Thursday , July 18 2019
Home / Lambert Strether
Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether



Articles by Lambert Strether

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/16/2019

2 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 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 16: Biden continues rise at 27.8% (27.6%), Sanders steady at 15.0% ( 15.0%), Warren down sharply at 15.0% (16.3%), Buttigieg down at 4.8% (5.0%), Harris down 13.4% ( 13.6%), others Brownian motion.
* * *
2020

Castro (D)(1): “Julián Castro and the predatism of private equity” [WaPo]. “[W]hen former housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro took questions at the event’s Saturday presidential forum, surely he should have had an answer at the ready for

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/15/2019

3 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Readers, I got a late start. I will expand the Politics section shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!
Trade
“China’s economy just posted its lowest growth rate in 27 years” [Business Insider]. “China’s economy has grown at its slowest pace in the past 27 years after the effects of President Donald Trump’s trade war outweighed the Chinese government’s efforts to stimulate the economy…. Most of the decline came from weakening exports because of the additional tariffs places upon Chinese goods.” • Not sure how this affects the social contract in China. I guess we’ll find out!
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

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/12/2019

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 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 12: Biden down at 26.8% (27.0%), Sanders up at 15.2% (15.0%), Warren up at 15.2% (14.4%), Buttigieg flat at 5.3% (5.3%), Harris having jumped, up at 15.0% (14.8%), others Brownian motion. At this point I should issue the reminder that in 2016, averaging multiple polls was no protection; the entire herd was wrong. The only poll that consistently signaled the correct. outcome was the Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking polls, and that was because of a

Read More »

Links 7/12/19

6 days ago

Taiwanese Leopard Considered Extinct, Spotted For The First Time Since 1983 Disclose.tv (Furzy Mouse). Surely the leopard was spotted the whole time?
The Invasion of Giant Pythons Threatening Florida Smithsonian
Insects feel chronic pain after injury Phys.org
The climate change policy with the most potential is the most neglected Vox
As Fresh Water Grows Scarcer, It Could Become a Good Investment NYT
Iowa Crops Look Like Food — But No One’s Eating Heated
«We want to change the course of history,» says Northern Sea Route operator The Barents Observer
Brexit

Will Boris Johnson’s bluster over a no-deal Brexit collide with reality? FT. By Betteridge’s Law, no.
Beer, Boris and Brexit (interview) Politico
NHS fees: ‘Couple couldn’t take baby’s body home’ BBC
Contaminated blood inquiry: Twins

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/11/2019

7 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Trade
“Cargill reports sharp drop in fourth-quarter earnings” [Financial Times]. “Cargill has reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter earnings as it battled extreme weather events, the spread of a deadly pig virus and the fallout from the US-China trade spat…. Cargill is part of a small group of companies which dominate trade in global agricultural commodities. It has been a vocal proponent of free trade and under Mr MacLennan’s leadership it has executed a sweeping series of deals to focus on food and agricultural businesses where it best competes.”
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

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/10/2019

8 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 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 5: Biden down at 27.1% (27.3%), Sanders up at 15.3% (14.9%), Warren down at 13.7% (13.9%), Buttigieg down at 5.0% (5.3%), Harris having jumped, flat at 15.0% (15.0%), others Brownian motion. Sanders, Harris, Warren now clustered, Biden having rebounded in the past few days, putting the busing controversy behind him, I’m guessing.
* * *
2020

Fundraising numbers summarized:

Top Q2 numbers, via campaigns:@PeteButtigieg: $24.8M from 294K ppl; $47 ave

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/9/2019

9 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Trade
“U.S. automakers face an oversized inventory problem. Sales of sport-utility vehicles are slowing, leaving models crowding dealership lots for longer periods…, yet car companies are preparing to roll out more SUV offerings into already-packed showrooms” [Wall Street Journal]. “The gap between sales and strategy is in part the result of the long lead times it takes to get automotive supply chains running. But some dealers say manufacturers are falling back on old habits of overbuilding to keep factories running and then turning to discounts to boost sales. U.S. auto sales fell 2.2% in the first half of this year, and the 1.6% growth in SUV and crossover sales was lackluster by historical standards. That’s hit shipping networks, with rail shipments of

