2:00PM Water Cooler 4/27/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

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Trade

“A readout of the calls sent out late last night by the White House narrows any chance that Trump will sign an executive order withdrawing from the deal, which was expected to happen Friday. It also signals a defeat for the economic nationalist faction of Trump’s advisory circle. Peter Navarro, the head of Trump’s National Trade Council, drafted the order in close cooperation with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon” [Politico]. “The White House readout also provided an indication that Trump will continue to follow the congressional consultation process as laid out by trade promotion authority legislation — a process Trump called ‘ridiculous’ last week. Trump and the other leaders agreed to ‘proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries,’ the statement said.” “Proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures.” Is that like make haste, slowly?

Politics

Corruption

Shot: “Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street Speech Is Completely In Character” [HuffPo]. Chaser: “Ask all the bankers he jailed for fraud.”

Trump Transition

“House Democrats will oppose a short-term spending bill if Republican leaders attempt to expedite an ObamaCare repeal bill this week, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) warned Thursday” [The Hill]. “Hoyer, the Democratic whip, spoke with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Thursday morning to warn him of the Democrats’ position. The threat is significant because GOP leaders will likely need Democratic votes to pass a short-term spending bill in the face of opposition from conservatives historically opposed to government funding bills.” Too funny. Ryan is so bad that even the Democrats can outmaneuver him.

“We expect Congress to pass a week-long stop-gap government funding bill. That means a shutdown will be averted, giving the two parties time to iron out more details, but pushing this crisis into another week. That’s a bad sign for other legislative priorities. By the way: no money was included to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border” [Politico].

“If the House schedules a vote [on a new version of the AHCA] soon, it’s not going to have any analysis from the Congressional Budget Office to look at. So it won’t have any idea how many states might apply for waivers from the required benefits or the ban on charging higher rates to sick people, or how many people might be affected” [Axios].

2016 Post Mortem

“The Clinton Comedy of Errors” [Current Affairs]. A review of Shattered, well worth a read. This caught my eye:

Shattered depicts a calamity of a campaign. While on the surface, Hillary Clinton’s team were far more unified and capable than their counterparts in 2008 had been, behind the scenes there was utter discord. The senior staff engaged in constant backstabbing and intrigue, jockeying for access to the candidate and selectively keeping information from one another. Clinton herself never made it exactly clear who had responsibility for what, meaning that staff were in a constant competition to take control. Worse, Clinton was so sealed off from her own campaign that many senior team members had only met her briefly, and interacted with her only when she held conference calls to berate them for their failures. Allen and Parnes call the situation “an unholy mess, fraught with tangled lines of authority, petty jealousies, distorted priorities, and no sense of general purpose,” in which “no one was in charge.”

Of course, a Clinton administration would have been completely different.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“A fall 2015 Harvard poll of 18-29 year olds reported integrity, level-headedness and authenticity as the three most valued attributes in a presidential candidate—some of which can be easily signaled through swearing” [Politico]. Authenticity: If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. Hence Perez using “sh*t” profusely, as we pointed out Tuesday (with a bit of history on how that worked out the last time we tried it). I mean, come on. Bernie doesn’t have to effing cuss, right? Could there be a reason for that?

“Are Trump voters ruining America for all of us?” [USA Today]. Apparently so:

The fact of the matter is that too many Trump supporters do not hold the president responsible for his mistakes or erratic behavior because they are incapable of recognizing them as mistakes. They lack the foundational knowledge and basic political engagement required to know the difference between facts and errors, or even between truth and lies.

And yet, without a hint of irony or even cognitive dissidence, in the preceding paragraph we have this:

Possibly. A hard knot of Hillary Clinton’s supporters, for example — led by Clinton herself — refuse to accept that her defeat was anything less than a plot by the Russians or the FBI (or both). The idea that Clinton was an awful candidate who ran a terrible campaign is utterly alien to them.

Assuming that the headline is a Betteridge’s Law violation, one can only conclude that Trump voters had plenty of help. I mean, is Putin Derangement Syndrome based on foundational knowledge? Does it show the capacity to distinguish between truth and lies?

“The ‘deep state’ is President Trump’s most compelling conspiracy theory” [WaPo]. (The headline is lazy journalism; the term doesn’t originate with Trump.) Results from Post polling:

I don’t have the time or (right now) the inclination to disentangle the Post’s new definition of the “deep state” from other definitions. (Basically, I’ve suggested that since we’re stuck with the term, we try to retrofit a degree of conceptual rigor onto it through developing patterns of usage, but its advocates seem curiously unwilling to take up the challenge.) At this point, the “deep state” is rather like Obama: “a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” That is, no doubt, why organs like WaPo find it so useful.

