2:00PM Water Cooler 3/14/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Trade

“Here’s what happens when the U.S. pulls out of a major trade deal [like TPP]: New Zealand seizes the opportunity to send more of its milk and cheese to China. Japanese consumers pay less for Australian beef than for American meat. Canadians talk about sending everything from farm products to banking services to Japan and India” [Politico]. “Indeed, a primary goal of the TPP was to force countries with low standards to operate on a level similar to the U.S., which would create less of a competitive disadvantage for U.S. workers and companies.” Totally what ISDS was all about! And a bit revisionist: “One study found that even with a conservative estimate of trade’s contribution to inequality, the losses from a projected TPP-produced increase in inequality would have wiped out tiny projected gains from the deal for most U.S. workers. The net result would have been wage losses for all but the richest 10 percent of the United States. That is, for anyone making less than $88,000 per year, the TPP would have meant a pay cut” [Public Citizen]. So the 10% on up would have made out like bandits, and nobody else? Odd.

Politics

2020

“Reid brought Warren onto the Democratic Senate leadership team in 2014, and she was one of the people he most trusted to keep the Senate caucus on its bearings through the difficult weather ahead. Shortly before Thanksgiving, he summoned Warren to the minority leader’s office. When she arrived, the room was littered with art supplies; on an easel was a half-finished portrait of Reid that would be unveiled at his retirement party the following month. Its subject was preoccupied with the future of the party to which he had dedicated decades of his life. Reid told Warren she needed to think seriously about running for president in 2020” [New York Times]. What a shame Warren didn’t endorse Sanders. If she had, she might be Secretary of the Treasury today. Oh well.

Health Care

“American Health Care Act” (PDF) [Congressional Budget Office]. From the report:

Major Changes to Medicaid. CBO estimates that several major provisions affecting Medicaid would decrease direct spending by $880 billion over the 2017-2026 period. That reduction would stem primarily from lower enrollment throughout the period, culminating in 14 million fewer Medicaid enrollees by 2026, a reduction of about 17 percent relative to the number under current law. Some of that decline would be among people who are currently eligible for Medicaid benefits, and some would be among people who CBO projects would be made eligible as a result of state actions in the future under current law (that is, from additional states adopting the optional expansion of eligibility authorized by the ACA). Some decline in spending and enrollment would begin immediately, but most of the changes would begin in 2020 [that is, after the 2018 midterms and too late to affect the 2020 Presidential race], when the legislation would terminate the enhanced federal matching rate for new enrollees under the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and would place a per capita-based cap on the federal government’s payments to states for medical assistance provided through Medicaid. By 2026, Medicaid spending would be about 25 percent less than what CBO projects under current law.

Throw Momma from the train, given how many elders in nursing homes are covered by Medicaid. Here’s how the cap would work. I apologize for the length:

Per Capita-Based Cap on Medicaid Payments for Medical Assistance. Under current law, the federal government and state governments share in the financing and administration of Medicaid. In general, states pay health care providers for services to enrollees, and the federal government reimburses states for a percentage of their expenditures. All federal reimbursement for medical services is open-ended, meaning that if a state spends more because enrollment increases or costs per enrollee rise, additional federal payments are automatically generated.

Under the legislation, beginning in 2020, the federal government would establish a limit on the amount of reimbursement it provides to states. That limit would be set by calculating the average per-enrollee cost of medical services for most enrollees who received full Medicaid benefits in 2016 for each state. The Secretary of Health and Human Services would then inflate the average per-enrollee costs for each state by the growth in the consumer price index for medical care services (CPI-M). The final limit on federal reimbursement for each state for 2020 and after would be the average cost per enrollee for five specified groups of enrollees (the elderly, disabled people, children, newly eligible adults, and all other adults), reflecting growth in the CPI-M from 2016 multiplied by the number of enrollees in each category in that year. If a state spent more than the limit on federal reimbursement, the federal government would provide no additional funding to match that spending.

The limit on federal reimbursement would reduce outlays because (after the changes to the Medicaid expansion population have been accounted for) Medicaid spending would grow on a per-enrollee basis at a faster rate than the CPI-M, according to CBO’s projections: at an average annual rate of 4.4 percent for Medicaid and 3.7 percent for the CPI-M over the 2017-2026 period. With less federal reimbursement for Medicaid, states would need to decide whether to commit more of their own resources to finance the program at current-law levels or whether to reduce spending by cutting payments to health care providers and health plans, eliminating optional services, restricting eligibility for enrollment, or (to the extent feasible) arriving at more efficient methods for delivering services. CBO anticipates that states would adopt a mix of those approaches, which would result in additional savings to the federal government. (Other provisions affecting Medicaid are discussed below.)

Somehow, I don’t think 25% less spending can be achieved through “arriving at more efficient methods for delivering services.” Also, a funding cap is a disincentive for funding prevention and care for epidemics. Do we really want that? We do if we want die-offs, I suppose, as with the opioid epidemic, but that policy success was achieved through malign neglect. Now we’re being open, which is pleasingly feral, but…

“With a semi-snow day in Washington to let the numbers sink in and the fallout spread, debate over whether the CBO offers good or bad news only hints at the disconnect in GOP circles. There are tensions everywhere – between what Ryan has long planned, what tea partiers and outside conservative groups have yearned for, and, critically, what President Trump promised. The president’s pledge to “take care of everybody” and bring “insurance for everyone”? We’re looking at 14 million fewer Americans with health care in the short term. By 2026, per the CBO, about 52 million people are estimated not to have insurance, vs. 28 million if Obamacare stays intact” [ABC]. So, to be clear, the Democrats — while posing as moral exemplars — are throwing 28 million people under the bus, and the Republicans are throwing an additional 24 million. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride, America!

“So there you have it: A Trump administration that has promised health-insurance coverage vs. House Republicans who believe freedom means that you shouldn’t be forced to have it. Populism vs. Tea Party. Trumpism vs. Ryanism” [NBC]. And let’s not forget McConnellism: A bunch of Senators who just want to get re-elected.

“U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said of the report, “The CBO estimate that millions of Americans could lose their health insurance coverage if the House bill were to become law is cause for alarm. It should prompt the House to slow down and reconsider certain provisions of the bill.” [Bangor Daily News].

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody”— Donald Trump, Washington Post interview, 01/15/2017” [NBC].

UPDATE “Trump’s Counties Lose Out to Clinton’s in GOP Health Tax Cuts” [Bloomberg]. The two individual tax cuts contained in the Republican plan to replace Obamacare apply only to high-earning workers and investors, roughly those with incomes of at least $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples. Taxpayers in counties that backed Trump would see an annual windfall of about $6.6 billion, a Bloomberg analysis of Internal Revenue Service data shows. In counties that backed Clinton, it’d be about $21.9 billion…. Trump voters in Rust Belt states expressed some frustration about the potential cuts for the wealthy, even as they remain supportive of the president.” Basically, they think their own tax cuts will come. Sure seems like careless drafting/presentation by Ryan, though. “More money in your pocket” is always a nice thing to be able to say.

Our Famously Free Press

“We now live in a tri­furc­ated me­dia en­vir­on­ment: a con­stel­la­tion of con­ser­vat­ive me­dia sources on­line, talk ra­dio, and cable; an ana­log­ous group­ing of lib­er­al me­dia out­lets; and broad­er main­stream out­lets in the middle, al­though zealots on both sides see the main­stream as in ca­hoots with the op­pos­i­tion” [Charles Cook, The Cook Report]. Let’s not forget the small independent blogs!

New Cold War

“That night at the French ambassador’s Christmas party, Trevor Potter struggled to come up with small talk after meeting [Russian Ambassador Sergey] Kislyak. The palatial mansion was adorned with winter decorations, including a group of penguins on a staircase glittering with fake snow. Potter remarked that the display must remind Kislyak of the climate back home. Without a trace of humor, Kislyak sternly informed him that penguins live exclusively in the southern hemisphere; there are none in Russia” [The Atlantic]. Washington is an imperial capital, fer gawd’s sake. The Democrat pearl-clutching and dot-connecting on who talked to the Russkis and when and why and how and what they said and “ZOMG!!!” is beyond absurd. Profitable for Democrat-aligned media outlets no doubt, and red meat for fundraising on the the Benghazi model, but absurd nonetheless.

Trump Transition

“Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch” [WhiteHouse.gov].

Sec. 2. Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies. (a) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.

(b) The Director shall publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and shall consider the suggestions when formulating the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section.

(c) Within 180 days after the closing date for the submission of suggestions pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the Director shall submit to the President a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies. The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions. The proposed plan shall include recommendations for any legislation or administrative measures necessary to achieve the proposed reorganization.

Well, that’s interesting! Not that I wouldn’t like to see a massive shrinkage of our tumorous intelligence community, but somehow I don’t think that’s on offer. Clever, because it gives Republicans something to unite around; they all hate big gummint, modulo the Pentagon and whatever’s good for the district.

“A group of prominent Senate Democrats on Monday raised the specter of a shutdown over the funding of President Trump’s proposed wall along the border with Mexico” [New York Times]. So Democrats won’t do this for Medicaid, but will do it for the Wall? Odd, unless there’s some parliamentary rationalization I’m missing.

