2:00PM Water Cooler 2/8/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, thanks for the excellent discussion during my travel day yesterday. –lambert

Trade

“About 20% of the company’s highly-profitable light trucks are built in Mexican factories, and GM is moving more production there. That reflects a broader dependence on global sourcing at GM, which sells more cars overseas than it does at home. For GM, that makes the economic calculations over issues such as an import tax highly complicated. China ranks as its No. 1 market, far surpassing deliveries in the U.S. even though North America is more profitable. But even a modest border tax could wipe out a quarter of that regional profit” [Wall Street Journal].

“If President Trump wants to put workers first, he must put worker rights first in any future negotiations on NAFTA” [Sandor Levin, The Hill].

Politics

Trump Transition

“Full Replay: Bernie Sanders vs. Ted Cruz Debate on Obamacare” (video) [RealClearPolitics].

“After Cruz expressed phony concern that insurance companies have racked up huge profits over the last six years, Sanders excitedly pounced, telling the Texas senator that there is an easy way to combat insurance company greed – simply scrap the for-profit system altogether” [PoliticsUSA]. And: “‘I find myself in agreement with Ted, he’s right,’ Sanders said after Cruz spoke critically of insurance companies. ‘Ted, let’s work together on a Medicare for all single payer system,’ Sanders said.” And if you read the New York Times “live analysis,” that moment never happened. Odd. Yamiche Alcindor should really recuse herself. On Margot Sanger-Katz, see here.

And the clickbaity Alternet headline: “5 Times Bernie Sanders Mopped the Floor with Ted Cruz During Their CNN Debate” [Alternet]. “And as he did throughout the primary, the Vermont senator made a compelling case not only to preserve the Affordable Care Act from repeal but for the U.S. to ultimately transition to a single-payer healthcare system.”

“After campaigning for years against the health care law, Republicans seem to be realizing that it will be incredibly difficult to deliver on Mr. Trump’s promise of providing a program that is better, cheaper and covers more people” [New York Times]. “Incredibly difficult,” given that the Times, and the Democratic Establishment generally, vehemently (“never, ever”) oppose a program that is proven to be “better, cheaper,” and that covers everybody. Oh well.

“Democrats are pulling all-nighters in a futile stand of opposition — powerless as their 2013 decision to gut the filibuster is used against them to approve nominees who surely would have been scuttled in years past. But the Democratic grass roots wants to see a high-profile fight, even one that ends in a loss, and senators are happy to oblige” [Politico]. Too bad they didn’t gut the filibuster in 2009 and bring some hope and change. Oh well.

“In a brief telephone interview with MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show,’ a program watched loyally by many Warren devotees, [Senator Elizabeth Warren] explained that ‘I’ve been red-carded on Sen. Sessions, I’m out of the game of the Senate floor. I don’t get to speak at all'” [WaPo]. Red Card = Soccer Mom.

“Treasury Pick’s Oversight of “Robo-Signing” Heats Up Nomination Proceedings” [RegBlog]. Yves did a ton of original reporting and analysis on robosigning back in the day. Truth is like poetry…

2016 Post Mortem

“I ran Clinton’s campaign, and I fear Russia is meddling with more than elections” [Robby Mook, Guardian]. The Guardian really shouldn’t let errand boys near the blame cannons. It’s not safe.

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel has warned Democrats they need to ‘take a chill pill’ and realize that they are not going to take back national power anytime soon. ‘It ain’t gonna happen in 2018,’ Emanuel said Monday at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in California. ‘Take a chill pill, man. You gotta be in this for the long haul'” [Chicago Tribune]. “As he did last month at an event in Washington, D.C., the mayor expanded on what he believes is the road map back to power for his party — putting moderate candidates such as veterans, football players, sheriffs and business people up in Republican districts, picking battles with Republicans, exploiting wedges within the GOP and fighting attempts to redistrict Congress on partisan grounds.” Yes, that’s been working great so far.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“[W]hy do people fall for lies?” With list of reasons [Stumbling and Mumbling]. “All this raises a challenge for liberals. Many used to believe the truth would win out over lies in the marketplace for ideas. This is no longer true, if it ever were. Instead, the questions now are: what can we do about this? And what should we do? The two questions might well have different answers. But we can make a start by understanding how lies are sometimes believed.” After watching the aftermath of the Clinton campaign, I think that’s giving liberals a little too much credit. As ever, who is “we”?

UPDATE “Bernie Sanders coming to Miss. for march against Nissan” [Clarion-Ledger (DCBlogger). Remember when Obama said he’d “put on his comfortables shoes” and walk the picket line? Good times.

“How a Fractious Women’s Movement Came to Lead the Left” [Amanda Hess, New York Times] An exercise in performative speech (Hess on BernieBros; and here). “By the time the 2016 campaign rolled around, Clinton wasn’t just permitted to run as a feminist — she was practically obligated to.” Eesh. I think it’s very important for young women and girls to grow up knowing that [they can deny health care to millions]. Snowclone opportunity!

“Keith Ellison Is Everything Republicans Thought Obama Was. Maybe He’s Just What Democrats Need” [Mother Jones]. Dunno. Starts out nice, then wraps a truckload of oppo in the niceness. Ellison declined to be interviewed, possibly because Mother Jones spent most of 2016 trying to knife Sanders whenever his back was turned.

“In reviewing the approval polls released last weekend, it is important to note the partisan divide: While 10 percent of Democrats approve of Trump, 90 percent of Republicans do; 88 percent of Democrats oppose the executive order on refugees, while 88 percent of Republicans support it. Atlantic Editor Ron Brownstein pointed out that 59 percent to 38 percent of non-college-educated whites, the heart of the Trump coalition, approve of what he is doing. In other words, the coalition that won him the election in 2016 isn’t signaling displeasure with its pick, which bodes well for Trump’s chances in 2020. Protests, even as they diminish Trump’s overall approval ratings, are unlikely to budge that either, and may well cement it” [Washington Post]. As the article points out, there were a lot of protests under Reagan, too.

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of February 3: “rose a seasonally adjusted 2.0 percent” [Econoday].

Stats from yesterday:

Gallup U.S. Economic Confidence Index, January 2017: “In January, 31 percent of Americans rated the economy as “excellent” or “good,” while 21 percent said it was “poor,” resulting in a current conditions score of plus 10 — marking the highest monthly reading for this component since 2008. The economic outlook component also reached a new high score of plus 11 in January. This score was the result of 52 percent of Americans saying economic conditions in the country were “getting better,” while 41 percent said they were ‘getting worse'” [Econoday]. That “new high” doesn’t look too awesome, to me…

JOLTS, December 2016: “Job openings remain well above hiring though the gap narrowed slightly in December” [Econoday]. “This report is a reminder that demand for labor is very strong.” But: Still looks to me like it’s already rolled over” [Mosler Economics].

International Trade, December 2016: “Strong exports of capital goods helped limit the nation’s trade deficit in December to a lower-than-expected $44.3 billion vs a revised $45.7 billion in November. Exports, also boosted by strong demand for U.S. services, rose a very solid 2.7 percent to $190.7 billion in the month, strength offset however by a 1.5 percent rise in imports to $235.0 billion that was swollen by heavy imports of vehicles” [Econoday]. “December exports were the highest since April 2015 though imports were the heaviest since March 2015. Still, the active two-way traffic points to strong cross-border trade and improved global demand.”

Commodities: “A coal company in west-central Alberta that in 2011 sold for $1-billion is bankrupt, killing hopes that its mine might re-open in the first quarter” [Mining.com]. ” According to the newspaper, Grande Cache Coal was forced into bankruptcy last week after the mining company’s owner, Chinese coal producer Up Energy Development Group Ltd., defaulted on debt payments in 2016, having owed hundreds of millions of dollars.” Hmm.

* * *

Shipping: “Exporter, Importer, clearing agent, forwarder… all of them have to prepare or arrange one or more documents in order to ensure that the shipment is handled properly and effectively” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. Read the list, it’s amazing. Yes, I can imagine some glib Silicon Valley startup trying to make “an app for that” without understanding the business

Shipping: “Still, Maersk says a pickup in freight rates is underway that will bring its shipping business back into the black. Average prices across the company’s network fell 18.7% last year, pushing revenues down 13% despite improving shipping volume. Maersk is adjusting some operations, but the biggest gain will come from the industry consolidation that is aligning capacity more closely to demand” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “TSAKOS Group is partnering Swiss Capital Alternative Investments in readying a large investment in the dry bulk carrier market as a number of funds appear to have concluded the time for buying bulkers has finally arrived” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “CONTAINER shipping is within touching distance of a bright new future that will see lines produce solid financial results for possibly the first time in its history.That is the view of one of shipping’s top bankers” [Lloyd’s List]. I don’t want to be cranky about this, but wouldn’t it have been simpler to empty the wheelbarrows full of stupid money directly onto the beaches at the Bangladeshi shipbreakers’ yards? Why all the indirection of actually building ships with it?

Rapture Index: Down 1 on earthquakes. “The lack of large quakes in populated areas has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. All-Time High: 189 (October 10, 2016). Current: 182.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 57, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 8 at 11:36am. Be neutral when others are neutral?

Gaia

“BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), the world’s largest mining company, is urging governments to provide more support to the industry for developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects” [Mining.com].

Class Warfare

“A death in Alabama exposes the American factory dream” [Financial Times]. “On June 18 2016 — a Saturday — a robot that Elsea was overseeing at the Ajin USA auto parts plant in Cusseta, Alabama, stopped moving. She and three colleagues tried to get it going, stepping inside the cage designed to protect workers from the machine, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. When the robot restarted abruptly, Elsea was crushed.” Hmm. I wonder when software engineering is going to be regulated creating occupational hazards. And there’s plenty else wrong in this story. Worth a read.

“More people believed general economic conditions in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities were declining than improving, according to the latest Community Development Outlook Survey” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. “The majority of respondents (61.5 percent) said that conditions were staying the same, while 20.9 percent said they were declining, and 17.6 percent said they were improving…. The report noted that this was the second year in a row that generational poverty was the top issue. It also noted that the percentage of people who said availability of affordable housing was the top issue more than doubled, going from 7.9 percent in 2015 to 16.2 percent in 2016.” The Fed’s survey is of “community stakeholders,” whatever that means.

News of the Wired

“A Brief History of ‘Cash Me Outside, Howbow Dah?'” [New York Magazine]. 2017 is already great.

Internet of Shit:

Sure hope they don’t do firmware updates on robot cars while they’re on the road. Because that would be bad.

“Can the US government demand that it be able to reach into the world’s servers with the tech sector’s assistance? International relations issues aside, the answer to that legally thorny question depends on which US court is asked” [Ars Technica]. Yikes.