“Though Trump’s agenda has unified Democrats in near-term opposition, clear fault lines have quickly emerged about the party’s long-term strategy to regain power. On one side are those—largely affiliated with Senator Bernie Sanders—arguing for a biting message of economic populism, which is intended largely to recapture working-class white voters that stampeded to Trump in 2016. On the other are party strategists who want Democrats to offer a more centrist economic message, aimed primarily at reassuring white-collar suburbanites drawn to the party mostly around cultural issues:” [Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic]. No, Ron. Please sit down. And just try, try, for once in your life, to say “working class” without prepending “white.” In my language: “[U]niversal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class” are not intended to “recapture working-class white voters.” They are intended — after doing a lot of people a lot of good — to capture all working class voters, and to create a multigenerational left coalition of a New Deal-like scale and duration and power, instead of endlessly sintering together 50% plus one “coalitions” based on demographic verticals, as both liberals and conservatives have been doing, throughout their oscillations in office. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

“The 22 Dems Supporting Sanders’ $15 Minimum Wage Bill… and 24 Who Aren’t” [Common Dreams].

Stats Watch

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, April 2017: “The pace of growth slowed in the Kansas City manufacturing sector from March’s unusually strong 20 to an April reading of 7” [Econoday]. “March was the strongest month for this report since early in the expansion, 6 years ago, which makes April’s numbers look weak by comparison.” And: “Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts and their index declined (similar to the other Fed districts). Key internals likewise were positive but declined” [Econintersect].

Durable Goods Orders, March 2017: “Aircraft lifted durable orders throughout the first quarter and made for a very solid 0.7 percent rise in March. But the story is different when excluding civilian aircraft as the ex-transportation reading fell 0.2 percent which is below Econoday’s low estimate” [Econoday]. “[C]ore capital goods (nondefense ex-aircraft) are soft.” And but: “This series has wide swings monthly so our primary metric is the three month rolling average which marginally improved. The real issue here is that inflation is starting to grab in this sector making real growth much less than appears at face value – and this month if we inflation adjust the rolling averages they decline. The trends on this series are indicating marginal economic improvement” [Econintersect]. “What should be concerning to analysts is the continuing contraction of backlog (unfilled orders) which have been contracting year-over-year since mid 2015.” And: “[T]here is no evidence of a significant increase in capital spending despite an underlying increase in business confidence” [Economic Calendar].

International Trade in Goods, March 2017: “Slightly narrower than expected” [Econoday]. “Exports fell 1.7 percent as both consumer goods and vehicles were down sharply. Lower oil prices during March also cut into exports, specifically industrial supplies which also fell sharply. Imports, likewise held down by lower oil prices, fell 0.7 percent but with consumer goods and capital goods, in inescapable signs of weak domestic demand, both down. Trade has not been a plus for the U.S. economy and the outlook for the rest of the year, given slow improvement in foreign markets and talk of trade wars, is guarded.”

Pending Home Sales Index, March 2017: “Resales have been moving to expansion highs though moderate retracement is the outlook for April and perhaps even May” [Econoday]. “Though negative, today’s results are not a surprise for a housing sector that as a whole is entering the Spring selling season with strength.” But: “[R]olling averages marginally improved. Because there is so much noise in the monthly numbers the rolling averages are the best way to view the data” [Econintersect]. “I continue to see few signs that the residential sales market is improving.”

Retail Inventories [Advance], March 2017: “Retail inventories rose 0.4 percent in March following a similar build in February. Much of the build may be unwanted given weakness in underlying retail sales” [Econoday]. “Inventory build is a positive for GDP but, against the backdrop of slow growth, is a likely negative for future production and employment.”

Wholesale Inventories [Advance], March 2017: Edged lower and February revised down [Econoday]. “These results point to strong inventory management at the wholesale level but will be negatives for quarterly inventory change in tomorrow’s GDP report.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 23, 2017: Very strong [Econoday]. “Strength in confidence readings ultimately points to strength in the jobs outlook.”

Retail: “Overall purchases of consumer packaged goods in the U.S. declined 2.5% in unit terms in the first quarter… hitting results at companies including Procter & Gamble Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Nestlé SA. The results suggest that the sector is undergoing a deep structural shift: The 20 largest consumer packaged goods companies last year had flat sales while smaller ones posted sales growth of 2.4%, according to Nielsen” [WSJ]. Crapification? Cost-consciousness? Alexa? (“Alexa, order tissues” vs. “Alexa, order Kleenex™.”)

