2:00PM Water Cooler 10/11/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

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Trade

“Canada should choose free trade with China, not US protectionism – Beijing” []. “China has called on Canada to join Beijing in protecting free trade and suggested it should not join any protectionist measures, apparently taking aim at the new trade deal between the US and Canada that could potentially isolate China on international trade.” • Cheeky!

“The Unknowable Fallout of China’s Trade War Nuclear Option” [Andrew Ross Sorkin, ]. “Even in the gloomiest of doomsday scenarios, there is one weapon that has long been considered unthinkable: the Chinese, the biggest holder of United States foreign debt with more than $1 trillion, publicly taking a step back from buying United States Treasuries — or worse, dumping what they own in the open market… China doesn’t have any American imports left to tariff and it is already taking aim at deals, so what’s left?… [I]t is worth remembering that Beijing’s endgame is not necessarily to ensure the financial health of its country this year or the next. If China were to suffer short-term pain to gain a real and lasting advantage over the United States — or at least not lose any advantages it does have — it might be willing to struggle a bit today.” • Hmm. I’m not sure what Sun Tzu would say. Readers?

Politics

2020

Bernie! No! Don’t go in the haunted house!

.: "Yes, we have to get rid of Assad…But we cannot do it unilaterally."

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress)

First, Gillum kowtows to The Blob. Now Sanders. (And the worst of it is that if Sanders held a foreign policy town hall in the flyover states, he’d find a degree of realism out there about our imperial ventures. Trump tapped that vein. Why on earth can’t Sanders?

UPDATE It’s like they’re all on the same team:

BREAKING: Former VP will present this year’s award to former President George W. Bush and former First Lady for their commitment to veterans.

The ceremony will take place on , November 11, in :

— National Constitution Center (@ConstitutionCtr)

UPDATE “Today, I have re-registered as a Democrat – I had been a member for most of my life – because we need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs.” [].

2018

until Election Day. 25 days is a long time in politics. And remember that October is the month of surprises, as Mr. Market is showing!

“Real Democratic agenda: Lower health costs, less corruption, more jobs and fairness” [Cheri Bustos, Hakeem Jeffries and David Cicilline, ]. “Democratic Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Hakeem Jeffries of New York and David Cicilline of Rhode Island are co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee.” Oxford comma issues aside, now there’s a hill to die on: “Less corruption.” Timid incrementalism for the win!

UPDATE “Poll: Kavanaugh confirmation energizes Democrats more than GOP” []. “While Republicans have cited an increase in excitement among their voters during the Kavanaugh fight — and some polls last week indicated that the GOP had closed the enthusiasm gap — both the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll and a CNN/SSRS survey conducted over the past weekend and released Tuesday show Democrats more animated than Republicans.” • If I understand what’s being measured, I care less about whether the already energized are more energized then about voter who might flip from one party to the other, or who will vote now when they would not have before.

“Don’t Sweat the Election Night Surprises” []. “Two of the biggest electoral surprises in recent history happened because of a lack of media coverage and party attention. Both took place in primaries in districts that weren’t regarded as competitive. I get asked if I predicted primary victories by Republican Dave Brat in Virginia in 2014 or Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York this year. The short answer is no. … But the longer answer is that I wasn’t really looking either. I’m primarily focused on the general election races that will change party hands, or primaries in contests that will affect control of Congress.” • Same with me; AOC’s district was safe Democrat (though not safe liberal Democrat) so I didn’t focus on it.

AZ Senate: “McSally Gains, Sinema Falls Behind In Arizona Senate Race” []. “A new poll shows that Martha McSally, Arizona’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, has increased her lead over Democratic nominee Kyrsten Sinema. The OH Predictive Insights poll was conducted on the first two days of October from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. Although the amount of undecided voters has grown to 8%, McSally is currently leading with 47% of the vote and Sinema has dropped down to 41%. The introduction of Green Party candidate Angela Green takes from Sinema’s share, with 4% of the vote. • RH: “100% of the 4% Green voters were Sinema supporters before…. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Don’t those voters know Democrats own their votes? And Angela Green as the Green Party candidate–that’s a useful mnemonic. Maybe if Jill Stein changes her last name she can get 4% of the vote….”

ND Senate: “Midterm Update: North Dakota goes to Leans Republican, giving the Republicans a clearer edge in the Senate” []. “The North Dakota Senate race moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican, reinforcing what we’ve long described as a GOP edge in the race for the Senate. The Democrats do have a path to the majority, but that path almost certainly involves winning at least one race we currently rate as Leans Republican: the aforementioned North Dakota contest, or Tennessee or Texas.”

TX Senate: “The cult of Beto” []. “There is no way Robert Francis O’Rourke, alias “Beto,” a.k.a. the no-doubt gleaming future of the Democratic Party is as delusional about his prospects for success as his followers. That would be impossible….. No single article or tweet could do justice to the brain-destroying tedium of hyperbole, the willful exaggeration, the gushing faddishness, the hipster capitalist complacency, the novelty songwriting contest banality, the experimental filmmaker commercial-directing pseudo-profundity, the sheer late-night TV-level humorlessness of the Beto cult.” • I was getting tired of reading about Beto sweating. For awhile, that was in every lead.

UPDATE MD Governor: “A third of Maryland Democrats are backing the Republican governor.Former NAACP president Ben Jealous, Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is one of 2018’s most compelling candidates. He’s also running one of the cycle’s most challenging campaigns, taking on Republican Larry Hogan, who consistently polls as one of America’s most popular governors—despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two-to-one margin in the state. On Tuesday, a Washington Post/University of Maryland poll found that Jealous is trailing Hogan by 20 points—58 percent to 38 percent. Most troubling for Jealous is that Hogan is winning 35 percent of Democrats. Hogan, moreover, has a slightly higher favorability rating among Democrats than Jealous does, 58 percent to 52 percent.” []. So any blue won’t do? I’m shocked.

Please Kill Me Now

Letting the cat out of the bag:

“I didn’t realize at the time that anybody noticed what we were doing… He is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather… I love him to death.” talks about George W. Bush handing her a cough drop (an old one at that!) at McCain's funeral

— TODAY (@TODAYshow)

“Partner in crime,” eh?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Maybe Girls Will Save Us” []. “Beyond simply being involved, the girls of this generation are as passionate and unapologetic about what matters to them as any in history. They display a sense of moral clarity, an instinct for inclusiveness, and a commitment to making the world a better place for people of all ages and genders. The rest of us should follow their lead.” • See for commentary, here.

“I know the culture that produced Kavanaugh: tradition and violence at D.C. prep schools” []. “Look, I’m not saying St. Stephen’s or Prep were horrible. My parents gave me the option of transferring and I didn’t. I loved my teachers. I was given the very best formal education to prepare me for success (in white conservative spaces). College at an Ivy League was a walk in the park compared to high school. The first time I really experienced the same rigor again was writing my dissertation at Yale 10 years later. And to be quite frank, I’m friends with some of the same guys I’m referencing here. When I’m in town, we go out together, and we drink. Make no mistake, studying and academic rigor were community norms at my high school. So was community service. But hard drinking, sex, and misogyny were also community norms. That is just a fact. If those norms hadn’t changed in the 20 years separating me and Kavanaugh, I’ll wager they are still the same behaviors that are excused, overlooked, and exacerbated by adults in power at these institutions today.”

“The Supreme Court Post-Kavanaugh: A Grand Strategy for the Left” []. “Right this minute, we probably can’t persuade a majority of Americans either that Kavanaugh should be impeached or that the court should be packed…. They will not support his removal–and they will certainly not support court-packing–unless and until Kavanaugh demonstrates deeply partisan behaviour from the bench. This, then, is what we have to wait for…. For now, the move is to be patient with respect to the court and return to our bread and butter mass issues–healthcare, inequality, and wages.” • Isn’t it pretty to think so; see above story from USA Today.

“The Democrats Have a Latino Problem” []. “While Trump was enacting his anti-immigrant agenda, Latino voters seemed to have slowly warmed up to the president. In last week’s NPR/PBS/Marist poll, 41 percent of Hispanics approved of Trump’s performance (black Americans? 12 percent). This is no outlier. Another recent poll put Trump’s approval among Latinos at 35 percent. An average of both would put Trump—again, an overtly nativist president—within about 10 points of Barack Obama’s 49 percent approval among Hispanic at roughly the same time in his presidency. This does not mean Donald Trump is a popular president among Hispanics. He is not. But he is not repudiated, either, not by a mile.” • So much for this “Obama Coalition” (“coalition of the ascendant”) liberal Democrats keep talking themselves into.

“Social Security beneficiaries to get biggest bump in seven years” []. “Retirement benefits are slated to rise 2.8% next year, based on the formula that determines annual cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security. It’s the biggest gain since a 3.6% advance in 2012.” • I’m filing this here not because 2019 is an election year (it isn’t, unlike 2012) but as a reminder that a Grand Bargain doesn’t seem to be on the table or anywhere near it. (We have Monica Lewinsky to thank for a Grand Bargain between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton collapsing, and the Freedom Caucus for not letting John Boehner cut a deal with [genuflects] Obama, though to be fair, they wanted to deal to be more Draconian.)

