Open Thread May 24, 2023 Dan Crawford | May 25, 2023 6:30 am Open Thread May 16, 2023, Angry Bear, angry bear blog Tags: open thread Comments (34) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Yellen Warns of Missed Payments if Debt Limit Is Not Lifted
NY Times – May 24
The Treasury secretary said the Biden administration would face “very tough choices” if Congress did not act.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Wednesday that it was “almost certain” that the United States would not have enough cash to continue to pay all of its bills on time beyond early June and that she would soon provide Congress with a more precise update about when the nation could default if the debt limit was not raised.
The comments, made at a WSJ CEO Council event, came as negotiators for the White House and House Republicans raced to reach a deal to raise the debt limit and reduce government spending that Congress can pass before June 1. The Treasury secretary reiterated her warning that a default would inflict severe damage on the U.S. economy and made the case that she would be left with no good options to contain the fallout.
“Treasury and President Biden will face very tough choices if Congress doesn’t act to raise the debt ceiling and if we hit the so-called X-date without that occurring,” Ms. Yellen said. “There will be some obligations that we will be unable to pay.” …
(Did I receive my last Soc Sec check yesterday for the foreseeable future?)
Don’t worry. I have it on good authority that Social Security has nothing to do with the debt. Maybe a decade from now your check could shrink, but until then you’re covered.
not quite true. even though administration of SS is paid for out of SS funds and not “the budget”, Congress controls how that money is spent. I think there may have been an exception made last time government shut down came up, but at least until that time, when the govrnment shut down the checks did not go out.
What we probably need and won’t get is a Social Security Administration entirely paid for by the workers themselves…which we already have…and completely independent of Congress, which may be Constitutionally and politically difficult, but still doable.
There is more likelihood that if default occurs the world economy will become so chaotic that even SS’s own independent funding will be at risk.
And, what worries me more, is that American people vote for the current Republicans in office. We need better dogcatchers. [what with mad dogs roaming the halls of congress and state governments.]
Twitter glitches plague DeSantis as he begins Republican presidential campaign
AP via Boston Globe – May 24
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday with firm words but a disastrous Twitter announcement that did little to counter criticism that the 44-year-old Republican may not be ready to take on former President Donald Trump.
While he tried to project confidence, DeSantis’ unusual decision to announce his campaign in an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk ultimately backfired. The audio stream crashed repeatedly, making it virtually impossible for most users to hear the new presidential candidate in real time.
“American decline is not inevitable — it is a choice. And we should choose a new direction — a path that will lead to American revitalization,” DeSantis said on the glitchy stream, racing through his conservative accomplishments. “I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.”
While his critics in both parties delighted in the rocky start, DeSantis’ announcement marks a new chapter in his extraordinary rise from little-known congressman to two-term governor to a leading figure in the nation’s bitter fights over race, gender, abortion and other divisive issues. …
The online event started off with technical glitches that Musk said were due to “straining” servers because so many people were trying to listen to the audio-only event. More than 20 minutes passed beyond the scheduled start time with users getting kicked off, hearing microphone feedback and hold music and dealing with other technical problems. …
(Possible massive denial-of-service attack lurking in the background?)
yes, surely, it was those mean old democrat terrorists sabotaging the new white hope. i have been waiting for someone to notice that DeSantis, hardly the only one, says absolutely nothing that isn’t doggerel…content free football cheers.
rah, rah, ree. kick em in the knee.
rah, rah, rass, kick em in…
Oath Keepers Leader Is Sentenced to 18 Years in Jan. 6 Sedition Case
NY Times – May 25
Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in prison for his conviction on seditious conspiracy charges for the role he played in helping to mobilize the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The sentence, handed down in Federal District Court in Washington, was the most severe penalty so far in the more than 1,000 criminal cases stemming from the Capitol attack — and the first to be increased for fitting the legal definition of terrorism.
It was also the first to have been given to any of the 10 members of the Oath Keepers and another far-right group, the Proud Boys, who were convicted of sedition in connection with the events of Jan. 6. …
I doubt if the poor dumb bastards even knew what sedition means before they got charged with it..let alone what the tag “conspiracy” means. [sounds ike acharge Jefferson could have used when he couldn’t hang Burr for treason on account of no jury saw any evidence of treason…a “technicality” you know.]
