Tuesday , March 19 2019
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Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether



Articles by Lambert Strether

Links 3/18/19

2 days ago

Patient readers, we just this instant switched on the codes for a new advertising vendor. A very much unintended and unexpected side effect is that some of you may be seeing video and other pop-ups. We were very clear in that these types of ads were not allowed. We are working to make them go away as fast as we can, because we know how much you hate them (and we do too)! –lambert
Update by Yves: The site seems to load faster with the new ads (the ads were what would slow down loading times), so once we get the popups sorted out (which thank God are appearing only on the landing page and so aren’t interfering with reading articles), this should be a net plus to readers once we get past transition issues.
Stonehenge-like monuments were home to giant pig feasts. Now, we know who was on the

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Electronic Health Records: Death By A Thousand Clicks

2 days ago

Lambert: A blockbuster. No matter the initial intentions of the EHR boosters — among them, Obama, who earmarked $17 billion for EHRs in his $787 billion stimulus package — there seems to be no other real justification for them than fraud, whether by vendors or by upcoding. Plus physician burnout, if you consider replacing humans with robots a good thing. And killing patients, if you’re an enthusiast for that sort of thing. What a mess.
By Fred Schulte, Senior Correspondent on the KHN enterprise team, and Erika Fry, Fortune. Originally published at Kaiser Health News.
The pain radiated from the top of Annette Monachelli’s head, and it got worse when she changed positions. It didn’t feel like her usual migraine. The 47-year-old Vermont attorney turned innkeeper visited her local doctor at

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Can Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Be Trusted To Turn Facebook into a “Privacy-Focused Communications Platform?”

2 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Facebook CEO and squillionaire Mark Zuckerberg recently announced (in a Facebook post, naturally) that Facebook will become a “a privacy-focused communications platform.” He writes:
As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks.[1]
Since recent events — the New Zealand massacre live-streamed on Facebook, an executive exodus, a criminal probe into data sharing, and a ginormous day-long service outage[2], all in one week — have put Facebook back in the news, now seems like a good time to evaluation Zuckerberg’s new direction. In this

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Links 3/17/19

3 days ago

He couldn’t hack it as a drug-sniffing dog. Now he’s conservation’s best friend CNN. Good dog!
11-foot wall of water: One dam breaks, three counties suffer Lincoln Journal-Star
Severe Flooding Omaha to Southern Wisconsin – 50s Possible Late Next Week Star Tribune. Lots of charts and maps. Here is a National Weather Service map.
Insurance Rates Seen Rising in Flood-Prone Areas With Trump Plan Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank set to announce merger talks with Commerzbank: source Reuters
BREAKING: County Board Approves Amazon Incentive Package Arlington Now
The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change HuffPo
The Toxic Consequences of America’s Plastics Boom The Nation
Brexit

How the backstop deal was done – and why Cox blew it apart RTE (PD) [puts head in

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Who’s Behind Trump’s Claim the Green New Deal Will Cost $100 Trillion?

3 days ago

Lambert here: The usual suspects, but it’s always nice to see names named.
By Dave Anderson, Energy and Policy Institute. Cross-posted from DeSmog Blog.
President Trump’s claim that the Green New Deal would cost $100 trillion can be traced back to the Manhattan Institute, a think tank backed by fossil fuel investor Paul Singer and companies like ExxonMobil.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey made waves at a press conference in February when they rolled out a Green New Deal resolution that called for the nation to transition to 100 percent clean energy in ten years.
Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the New York-based Manhattan Institute, attempted to “cost out the Green New Deal” in a Twitter thread the next day. Riedl admitted he had “No idea” how much

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/15/2019

4 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, this Water Cooler is a little Beto and Boeing heavy, but that’s where we are right now! –lambert
Trade
“China and US make ‘concrete progress’ on trade deal text” [South China Morning Post]. • We’ll see.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

O’Rourke (1): “Beto O’Rourke 2020 Presidential Candidate. With Poll” [Daily Kos]. FWIW, the online poll at Kos, representative of who knows what:

Yang is higher than I would have expected.
O’Rourke (2):

The NRCC just sent out a press release calling O’Rourke a "law-hating ‘furry,’" so the 2020 campaign is off to a great start.

