2:00PM Water Cooler 5/3/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Politics

2020

“Bernie Sanders Will Rally in Philadelphia on Friday” []. “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will return to the city for a rally at City Hall with lieutenant governor candidate John Fetterman. Fetterman, 49, is currently the mayor of Braddock, a small steel town near Pittsburgh…. Now, he’s got Sanders’s support as he’s up against four other Democrats: incumbent Mike Stack, former Philly deputy mayor Nina Ahmad, Montgomery County’s Ray Sosa and Chester County commissioner Kathi Cozzone.” At City Hall. Doors open 5:30PM.

“Matthews is skeptical of Democrats’ chances so far when he applies his old theory that for American voters, ‘the man with the sun on his face always beats the guy behind the desk'” []. “‘Who are the Democrats going to put up who has a face, the sun on his face, who comes across as Mr. America—the guy or woman who just smiles and is American, is so healthy and happy to be an American, and wants to knock this guy off his throne? Who is that person?’ asks Matthews.” Joe Biden, totally.

2018

“The DCCC’s controversial meddling in 2018 primaries, explained” []. “‘We have been clear all cycle that we reserve the right to get involved in primaries to ensure that there is a competitive Democrat on the ballot in November,’ the DCCC’s national press secretary Tyler Law said in a statement to Vox last week.” Well, naturally. The DNC also “reserves the right” to pick Presidential candidates in a smoke-filled room. DCCC delenda est.

“Why the Hill’s Quitters Caucus Keeps Growing” []. “Casting aside one of the world’s most influential positions of public trust to grab a guaranteed better paycheck, and a much more predictable schedule, will never be held against a lobbyist who routinely comes through for his clients. That Republicans have realized this by far the most often in the past decade is only somewhat a surprise. On the one hand, their cloakroom culture emphasizes teamwork, and personal responsibility is elemental to the code of conduct they’d apply to the nation. But at the same time, respect for the capitalist forces of supply and demand is at the core of their political brand. So perhaps it makes sense that Ryan’s determination to “run through the tape” — the way he describes his commitment to holding his Wisconsin seat and remaining speaker for the whole term to which his constituents and the House elected him — has drawn almost as much ridicule as respect from GOP colleagues eager to get going on their next fratricidal leadership smackdown.”

“Ohio’s Primary: The Heart of It All” [] (OH-12 is Likely-R). “Democrats may have the wind at their backs even in Ohio this fall, a state that moved significantly to the right in 2016. But if Democrats can’t win in 2018 in Ohio, when can they? … here too is how Ohio reflects the nation this year: Republican-drawn House maps across the country largely held up in 2012, 2014, and 2016. But they weren’t really pushed in any of those years: In terms of House elections, 2012 and 2016 were basically neutral years in the House, and 2014 was a clearly Republican year. This year, GOP maps in Ohio are going to be pushed at least harder than they’ve been before by Democratic pressure, and potentially much harder. Will they perform under stress?”

“New message platform for 2018’s key battlegrounds” []. “Real voters are struggling in an economy where wages don’t keep up with rising costs, especially the rising cost of health care, and where voters are not seeing the benefits of the new tax law which adds trillions to the deficit and gives 83 percent of the cuts to the rich. Voters are now consumed with the long-term impact on Social Security and Medicare, on investments for the fu-ture and on the immediate reality that their urgent needs like education funding and help with health care will be sacrificed yet again. In addition to these economic concerns, they are terrified by the threat of gun violence. Across the battleground, Democratic base and swing voters are ready to punish lawmakers who put the gun lobby and politics before passing universal background checks and an assault weapon ban.” Lol. What does this have to do with Russia?

“Stacey Vs. Stacey” []. “A disruptive race-and-gender nail-biter with national implications is currently unfolding among Georgia Democrats. Georgia Democrats — rarely has an expression been more closely associated with longing and loss. ‘Here’s what I know: I’ve worked in Democratic politics for a long time. It is hard for Democrats to win statewide in Georgia,’ says Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. ‘We’ve had some really good candidates, but Democrats keep losing because they’re short 200,000 votes.'”

2016 Post Mortem

“Jeff Weaver – How Bernie Won: Inside the Revolution That’s Taking Back Our Country–And Where We Go from Here — at Politics and Prose at The Wharf” []. (As readers know, I think this is premature triumphalism; institutionally, the Sanders forces have yet to achieve any sort of breakthrough, and there’s simply no reason to think that liberal Democrats will do anything other than dilute any Sanders-inflected policy proposal with markets-first “public option” bait-and-switch chicanery. It’s what they’re doing right now with #MedicareForAll.) In any case, this is an event scheduled for Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Perhaps some of our DC readers will put this on their calendars, attend, and report?

“Clinton: Being a capitalist ‘probably’ hurt me with Dem voters” []. Rather than getting Republicans to join the Democrat Party, wouldn’t it be simpler if Clinton joined the Republican Party?

New Cold War

“Russian trolls’ post-election task: Disrupt Florida and other U.S. energy pipelines” []. “Russia’s hidden hand in the Florida pipeline protests was extensive, according to sources familiar with the operations. At least eight Russian accounts, most tied to the troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, sent at least 16 social media messages excoriating the Sabal Trail pipeline or retweeting messages from one of its most prominent opponents, a frequent guest on RT. The tweets were sent to a total of more than 40,000 followers as well as anyone else who saw them via hashtags.” “Hidden hand”?

“The Guardian, “Russian bots” and the dehumanisation of dissent” []. @Ian56789 and @PartisanGirl…

Our Famously Free Press

“Are NBC, CNN Paying Off the Top Spies Who Leaked Info?” [Lee Smith, ]. (NOTE, simply because I’m not as familiar with the conservative terrain as the liberal and the left: , and used to edit the Weekly Standard. So he’s not a loon) “[T]housands of articles on the Trump-Russia collusion story have been spoon-fed to a pliant digital press by cabals of political operatives and ex-spooks. Lies, innuendo, wild conspiracy theorizing, and the insistent assumption of guilt have replaced old-fashioned rules of sourcing, objectivity, and basic plausibility. While the social cost of this radical departure from these century-old norms is likely to be high, it has acquired two main forms of justification, the twin pillars of the new press. The first reason, popular on both the left and among the Never Trump coterie on the right, is the assertion that Trump is a dangerous fascist who is on the verge of overthrowing the rule of law in America, an emergency that, if real, might indeed call for extreme measures, like throwing the principles of evidence-based reporting out the window. The problem with this argument being that however obvious and galling the man’s flaws are, no evidence for the thesis that Donald Trump intends to do away with Congress and the courts and rule by his own Trumpian fiat exists, at least not on planet earth. The assertion that such evidence does exist is the province of lunatics, and of people who find it useful to goose them on social media, or take their money. The second reason for the departures from legal, institutional, and procedural norms that propagating a conspiracy theory requires is far more troubling. The lies and misinformation spoon-fed to the press by former high intelligence officials, who are now cashing paychecks from the same news outlets that they partnered with, are part of an ongoing campaign which, if successful, will protect those ex-spy chiefs from the legal consequences of their own law-breaking while in office.” Grab a cup of coffee; this is well worth a read, if only because it points one way for Trump to come off the ropes against Mueller.