“The World’s Foremost Authority Has Died: Prof. Irwin Corey Was 102” [NPR]. “Corey’s left-wing beliefs led to him being blacklisted in the 1950s. Decades later, he was found to be panhandling in a Manhattan street. He told The New York Times that he donated all the money he collected to charity — often, to a cause that benefits children in Cuba.” Funny and very poignant…

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:


Via the University of British Columbia Botanical Gardens.

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.

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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.

192 comments

      1. polecat

        8″ of snow in Port Angeles, from Monday thru today !

        Our hens are in a ‘snow funk’ … cuz the white stuff is high to traipse through …..
        They keep asking me to DO SOMETHING ! … I just shrug …

        1. 3.14e-9

          Not sure what the official measurement was in our microclimate to the south of you both, but there was at least 8 inches on top of my car, and there’s a fuzzy rain-snow mix coming down now.

          The power was out from 4 a.m. Monday to 5 p.m. Tuesday. We’re on a well, so when the electricity goes, the water pump doesn’t work. The landlord has two generators but for some reason couldn’t get either of them working until just a few hours before the power returned. In the meantime, severe water rationing was in effect, so no flushing, showering, washing dishes, etc.

          Two days without heat, a shower, functioning toilet, and hot food – not to mention no COFFEE or unlimited Internet access – was a scary reminder of what the initial effects likely would be if there was a civil war, military coup, or other disruptions being batted about. Sarah Silverman and others suggesting overthrowing Trump by force don’t stop to think about the inconvenience it would be to their cushy lifestyles.

          In any case, we’re used to emergency planning here, being in a major earthquake zone, with scary predictions of a “big one” that would decimate Seattle. My area would be less hard-hit, but without any emergency services, and likely no power for days. I’m not as prepared as I should be, but at least have a stock of bottled drinking water and canned food – good thing, because I’m not getting out of my driveway for at least a couple more days.

          http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

          1. Isolato

            Obviously, if you are renting….your options are fewer. But if you are on a well there is no reason not to have a cistern, at least 500 gallons, that you can gravity tap. We actually collect water off the roof into a 1500 gallon tank. But we are completely off the grid, except, as you mention, the indispensable (!) internet. Even that is wireless.

            Generators…bad gasoline…almost always. You simply cannot let them sit for more than a few months w/o stabilized fuel, preferably gas w/o ethanol. Even then you would be much better served by running the fuel out of the carburetor and even completely out of the tank.

            And, ya know, that New Yorker article was a bit over the top. What IS in grave danger (stupidly) is the Coast Guard Base at Port Angeles miles out on a sandspit only a few feet above the waterline AND past a fuel storage area that is likely to be in flames.

            If you want to survive hard times…love thy neighbor

            1. 3.14e-9

              Ha! I knew one of the off-the-grid NCers would have something to say. I didn’t realize you were one of them. Should have guessed by the name. :-)

              In the three years I’ve lived here, we’ve had several power outages, and this is the first time the backup plan failed. The landlord ventured into town a few times for supplies, which he could do in his monster 4-wheel-drive vehicle, although even with that, he slid sideways down the hill. I presume he knows about bad gasoline. I haven’t had the chance yet to ask what the problem was.

              This guy isn’t an off-the-grid cistern type (establishment Republican in his seventies). I once suggested chickens — there’s plenty of space for them — but he’s not a chicken kinda guy, either. He does have a huge vegetable garden, which looks like something right out of a fairy tale. The past three summers, bags of gorgeous produce regularly appeared on my doorstep. He is generous to a fault and does a lot of community service work. In short, a “love they neighbor in an emergency” kinda guy.

              You are absolutely right about that New Yorker article. Nonetheless, Seattle would be a horrific disaster. In my area, our preparedness plan is based on a USGS analysis specific to our position the fault line (their best guesses, anyway), with damage and casualty projections based on population density and typical construction.

              Sounds like you need one of those for your area, although I’m not sure it would be enough to talk the Coast Guard out of their stupidity. That is truly appalling. Someone needs to do an investigative news article.

                1. 3.14e-9

                  Exactly what I had in mind. Crosscut does some good reporting. Thanks for the link.

                  So they know. That’s not just stupidity; it’s criminal irresponsibility. If the whole stupid lot of them gets washed away, it will improve the gene pool. It also vastly simplifies emergency preparedness for nearby communities. The only thing they’ll need to remember when the Big One comes is bend over and kiss your a– goodbye.

      2. Don Scott

        Damn Kaiser. Why the Brits ever accepted him as a mediator over the border dispute is beyond me:)))

    1. Katharine

      Yes, I actually sat and puzzled over for a couple of minutes: photo? painting? photo? But definitely beautiful!

  1. WheresOurTeddy

    Anyone want to take a swing at this one? I trust the media dissemblers at NC more than just about anyone.

    16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won.

    To this non-partisan, does-not-belong-to-a-party, voted-Sanders-in-CA-primary, the contrast between the Republicans’ “autopsy” response to 2012 and the Democrats’ “Putin did it, you’re all useful idiots” 2016/17 posture is pretty damning.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      WheresOurTeddy, I assume by “dissemblers” you mean something like “disassemblers”?

      “dissemble” means to speak in such a way as to avoid making the truth plain.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Indeed I did. Much obliged.

        Plenty of other media outlets if I want dissembling. But they all tell me I believe fake news.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I gave it a very quick look. The one section on “November 22: The Tri-State Election Hacking Conspiracy Theory” looks pretty good. That’s interesting because it’s the likely source for the belief, inside the bubble of the Clintonite faction, that Russia hacked the vote tallies. If any readers care to dig more deeply, that would be great. It doesn’t look like a self-referential right wing bubble piece, if that’s the underlying question.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Thank you. Linking to “The Federalist” made me pause, but the site doesn’t look like “a self-referential right wing bubble” type at first glance.

        With “On Comments” from a few days ago on the mind, didn’t want to muddy the water…

      2. voislav

        It’s a well researched piece, backed up by linking to sources. The theme of the article is that the original sensationalized news are widely shared whereas subsequent corrections that tone down the piece issued by the same publisher are not. Often the original article is left unchanged even after it has been shown to be wrong.

        They cover a lot of ground familiar to NC, that many of the policies enacted by the Trump administration in the first few weeks were prepared by the Obama administration and just got the final sign off from the new administration. These are mostly run of the mill administrative issues with minimal impact that are sensationalized by the media.

    3. PKMKII

      “Fake News” is a red herring regardless of who is peddling it, or screaming about it being a sign of the end times (although I will admit a certain bemusement at Cheeto Benito co-opting it so quickly from the establishment press for his own purposes; Once again, even when they seek to undermine him they just place gifts in his lap). The problem, really, is people who consume largely real news, but such a narrow sliver of the real news that it creates a warped worldview. I can read nothing but stories about cops engaged in corruption and unethical activity, or I can read nothing but stories about cops getting attacked/shot/killed. Doesn’t matter that the stories in both cases are true, they both lead to inaccurate worldviews.

      1. Katharine

        You just started an inchoate thought in my mind. I would normally have agreed with your characterization of incomplete world views as inaccurate, in a sort of objective, watching from outside the sphere sense. But we all spend some fraction of our time dealing with subjective truths, from which standpoint our world views are not inaccurate even if objective truth says they are. I wonder how much of our clinging to our subjective truths despite other evidence stems from their perceived survival value (not trusting cops being for some people in the class of common prudence), and what other factors might be involved.

        I was sort of hoping for more insight from Stumbling and Mumbling, but somehow for me that read like an explanation of why other people are fools, and I know my own mind plays the same tricks as other people’s and would like more insight into what seems to me a human peculiarity.

      2. Praedor

        The problem with the entire trope of “fake news” is that fake is whatever the US government wants it to be for propaganda/policy reasons. Thus, ANYTHING that RT or other Russian news orgs say is “fake” unless it somehow helps forward a neoliberal/neocon policy point. ANY news that goes against the party in power is “fake”. ANY news that tells a different story from the official line on all our many (illegal) wars and coups around the world is “fake”, no matter how accurate and true.

        Now, there is really fake news, of course: Obama is a Kenyan, Elvis is still alive, Aliens assassinated Kennedy, 9/11 was ONLY the work of a dozen or so cave dwellers from Afghanistan. All fake.

    4. sgt_doom

      I don’t grasp this sudden attention to Fake News; many of us have been battling it for ages.

      What We Did Not Learn From Fake News!

      When Reagan was in the White House and George Gilder reigned supreme, did we ever learn from Fake News that Gilder was the adopted son of David Rockefeller?

      NO!

      When Bush #1 was about to attack Iraq (in the 1990s) did we learn from Fake News that Richard Armitage used to sit on the board of the Kuwaiti oil company which was slant drilling into Iraqi oil fields and stealing their oil?

      NO!

      During the Clinton Administration did Fake News ever tell us of the ties between the Clintons and the Blackstone Group (founded by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen Schwarzman, with Rockefeller seed money)?

      NO!

      During the Bush #2 Administration did Fake News ever explain that D.J. Gribbin IV was Dick Cheney’s Godson? Or that the legal counsel at DHS was Cheney’s son-in-law?

      NO!

      Did Fake News ever tell us that France’s President Sarkozy’s stepfather was Frank Wisner, Jr., not only a career CIA type, but the son of one of the original founders of the CIA?

      NO!

      Nor did Fake News explain exactly how Frank Wisner and John Negroponte aided Sarkozy in winning the French presidency the first time around?

      Seems like Fake News falls short on the Real News category!

      1. epynonymous

        How should history *really* remember Obama?

        Even president Eisenhower was a pretty shady choice of executive.

        According to the constitution, the president & congress negotiate our foreign treaties… but in a COG-world, the Dulles brothers (who I should know more about, having one of their books on my shelf, but not the really good one about WWII’s treaty process…) choose the president and congress.

  2. Darius

    Parties gain power in the US when the other party screws up, as did the Republicans in 2008. They keep it by delivering, which the Democrats failed to do, unless you count Obama’s dignity and grace and awesome awesomeness. But people can’t eat that or live under its roof.

    Democrats’ failing to deliver was the screw up that gave us Trump. Their only chance to get back in power is Trump failing to improve people’s lives. A fair like likelihood. I don’t see the Democrats doing anything to improve people’s lives though. So the question from now on is how steep the rate of US decline will be. Sometimes steep. Sometimes a little less so.

    1. Vatch

      Obama’s dignity and grace and awesome awesomeness. But people can’t eat that or live under its roof.