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/14/2019

5 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

Biden: Alert reader ED throws this over the transom:

I worked at the Pennsylvania Extruded Tube Company in Clarks Summit for 13 years until I retired eight months ago. As “factory” a place as you will ever find, just north of Scranton. Biden would show up in Scranton just before elections to campaign, talk about how he was from there, and then disappear. Everyone knew an election was coming, because Joe Biden was back in town.
“It’s a great place to be from,” he’d say. And we’d say, “Yeah, you couldn’t wait to leave, and you never did anything for

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/13/2019

6 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

Biden: “The Myth of Joe Biden’s Working-Class Support” [The Atlantic]. “[M]aybe the idea that he’s a magnet for white working-class votes is yet another bit of conventional political wisdom that’s about to be blown apart. Beyond two previous presidential runs that barely got off the ground, he’s never run a race on his own outside Delaware, and the last competitive race he had there was his first one, when Richard Nixon was president. ‘We strongly believed that he would be a help in the industrial Midwest, and we used him there a lot,’ said David

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/12/2019

7 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, this is a little top-heavy on politics, but I really had to do a pantry clearout! –lambert
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

Biden: “Rip The Bandaid” [Eschaton]. From last Friday, still germane: “I hope Joe Biden runs. Because it’s time.” • Yes, this will be clarifying…..
Biden: “Exclusive: Biden to run for White House, says Dem lawmaker” [The Hill]. “‘I’m giving it a shot,’ Biden said matter-of-factly during a phone call with a House Democratic lawmaker within the past week — a conversation the congressman recounted to The Hill and interpreted as a sure sign that Biden will

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Links 3/12/19

8 days ago

Human impact erodes chimpanzee behavioral diversity Science
What We Owe a Rabbit NYRB. Kant v. Mill.
Canada’s no-sex, no-money scandal could topple Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Press-Herald
ASIC accuses banks of dragging feet on fees-for-no-service response ABC Australia. “The scandal included customers being charged ongoing fees by financial advisers — despite not even receiving a yearly review — as well as charges to accounts after customers had died.” Five Eyes elite omnishambles continues apace.
Venezuela

Blackout Shuts Down Venezuela’s Oil Exports OilPrice.com
U.S. to Pull Remaining Diplomatic Workers From Embassy in Venezuela NYT
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says power recovery will come ‘little by little’ CNN
Slow recovery as Venezuela power outage approaches 4th day

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Money, Digital Cash and Cryptocurrencies: Privacy Matters

8 days ago

Lambert here: Or, see, I could arrange to have my 5G account checked and automagically topped up every hundred yards or so, wherever there’s a 5G tower, right out of my digital wallet. Convenient! Unless the Central Bank were running a bail-in, of course…
By Emanuele Borgonovo, Professor, Department of Decision Sciences, Bocconi University, Stefano Caselli, Professor of Banking and Finance, and Vice-Rector for International Affairs, Bocconi University, Alessandra Cillo, Adjunct Professor of Decision Sciences, Bocconi University, Donato Masciandaro, Full Professor of Economics, and Chair in Economics of Financial Regulation, Bocconi University, and Giovanni Rabittt, PhD student in Statistics, Bocconi University. Originally published at VoxEU.
Alongside liquidity and store of value, is

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/11/2019

8 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Imports drop to annual lows with tariff hike on hold” [Supply Chain Dive]. “U.S. ports this month are expected to see their lowest import numbers since about a year ago, as trade hits its annual slowdown between peak seasons and the tariff hike is on hold… It looks now the trade war with China will end with a whimper in the next month or so, causing parties on all sides to lick their wounds and move on. The next politically motivated trade war may be met with less seriousness and a delayed reaction.”
“No date has been scheduled yet for a Mar-a-Lago summit but the White House economic adviser is reiterating his bullish stance on the prospects of a China deal” [Politico]. And meanwhile: “U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with New