“President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has breezed through more than 70 meetings with senators. Opponents who’ve scoured his record have found little to latch onto. And some Democrats are privately beginning to believe that Gorsuch — barring a blunder at his Senate confirmation hearings next week — will clinch the 60 votes he needs to be approved without a filibuster” [Politico]. Can we please stop all the “Trump is a fascist” memes, Democrats? If he is, you are too, because you’re normalizing him.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“After a brief, high-profile vacation following the end of his two-term presidency, the Democrat announced the launch of a charity, the Obama Foundation. But aside from a website with a cryptic video and a call for supporters’ opinions to go with donations, details are shrouded in secrecy” [RealClearLife]. “The much-anticipated foundation is clearly still in planning mode. Experts estimate that it could take more than $1.5 billion alone to construct the Obama Presidential Center, which will include the foundation, presidential library, and museum, in the Jackson Park neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side.” $1.5 billion? That’s real money! I wonder what Obama’s gonna do to raise it?

Stats Watch

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), February 2017: “Producer prices show significantly more pressure than expected in February, at a 0.3 percent headline with the two main groupings — less food & energy and less food, energy & trade services — also rising 0.3 percent. Year-on-year, overall producer prices are up 2.2 percent for the hottest rate in nearly 5 years” [Econoday]. “Energy, as it has been in recent months, is a main source of pressure.” And: “After last month’s pause in inflation, it has returned with a vengance this month” [Econintersect]. And: “At odds is just how much a federal funds rate hike is priced into the market…. PPI rose by 0.3% in February, higher than the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 0.1%. That might not sound too high on a monthly reading, but the annualized number came to 2.2%” [247 Wall Street]. “What matters here is that anything close to 2% gets the Federal Reserve within its target range in order to justify hiking rates.” And but: “After January’s outsized gain, I had looked for a bit of a breather. However, price pressures continued to build. While there is very little in the core PPI that passes through directly, even roughly, to the CPI in the same month, I find these PPI results to be ominous for the near- and medium term inflation outlook” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve]. The bulk of the firmness in the PPI came once again in the services categories. While even the concept of a “producer” or wholesale price for a service product is often questionable, the BLS is certainly measuring something, and what statisticians are finding is that a variety of services are becoming more expensive. In January, it was mainly airfares and banking and investment services. Last month, it was banking services (again), insurance, legal fees, architectural and engineering services, hotel rates, restaurants, and the infamous wholesale and retail trade margins. Again, none of this will feed through directly into the February CPI, but the evidence is building to support my argument that a tight labor market will eventually show itself in services price inflation. A broad-based rise in the core PPI driven by an array of services categories should be viewed as much more impactful than a scenario where a handful of goods categories drove the advance.”

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, February 2017: “The small business optimism index fell 0.6 points in February to 105.3, retreating slightly from the lofty levels reached in the previous months after the post-election surge in November and the largest increase in the history of the survey in December that shot the index to the highest reading since December 2004” [Econoday]. “The small decrease was in line with expectations and the fact of the index remaining above 105 for three consecutive months indicates the continuation of a very high level of optimism for small business owners.” And: “Small business optimism remained at one of its highest readings in 43 years, as small business awaits a new healthcare law, tax reform, and regulatory relief from Washington” [Econintersect]. Let me know how that works out…

Commodities: “Copper prices climbed Monday, helped mainly by ongoing supply disruptions at two massive mines in Chile and Indonesia, intensified by an indefinite strike that broke Friday at Freeport-McMoRan’s (NYSE:FCX) Cerro Verde mine in Peru the country’s largest” [Mining.com].

Shipping: “Panjiva [an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers] reports a February decline in U.S-bound waterborne shipments” [Logistics Management]. Could be the Lunar New Year, “but perhaps more significant as it relates to the data, [Panjiva Research Director Chris Rogers’ said, is that there was a situation in December and January in which both overseas and United States manufacturers saw the incoming Trump administration potentially taking quick action in the form of unilaterally imposed tariffs and taxes, leading the manufacturers to move merchandise before any action was taken. ‘What we saw in late January after the inauguration and into February was that the initial rhetoric is quick action being taken by the new White House was not the case, with things from a policy perspective being a lot less hawkish than was initially thought,’ he said.”

Shipping: “So many open jobs for truck drivers! It’s another bogus skills shortage story.” [Fabius Maximus]. “Shortages of goods, labor, or services indicate that in their price. For truckers that means offering wages that drivers consider worthwhile for the services and conditions demanded. As usual in these bogus “skill shortages stories”, the truth is easy to find. The trucking industry runs a state-of-the-art worker exploitation model. But there is a shortage of marks to burn”

Robot Vehicles: “Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said recently she is excited about the new automated technologies that have the potential to “dramatically change commercial transportation” and private travel, expanding access for millions. ‘The private sector is driving these innovations, working with cities and states like yours to demonstrate the safety and efficiency of automated cars and trucks,’ Chao recently told a gathering of state highway officials at the annual meeting of the American State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). ‘Automated technology, which includes autonomous or driverless vehicles, also has the potential to improve safety on our roads and highways, which is always a priority,’ Chao said” [Logistics Management]. One wonders whether Chao’s DOT infrastructure disbursements will reflect this perspective.

Robot Vehicles: “Intel Corp. is placing the biggest bet yet that the future of automotive supply chains will be based on computer chips. The semiconductor giant struck a deal to buy Mobileye NV for about $15.3 billion, the WSJ’s Austen Hufford reports, the latest big investment by a technology company in the future of self-driving cars. Jerusalem-based Mobileye makes chip-based camera systems that power semi-automated driving features already being used in cars, and wants to make that technology central to self-driving cars of the future. The acquisition will accelerate the race by auto makers, part suppliers and increasingly aggressive tech companies in the autonomous-vehicle sector. And the sheer scale of Intel’s Mobileye acquisition reflects the widespread view that the auto-supply sector is where future value is expected to be generated” [Wall Street Journal].

Retail: “U.S. consumers want vehicles built on light truck bodies — pickups, sport utility vehicles and crossovers. U.S. carmakers have failed to switch production from passenger cars to light trucks fast enough to keep up with the changing demand, and now they are paying the price with bloated inventories of cars nobody wants to buy” [247 Wall Street]. “Auto industry inventories at the end of February totaled 4.1 million units, up nearly 300,000 year over year and the highest for any month since July 2004, according to Automotive News. Passenger-car inventory totaled 79 days of supply, 12 days above the long-term average and the second-highest total in 25 years. Light-truck inventory began the month of March with 71 days of supply, three days below the long-term average.”

Credit: “Keeps getting worse and looks to me like it’s well below stall speed” (charts) [Mosler Economics].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 64, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 14 at 12:02pm. Hitting an air pocket!

Gaia

“Earth’s lost history of planet-altering eruptions revealed” [Nature]. “Enormous volcanoes vomited lava over the ancient Earth much more often than geologists had suspected. Eruptions as big as the biggest previously known ones happened at least 10 times in the past 3 billion years, an analysis of the geological record shows…. Technically, the eruptions are known as ‘large igneous provinces’ (LIPs). They can spew more than one million cubic kilometres of rock in a few million years. By comparison, the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington state put out just 10 cubic kilometres… On average, LIPs occur every 20 million years or so. The most recent one was the Columbia River eruption 17 million years ago, in what is now the northwestern United States.” Tick tick tick…

Class Warfare

More proof, if proof were needed, that being a start-up is about screwing your workers:

“Judge criticizes lawyers in Waffle House chairman’s sex-tape case” [Atlanta Constitution]. Splendid reporting, and the moral of the story is: Only screw your workers metaphorically. Waffle House chair Joe Rogers seems to have forgotten this. Also, when your lawyers says “Pay up, and it will go away,” do that.

“As China’s Coal Mines Close, Miners Are Becoming Bolder In Voicing Demands” [NPR]. Seems familiar, somehow.

“In July 2015, Wanda Holbrook, a maintenance technician performing routine duties on an assembly line at Ventra Ionia Main, an auto-parts maker in Ionia, Michigan, was “trapped by robotic machinery” and crushed to death. On March 7, her husband, William Holbrook, filed a wrongful death complaint (pdf) in Michigan federal court, naming five North American robotics companies involved in engineering and integrating the machines and parts used at the plant: Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, FANUC, Nachi, and Lincoln Electric” [Quartz].

“Right-Wing Billionaires Have a Project to Rewrite Our Constitution, and They Are Shockingly Close to Pulling It Off” [Thom Hartmann, Alternet].

“Need a Pothole Fixed? Maybe a Portland Anarchist Can Help!” [Blogtown]. Good PR. But how is this different from holding a bake-sale to prop up a public school gutted by neoliberalism?

News of the Wired

“These Cities Have the Best Quality of Life. And the Top 25 Are All Outside the U.S.” [Time]. “U.S. cities did not score particularly highly. San Francisco, at No. 29, was the highest-ranked U.S. city followed by Boston (35), Honolulu (36), New York City (44), Seattle (45), Chicago (47) and Washington, D.C. (49).” Interesting factoids, but the article is a shameless piece of product placement for Mercer, a headhunting firm for multinationals. If you click through, you’ve got to fill out a form to get the whole list! Shame on you, Time!

“The Web we have is not broken for Google and Facebook. People farmers are reaping the rewards of their violations into our lives to the tune of tens of billions in revenue every year. How can they possibly be our allies?” [Aral Balkan]. A critique of Tim Berners-Lee’s recent thoughts on the internet.

“Warning: Your New Digital World Is Highly Addictive” [Scientific American]. I dunno. Is “behavior addiction” really a thing?