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index September 2018: “Don’t expect criticism of Federal Reserve rate hikes to ease any after today’s very subdued consumer price report” []. “Wages may be tilting higher this year but they have yet, to say the least, to spillover into overall prices which remain remarkably flat given the strength of the economy and especially the labor market. Unless inflation does begin to show life, either perhaps in tomorrow’s import and export price report or coming CPI reports, expectations for a Fed rate hike at the December FOMC could begin to fade.” And: “Apparel and services were the main driver for year-over-year inflation. Core inflation remains above 2.0 % year-over-year” []. And: “Key Measures Show Inflation Decreased on YoY Basis in September” []. “On a monthly basis, median CPI was at 2.3% annualized, trimmed-mean CPI was at 1.7% annualized, and core CPI was at 1.4% annualized. Using these measures, inflation decreased on a year-over-year basis in September. Overall, these measures are at or above the Fed’s 2% target (Core PCE is slightly below 2%).” • A punch bowl the size of a thimble…

Jobless Claims, week of October 6 2018: “Initial jobless claims, elevated slightly by Hurricane Florence, rose but only modestly” [].

Commodities: “A pine glut is crushing timber prices and retiree dreams in the Southeast. Landowners who planted hundreds of acres of trees decades ago are running up against a supply imbalance that began when the housing market crashed and persists to this day…. Seeded by federal reforestation programs, the timber craze was taken up by investors of all sizes, resulting in a motherlode of soft wood that has been a boon for Southern mill owners, who anticipate fat margins for years because their raw material is so cheap” []. “While big forest landowners can concentrate harvests in areas where prices are better, most have little choice but to sell to the nearest mill—the trunks are so heavy that loaded trucks quickly hit their 80,000-pound highway limit, and loggers paid for each ton they deliver are reluctant to haul timber cross-country.”

Real Estate: “Developers experiment with multistory DCs as tight warehouse market drives high rents, CBRE says” []. “A combination of soaring e-commerce demand and rising real estate prices in the country’s densest markets is inspiring developers to build a new wave of multistory warehouses…. “Multistory development [in the U.S.] is starting to take shape, but it is not taking off,” Walaszek said. “It’s a trend we’re starting to see, but we’ve got some time before it can compare to Asian development” in cities like Hong Kong or Singapore, he said. That’s because developers would have to wait too long to get a payback on their investment in all but the densest U.S. markets, such as New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. In comparison, land prices and rents in cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, and London remain two to three times more expensive than in most U.S. cities, CBRE says.”

Shipping: “U.S. West Coast trend continues: Port of Oakland shatters record for peak season cargo volume” []. “Similar to other West Coast ocean cargo gateways, a record-breaking peak season continues at the Port of Oakland. The port said today that last month was the busiest September for import cargo in its 91-year history. That followed another all-time record in August…. ”

Shipping: “The U.S. Postal Service is pushing back on parcel pricing, and e-commerce customers could bear the brunt. The USPS wants to shore up its finances by raising rates…., including a proposed jump of up to 12% for the popular service that Amazon.com Inc., United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp. and other shippers use to deliver packages to customers’ doors” []. “Last-mile delivery is the most expensive leg of an online order’s journey, and President Trump has castigated the Postal Service for not charging more for such services.”

Shipping: “Off the rails” []. “[L]anguage in a tentative five-year labor contract between Atlanta-based UPS and the Teamsters union… would divert traffic from the rails to an expanded network of two-person over-the-road sleeper teams run by UPS and staffed by union drivers. The contract’s terms do not quantify the level of diversion, but the Teamsters have characterized it as significant. In 2017, UPS moved 750,000 pieces of equipment, most of that 53-foot boxes, in intermodal service and spent about $1 billion with the rails…. UPS, which zealously guards its competitive data, would not disclose how much intermodal business it gives the railroads. It also would not comment on the contract’s language because it was still in proposal form as of the end of August when this story was written [huh?]….. What is known is that UPS has pledged to recruit 2,000 drivers for the expanded sleeper network, starting with 200 drivers by the end of calendar 2019 and the remainder spread out, in one-quarter annualized increments over the contract’s life, until the threshold is reached. Sleeper teams are not new to UPS, and each of the recent Teamster contracts has given the company more flexibility to deploy them, according to a source close to the company. This means UPS can improve its transit times through more direct routings and can do so in an economical fashion—no small feat in light of the cost headwinds of moving goods via truck versus rail.” • Making the current contract all the more important to UPS… .

Shipping: “UPS announces global expansion plans for UPS My Choice” []. “UPS My Choice gives consumers a one-day alert for when a package is coming and allows them to control the timing and location of the delivery. It helps both the consumer and UPS, because it makes it unlikely that UPS will not be able to make a delivery on the first stop or make multiple attempts to deliver a package. UPS My Choice debuted in 2011. UPS My Choice members that can track the progress of their UPS Air and UPS Worldwide Express packages on a live map through mobile devices or computers.” • Interestingly, a function consumers may believe is only provided by Amazon.

The Fed: “The history of presidential Fed bashing suggests it has not been a fruitful strategy” []. “In late 1965, the Fed raised short-term rates, alarmed by signs of inflation after tax cuts and with the war in Vietnam ramping up. Johnson summoned Martin to his ranch and proceeded to bully him in an attempt to get the Fed to reverse course. Johnson “physically shoved [Martin] around the living room,” saying he didn’t care about the boys in Vietnam, said Sebastian Mallaby, the author of a new biography about Alan Greenspan. Martin did not back down and the discount rate rose in early 1966 for the first time in five years.”

The 420

“Ahead of Canada’s legalization date, cannabis suppliers struggle to meet demand” []. “Licensed cannabis suppliers in Canada will only meet 30% to 60% of demand for the product when the drug is legalized for recreational use on Oct. 17, according to a projection by …. Supply chain issues are among the chief problems, [Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria, one of the country’s largest licensed producers] said. Packaged cannabis products require a special “excise stamp” from the government, which have been delayed. Harvest capacity issues are also a problem as the country prepares for an “unprecedented” legalization, according to the Financial Post.”

Gaia

“Clues from a Somalian cavefish about modern mammals’ dark past” []. “After millions of years living in constant darkness, a species of blind cavefish found only in Somalia has lost an ancient system of DNA repair. That DNA repair system, found in organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants, and most other animals, harnesses energy from visible light to repair DNA damage induced by ultraviolet (UV) light. The findings reported in journal Current Biology on October 11 are intriguing in part because only placental mammals, the group including people, were previously known to lack this system. Researchers say that the discovery supports the ‘nocturnal bottleneck’ theory, which holds that the ancestors of modern mammals lived a subterranean or exclusively nocturnal existence as a strategy to avoid being eaten by dinosaurs.” • That wouid have been usefuil if sunlight gets a lot stronger….

Health Care

“Sanders Responds to Trump’s Lies on Medicare for All” []. “”Donald Trump led the effort to throw 32 million Americans off of the health care they have in order to pay for massive tax breaks for billionaires and large corporations. Fortunately we were able to defeat his proposal by one vote.” • Dammit Bernie. Federal taxes don’t pay for Federal spending.

Class Warfare

“Inside the Lawless New World of Electric-Scooter Hacking” []. “‘Every homeless person has like three scooters now,’ Michael Ghadieh, owner of an electric bike store in San Francisco, . ‘They take the brains out, the logos off and they literally hotwire it.'” • I suppose that’s better than throwing them up in trees, or setting them on fire.

News of the Wired

“Self-healing material can build itself from carbon in the air” []. “A material designed by MIT chemical engineers can react with carbon dioxide from the air, to grow, strengthen, and even repair itself. The polymer, which might someday be used as construction or repair material or for protective coatings, continuously converts the greenhouse gas into a carbon-based material that reinforces itself…. The material the team used in these initial proof-of-concept experiments did make use of one biological component — chloroplasts, the light-harnessing components within plant cells, which the researchers obtained from spinach leaves. The chloroplasts are not alive but catalyze the reaction of carbon dioxide to glucose.”

“Delete Your Account Now: A Conversation with Jaron Lanier” [].

I feel like it’s hard to discuss the basic premises of a lot of your arguments in your latest book without talking about what a “BUMMER platform” is. Can you describe it and tell what prominent companies have designs that fall under this umbrella?

[LANIER:] it stands for “Behaviors of Users Modified and Made into Empires for Rent.”… It’s just a way to summarize the business plan behind some of the largest companies in history, with the idea that money is made whenever two people exchange any value, whether it’s just one datum being measured from somebody that’s used to run a machine-learning application or people sending messages to each other, uploading videos, or whatever. The companies are not paying for it. It’s not being paid for by angels from the sky. It’s not a nonprofit charity. It is being paid for by customers — but the customers are not the people who are actually doing the thing. They are these other people who decide, called advertisers — or I prefer to call them manipulators, because they have been sold on the idea that they’re not just advertising. They’re not just getting a message in front of you, but are part of a mathematical scheme that will predictably addict you and then modify your behavior.

And I think sometimes that’s oversold — sometimes it may not be as true as some of the people who are paying for the system have been led to believe — but at any rate, it is this huge business model. So the two big companies that are bound by this are Facebook and Google, and there are some smaller ones that often feel that it’s been thrust upon them and they wish they could do something different, like Twitter.