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/8/2019

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I am going to throw out some red meat, then post my piece on the latest in Venezuela, and then return here to add more. –lambert
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

Brown: “Trump must be dancing for joy at Sherrod Brown news” [Paul Begala, CNN]. “Here’s why Mr. Trump is doing the Humpty Dance on the Truman Balcony: Sherrod Brown could have beaten him, and I bet Trump knows it. Why? The math is simple. Trump got 46% in 2016. He has not been over 50% in the national polls for a single day as president. Brown, a Midwestern economic populist, would have eaten into Trump’s

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Power Failure and Blackout: An Update on the Situation in Venezuela

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Currently, Venezuela is undergoing a country-wide blackout. Here’s an image (via Agence France Presse):

And here is an animated image of what’s happening to the Internet in Venezuela as the power failure waxes and wanes:

Urgent: Network measurements show extraordinary nationwide impact as #Venezuela is knocked offline amid power outages from 8:55 PM UTC (4:55 PM VET); incident ongoing #7Mar #SinLuzhttps://t.co/W3eqPWQUPz pic.twitter.com/PkLgQfm0B4
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) March 7, 2019

The situation as described by Reuters: “Venezuela shuts schools, businesses as blackout enters second day“:
Venezuela shut schools and suspended working hours on Friday after the capital Caracas and other major cities awoke without electricity for a second day due to a

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/7/2019

12 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I have had a complexified day, and so today’s Water Cooler will be a bit abbreviated. A shame, since there’s so much happening! –lambert
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

Booker:

Cory Booker on the filibuster to @NPRinskeep: “We need to understand that there’s good reason to have a Senate where we are forced to find pragmatic bipartisan solutions. Let’s be a country that operates from that sense of common purpose.”
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) March 7, 2019

Booker wants to take office. But he doesn’t take power, does he?
Sanders: “Bernie Sanders Is Beating

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/6/2019

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

Clinton:

Spoke to someone close with Clinton in contact with her today. They say she wasn’t trying to be emphatic and close the door on running when she spoke to a local reporter yesterday, and that she was surprised by how definitively it played. 1/2
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 6, 2019

What a piece of work.
Sanders: “Bernie Sanders’s Staffers Want Him to Be Less Grumpy” [Edward Isaac-Dovere, The Atlantic]. “Even his loyal staff members at times feel slighted, and have learned not to expect much in the way of small talk or interest in

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/5/2019

14 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“$1.6 Trillion of Trade Means China Pain Is Asia’s: Taking Stock” [Bloomberg]. “A slowing China puts into stark relief just how dependent many of the biggest export-driven countries in the region have become on the world’s second-largest economy, if Tuesday’s moves in Asia stocks are any indication.”
China and US ‘certain’ to reach deal on opening up financial sector South China Morning Post
“China and US still have work to do but both ‘certain’ deal on opening financial sector can be achieved” [South China Morning Post]. “‘I can say with certainty that, on the opening up of the finance sector, China and the US can achieve a complete agreement,’ [Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission] said… ‘We have some minor

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Links 3/5/19

14 days ago

London HIV patient becomes world’s second AIDS cure hope Reuters
MMR vaccine does not cause autism, another study confirms CNN (original). n = 657,461.
The Bering Strait should be covered in ice, but it’s nearly all gone Mashable
WWF Funds Guards Who Have Tortured And Killed People Buzzfeed
Will $14.5 billion plug GE’s long-term care insurance hole? Some experts say ‘No’ Reuters. That’s real money!
‘I have lost confidence’: Jane Philpott resigns from cabinet over Trudeau’s handling of SNC-Lavalin affair Global News
From a private jet to a police cell: Rosemary Rogers charged over alleged NAB fraud Sydney Morning Herald. “As the then-chief of staff to the former boss of the National Australia Bank Andrew Thorburn, Ms Rogers allegedly accepted multiple extravagant bribes to approve bloated

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/4/2019

15 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I am going to do a Water Cooler that is (hopefully) enough to get you started, finish up my post on Jayapal’s Medicare for All bill, and then return here. And you can always talk amongst yourselves! –lambert UPDATE All done!
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