“When a bunch of punks paid tribute to Johnny Cash at a low point in his career” [Dangerous Minds].

* * *

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:

Bloodroot. I always find rotting leaves encouraging, and I love the subtly different shades of darkness.

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. JTMcPhee

    Throwing 28 million USians under the bus, and then another 24 million? Um, that’s only around 52 million, if I recall my second-grade math right. And there are 272,693,820 of us left, more by 2020 if birth rate stays a 8 per second and death rate stays at 11 per second. Of course that latter number might be a thing like the Fed’s inflation target, subject to both aggressive policy actions and statistical massage…

    Lead forth the Philosopher Kings, who will dispense the necessary remedies…

    Reply
  2. oho

    >>“Here’s what happens when the U.S. pulls out of a major trade deal [like TPP]: New Zealand seizes the opportunity to send more of its milk and cheese to China.

    Yup, sending US/NZ dairy to China—THAT’s a great deal for the environment.

    Just as stupid as sending tube socks and underwear from Mauritius to the USA.

    Reply
    1. Jeotsu

      Concepts like “food miles” can be both helpful and deceptive. Shipping on actual ships is quite fuel/energy/carbon efficient. So when calculating impact the underling farm/productive system often plays a bigger role in environmental impact than the distance to market.

      New Zealand used to score very well in that regard, as its simple pastoral farming system of sun + rain + warm = grass = meat&wool&dairy was highly efficient, especially when compared to farming systems requiring all stock to be hard fed which ultimately comes back to diesel powered farm equipment.

      Sadly this is no longer entirely true, and New Zealand is busily squandering its natural farming advantages by “intensifying” its farms. Particularly dairy farms. The newer dairy conversions are increasingly reliant on feed sourced from off-farm (worse yet, palm kernel from SE Asia). The intensive farming is also resulting in huge waterway degradation that current National-led pro-farmer/pro-markets government really doesn’t want to address. Best expressed by the recent government initiative to “improve the swimmability” of rivers that used accounting tricks that lowered the standard, excluded most rivers from analysis, and then declared victory (http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/media-release/maps-show-most-nz-rivers-are-excluded-swimming-standard).

      So it does make sense to ship some food items ’round the world. Especially to ship them to places that have already so degraded their environments they can’t feed themselves. But Everywhere is in the neo-liberal short-term-thinking death spiral of degrading agricultural land for short term gain.

      Reply
      1. Charger01

        Agricultural is vital for the NZ economy- it’s the primary engine for export that employs the majority of people outside of Auckland/tourist industry (can’t find reference at this moment). Fonterra has expanded their saturation in NZ and ALS to maximum, so they need to export to continue the industry or they’ll wither on the vine. NZ is trying hard at expanding their domestic production into wine, mining, and technology- but they’re a minor player at best.

        Reply
        1. Lord Koos

          “Indeed, a primary goal of the TPP was to force countries with low standards to operate on a level similar to the U.S.”

          I certainly find it hard to believe that food products from Canada and New Zealand are inferior to those from the US, I would assume the opposite, given the USA producers’ love of additives, hormones, etc.

          Reply
          1. jsn

            Depends on what you mean by inferior: inferior a tasting good or inferior at producing money profits.

            Wildly different ideas.

            Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Chinese traditionally don’t consume a lot of milk and cheese.

        Do they have to create more demand than there is now? Would that be more additional shipping, and more energy consumed, than otherwise?

        Is this different than the case where they can not feed themselves? Cheese seems like a luxury food item in China.

        Reply
        1. Tom_Doak

          What the Chinese export from New Zealand is fresh milk for their newborns and young children. 747’s full of it, daily. The Chinese trust the NZ dairy farmers more than their own, for good reason.

          They pay a fortune for it, and no, it’s not “sustainable” by any reasonable standard, but that is not the test that matters to their consumers.

          Reply
        2. Jason V

          I’ve noticed cheese popping up at more and more stores in China, and stuffed inside more foods. This may be an influence from Korean cuisine. Chinese people don’t trust the local dairies so they try to buy is imported. Plus the milk for babies and I’d say they consume a fair bit

          Reply
          1. clinical wasteman

            yes, it’s the not entirely scandal-free [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10848015] baby milk/powder market, not cheese, ice cream or artisanal yogurt that tilted the NZ economy to dairy-dependence within the last couple of decades. When I endured childhood/adolescence there in the 1980s and a few years on either side everyone knew that the country lived or died by what was left of its postcolonial sheep-farming exports. (All beautifully explained here*: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HVogejKx_c]). When the plug was finally pulled on Imperial Preference, wholesale state-capitalist gambling on the nearest possible sort of commodity export dependency was the only real option (for the Labour Party Thatcherites in power at the time … never mind…), because the economy was pre-emptively underindustrialized decades earlier by the paternalistic, anglophile Big Farmers bloc in charge almost uninterruptedly since the 1840s. These latifundistas were keen to avoid any repetition of a heady experiment with paternalistic, anglophile ‘socialism’ in the 1930s-40s. I highly recommend James Belich’s 2-volume history, specifically ‘Paradise Reforged’ for the 20th century.
            *Blam Blam Blam, “There is no Depression in New Zealand”, 1981. It really does sum up a lot in 3 minutes, and it’s a glorious pop song, you don’t need to share my outlying music tastes (cf. NC comments passim) to enjoy it. (Disclaimer: the incredible singing drummer/writer of the song, Don McGlashan, was my high-school music teacher: a lovely person and an almost scary polymath. Yes, NZ is one of those places so small that when someone on the other side of the world says “oh, I know someone from there, you don’t happen to know…?”, you almost invariably, always alarmingly do.)

            Reply
            1. Musicismath

              Don McGlashan! I used to issue books and CDs to him all the time back when I worked circ at Auckland Central Library in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Usually Mozart, IIRC. “Scary polymath,” indeed. As well as being one of the leading lights in Auckland’s post punk scene, he was also a classically trained French horn player who performed percussion in the Auckland Philharmonia. Helluva song writer and lyricist.

              Reply
  3. Jen

    “A group of prominent Senate Democrats on Monday raised the specter of a shutdown over the funding of President Trump’s proposed wall along the border with Mexico”

    A group of four, plus Schumer, who are so prominent, in fact, that the Times names only Schumer in the article.

    AND

    “Mr Schumer said he would not rule out approving funding for the wall in 2018, but that Mr. Trump must first explain how he plans to use eminent domain to acquire lands along the border, the affects of construction on Native Americans, and how he plans to persuade Mexico to reimburse the United States for the cost.”

    Now that’s a principled stand. For some definition of principle, or for that matter, stand.

    Anyone care to speculate on which brave Dems joined their peerless leader in this “fight?”

    Reply
      1. Marina Bart

        Murderer’s Row, then.

        Can’t someone, anyone, offer Pat Leahy a rich enough lobbying gig that he will get out of the way and let a Bernie ally take that seat?

        Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Usually, environmental issues are addressed with design considerations.

        For example, to minimize roaming coyotes, you put into underground passageways, so they can come in and out of the country.

        I mean, we wouldn’t want to endanger coyotes…any more than we have already.

        Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Oh, come on, Donald.

      I’m about to replace a fence at the Arizona Slim Ranch. In addition to paying for the cost of a survey so that the new fence will be within my property boundaries and corners, I have to pay the fencing company.

      Ain’t no way in Hades that my neighbors will reimburse me for any of these things.

      Reply
      1. Gary

        I dunno AZ… here in Texas it’s not too unusual for neighbors sharing a fence to split the costs providing they are both benefitting from the arrangement.
        The border fence we have turned into a huge boondoggle costing several times more than the original projected cost. Something like a giant wall is going to be a YUGE cha-ching!

        Reply
      2. Jen

        Perhaps they might if you told them it wasn’t about keeping them out, but keeping you in?

        Might work for Donald.

        Reply
    2. Marina Bart

      Now that’s a principled stand. For some definition of principle, or for that matter, stand.

      You come sit by me. Lemon drop?

      Reply
  4. allan

    “Now we’re being open, which is pleasingly feral, but… ”

    Some here may be old enough to remember when back in 2009 some guy named Alan Grayson said this:

    “If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do: If you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly,” he said. “That’s right, the Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.”

    Hilarity and pearl clutching ensued:

    Republicans, led by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, have seized on the comments and threatened to introduce a resolution of disapproval today in the House similar to the resolution that censured Wilson, the Republican representative who yelled “you lie!” during an address to a joint session of Congress by President Obama.

    The resolution says, in part, that “the conduct of the Representative from Florida was a breach of decorum and degraded the integrity and proceedings of the House.”

    Tom Price – I wonder whatever happened to him.

    Reply
    1. Kokuanani

      I wish that constituents at some of the “town halls,” or perhaps even reporters, would ask Republicans, “so what happens to the [fill in the blank] million people who lose health insurance under your Plan?” Let them struggle and mumble over that.

      Not, of course, that Obamacare is in any way worth anything, but the Republicans should be tied to this new plan, and the full catastrophe — plus their cold selfishness — should be kept in the public eye.

      Reply
      1. Art Eclectic

        My Dad opined once when I was a boy if you didn’t work you didn’t eat.

        I think thats the Republican health care philosophy: if you get sick and don’t have money, you die. I guess that will help white breeding rates?

        Reply
        1. Paid Minion

          To your Dad. “Yeah, them damn free-loading four year olds. Put their azzes to work”

          The 1940 Draft saw a significant number of draftees rated “4F/Unsuitable for service” (one of the numbers I found says 900K of the first two million inductees). Most of them (Half?) for problems due to malnutrition during the Depression.