      Yeah, Obama had a great image, but there wasn’t much substance there.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The flip side Is Team Blue has to become the Democratic Party again. Back when Gallup was doing tracking polls, one would notice Democrats were not beneficiaries of Republican declines. The Democratic support exploded upward after Murtha came out against the Iraq War and forced the party to dump the 2004 “well fight even better” campaign promise of Kerry and nominally oppose the war.

      Given those Congressional Dems had been a minority for fourteen years at that point, there was hope they weren’t. ..well Democrats. There was also a boomlet, but relying on bad policies leading to bad results won’t work. The Democrats who predicted a Hillary win more or less predicted the utter collapse of the GOP if the became obstructionists.

    3. Minnie Mouse

      Obama blew the election on trade by aggressively promoting the known to be toxic ISDS infested TPP to the bitter end.

  3. shinola

    Updates from the heartland:

    -New Missouri governor signed the (so called) “Right-to-work” (i.e.anti-union) legislation into law

    -Despair Index: Local TV (Kansas City) reported last night that in Missouri the rate of “opioid babies”, infants born with addiction, has increased eight-fold (yes 8x) in the last 10 years from 1/1,000 births to 8/1,000(!)

    Helluva start for 2017

  4. PKMKII

    Re: protests and effects on elections. Is the purpose of the things to convince the non-college-educated-whites who voted for Trump to switch sides? Or to convince the millions who didn’t show up to vote to do so next time?

      1. Praedor

        That’s the PRIMARY purpose and effect.

        “Wont you now please help us continue the same shit policies that have lost us election after election for decades?”

        1. aab

          It’s not an electoral strategy. They don’t care about electoral strategy. Winning party power is less important to Democratic leadership than retaining personal power and status and conduits to personal wealth.

          So this is about them holding onto their existing tribal base, so they can keep feeding at the corporate trough. That is all.

    1. sgt_doom

      Didn’t Trump receive one-third of the Hispanic vote (of registered voters), and 53% of the women vote?

    2. jrs

      I think the latter is a better strategy really. It’s why Clinton lost, her base didn’t turn out. Trump himself got no more votes than Romney did.

      Converting Trump voters is maybe not much better a strategy than trying to win over suburban Republican women – many of those non-college educated whites are straight Republican voters as well. But to get the existing Dem base to actually want to go to the polls might actually work.

    3. Pirmann

      Based on what I’ve seen, it looks like a bunch of IDPol-ees who are having a sad because they didn’t get their participation trophy.

      (Apparently, the “I Voted” sticker from their polling place wasn’t sufficient)

  5. Code Name D

    Protesting being counter productive? -gasp- Say ain’t so! Say it ain’t so!

    It is an intresting observation that recent protests will not errode Trump’s support, but inforce it. It again raises the question of weather actualy acomplishes anything. I note we are still not seeing mass moblizations for Standing Rock.

    1. Vatch

      Protests and investigations directed at Hillary Clinton did little to erode her support, but they did successfully energize the people who were already opposed to her.

      1. aab

        There were performative protests against Hillary Clinton? I totally missed those. What were those hats like?

        I do remember policy-based political rallies for a candidate opposing her in the primaries. That’s a different type of public expression and action. They energized people by offering clear policies designed to make people’s lives better, and an political process by which to obtain them (sadly, that presumed the system was not too corrupted to respond.)

        1. Vatch

          No funny hats that I’m aware of. The right wing has been protesting against Hillary Clinton for a few decades, and frequently, issues have been secondary or completely ignored.

          I’m not referring to events on behalf of Bernie Sanders.

          1. aab

            I think you’re using the word “protest” in a different way here than in the comment you’re replying to, which makes your argument problematic.

            She did not lose the election because of anything the right wing has ever said or done against her. She lost because of her husband’s actual policies, Obama’s actual policies, her past actions as a politician, her campaign strategy, and her proposed policies — not the verbiage she unenthusiastically and dishonestly lifted from Bernie Sanders, but her real policies, which weren’t that hard to figure out. More wars, the draft, TPP, more global financialized capitalism, no restraints on banks, no universal health care — nothing for the “poors,” who are approximately the bottom 2/3rds of the electorate.

            Previously Democratic voters stayed home or flipped to the guy who spent the primaries demonstrating that Republican leadership was a bunch of maroons. They didn’t do that because of the Turtle, or Newt, or Fox News.

            1. Vatch

              I probably am using “protest” in a different way.

              However, Clinton’s decades of abuse by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and his dittoheads, and others on the right anesthetized many people to any criticism of Hillary Clinton. Sanders might have been able to convince more Democrats to vote for him if there hadn’t been a long history of outrageous anti-Clinton protesting/criticism. The long history of anti-Clinton criticism also blinded people on the right to the horrible problems with Donald Trump. He’s been President for less than a month, and we already see what a train wreck his administration is. It’s truly astonishing that people were expected to choose between the twin disasters of Clinton and Trump.

              And yes, I know that Hillary Clinton is corrupt, has terrible policies, and is a poor campaigner.

              1. aab

                I think that’s a reasonable point — that the Republican attacks hardened the Democratic base so that any criticism of Clinton was intolerable. I’m not sure it’s true, but it’s a reasonable supposition, up to a point. I do think the hardcore Clintonistas used that as an excuse both publicly and to themselves to justify their repugnant actions.

                Based on how the numbers went, though, I think even if it was true, it was not salient. If they hadn’t rigged the primary from top to bottom, and Bernie had been able to make his case, he would have beaten her in the primary soundly. The tribal Democrats are simply a very small portion of the population, concentrated in a small number of states, and without the successful demonization of him by Clinton and the media, even many tribal Dems would have flipped. Many of them did flip, in non-machine states where they had a chance to hear him and their votes weren’t suppressed or erased.

                I consider Clintonistas and tribal Democrats to be somewhat different groups — two subsets with a lot of overlap in terms of voting patterns, but tribal Dems often want what Bernie was offering. Their tribal identity was used by the party to keep them from him.

                Clintonistas don’t want universal policies. They are like Hillary: affluent/wealthy, usually white, classist and racist. Their social liberalism is entirely performative. They’re fine with people of color, for example, as long as they’re of their same economic class with the same behaviors, or if they’re good servants, again with the appropriate behaviors. But they don’t care about Flint, or Ferguson, or changing the status quo that benefits them, the Clintonistas, so richly. Bernie was never going to get those voters — a very small sliver of the overall electorate — and they certainly claim all the time that the problem is those Republican attacks. But when you look at what they are advocating for now, and who they praise (George W. Bush comes up a lot as a great guy), the reality is that they would never vote for a leftist candidate or leftist policies. They’re selfish, heartless people and they don’t want change. If you could have zapped their brains to remove all memories of Republican attacks on the Clintons, they still wouldn’t have been open to Bernie’s message, because those are not their preferred policies.

    2. Yves Smith

      Readers who protested in the 1960s say issue focused protests work, and the Civil Right movement and Vietnam War protests would seem to confirm that. They are skeptical of the Women’s March because being anti Trump isn’t issue focused.

      1. funemployed

        I don’t think the Vietnam protests worked. I think the US military lost that one fair and square. If anything, blaming it on domestic unrest lets the hawks off the hook for doubling and tripling down on a strategically impossible situation.

  6. Altandmain

    Interesting Counterpunch opinion on “American privilege”.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/08/the-violence-of-silence/

    It’s an important point though – unless the left finds solidarity, then the left will be stymied.

    Oh and this one is interesting:
    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/318141-worker-rights-must-be-at-the-core-of-nafta-renegotiations

    I think though that unless trade agreements take into account worker rights, globalization is a race to the bottom and the rich will gain all the wealth from it.

    Let’s face it, unless workers in the US get:

    1. Manufacturing jobs
    2. A safe work environment with decent environmental laws
    3. Middle class wages

    It will all be for nothing. Trump in that regard won’t deliver.

    1. Code Name D

      There is no solidarity, but a master/slave relatoship Dem voters are to just sit down, shut up, donate, and vote. The oppositof war is slavery.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Here’s what I think is missing from the anti-Trump hysteria:

        1. We oppose Trump’s policy on [name of issue here].
        2. This is why we oppose it. [Reasons listed here.]
        3. Here is what we propose instead. [Summarize it here.]
        4. Our plans to bring it about include these steps. [List them here.]
        5. Join us!

        1. Pirmann

          Those things are missing because he hasn’t actually done anything worthy of opposing yet. It’s all based on pessimistic projections that may or may not come to pass.

          I feel as though certain groups would rather just have someone who’s nice in the White House as opposed to someone who’s effective. They apparently don’t care if anything of actual consequence is provided, so long as it’s done in a nice, politically correct manner.

      2. sgt_doom

        That is all part and parcel of identity politics/anti-worker strategy — but I suspect in the long run it won’t work.

        After all, George Soros and the Koch brothers appear to be financing the organizers of these so-called protests, and the sheeple follow along. Soros has long lobbied against buy American (and hire American) and we know what the Koch brothers are all about).

        Meanwhile, almost daily we hear or view Trump saying: “Hire American, buy American!”

        I run into large numbers of democrats (I was Green Party, but I’m switching to strict socialist) who are completely discombobulated, and believe Trump to be the devil himself — yet when you compare and contrast the Bushes, Clintons, Obama, etc., and their actions which killed so very many, and their actions which were so anti-worker, they go completely glassy-eyed).

        Doesn’t look good . . .

        You might find this item below interesting, I came across it when I was searching on Soros’ background:

        http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/who-killed-federal-stimulus

  7. Jeff N

    re: trucks made in Mexico – when I was shopping for a truck (don’t worry, I didn’t buy one), the best prices were on Ram (Dodge). However, ALL their single-row-of-seats pickup trucks are made in Mexico! You had to buy a pickup with two rows of seating to get one made in USA.

    1. Carolinian

      When I was window shopping for a new car I was lied to by the dealer about the country of origin (didn’t buy the car). Be aware that the beginning of the VIN code–visible through the windshield–tells the location of the assembly plant. You can look up the codes on the web but I believe for the US it is “1N.”

      1. Lyle

        Actually now it is 1 4 or 5, Canada 2, Mexico 3 “https://www.carfax.com/guides/buying-used/what-to-consider/vin-decoding Note that the 4 and 5 were added to the US because so many offshore brands now assemble cars in the us.

    2. Praedor

      And yet trucks are STILL outrageously over-priced given how simple, how basic they are. I NEED a pickup. My 2004 was rusting out badly and it was down to trading it in before it fell apart around me to buy a new/used truck OR pay to get it fixed.