He’s not wrong, is he?

“Amazon Atlas” []. “Today, 11 October 2018, WikiLeaks publishes a “Highly Confidential” internal document from the cloud computing provider Amazon. The document from late 2015 lists the addresses and some operational details of over one hundred data centers spread across fifteen cities in nine countries. To accompany this document, WikiLeaks also created a map showing where Amazon’s data centers are .” Oddly, or not, all the East Coast data centers are located in the Beltway:

Maybe some enterprising spirit can get a bus tour going….

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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 (AC):

AC writes: “Here’s great plant that can also provide an apt metaphor for so many relevant stories. A drosera (sundew) brunching with a drosophila (fruit fly).”

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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.

186 comments

  1. Deschain

    Idea: it seems there is space for an election analysis that, rather than classifying districts as ‘leans Republican’ or ‘leans Democrat’, categorizes them as ‘leans social democrat’ or ‘leans neoliberal’ or ‘leans right-nationalist’. That might create some very different pictures and identify opportunities for more AOCs.

    Reply
      1. Synoia

        Ask and ye shall receive. Define the possible values for the fields in the row. I’m assuming there is one row per election district.

        I can even test it. However, please understand that an invalid test is when all the data is on the right. /s

        I’ll even host it.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I have MAMP on my machine; I don’t need hosting.

          In theory it’s simple to do. A fine litmus test would be support for #MedicareForAll, no DCCC money, and not a MILO = left.

          Actually, now that I formulate the question that way, I think the query would be easy to write (i.e., not a function). The query might be verbose, but not hard.

          Reply
      2. freedomny

        I like the idea of trying to redefine districts with regards to policy positions. It seems to me that the very act of labeling…Dems, Reps, Progressive, Conservative, etc does more for continuing to divide us when we ought to be finding common ground/s.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I can define candidates that way. Absent survey data, I don’t see how to define districts that way, although the winning candidate is a good proxy for that, but there are other variables, like scandal, money, candidate personality, and “Events, dear boy, events.”

          Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    China went through a horrible hyperinflation period in the run-up to Mao taking over, and that came on the heels of a century long opium bender…

    It’s pretty obvious through Fentanyl and soon Carfentanyl (100x as strong as the former) exports that yes Virginia, paypack is a bitch for past transgressions against the middle kingdom, and yeah, they’d take a hit by offing their treasuries, but unlike us presently, the Chinese think in the long term, and by destroying the greenback dollar, poof it’s gone. The path ahead is clear.

    And if you’ve been paying attention, they’ve been buying up physical gold, while letting silly Americans play with the paper (ETF) precious.

    Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I remember a photo of a not-so-slim mayor of Shanghai just before the communists took over.

        I believe it was taken by Cartier-Bresson, who took pictures of people lining up to get money, and of people hauling money in a Chinese wheelbarrow, all around that time in the Pearl of the Orient.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The mob scene in the Cartier-Bresson photo is desperately trying to exchange paper money for gold, as nobody wanted the former, and for many the latter was a ticket out of the hellscape that lasted about 4 decades.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            This was years ago, when I was at the International House in Berkeley chatting with a fellow student who told of his family dumping sliver ingots or gold bars* into their latrine during the Cultural Revolution.

            His family was in Guangzhou at that time.

            The better bet, at the time, was to get gold and go to Taiwan, Hong Kong, or possible the USA or other western nations, and not stay around in Shanghai.

            *Silver ingots (called yuanbao) most likely in the shape of a boat that had been popular since at least the Ming dynasty.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              There was an interesting thing going on in the early 1980’s, as every last Chinese that had wealth in the guise of silver coins when Mao came to power, promptly buried it, and as China was opening up, there was a lively trade between Hong Kongers that would load a small ship full of the must have items (in-window a/c, fridge, washing machine, tv, etc) and they’d meet up with those that had unburied the treasure on the South China coast, and a deal was struck. This went on for many years, and the sheer variety of what was in the ground was amazing, in that great rarities were mixed in with ho hum, as nobody cared in 1949, just bury it as quick as possible.

              There was essentially no buried gold that came out of these ventures, those that had portable wealth in 1949 got the heck out of dodge when the getting was good, with their tickets of transport.

              Reply
    1. Wandering Mind

      I think the fentanyl issue is separate from the hypothetical regarding U.S. Treasuries. But, that “opium bender” you refer to was the result of two wars conducted by the British empire to force the Chinese to accept opium in exchange for Chinese made goods because the British otherwise had nothing to trade that the Chinese wanted. A policy of the British Empire which also had disastrous effect on the Indian farmers who were forced into growing opium instead of other crops.

      And, BTW, a number of prominent nineteenth century Americans got rich on the opium trade, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s grandfather.

      So, yes, payback is a bitch.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Imagine the hegemon of the 19th century, the British empire, could just create, at will, the global reserve currency to buy Chinese silk, porcelain and tea.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Global hegemonic currencies only work if the mopes accept the “thing” in exchange for goods and labor. Don’t even TRY to get me to accept a “blockchain currency” (sic) for either real economy items. Of course if the one trying to negotiate the Funny Munny has a gang behind him with pliers and guns, or my Owner is getting some kind of spiff for the transaction…

          Reply
    2. curlydan

      Any MMT’ers out there with an opinion on what a possible dumping of Treasuries by China might do? Could the $$s be created/printed to buy these Treasuries with no impact to interest rates, thereby blunting any threat?

      It seems likely that we could do this and counter the Chinese without much fear.

      But the non-MMT’er in me says it should at least have some impact on interest rates.

      Reply
      1. johnnygl

        Bernanke already has shown what can be done with QE. The decision to shrink the balance sheet since then was a policy decision.

        Offsetting chinese govt sales would also be a policy decision.

        The issue china would face is having its own currency rise, hurting export competitiveness.

        If i’m trump and china threatens to do this…i’d yell “DO IT!!!”

        Reply
      2. Adam Eran

        If “Dumping Treasuries” means exchanging them for dollars, then that’s roughly like moving money from your savings account into your checking account. There might be some temporary influence on Treasuries’ prices because China would be selling, but no impact on National Debt since both dollars and Treasuries are liabilities for our central bank (just as your checking and savings accounts are your assets, but the bank’s liabilities). Treasury auctions are always over-subscribed, says MMT’s Warren Mosler (if memory serves)

        The Chinese still have to spend the dollars somewhere. Domestically, the U.S. has already demonstrated that what China can buy is restricted. Would a Chinese spending spree make for a rise in asset prices to balance the potential for a fall in Treasuries’ prices? Hmmm….

        Steve Keen does criticize MMT guys like Warren Mosler for being too dollar-centric in their calculation of international trade. Keen says not everyone can run a continuous trade deficit like the U.S. and get away with it. Meanwhile, Mosler says a trade deficit is a net positive because the U.S. trades paper (dollars) for real economic goods and services.

        Reply
  3. Carey

    Sander *keeps doing* this sh!t. “We’re taking it all the way to the Convention!”

    Like others here, Sanders got lots of money from me I couldn’t really afford in ’16.
    Is he another case of “they got nowhere else to go?”

    Seeming likelier all the time that Emma Goldman was right.
    Slow-walking us to oblivion seems to be The Plan…

    Reply
      1. Isotope_C14

        I suspect Jimmy Dore is right, and that they showed him the real Zapruder film when he met with Obama prior to the Dem convention and secured his endorsement of H-> (arrow right).

        I don’t begrudge him for taking it for his grandkids.

        Jamarl Thomas has had a bunch of good videos on Sanders.

        I’d rather have Sanders win the Dem nomination than Harris/Booker/(insert neoliberal parasite here)/Biden.

        It doesn’t matter though, I think Blyth is right and they are going to shove H-> back down everyone’s throats, and act shocked when she loses.

        Isn’t the third time a charm?

        Reply
          1. Isotope_C14

            Sometimes I play with the idea of voting for Trump in 2020 to give neera/daou/messing the finger, but when the climate collapses and we are all starving to death, I want a clean slate.

            Green or Socialist for me. The corporate dems deserve to be poor and in positions of no power for their betrayal of the people.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If the climate truly collapses to the point where even global warming deniers stop denying, don’t you want the Fossil Carbon Republicans to be in charge to be blamed and swept away in the heatwave riots and food riots and water riots?

              Reply
              1. Isotope_C14

                I suspect that deniers will still deny in the face of overwhelming evidence. They will claim it was “God”.

                Incredible how powerful cognitive dissonance is in our species.

                Reply
        1. polecat

          Maybe then she’ll get sucked into an empty purple genie bottle, never to be seen, nor heard from, again.
          Dream I can ..

          Reply
        2. neo-realist

          I don’t see Hillary making serious moves as a candidate. Too many democratic supporters saw a lousy campaigner who couldn’t win a ham sandwich election and would denounce another attempt at a candidacy – past Hillary supporters as well as Bernie ones. With her touring around the country with Bill, it seems more like she’s trying to be a kingmaker for whoever is the best neo-liberal fit for the presidency.

          Reply
          1. jonhoops

            The apologists claim she won the election by 3 million votes. She is running again. The first signal was when she and Chelsea co-opted the “She Persisted” meme for their children book.