          Stories abound of guys volunteering for the USMC/Flight Training/etc. who were rejected because they couldn’t make minimum weight. And of the things they would have to do to try to make it (like stuffing themselves with bananas before a reweigh).

          I the book, “A Missing Plane”, Susan Sheehan decribes the signs of malnutrition on the remains of WWII servicemen found during the process of identifying remains at the US Army’s Central Identification Lab (as it was called at the time)

          This is one of the reasons that the US Government got involved in school lunches to begin with. That, and trying to stabilize agricultural prices. We have plenty of history/research that shows that church/volunteers/local and state resources are not enough to address the problem.

          Of course, spending tax dollars on kid’s nutrition is considered “government stealing our money” in some quarters.

          I’d call making sure the kids are fed as a primary responsibility of every adult. But I’m old fashioned that way.

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            The usual defense for this kind of thing is to blame the parents. Either they should be taking responsibility for keeping their kids fed, or (if they can’t due to circumstances beyond their control) they shouldn’t have had kids in the first place. This has always struck me as firmly grounded in old school authoritarian parenting, in which children are effectively the property of their parents to do with as they see fit. If you are a child and find yourself in hardship because of parental neglect, hardship, or incapacity, then you can expect society to censure your parents for it, but not to provide any actual help either to your parents or to you, except in extreme circumstances (and not always even in those).

            Personally I think that we as a society should feel a collective responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing of the youngest and most vulnerable among us. As you say, that is at odds with the general view these days, which is that it’s OK for kids to starve as long as you can point the finger at someone else and say it’s their fault.

            Reply
            1. RUKidding

              Yeah, ok, but then Republicans do absolutely everything possible to block women, in particular, from having access to adequate birth control, not to mention legal abortions. So Republican hypocrisy is on display at all times. Women are apparently to be forced into having unwanted kids that they cannot support adequately. The Dad’s aren’t supposed to pay for anything anymore, but somehow it’s all the parents’ fault if their kids are starving and have no health care.

              And so forth.

              Reply
              1. Marina Bart

                These things are connected.

                The point is to make women desperate and vulnerable, so men can obtain their labor and sexual services in a profoundly unequal transactional exchange. Women who resist being subjugated this way usually suffer. Their offspring are collateral damage. Our system heavily incentivizes women to choose partners who will provide for them economically, even if they do not provide for them in any other way. If you want to prioritize physical, intellectual, psychological or moral agency and autonomy over economic support, and you are a woman, you are intended to be SOL.

                We live in a patriarchy. In a patriarchy, the men at the top get the pick of everything — and women are a “thing”. But the lower status men who abide by the patriarchy’s precepts still get to dominate women. They still have an array of options to force women to do their bidding without any version of equality, in sexual pleasure, in economic power, in societal or political power. Only women compliant to the system benefit from its protections. Are you willing to facilitate the rape and sexual abuse of other women by your husband? You get to run for president. If you are a woman and insist on choosing marital partners based on what your personal, non-economic preferences (or refuse to enter the marriage mart), you are subjected to a vast system of restraints to keep you suffering and unequal. The offspring you are forced to have against your will are valuable to the patriarchy. The act of being pregnant against your will thwarts action against your oppressor. The fear of having babies you have to either raise in difficult circumstances or hand over to the patriarchy to be sold off to the wealthy helps maintain compliance. The unwanted offspring are useful as cannon fodder and to keep down wages.

                Preventing women from having control of their reproductive capacity is a key element in patriarchal control. Guaranteeing their children will starve if they resist compliance within the system is likewise important. If we had guarantees of food security and other basic elements of survival, why women might only choose to have sex with men they’re attracted to, who treat them as equals and care about them.

                Can’t have that.

                Reply
                1. Jagger

                  We live in a patriarchy. In a patriarchy, the men at the top get the pick of everything — and women are a “thing”.

                  Anybody remember that article a week or so back in which women with good income were unwilling to marry partners making less money than them. I remember thinking, ummm, so that’s the story when the tables are turned. It almost puts patriarchy in a good light if matriarchy means an unwillingness to support or even establish a relationship with a partner/”thing” making less money than them.

                  Reply
                  1. PhilM

                    Workplace mortality ratios stable over thirty years: 92% men.

                    The egalitarian motto you’ll never hear from a feminist: “equal pay for equal work with equal death and disability rates.”

                    Reply
                2. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > Our system heavily incentivizes women to choose partners who will provide for them economically, even if they do not provide for them in any other way.

                  Which is why, IMNSHO, universal benefits Jobs Guarantee combined with a Post Office bank would better than putting Planned Parenthood clinic on every block. Every woman could always get work and have her own bank account.

                  Sometimes you need to be oblique to solve a problem…

                  Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I the book, “A Missing Plane”, Susan Sheehan decribes the signs of malnutrition on the remains of WWII servicemen found during the process of identifying remains at the US Army’s Central Identification Lab (as it was called at the time)

            This is one of the reasons that the US Government got involved in school lunches to begin with. That, and trying to stabilize agricultural prices.

            From Wikipedia:

            Malnutrition or malnourishment is a condition that results from eating a diet in which nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems

            It seems we still have a malnutrition problem if kids are getting more obese, more overweight, though being obese/overweight does not mean you have enough of all the necessary nutrients. Maybe just too much fat and not enough essential minerals.

            Reply
            1. Optimader

              A free nutritionally balanced school meal would be oh so small an investment that would pay forward in this country.

              Reply
          3. Dead Dog

            Good point PM.

            In WWI, British Officers were markedly taller than the enlisted men, who averaged out at 5′ 5″

            Better nutrition was the reason – and yes, no child should go hungry, but many do.

            Reply
    2. jawbone

      Right. In the Good Old Days we talked about Soylent Green and Hurry Up and Die.

      Now, if Ryan has his way, we’ll be living the latter.

      Oh, Dems, why’d you have to screw up so badly at such a really bad time?

      Reply
      1. Marina Bart

        They didn’t really screw up. They accomplished the task of protecting the banks and corporation in 2009, and preventing leftward movement in response to that in 2016.

        Hillary said she was looking forward to working with Paul Ryan. And she is.

        Reply
    3. HopeLB

      Grayson was brilliant at unmasking the Banksters too.It was must see TV during the c-span hearings post 08′. Marcy Kaptor was good too. Pointing her finger at them and saying “I’ll get you”. Too bad the utterly venal Clintonite Dems ran an ex-Republican against him in the primary.

      Reply
      1. Darius

        Grayson broke the rule that Democrats are supposed to be patsies. Republicans are encouraged to spout off about liberals’ death panels but Grayson says the Republican plan is for people to die and you get Wolf Blitzer sputtering with rage. Grayson’s not following the damned script. It used to really annoy me until I realized most Democrats, including the Caver in Chief himself, believed this too. Remember all those Democrats rushing to Grayson’s defense? Neither do I.

        Reply
  5. jo6pac

    $1.5 billion? That’s real money! I wonder what Obama’s gonna do to raise it?

    I thought that’s all he was doing during his 8 years in the wh. No banksters went to Jail and the Merchants of Death have never been so busy. I think just a couple of golf games and it’s a done deal. He is in the silly valley, Calif. meeting the head cycle-0-paths corp. Amerika.

    Reply
    1. Art Eclectic

      Stuff like that always pisses me off. That kind of money could support Planned Parenthood and free birth control and take that football away from Republicans.

      Reply
    2. Dead Dog

      Where do you think all the missing trillions are from the ME wars?

      He’s got plenty, just needs to be careful how he spends it.

      Reply
    3. JCC

      I was curious and looked up the cost of building the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial which I was then going to spend some time and convert these costs into 2017 dollars.

      Lo and behold, Landscape Architecture Magazine had already done the work for me, although their article was old and the conversion was into 2012 dollars… close enough.

      Lincoln Memorial – built in 1922 – $2,957,000.00
      Washington Monument – built in 1884 – $1,187,710.00

      Combined cost in 2012 Dollars – $69,000,000.00 or about 4.6% of just the estimated startup cost of “The Obama Foundation”! Or to put it another way, the Obama foundation startup cost will be about 22 times the final cost of these two monuments.

      Since everything seems to be measured by it’s dollar worth today, I guess that means Obama believes his legacy is 22 times more valuable to this country than that of Lincon and Washington combined.

      And if we throw in the Jefferson Memorial, built in 1943 at a cost of $3,000,000.00, bringing the combined 2012 value up to approximately $109,000,000.00, that still puts Obama’s (startup cost) legacy value about 14 times that of the 3 most (arguably) legendary US Presidents. Of course that still puts him behind the legendary Bill and Hillary, but I’m sure he’s working hard to fix that.

      The above is my $0.02 contribution to his legend… and he’s lucky to get that.

      Reply
      1. John Morrison

        Your “assustant”? (*snicker*) [*edit*] Okay, I caught the correction.

        Seriously, I often wonder what I’m missing, when I Google certain topics.

        Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe Small Brother Big Government, instead of Big Brother Small Government

      “Does size matter?”

