. KurtisMayfield

    Re:Single-payer Unicorn
    Thank you @DonnaDiva for my new trivia team name! Now explain to me how all of those single payer nations do it better for cheaper. It must be the unicorns.

  29. cocomaan

    The What We See When We Read story is just awesome. Thank you. I’d have never run into it but for this blog.

  30. freedomny

    Glen G. article – one of the best I have read about “wtf happened” .

    On another note: Spoke to one of my sisters, who works at Wells. Asked about fallout from the “scandal” re the fraudulent accounts/customer scams, etc.

    Was reminded that this was happening at Chase for years before Wells. There is a slew of youtube animated videos from about 7-8 years ago. You can watch them at Chase – “the morning huddle”, or just “Chase huddle”.

  31. ewmayer

    o “UPDATE “How Democratic Socialists Are Building on Bernie’s Momentum” [Rolling Stone]. “… Eisenberg and other old-timers like self-described anarchist Carol Newton, 77, and 90-year-old retired social worker Jack Rothman are living evidence of one of the group’s advantages: It’s intergenerational, with activists from the Sixties passing along their knowledge to those of the social media generation, and vice versa. Ramirez recalls, for example, being amazed to learn about the time Newton knocked over a bus during a protest against the Vietnam War. “Somebody just goes, ‘How the hell do you knock over a bus?’ She’s like, ‘You just keep on pushing.’ And it was just like, Jesus Christ, she has this awesome attitude.'” — So random destruction of sh*t, like local businesses and public property, like the anarchists at Berkeley last week, displays “awesome attitude”? Good luck with that!

    o “What Vizio was doing behind the TV screen | FTC” — A fine of, say, $1000 per violation would put a stop to that misbehavior right quick. Sometimes you simply have to make an example of such a “too crooked to be allowed to live” company by putting it out of business, pour encourager les autres, as it were. But, na ga happen, because that would be “business-unfriendly”.

    o “Rule number one of marketing marijuana: Avoid stoner clichés | CNBC” — Dude, you’re harshing my marketing campaign!

  32. ewmayer

    Amazon Subscribe & Save strikes again – just got this in my Inbox:

    We are very sorry, but we no longer offer Anna Spaghetti #12 Pasta, 6 Pound Bags (Pack of 4) as part of the Subscribe & Save program at Amazon.com and your subscription has been canceled. However we offer an alternative product that you can switch to and not miss your upcoming delivery.

    I eat a lot of pasta, and the aforementioned brand is really high-quality, wonderful texture and almost impossible to overcook. With the S&S 5-items-or-morw 15% discount, my cost was $30 for a 24-lb box, $1.25 per pound ($0.08/oz), roughly what Whole Foods charges for its 365-brand generic house-brand of non-organic spaghetti, whose quality is vastly inferior. What does Amazon propose as a replacement?

    De Cecco Organic Pasta, Spaghetti, 12 Ounce (Pack of 12)
    Subscribe & Save price: $25.50 ($0.18 / Ounce) (after 15% discount)

    More than twice the price – thanks, guys! But I think your e-mail is missing a widget – I see a button-bar labeled “Accept this Replacement”, but not one labeled “Go F*ck Yourselves”.

    Luckily I stocked up an extra case late last year, to guard against just such a happenstance – that will hopefully allow me find a suitable replacement. Time to check Costco’s offerings.

  33. duck1

    hasn’t artificial intelligence raised it’s head since the Japanese went all in in the eighties? somethin like that needs to make up it’s mind whether it is artificial or intelligence
    Oroville lake worth looking into

  34. lyman alpha blob

    Why all the hating on Neil deGrasse Tyson lately?