Realignment and Legitimacy

I suppose this is how Democrats regain the 1000 seats they threw away in the Obama era, but to what purpose? Thread:

So, I have a longish ~thread~ for you about something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: The permanent change moving forward in what kind of people — and the new definition of what “a good field of candidates” means… /1

— Amanda Litman (@amandalitman)

“Clean energy sector swings Republican with U.S. campaign donations” [].

“Flirting with Liberals: A Critical Examination of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)” []. This is well worth a read, especially if you think that the DSA is as left as it gets.

“Normcore” [Jedian Purdy, ]. “The proliferating “crisis-of-democracy” literature, like the Fast and the Furious franchise, has only one plot. And, like the crash-up car-chase movies, it has not let this fact slow its growth… What is missing from these works, and the commentariat that they represent, is a genuine reckoning with twenty-first-century questions: whether we have ever been democratic, and whether the versions of capitalism that have emerged in the last forty years are compatible with democracy. The crisis-of-democracy literature largely presumes that these debates have been settled, so that any doubts about that settlement must be symptoms of confusion or bad faith. That is why these books do not rise to the crisis that occasions them. Answering basic questions about the relationship between democracy and capitalism is the only credible response to the present crisis.” Very interesting, and a relentless interrogation of those “norms” liberals keep yammering about.

Stats Watch

Productivity and Costs, Q1 2018 (Preliminary): “Productivity was once again soft” []. “Compensation rose in the quarter to a 3.4 from 2.4 percent rate with inflation-adjusted compensation, however, still in the negative column at minus 0.1 vs the fourth-quarter’s minus 0.8 percent rate. A vital sign for the economy, productivity has been modest at best through the length of the ongoing expansion.” But: “A simple summary of the headlines for this release is that productivity improved while the labor costs grew faster. However, year-over-year analysis shows the opposite conclusion” []. “If data is analyzed in year-over-year fashion, non-farm business productivity improved 1.3 % year-over-year, and unit labor costs were up 1.1 % year-over-year. Bottom line: the year-over-year data is saying that productivity growth is growing faster than labor costs.”

Factory Orders, March 2018: “February and March were good for the nation’s factory sector with new orders up 1.6 percent in both months. Aircraft orders were very strong in both months excluding which, along with other transportation equipment, orders were much more subdued” []. “Orders for metals, including both steel and aluminum, did rise in sharply in March, a month when import duties were imposed, but sizable monthly gains (as well as losses) are routine for these readings where volumes, compared to the whole, are small. Inventories for steel and aluminum also rose sharply in March, but again not out of the ordinary…. An important positive in today’s report is an outsized 0.8 percent rise in total backlogs where builds until now have been mostly modest. Inventories rose a steady 0.3 percent in a March report which, in sum, points to an aircraft-led factory sector that looks to contribute significantly to the 2018 economy.”

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, April 2018: “All 18 non-manufacturing industries in the April ISM report composite growth, leading another very strong month where strength perhaps is understated by the headline which falls under Econoday’s low estimate” []. “New orders remain exceptionally strong.”

Purchasing Managers’ Services Index, April 2018: “A strong growth rate in new orders leads an upbeat PMI services report for April” []. “Employment growth in the sample remains very strong as do backlogs while confidence in the outlook is picking up.”

International Trade, March 2018: “The trade deficit fell sharply in March to $49.0 billion with the Chinese deficit, amid all the talk of trade war, narrowing sharply to $25.9 billion from February’s $29.3 billion” []. “Import tariffs on steel and aluminum were imposed late in the month but they didn’t stem steel imports which rose… Conclusions have to be taken cautiously since many of the details, including the country deficit which China, are unlike the headline and not adjusted for seasonal and calendar issues. But trends may begin to appear in the months ahead with the outlook hinting at a narrowing with China with metal imports eventually to come down.” And: “The data in this series wobbles and the 3 month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3 month averages are improving for exports and slowing for imports. Thus the trade balance improved” [].

Challenger Job-Cut Report, April 2018: “Layoff announcements did swell in March but fell back in April” []. “Today’s data do hint at an expected bounce back in tomorrow’s payroll numbers for April.”

Jobless Claims, week of April 28: “Trends for this series are once again moving lower, consistent with strong demand for labor” [].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, April 29, 2018: “[F]ell back 1 point but still remains very strong” []. “The tax cut has helped to underpin consumer confidence readings so far this year.” I keep hearing that about the tax cut here, but I don’t hear it anywhere else.

Shipping: “California Supreme Court ruling could force companies to reclassify contractors as employees” []. “The Court dismissed as irrelevant the undeniable fact that many drivers prefer to operate independently. First, according to the Court, the state’s interest in securing wage and hour benefits afforded to employees outweighed any personal choice. And second, if workers were permitted to operate independently, other workers would be displaced because businesses would prefer to retain the services of independent contractors.”

Tech: “Apple: Tablet Market Share Rises in the First Quarter” []. “Barron’s Next 50 company Apple (AAPL) shipped 9.1 million iPads in Q1, according to IDC, up from 8.9 million a year ago. That was good for nearly 29% of the market, marking an increase from just below 25% in 2017.”