Real Estate: “[The U.S. industrial property segment] vacancy rate hits 5.3 percent, 300 basis points below 10-year average” [DC Velocity]. “U.S. industrial demand has been spurred by the growth of e-commerce, which has led to the development of more and larger warehouses and distribution centers. A recent pickup in the global economy and international trade has provided a secondary boost.”

Shipping: “Container port congestion in China is spreading up and down the coast as new liner alliance schedules added to poor weather cause disruption to container shipping operations” [Lloyd’s Loading List]. “Forwarding sources said another factor in the congestion was improved access to the port of Shanghai via the Yangtze River. The completion of river improvements along the Yangtze meant vessels from western parts of China such as Chongqing can reach Shanghai more easily, which has increased the number of ships, one forwarder told Lloyd’s Loading List.”

Shipping: “[UPS] first-quarter operating profit slipped 2.4 percent in the U.S. package division even as revenue rose 5 percent from a year earlier, Atlanta-based UPS said in a statement Thursday. That signaled continued challenges in the company’s efforts to benefit from surging e-commerce, since home deliveries are less efficient than shipments to businesses” [Bloomberg].

The Bezzle: “Uber targets 2020 for on-demand VTOL demo flights in Dallas and Dubai” [TechCrunch]. If only there were an algorithm that could replace the stories planted by public relations firms with blank space, or soothing music, or beautiful pictures of plants or animals…

The Bezzle: “Juno always had the best sales pitch. The company started in New York in early 2016, a late entrant to the competitive ride-hailing business, but quickly made a name for itself by promising to be nicer to drivers. Juno pledged to keep its commission low, at 10% of a fare, and to operate a round-the-clock support center. It also told drivers that, by working enough hours, they could earn Juno stock from a special program, and share in the company’s long-term success” [Quartz]. Wait for it… “The agreement [Juno driver Steven Savader] signed does give Juno the option to pay him in cash instead of in shares. However, the numbers emailed to him today, and to a driver contacted by the New York Observer, suggest that Juno has priced the shares at less than 2 cents apiece. That’s not even a tenth of the $0.20 share price Juno advertised to drivers in recruiting materials last summer. Two other contracts seen by Quartz offered $100 payments for 1,604 and 3,580 shares respectively, or 2.8 cents and 6.2 cents per share, suggesting that there may have been a minimum payment of $100.” Read the whole thing, it’s just as slimy as you would expect.

The Bezzle: “The $30bn sex tech industry is about to unveil its biggest blockbuster: a $15,000 robot companion that talks, learns, and never says no” [Guardian].

Public Relations: “United Airlines just announced 10 major changes to avoid another violent passenger-removal incident” [Business Insider]. This doesn’t look so bad, I have to say. Airline experts?

Honey for the Bears: “Throughout San Francisco and Silicon Valley, cash-rich technology firms have built or are erecting bold, futuristic headquarters that convey their brands to employees and customers” [The Economist]. See Parkinson’s Law, chapter 6:

It is now known that a perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse…. [P]erfection of planning is a symptom of decay. During a period of exciting discovery or progress there is no time to plan the perfect headquarters. The time for that comes later, when all the important work has been done. Perfection, we know, is finality; and finality is death.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 46, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 34 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 27 at 12:04pm.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How African-Americans Can Break the Cycle of Inherited Poverty” [Ebony]. This is rich, given that Ebony isn’t paying its (black) writers the money it owes them.

“Blunt Talk: The Racist Origins of Pot Prohibition” [Rolling Stone]. “At first, back in the late 19th Century, academic and medical conversations about the dangers of inebriation included every popular mood-altering substance: cocaine and opium, yes, but also alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea. But in the next 50 years, concerns about inebriation only translated into law if the substance wasn’t already controlled by a powerful industry, and if there was a perception, accurate or not, that a given drug was being used by poor people, immigrants, and people of color.”

Class Warfare

The flood of inequality charts isn’t slowing:

Another:

“Noticed today that there’s some new hostile architecture in Lamont Park: wooden dividers installed on all the benches so folks can’t lie down. I’ve lived on the block facing this park for 7 years and have never found people resting on the benches to be a problem. Anyone have an idea who is responsible for this and how we can speak out against it?” (photos) [Popville]. If the dividers are conservative dividers, look for the credit reader where you can pay for your rest. If the dividers are liberal dividers, survey the park for the gatekeeper who will determine, after an interview and extensive testing, whether you are worthy to lie down, or not.