There are now fourteen Democrat candidates as the Democrat establishment continues its headlong rush to a brokered convention. So I’ve taken to alphabetizing them.
Booker: “What is the ‘Jim Clyburn model?’ It’s the foundation of Cory Booker’s SC strategy” [McClatchy]. “During his first visit to South Carolina last

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A First Look at Pramila Jayapal’s “Medicare for All Act of 2019”, HR 1384

15 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
I confess that I was prepared to disike HR1384, simply because liberal Democrats have played Lucy and the Football so many times. But much as I hate to admit it, this looks like a good bill. It’s definitely not timid incrementalism, and it does not exhibit the typical liberal Democrat misfeature of pre-negotiating a proposal down to a state of pissant-ness, simply because Republicans might say mean things. The full text of HR1384 is not yet officially available (!), but ACA Signups had a PDF, which I embed below as an Appendix; presumably they will not differ.
HR 1384 has significant union support: National Nurses United (NNU), as well as “the influential Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the National Education Association (NEA), the American

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Links 3/4/19

15 days ago

Parrots ‘hooked on opium’ wreak havoc on Indian farmers’ crops Independent (Re Silc).
The allure of financial tricks is fading FT
Quadriga Crypto Mystery Deepens With ‘Cold Wallets’ Found Empty Bloomberg. I’m not sure it’s so much of a mystery….
Why Crypto Companies Still Can’t Open Checking Accounts Bloomberg. See above?
The Indy Explains: Can marijuana companies use banks? Nevada Independent
Two federal agencies investigating fatal Tesla crash in Florida MarketWatch
Customers flag bottled water smelling of ‘old socks’ and ‘urine,’ but CFIA says it poses no health risk CBC
Q&A: Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP Endocrine News. Disruption. In a bad way.
Brexit

Brexit: UK ‘abandons’ key backstop demand in move set to spark Tory row Mirror
May gets Brexit boost from key Tories linked to backstop

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France, Inequality, the Yellow Vests, and the Social Elevator

16 days ago

Lambert: I’m not sure that a “social elevator” is the metaphor I find most appealing for redistribution. How about one of those little folding stepladders that you see in kitchens?
By Laurence Boone, Chief Economist, OECD, and Antoine Goujard, Senior Economist, OECD.Originally published at VoxEU.
The ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations in France appear, at least in part, to be another example of the anti-globalisation sentiment that has emerged in a number of OECD countries. This column argues that the movement is also rooted in the country’s broken social elevator. Redistribution through taxes and social transfers is not sufficient to curb the inequality in opportunity, which is mostly linked to the educational system and perpetuates economic and social situations from one generation to the

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Corruption Fueling Choice of “Ballot Marking Devices,” not Paper Ballots, in Georgia, Pennsylvania Debacles

16 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers will recall that H.R. 1, the Democrat’s flagship bill for the 116th Congress, gestures in the direction of paper ballots, but in fact allows ballot marking devices that rely on OCRs for the count and emit paper receipts for voters (often called ballots for marketing purposes, falsely, since the actual count is performed in the internals of the device). I am sure I do not need to remind readers that hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public are the international standard for elections; and that they are used in the Canada, the UK, Germany, and many other countries. The United States, as in so many other ways, is exceptional aberrational in that it has managed to commit itself to systems that are both more expensive and much more dysfunctional

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Links 3/3/19

16 days ago

The Weirdly Quiet Sun May Get Even Quieter (and BTW, Earth Is Still Warming) Weather Underground
Ancient plants escaped the end-Permian mass extinction Nature
The woodsman who’s revealing the secret lives of trees Handelsblatt
Building Habitat for Pollinators Means Bigger, Better Fruit Anthropocene
Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse Science
Youth climate strikers: ‘We are going to change the fate of humanity’ Guardian (MR).
Carpocalypse now: Lyft’s founders are right — we’re already in the endgame for cars Business Insider
Baltic Cash Cow Delivers a Second Crisis to Sweden’s Oldest Bank Bloomberg
Delaware hedge fund tussle puts efficient market hypothesis in spotlight FT
Brexit

“What Surprises Me Is the Extent of the Mess” Der Speigel
How British MPs

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Climate Change Mobilization: To Fear, or Not to Fear?