            Reply
            1. neo-realist

              Public Relations damage control to cover her incompetent campaigning imo. The democratic leadership and the base will ask what the hell will she bring to the table this time around to change the electoral college dynamic? She got the candidate she wanted and couldn’t close the deal. She’ll have to get serious about campaigning in the battleground states as well as the rest of the country against a Trump who, according to Bannon, has boundless energy to go anywhere any time to do his PT Barnum act on the campaign trail. An already frail Hillary, four years older, won’t “persist”, won’t match the energy, charisma, and salesperson guile that Trump will bring to the table.

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Should we quietly resolve to ourselves to decide that whoever gets Hillary’s endorsement is thereby tainted? And if the most Clintainted candidate gets the nomination, that we should vote for Trump again to be sure of purging and burning the Clintaint out of public life?

                Reply
        3. Adam

          If he’s doing it for his grandkids, I hope he realizes that climate change will just get them along with everyone else. He’s trading his power to actually temper climate change.

          Reply
      2. pjay

        Won’t repeat yesterday’s rant. But “disappointed” does not BEGIN to express my reaction to this. Lambert – They ARE all on the same team!

        Reply
      3. EricT

        The elites will never let someone close to the office of president unless they appear like they accept the current world status of the USA. Hence, that’s why the outcomes of the Dem/Rep primaries will always be with two people with the same ideas about USA world power, with the only difference being social issues. The’ll make us think we are making a choice, but elites are the ones who pick those choices. And if Israel doesn’t invite the candidate to get their flight in a training F-16, they’ll never be one of the chosen.

        Reply
      4. Arizona Slim

        Me too. I am glad that my aunt isn’t alive to witness what he has turned into. Because she turned me on to Bernie.

        Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      ’16 Bernie supporter here.

      My support for his policies ends at the water’s edge. Wrong on Ukraine, wrong on Syria, wrong wrong wrong.

      And he’s the best option for ’20 too. UGH.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth Burton

      You know what you’re all choosing to ignore? The fact that Assad is a hereditary dictator of the sort the US usually loves to have running the show. The problem is, he’s not our dictator, for the bulk of the neocons screaming for regime change.

      Has it occurred to all of you excoriating Bernie for saying this that he may be in favor of removing Assad for the reason just stated, hence the rest of his statement that it’s not the US’s job to do it? Or, to put it another way, helping create a more democratic government in Syria without just marching in and throwing bombs?

      I certainly would support removing Assad and every other of his ilk from every government currently being occupied by same, including the new fascist just elected in Brazil. Are you saying that makes me no different from the likes of the plutocrats and oligarchs who don’t care who they kill as long as the profits keep pouring in?

      Reply
      1. pjay

        No. But it sounds like you are falling for the liberal “humanitarian intervention” line that has been used so successfully to brainwash the “educated” classes in the U.S.

        I sincerely mean no offense to you. The reason I react so strongly is that I have fallen for this line before myself. Of course most of us would like to rid the world of “evil leaders” if we had our wish. But that is not what the anti-Assad effort in the West is all about. Yes he is a hereditary dictator (though a somewhat reluctant one if you know his history). But a lot of the information we are fed by the MSM (including especially the “liberal” media) is distorted, decontextualized, or flat out false. I don’t know what you believe about Assad, and I am not an “Assad apologist.” But what Bernie is saying and how he is saying it, whatever his motives (and I’m not sure of these), plays right into the hands of the neoconservative/neoliberal effort to Balkanize the Middle East (and much of the rest of the world). The “humanitarian” movement to “rescue” Syria has been part of a vast hybrid warfare effort. Many supporters have been sincere. I’m sure you are. The powers that be don’t care about that, or about the welfare of the Syrian people. Maybe Bernie does. But right now he is helping the war-mongers.

        Reply
      2. Rojo

        I don’t want the US to “remove” anyone.

        If Sanders want to use multi-lateral diplomatic pressure for elections in Syria. Fine.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Both of these responses are simply repeating the original complaint in different words. They are based on the idea that any change in Syrian government would be instigated by the US, which I have so far seen no evidence Bernie Sanders has supported. If there is information to the contrary, I will happily review it.

          I haven’t “fallen” for anything, and I empathize for anyone who does. And I saw nothing in the Sanders statement quoted that contradicted the idea that “multi-lateral diplomatic pressure for elections” isn’t precisely what he’s talking about. However, it seems there is a contingent who think Sanders should do what he knows is the worst thing he could do—swoop in issuing clarion calls for immediate total change of the status quo.

          As an article posted earlier this week said, Bernie Sanders knows how to do politics, and unless there are people with his level of expertise and experience here, I have to say that the armchair quarterbacking I keep seeing is a sad comment on just how little too many people really understand just how awful things are for those of us out here one step away from living on the street.

          Criticizing is easy. Those who keep saying Bernie is a sellout should stop complaining, get off their computer chairs, and go out and do it better if they think they know how. After all, isn’t that the ultimate proof?

          And for the record, if I have a gap in my knowledge of a subject, I ask for information; and I endeavor to only comment on subjects where I have said sufficient knowledge base. I have really had more than enough of people implying I’m clearly ignorant of the facts just because I don’t agree with their position. I get enough of that on social media.

          Reply
          1. Fiery Hunt

            I’m with ya, Elizabeth
            Sanders isn’t a messiah but he’s a FAR CRY better than anything else on offer and damn right in his assessment of corporations and financial inequality.
            I’ll support him in his good efforts and ignore his foreign policy.

            Reply
            1. sierra7

              Ah yes….and then we have his foreign policy genuflections on Israel…….Sorry, no Bernie for me of any of the other clowns that have been running this country. Where is the line on our ballots for…”None of the above?” Either we stop trying to force our “Full Spectrum Dominance” of the wold down the throats of the rest of the world or we will be slaughtered along with those we have done so. I don’t expect a “perfect” candidate but I would like one that votes in “my interests” not of those who have the most money.

              Reply
          2. SoldierSvejk

            EB, who gives you the right to be for or against removing/keeping a leader of a country eons of miles away – where you’ve never been and likely will never go to? Lord, the hubris of some Am’rikans!

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Agree totally. The Syrians had elections not that long ago and when faced with the choice of Assad or fundamentalist Jihadists, they overwhelmingly backed Assad. The people chose and they are still doing it every day in their blood and treasure. As it is, the US military in Syria is now in the role of the ISIS Protection Detail. Sad but true.
              If Sanders is so keen on fighting ISIS, then he should get the Pentagon to stop protecting them. I will go so far as to say that if the US, the UK and France got their troops out of Syria, that the Syrians & their allies would get rid of them in a year or two.
              I have read the interview at and Sanders has well and truly drunk the kool aid. In fact, he is totally “with her” and is still endorsing her two years after the election.

              Reply
          3. scarn

            They are based on the idea that any change in Syrian government would be instigated by the US, which I have so far seen no evidence Bernie Sanders has supported.

            What part of ‘yes we have to get rid of Assad..’ leaves the US out of we? He’s being plenty clear. Perhaps you just don’t want to hear him.

            Clarion calls for immediate total change of the status quo are pretty popular, actually. Bernie does that where he thinks he should, and that’s what has made him the most popular US Senator. He does not do that on foreign policy because he doesn’t think that he should – not because he has some secret political agenda, but because he agrees with Imperial policy. Those of us who think that US Imperial policy is grossly immoral, murderous, and built for the interests of segments of the rich will oppose that. Opposing that, at a minimum, means criticizing any politician who supports such policies, including Bernie. Like all politicians, Bernie isn’t going to change his actions on this stuff unless his mind is changed or he is compelled to do so. Surely, antiwar politics consist of heckuva a lot more than ‘easy criticisms’. Some of us have spent decades (and gone to jail) fighting this stuff, and implying everyone is merely sitting in chairs all day staring at computer screens simply because we recognize the truth about a politician you like is uncool.

            Reply
            1. ChrisPacific

              Agreed. “We have to get rid of Assad,” said by a US politician in the context of recent events in the region, has a specific and well-understood meaning. Sanders is too smart a politician not to know that. He knows what he is saying.

              I am a Sanders fan but I have been consistently disappointed by his foreign policy positions, and this is just the latest one in that category. It would be nice to imagine that he’s saying all this stuff in order to fly under the radar and plans to appoint someone like Tulsi Gabbard as Secretary of State if he wins the presidency. But I think that’s getting too far into the realm of wishful thinking. We should at least consider the possibility that he is saying this kind of thing because he believes it.

              To Elizabeth’s point, if I was a US victim of the neoliberal nightmare that teams R and D have inflicted on America then I would almost certainly take a continuation of the current awful foreign policy as an acceptable price to pay for Sanders’ domestic agenda. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep up the pressure.

              Reply
              1. scarn

                Friend, I stopped trying to second guess these politicians after 2008. It’s easier for me to believe what they tell me. I believe that Sanders wants medicare for all because he says so and he fights for it. I also believe Sanders when he indicates that he believes our overseas evils can be better managed. If he’s fooling me and is actually on the side of the angels, then I’ll be pleasantly surprised. But I really think that’s mining fools’ gold. I’ll keep up that pressure and try and *make* him do what I think is right.

                if I was a US victim of the neoliberal nightmare that teams R and D have inflicted on America then I would almost certainly take a continuation of the current awful foreign policy as an acceptable price to pay for Sanders’ domestic agenda

                Perhaps, but they make that trade with our lives too. They send our bodies and souls off to kill and die for it. That intersection between oppressed working class Americans and war propaganda, war service, and nationalism is complicated and confusing. I don’t have a really good way to talk to people about it. Mostly I just listen to them. But I do know that nobody wants to die for Boeing.