Read More »

Mining and Electric Vehicles: Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt

10 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, every so often I mention the famous New Yorker article about a reporter who accompanies a group of locals into a swamp to find a bird, thought to be extinct, but whose song may have been heard. After many many pages, the upshot: They didn’t find the bird. I’m afraid this post is like that. Among the many unanswered questions about electric vehicles (EVs) is whether we have enough of the necessary minerals — lithium, cobalt, nickel — to manufacture their batteries.

We are now at 91 lithium ion battery megafactories in the pipeline to 2028 #EV
— Simon Moores (@sdmoores) July 5, 2019

(The vast majority of these factories are not in the United States[1]) Can we — I suppose as a species instead of a polity — keep all these factories running?

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/8/2019

10 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 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 5: Biden down at 26% (31.5%), Sanders down at 15.2% (14.7%), Warren up at 13.8% (13.5%), Buttigieg flat at 5.2% (5.3%), Harris jumps at 7.8% (7.8%), others Brownian motion. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point. Looking at the shapes of the curves on the graph, I’d guess that Harris took a big chunk out of Biden’s support, and Warren a smaller chunk out of Sanders. Assuming the numbers aren’t gamed; I’ve started taking a record of the

Read More »

Links 7/8/19

10 days ago

Darwinian bee-keeping: lessons from the wild Nature
Borrowing against art is growing at a stunning rate The Economist. Froth. But what isn’t.
Groundwater Pumping Diminishes Streams Across The Country, Study Finds KUNC
Conservative Indiana Chooses Renewables Over Gas As It Retires Coal Early Forbes
Nuclear Power, Once Seen as Impervious to Climate Change, Threatened by Heat Waves US News
Southern California on high earthquake alert, bringing anxiety and preparation LA Times
What a waste: the G20 and the plastic problem The Interpreter
Brexit

Boris Johnson ‘not bluffing’ about quitting EU on 31 October with no deal Guardian
Britain’s man in the US says Trump is ‘inept’: Leaked secret cables from ambassador say the President is ‘uniquely dysfunctional and his career could end in disgrace’

Read More »

Bill Black: Facebook’s Libra Currency Monetizes Identity and Threatens Privacy

10 days ago

Lambert here: I can’t find the commenter who coined “D*uche Mark” (DM) as an alternative to “Libra,” or I’d give them a hat tip, but I think their contribution deserves wide circulation.
William K. “Bill” Black is author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Here he is interviewed by Marc Steiner. Cross-posted from The Real News Network.
Here’s the video:
[embedded content]
And the transcript:
MARC STEINER Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you all with us. When Facebook announced the launch of a new

Read More »

Reforestation as a Solution for Carbon Capture: Hype and Reality

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
A new study from the Crowther Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich published in Science (paywalled, but here is the original) has come out with a recommendation for reforestation as a (partial) solution to carbon capture. The report has gotten a lot of great press — “Stop building a spaceship to Mars and just plant some damn trees” is perhaps the most overheated headline, although the article is good — but there are issues. One issue is that the method of reforestation[1] — plantations or, for want of a better word, natural — matters. Finally, there are issues about how and where to appropriate the land, much of which is currently being deforested by powerful business concerns, and some of which is already occupied by indigenous

Read More »

Links 7/7/19

11 days ago

A brief visit from a red and extremely elongated interstellar asteroid (PDF) Nature. And not an alien probe.
Eyes under the water: Volunteers help Great Lakes scientists find invasives below MPR News (CL). Citizen science!
A 40-y record reveals gradual Antarctic sea ice increases followed by decreases at rates far exceeding the rates seen in the Arctic PNAS
Book Review: Oxford Weather and Climate Since 1767 Weather Underground
Air Conditioning Is the World’s Next Big Threat Bloomberg
1931 by Tobias Straumann — how things fell apart FT
Brexit