The Bezzle: “Blue Apron Bites Back With Earnings” []. “The company said that it had a net loss of $0.17 per share on $196.7 million in revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for a net loss of $0.24 per share on $197.25 million in revenue. The same period of last year had a net loss of $0.78 per share and $244.8 million in revenue…. During the quarter, net revenue was driven primarily by a decrease in Customers and Orders, following the deliberate pullback in marketing spend in the second half of 2017, as Blue Apron builds toward momentum in the business in 2018. Net revenue increased 5% quarter over quarter, reflecting Blue Apron’s methodical reacceleration of its marketing efforts and advanced product merchandising capabilities in the first quarter of 2018/ Customers decreased 24% year over year and increased 5% quarter over quarter, following the deliberate pullback in marketing spend in the second half of 2017.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla Discloses Worst Quarterly Zinger of a Loss Ever, Burns $1.1 Billion Cash” []. “There is one rule that applies to Tesla: The more it sells, the more it loses…. However [from the ““], ‘in the medium term’– eternity? – it will face continued margin pressures ‘due to higher labor content in certain areas of manufacturing where we have temporarily dialed back automation, as well as higher material costs from recently imposed tariffs, commodity price increases and a weaker US dollar.’ In other words, ‘manufacturing hell,’ as CEO Elon Musk had so elegantly put it last year, will continue to reign, which is not a good thing for an amateur manufacturer in a world full of pros.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla analysts call out Elon Musk after ‘truly bizarre’ conference call” []. “”Feisty,” “odd,” “very, very bad,” and “truly bizarre” were among the adjectives used by analysts to discuss the call, in which Musk cut off both analysts and his own executive team, pivoted to answer several questions from Gali Russell, who runs a YouTube channel mostly dedicated to Tesla, and blamed the press for what he saw to be greater coverage of autonomous-driving car crashes than human-enabled crashes.” Looks like the Hitler parody video wasn’t that far off?

UPDATE “The 5 weirdest things that happened on Elon Musk’s earnings call” []. “[On YouTube,] Musk said Tesla is ‘well positioned’ to have ‘millions, really tens of millions’ of shared autonomous electric vehicles on the road. When it’ll come on the market depends on regulatory approval. But Musk says the tech will be fully developed ‘by end of next year.'” Hoo boy.

Five Horsemen: “Thanks to Apple’s bounce, Alphabet is now our last-place contender” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen May 3 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index eased to 52 (complacency) on yesterday’s market drop, which is continuing today” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index May 2 2018

Gaia

“Death Squared: The Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population” [ (KF)]. From 1973. “I shall speak largely of mice, but my thoughts on man, on life and its evolution. Threating life and evolution are the two deaths, death of the spirit and death of the body.” Quite a lead.

“Neanderthals etched a message on this 36,000-year-old stone tool” []. “At first glance, it doesn’t look like much: a few uneven lines etched into the soft, chalky outer layer of a small, thin flint flake. But a group of archaeologists claims those uneven lines are a deliberate marking, making the 3.5cm-long flake the latest piece of evidence for symbolic thought among Neanderthals.”

Class Warfare

“NYC Renters Paid Extra $616 Million Thanks to Airbnb, Study Says” []. “Owners who list their apartments for short-term stays essentially are removing those units from the rental market, reducing the supply of housing and pushing up the cost of what remains, according to the report []. For each 1 percent of all residential units in a neighborhood listed on Airbnb, rents in that neighborhood went up 1.58 percent, [city Comptroller Scott Stringer] said. The estimated $616 million impact is for 2016 alone.” DIsruption!

News of The Wired

“NASA completes full-power tests of small, portable nuclear reactor” []. “The reactor they’re developing is called Kilopower and earlier this year, they announced that they had conducted successful tests of the system. In March, the team ran the first full-power tests and during a press conference today, they reported that those tests went extremely well. Lower power Kilopower systems, like the one kilowatt version, can power a basic toaster, while the largest version, a 10 kilowatt model, can do a bit more. Four or five of the latter could be used to power a habitat on Mars and importantly, they don’t rely on the sun, meaning they can be used on planets with less sunlight than ours, in shadowed regions and during light-blocking dust storms.”

“‘Anti-authority’ tech rebels take on ISPs, connect NYC with cheap Wi-Fi” []. “The lead volunteer behind the community group NYC Mesh aims to bring affordable internet with lightning-quick downloads to everyone in New York, one building at a time. ‘Our typical speeds are 80 to 110 megabits a second,” Hall says, pointing out that streaming something like Netflix only requires about 5 Mbps.'” If any DSA groups are looking for a more sophisticated community service project than brakelights….

“City as Character” []. “This March marked the hundredth anniversary of the publication of the first chapter of Ulysses—the preeminent ‘modernist city novel’—in The Little Review. Joyce said to writer Frank Budgen, as they walked along the Universitätstrasse in Zurich, that one of his goals in writing Ulysses was “to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.” I came to love Ulysses — some parts more than others — but only after reading Hugh Kenner’s Ulysses, a wonderful work of literary criticism I recommend to you.

So how was your day at work? Thread:

Got my days wrong and ended up alone in a room with my boss and the President of Ireland while I was on ketamine.

— Seamas It Ever Was (@shockproofbeats)

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Readers, feel free to me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (via):

: Agapetes miniata in bloom. This colourful gem is from a genus that is closely related to Vaccinium–the blueberries. Agapetes means ‘beloved’ or ‘desirable.’ Some readers may recognize its similarity to the Greco-Christian type of love known as agape.” Lovely bokeh.

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About Lambert Strether

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

86 comments

  1. jo6pac

    I found this to be a fun read. I always love it when repugs and demodogs work together.

    I hope to get room with some sun light and a view, now if I could see through my black hood;-)

    Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    “Death Squared: The Explosive Growth and Demise of a Mouse Population”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    How about some larger game, along the same lines?

    In 1944, 29 reindeer were introduced to the island by the United States Coast Guard to provide an emergency food source. The Coast Guard abandoned the island a few years later, leaving the reindeer. Subsequently, the reindeer population rose to about 6,000 by 1963 and then died off in the next two years to 42 animals. A scientific study attributed the population crash to the limited food supply in interaction with climatic factors (the winter of 1963–64 was exceptionally severe in the region). By the 1980s, the reindeer population had completely died out.”

    Reply
    1. nick

      The argument is really stupid because it assumes a far greater dedication to electoral work than I’ve seen in any of the 3 different DSA chapters I’ve been affiliated with. A lot of members are actively against doing it, while others express interest but do not prioritize or act on it.

      The underlying question is somewhat interesting–“should revolutionary leftists join DSA?” I think any social endeavor is good in this case but that mostly comes down to the other alternative groups they have locally, as well as their personal temperament. DSA in practice is much more “social club” than “church,” and the typical goals/campaigns I see strive toward the non-reformist reform variety, so a revolutionary would have to reconcile themselves with that.