Thing is, these guys thought they were following the directions of the [then] president of the United States, who had convinced them that a group of traitors had stolen the election. Now, you and i know, of course, that the Preident was lying, but so far I have not heard that the President has been convicted of sedition or even conspiracy.
Now I know as well as you do that no government can tolerate sedition even by idiots: an example must be made. But what would you think if you heard of this happening in Russia?
oh, i forgot to mention that neither Fox news nor several Congresspeople have been charged..
or state officials or Supreme Court Justices..
IS a puzzlement!
White House and GOP Close In on Deal to Raise Debt Limit and Cut Spending
NY times – May 25
The details were not finalized, but negotiators were discussing a compromise that would allow Republicans to point to spending reductions and Democrats to say they had prevented large cuts.
Top White House officials and Republican lawmakers were closing in Thursday on a deal that would raise the debt limit for two years while imposing strict caps on discretionary spending not related to the military or veterans for the same period. Officials were racing to cement an agreement in time to avert a federal default that is projected in just one week.
The deal taking shape would allow Republicans to say that they were reducing some federal spending — even as spending on the military and veterans’ programs would continue to grow — and allow Democrats to say they had spared most domestic programs from significant cuts.
Negotiators from both sides were talking into the evening and beginning to draft legislative text, though some details remained in flux.
“We’ve been talking to the White House all day, we’ve been going back and forth, and it’s not easy,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters as he left the Capitol on Thursday evening, declining to divulge what was under discussion. “It takes a while to make it happen, and we are working hard to make it happen.”
The compromise, if it can be agreed upon and enacted, would raise the government’s borrowing limit for two years, past the 2024 election, according to three people familiar with it who insisted on anonymity to discuss a plan that was still being hammered out.
The United States hit the legal limit, currently $31.4 trillion, in January and has been relying on accounting measures to avoid defaulting since then. The Treasury Department has projected it will exhaust its ability to pay bills on time as early as June 1.
In exchange for lifting the debt limit, the deal would meet Republicans’ demand to cut some federal spending, albeit with the help of accounting maneuvers that would give both sides political cover for an agreement likely to be unpopular with large swaths of their base voters. …
(The deal) would impose caps on discretionary spending for two years, though those caps would apply differently to spending on the military than to nondefense discretionary spending. Spending on the military would grow next year, as would spending on some veterans’ care that falls under nondefense discretionary spending. The rest of nondefense discretionary spending would fall slightly — or roughly stay flat — compared with this year’s levels.
The deal would also roll back $10 billion of the $80 billion Congress approved last year for an I.R.S. crackdown on high earners and corporations that evade taxes, though that provision was still under discussion. Democrats have championed the initiative, and nonpartisan scorekeepers have said the funding would reduce the budget deficit by helping the government collect more of the tax revenue it is owed. But Republicans have denounced it, claiming falsely that the money would be used to fund an army of auditors to go after working people.
“The president and his negotiating team are fighting hard for his agenda, including for I.R.S. funding so it can provide better customer service to taxpayers and crack down on wealthy tax cheats,” a White House spokesman, Michael Kikukawa, said in an email on Thursday in response to a question about the provision.
As the deal stood on Thursday, the I.R.S. money would essentially shift to nondefense discretionary spending, allowing Democrats to avoid further cuts in programs like education and environmental protection, according to people familiar with the pending agreement.
The plan had yet to be finalized, and the bargainers continued to haggle over crucial details that could make or break any deal.
Reuters – just in
WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy are closing in on a deal that would raise the government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling for two years while capping spending on most items, a U.S. official told Reuters.
The deal, which is not final, would increase funding for discretionary spending on military and veterans while essentially holding non-defense discretionary spending at current year levels, the official said, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about internal discussions.
Is a Debt Deal Nigh? The Market Sees Signs of Optimism.