“The student loan crisis is fueled by a weak labor market” [Washington Center for Equitable Growth]. “The researchers find that falling home prices during the Great Recession were responsible for up to 32 percent of the growth in student loan defaults. What’s more, low-income borrowers appeared to be most sensitive to the change in home prices, probably because they faced the largest earning plunges, had the smallest savings cushions, and, as a result, may not have been able to continue repaying their loans.”

“Boeing Co. could bring more work in-house as part of an effort to reduce the cost of building jetliners that also includes introducing more automation and job cuts” [Wall Street Journal]. Think they’ll do this in Seattle, Washington, or in union-busting South Carolina?

News of the Wired

Net neutrality:

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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 (pq):

pq writes:

These trees are on my daily walk… I don’t know what made me think of the golden apples of the Hesperides, other than a fanciful imagination. The Hesperides were associated with sunset and west. Then, there is something magical about this tree in the golden light of the setting sun.

* * *

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.

156 comments

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Clinton is down.

      Now Obama.

      Pelosi? For how long?

      Only one big Democrat left – Schumer. Very few target him for challenge, yet.

      Reply
      1. hidflect

        Feinstein? She’s pretty big at a few $100Million. All the corrupt Dems have something in common. Safe electoral seats where they can rule from with impunity for decades. Term limits is part of the answer.

        Reply
        1. Adam Eran

          Sorry, that just empowers unelected staff (and doesn’t work, as California’s experience demonstrates).

          Personally, I think there’s a racist element to the term limit talk in California. Willy Brown ran the Assembly and was undefeat-able.

          I doubt there’s a really good answer to this problem, but term limits has functioned so poorly that legislators now have to quit by the time they’ve learned their jobs, and how to spot the con men amongst lobbyists.

          Reply
    2. curlydan

      He probably said to himself, “What did I make in a year as president? Oh yeah, $400,000. Now that’s what I want to make in an hour”

      Reply
    3. fresno dan

      JohnnyGL
      April 27, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      “The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Obama will receive the sum — equal to his annual pay as president — for a speech at Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s healthcare conference, though there has been no public announcement yet.”

      =======================================
      Sheer coincidence that what Obama campaigned on and what Obama governed on appear to be influenced by rich people. Physics prevents single payer health care….dark energy, dark matter, dark, dark, money…..

      Until a strong majority of dems are ready to say what is patently obvious to anyone even mildly willing to acknowledge reality, i.e., that policy is decided not by a majority of voters, but by a majority of dollars, than there is simply no hope for reform.

      Reply
      1. DJG

        Something else to keep in mind is that Cantor Fitzgerald is the casus belli of the Global War on Terror.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035616/Cantor-Fitzgerald-lost-658-960-workers-9-11-thrives-boss-nightmares.html

        War pays. Still another reason to be antiwar. Cantor Fitzgerald loses 700 people, and Syria now has something like 11 million displaced people / refugees. And who even bothers to count the Iraqi dead? That’s so 2002-ish.

        Obama isn’t just showing that he is a creature of the banks.

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          Sticker seen on a Bedford Ave. lamppost in Williamsburg, 2002:

          God Bless Our Brave Stockbrokers

          Reply
          1. Huey Long

            Yikes!

            I wonder, was that in the:

            A) Hasidic Jewish

            B) Puerto Rican

            C) Hipster

            portion of Williamsburg?

            Reply
      2. Adam Eran

        Just FYI, the SB562 (current single payer bill) hearings in California passed the bill out of committee…and on to other committees. The nurses bussed 1,000 people in to the capitol to support their experts’ testimony.

        The opponents already have studies from the single payer Schwarzenegger vetoed, and from Vermont demonstrating it’s too expensive in California.

        Not asked in the hearing: 1. Why is it cheaper in other nations, and more expensive in California? 2. Are the costs net of insurance premium savings? 3. Is the ACA architect who invalidated Vermont’s single payer a reliable source?

        Reply
    4. voteforno6

      There are still plenty of Dem-bots that don’t see the problem – after all, he’s a private citizen, who’ll never run for office again, so what could he possibly deliver to Wall Street?

      They seem to be totally unaware of the impact that this has on current and future officeholders. Also, they don’t seem to notice the gambling going on in the casino.

      Reply
      1. Matt Hinton

        I would not be surprised if it is a quid pro quo from when he was in office. Wall St could have said if you do this for me now before you leave office, then we will pay you $400k on several speeches when you leave office.

        Reply
        1. Marina Bart

          I think the lovely thing about hiring someone like Barack Obama, who you have been socializing with since law school, or sipping cocktails with at FIRE industry fundraisers for Democrats in Chicago for years, is that none of this stuff ever has to be spelled out. Goldman, Citi, et al. knew who they were getting.