      Reply
  6. DanB

    Lambert writes, “Also, a funding cap is a disincentive for funding prevention and care for epidemics.” My comment: in 2003 I was working at an academic school of public health and one of my colleagues there had worked in the Bush senior White House. (He joined us in public health as a “terrorism expert”.) We had a conversation one day when he said to me, “You know, most Republicans don’t understand public health -what it is about; I mean things like prevention of epidemics and to protect the overall health of the community. They don’t think of themselves as a part of the general community; they feel insulated and immune. And therefore they regard public health measures as money poorly spent.”

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe they all need an invite to a great fundraiser, on the theme of “The Masque of the Red Death…”

      Reply
    2. Charger01

      I assure you that Team Blue thinks the same way, but they want to provide pallative care to ease their concious.

      Reply
      1. Marina Bart

        They don’t have consciences. They need to pretend to offer social benefits because that’s their brand identity. They now must recruit and keep alive a vast, desperate underclass to vote for them (because no one else under the 90% will), which is useful in providing servants and underpaid workers within our borders.

        Thus Obamacare, which does offer limited health care access for the very poor, mostly in Democratic strongholds. Just enough to keep you alive, so you will flip their burgers, watch their children, and wipe their dementia-ridden relatives’ chins (and other messy body parts.)

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > They don’t have consciences

          Yes, they do. We all so (modulo the sociopaths discussion). That’s one reason they have to virtue signal so intensely: Both to communicate to each other and their mirrors that they are people of conscience, and to suppress perception of the real suffering the policies and institutions they enable are creating.

          “White working class people deserve to die because they’re racist” isn’t a statement of no conscience, it’s a statement of bad conscience.

          Reply
  7. John Morrison

    > Tick tick tick…

    Beware the gambler’s fallacy. I’m not saying that it’s wrong in this case, but one needs more information than just an average of once every twenty million years. It’s quite possible that geological pressures may increase over time to produce a rough periodic result, with the eruption releasing the pressure. In that case, “Tick tick tick” is legitimate.

    In a situation such as killer asteroids hitting us at an average frequency, (again, unless a reason for periodicity is given), the possibility that one is overdue doesn’t make it any more likely than when it was not overdue. When flipping a coin, a run of heads doesn’t make a tail more likely.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I’m more concerned (or hopeful depending on my mood) about the possibility of another ice age, the periodicity of which is not clearly understood. I attended a lecture recently in which the speaker claimed we are overdue for such an event. He then glanced at his watch.

      Reply
      1. witters

        Checking to see how long he had managed to avoid any one who really knew anything about our anthrogenic climate impact…

        Reply
  8. LT

    Re: NY Times article on Dems “shutdown”

    So they’ll go to war over the wall but not Medicaid? I was thinking the same.

    They could easily go to bat against the Wall, for Medicaid expansion, minimum wage, AND ________(fill in the blank). That would be REAL negotiating and force the Republicans to bargain down in a way that guaranteed something.

    This is why the Democratic Party is useless.

    Again, don’t walk away from them…RUN!

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Yesterday, I got an e-mail from a friend who’s considering a run for the governorship of our fair state. The e-mail’s conclusion: A pitch to donate to the Arizona Democratic Party.

      Nope. Uh-uh. No way. Not after what they did to Bernie during last year’s primary.

      That e-mail died a quick death beneath my delete key.

      Reply
      1. Vatch

        Do you know your friend well enough to have the access to be able to explain this to him or her? Or was the email from a “friend”?

        Reply
        1. Darius

          I hate defending the Democrats, but the wall is in an omnibus appropriations bill and subject to the filibuster while the assault on Medicaid is in a reconciliation bill, not subject to the filibuster. The omnibus funds the whole civilian government, so blocking the wall means blocking everything else. Just think what the Democrats could have done with reconciliation when they were in control if they had an actual agenda.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Ah, thanks. I should have remembered that. Nevertheless, they can filibuster whatever they want to make the point; it doesn’t have to be Medicaid. Then they can yammer about the unjust reconciliation process….

            Reply
    2. Gary

      The Republican plan is actually an addendum to the ACA and put forth as a budget reconciliation which is immune to the filibuster. It’s smart but not new. How do you think Reagan got his slice and dice tax plan across? The Comprehensive Omnibus Budget RECONCILLIATION Act or COBRA. It was a well chosen acronym. It had a fatal bite to the American dream.

      Reply
      1. Darius

        The Obama Democrats ignored reconciliation except once as a narrow last minute last resort to salvage Obamacare. They said they wanted to be bipartisan but it was an excuse for not having an agenda.

        Reply
  9. Karl Kolchak

    @“Need a Pothole Fixed? Maybe a Portland Anarchist Can Help!” [Blogtown]. Good PR. But how is this different from holding a bake-sale to prop up a public school gutted by neoliberalism?

    Very counterproductive. A couple of years ago I was hanging with an old friend out in San Diego. He’s retired Navy and lifelong Republican, plus a big Chargers fan. Yet when he took me out and showed me around town, every time we hit a pothole (which was a lot) he cursed out the owner of the Chargers for wanting the local taxpayers to build him a new stadium at a time when the roads were falling apart. Ultimately, San Diego refused, and the Chargers moved to LA.

    Lesson: even conservatives can see the value of government when potholes are destroying their cars.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      A few years ago, one of my conservative friends hosted a bake sale at one of central Tucson’s worst intersections. I mean, this intersection had craters, er, potholes, that would have put the moon to shame.

      Well, I have to admit that Tia Gloria’s home-baked mesquite cookies were definitely worth five bucks a bag. And did I mention that she had media coverage for this event?

      Reply
    2. robnume

      Yes, our San Diego potholes are a travesty for a city which houses as many wealthy people as we do. And I won’t miss that football team one little bit.
      Now maybe I can actually drive down Friars Road without getting caught in that massive traffic jam which seemed to occur every damned Sunday.

      Reply
    3. Carla

      Yeah, Republicans get religion about the common good when their CARS are damaged. Human beings when their family members are dying because they can’t get health care. Your “friend” is seriously deficient and I’ll just stop there.

      Reply
  10. justanotherprogressive

    Re: “Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch”
    Interesting! Since he’s giving his Secretaries six months to write the plan and the OMB six months to review the plan, no “savings” should be expected until the 2019 Budget. So apparently none of this planning will be included in the 2017 Budget Trump plans to release on Thursday (unless of course this “planning” is just a ruse and the decisions have already been made…)? So where is that $54 B for the military going to come from? Oh, yea, I forgot – Trumpcare – screw the deficit……

    Reply
    1. Jen

      correct link and this little gem:

      “(d) In developing the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section, the Director shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors:

      (i) whether some or all of the functions of an agency, a component, or a program are appropriate for the Federal Government or would be better left to State or local governments or to the private sector through free enterprise;”

      I’m sure this will all be just fine.

      Reply
      1. marym

        It’s discouraging that we’re so locked into the language in (i). It’s been 30 years or so since the sole responsibility of business has been defined solely as “shareholder value”- profit.

        Long gone is even much lip service to corporate responsibility to employees or community; or providing customer service, or quality products in any form that doesn’t optimize profits.

        So the discussion should be framed as a choice between:

        “publicly funded, run by public employees, accountable to the public, for the common good”

        or

        “funded by taxes, premiums, fees, tolls, etc. paid by the public to private companies having profit as their goal; unaccountable due to deregulation to their employees, customers, or community; with any public benefit “trickling down” once profit and executive compensation goals are met.”

        A more succinct and version of that, anyway.

        Reply
        1. jen

          funded by taxes, premiums, fees, and tolls paid by the public to private companies to maximize shareholder value.

          Reply
            1. Carla

              May I suggest “funded by taxes, premiums, fees, and tolls paid by the public to private companies to maximize corporate profits for the benefit of major share- or stock option holders.” Just to make it clear where all those profits go.

              Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Too late, Skipper.

      And one wonders why people aren’t flocking to work for these companies anymore.

      Reply
        1. KurtisMayfield

          3,000,000 Canadian dollars/300 employees = 10,000 per employee. That must be some training they provide.

          Reply
  11. theycuthepower

    Winnipeg reader here (right?!), surprised to see SkipTheDishes pop up in the blog. Have a friend who works for them and indeed, he probably makes less than $10 an hour overall, with no benefits or other compensation at all. Seems to still like it for his particular lifestyle, but it’s definitely a pretty brutal scam on the workers.

    (for those who don’t know, Skip is basically just a food courier company that any restaurant in our fair city can sign up for.)

    Reply
  12. Toolate

    Is anyone else curiois why suddenly Bernie is somewhat mainstream? At least MSM is suddenly paying attention?
    I ask as a supporter but with a closet full of tin foil hats

    Reply
    1. Marina Bart

      The Democrats have assigned him the task of herding the left back to the party.

      The open question is whether that is his intent as well, and also whether or not it will work, regardless of his intent.

      And he’s not really getting that much exposure. Has Rachel had him on? As far as I know, his exposure on MSNBC has been limited to Chris Hayes’ show. Chris Hayes has a book coming out about the continuing problem of racism in America. Who’s he going to sell it to? Not the new target demographic of MSNBC. He needs to affirm his pseudo-left bonafides to sell the book to people who loathe his corporate masters. Which is how you get Bernie on his show.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        You can’t normalize “socialism” in the populace and do anything other than undermine the current Democrat establishment. But that is what Sanders is doing. (To put this another way, the Democrat Establishment couldn’t beat Donald Trump. Why should we believe they’re capable of running this complicated sheepdog strategy, even if that’s what they’re doing?)

        I don’t much care how Sanders made his opportunities with Hayes et al., or what their motivations might be (seamy, no doubt). So what? It’s a question of what he makes of those opportunities.