NY Times – May 26
Investors are holding their breath on Friday morning, amid signs that the White House and top House Republicans are closing in on a deal to raise the debt limit and avert a government default. Stock futures are showing modest gains, while yields on Treasury bills maturing on June 8 have fallen, suggesting bond traders expect an agreement soon.
According to reports, a compromise could come as soon as Friday, paving the way for Congress to vote as soon as Tuesday. That of course is getting down to the wire, and this being Washington, a lot of obstacles could yet emerge.
How close is “close”? Negotiators have narrowed their differences and are just $70 billion in spending cuts away from a deal, according to Reuters. Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday that he’ll stay in Washington during Memorial Day weekend to ensure a deal gets done.
Emerging details suggest that both parties would be able to claim some victories:
Domestic spending over two years would be capped, though by how much remains a sticking point. (Republicans had initially wanted 10 years.) Defense spending would be allowed to rise 3 percent per year, in line with President Biden’s budget request.
In a win for Republicans, Congress would take back $10 billion of the $80 billion it had allocated to the I.R.S. to bolster enforcement.
Still being hashed out are stiffer work requirements for social safety net programs and an overhaul of how domestic energy and power projects are approved.
It’s still unclear whether any such deal has enough support in Congress. On the right, Republicans including Senator Mike Lee of Utah and the 35 House lawmakers associated with the House Freedom Caucus are demanding even deeper spending cuts. On the left, Representative Pramila Jayapal, the Washington Democrat who leads the 101-member House Progressive Caucus, predicted “a huge backlash” if the White House caved to Republican demands. …
Hmmm. Who’s more influential?
35 House lawmakers associated with the House Freedom Caucus (who) are demanding even deeper spending cuts.
– OR –
the 101-member House Progressive Caucus (who will be mightily pissed with ‘deeper spending cuts’.)
Is a Debt Deal Nigh? The Market Sees Signs of Optimism.
NY Times – May 26
Stock and bond trading suggest that investors see an imminent deal to raise the debt limit and prevent the federal government from defaulting. …
Currently on Wall Street –
S&P 500: 4,190.39 +39.11 (+0.94%)
Dow 30: 33,071.88 +307.23 (+0.94%)
Nasdaq: 12,868.92 +170.83 (+1.35%)
NYT: Top White House officials and Republican lawmakers were closing in Thursday on a deal that would raise the debt limit for two years while imposing strict caps on discretionary spending not related to the military or veterans for the same period. Officials were racing to cement an agreement in time to avert a federal default that is projected in just one week.
The deal taking shape would allow Republicans to say that they were reducing some federal spending — even as spending on the military and veterans’ programs would continue to grow — and allow Democrats to say they had spared most domestic programs from significant cuts. …
White House and GOP Close In on Deal …
Yellen’s Debt Limit Warnings Went Unheeded, Leaving Her to Face Fallout
NY Times – May 27
The Treasury secretary, who considered ways to contain the fallout of a default when she was a Fed official in 2011, had urged Democrats to raise the limit while they still had control of Congress.
In the days after November’s midterm elections, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen was feeling upbeat about the fact that Democrats had performed better than expected and maintained control of the Senate.
But as she traveled to the Group of 20 leaders summit in Indonesia that month, she said Republicans taking control of the House posed a new threat to the U.S. economy.
“I always worry about the debt ceiling,” Ms. Yellen told The New York Times in an interview on her flight from New Delhi to Bali, Indonesia, in which she urged Democrats to use their remaining time in control of Washington to lift the debt limit beyond the 2024 elections. “Any way that Congress can find to get it done, I’m all for.”
Democrats did not heed Ms. Yellen’s advice. Instead, the United States has spent most of this year inching toward the brink of default as Republicans refused to raise or suspend the nation’s $31.4 trillion borrowing limit without capping spending and rolling back parts of President Biden’s agenda.
Now the federal government’s cash balance has fallen below $40 billion. And on Friday, Ms. Yellen told lawmakers that the X-date — the point at which the Treasury Department runs out of enough money to pay all its bills on time — will arrive by June 5.