                Reply
          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            @Elizabeth Burton,

            Colonel (Ret.) Pat Lang and some of the Guest Posters and also commenters at Sic Semper Tyrannis have written a number of posts about various aspects of the Syria subject. That might be a place to get detailed information.

            Another place might be the Syria Comment blog by professor Landis. To me the problem with that blog is that it goes into such excruciating micro-mini detail about this and that . . . . it is as if Professor Landis is describing and analyzing every single grain of sand on the beach. If you have the patience for that sort of thing, here it is.

            Reply
      3. todde

        Are you saying that makes me no different from the likes of the plutocrats and oligarchs who don’t care who they kill as long as the profits keep pouring in?

        Anybody gonna get killed? If so, are you going to be the one to do it?

        Reply
      4. Harold

        I did not know that his statement was taken out of context and that he had added that it’s not the US’s job to do it (– or NATOs, I would add, or to become involved in any such project.)

        Reply
      5. Darthbobber

        Practically, taking the line Sanders takes leaves him perfectly free to oppose any tangible plan for regime change in practice, while not ruling out some utterly undefined form of opposition in theory. (Russia has always also seemed amenable to some future face change of the regime, within certain limits.)

        Reply
        1. pjay

          Assad is the *legitimate* ruler of Syria. He has the support of the majority of the Syrian people. He did *nothing* to threaten the U.S. or NATO nations. What legal right do we have to insist on “regime change”?

          Yes, the “liberal” or pseudo-left position in the propaganda war is: “Assad (substitute Hussein, Milosevic, Gaddafi, Putin, etc., etc.) is an evil vicious sadistic thug. He needs to go… but I don’t want the U.S. to start bombing people. Maybe we could all get together and… ” Mission accomplished. You’ve justified “regime change” for the warmongers to the “liberal” intelligensia without having to deal with the real world yourself (including the historical and geopolitical realities that are really behind the Syrian chaos).

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            But since I see no sign that Sanders supports intervention in Syria, I really don’t get the point. And I see no sign that the people promoting that nonsense require any justification.

            Again, I don’t know why people insist as seeing electoral politicians as the leaders on such issues.

            Nothing Sanders says is incompatible with something as nebulous as suggesting the holding of elections.

            Reply
            1. JB

              Bernie is the only voice with a platform to denounce what is transpiring in Yemen, and criticize the U.S./Saudi alliance. I’m not convinced that removing Assad from Syria would be at the top of Bernie’s list if/when he were to take office in January 2021, which is still far enough away that the situation may change. I say that because Gareth Porter is reporting that Trump is calling on the Sec of Defense (Mattis) and Joint Chiefs of Staff to starting pulling the U.S. out of its wars and military conflicts in the Middle East and Africa…and Mattis et al. are “resisting” Trump’s calls, arguing that the U.S. will incur a terrorist attack (Times Square!) if we were to pull out. If this continues, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Trump uses the bully pulpit to start dissing Mattis like he has so many others (e.g., Tillerson, Sessions), forcing a resignation, and pushing harder for change in the foreign policy of permanent war. I find it hard to believe Bernie really wants to get dirty in Syria, but even if he does, landscape may not allow for it in 2 years, it could be the equivalent of political suicide if the situation is much cooler.

              Reply
      6. neo-realist

        I’m guessing that Bernie believes he has to give the MIC some of what it wants in order to be barely acceptable as a figurehead for the country. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good; He’s the best by far of a mediocre lot of candidates on domestic policy – economic, health care, infrastructure, jobs, etc.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps if “everyone” wrote landmails and emails to all feasible Bernie-reaching addresses and destinations about the harmfulness of “Assad must go”, some of them might reach his staff and some of those staff might even pass them up for Bernie’s own look-see and rethink.

          Maybe.

          Someone in a position to do so should also interview Bernie in person at length to see where his “Assad must go” comes from. He has defied the Blob on other things so why would he accept this thing from fear of the Blob? One wonders if his view is forever discolored by his memories of the World War II time . . . when a Great Alliance defeated the Evil Awful Hitler. Perhaps he really thinks this is another case of Great Alliance needed to defeat an Evil Awful.
          If that is the reason, that would make him a True Believer in Assad Must Go . . . who might not be persuadable otherwise.

          Someone should really try finding out.

          Reply
      7. Roland

        One thing for sure: the Syrian government is not, nor has ever been, any sort of meaningful threat to your country.

        Another thing: there is no way the Ba’ath government in Syria could have survived six years of civil war unless it enjoyed some real and substantial popular support. If you had paid attention to Syrian events in 2011, you would have noticed that the pro-government street demonstrations weren’t much smaller than the anti-government demos.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          To be fair, none of our adversaries that we’ve gone to war with since post WW2 have been any meaningful threat to our country.

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            No, not a “threat to ‘our country,’” which of course belongs to the 0.1% and “they” are not “us,” and in fact constitute an actual and mortal and proximate threat to “us,” the mope inhabitants of this nation.

            But if one accepts the neocon-Neoliberal formulation that a “threat or inconvenience to interests of nominally US but actually supranational corporations’ “ is a threat to the “nation,” that wondrous sleight of Bernaysian BS hand, then I guess that one could say the statement is “true, from a certain point of view.” Like, as I noted on a slightly different subject the other day, Honorable Obi Wan Kenobi saying to Luke Skywalker who has just been told that his father Darth Vader is in fact alive after Obi Wan said he was dead, “What I told you was true, from a certain point of view.” Lies, damned lies and Big Whoppers stuffed with cognitive dissonance and Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt and a side rasher of horse manure…

            And this “woke” Vietnam vet asks that people stop using the phrase “OUR adversaries.” Those Slopes and Hajjis and Wogs might be people who have reason to hate the actions of the people who own and rule us, and people like myself who signed up to “defend the Nation,” puke, but there is no way they are “my” or “your” personal or even tribal “adversaries.” Victims, maybe, opponents daring to resist invasion and chaos induction in their native lands. The collection of heat sources targeted by the guy or gal in the trailer in Utah who pickles off a couple of Hellfires and calls in Apaches or A-10s to make sure they are all dead in pieces, over there in some supposedly sovereign nation 7,000 miles away where “WE” have no [email protected] right (except “might and power”) to be involved, is not any kind of “adversary.” And when some trainee Afghan whips around and kills a couple of invading GIs who are “training” him to conduct counterinsurgency and oppression on his homeboys, and whose “brothers and sisters in arms” have maybe killed his family members, I have to say “tough sh!t” to those imperial troops. Whose corpses and wounds then become the putrid fake news dishonest stuff of ice cream to pack into the self-licking ice cream cone of Imperal Outreach.

            And “we” maybe “do violence” and “project power” onto those “adversaries/targets/victims,” but War? That nominally requires a declaration by Congress, also missing in action and now apparently nugatory. (Remember, of course, that the Pentagram’s own Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms does not even DEFINE “war” or “victory’ or even “success.” But there are endless definitions and acronyms that define the PROCESSES and ‘threats” and “complexities” of doing th idiocy that is Imperial attempts at Full Spectrum Domnance, many of which use those terms, along with undefined “national interest,” in defining and parameterizing all the Milbabble daffynitions in the rest of that huge tome…

            Too bad “We” have not “gone to war with actual adversaries like KSA and that “only democracy in the Middle East…”

            Reply
        2. Darthbobber

          Yes. Polling from Syria about two and a half years back (flogged in some media as “majority of Syrians oppose Assad”) actually showed him with the support of a decent plurality of the population. And significantly more than any of the forces that put themselves forward as alternatives. Our vetted and branded Free Syrian Army nitwits, in spite of having their very own logo, fared the worst of all.

          Reply
        3. Darthbobber

          Yes. The last effort I saw at polling in the country was about two and a half years back. And while Assad couldn’t claim the support of a majority, he had a very healthy plurality, well ahead of any combination of groups who might plausibly have been able to tolerate each other well enough to govern. And our branded, vetted “Free Syrian Army” clients were near the bottom of a rather long list of possibilities.

          Reply
        4. Darthbobber

          More recent polling effort.

          Of the defined forces that are actually Syrian, Assad has the largest positive support of any, though he’s also underwater, with high negatives.

          Better breakout of the methodology would be useful. “The opposition” taken as a generic thing roughly matches Assad’s numbers. But when broken out into specific opposition’s, which are what actually exist, each of those fares much worse.

          Note also that of the external actors Russia, Turkey and even Iran are significantly more popular than our so-called international coalition.

          Our favored “Syrian democratic forces” also don’t look to be winning a lot of hearts and minds, beating out only Al nusra and daesh.

          Reply
    3. RUKidding

      I have long voiced my concerns about Sanders, but hey: he did/is doing what no one else in that generation is doing. And he has had some small victories.

      Yet and still: Ugh. Yes. It’s just disheartening to witness that.

      Oh Bernie, whither thou next??