        Adding, we sometimes forget that Sanders is a politician, and a highly successful one. Personally, I think that’s a good thing.

        And adding, if the Berniecrats really have taken over California, that’s going to be an excellent test. We won’t have to do quite so much speculating.

        Reply
        1. Marina Bart

          Oh! I meant to tell you. I heard back from my delegates. They’re having an Open House this weekend, with a guest working on the in-state uni health plan. I have a conflict, but if I can get there, I may have concrete reporting to offer on the California Berniecrat take-over.

          I agree with your points re: Bernie. I mostly was pointing out that I don’t think the MSM has given him that much of a platform. He’s just taking every opportunity available, and I suspect working with others to find and open those doors.

          And with that, g’night.

          Reply
  13. Anon

    Re: SkipTheDishes

    One of the co-founders reached out to her.

    Tweet

    Either it was a genuine mistake OR this is CYA in response to her going public.

    Reply
  14. LT

    Re: The Web We Have is Not Broken for Google, Facebook

    Monopolies don’t seek customers, they seek captives.
    And the amount of naivete and corruption combined does not bode well for the future.

    Reply
    1. craazyboy

      Possible reasons:

      1) Because that’s what Obama would want.
      2) Because that’s what Hillary would do.
      3) Trump, Russia and Republicans are poopy heads.
      4) Bernie “woke” and found out he’s a self-hating socialist.
      5) Bernie has wild and crazy hair.

      Reply
    2. vegasmike

      I watched Bernie at a West Virginia town hall. Bernie believes correctly that he’s an outlier on single payer and he won’t get much support from congressional democrats or the party establishment. Bernie’s in his mid 70s. If there is a push to the left it will have to come from younger people in their teens, 20s and 30s.

      Reply
      1. curlydan

        I think that everybody and every age group has to push single payer to make headway. Unfortunately the Democrats’ negotiating strategy is, as usual, awful.

        I was once forced to read the corporate classic, “Getting to Yes”, by Fisher and Ury for a negotiating class at work. It actually was a good book with a lot of useful tips.

        They emphasized “Focus on Interests, Not Positions” in negotiations. Most Americans share an interest that everyone should have basic health care and insurance in this country, aka “the richest” country in the world. The authors pointed that we all have some human needs including: security, economic well-being, a sense of belonging, recognition, and control over one’s life. These are interests and could be satisfied in part or at least much better by single payer.

        The Democrats’ response to the Republicans health care proposal: defend their position, i.e. Obamacare–the unpopular program. Face…Palm.

        The Dems must stop asking for half a loaf of bread, and getting a few crumbs.

        Reply
        1. Marina Bart

          You are confused. The Democrats (that is, the leaders and funders) are getting exactly what they want. They chose not to deliver single payer when they could have done so.

          WE need to stop looking to the Democratic Party for anything good. There is no “getting to yes” with them that involves the non-10% getting anything they want and need. As with Facebook, we’re not even users, we’re being used.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            As I keep saying, the Democrats as an institution, as opposed to the set of all Democrat office-holders, have assets that are worth seizing (besides ballot access, the two parties are written into statute).

            One can argue that one can (must) outflank them with another party (DSA, for example). But one way or another the office-holders have to be assaulted directly. And if their assets can’t be seized, they have to be neutralized.

            Reply
        2. Carla

          curlydan: “I think that everybody and every age group has to push single payer to make headway.”

          YES. YES. YES. YES.

          Marina Bart: “WE need to stop looking to the Democratic Party for anything good. There is no “getting to yes” with them that involves the non-10% getting anything they want and need. As with Facebook, we’re not even users, we’re being used.”

          YES. YES. YES. YES.

          Here’s my point: Maybe single payer could be the path to health care AND a new party.

          Not seeing a better idea, I say, let’s take that path!

          Expanded, Improved Medicare for All could be phased in. All 60-64 year olds covered effective 2018. 55-59 year olds get covered in 2020. 50-54 year olds in 2022. And so forth.

          Reply
          1. different clue

            the New Deal Revival Party?

            the Newer Deal Party?

            the Lower Class Majority Party?

            the Lower Class War Party?

            what would be a simple and evocative and reasonably informative name for such a wannabe-real new party attempt?

            Reply
          2. Marina Bart

            I agree that this is an opening to organize people around the duopoly obstacles that might lead to success. But Medicare For All can’t happen in 2018, unless President Trump forces the Republicans to bring it to the floor.

            That’s what makes this situation so maddening. While it would be a massive, revolutionary change to our system, it would be much easier than any other kind of significant change for the better. My preference is to do it in both directions: lower official Medicare coverage by age cohort while expanding those benefits, while raising the income and age limit on Medicaid and expanding those benefits, until they can combine after a few years into one system. That would deliver care immediately to those most in need of it across the population, while buying needed time for all the dislocating elements and funding, distribution and delivery mechanisms to be reconciled.

            And cheaper, to boot. It’s a dream situation — except for how our entire ruling class is profoundly committed to not doing it, and prefers to let millions of their fellow citizens suffer and die, instead.

            Reply
            1. Marym

              Without arguing pros and cons of an incremental vs all-at-once implmentation of a universal Medicare for All system, in addition to expanding benefits and eligibility, de-privatization has to be a factor in the approach. If everyone were on Medicare and/or Medicaid (in those programs’ current form) tomorrow, there would still be an enormous presence of for-profit insurance, which is incompatible with universal, affordable access to comprehensive healthcare.

              Reply
              1. Marina Bart

                True. I just presume that part of the process happening over the implementation years would be either eliminating or severely restricting for-profit insurance.

                Reply
            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > lower official Medicare coverage by age cohort

              That was Teddy Kennedy’s preferred solution, until Obama turned his brain to porridge, or whatever happened. 5 years per year, IIRC, so 60, 55, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5, 0. 13 years (assuming I haven’t butchered the arithmetic). A long time, and although the sickest do get taken care of first, I’m also really not happy with a tiered approach to a universal benefit. That’s what we did to the younger people with the O’Neill-Reagan “compromise” on Social Security, and it’s unconscionable.

              Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If there is a push to the left it will have to come from younger people in their teens, 20s and 30s.

        Well, some of us older people still manage to totter quite briskly about.

        Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Russell Mokhiber asks some uncomfortable questions about why Bernie isn’t using the current debate to push for single payer instead of “Obamneycare.”

      There’s a very simple response to this weird — I’m gonna say it — purism by Counterpunch: it’s not true. I couldn’t get to Sanders in West Virginia because of all the original stuff (Trump EO, CBO) today, but see this.

      Note also that Medicare for All is absolutely not going to be the lead item on any media coverage.

      Reply
  15. Kulantan

    I dunno. Is “behavior addiction” really a thing?

    Yes, just ask anyone who bites thier fingernails. I have a freind who used to bite them even when they were back to the nail bed already.

    Reply
    1. Marina Bart

      Pointing and laughing at “behavior addiction” relies on a definition and understanding of addiction that, while entrenched, is probably wrong.

      I suspect we will, at some point in the near future, think of addiction more like the Autism spectrum, as a constellation of related compulsive behaviors and attempts at mediating and soothing an array of mental illnesses, dysfunctions and suffering that lead to a damaging behavioral feedback loop.

      We are what we do repeatedly. Sometimes, even when we do not want to do it.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I tend to think of addiction as having a physiological basis or at least component. We can tease out why addictive substances give pleasure, for example. The Amerian Society of Addiction Medicine (which doesn’t seem to be a scam):

        Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

        So, to me, “addiction” implies a physiological pathway. Show me the brain circuits! Now, as a materialist, I’d welcome the demonstration of such a pathway for “behavior addiction” (leaving aside the question of what neoliberalism would do with the knowledge). But I don’t see that right now.

        I also think that the “addicted to” trope is vastly overused.

        NOTE Adding, this general approach is critical to lead poisoning, and, I would speculate, to much else.

        Reply
  16. Paid Minion

    The truth of the matter is, the automakers aren’t building cars that no one is buying by choice.

    Thank CAFE fleet averages.

    Another reason why the production of cheap $##tboxes is being moved to Mexico. They count against CAFE. And it’s preferable to lose $3000/car than $5000/car.

    Some of these issues might be addressed, if the wretched refuse had the income to buy new cars. But God-forbid consumers be provided with anything but credit-lines to infinity, instead of real paychecks.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      New cars are so fugly, the people are repulsed. Every time I look at the ass end of a new Civic, I think it’s going to bite me. I bet the teeth kit is being tooled up in China as I type.

      And the curly strip lighting on some cars looks downright stupid the second time you see the same car. Instantly old and when a light winks out hide your wallet. I saw a new Lexus SUV and it looked like a stunted fish with cancerous boils on the side. Truly fugly. Some of the front ends have so many creases and curves, they look like they had an accident at the end of the assembly line. I could go on.

      To add salt to the wound, it spies on you and one is expected to take on debt and pay it off over time while driving the ugliest cars in a generation.

      Reply
  17. PKMKII

    Vibrator maker ordered to pay out C$4m for tracking users’ sexual activity

    In addition, data is collected and sent back to Standard Innovation, letting the company know about the temperature of the device and the vibration intensity – which, combined, reveal intimate information about the user’s sexual habits.

    The flaws with the We-Vibe sex toy were first revealed at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas in 2016 by New Zealand-based hackers “goldfisk” and “follower”. Speaking there, the pair argued that the problem was a “serious issue”: “unwanted activation of a vibrator is potentially sexual assault”, follower said.