          Besides, Obama was kind of on his rookie contract. The idea is that he needs to do his very, very best for them for eight years, and then they’ll pay him what they think he deserves. That way, he continues to push himself to do better and better, in the hopes of an even better reward when he’s done.

          One nice thing about the fee being announced like this is that we can all see how much his efforts were valued by his masters. I wonder what he’d have gotten if he’d pushed TPP over the finish line. A cool million for a hand wave?

          Reply
          1. Ulysses

            “I wonder what he’d have gotten if he’d pushed TPP over the finish line. A cool million for a hand wave?”

            If he had pushed TPP over the finish line, we might have never even heard about this obscene cashing-out– the neoliberal, kleptocrat-friendly narrative would be the only “information” available to us “consumers.”

            Reply
  1. allan

    Corporate gobbledygook that just landed in my Inbox:

    … We can never say we are sorry enough for what occurred, but we also know meaningful actions will speak louder than words.

    For the past several weeks, we have been urgently working to answer two questions: How did this happen, and how can we do our best to ensure this never happens again?

    It happened because our corporate policies were placed ahead of our shared values. Our procedures got in the way of our employees doing what they know is right. …

    Quiz: was this message from

    1. Unroll.me
    2. American
    3. Delta
    4. United
    5. Facebook
    6. Goldman Sachs [as if]

    The winner will be sent a giant rabbit overnight from the UK.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      4. United.

      No rabbit please. I don’t want it to die in transit.

      On a more serious note, these changes do seem to be positive, and very comprehensive. However the usual “out” is what is considered a security issue is still there. The doctor was getting belligerent about not leaving his seat. An airline attendant could and may have considered that a security issue and still call in the wild dogs in that event.

      Hopefully the training will address that specifically. I do know CEOs do not like not being in control. Once the police get involved United is no longer in control and that bit them, so motivations seem reasonable to institute calling security as a very very last resort going forward via policy and training.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Tim
        April 27, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        “No rabbit please. I don’t want it to die in transit.”

        They didn’t say they were sending a rabbit that was alive at departure….a “Heisenberg uncertainty rabbit” so to speak. Whether your rabbit is alive, or you have a seat on a United flight, its all in a state of indeterminacy…..

        Reply
      2. Kurtismayfield

        This is the main problem. He said no to Law enforcement individual..this is blasphemy in the United States of America. The fact that he resisted is going to give the officers all the cover that they need.

        And the rabbit isn’t dead or alive until it is observed

        Reply
        1. Huey Long

          +1

          In my blue collar place of business, the discussion around the lunch table revolved around how the guy who was beaten up and removed was an idiot, should have listened to the cops, deserved all of his injuries, should receive no settlement, and should be locked up.

          As the resident shop lefty, I was the only one not in agreement with the rest of the guys at the table.

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            I’m still struck by how some of the other passengers were remarking on how wrong it all was, but not one said “Alright, you know what? I’ll give my seat up, it’s ok.” That whole scene could have nipped in the bud by any of those other passengers. Was the doctor behaving poorly? I think so, but that’s not grounds for being smacked down. Not in a healthy society. He disobeyed law enforcement though.. that’s a no no in the land of the free.

            Reply
          2. FluffytheObeseCat

            I have a real simple question: what the hell is wrong with the people you work with? Is it just that he was a doctor and Chinese? Seriously. I’m usually the one coming out with searing statements against our precious elites.

            Screw their so called right wing conservatism. They think some guy on a plane should put up with being defrauded because the officious corporate fraudsters got the cops involved?

            It’s always good for me to be reminded that our dainty, coastal Clintonites aren’t the only precious, pretentious twerps swaggering around the U. S. of A. A lot of our so-called blue collar types match them petty certitude for petty certitude.

            Reply
    2. Kokuanani

      I note that United is upping the limit to what it will offer to those who “voluntarily reschedule” [i.e., agree to be bumped] to $10,000. This seems to me an incredibly stupid move. Who’s going to accept $400 or $800 to give up their seat when they know they can hold out for $10K? I see some L-O-N-G “auctions” at the boarding gate as escalating offers are made and no one bites.

      Reply
      1. meme

        I think there will be a point where someone will “bite” LONG before they hit $10,000. Holding out too long may mean you aren’t the one that gets, say, $2500, which is a significant amount of money to most people. Assuming it is a cash payment, of course.

        Reply
        1. toolate

          i once got 800$ a person for family of 4 for a 12 hour delay plus hotel and meals and cab.
          Believe me, i would easily do that again.