    Someone linked to Sam Kross’ website recently where I noticed a mocking diatribe, one commenter dings him above, and then even the Druid is piling on in what I thought was an otherwise good take on the limitations of science. Early in his post he calls out Tyson specifically as a ‘scientific materialist’ and then later on adds:

    Public figures in the scientific community routinely like to insist that the current consensus among scientists on any topic must be accepted by the lay public without question, even when scientific opinion has swung around like a weathercock in living memory, and even when unpleasantly detailed evidence of the deliberate falsification of scientific data is tolerably easy to find, especially but not only in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. That insistence isn’t wearing well; nor does it help when scientific materialists insist—as they very often do—that something can’t exist or something else can’t happen, simply because current theory doesn’t happen to provide a mechanism for it.

    While he doesn’t specifically mention Tyson in the above, there is definitely the implication that these are Tyson’s positions. Pretty certain that I’ve heard Tyson argue exactly the opposite, as all good scientists do, so not sure where the animosity is coming from. The guy likes science – cut him some slack people!

    For those interested in this epistemological line of argument though, by Richard Muller is a decent read (although not as good if you are looking to find some new insight into time). As someone here noted recently, Muller has recently given up his climate change denial after more study of the data himself but he does allow for a great deal of agnosticism and has no problem acknowledging the limits of science. He even gets into the old ‘How do I know that what looks blue to me is also blue to you’ argument!

    1. Musicismath

      Sam Kriss is a gifted writer and I like much of his stuff, but he’s got this whole public-intellectual baiting thing going on (he orchestrated a running feud last year with Zizek) and the Tyson hate is part of that. It’s probably best seen as equal parts performance art, attention seeking, and high-class trolling.

      On the other hand, there’s doubtless a kernel of serious intent bound up with it too. Kriss’s work reminds me a little of what Curtis White was doing last decade with “The Middle Mind.” For White (and I guess Kriss), public intellectuals like Tyson provide easily digestible and appropriable content that simulates deep thought without actually requiring any on the part of the consumer. It’s a function of liberal culture’s movement away from intellectual seriousness towards a kind of partisan fandom. One that celebrates ideas on a symbolic or representational level rather than actually engaging with them. It kind of reminds me of all the Carl Sagan “Cosmos” samples that end up in a certain kind of second-rate EDM or stoner metal. You know, *deep*, man.

    2. pretzelattack

      the archdruid tends toward the same attitude regarding climate science. wouldn’t be surprised if he was on the hype train for the recent attempted smear of the karl paper on judith curry’s blog.

  35. allan

    Tanned, rested and ready: [NY Post]

    Ken Starr — the disgraced ex-president of Baylor University — is being considered for a post in the Trump administration, a report said Thursday night.

    The 70-year-old Texan is currently a front-runner to lead the Office of International Religious Freedom, according to Foreign Policy.

    If chosen for the ambassador-at-large job, Starr would ultimately be in charge of promoting freedom of religion and keeping tabs on religious persecution across the globe. …

    Starr, a former judge and lawyer, was ousted by Baylor in 2016 amid the school’s infamous sexual assault scandal. He had been accused of severely mishandling the situation, which was brought to the school’s attention in 2015 after a pair of football players were convicted.

    A law firm that Baylor hired later found a slew of problems with how the university was responding to sexual violence on campus. Among them was a failure to properly investigate complaints and displays or actions that “could be perceived as victim-blaming,” according to The Dallas Morning News. …

    Meanwhile, Baylor’s former athletic director was hired by Liberty University, whose current president Jerry Falwell, Jr., is heading up the Higher Education Task Force.
    You need a spreadsheet, and latex gloves and goggles, to keep track of all this high minded activity.

  36. Propertius

    We show— theoretically, via simulation, and through experiments on real user data—that de-identified web browsing histories can be linked to social media

    And the moral to this story is: don’t use social media.

  37. Fiver

    Thanks for that reference and link re CETA. The Council of Canadians and Maud Barlow have for years played an important advocacy role on policy issues in Canada, especially re non-commercialization of water, no bulk water exports, energy and major extractive industries issues, resources, forests etc.

Comments are closed.