    Reply
    1. craazyboy

      Yes, possibly being raped by your vibrator does sound like a serious issue.

      OTOH, anyone that buys an internet connected vibrator probably deserves it.

      Reply
      1. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

        Internet connected governments are the real worry.

        On a daily, and at an increasing rate we are reluctantly informed that this wonderful technology is a boon to fraudsters, wreckers and spies. Not the ideal set of liabilities to hitch your present and future to!

        Cognitive dissonance or just stupid?

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Wut could you possibly do with that data? I mean, the technology can be replaced with a candle and a joy buzzer?

      Are data centers a new bubble stabilizer?

      And, Rule #34, wouldn’t you sell more by very clearly offering to track the user’s…mumble mumble?

      Reply
  18. craazyboy

    Trade

    Whenever I want to figure out how something works in the 21st century, I always go to the library and find the appropriate Terry Pratchett novel. They are much more accurate and insightful than the WSJ.

    So, IIRC, the Merchant class was a part of the top 10% in the Middle Ages?

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Being unfamiliar with the works of Pratchett I searched and found this gem:

      Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life

      Made my day. Does that make me a bad person?

      Reply
      1. jrs

        give a man a fish and he’ll have fish for the day, teach a man to fish and he’ll overfish the ocean leading to plummeting fish populations and many fish species near the brink of extinction …

        Alright gift economy wins the argument over capitalism already ;)

        Reply
  19. Stormcrow

    RE: Trump Transition

    There may be more than one.

    Assange Claims Hillary, Intel Officials “Quietly Pushing A Pence Takeover”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-14/wikileaks-assange-claims-hillary-intel-officials-quietly-pushing-pence-takeover

    I know this is Zerohedge, but the tweets from Assange appear to be genuine, because they are being diseminated independently by Wikilekas.

    It would be most welcome if Yves or Lambert would write a sustained analysis about why Pence could well be worse than Trump.

    That the Hillary Dems seem to prefer him, however, speaks for itself.

    Reply
    1. Marina Bart

      The kinds of people who read this site and yet think impeaching or disempowering Trump to elevate Pence are not the kind of people who are reachable by anything additional Yves or Lambert might write at this point.

      Such people are like rabid animals. Best we all just keep our distance lest we, too, become infected.

      Reply
    2. Pat

      Many of the people who seem to think that Pence would be preferable to Trump think he is insane enough to set off a nuclear weapon. At least those in my circle.* Funnily enough the people who Assange says are pushing this were actively seeking a war with a nuclear power who has not lost a war that was not with themselves in the last century and a half, oh and isn’t already overextended with multiple wars in the same place without winning them for over a decade.

      IOW, hysteria is fueling some public belief about this, ignoring the true power mad idiocy and delusions of people who thought regime change in Iraq was such a good idea and success that they chose to do it again in Libya to similar disastrous results, well for anyone except the MIC/IC.

      *A few have come to their senses as the ridiculousness of the vendetta became clearer, and/or they managed to hear and understand people who pointed out that Trump was taking the more rational position for whatever reason AND he has a lot to lose that he cares about in the case of nuclear war – There is no bunker for Trump Tower or Maralago or…

      Reply
      1. Marina Bart

        You have to have really gulped down a lot of Clintonian Kool-Aid to think the non-religious hotel owner is a greater risk of nuclear annihilation than the theocratic warrior Clinton herself prefers. Do they have the slightest understanding of what Dominionists believe?

        I do know some people like this, who I thought were rational and are quite well-educated. When pushed, they vaguely indicate they’re picturing some scenario where Trump, Pence and Ryan are all removed, and… Silence.

        Just another evidence point that education cannot, by itself, protect you from being propagandized.

        Reply
  20. dcblogger

    watch who is invited to campaign for candidates in 2018, or even this year, and you will know who is a strong contender for 2018. Also watch who, if anyone, wants Trump to campaign for them. If Trump is still President.

    Reply
  21. ChrisPacific

    So what did Kislyak mean when he said that there were no penguins in Russia? We need to get groups from at least half a dozen agencies working on this right away. Make sure none of them talk to each other so we get as much duplication of effort as possible. A seven figure budget (each) should be sufficient.

    Reply
    1. Synapsid

      ChrisPacific,

      It’s all based on linguistic misapprehension. “Penguin” is Welsh, and was the name for the Great Auk, a large flightless bird with black and white plumage that nested along North Atlantic coasts. It went extinct in the 19th Century because people kept stealing its eggs, and likely for other reasons too.

      When whalers from the North Atlantic encountered large, flightless birds with black and white plumage that nested along coasts in Antarctica, the name was transferred.

      Kislyak knows his stuff: he didn’t say that there are no Great Auks in Russia. Canny fellow. It’s a wonder that the US got to the Moon first, ahead of a land that can produce public servants of his quality.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        More proof that the Russians are liars! There are penguins on the Galapagos Islands, which lie on both sides of the equator.

        Reply
  22. ewmayer

    o “…Chao recently told a gathering of state highway officials at the annual meeting of the American State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).”

    Shouldn’t that be ASHTO. Not to be confused with the American Society of State Highway Officials and Logistics Experts, in any event.

    o “Judge criticizes lawyers in Waffle House chairman’s sex-tape case | Atlanta Constitution]” — How fitting is it that the chair of Das Waffle Haus has the name “Joe Rogers”? “Other Waffle House board members include former MLB pitcher Randy Johnson, UK billionaire entrepreneur Hugh G. Rection and adult-movie legend Buck Naked.” But getting back to the CEO:

    An eager young lady named Ransom
    Was rogered three times in a hansom.
    When she cried out for more
    A voice from the floor
    Said “My name is Simpson, not Samson.”

    o “Right-Wing Billionaires Have a Project to Rewrite Our Constitution, and They Are Shockingly Close to Pulling It Off | Thom Hartmann, Alternet” — Sadly, I’d be more alarmed by this is the Bill of Rights weren’t effectively a dead letter already. And its gutting was a thoroughly bipartisan initiative, Thom!

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Can we come up with some kinda slash that indicates this is Tin Pan Alley and not a limerick? Took me three times to sort it out.

      Reply
  23. allan

    Fear of Diversity Made People More Likely to Vote Trump [The Nation]

    The 2016 presidential election will go down as the election that spawned a million takes. Much of this debate centered around whether the rise of Donald Trump was primarily due to economic anxiety or whether his support was an expression of resentment of racial minority groups and immigrants. …

    We find that opinions about how increasing racial diversity will affect American society had much more impact on support for Trump during the 2016 election compared to support for the Republican candidates in the two previous presidential elections. We also find that individuals with high levels of racial resentment were more likely to switch from Obama to Trump, but those with low racial resentment and more positive views about rising diversity voted for Romney but not Trump. …

    The second graph is stunning. At least it should give pause to those who want to reach out to Trump voters.

    Reply
    1. cm

       To test how views on diversity affected voting during the 2016 election, we created a model that controls for age, race, education, income, gender, party identification, concern about rising immigration, racial resentment, and worries about personal finances.

      Sounds like a pretty cool model! /s

      Oddly, the sample size was somehow omitted from this report.

      No mention if this was a phone poll. If so, how do they categorize those who still have land lines?

      tldr; this “study” is garbage

      Reply
    2. Eureka Springs

      We also find that individuals with high levels of racial resentment were more likely to switch from Obama to Trump

      Those having voted for Obama at some point… this makes no sense at all unless ‘racial resentment’ really means class war – that these voters are actually interested in less numbers, less job and downward wage pressure… nothing to do with race. But that old Dem canard class war concerns automatically makes one a racist just wont die.

      Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We also find that individuals with high levels of racial resentment were more likely to switch from Obama to Trump

      Obama attracted high levels of racial resentment followers (who then switched to Trump)?

      Reply
    4. Fiery Hunt

      Anyone, or any article, who says “Racism!” to explain Tump winning in Obama-voting counties is just plain biased and dishonest.

      My huge broad-brush monster-generalizing statement for the day.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        how about low Dem voter turnout then? Whether or not the people who did show up and vote for Trump were racist I do not know.

        Reply
    5. jen

      I know a few people who voted for both Obama and Trump, all of whom acknowledged their “defection” quietly, when no one else was around. They have one thing in common. They couldn’t stand Hillary.

      Reply
      1. Carla

        God, most of the people who voted for Hillary couldn’t stand Hillary. To beaten by an ugly orange-haired cartoon you have to be really, really bad. And she is.

        Reply
        1. Marina Bart

          She lost the presidency to a game show host she had picked as her punching bag.

          2016 wasn’t all bad.

          Reply
    6. jrs

      there have been several polls suggesting that economics were not the top issue Trump voters voted on, some left a little ambiguity though. Of course these are aggregates and for some individuals it was economics.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Whoever said “economics” exists in isolation?

        Put crabs in a bucket and surprise, they crawl and claw each other in every kind of way. Who put them in the bucket?

        Reply
        1. Marina Bart

          Also — and I’m speaking now as someone who made her bones in PR helping people understand the difference between offering someone something based on what they say they need and want what they actually DO need and want, which they might not even admit to themselves or even consciously know — it is very common for people to claim something as their motivation, desire, or reason for doing something that is completely wrong.

          Many, many people may have given a “socially unacceptable” (from the liberal perspective) reason for voting for Trump that was really economic in nature. That’s why the “Obama county to Trump county” metric is so useful.