      Reply
    4. Oregoncharles

      Emma Goldman will continue to be right as long as people continue succumbing to habit and voting within the duopoly.

      Why would anyone think that doing the same old thing will have different results? (I don’t think that’s really the “definition of insanity;” I think it’s all too normal, our default mode.) Note that this has nothing to do with personalities or particular people. As long a we play by their rules, they win.

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        Though when folks didn’t succumb, and stormed the winter palace, I think she found those results deeply disappointing as well.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          The Bolsheviks were still Russian, and their government was still a Russian autocracy. Things do seem to be improving over time, though.

          Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    Only Tom Cruise can save the F-35

    Pentagon grounds ALL F-35 fighter jets in wake of crash last month – including those in active combat

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Good news everyone! The US Air Force has just discovered an old, abandoned aircraft-hanger stacked with Korean War-era F-86 Sabre jets so in case of war, they will now have jets to fly that they know will work.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          There’s an F-4 off the side of Hwy 99 in Tulare that’s been sitting there for 30 years or so, maybe Devin has some pull with the Pentagon?

          Reply
  5. mle detroit

    “UPS My Choice gives consumers a one-day alert for when a package is coming and allows them to control the timing and location of the delivery.”.

    If, and only if, the recipient wants to pay $5 for that control.

    Reply
  6. Carey

    WRT Our Democrats and today’s links- was it our WC host who said “when someone
    shows you who they are, believe them.”? Maybe someone else, but the Dems™ are
    showing us.

    “less corruption, now!” #GiantMeteor2018

    Reply
    1. mister charlie

      WHAT do we WANT?
      LESS corRUPTion.
      WHEN do we WANT it?
      NOW!

      It’s got a beat. Not sure you can dance (or march) to it.

      Reply
    2. Darius

      Comment eated in the JD Alt article. Democrats want Republicans to set the agenda then they’ll meet them halfway. Always passive, those ones.

      Reply
    3. RUKidding

      Less corruption, but apparently some corruption is acceptable.

      Sorta like: “Four legs good, two legs better.”

      Reply
  7. DJG

    And the Democrats offer even more warmed-over gruel. I was e-blasted by MoveOn earlier:

    Or we can choose to support Democrats running across the country on the platform that health care is a human right, many of them fighting for comprehensive affordable health care, which a vast majority of Americans want.

    I decided to boldface the weasel words, although I doubt that we commenting groundlings require all that much help.

    Reply
    1. Phil In KC

      Here in the midwest, the real weasel words are “affordable health insurance. Yeah, you can afford the insurance, but good luck using it, ’cause its crap. A $6500 annual deductible and massive copays. This because someone decided that people have to have “skin in the game.” Yet nearly half the population can’t scrape together $400 for an emergency car repair (according to the Fed Reserve). Hardly anyone in Congress with any influence seems to understand that, though.

      Reply
        1. polecat

          Yes, slowly at first .. then all at once !
          .. unless it’s a fatal heart attack, which, for the afflicted, is a blessing .. at least in my book.

          Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        The period between the onset of physical inability to work and death. I’m told by scribes that it briefly had a different meaning (for maybe 60 or so years of recorded history, in certain portions of the world), but that’s pretty much what we’re looking at.

        Reply
  8. Brindle

    re: Democrats Have a Latino Problem…

    Wish the survey/ polls had a gender breakdown. Just to be blunt I think Latino men identify to some degree with Trump’s machismo attitude. I have lived in Hispanic neighborhoods and the relationships between men and women have a very traditional dynamic. Also many born in the USA hispanics resent the undocumented migrants—it’s a complex issue and the Hispanic community is not monolithic in any sense of the word.

    Reply
    1. DonCoyote

      Remember, Trump go 29/30% of the Latino vote in 2016 (60% of Trump voters were women or people of color). So, from one point of view, 36% is not that much of a gain from that baseline. And your point about the Hispanic community not being monolithic in any case is on point. As with other groups, class may be a better indicator than race/ethnicity.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigration. Cesar Chavez was not a member of the Upper Class, nor was he a secret agent of the Upper Class.

        Reply
        1. s.n.

          Cesar Chavez was not a member of the Upper Class, nor was he a secret agent of the Upper Class.

          in the beginning. not so sure about that at the end. See Frank Bardacke’s “Trampling Out the Vintage”…

          Reply
    2. curlydan

      I’ve done some research at work on Latinos and in particular their “acculturation” levels. Highly acculturated Latinos are in large part…just plain Americans. They don’t like getting mail/email in Spanish. They’ve been here for generations, and many no doubt “resent the undocumented migrants” as Brindle points out.

      I think certain people and no doubt the Democratic Party consultant class loves to carve out this segment of the population out as something unique and a distinct target. Probably not going to work.

      Reply
      1. Another Scott

        I got into an argument with someone a few years ago who argued about the demographics is destiny argument. He supported it based upon the idea that Latinos would make an increasing percentage of the population. I disagreed, with the brunt of my argument boiling down to: “the divide between voter in the US isn’t white vs. non-white, it’s black vs. non-black.” In other words, that the definition of whiteness has histrionically increased and will likely do so again with many Latinos, especially light-skinned ones increasing being viewed by themselves and others as white.

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          I’d refine it to urban white in blue states and black vs. non-black in the rest of the country. Urban whites in blue cities in blue states are more likely to vote along the lines of blacks for candidates that support policies that benefit cities—public transit and infrastructure spending, health care reform and civil rights.

          Reply
    3. Elizabeth Burton

      I seem to recall reading at some point in the past that many if not most Latino voters are conservatives. My admittedly cursory observations recently seem to reinforce that. It would also explain why states like Texas and Arizona continue to stay red despite huge Latino populations.

      Reply
        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Yes, well, according to a friend of mine who’s a native of the city, that’s only to be expected. :-)

          Reply
      1. Olga

        Well, actually the main reason Texas is red is not because Latinos are conservative… it is because they simply DO NOT VOTE. It is amazing how difficult it seems for many of them to see that a good government would make a huge difference in their lives. Most of them have not seen anything close to resembling “a good govt.” in their lifetimes and have no reason to expect anything different. If most of them voted, TX would long ago be blue…

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Most of them have not seen anything close to resembling “a good govt.” in their lifetimes and have no reason to expect anything different.

          Perhaps the Democrats should have provided one, the last time they had a chance.

          Reply
  9. Matthew G. Saroff

    The background on Jealous is pretty simple:
    * He is running a nearly invisible campaign.
    * The party establishment hates him because he is too progressive, and they like their roles as undisputed leaders of the Democratic Party in Maryland, so they would actually prefer Hogan.
    * Ben Jealous is a black man in Maryland running for state wide office.

    Reply
    1. xformbykr

      * He is running a nearly invisible campaign.

      Reminds one of the Sanders campaign, relatively invisible on MSM. Same thing with Jealous? At the same time, we don’t see as many ads for him as for Hogan on DC stations which do reach many Maryland voters.
      But my shows lots of campaign activity, canvassers, etc.

      (Your other two bullets seem correct.)

      Reply
  10. marym

    Kemp is Georgia Secretary of State, the state’s top elections official. He has decreased the overall number of voters in Georgia since 2012 by more than 1 million — all while purging the rolls in a way that has predominantly affected black residents. Kemp is also the Republican nominee for governor. Democrat Stacey Abrams, the first African American woman nominated by a major party for that job anywhere in the country, is competing against a rival who is also the referee.

    Arkansas’ highest court on Thursday upheld a voter ID law that is nearly identical to a restriction struck down by the court four years ago.

    The 5-2 decision from the Arkansas Supreme Court means the law, which requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, will remain in effect in this year’s midterm election. Unlike the measure struck down in 2014, the law approved last year allows voters to cast provisional ballots without a photo ID if they sign a sworn statement confirming their identities.

    Reply
  11. Matthew G. Saroff

    My theory is that Kyrsten Sinema is being hurt by Manchin’s cave on Kavanaugh.

    Her (rather meager) record in congress shows her to be a ConservaDem, literally a Blue Dog, and Democrats are simply not enthused about her as a result.

    Reply
      1. edmondo

        Martha McSally probably is.

        I got my Vote-by-Mail ballot yesterday for AZ-02. My choices to turn the tide were Sinema and Ann Kirkpatrick. I have voted in every election since 1972. I shredded the ballot so I wouldn’t be tempted to return it. No, any Blue won’t do.

        Reply
  12. Expat2uruguay


    “Chris hedges : corporate totalitarianism: the end game”
    I’ve watched 3 or 4 videos of Chris Hedges since his new book came out, America the Farewell Tour, but this is by far the best one yet. I thought it was really powerful, but I did imbide in the flower… interested in what others think.

    Reply
      1. Expat2uruguay

        I feel like in the earlier ones that I have seen he’s been exploring what he has to say, but in this one he really pulls it all together.
        At 1:01 he unequivocally calls for *Revolution* against the Corporate State using tactics of Mass Civil Disobedience similar to the kxl?pipeline protest.
        And in the last 5 minutes he answers questions like, what do you recommend for ethical investing, and are you proud to be an American? Loved his answers!