No Oxford commas here:

The Times, which was once forced to sack Boris Johnson for making up a quote, recommends him for prime minister. pic.twitter.com/DPF0XyS4MI
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) July 6, 2019

Boris Johnson is poised to become

Read More »

Philadelphia Explosion One in String of ‘Near Miss’ Accidents at Refineries Using Deadly Chemical

11 days ago

Lambert here: If you live near a refinery, beware of Hydrogen Fluoride (HF). Also, if you’re in Philly, give thanks for the refinery workers.
By Sharon Kelly, an attorney and freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She has reported for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, National Wildlife, Earth Island Journal, and a variety of other publications. Originally published at DeSmogBlog.
Next Friday, July 12, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in south Philadelphia is slated to close its doors, marking the end of an era that began in 1866, one year after the Civil War ended, when 50,000 barrels of kerosene and chemicals were first stored on site.
The plant — which continued to struggle financially after emerging from bankruptcy in August 2018 — experienced a major

Read More »

Links 7/6/19

12 days ago

How Burnsville, Minnesota, cut its carbon emissions nearly 30 percent Yale Climate Connections
Last Month Just “Obliterated” Temperature Records as The Hottest June to Date Science Alert
Beyond Meat fever turns the tiny pea into America’s hot new crop Seattle Times
Looking on the Bright Side of Livestock Emotions—the Potential of Their Transmission to Promote Positive Welfare Frontiers in Veterinary Science
A deadly, drug-resistant fungus has swept the globe—here’s how it spreads Ars Technica
Strong US jobs data shifts rates expectations FT
July 4 Wrapup

Evening in America: What it felt like on Trump’s Fourth of July WaPo
Pentagon Guidance to Troops in Trump’s July 4th Event: Say I Love My Tank Mother Jones (Re Silc).
Flag Fashion The Big Picture (Re Silc).
U.S. Flag Recalled After

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler Independence Day 2019

14 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Still-patient readers, this being a holiday, normally I would not post. However, I’ve been so remiss and sketchy this week I thought I would put something up. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert
* * *
Trump, The World’s Greatest Troll™, has everyone all in a dither about tanks in Our Nation’s Capitol:

Some retired and active-duty military officers said the participation of the military in Trump’s “Salute to America” event on the 4th of July appears to politicize the armed forces on a day when the U.S. toasts its independence in a nonpartisan environment https://t.co/eEzOXl2PVS
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 3, 2019

If the United States were a Third World country with a fractured and corrupt elite who have the habit of staging coups, what I would say

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/3/2019

15 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, as I warned Friday, timing for Water Cooler will be a little bit sketchy until after July 4. Today, I got nuthin. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert
This is a suitable musical interlude for the run-up to Independence Day, I suppose:
[embedded content]
Granted, I’m so old I can remember seeing Stop Making Sense in an actual movie theatre with red velvet seats (the grand old Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA). Readers are invited to post more recent tunes with a similar theme. Enjoy the holiday!
* * *
Readers, feel free to contact 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

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/2/2019

16 days ago

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/2/2019
By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, as I warned Friday, timing for Water Cooler will be a little bit sketchy until after July 4. Today I will have only a short post, and tomorrow may be shorter still! –lambert
Politics
2019

On AOC visiting the border. Stoller comments:

This is a Democrat wield power. This is *actual* Congressional oversight. https://t.co/5PHN7p3a7M
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) July 1, 2019
(I should say that I trust AOC on this in a way I don’t trust the press; I certainly don’t trust the press on any aspect of election 2020, so why would I trust them on this story? So I’m glad she made this visit. Also, if Stoller says somebody’s doing oversight, that means they’re doing oversight.)
It finally flashed on me what the