      Reply
      1. Rojo

        “The underlying question is somewhat interesting–“should revolutionary leftists join DSA?”

        My answer to that is “who cares?”

        One of the contradictions in the article is that the author lashes “boutique parties”, but advocates for groups like the Maoist Communist Group.

        FTR, I don’t want the DSA to entry the Democrats either. But that’s far from happening, but a good chunk of the article is devoted to that notion.

        Beware articles with the word “praxis”. You’re probably in for a snootful of grad-school nonsense.

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          But still better is “we will develop this proletarian subject with skillful application of the mass line.” Any day now…

          Since the author clearly equates revolutionary leftist with Leninist (and probably Maoist), almost by definition those “revolutionary leftists” shouldn’t join DSA, since it is neither democratic centralist nor a cadre organization, and does not propose to reenact the great leap forward or the cultural revolution.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            But that is exactly why they WOULD want to invade and take over such a party. To MAKE it INTO a LeniMaoist Democratic Centralist Gulag/Logai Iron Curtain Re-Education Camp nostalgia trip.

            Reply
        2. Big River Bandido

          What is praxis, anyway? The only Praxis I know of was (or, rather, will be) a Klingon moon destroyed in a mining accident.

          Reply
          1. Swamp Yankee

            As it was taught to me (actually by another undergrad! He was and is a very brilliant student) way back when was that praxis is essentially just a Greek, philosophical term for “practice, everyday life; practical reality.”

            The opposite of praxis would be poesis, as in poetry, the aesthetic, the theoretical.

            May need to be refined, but has served as a rough-and-ready guide for me.

            Reply
      2. Elizabeth Burton

        Since I get information from both DSA national and my local chapter, my feeling is DSA is building a foundation for a third political party as it supports progressives running as Democrats; bear in mind one of the winners in Virginia was DSA. And no, it’s not an ultra-left haven, which is why it has a better chance of being successful.

        DSA is building a base before it tries to become a political party. It’s also working to make it clear “socialism” isn’t what most people have been brainwashed into believing. That’s not something you can do by going to extremes at this point. Baby steps. As for individual activism, that, too, is something that needs to be nurtured if there’s to be a broad enough field to make a difference. The public at large has been encouraged for decades to be apathetic about activism, at best; they truly believe nothing they can do will change anything.

        Now we have the challenge that any opposition to the status quo is going to be labeled treasonous because it will have been generated by “Russian bots” (cf. the current campaign to blame RT and same for pipeline protests). Make no mistake—that is what’s happening and too many people are buying into it. The ground was seeded by the whole Russiagate narrative, and now it’s taken on the power of the “Commies under the bed” themes of fifty years ago.

        In other words, there are very good reasons for DSA avoiding the appearance of being more radical than necessary; and those who are most likely to sign on will include a fair percentage of those who have no idea that changing a society isn’t like playing sports or a video game.

        Reply
        1. makedoanmend

          +1 E. Burton – well put, if I might be so bold.

          ===0====

          About praxis, from comments above:

          Praxis: “(from Ancient Greek: πρᾶξις, translit.) is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realized.”Praxis” may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas.” (wiki)

          Antonio Gramsci, a Marxist who thought about ways of moving away from Marx’s historical and economic determinism, uses praxis as a methodology referring back to Marx-Engels insights but using them in a more plastic mode to respond to local conditions of working people where a “one system fits all” dynamic just isn’t responsive, successful or desirable.

          In other words, one seeks to apply material benefits for immediate needs. Nothing too grad schoolish about it. The DSA has taken this on board.

          Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    Took a walk to a hidden away 140 year old apple orchard in the National Park this morning, and 6 out of 40 trees were in full blossom…

    Wonder what variety they are?

    Reply
    1. artiste-de-decrottage

      A 140-year old apple orchard! I want to see it! Could you share some specifics of the location, for Californians?

      Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you felt the North American Fruit Explorers could be trusted to take slow, few and careful cuttings from these trees in order to replicate them elsewhere for multiplication and then planting out and spreading all around, you could tell them about it if you feel like it. These might well be varieties presumed to be extinct, as so many varieties did go extinct in the Bonfire of the Heirloom Varieties.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Anything historic and 50 years old or older, is protected under the antiquities act of 1906, in our National Parks.

            The orchard will have to be left to it’s own devices, similar to the apple orchard in Curry Village up in Yosemite NP.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If you know personally people who are skilled at rooting and planting little cuttings
              taken off of trees, perhaps you could very quietly while telling NO ONE take a non-injuriously small number of cuttings from some of these trees for the expert cutting-rooters you know to root and plant and grow new trees from.

              To do so would be against the Antiquities Act of 1906. Oh so exquisitely illegal.
              But punctiliously respecting the letter of the law in this case . . . by taking zero cuttings from these legacy time-capsule apple trees . . . is to condemn the genetics of these trees and the varieties of which these trees are the last of their line of . . . to extinction. Which would be a total destruction of the sort not imagined by the writers of that Act.

              Then too, there may well be scientific exemptions to that act for scientifically permissible collection of material from National Parks and Monuments for carefully considered and legitimated research purposes. I remember hearing decades ago about permissible scientific collection within Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the proper Botanical Collection Permission Licenses. If such things still exist, perhaps the proper scientific authorities can be advised of these trees and work to get all the right exemptions and licenses needed to take safely tiny amounts of cuttings in order to root and replicate for genetic salvation and rescue.

              If not, then I would absolutely recommend telling no one about these trees and quietly yourself getting some samples to give to expert cuttings-rooters. In this case, literal obedience to that law will assassinate those tree varieities over time by assuring their eventual death-in-place while preventing their tissue-rescue and replication for wider spread.

              Reply
    2. Lee

      I’m assuming Curry Village in Yosemite. Fond memory of being treed by an angry black bear mama when I got too close to her cubs. This was some decades ago. I was young, I was stupid and the cubs were sooooooooo cute! I mollified mama by tossing them apples. Be careful out there.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        That’s an easy way to see an ancient apple orchard, but this one is about 200 miles south of Curry Village, and seldom if ever visited, as the approach required me to bring a 18 foot long extension ladder to get past a near vertical wall.

        Reply
    3. Judith

      There is a lot of interest in heirloom apples. Lambert may know about John Bunker, from Maine, who searches for old apples in forgotten orchards and rescues them.

      I think there are similar efforts in California, so there might be some people who would be interested in your old orchard.