        Reply
        1. Olga

          I’ve followed him for yrs, and mostly agree. But I have a major quibble with his solutions – in his speeches, he often uses E Europe (I think he spent some time w Havel) and the overthrow of the socialist govts in late 1980s as an example of how to carry out a change. The only problem with that is that those changes reflected a long-term western campaign to destroy the socialist world. So there is a bit (actually, a lot) of circular logic. He invokes the destruction of socialism – which was carried out by the western capital – as an example of how to destroy the western capital rule. Not make sense – it is a huge blind spot in his otherwise good analysis.

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            And in the waning days of the “socialist Bloc” the repressive apparatus proved no longer willing to do the repressing.

            For all the blather about the non-overthrowability of “totalitarian” states, they departed from power with vastly less resistance than many governments.

            Reply
      1. EricT

        The judge should tell the lawyers defending roundup that he’ll reduce the settlement if they drink a tall glass of it in court. Let them prove that roundup is benign.

        Reply
  13. Wandering Mind

    the Chinese, the biggest holder of United States foreign debt with more than $1 trillion, publicly taking a step back from buying United States Treasuries — or worse, dumping what they own in the open market…

    I have tried to game out how this would work, exactly. First of all, what would the Chinese get in exchange for these Treasuries if they take the “dump” option? If you say dollars, then all they have done is shift from an instrument that pays interest in dollars to an instrument (a reserve account at the Fed) which pays less interest in dollars.

    Secondly, if the Chinese decide they are not going to hold dollars or greatly reduce the dollar component of their foreign reserve holdings, would that not drive up the value of the yen, euro, etc that they are buying with all of those dollars?

    Finally, does not the Fed have the unlimited firepower to buy any and all Federal debt on the open market and in effect set the value/interest rate on that debt?

    I don’t see this scenario playing out in the “scary” way that Andrew Ross Sorkin implies that it would, and I think that his entire article turns on the false premise that the U.S. “needs” China in order to buy its debt, as if the United States was like a corporation instead of a sovereign currency issuing entity which has the unlimited capacity to purchase things denominated in that currency.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There may come a time that the Chinese Communist Party will have to decide whether to save itself and make a deal with Trump, or to save Xi (and let the party go down with him).

      Reply
    2. johnnygl

      You’ve got this right. As soon as China is prepared to raise the value of their own currency, they can start selling off treasuries. When that happens, the export-based economic model they’ve cultivated for decades gets a severe beating.

      If they try to buy other currencies, like yen and eur, as a substitute for usd securities, then those currencies get pushed higher. We don’t have to look too far in the past to see what kind of swift action the ECB and BOJ will take in response.

      Reply
    3. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thanks, WM. I have also been considering various hypotheticals, but think China’s leaders will continue to prefer a waiting game. In response to Lambert’s question, “What would “Master Sun” say?” I suspect it might be something along these lines: “Do not commence war without due consideration of all the factors and elements that will determine the outcome,” (which of course would seem to apply equally to both parties).

      One possibility:

      …”Hi, Jay. Steve Mnuchin here. Eleven (Xi) is selling a third of their Treasuries. Would you reinstate the Fed’s purchases immediately to accommodate him. We expect this will partially correct China’s suppression of the yuan to offset our tariffs. But in the event they do something unexpected or potentially disruptive with the dollars they receive, we just wanted to give you a heads up.”

      China’s subsequent policy options:

      — Freeze exports of toys and women’s slippers to the U.S. ahead of the Holiday Season.
      — Freeze exports of rare earths and key industrial components.
      — Freeze transfers of capital from Western transnational corporations out of China.
      — Accelerate development of an alternative to SWIFT and FedWire.
      — Buy gold with the U.S. dollars.
      — Use the U.S. dollars to fund “New Silk Road” infrastructure, particularly ports facilities; and to fund further development and purchases of strategic assets globally.

      I have regarded China’s large $USD reserves to be primarily a “D-E-F-E-N-S-E!” strategy that was adopted to prevent problems similar to those experienced by East Asian countries that led to the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s.

      I do think it significant that China just tested the global bond markets for access to US dollar debt, and that Xi is meeting with Trump in late November, although why will probably only be revealed with the passage of time.

      Reply
      1. knowbuddhau

        It’s my understanding that Sun-Tzu is said to have said, “Do not go to battle until you’ve already won.”

        Reply
  14. kurtismayfield

    “Ahead of Canada’s legalization date, cannabis suppliers struggle to meet demand”

    We have the problem of dragging feet here in Massachusetts. The state finally approved , even though the pot home brew laws went into effect much earlier. This comes after they . . It feels like they are being dragged kicking and screaming into a new lucrative tax revenue source.

    Reply
    1. Chris

      I have a teenage daughter. I know her and her friends and her peers pretty well. I have no idea what the person in that article was talking about. Teenage girls are vicious to each other and outsiders. Friends and foes alike are treated awfully. It’s mean girls all the way down. If that’s the future then God help us all.

      Reply
  15. bronco

    Go buy some framing lumber and tell me its cheap.

    Sheet goods like plywood and OSB are very high. 14$ a sheet for 7/16 OSB that I remember paying 6.99 for a few years ago

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Well, 2 things:

      1. The article was talking about one specific region of the country in the SE – where are you geographically?

      2. The article was about prices paid to producers/growers – at the retail level the sellers will always charge what the market will bear, and the whole point of cozy little oligopolies is being able to set prices high and not undercut each other.

      Reply
    2. polecat

      Here in our little PNW port, all the stacks, and stacks, and stacks of logs get hauled-off and shipped-out to all points Asia ..
      Meanwhile, there are fewer and fewer lumber mills (especially smaller, locally run ones) left … What we really need, are incentives to keep these smaller mills open, producing value-added finished products that can then be sold locally/nationally, with perhaps some exported overseas. Instead, what I see is all this raw material exported, much of which is manufactured into cheap imported junk sold back to us, while our community relies on the ‘tourist trade’ for much of the year, as our local indusry dies !

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        It’s exactly the same problem here in British Columbia. Raw logs going west to the east. Small sawmills in most small towns already having disappeared many years ago, because we have to specialize in dimension lumber for the US market, dontcha know. And, of course, we have to cut more and more each year faster and faster.

        Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        In the book Two Years Before The Mast, the sailing ship author Richard Henry Dana signed on, was a proto-Wal*Mart full of finished Boston manufactured goods that were sold to the Californios in exchange for cow hides valued @ $2 a piece, and he related that they would sell a pair of nice shoes made from California cow hides from prior voyages-to them for $3, and you could make a dozen shoes out of a full hide.

        Comes around-goes around

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Only rigid protectionism would work. By banning the entry of foreign wood-made items, a vacuum would be created for American wood-based item makers to rise up and fill.

        Reply
  16. a different chris

    >College at an Ivy League was a walk in the park compared to high school.

    Yes and that’s why it turns out complete idiots. Who grab whatever costume (D, R) is closest to hand and infest our lives whilst congratulating each other e.g. Michelle Obama, Harvard and her partner in crime, GWB, Yale.

    God help us.

    Reply
    1. ChrisPacific

      That article made me queasy – most of all the degree to which the author seems to excuse and even admire much of the culture.

      I stopped watching ‘Thirteen Reasons’ because I thought it was ridiculously overblown and no school environment would be that bad, but everything I’ve read in articles like this could have been lifted right out of that show (or vice versa). The idea that it might actually be an accurate reflection of some school system, somewhere, is terrifying. And young children are being raised to adulthood in this kind of environment! No wonder so many of them end up sociopaths, or suicidal.

      Reply
  17. a different chris

    >They will not support his removal–and they will certainly not support court-packing

    Pack the court when elections are 18 months off. That’s a long, long time. People will have 100 reasons in 2022 on why they are voting that rank well before “we have had 11 Supreme court justices for the last year and a half!!”. Nobody will care at that point.

    What a bunch of scared babies.

    Reply
  18. Synoia

    PDATE “Today, I have re-registered as a Democrat – I had been a member for most of my life – because we need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs.” [Michael Bloomberg].

    Yes, but
    1. Do Democrats need Michael Bloomberg?
    2. Does our nation need checks and balances or outright reform?

    Reply
  19. Carolinian

    Re MIchelle/Dubya.

    Club….not in it….etc.

    However I seem to recall there was an occasion when Obama gave Jimmy Carter the cold shoulder so perhaps she’s talking about a different club than the “formers.”

    Meanwhile: prospects for Haley’s replacement–not pretty.

    Reply
  20. Tomonthebeach

    “A third of Maryland Democrats are backing the Republican governor.”
    Not sure why this is surprising. If things are improving in the state, smart people could care less what party is running things. Believe me, MD needs improving.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      Hogan is the suburban sprawl governor. Terrible for public transportation and the working class. But managerial class suburban liberals who are the Democrats’ base don’t care a bit about that. Hogan’s been pretty good at virtue signaling. He also scratches that bipartisanship itch so cherished by Democrats.

      Reply
  21. Jeff W

    Donald Trump led the effort to throw 32 million Americans off of the health care they have in order to pay for massive tax breaks for billionaires and large corporations.

    Dammit Bernie. Federal taxes don’t pay for Federal spending.