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/1/2019

17 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, as I warned Friday, timing for Water Cooler will be a little bit sketchy until after July 4. Today I am starting an hour-and-a-half late, and will finish late, too. –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 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 1: Biden down at 31.5% (32.0%), Sanders still rising at 17.2% (16.9%), Buttigieg down 6.0% (6.6%), Harris flat at 7.8% (7.8%), others Brownian motion. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point. The debates do not seem to have affected any candidate

Read More »

Links 6/29/19

19 days ago

Cops bust man who kept ‘attack squirrel’ hopped up on meth NY Post
All-time June Heat Records Fall in 5 European Nations Weather Underground
California was warned about climate change 30 years ago. Now it’s feeling the effects Los Angeles Times
Lyme Disease Cases Are Exploding. And It’s Only Going to Get Worse. Medium
U.S. corn plantings top expectations despite floods; prices sink Reuters
With any Midwestern rainfall this summer, the Missouri River could flood the lower basin region CNN
Climate change is making hiking and climbing less fun Yale Climate Connections
New solar technology could produce clean drinking water for millions in need Science
Former Deutsche Bank exec denies he helped rig key interest rate FT. Oh.
Brexit
Can Parliament Stop a No-Deal Brexit? This Is How It Will Try

Read More »

How a Central Asian Business Empire Dines Out on British Secrecy

19 days ago

Lambert here: I’ve never much liked the post-Smiley LeCarré, but there’s no denying it’s true to life…
By Kristian Lasslett, Professor of Criminology at Ulster University, who sits on the Board of the International State Crime Initiative. He is an investigative researcher who works on corruption and kleptocracy in Central Asia, Europe and the South Pacific. Originally published at OpenDemocracy.
In recent years, the idea that Central Asia is closed off to the rest of the world has been increasingly debunked. Whatever hardships ordinary citizens face – and there are many – the region’s rich and powerful have proven avid consumers of all the benefits, licit and illicit, that globalisation has to offer.
Anonymous shell companies staffed by nominee directors and shareholders, offshore bank

Read More »

A Look at the Poor People’s Campaign: Theology and Ideology

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
NC has focused a lot on the Democrat Party as an institution, to a lesser extent on the Democratic Socialists of America, and also at times on the various NGOs that form the matrix in which Democrats are embedded. But I have never looked at the Poor People’s Campaign (“A National Call for Moral Revival“), or at its charismatic co-leader, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. (The co-other leader is Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis). That’s because, having grown up vaguely Methodist, and having abandoned Episcolianism, and then agnosticism, I became an athiest, after professed Christians went to war in Iraq, gutted the Fourth Amendment, and then institutionalized torture, for which God — were there a God — should have punished them, in this life, in near-real time. (Ex 20:7:

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/28/2019

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, as Yves accelerates away from New York, I have taken on more posting duties, and I will complete Water Cooler after having completed a post on the Poor People’s Campaign. My extra posting duties will be complete as of this evening, but I am traveling next week, and my posting will be random on Monday and Tuesday, and then sputter out until July 4 is over, though I will do as much as I can. –lambert P.S. Adding, that the cat seems to have gone off somewhere, so I’m very worried about foxes, which we have in abundance this year, although it seems unnecessarily. Perhaps the cat is simply visiting someone else. UPDATE All done!
* * *
Trade
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James

Read More »

Links 6/28/19

20 days ago

Why Science Can Be So Indecisive About Nutrition The Atlantic
Sweet, fatty foods could remodel the brain to drive overeating Science
Study links diet of ultra-processed foods to chronic disease risk CBC
UN world population report predicts slowing growth rate, 10.9 billion peak by 2100 New Atlas (Furzy Mouse).
I Am a Carbon Abolitionist Democracy Journal. I like that phrase. Also, the abolitionists, though a minority, won.
World’s biggest investor accused of dragging feet on climate crisis Guardian. Blackrock.
Oregon Republicans’ Return Uncertain After Cap And Trade’s Apparent Demise OPB (DK). Democrats cave.
Scientists map huge undersea fresh-water aquifer off U.S. Northeast Science Daily
Brexit