      IMPOSSIBLE to buy a new or even USED pickup for any sort of reasonable price unless it’s in as bad shape as mine was. I sprung for getting it re-bedded, getting new panels welded on, etc, because it was $25k cheaper than getting a 2 yr old USED truck of similar type.

      THERE’S NOTHING TO A TRUCK! Wheels, engine, bed. Sheesh.

      1. bob

        The used car cons are hard at work buying anything for cash, then holding it in the lot as a vehicle to sell a car loan, not a car, better money in the loan.

        There have also been accounting changes that heavily favor new cars as deprecation investments.

        Cash for clunkers was the start of the shrinking of the 2nd hand market.

        I looked at newer cars recently and couldn’t find one without a computer in the dash. Fail. A stick shift is also almost impossible to find. Double fail. Easier on higher end cars, but with the caveat. “oh, but we have an auto stick shift”

        So, it’s not a stick shift?

        I keep looking for better cared for older cars. That may be the only option these days. But you have to be quick, the dealers show up within 10 minutes of a listing with cash.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve noticed truck drivers fall into two categories: atrocious drivers who need to compensate and people who have trucks because they actually use them. Either way, there will be wear and tear. The best one can hope for is finding someone who has to stop driving before the truck is worn out. The car companies know these are the people who buy their trucks.

        There just won’t be many reliable used trucks available.

      3. Jim Haygood

        THERE’S NOTHING TO A TRUCK! Wheels, engine, bed. Sheesh.

        That’s true in principle. Yet the average truck tips the scales at nearly 5,000 lbs these days, with its giant wheels and billowing yards of sheet metal.

        You have to go back about 40-50 years to find those “nothing to a truck” trucks. :-(

        1. Tom

          Don’t forget that they’re also loaded with premium features and high tech gear: full-color touchscreen multimedia systems, DVD players, WiFi hotspots, heated leather seating with 10-way power adjust, rear back-up cameras, etc. And safety equipment? Stability control, brake assist, hill start control, trailer sway control, lane assist, cross-path warning, blind-spot monitoring — no wonder the top of the line luxury pickups can cost $50,000-$70,000.
          Nothing says success like a Mercedes-Benz X-Class premium pickup!

        2. Carl

          I’ve had many many people ask about buying my 97 Nissan Hardbody pickup. You know, the small one. People love that truck. I do too, so no sale.

      4. Lyle

        However compare the engine compartment of a 1985 pickup to todays pickup there is a lot more in there than back then. Engines are far more complex than back then with fuel injection computers to control the engine etc. plus all trucks essentially come with ac. Where I live you don’t find single row of seats pickups at dealers. (Note that those are now mostly work trucks which is a distinct product line).

      5. Sammy Maudlin

        One of the main reasons you see such an inflation in the price of new and used pickups is their status as “section 179” property.

        Basically, under IRC 179, a business that purchases a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating over 6,000 lbs. (almost any full-size truck) for business use may deduct up to $25,000 of the purchase price in the year that it is put into service, or if it has a six-foot bed, can deduct the full purchase price. No need to capitalize the expense and deduct over time. The taxpayer may even finance the purchase (with qualifications) and still take the deduction in the current year. The truck can be new or used.

        Given the huge tax incentive that exists for businesses to purchase such vehicles every year (whilst trading in the old one on a more expensive one and avoiding depreciation recapture), its no accident they are in such demand and so spectacularly pricey.

  8. Geoph

    Protests should be directed at Democrats for their deceit and failure. The most effective recent protests were the Water Protecters, TPP, and the Chuck Shumer protests. The Left protesting the GOP is just a temper tantrum that leads nowhere and is merely cathartic. If we want results the focus should be on remaking the Democraric Party (if that’s even still possible).

    1. allan

      Backlash for breakaway NYS Senate Democrats [WXXI]

      A faction of breakaway Democrats in the New York State Senate has been gaining members lately, but they are now facing a backlash, including raucous opposition at meetings in their districts.

      When Senator Jose Peralta announced on his Facebook page that he was joining a growing group of breakaway Democrats in the Senate called the Independent Democratic Conference, who form a governing coalition with the Republicans, he said he wanted to “deliver a progressive agenda”.

      What Peralta did not expect, was a backlash in his Queens district.

      Within days, he found himself on the defense in a heated town meeting, where he struggled to explain his decision and highlight what he called the “failures of the regular Democratic conference”, while a crowd chanted “throw him out”. …

      Senator Peralta, speaking back in Albany on the first session day since his ill fated town meeting, blamed it on organized opposition form the rank and file Democrats. …

      Whig•ging out. v., intran. (Archaic, dating from the middle 19th century.)
      When a leader lashes out at opposition from the rank and file.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Hmmm. IIRC José Peralta replaced the odious Hiram Monserrat after the latter joined the same breakaway group and was expelled from the Senate for some sort of felony.

      2. freedomny

        Yes – this is true. Queens folks were out of their minds. I also have a friend who works at AARP who went to a meeting last week with mostly Queens/Brooklyn politicians. She said there were “throngs” outside the door – chanting “keep your hands off my SS, medicare” etc. She said the one Republican there – Dan Donovan -(I think that was his name), was cool as a cucumber. Apparently they have been given special instructions/training as to how to deal with the public as they push these messy pills down our throats.

        I try to be an optimist – but I really think it is going to get ugly.

        1. Jim Haygood

          At first I misread your handle as “freedonny,” and feared that our new president had been detained. :-0

    2. jrs

      and none of those protest had to be for anything either and it’s a good thing. TPP was just anti-TPP (probably lots of splits here in people who like other agreements like NAFTA but not TPP, people who are protectionists, and those who want fair trade with worker and environmental protections). Good thing you could just be against the TPP, without having to herd those cats and get them to agree on what utopia would look like. Just NO TPP.

  9. RabidGandhi

    #Resistance, Southern Style

    Buenos Aires Teachers Reject 18% COLA Offer, Threaten Nationwide Strike [Ámbito]

    OK this is going to take some ‘splainin, so bear with me. Since high inflation is a structural problem in Argentina, it is crucial to have yearly cost of living adjustments (COLA, or “paritarias” in Spanish) to keep employee’s real wages ahead of inflation. Thus each year there is a battle between employers and employees as to what the COLA level should be for the coming year’s salaries. The government’s actions in these negotiations are huge, first because the government has the best tools to estimate what inflation will be for the coming year, and secondly because the government is the largest single employer.

    So let’s look the case at hand, public school teachers, specifically in the country’s largest province, Buenos Aires Province (30% of total population). Last year the newly arrived Macri government– which had campaigned on the promise that inflation would be “easy to solve” and made doing so a major priority– announced in January 2016 that inflation would be “20%, 25% max” in order to set the bar for the COLA negotiations. The Buenos Aires teachers union (SUTEBA) said inflation would be much higher, and eventually negotiated a 30% raise, with the government promising to renegotiate mid-year if inflation was over 30%. 2016 inflation turned out to be 41%, and the government refused to reopen negotiations. So effectively, BA teachers lost at least 10% of their purchasing power last year.

    Now Round 2: negotiations began in January for the 2017 contract. The BA Province government launched the opening salvo, first announcing that inflation would be 17%, but secondly adding that it would no longer comply with a 2005 law stipulating a national minimum for COLA increases. This is a big deal, because a huge part of the attack on public education in the 1990s was to relegate resources to the provinces, and thus starve education Grover Norquist style.

    SUTEBA countered with a demand that the government restore the national minimum as ordered by law, and they are demanding a minimum COLA of 35%: 25% for what they estimate 2017 inflation will be, and 10% for what they lost last year. Furthermore, SUTEBA has now joined forces with the national union (CTERA) and have said: either restore the national COLA minimum, or classes won’t start on schedule in March nationwide. The two major unions and smaller unions held a protest on 2 February, shutting down a couple of major thoroughfares, and with smaller marches around the country.

    So anyhoo, I just wanted to get this story out onto the NC table in its initial stages, because there’s a lot of talk up yonder about resistances and strikes and such, so it might be fun to compare notes as things develop. Since Macri has come into office, I would rate the unions response to his very drastic measures as just a smidge better than pathetic, so I’m not saying “here’s how to do it yanquis!” cause we’ve been just as futile in our own struggle, But if there’s interest, I will try to post occasional updates so we can compare and contrast.

    1. Jim Haygood

      high inflation is a structural problem in Argentina

      Indeed it is. Central banksters are always the first suspects. The BCRA’s Jan 2017 report cheerfully admits that M3 grew 23.2% year-on-year, M3 Privado rose 25.6%, and M2 Privado a stunning 31.2%. See page 7/16 for the text and Chart 3.2 showing growth in monetary aggregates:

      http://www.bcra.gov.ar/Pdfs/PublicacionesEstadisticas/bol0117.pdf

      As long as they keep “printing like Zimbabwe,” the dreary routine of unions having to strike for 30 percent raises just to stay even will continue.

      You’d think with a PhD from MIT, BCRA chair Federico Sturzenegger would get the greasy kid stuff of inflation under control. But no … monetary aggregates are still growing at about the same out-of-control pace as they did under Kristina’s airhead central bank governor Mercedes Marcó del Pont, who notoriously claimed that monetary growth has nothing to do with inflation.

  10. Chauncey Gardiner

    Lambert, thanks for remembering comedian Irwin Corey. Had the privilege of attending one of his performances in SF many years ago. Think it was at the Purple Onion, a comedy club which itself closed a few years ago. Cast himself as an Econ prof under that same moniker “The World’s Foremost Authority”. His acerbic and deeply insightful observations about the economic system, war and society were both very funny and enlightening to this then young man from a small town in the intermountain West. Unsurprising that he was on the street during the repressive 1950s. Given the nature of the environments in which he found himself, though, I am surprised at his lifespan. Surely a testament to the human spirit.

    1. Darius

      Another case of being astounded the guy was still alive. He invented Hodgman’s schtick. He always made me laugh when I was a kid. Color me wistful.

    2. EndOfTheWorld

      Yeah, Irwin was a guy that had his own schtick and schtuck with it. LOL, before sitting in the seat next to Letterman he kneeled and made the sign of the cross, to the seat.

      1. AbateMagicThinking but NOT money

        Here in Australia, anything that is fake or fraudulent is referred to as ‘shonky’, and taking that colloquialism and running with it, I would like to promulgate the term ‘The Shonkocracy’ (they know who they are). Any relation to ‘kakistocracy’? – This limey has never heard of it.

          1. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

            Aw, Lambert! You got me diving down the derivation rabbit hole. Too much derivation and I start to feel as if I have loose roos in the top paddock or that I’m two sandwiches short of a picnic.