      I like orange pippins myself.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        One of the 50 or so different flavors here on the all cats and no cattle ranch is a Colorado Orange apple tree, it bloomed for the 1st time last month, also mentioned in the link is a Ben Davis apple tree, once about the commonest apple tree in the land, i’ve got one of those as well.

        Reply
  4. allan

    [Science]

    … The issue is distinct from AI’s reproducibility problem, in which researchers can’t replicate each other’s results because of inconsistent experimental and publication practices. It also differs from the “black box” or “interpretability” problem in machine learning: the difficulty of explaining how a particular AI has come to its conclusions. As Rahimi puts it, “I’m trying to draw a distinction between a machine learning system that’s a black box and an entire field that’s become a black box.” …

    Not everyone agrees with Rahimi and Recht’s critique. Yann LeCun, Facebook’s chief AI scientist in New York City, worries that shifting too much effort away from bleeding-edge techniques toward core understanding could slow innovation and discourage AI’s real-world adoption. “It’s not alchemy, it’s engineering,” he says. “Engineering is messy.” …

    Messy. Imagine if a manager at Boeing or Airbus said that.

    Reply
  5. kevin

    “Owners who list their apartments for short-term AirBnB stays essentially are removing those units from the rental market, reducing the supply of housing and pushing up the cost of what remains”–sure, but using the same logic hotels or any business is increasing rents since these “units” could instead be used to increase the supply of housing units.

    By all means bash AirBNB if it is being used in violation of zoning laws but this smacks of arbitrariness (hotel lobbyists?) to apply this line of thinking to only one segment of the economy

    Reply
    1. John Zelnicker

      @kevin
      May 3, 2018 at 3:03 pm
      ——
      “using the same logic hotels or any business is increasing rents since these “units” could instead be used to increase the supply of housing units”

      Category error.

      Hotels and motels are designed and built as transient housing and cannot be easily substituted for apartments designed and built as homes for long-term residents. Apartments, however, can be easily diverted from long-term use to transient housing.

      Reply
      1. kevin

        300 sq ft. and below studios go for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the city. Trust me, if pricing is high enough studios are fine for long term residents. Plus, theres always the option to knock down a wall and convert a 2 hotel rooms to 3 bedroom/2 bth

        We can agree to disagree on the easiness of conversion, but its not clear to me why that matters? The point is simply hotels are taking up room that could be used for housing units.. this is the same point the article makes w/ airbnb units

        Reply
    2. freedeomny

      I know a lot of people who would otherwise not be able to get by if they didn’t have a property that they could AirBNB.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        I know a lot of people who can’t “get by,” period, end of report.

        Does “getting by” for the AirBNB set mean “continue a pretty good consumptive lifestyle,” or “meet the mortgage on their overpriced single-family dwelling”? There are anecdotes on all fronts, of course, single moms working three jobs to pay for child care and ever-increasing mortgages and debts who happen to have a four-plex or three. But “the problem” is a machine of many parts, powered at root by simple avarice and self-pleasing behaviors, starting with the fundamentals of the small FIRE-heats up the political economy that consists of and s the REGIME that is in place, and actually owns and rents back most of the wealth in our own, our native land to us mopes. Who now have to prey on each other, take in each others’ laundry, mow each others’ lawns, and come up with “unlawful” yet effective disruptive innovations like Uber and AirBNB, and use such Weapons of Mass Comity Destruction for out pleasure and convenience, or take our place as gig workers/serfs in the New Economy, to our own foibles and predaciousness. Or to “try to get by…”

        For most of the people who are working the base of the pyramid scheme called AirBNB, I have nt so much sympathy. As to Realtors ™, and hotel chain owners, and Developers (ech), may they all go rot. Or almost all.

        Eat it up.
        Wear it out.
        Make it do.
        Do without.

        And the trick is to figure out how to dcapitate the Few who rule us, and do it in a way that does not just give us another 18 Brumaire or Bolshevik apotheosis…

        Reply
      2. Temporarily Sane

        I find that difficult to believe. Someone who has to rely on a food bank to help themselves or their family can legitimately talk about how they are “barely getting by”…the problem your second property owning friends have is called “living beyond one’s means.”

        Reply
    3. Ted

      And … couldn’t build new housing units, multifamily and rent controlled now could we? Nope we need to rely on existing housing stock to house the citizenry. Yet another form of rent seeking (use available land to build mega shopping centers for local tax revenue.)

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they pine for the good old days when the right to vote was tied to a property qualification. So, if you had no property you didn’t get to vote. It would make things so much simpler in so many countries. Ahhh, good times.

      Reply
  6. Arizona Slim

    The latest from Arizona:

    Of course, the guv could find a way to give less money to the Koch Bros’ pet educational project. Link:

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      Least anyone think the teachers or the taxpayers of AZ ended up with a good deal here I offer the following.

      The budget did not include ‘new’ funding (i.e. raising taxes) to pay for this. All they did was strip money from other budget items – many of which are very objectionable.

      The Ducey budget.

      Ducey and Republican legislative leaders have been scrambling to pull together a budget with enough money to fund a 9 percent salary increase for teachers. That means, among other things, cutting $35 million from hospitals, cutting $52 million from Medicaid prescription costs, taking $20 million from the state’s settlement with Volkswagen and adding $16.7 million to property taxes in Tucson.

      So they just created different problems which will fester now. Not that what they have done will even come close to properly funding the schools – they will still be about 900 million below the 2008 funding for education.

      Even nastier is that the ‘raises’ for the teachers are not mandated and individual school districts/systems are not obligated to spend the money on teachers salaries. Several have already indicated they have more pressing needs.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That creates a mid-term to long-term opportunity for an honesty-and-reality-based political party to run on the concept of ” sh*t gots to be paid for”.

        They could run on the concept of raising various different kinds of taxes by stated amounts in order to raise stated amounts of money to be spent in “these various stated ways”. And let the people of Arizona vote yes or no for people running on that concept.

        And if the people of Arizona would rather not pay more taxes, then let them go without schools and teachers, roads, public health, etc. Let them live out the full meaning of their beliefs.

        Reply
    2. Chris

      Thanks for posting these updates Slim. I left Tucson in 1996 and haven’t been back for longer than occasional family visits since then. I’ve never regretted leaving AZ for the East Coast. I enjoy all 4 seasons, cheap access to water, and, oh yeah, a functioning state government and economy. But I do try to keep up on what happens there on account of my family.