Ms. Yellen has held her contingency plans close to the vest but signaled this week that she had been thinking about how to prepare for the worst. Speaking at a WSJ CEO Council event, the Treasury secretary laid out the difficult decisions she would face if the Treasury was forced to choose which bills to prioritize.
Most market watchers expect that the Treasury Department would opt to make interest and principal payments to bondholders before paying other bills, yet Ms. Yellen would say only that she would face “very tough choices.”
White House officials have refused to say if any contingency planning is underway. Early this year, Biden administration officials said they were not planning for how to prioritize payments. As the U.S. edges closer to default, the Treasury Department declined to say whether that has changed. …
Perhaps the left & right wings of the Dems & GOP decided they wanted some sort of Götterdämmerung confrontation, and what we got is just what they wanted.
Key Republican negotiator says ‘thorny’ issues remain unsettled in possible debt deal
Bloomberg – just in
Representative Patrick McHenry said Saturday that there are still “thorny issues” in the negotiations between House Republicans and the White House to avert a catastrophic US default.
“It’s hours or days, I don’t know when,” McHenry, one of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s top negotiators, said at the Capitol.
There is a “very short list” of differences that remain, he added.
Negotiators for McCarthy and President Joe Biden worked into the night to try to resolve a default, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says could happen June 5. McHenry said it’s a “severe challenge” to pass a bill before that X-date.
Work requirements for anti-poverty programs were among the remaining sticking points Friday night.
Seems like all we’ve got going for
us now is this from Yogi Berra
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Politics is the art of the possible
This sentence was printed in the newspaper St. Petersburgische Zeitung, on August 11, 1867.
Prince Otto von Bismarck was an ultra-conservative German empire builder and master manipulator. In saying “Politics is the art of the possible,” he is reaching out from the 19th century to address our Congress. And after showing no sympathy for the bedeviled, he tells the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want,” which they turn into a big hit because everybody has felt that pain. …
seems to me
they should give them their work requirements and then just enforce them “humanely.”
i shoudn’t say that outloud, but when i worked for a part of the welfare state during the Reagan administration, we ignored the law … the part that protected the clients… and over-enforced the part of the law that made life hell for clients.
now, if reagan (and trump) can ignore the law they don’t like, i would think it would be possible for liberals to at least “apply” the law by taking advantage of it’s more liberal interpretation.
or is there something else going on here?
misplaced ltr Comment:
Important enough to warrant the cover of Nature.com:
May 26, 2023
Chinese researchers revolutionize solar cell technology, creating highly flexible and paper-thin solar cells
Chinese scientists have made a significant breakthrough in the production of highly flexible solar cells that are as thin as paper.
The researchers, from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT), achieved this by developing a unique technology that allows the edges of textured crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells to be tailored, enabling them to be bent and folded without damage.
This breakthrough, which has been featured * on the cover of the May 24 issue of Nature, opens up broader possibilities for the application and usage of solar cells.
The newly developed c-Si solar cells, utilizing this technology, can be manufactured to be only between 50 and 60 micrometers thin and possess a bending radius of approximately 8 millimeters.
c-Si solar cells are a rapidly developing type of solar cell known for their extended lifespan and high conversion efficiency, making them a leading product in the photovoltaic market….
Even more significant, from Popular Mechanics …
Electricity out of thin air?
Scientists say they’ve discovered a way to create electricity out of thin air. And their process might some day power your watch, your smartphone or possibly your laptop.
Using a common soil bacterium that consumes small amounts of hydrogen from the air to help power its metabolism, researchers at Monash University in Melbourne have managed to isolate the enzyme that enables it to do so. (Enzymes are substances produced by living organisms that help them carry out certain biochemical actions.)
The researchers showed that this enzyme — going by the decidedly ignoble name of Huc — was able to turn even the smallest amounts of atmospheric hydrogen into an electrical current.
Though it’s still in the proof-of-concept stage, the discovery raises exciting possibilities, says the study’s co-author, Rhys Grinter, laboratory head in the microbiology department at Monash.
The bacterium from which the enzyme is extracted, Mycobacterium smegmatis, is nonpathogenic, grows quickly and is easy to work with in the lab. The extracted enzyme, Huc, is stable and long-lasting — it can endure temperatures up to 80 degrees and down to -80 Celsius and still retain its ability to generate electricity. It has continued that activity for several days at a time — and it is absurdly efficient, says Grinter.