          Reply
    7. Marina Bart

      I can think of about a thousand ways you could get that result in the data — exactly as described — and not have it mean what they are implying, i.e., that racists voted for Trump and non-racists didn’t.

      Its purpose is to prevent you from reaching out to Trump voters. I guess it did its job. It’s a pretty good example of how you can use rational persuasion techniques dishonestly to get someone to believe and do what you want them to believe and do.

      The fact that people who live in a racist country — which the United States is and always has been — believe in the racist tenet that it is people of other races causing them to suffer when they suffer horribly should be unsurprising. The more suffering inflicted on people already so propagandized, the more likely they will be to turn to the explanation on offer from their ruling class. Those flipped counties gave a black guy with an “unamerican” name a chance to show them that he cared about them. Instead, he showed them that he did not.

      You reduce racism by giving people stuff, including the racists. You stop creating classes of winners and losers. I’m not saying that will fix everything all by itself. I went to school in Boston in the aftermath of the busing wars. I have no illusions that it is not a difficult problem. But to tug at your pearls because a poll was able to show that people who lost out under Obama had increased racial resentment and came out to vote for the guy who told them he’d help them, but didn’t for the guy who obviously hated them and wouldn’t even pretend to help them, doesn’t indicate what the Nation wants you to believe.

      Do you really think all the descendants of the factory workers who build our cars and tanks and all the industrial products that made America rich and powerful for decades just deserve to die, because they may believe things they have been taught by the ruling class that one wing of the ruling class pretends not to adhere to? Is that your argument?

      I have talked to Trump voters, including some who are pretty right wing and whose beliefs and policy desires I do not share. I have never had as hostile or unpleasant an experience talking to them as I have had with dozens of Hillary supporters, who have been known to tell leftists they hope they’re raped and left for dead, among other unpleasant threats. So what exactly are the moral grounds for forming a coalition with them?

      Reply
      1. allan

        That’s a lot of meaning to read into “give pause”.

        There are undoubtedly Trump voters who are reachable. I don’t know what fraction.

        There are also undoubtedly Clinton voters who inhabit hermetically sealed worlds. I don’t know what fraction.

        But I do know that for 30 years right wing talk radio and then Fox News and Glenn Beck and the rest of them have functioned as a US equivalent of Radio Rwanda. You don’t get Obama already in January, 2009, being portrayed as an African witch doctor, or Pete Sessions saying that he wants to stop him using Taliban tactics, out of thin air. Reversing two generations of that poison is not going to be easy.

        Reply
        1. cm

          Let me get this straight. You are arguing that counties that voted for Obama TWICE that then went to Trump are Raaaaaaacist as a result of Rush Limbaugh?

          No comments on the polling methodology on the garbage “study” you’re pushing?

          Color me surprised.

          Reply
          1. allan

            From that well known HillaryBot publication, The Torygraph:

            …There are strong correlations in most of the key states between a swing in favour of Trump and counties with lower income earners, white population, older voters, people with less education and a greater rural population.

            This does not necessarily mean that, for instance, lower income voters were more likely to vote for Trump than Clinton. Indeed, exit polling shows that this was not the case.

            However, it does mean that that they were less likely to vote for Clinton than they were to vote for Obama and these small swings all added up, costing Clinton a lot of electoral college votes. …

            When voters are either disenfranchised or dispirited, they turn out in lower numbers.
            Which, under the defective electoral system we’re stuck with,
            allows a hardcore few to determine the outcome of an election.

            Reply
            1. cm

              You’re all over the board tonight.

              allows a hardcore few to determine the outcome of an election

              “A hardcore few” can be rewritten as “participants in our Democratic government” or “educated voters” — propaganda much?

              Are you one of the authors of this garbage study? I saw no mention made of the bias of the think tank that employs one of the authors.

              STILL no mention of the survey methodology of the garbage” study” you’re pushing?

              Reply
        2. jonboinAR

          What the heck does “reachable” mean (not your using it in particular, but the idea that it’s a real subject to be considered and is actually being discussed)? That they may not all need to be exterminated? This whole leftist meme that the white working class is racist is pretty unapologetically, unrepentantly, seemingly unconsciously, racist in itself. Why should the white working class or the descendants of Europeans in general want anything to do with the Left when the Left appears to want to make them scapegoats, just as has done to other groups, yes, often by Europeans, for all or at least many of the world’s ills.

          Reply
    8. ChrisPacific

      Equating skepticism about diversity with racism is not correct. Communities that see an increase in diversity do change, especially if they were previously pretty culturally homogeneous. Some of the changes are good and some aren’t. Some will be seen as good by some people but not by others. For people who already live in communities with a high level of diversity, this might not seem like a big deal. For others who don’t have much experience with other cultures, it can be deeply frightening, especially if they already feel that their way of life is under attack. That does not necessarily make them racist, and in fact it may have nothing to do with skin color at all.

      Telling people that wanting to preserve their way of life makes them racist is not a vote winner.

      Reply
      1. allan

        What approach do you suggest taking with a voters in the upper Midwest
        who proudly display the Confederate flag? (Or Steve King, who has one on his House office desk.)
        I wasn’t aware that Wisconsin or Iowa were members of the CSA.
        What do you think that’s a symbol of?

        Will a platform of low-head hydro power, shortened patents on biologics
        and consumer finance regulation win these people over?

        Reply
            1. ChrisPacific

              You’re welcome. I hope it helps.

              (I’m glad you saw it – I always wonder if responses a day or more later are falling into a black hole).

              Reply
  24. KurtisMayfield

    It seems the NYT used inflated stats to make it seem like Chicago School’s graduation rates are improving

    Not buying NYT piece about how Chicago School’s are improving

    THE NYT piece states “graduation rates increased from 75 to 85%”, meanwhile the data was fudged:

    Remember when in 2015 they were forced to lower the official high school graduation rate following revelations that thousands of dropouts were being misclassified as “transfers”?

    According to the NPR report:
    At just 25 CPS high schools, more than 1,000 students were mislabeled as moving out of town or going to private schools. But they had actually dropped out and were attending CPS alternative schools, the investigation found. More than 600 were listed as getting a GED. State law is clear that students who leave school to enroll in GED programs or attend alternative schools should be classified as dropouts.
    Now they claim that the percent of students graduating CPS schools has hit an all-time high of 73.5%, outpacing national average gains and representing “a monumental 16.6 percentage point increase since 2011.”

    If the NYT is being fact checked by NPR, does the fact exist?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At just 25 CPS high schools, more than 1,000 students were mislabeled as moving out of town or going to private schools.

      Easy to understand the mislabel motive when they claimed students moved out of town.

      But why did they say some of them went to private school (when mislabeling)?

      Reply
  25. Randy

    After 2026 Medicaid in the colder states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, etc. will be profitable. Nursing homes will be very profitable in the northern states. Private equity will attempt to horn in on the action but the states will defend their profit centers. The cold states will be able to put the residents outside on a cold winter night reducing their burden on budgets and society.

    Walker and Wisconsin will lead the way forward on this new progressive Republican policy. Walker said, “There is no way these privatizing CS’ers will horn in on my profit parade. This is a boost for Wisconsin’s economy. I pledge to create more government jobs to carry out this policy. It is a win-win for Wisconsin job creation and seniors. If it was good enough for the Eskimos it is good enough for a modern Western society. Life and death will be good and more brief. Divide and conquer I always say.” /s

    Reply
  26. allan

    Admiral, seven others charged with corruption in new ‘Fat Leonard’ indictment [WaPo]

    Your tax dollars at work:

    The Justice Department unsealed a fresh indictment Tuesday charging eight current and former Navy officials — including an admiral — with corruption and other crimes in the “Fat Leonard” bribery case, escalating an epic scandal that has dogged the Navy for the past four years. …

    The indictment lists page after page of bribes allegedly provided to the defendants — seven senior officers and one enlisted sailor — including $25,000 watches, $2,000 boxes of Cohiba cigars, $2,000 bottles of cognac and $600-per-night hotel rooms.

    During a port visit by the Blue Ridge to Manila in May 2008, for example, five of the Navy officers attended a “raging multi-day party, with a rotating carousel of prostitutes,” at the Shangri-La Hotel, according to the indictment. The group allegedly drank the hotel’s entire supply of Dom Perignon champagne and rang up expenses exceeding $50,000, which Francis covered in full. …

    Just think what parties another $54 billion will buy.

    Reply
        1. allan

          Congratulations to NYT political reporter Peter Baker for writing a hot take on the tax return
          without once using the phrase “alternative minimum tax”.
          Because you wouldn’t want the little people to know that the AMT actually serves a purpose.
          All the Democracy Dying In Darkness That’s Fit to Print.

          Reply
  27. different clue

    Behavior addiction seems like it could be a thing. If a certain behavior or set of behaviors set off certain neurochemical releases in the brain . . . such as the pleasure chemical dopamine . . . then the brain would quickly learn to associate those pleasure-chemical releases with the releasing-behaviors which that brain’s owner performs to release those chemicals.

    The pleasure-chemical-hungry brain would drive its owner to perform that behavior again and again. I have heard/read this accounts for some of the extreme devotion to endless gambling some people exhibit.

    Reply
  28. Shalamova

    there have been a few surveys proposing that financial matters were not the top issue Trump voters voted on, some left a little equivocalness however. Obviously these are totals and for a few people it was financial aspects.

    Reply

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