Brexit civil servant in charge of no-deal planning quits Guardian
Johnson Refuses to Rule Out

Read More »

Where Brexit Goes, the Law Shall Follow

20 days ago

By Rebecca Christie, a visiting fellow at Breugel and a political correspondent in Brussels for Bloomberg News from 2011 to 2016. Originally published at Breugel.
The UK is leaving the European Union, in spirit if not in immediate legal jurisdiction. While the next phase of Brexit won’t emerge until October, the financial sector is already on the move. London, long the dominant hub for bankers and investors, will cede ground to a quartet of cities within the EU core. In turn, London’s lawyers are moving to Dublin, raising questions about how they can work cross-border going forward.
Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Dublin are the locales with the most to gain overall from the transition, with Luxembourg, Brussels and Warsaw all picking up business as well. Rather than a unified mass

Read More »

Five Things We Found In The FDA’s Hidden Device Database

20 days ago

By Sydney Lupkin, Data Correspondent, covers drug prices and specializes in data reporting for the KHN enterprise team. Originally published at Kaiser Health News.
[UPDATED at 1:30 p.m. ET]
After two decades of keeping the public in the dark about millions of medical device malfunctions and injuries, the Food and Drug Administration has published the once hidden database online, revealing 5.7 million incidents publicly for the first time.
The newfound transparency follows a Kaiser Health News investigation that revealed device manufacturers, for the past two decades, had been sending reports of injuries or malfunctions to the little-known database, bypassing the public FDA database that’s pored over by doctors, researchers and patients. Millions of reports, related to everything from

Read More »

Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #2 in Miami (Second Night)

21 days ago

This entry was posted in Guest Post on June 27, 2019 by Lambert Strether.

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.

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 6/27/2019

21 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, as Yves approaches escape velocity from New York this week, I will be taking on more posting duties, and so Water Cooler may appear at odd times, although not today. –lambert
I will also be Live Blogging the second Democrat Presidential Debates. The debate starts at 9:00PM EDT, and the pre-game festivities will begin at 8:30PM (when this link goes live). Here is a cheat sheet.
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 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of June 26: Biden flat at 32.0% (32.1%) and Sanders still rising at 16.9%

Read More »

Links 6/27/19

21 days ago

Giant Goldfish Shows Why You Should Never Flush Fish Down the Toilet Smithsonian
Climatic Constraints on Aggregate Economic Output NBER
Private equity races to spend record $2.5tn of dry powder FT
Financial temptation increases civic honesty Science
Syraqistan

Tehran confident that resisting Trump is working FT
Sources say downed UAV penetrated deep into Iranian airspace Duffel Blog
VIPS Memo to the President: Is Pompeo’s Iran Agenda the Same As Yours? Consortium News. As a side note: “CrowdStrike never gave Comey a final report on its forensic findings regarding alleged ‘Russian hacking.’” Oh.
Venezuela

Venezuela government says it derailed a coup attempt, opposition denies France24
Venezuela foils attempt on President Maduro’s life: government Deutsche Welle
Brexit

Jeremy Hunt Did It

Read More »

Robert Reich: Here’s Why We Need to Break Up Big Tech

21 days ago

By Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Cross-posted from Alternet.
The combined wealth of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Google’s Sergey Brin, and Larry Page is larger than the combined wealth of the bottom half of the American population.
They are the leaders of a second Gilded Age – ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet – which has spawned a handful of hi-tech behemoths and crushed competition.
Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft now have the highest market values for all public corporations in America.
As of today, only three countries in the world have a GDP higher than these companies’ combined market value of

Read More »