“We managed to put it into a small electrochemical circuit and show that it can make electricity down to (minute) atmospheric concentrations — so the 0.00005 per cent of hydrogen in the atmosphere, it can turn into electricity.” …
Researchers have isolated the enzyme
Structural basis for bacterial energy extraction from atmospheric hydrogen
Nature – March 8
Also this… (apparently a different process)
Scientists find way to make energy from air using nearly any material
Washington Post via MSN – May 27
Nearly any material can be used to turn the energy in air humidity into electricity, scientists found in a discovery that could lead to continuously producing clean energy with little pollution.
The research, published in a paper in Advanced Materials, builds on 2020 work that first showed energy could be pulled from the moisture in the air using material harvested from bacteria. The new study shows nearly any material can be used, like wood or silicon, as long as it can be smashed into small particles and remade with microscopic pores. But there are many questions about how to scale the product.
“What we have invented, you can imagine it’s like a small-scale, man-made cloud,” said Jun Yao, a professor of engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the senior author of the study. “This is really a very easily accessible, enormous source of continuous clean electricity. Imagine having clean electricity available wherever you go.”
That could include a forest, while hiking on a mountain, in a desert, in a rural village or on the road.
The air-powered generator, known as an “Air-gen,” would offer continuous clean electricity since it uses the energy from humidity, which is always present, rather than depending on the sun or wind. Unlike solar panels or wind turbines, which need specific environments to thrive, Air-gens could conceivably go anywhere, Yao said. …
Harnessing the same forces as lightning, new technology extracts electricity from humidity
Boston Globe – May 26
… In a study out this week, scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst say they have created a device that can harvest electricity from humidity in the air.
The device, called an Air-gen, right now is a fingernail-sized harvester made from thin material with holes less than a thousandth of the width of a human hair — called nanopores — that makes electricity by allowing electrically charged water molecules in the air to pass through. Harnessing the same forces that make lightning, that movement through the membrane creates an electrical imbalance that produces current.
“Throughout history, we haven’t been able to find any means to capture the electricity in the air. It’s dangerous. It’s unpredictable. But I think this technology essentially turns that dream into reality,” said Jun Yao, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering at UMass Amherst and the paper’s senior author.
As of now, the Air-gen can create enough electricity to power a small sensor, like a heart-rate monitor, but the authors say the technology has the potential to be made at a much larger scale and used as a clean energy source that might help augment wind and solar.
Perhaps the most significant finding, the authors write in the journal Advanced Materials, is that any number of materials, including cellulose, which is found in the cell walls of plants, can be used for the device, provided they can be engineered with small enough pores. That could open the door for inexpensive mass production. Unlike batteries that require minerals like lithium or solar panels that require silicon, there would be no mining required, the researchers said. …
McCarthy cites ‘progress’ in US debt-ceiling talks
Reuters – a couple hours ago
Top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy said on Saturday he was making “progress” in negotiations with Democratic President Joe Biden on raising the federal government’s debt ceiling, as the nation faced risk of default in little more than a week.
Time is tight. The Treasury Department on Friday said the government would run short of funds to pay all its bills on June 5 without congressional action, a slightly later but firmer deadline than its prior forecast of default as early as June 1. …
McCarthy Says He Believes Congress Can Pass Debt Deal by June 5
Bloomberg – a few hourse before that
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said negotiators still must resolve remaining issues in a deal to avert a catastrophic US debt default, but he believes negotiators can meet a June 5 deadline.
McCarthy signaled that he’s had to give in to at least some Democratic demands but said he’s not “fearful” of what is in the emerging agreement. He touted that it cuts “runaway spending,” a core GOP demand in exchange for lifting the country’s borrowing …
White House and GOP Strike Debt Limit Deal to Avert Default
NY Times – just in
Top White House and Republican negotiators on Saturday reached an agreement in principle to raise the debt limit for two years while cutting and capping some government spending over the same period, a breakthrough after a marathon set of crisis talks that has brought the nation within days of its first default in history.