      Any basis to some people’s claims that their property taxes are going to increase by $600 per year because of these decisions? My elderly relatives whinging can be heard all the way across the Mississippi! Cheers…

      Reply
  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    The only way I can think of to delenda estify the DCCC involves a two step process with an equal commitment to both steps.

    The first step of course, if possible, is primary challenges against the DCCC-supported nomination-seeker.
    But what if the DCCC backed person wins?

    Then the second step comes into play. In the election itself, every person resentful of the DCCC picking their candidate for them, or even just rejectful of what the DCCC stands for, will have to vote against the DCCC candidate. A third party vote counts for something. It registers a measure of desire for “something better”. But those who really truly want to delenda estify the DCCC will have to realize that if they vote for the Republican, their vote counts twice as much against the DCCC candidate as if they voted third party. In essence, voting Republican gets them two bullets for the price of one.

    So many DCCC opponents will have a gut check moment at election time. Just how much do they really hate the DCCC? How pure and true is their desire to see the DCCC exterminated?

    Reply
    1. dcblogger

      But those who really truly want to delenda estify the DCCC will have to realize that if they vote for the Republican, their vote counts twice as much against the DCCC candidate as if they voted third party.

      baloney, a vote for the Republicans is a vote for the Koch Brothers, the Mercers and outright fascism. A vote for a third party puts us on the road to a genuine alternative to the Democrats.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        drumlin woodchuckles is actually correct. Better to have Democrats shut out of power than to have the party in power while under the control of neocons and neolibs. They give the Democrats a really bad name, and reform will never come so long as they control the party.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Depends what you do when you’re thrust “out of power”, if you face the mirror, lick your wounds, and make changes, then being out is good. If you just create fantasy boogiemen, come up with 1000 excuses, and decide the way to win is to become more like the crowd that beat you…well that’s different.

          Kill it with fire.

          Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, of course it is. But that may be some of the pain which will have to be faced and accepted if one really wants to exterminate the DCCC from existence in order to clear off and politically bio-remediate the infested ground on which it currently grows.

        Because remember, the DCCC are secret Koch-Brothers collaborators. Remember Barack Obama? Remember Hillary Clinton?

        If we don’t exterminate the Pelosi-Hoyerat Party, we will keep getting Koch Brothers Lite policies anyway. Getting Koch Brothers Dark policies for a while is the price to pay for exterminating the ClintoBama wing of the Democratic Party sooner . . . so as to have a Class Warfare Democratic Party to use as a weapon to use for exterminating the Koch Brothers policies later.

        Obviously a Clintonite would object to the overt statement of that approach. Let them object all they like.

        Reply
  8. XXYY

    The DCCC’s controversial meddling in 2018 primaries, explained.

    Vox restating the obvious.

    The progressive wing of the party still has PTSD from 2016, when the candidate Democratic Party leaders backed for president sparked furious intraparty debate — and helped land Donald Trump in the White House.

    This is establishment framing: the “intraparty debate” is what put Trump in the White House, not the deliberate choice of a corrupt and uninspiring establishment candidate to carry the party banner. (As the saying goes, Clinton can never fail, she can only be failed!)

    “This will be very easy to screw up,” [the DCCC flack] said. “The Republicans did it in the Senate in 2010 … they picked bad candidates in some districts, and that’s all it took. They completely screwed it up and lost a Senate majority.”

    Of course, the DCCC lost the House majority in 2010 and has not won it back since. And the GOP won the Senate majority 2 years later, and has held onto this since. If the DCCC is trying to learn lessons from history, let them learn from that: Their strategy has been “completely screwed up” for the better part of a decade. They’re completely unqualified to be giving advice.

    The thing the DCCC seems concerned with above all others is candidate “viability” and electability in the general election. But as my colleague Matt Yglesias wrote, the evidence simply isn’t there to show that voters want to choose “electable” moderates — especially in an era of increased polarization. Yglesias examined a body of research done from 2002 to 2016 on congressional candidates and partisanship, which found candidates weren’t likely to get an increased vote share because they espoused more moderate views.

    “Moderate” is code in US political lexicon for favoring business over the population (“extremist” is code for favoring the population). Obviously pro-business candidates will be favored by rich donors, but (a) it’s increasingly possible to raise large sums in small-dollar amounts, and (b) it’s not at all obvious that money and advertising can make up for a candidate no one likes (cf Clinton vs Trump), though the traditional wisdom is that you just need a big pot of money to get elected. In any case, as Yglesias notes, the track record of “moderates” has been equivocal going back to the turn of the century, and I assume it’s worse now. The DCCC is on the wrong side of history.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      But at the end of the day the Republican establishment had no reason at all to regret the electoral results from 2010 on. Sure, the blunders with the witch girl in Delaware and Angle in Nevada kept from gaining a couple more Senate seats. But they still gained in the Senate and won massively in the house. And the same dynamic that produced Angle and the witch girl was also a big part of all those gains.

      The Republicans have now screwed it up so thoroughly that they dominate all levels of government to a degree unprecedented in my lifetime. Though in the process their house and Senate kingpins lost some of their former control over the elephant. Which is probably the real screwup in the eyes of DCCC members.

      Reply
  9. FluffytheObeseCat

    “Smith is from the Hudson Institute, and used to edit the Weekly Standard. So he’s not a loon”

    I’ve met people affiliated with the Hudson Institute*. Any assertion of sanity is not supported by the affiliation.

    Having said that, Smith is largely correct on this matter. Leaders and opinion-makers of the elite Dem pole of U.S. politics have jumped the shark. Their media colleagues are going nuts with this meme, and they are 4/5ths of the way to Alex Jones territory. They are tossing away one of their characteristic virtues, one that once elevated them above Republicans and the ultra-right media: genuine regard for solid evidence, and truth.

    Their strident histrionics remind me of how Republicans behaved when Bill Clinton won in 1992. Exactly the same sort of rage poured off “Reagan Republicans” then, when a ‘draft-dodging’ hippie attained the Presidency. It ushered in 3 decades of Republican dominance in Congress, but I don’t think the Dems are going to get the same in return now, however much they dream otherwise. Gerrymandering works, and currying favor with billionaires doesn’t. Not for them.

    (Had you meant to use an /s tag?)

    Reply
  10. PlutoniumKun

    “NASA completes full-power tests of small, portable nuclear reactor” [Engadget].