            Another great Australian term is ‘squattocracy’ which means wealthy land owner in the current lingo. The orginal squatters in question were pioneers in the early days of the New South Wales colony who engaged in what might be termed arbitrage nowadays (albeit with an immense gap). The squatters land-grabbed huge areas beyond the early colony’s borders and managed to keep tenure when the borders were later extended to include ‘their’ land ( and never mind the pre-existing occupants). Were the squatters happy with their lot? Not from what I’ve been reading.

            I’m a student of Bill Bryson when it comes to english usage but I don’t recall ‘hinky’ – thanks for that.

            According to Bill the expression ‘stiff upper-lip’ is of American derivation. It looks as if the world’s collective upper lips are going to be rigid for what looks to be just under four years at least because of the current tallywack and tandem.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Thanks, that one gave me a laugh.

      I crack up whenever he says “bad hombres”. I know he’s a d-bag, but he really is funny (not intentionally, of course). And no, it doesn’t matter if he isn’t chummy with awful people like Holland or Pena-Nieto. Those two are deeply hated in their own countries for being rotten, corrupt liars.

  11. LarryB

    Not sure why you think licensing or otherwise regulating software engineers is going to keep things like that accident from happening. Software engineers are limited by what sensors the robot has, I doubt the robot had any means for detecting whether there was somebody in the cage with it, but this up to the robotics engineers and manufacturers, not the software guys. There also should have been electro-mechanical interlocks on the door to the safety cage, and possibly a pressure mat under the robot, but again, this is not something software guys do, and licensing them is not going to help. And finally, it seems like the biggest culprit is a corporate culture the doesn’t value workers, at least not as much as they do production. Given enough pressure and scarce enough jobs, workers will be able to bypass just about any safety measure. Safety measures can only really guard against carelessness, not fraud.

    1. Jason Boxman

      A better example came up in the NY Times several years ago. A radiation device for cancer was buggy and gave doses 1,000s of times what it should have during radiation treatment.

      No one was held criminally liable at the medical device manufacturer, not surprisingly, for basically maiming people. And the device was a failure on its own terms.

      1. LarryB

        Yes, the Therac-25 incident. In this case there was a race condition in the software which would sometimes cause the shield not to be lower. The race condition was triggered when an experienced operator used an unorthodox, or at least unforeseen, series of menu commands to operate the machine. But race conditions are usually very subtle bugs and even experts can create them accidentally. Don’t think licensing would help here, either, since licensing can only guarantee a minimal level of expertise, not that the license holder won’t make a mistake.

    2. hunkerdown

      Everything you said here, LarryB, except that robots themselves are usually just one component of a workstation, coordinated with other equipment components in a work station. As components, best practices and law effectively require that they have safety-gate and emergency-stop inputs, which the process engineers or shop’s maintenance crew, the latter often overworked and mismanaged (hi Paid Minion), are expected to integrate into a fail-safe system encompassing the entire work station.

      > Given enough pressure and scarce enough jobs, workers will be able to bypass just about any safety measure

      Especially this. This credentialling of software engineers business is a tedious, liberal hobby horse that here veers dangerously toward agnotology. Simply not entrusting such cosmetic trifles as life safety to software alone is a tried and true option, and generally much more effective at that. There is a reason that every or nearly every motor controller Philips Semiconductor and their successors ever produced has a hardware e-stop input.

  12. DH

    Re: Death in Alabama

    This is a simple lock-out/tag-out safety protocol that was not followed. The robot would have been treated as a “stored energy” device and would have been de-powered and immobilized prior to anyone entering the cage.

    More and more manufacturers and contractors are discovering that short-cutting safety is actually a false savings. The planning required to do the work safely usually exposes poorly thought out planning, so that when a task is started it is actually ready to go and there are fewer delays and less rework. That actually saves money, improves quality, and improves worker productivity.

    This was similar to the findings from many of the RCRA regulations from the 80s that required inventory control of chemicals. The initial inventory control made it clear to the accountants how much money was literally going down the drain. Tightening up their protocols on the use of chemicals reduce costs by reducing how much had to be purchased or how much end product was wasted.

    Long-term thinking by corporate management (I know, an oxymoron) would understand this.

      1. TrixiefromDixie

        I believe that the problem arose from using temporary workers (which is standard operating procedure in manufacturing these days) who have not been properly trained in safety issues. Workers in the US are just that, a temporary work force for a foreign owned manufacturer, who gets massive tax breaks to come here and exploit our labor force. Just saying…

        1. DH

          In the short run they save money. OSHA coming into plant to do fatality investigation with associated checks? Kiss an entire week’s production goodbye – what does that do for your numbers?

    1. Lyle

      On a related link a history of the BNSF relates how they made a rule you don’t get on or off moving trains, the train must stop before you do so. The workers pushed back saying the could not get their jobs done, the BNSF said if you do get on or off you are fired. Often workers ignore safety in the interest of production. Now of course you could have put a door switch on the enclosure where if the door was opened the device was de-energized for a period of time which is not software but hardware. If the temp workers were not trained a lawyer will be involved and a suit ensue.

      1. DH

        I have done work in construction where we had to institute rigorous safety programs onsite with contractors. At first, they were incredulous about “Stop Work Authority” where anybody on the site can stop an activity if they think something is not done right until it is assessed to be safe to resume. When we were handing out T-shirts to workers who did that type of thing or made even the slightest safety observations is when they got the message we were serious.

        Workers are very cynical. They always hear the talk, but it is usually just talk. It is not until they see see company management on-site actively promoting it and providing rewards that they believe it and buy into it. Then they get behind it fully and as I posted above, the jobs go smoother with better quality and production.

        I had a site superintendent on one site fired because he ignored our required site safety procedures. That really got the workers’ attention because they told me afterwards that he was a total asshole to work for, but nobody would ever do anything about it. The job was smooth as silk after that with a very pleasant safe environment. The workers were all enthusiastic and would contribute good ideas – before that nobody dared speak up.

    2. bob

      “FASTER!”

      You’re comment is too true. Jump over a body to grab a few dollars. More and more “safety” is becoming what “having a brain in your head” used to mean- Common sense.

      I used to get crazy over foremen who would be yelling at a guy in a hole. “you shouldn’t be down there, you’re doing it wrong!”

      Where were you when he entered the hole? Once he’s in there, yelling doesn’t help him do anything, it just distracts him from paying attention to staying alive.

      Careful planning, and conversation are the 2 biggest “safety” features of any process. For the people that claim that volume equals productivity, this is like speaking Chinese.

      “get r dun!”

      No. Don’t. Get it done right, without bodies.

  13. kareninca

    Two anecdotes.

    I have a neighbor who is my age (early 50s) who, during the 70s, was dragged by her parents to innumerable liberal political rallies and protests. She concluded that these did not accomplish anything, and so she was going to devote herself to her family, and given her kids’ issues that was probably necessary. Now that her older kid is in college, she is working part time – they really need the money. But – she flew to Washington, stayed with relatives, and marched in the Washington march. I wondered – does this mean that she is going to become politically active again?????? I asked. No, her view is that Trump is so hideous that she wants to know nothing about politics, and her solution is that her husband and kids are not allowed to mention his name at home; it is utterly forbidden.

    Two days ago I stopped by a reading group. In the distance I could hear a woman I know who is in her 70s. She is rich, happily married, in good health, has three sons and several grandchildren and has never had to work. She was explaining that Hillary lost because she had not done enough to explain how well things are going.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Understandable. I too have a very, very, very difficult time explaining how good things are going.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      One question about your neighbor: what was she marching ‘for”? The right to own and operate a vagina?
      “Power concedes nothing without a demand” Frederick Douglas 1857

      1. Arizona Slim

        I just had the same conversation with my Trump-supporting tax accountant. What were those women marching FOR?

        To us, the Women’s March seemed to be a protest against this, that, and the other thing.

        We also found ourselves agreeing on a lot of other things.

        1. Anne

          The women I saw interviewed and whose stories of their experience that I read all expressed that they were there to support – i.e., being FOR – reproductive freedom/rights, equal pay, gender equity, income equality – all things they – and many of us who didn’t march – feel are more threatened than ever in a Trump administration.

          And while you may not have intended this, your use of “those women” carries with it no small amount of derision that I honestly just don’t understand the need for.

          Maybe try looking at the Women’s March website, where you can find this:

          We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

          And this, the Unity Principles, which include, and are described in more detail:

          * ENDING VIOLENCE

          * REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

          * LGBTQIA RIGHTS

          * WORKER’S RIGHTS

          * CIVIL RIGHTS

          * DISABILITY RIGHTS

          * IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

          * ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

          This seems like a lot of things to be for.

          1. aab

            I know I’m beated a well-worn drum head here, but this messaging is vacuous.

            We’re not going “end violence.” We’re not going to kill insects hitting our windshields? People drove and flew in fossil fueled vehicles to demand “environmental justice”? How? Where?

            We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

            Who is “we”? Who are their partners? Does the word “diverse” include diversity types that are not biological, like geographic diversity, value diversity? The wording is unintentionally revealing. They aren’t demanding protection for ALL Americans — just their partners and children, in their vibrant and diverse communities. What about communities that are no longer vibrant, because they’ve been destroyed by Democratic governance? What about communities not diverse along ethnicity and sexuality lines, but more diverse along economic lines than Manhattan now is? Do they care about those communities, too?

            Some of those listed rights are functionally in opposition to one another. What do they mean by “immigrant rights”? And how do we reconcile them with “worker’s rights?” What workers? What rights? Jennifer Palmieri said today that the Democratic Party is *only* about identity, not interested in $15/hour minimum wage. So what immigrants and what workers will find a home in that tent?

            This isn’t hard. That march was a sham. Please stop promoting that approach. They could have used the march to promote the water protectors and pipeline protests all over the country. Did they? They could have pushed $15/hour minimum wage, which helps women more than men, workers generally, and immigrants. They could have pushed for the already popular universal health care, for which legislation already exists, demanding it cover abortion access in hospitals. The current paradigm works great for women on the coasts, and the female CEOs of “pro-choice” organizations, who happily handed their endorsements, cash and organizing capacity to the anti-choice Hillary Clinton. But for most women in the United States, the current approach to reproductive rights has already failed. So what, exactly, were they protesting to change? It really does matter. The people who have abandoned the Democratic Party are not idiots, and they won’t come back if all that’s on offer is the same failed messaging, tactics and policies.

            If the Democratic Party wants to actually get back into power at the federal level to do more to protect people marginalized by identity or physical condition, they have to deliver along economic and concrete lines to the non-affluent. As long as they refuse to do that, they will not return to power, and all these lovely slogans will be meaningless. Because people of color, people with non-binary genders, identity or orientation also need to eat. They need homes. They need health care. That is what binds a majority together.