Congressional passage of the plan before June 5, when the Treasury is projected to exhaust its ability to pay its obligations, is not assured, particularly in the House. Republicans hold a narrow majority in the chamber, and right-wing lawmakers who had demanded significantly larger budget cuts in exchange for lifting the borrowing limit are all but certain to revolt.
But the compromise, which would effectively freeze federal spending that had been on track to grow, had the blessing of both President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, raising hopes that it could break the fiscal stalemate that has gripped Washington and the nation for weeks, threatening an economic crisis. The two spoke by phone on Saturday evening to resolve final sticking points. …
… The plan was structured with the aim of enticing votes from both parties, though it has drawn the ire not only of conservative Republicans but also Democrats furious at being asked to vote for cuts they oppose with the threat of default looming. Still, it gives Republicans the ability to say that they succeeded in reducing some federal spending — even as funding for the military and veterans’ programs would continue to grow — while allowing Democrats to say they spared most domestic programs from significant cuts.
The deal, which was still being finalized and written on Saturday night, would raise the borrowing limit, which is currently $31.4 trillion, for two years — enough to get past the next presidential election.
According to a person familiar with the agreement, the deal also would impose new work requirements for some recipients of government aid, including food stamps and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. It would put new limits on the amount of time that certain recipients of food stamps — people under the age of 54, who do not have children — could benefit from the program. But it also would expand food stamp access for veterans and the homeless. …
The tentative deal also claws back some unspent money from a previous pandemic relief bill, and reduces by $10 billion new enforcement funding for the I.R.S. to crack down on tax cheats. It includes measures meant to speed environmental reviews of certain energy projects.
The work requirements and the environmental review reforms were among the last details the two sides worked out on Saturday.
Negotiators — working around the clock at the Capitol, in the White House and virtually — pushed the resolution nearly to the last minute, increasing pressure on lawmakers to accept a solution likely to be unpopular with both parties’ bases. Economists and Wall Street analysts warned that a default would be devastating and potentially lead to a global economic meltdown.
To avert a default, the House and the Senate must pass the deal and send it to Mr. Biden for his signature. That promises to be a heavy lift for both Mr. McCarthy and Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Democratic leader, who must now cobble together a coalition of Republicans and Democrats.
Mr. McCarthy has repeatedly said he believes a majority of his conference would vote for the deal, but it is not clear yet how many Republicans will back the compromise — and how many Democrats might be needed to vote for it to make up for G.O.P. defections. …
… The deal was ultimately struck by a group led by Mr. Biden’s counselor, Steve Ricchetti; his budget director, Shalanda Young; and two of Mr. McCarthy’s closest confidants, Representatives Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina and Garret Graves of Louisiana. They agreed to use some creative accounting maneuvers in the deal to help provide both sides political cover.
But Mr. McCarthy was still likely to face a revolt from the hard-right lawmakers in his conference. …
… Progressives, too, had vented their unhappiness before the deal was even announced.
Lindsay Owens, the executive director of the liberal Groundwork Collaborative in Washington, criticized the deal for forcing budget cuts in domestic programs — and in particular, for reducing enforcement money for the I.R.S.
“Conceding to Republican demands to hamstring the I.R.S.’s ability to go after wealthy tax evaders is a losing proposition for Democrats,” she said. “It undermines an important policy initiative, drains a good source of revenue and requires the caucus to vote down a policy that is incredibly popular with the public.”
quite possible the molecular electricity generator is more significant than the debt ceiling agreement.
of course there are two worries about the electricity thing…like cold fusion and cures for cancer, it may not work, or it may work well enough that the human race continues to destroy the planet because now it has more energy to do it with.
on the other hand, i think the debt agreement may turn out to be far better than i imagined. as a believer in confronting bullies and knocking them down, i supported the fouteenth amendmenment solution to the point of forcing a constitutional crisis when our SC called it unconstitutional. but now i think the damage to the people can be avoided with a very small amount of creative application of the law they actually come up with, and both the hard left and hard right may see the folly of their “demands” up to this point.