          Reply
      2. Aumua

        Well maybe that will make them think twice about overbooking every freaking flight, and/or bumping their paying customers in favor of staff.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Dems wouldn’t apologize because they haven’t done anything wrong, they represent the interests of their constituents perfectly.

          (The squirmy part comes when they try to explain to actual people that the policies they pursue on behalf of their constituents is somehow good for them, too).

          Obama’s speech is the perfect nexus: The WIC (Wall St Industrial Complex), the HIC (Health Industrial Complex), and the DIC (Democrat Industrial Complex), all conveniently located on one room at the same time.

          (Only lacking a Guy Fawkes in the basement underneath with multiple large kegs of gunpowder).

          Reply
      1. sporble

        Amusing – but too fantastical. Would the Dems actually
        1. apologize
        2. admit they got something wrong, and
        3. suggest Putin didn’t act alone?
        Talk about a 3-pronged unicorn…

        Reply
    3. DJG

      Here’s the compensation question. United says this, according to the Business Insider article:

      “Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000.” Effective Friday.

      Now, does a person get $10,000 in credits to use any way the person wants with United and its Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa? {I’m not holding my breath.}

      Or do you get it in $100 vouchers, good one at a time on domestic flights? And are there blackout dates and expiration dates on the vouchers? Or do you get a $10,000 debit card, good only for buying that ultra-yummy food on a United flight?

      I can hardly wait. Even more Stroop Waffels for me.

      Reply
      1. sierra7

        “up to $10,000.”
        Conditional phraseology. Last refuge of small print.
        Many will settle for less….or fly the “black eye”.

        Reply
    4. RUKidding

      United.

      All their high-falutin’ payouts probably don’t mean jack. What can use $10k for if it’s all in United vouchers that have to be used within a certain period of time – typically no longer than 1 year from issue (and sometimes shorter). And sometimes it’s hard to cash in those vouchers. You may have to go out to your local airport to use them for purchasing flights.

      Somehow Osar’s email to me didn’t make me feel all warm ‘n fuzzy.

      I still think United SUCKS. Go away.

      Reply
      1. Carl

        Give up those basic economy seats and I’ll believe you when you say actions speak louder than words. Until then, you’re just another shitty US carrier.

        Reply
  2. Martin Finnucane

    Re the Wapo poll: I was not aware that calling an idea a “conspiracy theory” necessarily meant that it is not true. Lo and behold, such is exactly how Wikipedia defines it. I find it interesting that “conspiracy theory” is necessarily a pejorative term, at least here in the U.S.

    Reply
      1. Aumua

        Maybe, but there are also good reasons for clear thinking individuals to treat conspiracy theories in general with a healthy dose of skepticism.

        Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, you need a word for nutty stuff like birtherism or Putin Derangement Syndrome, and the general human tendency to project order onto chaos. Do you have an alternative to propose?

      Reply
      1. MtnLife

        Crackpot lunacy or batsh!t craziness. I think you can throw most Dem and Repub policies in that category as well. Conspiracy theory, as Ed left a link to, was created to debase those who were getting too close to the truth. If you think either of those things has an element of truth then conspiracy theory works. I think it is also one of those words that has different meanings depending on who speaks it like, for example, queer. Said by a LGBTQer it is a mark of pride. Said by some ignorant redneck it’s an insult. Conspiracy theory said by intelligence people or the media means your current theory is on the right track. Said by average Americans it means “I don’t want to think critically about this so I’ll use the government term for crazy.”

        I’ve also been thinking: what about Dark State instead of Deep State? Gets away from the Turkey connotations and the terms feels more appropriate to the secretive malevolence generated by said body.

        Reply
    1. j84ustin

      1) Cook County only declined by 0.4% YOY. Not breathtaking, but of course not necessarily a good sign. However,
      2) CHA demolished practically all of its high rise housing over the last 10+ years and many of those people have left the City, County, or the region (which was probably the goal). Chicago has lost more black people than any other race or ethnicity, and I suspect this accounts for at least some of the decline.

      Reply
      1. Altandmain

        It’s a trickle, but it seems to becoming a trend as it is 3 years in a row at a time when the US is still growing in population.

        Chicago leads the US for the second year in a row in largest population drop:
        http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-census-population-loss-met-20170322-story.html

        I think that the distant second was Wayne County, Michigan.

        It seems to be a combination of everything – especially poor jobs and high living costs.

        Reply
        1. Darius

          Yeah. Well. Obama was right on top of that problem. Wasn’t he? Hair on fire over it. Something about entrepreneurship and training for the jobs of the 21st Century. His rhetoric goes down smooth. Tastes great. Less filling.