    Whether or not federal taxes pay for federal spending, that seems like an accurate description of what Trump and Republicans were willing to do, given how they talk about federal taxes and federal spending (whether they believe it or not). It doesn’t matter if it’s true, it matters that it is consistent with what they espouse, however incorrectly, and from that point of view, they are “throw[ing] 32 million Americans off of…health care…order to pay for massive tax breaks for billionaires and large corporations.” Given that these people and the media employ that “federal taxes fund federal spending” frame, cynically or sincerely, all the time, for anything regular people might want, I really don’t have a problem with Bernie employing it against them.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe, under the current MMT monetary setup*, Sanders’ narrative would perpetuate the misconception, and the response could turn out to be, let’s cut health careto pay for green infrastructure projects in order to save the planet.

      At the point, we could say, well, we don’t need to. We could just print money.

      That, however, reduces our credibility.

      *An alternative setup, a slightly different MMT, would be for the people to spend money into existence. It can be still considered as embracing the core MMT principles, except to modify one operation procedure (who should spend money into existence).

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      It’s political reality vs. economics. If Congress insists on pay/go, then in practice federal have to paid for in taxes. Regressive, but why would they care?

      As Lambert has pointed out before, Bernie is a politician and that’s what he’s talking about.

      Reply
  22. Oregoncharles

    AZ Senate: The Green’s 4% is not enough to make the difference between 41% and 47%.

    Since the race is a lesson in the value of Ranked Choice Voting, I almost wish it was.

    Incidentally: how did RCV fare in Maine’s recent primaries, Lambert?

    Reply
  23. ewmayer

    Re. “The Unknowable Fallout of China’s Trade War Nuclear Option” [Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times]” — If the Fed can print $3-4 trillion to buy up Treasuries and MBS during the GFC without breaking a sweat, what’s to keep them from setting a bid under the Treasury market by gobbling up such an attempted debt dump? Nothing, that’s what. Surely the Chinese financial authorities know this, so this is all just jawboning in an attempt to get Trump to ease off the sanctions.

    I’m think Charlie Chan is a better potential reference here than Sun Tzu. :) Dunno if he ever said anything like this, but I can picture the character opining along the lines of “best make sure gun not point at self before pulling trigger.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      “Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.”

      Sun Tzu

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

      Sun Tzu

      My favourite Sun Tzu quote.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        As in, make him gifts of the things he wants and those he needs until he forgets how to make them for himself. You will have defeated him without lifting a sword, and when you wish to destroy him utterly, simply stop giving him the gifts.

        Reply
  24. ewmayer

    “The Supreme Court Post-Kavanaugh: A Grand Strategy for the Left” [Benjamin Studebaker] …. For now, the move is to be patient with respect to the court and return to our bread and butter mass issues–healthcare, inequality, and wages.”

    How about actually trying to win some elections, o master strategerist Ben? You know, by not force-nominating odious, corrupt, out-of-touch elitist establishment candidates?

    Geez, these people are hopeless.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      And when has BigD ever really focused on

      bread and butter mass issues–healthcare, inequality, and wages.

      I mean: in any REAL way that truly benefits the proles?

      That would either be: a) never, or at best, b) not in a very very very long time.

      So even THAT suggestion is utter hogwash.

      Reply
  25. RUKidding

    The W connection between both allegedly “fabulous” ‘Schelle & Creepy Joe Biden is just vomit-inducing.

    To quote ‘Schelle: “My partner in crime.”

    No sh*t Shellock. Got it.

    Biden 2020?? Oh please. Not that. For SURE Trump would be a shoe-in. OTOH, perhaps that’s the plan? BigD can roll over once again and have a pity party about how it’s “not our fault” bc they “can’t do anything because meanie-bully Republicans…” Or something.

    Puke.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Once again: Since Clinton, and prevaiingly since WWII, the duopoly parties just trade the Presidency back and forth, 2 full terms at a time. Including some very questionable elections, like 2000.

      So yes, I think that’s very likely.

      Reply
  26. Lee

    “Self-healing material can build itself from carbon in the air” [MIT Technology Review].

    Based on the description provided raises the question: aren’t they just reinventing the tree?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In many ways, the human body is a self-sealing one as well.

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work where one needs it. For example, on one’s dome, when hair no longer grows.

      Reply
    2. polecat

      I’d bet a couple of quatloos that DARPA is looking closely at this research, thinking of how it might fit with the notion of a robot that can ‘auto-repair’ in ‘the field’ ..

      “Zyborg, heal thyself”

      Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Probably have to ask the English or the French, both of whom participated in the Hundred Years’ War.

      That’s like three, four or five generations.

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        Hopefully the historians in 2400 don’t have to revise that to the First Hundred Years War or The Hundred Years War I.

        Reply
    2. Carey

      Almost as hysterically funny as the idea of using F-35s, at what, $135-200 million apiece,
      for close air support™. Setting aside the question of why “we” do it at all.

      Reply
    3. ewmayer

      Well, they do have the phrase “wit haben uns totgelacht” (we died laughing), which kinda fits the tragicomic theme.

      Reply
  27. Wukchumni

    Well, seeing as most stock crashes come in the fall, what’s another 546 points down in the scheme of things?

    Reply
  28. Wukchumni

    Human rights groups have warned that a mental-health crisis on the Pacific island of Nauru is exploding as hundreds of asylum seekers stranded there lose hope of making it to their intended destination: Australia.

    Despite those concerns, however, Nauruan authorities demanded that staff members of Doctors Without Borders cease their operations on the island, the humanitarian group announced Wednesday.

    The group, which provided psychiatric and psychological assistance to the local population and asylum seekers, said the decision will jeopardize the safety of many patients who relied on its doctors for urgent treatment. At least 78 people under the group’s care have contemplated suicide or “engaged in self-harm or attempted suicide,” Doctors Without Borders — which goes by its French initials, MSF, for Médecins Sans Frontières — said in a statement.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Nauru is interesting to me for an odd reason, as it’s a riches to rags tale…

    In 1967, the people of Nauru purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners, and in June 1970 control passed to the locally owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC). Income from the mines made Nauruans among the richest people in the world

    When the phosphate reserves were exhausted, and the island’s environment had been seriously harmed by mining, the trust that had been established to manage the island’s wealth diminished in value. To earn income, Nauru briefly became a tax haven and illegal money laundering centre.

    Reply
  29. Massinissa

    Sigh… Theres a video game made by supporters of Bolsonaro in Brazil, where you play Bolsonaro and beat up hordes of leftists. The game, and Valve which owns the platform the game is being sold on, is being investigated by the Brazilian government for trying to incite political violence.

    Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    “They are lying every day. They are lying always, and mainly they are lying to their public opinion.”

    Mohammed Saeed al-Sahar

    Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    ““Maybe Girls Will Save Us”” (Speaking in general, trusting that Lambert’s sample is representative):

    Giving women the vote has made remarkably little change in our politics, aside from the huge mistake of Prohibition. The Kavanaugh nomination is just the latest example. That said, it SHOULD make a difference, because the sexes have somewhat different agendas.

    Rather famously, aid funds do more good when given to women, because they use them to improve their families’ prospects and men tend to drink them up (Prohibition, again). On the whole. But we know that female heads of state have been about as bloodyminded as male ones, including Secretaries of State. In fact, she was bloodier than Bill, who at least appeared to be reluctant to intervene in Yugoslavia. So social structures, like politics, tend to overrule gender agendas.

    OTOH, since the 70’s we’ve conducted a massive experiment in gender roles. That SHOULD make a difference; certainly young women should now consider their interests much less identified with their (prospective) husbands’. So I don’t think they, or anyone, will “save us,” but I do think it’s about time they participated fully. The proportion of women in politics in this country is embarrassing. Changing that would make me more optimistic.

    Reply
  32. Anthony K Wikrent

    My understanding is that the Chinese stopped buying U.S. debt instruments over a year ago. Can anyone confirm or correct this?

    Reply
      1. JCC

        Not to mention that they are piling up on an historical medium of exchange while limiting the piling up of the new medium of exchange.

        Reply
  33. Wukchumni

    One of the longer suffering Bills fans…

    Merkel, 83, passed away on Sunday in North Carolina. Originally from Rochester, New York, Merkel’s obituary notes he was a diehard fan of the Syracuse Orange and the Bills.

    Lee was an avid fisherman and sports enthusiast who had a religious-like devotion to the Syracuse Orange and his beloved Buffalo Bills.

    Shortly after mentioning his love for the Bills, Merkel’s obituary ends with a request for Bills players to attend his funeral for a specific reason.

    Lee has requested six Buffalo Bills players as pall bearers so they can let him down one last time.

    Reply
  34. The Rev Kev

    “Former VP @joebiden will present this year’s #LibertyMedal award to former President George W. Bush and former First Lady @laurawbush for their commitment to veterans.”

    This is only right as George W. Bush did so much to create so many of those veterans.

    Reply
  35. Charlie

    MD Governer:

    Now, we don’t have to believe the polls, given their recent failures, but Jealous blew it with the “I would govern like a venture capitalist” comment.

    Being a native and present Marylander, I can vouch for the fact that most Marylanders aren’t that bright. Basically, all Hogan had to do to achieve popularity among Democrats happened early in his term, lowering tolls on the bay bridge. That’s pretty much all he has done.

    Jealous’ message may resonate, but they don’t believe he’s actually being truthful. You know, like that Dem named HRC.

    Reply

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