17 days ago

By Grist staff. Originally published at Grist.
In just the past year, the public conversation on climate change has turned dire. Wildfires scorched parts of the American West, wiping an entire town off the map. Blazes also torched parts of Greece, which — along with many regions above the equator — was suffering through one of its hottest summers on record. In the fall, Typhoon Yutu tore through parts of the Philippines and China and leveled several western Pacific islands.
Amid all the carnage, the leading global authority on warming, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, detailed the horrors in store if average temperatures pass 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. (We’re already over 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and

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Links 3/2/19

17 days ago

No thefts reported after Kingston grocery store accidentally left open Family Day Global News
Climate Change Is Here—and It Looks Like Starvation The Nation
Opinion: Investors should no longer bet on Warren Buffett MarketWatch. If CalPERS runs true to form, they will have adopted “Buffet-ism” exactly at the moment when it has run its course.
Lyft’s Risk Factors Are the Stuff of IPO Dreams — Bad Ones Bloomberg
An MMT response on what causes inflation FT Alphaville
Brexit

PETER OBORNE: Why victory is within Theresa May’s grasp Daily Mail. Another such victory and we are undone…
Pound Optimism Growing as Banks Take No-Deal Risk Off the Table Bloomberg
Brexit: damage limitation EU Referendum
Farmer worry as US demands end of ‘unwanted trade barriers’ post-Brexit Farming UK. Chlorinated

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The Permian Is A Double-Edged Sword For Oil Majors

18 days ago

Lambert here: Wall Street “beginning to lose patience” with an industry that hasn’t turned a profit in ten years? But I thought quarterly results-driven blah blah blah… Curious.
By Nick Cunningham, is a freelance writer on oil and gas, renewable energy, climate change, energy policy and geopolitics. Originally published at OilPrice.com.
The oil majors are scrambling to scale up their shale operations, and they are quickly becoming the most dominant producers in the shale sector, despite having arrived late to the party.
The early days of shale drilling was done by small and medium-size drillers. Over the last few years, the oil majors like ExxonMobil and Chevron are taking on a much greater role in U.S. shale, particularly in the Permian basin.
Chevron’s Permian production shot up to

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/1/2019

18 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Canadian government allows extradition of Huawei CFO to the US” [CNBC]. “The Canadian government has decided to allow the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to the U.S.” • Plus the press release, that’s it.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

Booker: “Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide, with support from fellow 2020 candidates” [CNBC]. ‘Co-sponsors include fellow 2020 Democratic contenders Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand”. • Good for Booker, and good for them all.
Biden: “As Joe Biden weighs 2020 bid,

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2:00PM Water Cooler 2/28/2019

19 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
USTR to suspend China tariff hike ‘until further notice’ [Reuters]. “The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Wednesday it would move to formally suspend a scheduled tariff increase on Chinese goods “until further notice” following President Donald Trump’s decision to delay his Friday deadline for a U.S.-China trade deal amid progress in their talks. The statement was issued after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s testimony to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, in which he said USTR was following a legal process to implement the delay.”
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank

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Links 2/28/19

19 days ago

Why African elephants appear wrinkled National Geographic
A Troubling Discovery in the Deepest Ocean Trenches The Atlantic. Plastics.
MMT Is Already Helping Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Jacobin. Another response to Henwood.
An Interview with the Chairman: Taxes, Spending, Deficits, Inflation: The Workings of Federal Finance Mosler Economics
Other People’s Blood n+1. On Paul Volcker.
Amazon abandons plan to occupy huge downtown Seattle office building Seatte Times, which summarizes: “Amazon threatened to abandon a prominent downtown Seattle office project if the the city imposed a so-called head tax. The city ultimately did not impose the tax, and now Amazon is abandoning the project anyway.” Bezos has form.
Scott Morrison’s pea-and-thimble trick Sydney Morning Herald. Another Five Eyes

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