            Please, Anne. I’ve read you for months. I respect you. Please rethink your approach here. You are letting yourself be led by the nose, and I need you on my side, the left side, the side with the potential to deliver the policies and rights you care about. That is not the side that promoted and organized the Womens March. I understand that all sorts of people came, and there were less top-down marches all over the globe was well. But if they mimicked the DC march, that’s a problem. That’s mis-training, to go along with the misleadership class.

            Yes, Donald Trump is a bad man. Barack Obama is a bad man. Hillary Clinton is a bad woman. Don’t waste your time or your emotional energy on that stuff. Help organize to remove the neoliberals from the Democratic Party and from government, or listen to music in the car and enjoy cocktails.

            Black people lost more wealth under Barack Obama. Women lost more ground in reproductive rights and economic security under the New Democrats than before. The New Democrats have been bad for workers rights — in fact, most of those unity principle goals have gotten worse under the New Democrats. I totally understand that as a bourgeois feminist, it feels more comfortable to continue to align along the class lines you know and the messaging you’ve heard for decades, but the world is different now, America is different now; there is no secure middle class now, so there’s no pathway to broad support for that approach. First, we have to address the lower levels of the hierarchy of needs for the broad middle — unless you’re actually fine with just killing them off or going Hunger Games to control the masses while the citadels feast. But I don’t think that’s who you are. As a lifelong feminist, I don’t enjoy criticizing a Womens March. But then I remember that I care more about actual women, and helping them have better lives. And I have learned, painfully, that the Democratic Party and this kind of affluent liberalism is both politically disemboweled and functionally abusive.

            You have allies waiting for you. Really.

            1. lambert strether

              This is a much nicer and more well-considered comment than my owm, which I have deleted in its favor.

              1. aab

                I have been longing for Lambert praise for days. (Sad, but true.)

                Sigh.

                (I also hope it resonates at least a little with Anne, as well.)

                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  Please don’t think that way! (I’m an introvert, therefore highly self-directive.) I am not comfortable being seen as a doler-out of praise, especially in a situation like this one, where the pressures of time are such that my praise necessarily has a large component of randomness, and so not all who are (IMNSHO) highly deserving get kudos.

                  1. aab

                    Oh, dear. I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I’m teasing, you know.

                    Away from politics, I’m an effervescent personality that laughs a lot. I realize that might be impossible to discern from my posts here.

                    I also didn’t consider that other commenters might misinterpret this as me seeking or getting a seal of approval from a moderator. If you’d like to delete my sighing comment above, please do. And I will endeavor to resist teasing you in the future.

            2. Anne

              At the risk that this will be lost in the shuffle, I’d like you to consider this: the commenter to whom I was responding seemed unable to figure out what “those women” were marching for.

              I provided a short summary of what I read and heard women saying they had marched for. I also posted a condensed portion of what was on the Women’s March website that reflected what their issues were – not, as you seem to have assumed – because I was making an endorsement of the site or the organization, but because it listed the issues that purported to matter to them. You know, women. “Those” women.

              The task of setting things on a better track to get us to a place that works for all of us is daunting; I don’t think anyone believes that marching or protesting is going to be the one and only answer, but for me, it demonstrates that people – because it wasn’t just women, and because there have been other events – are ready to be involved in ways they haven’t up to this point. In no way that I can think of is this a bad thing.

              Where it goes from here is another matter, but please understand that I was not making commentary on the universe of protest/citizen involvement, or on who was behind the march, or what their motives were, but just on a question that was posed that, frankly, kind of annoyed me: “What were those women marching FOR?”

              It annoyed me because the coverage was extensive; there were countless interviews, blog posts, video of marchers being asked why they were there.

              The reality is that people marched for their own reasons; whether you or I or anyone “approves” of those reasons is less important – to me, at least – than the other reality of millions of people, here and around the world, stepping away from the comfort and anonymity of their keyboards, and traveling, bonding, encouraging, and energizing themselves and others to be seen and for their voices to be heard. If nothing else, it said, “we will not be ignored.”

              It wasn’t perfect, and maybe it didn’t hit all the notes you wanted it to, but I don’t think it can or should be discounted and dismissed, nor do I think the people who got involved should be condescended to and their motives questioned, unless, of course, you are looking to discourage citizen participation.

              Speaking only for myself, I don’t think we really have that luxury.

              1. aab

                I appreciate that you read my comment and replied.

                I guess I didn’t do a very good job, though, because you missed my point. I do not wish to condescend to people that aren’t all that politically aware thinking this looks like the kind of thing that worked in the 60s, and coming out. Remember, I volunteered for Barack Obama. I’ve been suckered, too. That experience changed me. It’s what led me here, and it’s part of why I’m so tough-minded now about focusing on what will actually work to bring change and not get tricked by the Democrats again.

                If you march for everything, you march for nothing. It’s just a pleasant day trip to the city. If nobody’s contact information was taken, it was a waste. If no education was done about concrete ways to pressure government officials, and the available policies one can push to achieve some of the more concrete goals these marches putatively cared about, that’s a waste. But it’s more than just a waste. It was intended to herd people back to the party who get nothing from it, and keep their affluent female fans happy, so the big donors won’t notice that the party is dead, and they’ll keep funding the cronies at the top. It mis-educated millions of people on what effective protest looks like, and it used resources that might have been put to better use in households, towns and organizations all over this country to really work for change.

                I am not criticizing the march because it was imperfect, but because it was a fraud as intended, did some harm (by elevating Booker and Harris, if nothing else), and I desperately want people like you of good will who really do want change to learn from what they did there so they can’t keep doing it.

                Please, if you have a minute, look at my critique of the messaging from the web site. I didn’t go through it to make you feel bad. I was trying to show why people would be alienated by it and dismiss it. Change is incredibly hard, especially now. You just can’t organize a giant event where key statements are nonsense (like “ending violence”) or contradict one another functionally, and have NO specific demands that anyone could act on, and get results. There are no results to get. It’s just a pleasant day trip to the city.

                Refusing to sit at the back of the bus is about demanding the right, as a citizen, to sit at the front of the bus. If Rosa Parks had sat on her front lawn drinking sweet tea with a cute sign saying, “I’m an equal citizen,” no one would know her name. The civil rights movement carefully and thoughtfully created a series of explicit pressure points through protest around concrete examples of the injustice they lived under. And they put themselves at risk to do it. They were demanded specific things: to vote unmolested and without suppression, to be able to access public services like white people and private businesses that benefit from the commons and tax-supported public services like white people. The Womens March did none of that. It helped people feel like winners who should instead have been suffering as losers and thinking about how to change their party or their own actions.

                I do not want you to feel bad. I do not want anyone who marched that day as a citizen to feel bad. But I do want you reconsider your praise for the march. I want you to resist #TheResistance and join those of us on the left who want to do protest differently and more effectively. Getting praise from Yves and Lambert was really enjoyable, but if I could trade that for changing your perspective, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

                1. egg

                  “If nobody’s contact information was taken, it was a waste. If no education was done about concrete ways to pressure government officials, and the available policies one can push to achieve some of the more concrete goals these marches putatively cared about, that’s a waste.”

                  But I think this is exactly the stuff that happened and is continuing to happen thanks to the march. Lots of activist groups were on the ground taking contact information. (Which may be a good or a bad thing depending on your views of those groups. But that includes plenty of groups that weren’t involved in organizing the march and aren’t particularly close with the democratic establishment.) Lots of people exchanged contact information in ad hoc groups, either in person at the march or by coordinating their plans and their rides and their schedules on Facebook groups and listserves beforehand. And lots of education was done about concrete ways to pressure government officials — people came back from the march circulating the Indivisible Guide, calling their representatives, planning to attend town halls, learning how to run for office, thinking about primarying.

                  I understand all the reasons why this seems like it was just another feel-good identity politics march that accomplishes nothing but corralling people back in the pen (I was skeptical too beforehand) but so far I’m provisionally convinced otherwise by the outcomes and the continued energy that I’ve observed among formerly apolitical and disinterested people.

              1. Skip Intro

                “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” – George Bernard Shaw

                I think it has been that way for some time.

                  1. Eureka Springs

                    From Voltaire’s Questions sur les miracles (1765):

                    [A]ny one who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.

                    The Voltaire quote is usually paraphrased as “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.

          2. Big River Bandido

            Curious that we never saw these protests when a Congressional majority of Democrats, along with a Democrat in the White House, could have actually done something about these issues (and didn’t). It reminds me of how Bill Clinton first called for a minimum wage increase in 1995 — once it could never pass Congress.

            This leads the alert to conclude that the march was a(nother) mere stunt to raise money for the grifter faction of the Democrats which has lost so spectacularly the last 2 decades. Clearly, they will do just fine in defeat, thank you.

          3. Pirmann

            Trump has done nothing to threaten any of those things as of yet. Maybe plan to work with him, find common ground, instead of pointless protests based on pessimistic projections.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              Right, The Donald needs some friends. The psychotic rejection of him by the Democrats, up to and including denying the reality that he won the election, is forcing him to buddy up with the Republican establishment, probably more than he would like.

              1. Annotherone

                I agree! If not exactly to be his friends, then at least to be potential allies, should he seem likely to propose something helpful to the 99%.

          4. Kukulkan

            * LGBTQIA RIGHTS

            At the Republican National Convention Trump said in his speech:

            “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Fla., 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBTQ community.
            As your president I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.”

            This got a huge cheer from the crowd. Of Republicans. At the Republican National Convention.

            I remember thinking at the time that, if for nothing else, Trump would be remembered as the candidate who brought the Republican party around to supporting LGBTQIA rights. That was no small accomplishment.

            However, since the election, I keep running into people — both online and off — who accuse Trump of homophobia and are fearful of what his administration is going to do to roll back LGBTQIA rights. It’s like they weren’t paying attention during the election campaign at all. The mindset seems to be: Trump is a bad man, so he must be homophobic and opposed to LGBTQIA rights because all bad people are. We must protest this badness.

            I would suggest that’s one reason people have taking the Women’s March seriously. They were for a bunch of motherhood and apple pie issues — in general, nothing specific — and opposed to badness — again, in general, nothing specific. It was politics without policy; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

      2. kareninca

        She told me that I am not to mention politics to her at all, so I can’t find out.

        Fortunately we have lots of interests in common that may be discussed, like our dogs and elderly relatives.

        I have figured out where she is coming from emotionally. I refuse to listen to stories about cruelty to animals; I just refuse (a difference being that I do read on the topic sometimes if I feel I really ought to read a particular article). I donate money, but I don’t want to hear about it. I think she feels exactly the same way about Trump.