          Reply
    2. DJG

      j84austin points to the main cause: In the 2010 census, unlike New York proper and Los Angeles proper, both of which gained population. Chicago dropped from about 2.9 million to 2.7 million, or 10 percent. The main drop has been in the black population. Black people are fleeing. It is indeed part of the general atmosphere of looting the school system, privatizing public assets like street parking, and raising various use / excise taxes along with property taxes.

      The job market isn’t bad: With the usual conditions. Chicago now draws lots of young college graduates who want to work in edgy, disruptive companies like the fabled Groupon.

      And for anyone who has lived for a long time in Illinois there also comes a moment when you realize that you can’t take another winter.

      Much of the rest of Illinois is still losing population. I ran across a reference recently to a town, Savanna, in the Mississippi Valley, that has managed to lose quite a bit of its population in the last 20 years. A shame: Savanna is a scenic town, poised on a bluff, one of those “picture postcard” places (and there are more in Illinois than one would suspect given its tough-guy image). Savanna, not so coincidentally, is in the part of the upper Mississippi Valley that Clinton could not capture, even though Obama had.

      Reply
      1. Huey Long

        I’m not surprised the black population of Chicago is running for the hills considering the 4300+ shootings and 750+ murders that occurred there last year, primarily in black neighborhoods.

        I also wouldn’t be surprised if they end up moving back to places like the Mississippi Delta, where most of these people have roots and relatives they see periodically at family reunions.

        Blacks in Chicago are a relatively recent phenomenon, dating back to the 1940’s-1960’s when labor was needed in Chicago and herbicides/mechanization displaced lots of farm workers in the delta. Chicago was a natural destination due to the layout of the railroads in the area.

        The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America by Nicholas Lemann is a great book on this phenomenon and I highly recommend it.

        Reply
      2. Altandmain

        So it is an exodus of African Americans due to the neoliberal economic policies. Sounds like everywhere else.

        And for anyone who has lived for a long time in Illinois there also comes a moment when you realize that you can’t take another winter.

        Maybe I’m from Canada so I will struggle to empathize with this one, but from what I can tell all of the Great Lakes areas have very mild winters.

        My other question is how can people who have lived there for years, decades, or even generations suddenly decide they cannot take another winter? I think it is the collapse in social services as you note.

        Reply
  3. Fox Blew

    Re: Net neutrality. I’m still not convinced of the merits from either side of the argument. Likely I just don’t understand the nuances. And even more likely, I just don’t see the internet as “essential” to our existence. I remember the promises of the internet. My take from the early 90’s was that it was going to be a global and collective encyclopedia. Knowledge is king. That type of thing. But isn’t it just a tool for vices and shallow entertainment? (This blog is an exception, of course. “Hear! Hear!”…hands slapping parliamentary desks.) Anyway, I would love to hear a decent and proper definition of net neutrality and genuine pros and cons on the concept. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. JustAnObserver

      Very roughly its this: Your internet performance – data rate, packet delay, packet error rate, etc. – is independent of the site you’re visiting (*). It’s important that this is a measure of the *internet* itself and not that of the web server that’s responding to your request.

      (*) More exactly: At each “hop” as the packets get moved by the internet routers the hop delay should be independent of the source & destination IP addresses. The ISPs are not allowed to e.g. bandwidth throttle a connection dependent on whether the destination IP is Google, MS’ft, Apple, etc. Or, more perniciously, choose a different route with more hops or slower and/or more congested connections

      Reply
    2. Goyo Marquez

      Net neutrality, AIUI, means not turning the internet into cable T.V., where you must “pay” for each channel that you want to watch.

      Reply
    3. lyman alpha blob

      If you search the archives here I’m sure you’ll find something good.

      Net neutrality in a nutshell means that ISPs are required to treat all web traffic equally. Without it, they could make it so that the big players’ websites load right away while something like this site might take extra time. Unless you or the website want to pay a premium for decent service.

      Basically it’s just more neoliberal rent seeking, charging you a premium on top of what you’re already paying for.

      Reply
    4. Vatch

      This isn’t an answer to your question, which has probably already been adequately answered by at least three people. Ajit Pai, the principal opponent of net neutrality on the FCC, is engaging in a form of McCarthyism, which implies that his case is weak:

      http://fortune.com/2017/04/27/fcc-mccarthyism-net-neutrality/

      From Ajit Pai’s speech:

      Consider, for example, the leading special interest in favor of Title II: a spectacularly misnamed Beltway lobbying group called Free Press. Its co-founder and current board member makes no effort to hide the group’s true agenda. While he says “we’re not at th[e] point yet” where we can “completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he admits that “the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” And who would assume control of the Internet? The government, of course. The overall goal is to “remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.