    This is an odd article, its more like an advert. There is nothing new about that technology. Mini reactors like that and they’ve been used to power many satellites and deep space probes i. I believe an intact Plutonium core from an old Soviet spy satellite once came down intact in Chile and was used by a shepherd as a hand warmer (I’ve no idea if he survived the experience).

    Reply
    1. Etherpuppet

      The mini reactor you mention is a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, or RTG. These use heat to generate electricity – heat which is given off by radioisotope decay (e.g. plutonium). It’s not an actual fission reactor, which is what the Kilopower reactors are supposed to be.

      In the book The Martian, the protagonist uses a RTG to heat the cab of his rover while driving across Mars.

      Reply
    2. Grebo

      As Etherpuppet says, these are different.
      A plutonium RTG uses Peltier type heat-to-electricity converters to generate a couple of hundred watts max from simple radioactive decay.
      These are uranium reactors which use a chain reaction like a power station, but instead of generating steam for a turbine the heat is used to drive a Stirling engine. I don’t think that has been done before.

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    I read Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change-by William R. Catton, yesterday. It’s a pretty thought provoking tome, written in 1980 and it takes into account humanity’s rapid recent population explosion along with interaction with other humans and the environment, flora, fauna, and assorted 4 legged beasties.

    He touches upon the C02 rise and how it could melt out the polar caps if it continues along it’s path, and we all know what’s happened in the past 38 years, eh?

    The C02 of the atmosphere was 337 in 1980, btw.

    Now sitting on 410~

    Reply
    1. Edward E

      Save the planet, Kudzu absorbs truckloads of magic gas, come on down here dig it and take it home.

      Reply
        1. Edward E

          To sweetener the deal you can tote a magic 300lb razorback hawgzilla back with you too. I sent a photo of it to Lambert, just ast’ him it’s ok.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            We have feral pigs here too, about 2 or 3x a year, a conga line of 8 or 10 of them will be crossing the road tail to snout as i’m approaching, one might be 86 pounds, the one next to it 242, and on the other side 336 pounds.

            When your lawn gets ripped up in the worst roto till job imaginable by the puerco ricans, it’s called getting ‘pigged’ in local vernacular.

            …we’ve been pigged twice

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              my rancher neighbor brings me several of those per year. Best roast pork ever.
              Another former rancher(lost the inheritance lottery) runs a service that captures these creatures, butchers them, and gives much of the meat away(I am unclear as to what regulatory hurdles he’s encountered, or whether he bothered with that, at all)
              Back in the day, when most of the meat was still local, there were a couple of hog farms around here(I used to live in a house that sits on part of one of the hundred year old hog pens: 1 foot down, layer of clay that turns out to be “fossilised” hog crap,lol). The critters that are causing so much damage are descended from escapees of those endeavors.

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                Our pigs may or may not have come from an area around 8500 feet now in Sequoia NP where somebody had 1,000 of them in the 1880’s, before it was a NP.

                They would’ve had to walk quite a way to get here…

                Pigs kind of scare me, as those tusks and the way they like to aim @ your lower extremities in a rush when pissed off.

                Reply
              2. Edward E

                Hawgzilla came by just before dark made a quick lap around. He’s out there right now, can see him with binoculars but too dark to shoot. Put a little corn out and his future rounds should eventually provide a shot. I’ve not butchered a wild hog before but after some studying it doesn’t look that bad. Need a stout meat saw though. Not exactly sure how much he weighs but it’s pretty good size fo’ sho’.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the Hippie

                  the younger ones(yearling? I’ve never messed with swine) are more tender.
                  Big ones are scary…I floated past a group of them on the Llano River some years ago, and the boar was pretty impressive at around 12 feet away.
                  (swift, narrow channel, I had the paddle at the ready, but they were as surprised as I was)
                  younger are easier to “skin” than the older ones, too.
                  This was a welcome addition to the tool kit:: ?

                  Reply
        2. polecat

          It might look kinda like a Max Ernst painting … but with McMansions and strip malls in place of the bombed-out rubble ! ‘:]

          Reply
  12. Darthbobber

    Hampton Institute DSA piece.
    1 I think the setup of either/or scenarios is a bit reductionist.

    2 When I read a line like “we will develop this proletarian subject with skillful application of the mass line”, or see the suggestion that training a proper, right-thinking communist cadre is the solution, my eyes begin to roll of their own accord. After all, these two items are what every Leninist or pseudoLeninist formation has been all about since the 1920s (though the specifity of “mass” as opposed to “proletarian” line has since the early 60s been a marker separating the Maoists from their rivals on the Bolshevik inspired left.) If one were to graph the results produced, it’s pretty much an unbroken line of decline since the latter part of the depression.

    3 Unstated but implied, I think, throughout the (sometimes perceptive, I will grant) article, is a simple equation of leftist with Leninist. Clearly stated in one paragraph is the third worldism that really discounts the potential ability of workers within the empire to bring it down from within, and a corresponding recommendation to focus on supporting revolutionary or at least antiImperialist movements in other countries.

    4 I think the author’s line of analysis actually eschews electoral action altogether, since by the time we’re done we’ve rejected both work within existing parties and a separate worker’s party. Which I guess leaves Storm the winter palace 2.0.

    5 There are numerous dangers with the DSA approach, some of which are dealt with pretty well here. But there are numerous dangers with every approach, including the one the author seems to prefer. I obligingly strolled into an Althusserian box canyon for a bit in my 20s, but I now seem to have developed an immunity.

    Reply
    1. Odysseus

      “we will develop this proletarian subject with skillful application of the mass line”

      Can you translate that into English?

      I mean seriously – normal people do not talk like that. I haven’t the faintest clue what this is supposed to communicate.

      Reply
  13. allan

    [ProPublica]

    Oh that’s right, ProPublica, go on and let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Who can the people trust?

      “We know you pledged to support Medicare for All.”

      Reply
  14. polistra

    On those Neanderthal scratchy stones, the academic archeologists are looking for academic intelligence instead of industrial intelligence.

    There’s no reason to assume symbolism. One of those stones seems to have been made as a scrubber or grinder, and another looks like a knife sharpener. Those are highly intelligent uses of tools.

    Reply
  15. ewmayer

    “Clinton: Being a capitalist ‘probably’ hurt me with Dem voters” [The Hill] — As I noted over in Links, it *would* explain why she lost so much of the Midwest to well-known anti-capitalist crusader Trump, no?