      3. craazyboy

        I’ve been thinking that the Bernie Bros suffered a lot of derision and poor treatment, tho mostly by the DNC. Same goes for rednecks. However, not being the “terrified” snowflake types, they’ve all been rather quiet and possibly even morose and not in the public spotlight enough.

        Then I got a voila moment inspired by the Million Women Pink Pussy Hat Match. We could organize a Bernie Bro Dildo Hat March!!! We could invite rednecks too – “stronger together” they say – provided rednecks wear those funny glasses, fake moustache, and big dildo nose disguises.

        This way we would keep our slightly different ideologies separate and keep our public messaging clear. Bernie Bros are misogynists, but intellectually superior to rednecks, tho still somewhat immature and our manners are not always suitable for mixed company, or generally saying anything at all worthwhile. Rednecks are deplorables, dumber than a rock and totally unwoke, much nastier and have worse manners than a pet rock (pet rocks won’t piss in public or say bad things to snowflakes), more immature than a baby snowflake, and they only thing they know about is the latest football score, but then get too drunk to remember them. Then they aren’t even woke enough to realize the Patriots won the Super Bowl because of a Putin White Supremacy Plot where Putin climbed into the scoreboard and hacked the score in overtime!!!!

        I think this would energize the disenfranchised people in this country?

        P.S. If this comment gets thru Skynet, my hope for the future of America will be re-kindled.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘Bernie Bros are misogynists, but intellectually superior to rednecks, tho still somewhat immature and our manners are not always suitable for mixed company.’

          Since Bernie Bros reportedly all live in tree houses, would you mind posting some pics of yours?

  14. PKMKII

    Pondering on MMT: So I’ve been thinking about those maps that show each state’s ratio of federal spending in the state to the amount of federal taxes they pay in, and how most of the states that pay more than they get are blue states, while most that get more than they pay are red states, with Texas the major exception. I see liberals and the left using it as a political football against conservatives: “By your own neoclassical definition of a mooch, you’re mooches.”

    Which is fine and all, but what would MMT say about such discrepancies? If deficit spending is really a way to put a money surplus into a market, and vice versa, can this apply to subdivisions of state, county, region, district, etc, within a nation and economy? New York gets less than it puts in, as a way to put the brakes on their economy, but Arkansas gets more to boost. And is it even a good idea to carry out such a scheme? Obviously, these differences are the result of a myriad of political and cultural factors, not a conscious attempt to carry out a targeted MMT scheme. And as the the stories here on the South Carolina public employee pension woes show, the money has a tendency to float back to blue states anyway. But I’m curious if anyone more knowledgeable on these things can comment if this is an accurate way of looking at it or not.

    1. todde

      Most blue states are coastal states.

      I’d imagine that being on the coast makes international trade more profitable for the local there and therefore more palatable.

      I have watched $90 million dollars made from local resources and local labor get paid out from local banks and given to the owners in New York so a handful of people running the corp could get a nice bonus. Of course, it killed the company and 500 people were put out of work.

      And the executives who authorized the dividends, moved on to the next corporation to exploit. So we talk a lot about the owners but we also need to recognize that a select group of people are being put in charge of other people’s assets, and this gives them immense power.

      My father was a farmer, and a banker in the Mid-west. He lived thru the Great Depression and his father was President of the local farmers bank.

      Farmers back then know more about monetary theory than your MBA does today. And the New Deal was created in part to distribute money geographically, so you are on the right track.

      1. todde

        MMT just deals with how money is ‘created’, I am not sure it has a theory on where it should go.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Implicitly, it does. It’s also called neo-Keynesianism – Keynes being the economics I was taught in about 1965. The argument exists to justify spending (and taxing) to regulate the economy and to accomplish social goals. Conservatives are basically against that.

          In saying you CAN do X, I think they’re really saying you SHOULD. That’s why the theory is promoted here. It also has the advantage of being an accurate description of the implications of fiat currency.

          1. todde

            It will certainly help with out current situation.

            The problem I see is raising taxes during an inflationary economy. Tough to do.

            Reagan got it done in the 80s, a brilliant move to esure inflation didn’t rear it’s ugly head again.

            Somebody in his administration thought that fiscal policy could make good economic outcomes, rhetoric aside.

          2. Grebo

            It’s also called neo-Keynesianism

            MMT is a branch of Post-Keynesianism, which is the school that follows and builds on Keynes. Neo-Keynesianism is a branch of neo-classical economics with virtually no actual Keynesian content. Ditto New-Keynesianism.

            1. skippy

              @Grebo…

              Thank you….

              Disheveled… Neo/New Keynesian – IS-LM with Taylor bolt on + neoclassical penchant for models like DSGE et al and bad track record of path dependence…

      2. Swamp Yankee

        Todde,

        I’m in Massachusetts, and we (as today’s blizzard demonstrates) certainly are coastal. But here in my permanently red corner of the bluest state, that’s now how things look in terms of free [sic] trade. Yes, some of our cranberry farmers, fishermen, loggers, and other producers of raw materials will end up sending those raw materials through the Port of Boston out to the world. But this is quite traditional sort of trade; even if it goes to western Europe or the Caribbean, this follows patterns going back to the 17th century. And much likely goes via the coasting trade to other US ports.

        That said, the international trade I think you refer to, the current round of corporate globalization, has produced very few jobs outside Rt. 128, the ring road around Boston. There have been a great deal of credentialed 10% class jobs created there by this political-economic arrangement (tech, education, hospitals, banks, lawyers, NGOs, consultants, etc.), but only in the “right” neighborhoods for the “right” kind of people; outside there, whether it’s a few blocks a dozen or so miles or 120 miles away, you might as well be in a different world. Life in Randolph where the working minority poor live or Hull with its fishing and tourism and substance abuse has gotten harder, as jobs disappear, and as the colonial invasion of placeless 10%ers gentrify everyone out of Boston proper and housing pressure increases on nearby communities.

        Meanwhile, go further down, here in cranberry and clam country, and people are ODing driving down the street on a semi-daily basis, and rapacious not-from-around-here developers (and some that are local) are attempting to privatize our common lands and waters in order to destroy our natural heritage in favor of private profit and luxury developments, a fight we are actually resisting at the level of local boards, Town Meetings, talking to neighbors and so on (I’m cautiously optimistic). You know, real politics, not performative liberalism.

        Then you have small cities like New Bedford or Pittsfield or Brockton that are post-industrial and struggling.

        So my rather long-winded point is that, outside of the globalized 10% who are screwing everyone, and outside of the toniest neighborhoods of Boston and certain wealthy ZIP codes, we have seen no benefits from the current political economic order here in the Bay Commonwealth. Indeed, as the opiate crisis here shows, things have been actively made worse.

        In essence, even in states on the coast, as soon as you get out of the toniest 10% bubbles (spiritual as well as physical), you are in “flyover country” the same as though you were in Iowa or Missouri.

        So we are all in it together. That, at least, gives me comfort and hope.

    2. financial matters

      I’ll take a stab at it. First of all it points out the difference between the US and the EU if you compare Arkansas to Greece.

      MMT does consider the use of taxes as a way to redistribute resources. It forces people to sell their goods to get money to pay taxes and the government can use this command of the resources for redistribution.

      Although not formally part of MMT, the job guarantee is considered a very important policy offshoot by many of its proponents. This and other new deal type policies are ways they see money being used more wisely to stimulate the economy and help with inequality.

      1. paul

        MMT is the description,JG is the prescription.

        I have hope that there is at least one parallel universe where regulating capital in favour of humans does not cause such anxiety as it seems to in this one.

        1. paul

          Keynes said it a while ago (1933):

          “Look after unemployment and the Budget will look after itself”

          Some things take a while to sink in.

    3. Yves Smith

      This isn’t an MMT issue.

      But that Great American Socialist Richard Nixon had the answer: revenue sharing. The federal government gives money to states, with the only string attached being anti-corruption supervision. The assumption was the feds were more efficient at taxation (as not even based the fact that fiat currency issuer can run deficits, which the economy as a whole almost always requires) while state and local governments are better able to judge local needs and manage projects less wastefully.

  15. Katharine

    The Post’s presentation of poll data is not particularly unusual (may even be derived from the source) but does something that has been bothering me more and more. It gives percentages of Democrats and Republicans who believe something as if the entire sample had been split (perhaps even implicitly fairly evenly) between people who honestly identify as one or the other. Either this omits the opinions of a lot of other people, or people who identify differently have been pushed into categories they didn’t really want to be in. At a minimum, they surely ought to tell us what fraction of the sample identified with each party, and other party information, as well as Independent and unregistered, would be welcome.

    1. PKMKII

      as well as Independent

      Problem with most political “independents” is that they’re either apolitical, or more often are dyed-in-the-wool partisans who go party line, but identify as “independent” because it sounds nicer and allows them to pretend they’re “above” politics as usual. Useless term.

      1. aab

        That used to be true, but I don’t think it is at this point. Or rather, I don’t think that phenomenon is relevant at this point. Having said that, from the actual polling data (http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2017/images/02/03/rel2a.-.trump.pdf):

        A total of 1,002 adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide by live interviewers calling both landline and cell phones.
        Among the entire sample, 29% described themselves as Democrats, 25% described themselves as Republicans, and 45%
        described themselves as independents or members of another party.

        What’s interesting to me is that I believe they inverted the weighting on party ID. I saw something this week that said Ds are down to 25%. I’ve been trying to track it down to look at details, and I haven’t been able to find it. This split conforms to the most recent Gallop track, but if you look more closely at the Gallop data, I think that’s also really bad news for the Ds: http://www.gallup.com/poll/188096/democratic-republican-identification-near-historical-lows.aspx

        Notice how Independent identification climbs noticeably and sharply starting with Obama’s win in 2009. And if you look at the other data all over the landing page, there’s a lot of green shoots for Trump already.

        I’m not trained in this stuff, so this is an amateur opinion. But what I observed this past year is that a lot of Independents really ARE independent now. They’re alienated from both parties, for real, and while they may have legacy emotional connections to one of the parties, they won’t come back now unless the offer on hand is good.

        My husband, for example, is technically an Independent. Does he probably still lean more on an emotional level with the Democratic Party? Sure. But only if it returns to being the Democratic Party in his heart. He voted for Stein in the general election as a protest vote, and while he’s less hardcore than me in some ways, I’m the one who returned to the Ds to vote in the state party elections. He wouldn’t come with me. And he sure as hell won’t be voting for Cory Booker or Gavin Newsom. My kid is the same.

    2. Katharine

      I looked up the link to the results, and though they give more breakdown on percentages they provide no demographic data on the sample. You would think the pollsters just miraculously knew the age, race, party affiliation, etc., not that they had to ask.

      1. aab

        Oops. I missed this. I agree with you about this. I suspect they’re not showing the cross-tabs because they got a lot of “NA”s, which the Berners were making fun of during the campaign, when the polling seemed to be going out of its way to either not interview or not show the results of Millennials. Maybe I’ve gotten too suspicious, but I bet they’re hiding the demo breakdown for a reason.

  16. PH

    Rahm spouting off on longterm prospects of “Schumer Plan” for purple states. Chilling.

    Unfortunately, it worked a few times in 1990s and early this century. They will never give up on that playbook until we show them we can win another way.

    Defeats teach them nothing. (Obviously). Just the usual ups and downs, but do not worry, we have a master plan that works. The ONLY master plan that could work for a Democrat.

    Absolute certainty.

    We must break it by showing another path. By winning primaries and general elections.

    1. Praedor

      Rahm is happy with the defeats because he makes big bank regardless. If HIS neoliberal pick makes it in office, he’s going to get richer. If a GOPer defeats Rahm’s pick, he’s going to get richer. For Rahm, it’s win-win.

      Rahm is a greedy sociopath and would look great with a black bag on his head as he is pounded with a baseball bat.

    2. ChrisPacific

      So, it sounds like we can add winning elections to the “unrealistic” pile, along with single payer health care and a minimum wage that keeps people out of poverty. Thanks Rahm. Good thing you are not on performance-based compensation (or are you?)

    3. dragoonspires

      Only idiots will listen to Rahm. Can’t stand him.

      You’re right though. Progressives are going to have to work much harder to get the messages heard and bought into, and translated into votes. That’s just how it works. Just having better ideas that we’re so sure about isn’t enough.

  17. craazyboy

    File Under “Drones Won’t Fly If The Propellers Stop Spinning!”

    hahahahaha. Well, no one died, so I can laugh. Note to DJI tech dept: If you design anything that includes electronics that resembles a flying cell phone and is connected to the internet in real time, please include firewall, VPN network encryption, anti virus, anti-malware, anti-adware (time out for commercials is bad too) and a second drone attached to the first drone for redundancy in case of a denial of service attack. Also, be sure Windows Auto-Update or Android Auto-Update is turned off, or whatever.

    Hopefully, Boeing designed the 787 that way. Self Driving car passengers will have to suck it up and wear a helmet. Laws are being changed to make it all your fault. hahaha. Buyer Beware!

    May your batteries live long and prosper!

    P.S. Actually DJI is the Gold Standard of the consumer market and makes extremely high quality and reliable drones (on a relative basis – the complexity of these things is very high). Plus, the Inspire 2 is the flagship consumer line product.

  18. Propertius

    Protests, even as they diminish Trump’s overall approval ratings, are unlikely to budge that either, and may well cement it

    Certainly true. It doesn’t matter how badly Trump “loses” California or New York as long as he continues to hold the states he carried in 2016. There’s probably a lesson there for the Democrats, if they were capable of listening.

    1. Katharine

      This might be more likely to make a difference:

      “Personnel is policy,” says Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs recently named to head President Trump’s National Economic Council. He got that right, and every working family should shudder that Trump — after railing against the corruptions of Goldman Sachs and other big banks in the campaign — has put six former Goldman Sachs bankers at the head of his economic team.

      Their first priority is to roll back bank regulation, and, as Gary Cohn told the Wall Street Journal, one of their first targets is to disembowel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

      http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/02/08/trumps-minion-prepares-gut-consumer-watchdog

  19. rjs

    “Yves did a ton of original reporting and analysis on robosigning back in the day.” links to google…

  20. Jim Haygood

    Well, despite Dr Hussman’s DEFCON1 red alert in his weekly commentary, today the Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq 100 indexes reached fresh record highs — same as they did yesterday. The institutional favorite S&P 500 index closed about 0.2% below its record high.

    Dr H just can’t process that a market which is overvalued can go on to become even more overvalued. But that’s what Bubbles do.

    Bubble III — which marks its eighth anniversary next month — may be the one that finally blows out the whole planet, leaving nothing but an orange glow of cosmic dust where the Third Rock from the Sun used to be. Buy now before prices go up. ;-)

    1. John k

      He knows bubbles can get bigger. He also knows that even before they reach a record they are unstable and that any unexpected bad thing wight begin the deflation… and notice that the
      NYSE amount borrowed, as shown by Doug short, is near a record… falling prices bring margin calls.

    2. reslez

      It’s a strange bubble. But we’re not at the point yet where my mom has asked me about buying stocks, so we can’t be at the peak. In order to bust correctly you have to hoover up the last dollar of the average Joe, and I don’t see any enthusiasm for stocks or financial products on Main Street. Maybe because it’s full of boarded up foreclosed homes.

      Gonna be a strange bubble when every asset you can think of is crazily overvalued. Everything’s high but wages.

      1. DH

        I think this is going to be a professional bubble. More and more individuals are investing through target date funds etc. in their 401ks. Vanguard is like a huge small investor money Hoover these days.

        The active fund managers in pension funds, institutions, PE and hedge funds owned by the wealthy etc. have to prove their worth and they are not going to do it by owning cash and T-bonds. So they will be outbidding each other for assets until it collapses.

        The dumb money is becoming the smart money by going passive in fixed allocations with index funds. The smart money will be the dumb money this time around I think (Harvard, Dallas pension funds etc.)

      2. craazyboy

        Nowadays it’s not mom and the shoeshine boy that take the punch bowl away. Not even the fed so much. It’s GS and the gang when they decide to stop loaning margin for stocks and commodities accounts and also the mortgage securitizers decide they can’t sell any more crap mortgage financial products because the mortgage debt market is saturated. That’s how the crash started in 2008, and we’ve surpassed all those measures already. Looks to me like Wiley E. Coyote has been hovering off the edge of the cliff for a while already. But the world turns slowly – until it doesn’t.

      3. Jim Haygood

        we’re not at the point yet where my mom has asked me about buying stocks, so we can’t be at the peak

        Thanks. This is the sort of anecdotal observation that contains more truth than the irrelevant fact that the 10-year P/E ratio is at the 95th percentile.

        A commentator named Lance Roberts claims that at a Super Bowl party, everyone was asking him about speculative stocks and bragging about their doubles and triples.

        That’s not my world. Haven’t seen even a hint of the True Belief of Bubble II (2001-2007), when someone explained to me how he was going to remortgage his house annually as it ticked up $100K a year in value.

        Call me when the Nasdaq hits 10,000. ;-)

  21. ChrisPacific

    I ran Clinton’s campaign. Here’s why I shouldn’t be run out of town on a rail. Look, over there! An evil Russian!

    1. allan

      Joe Manchin joins principled conservatives John McCain and Lindsey Graham
      and hashtag libertarian Rand Paul
      in voting for a man who will join A. Mitchell Palmer and John Mitchell
      as one of the three worst Attorneys General in U.S. history.
      This is good news for Heather Bresch.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Ku Klux Jeff … yeehaw!

      Now let’s round up some n-words. You just know they got dope in they pockets.

  22. Pavel

    Wasn’t that a photo I just saw of Obama on a protest with Bernie over Nissan?

    Oh wait, it was Obama palling it up with tax-evading billionaire Sir Richard Branson at the latter’s private island in the Caribbean.

    What drives me around the bend with politicians is how they are so “activist” on the campaign trail but then when out of office they basically do squat about the issues they claim to care so much about. Of course Obama didn’t do anything about them whilst in office… Golfer-In-Chief.

  23. pretzelattack

    apologies if these articles have already been linked

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2017/02/fake-news-hacked-mail-alternative-facts-thats-old-hat-for-climate-scientists/

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/3fc5d49a349344f1967aadc4950e1a91/major-global-warming-study-again-questioned-again-defended

    from the ap story–“However Bates, who acknowledges that Earth is warming from man-made carbon dioxide emissions, said in the interview that there was “no data tampering, no data changing, nothing malicious.”

    “It’s really a story of not disclosing what you did,” Bates said in the interview. “It’s not trumped up data in any way shape or form.”

    Still, after Bates’ blog post, the House Science Committee , a British tabloid newspaper and others who reject mainstream climate science accused NOAA of playing “fast and loose” with land and water temperature data.

    per rabett run, bates was pissed off that climate scientists didn’t use his data archiving system, and may have been motivated by a desire to get back at karl, who demoted him.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2017/02/boiling-bates-down.html

    note, some climate scientists buy the neoliberal garbage, can’t imagine anybody not voting for clinton, etc. that’s ok, that’s not their area of expertise. and that’s the us or british climatologists mostly; doesn’t explain every national academy of science iirc, treating it as solid science–sometimes in the face of considerable government opposition, as we saw in the chimp administration, and as we are seeing now in the epa in the face of trump’s gag order.

  24. Skip Intro

    Wow, no one took up the snowclone ‘challenge’? C’mon..

    I think it’s very important for young women and girls to grow up knowing that if they study hard, switch parties, marry well, then sell themselves to discerning bidders, they too can become the presidential nominee of a major party.

      1. Skip Intro

        I think it’s very important for young women and girls to grow up knowing that a ‘charitable’ foundation lets you appear to do well by doing good, as long as you remember that charity begins at home.

  25. skippy

    – and – bad track record of path dependence…

    I think the multiplier’ effect is important in this case, refusal to acknowledge stuff… recidivism sans any convictions – funny how that works with some moralizers…

    Anywho … multistory builder told my company’s proprietor that myself should be running the site for him, with me standing there… oops I’ve done it again… of course I said… what have I done wrong to deserve that kind of threat…

    Disheveled…. – and all I wanted* – was to work and be on the tools so I could uses my skills and knowlage… now look what has happened in just two months….

    PS… * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYItTxqTc38

  26. Mary Lou Isaacson

    Marches are one day events. They create the feeling of solidarity BUT the real work is tedious, time-consuming, collaborative and stressful. It must be done on all levels, local, state, national and international. It must be specific and have a plan. Candidates must run for offices from Town and City councils and School Boards to
    state legislatures and the like. Women must get experience in government and organization and must support and help one another in this effort.
    Civic life has all but disappeared because women and their partners, if they have a partner, must work so many long hours and jobs in order to pay the bills that there is little time left for children and family, much less civic engagement.
    Those who can afford to attend marches must have time and money. When it is over, they can return to their normal lives and “feel good” but little is accomplished. And the media pays little attention now.
    This is a different time. Marches in the 1960s were noticed and were significant. There were only a few
    TV networks and they all covered it. People watched these events. That is not the case today.
    There must be a better way!

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