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      In the end, Clinton lost because she could not rally the left. The left surely does not have any control over the Democrat Party. But that doesn’t mean it is powerless. Ultimately, the Democrats *do* need the left on board in order to win elections. The power to destroy is potent, indeed; I don’t think it a mistake for the left to use it.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I drove down to SD and through LA 4 or 5 times in the summer and fall of 2016, but didn’t see my first Hillary bumper sticker on the rear echelon of a jalopy until the day of the election, parked @ my polling place.

        Oh, she had her backers here in California, just nobody wanted to admit it publicly.

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          Her support was never deep. It was purely machine-manufactured. There was never much real passion behind the campaign except from her core supporters. They all assumed that greasing the wheels of the machine would be enough, that the voters would materialize for her and they could just “win it by the numbers”. They had no clue the machine had completely broken down, and they seem to have been thunderstruck that a significant chunk of independent and Democrat-leaning independents wouldn’t just naturally come out to support them, out of gratitude for all the wonderful things she had done for them. In the end, Clinton and her entire team were completely oblivious to the many ways that they had already failed the voters, time and time again, over a period of decades.

          The Clinton campaign of 2016 will go down in history as the most incompetent campaign since George McGovern’s disaster in 1972. And for a lot of the same reasons.

          Reply
        2. Geo

          I saw plenty of Hillary bumper stickers. But there were always (I mean always literally, not hyperbolically) attached to BMWs or Mercedes cars in Santa Monica or Malibu.

          Reply
  16. Summer

    Re: Elon Musk…strange earnings call

    Musk ultimately deemed the traditional analyst questions “not cool” and, as Piper Jaffray’s Alexander Potter put it, “decided instead to field TWELVE questions from a YouTuber because it was ‘way more interesting.’”

    Not unique to Musk, but isn’t it something to behold how the “disruptors” can’t hold up to scrutiny?

    They always look for the pass and more cheerleading than a pro football team.

    Reply
  17. Elizabeth Burton

    Yes, I know Abbott is a flake, but is this the point where we can say the Russiagate shark has truly been jumped?

    Reply
    1. VietnamVet

      Calling the Texas Republican governor, “a Russian pawn and useful idiot for Russian efforts to instill fear and distrust in our American Institutions” is more than jumping the shark. It is crazy. As best as I can tell, the Democrat’s oligarch mob bosses have started a world war with Russia. There is no way that is this a vote-getter. In fact, it is downright dangerous. I am convinced that the not so crazy Kremlin and Pentagon staffers are colluding together to prevent a nuclear war. But, with the Democrats not knowing what is up or down, the slightest mistake will destroy the world.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Millions upon millions of Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites believe exactly this. You can get a smell of what they think and how they think by reading The Confluence by Riverdaughter and putting your nose up close to the screen.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          dammit

          I can’t get that smell out of my nose.
          It’s like the distilled essence of the Hilltrolls that have made the lib/prog portion of the web so unpleasant.
          It was sad when the Tea People Virus invaded the Right…but it wasn’t exactly unexpected.
          This…since 2015 or so…is worse.
          Even my mom has been infected.

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      You guys do realize what is going to happen now. As the mid-terms and the 2020 come rocking around, you are going to inundated with Russia-bots this and Russia-bots that. Oppose any neocon or neoliberal (or do I repeat myself?) policy and you will be accused of being a Russian sympathizer. I mean, they accused @PartisanGirl of being a bot but I have seen some of her videos. She is not a bot – she is a babe! Anyway, get ready for it.

      One for Lambert and like minded people – the Kew gardens glass house is being reopened after being totally refurbished and here are some images-

      Reply
  18. allan

    [NYT]

    … With virtually no public discussion or debate, the Army commandos are helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites that Houthi rebels in Yemen are using to attack Riyadh and other Saudi cities.

    Details of the Green Beret operation, which has not been previously disclosed, were provided to The New York Times by United States officials and European diplomats.

    They appear to contradict Pentagon statements that American military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and general intelligence sharing.
    There is no indication that the American commandos have crossed into Yemen as part of the secretive mission. …

    The Green Berets have stepped in to deal with an increasingly difficult problem for the Saudi military. Their presence is the latest example of the expanding relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia under President Trump and Prince Mohammed. …

    In March, as Prince Mohammed met with Mr. Trump and top national security officials in Washington, the State Department approved the sale of an estimated $670 million in anti-tank missiles in an arms package that also included spare parts for American-made tanks and helicopters that Saudi Arabia previously purchased.

    “Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world,” Mr. Trump said at the time. …

    We were only following [purchase] orders.

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      With US troop deployments in both Israel and Saudi Arabia — decisions which have never been run by our lawn-ornament, rubber-stamp Congress — prospects are lookin’ good for the Forever War to outlive our grandkids.

      US military: a farce for global goofs.

      Reply
  19. allan

    College touring while quietly Native American is the new driving while black:

    [AP]

    The mother of two Native American teenagers who campus police pulled from a college tour in Colorado after a parent reported feeling nervous about them said she believes her sons were victims of racial profiling and she feared for their safety after learning about the encounter.

    In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray described receiving a frantic phone call from her son, 19-year-old Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, about the incident at Colorado State University.

    He and his 17-year-old brother, Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, had saved enough money to drive roughly seven hours from the family’s home in Santa Cruz, New Mexico, to Fort Collins to tour the campus, she told the AP. …

    The brothers had joined the tour on Monday after it started, and their mother — who had stayed home in New Mexico — said she learned afterward that the two had been quieter than others in the group during the walk through campus, which apparently prompted one woman to call police.

    “When they told me that on the phone … I couldn’t wrap my head around that,” their mother said. “What do you mean, it’s because they were quiet?” …

    As Natives, the teenagers should have asked the CSU police for their immigration papers. Before 1492 or GTFO.

    Reply
  20. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is an interesting article about some people and groups working to establish and/or maintain Black Food Justice and Black Land Justice in the U.S. It takes the form of mainly an interview. Among other things, it tells us about what Shirley Sherrod is doing these days. Nothing has been heard in the media about Shirley Sherrod ever since she was double-crossed by America’s first so-called “black” President, Obama. Here is the link.

    Reply
  21. Jenny

    Link Recommendation – Very interesting paper by a university of Hamburg scholar titled – Consulting as a threat to local democracy? Flexible management consultants, pacified citizens, and political tactics of strategic development in German cities –

    Worth a read.

    Reply

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