      Socialism! If we don’t get rid of net neutrality, we’ll have Socialism! He neglects to mention that we currently have net neutrality, and our ALEC and Koch Brothers dominated system of government is about as far removed from socialism as is possible. The author of the article picks apart Pai’s ludicrous argument in several paragraphs.

      Reply
      1. Huey Long

        It never ceases to amaze me that “socialism” remains such an effective hobgoblin year after year!

        This in a country whose most popular federal programs are Social Security & Medicare, two very socialistic, universal programs with no means testing.

        Reply
    5. Ernesto Lyon

      I think the ISPs do have a point in that they shouldn’t have to subsidize heavy streaming businesses like Netflix by continually upgrading their networks, when they aren’t getting a cut of the revenue from the increased usage. Most of the demand for bandwidth comes from a small slice of the users.

      However there is no reason that non-streaming websites, or those with low bandwidth demand should be discriminated against. There has to be a way to protect the small providers while also making the large providers pay their infrastructure costs.

      Reply
      1. nowhere

        I’ve heard this line of argument, but I’ve never seen any actual evidence that Netflix (and similar services) have actually caused any telecoms to have to increase their capital expenditures.

        Reply
      2. Kurtismayfield

        think the ISPs do have a point in that they shouldn’t have to subsidize heavy streaming businesses like Netflix by continually upgrading their networks, when they aren’t getting a cut of the revenue from the increased usage.

        This is a common misconception. Netflix pays for every byte that it uses. You pay for every byte that you use. What the abolishment of net neutrality does is it allows the ISP’s to say “That’s a nice business you got there, be a shame if we were to throttle it”. Netflix would have to pay for the ISP’s to do nothing to their bytes.

        Reply
        1. Romancing The Loan

          Then removing net neutrality would effectively kill the sites that stream illegal copies of movies and tv shows, wouldn’t it? I wonder if the MPAA etc. has some $ in the pot.

          Reply
          1. redleg

            The solution to that is to add a licensing fee to every data plan which then gets paid out to the performers and publishers where it gets distributed. This would make sharing legal as long as a performer/writer/distributor agrees to the payment scheme (some money is usually better than none). This is how it works with TV and satellite radio. The fees are not collected on volume of use, just an simple access/license charge and the total is divided up.

            Reply
        2. Christopher Fay

          As a corollary it will also be sued to throttle delivery of alternative free press such as Naked Capitalism, Zero Hedge, American Conservative. It’s a convenient means to limit information sources to the official state media which includes the NYTimes, WaPoo, Facebook.

          Reply
    6. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      No, you’re right, Fox, information is not “essential to our existence”…but I was imagining how you might have reacted to a certain 15th century inventor named J. Gutenberg: no need for those new-fangled “book” thingys, they’re just “a tool for vices and shallow entertainment”. NN is no different from a Savonarola bonfire…where unelected higher powers decide what information people will and will not see. If you do not think that is critically important…then I fear for our Republic.

      Reply
  4. Stephen V.

    Sorry Lambert: I am totally stealing *cognitive dissidence* !

    …a precondition to alternative facts, I think.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      flora
      April 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      ++++! I think a LOT of people think that. I would revise it by extending a line to further right going in increments – outrageous right, than merely screwy right, batsh*t crazy right, H*tler was a liberal right, the poor should be harvested for organs right, and finally, no, the poor should be harvested for pet food….

      Reply
  5. Chibboleth

    If you want a good definition / description of the Deep State you just have to watch the old Thatcher-era BBC comedy Yes, Minister – the whole show is more or less entirely about friction between elected representatives and the UK Deep State.

    Short, short version: the Deep State is the set of people (government officials, mostly) who wield some amount of power but whose positions are not affected by election results. Nothing particularly secret about it.

    Reply
    1. justanotherprogressive

      As a former government employee, I’m trying to figure out who “the set of people (government officials, mostly) who wield some amount of power but whose positions are not affected by election results” are. I hear about them all the time, particularly on right wing blogs, but I’ve never actually seen one……

      The power in a government agency is held by political appointees (“politicos” in guvspeak) and those political appointees are the only ones that speak for or direct the agency. And they change every time there is a change in the Presidency. Most agencies have more than one political appointee. My last job was with a small agency (less than two hundred employees) that had five. If a senior staff member is not immediately in line with the politicos’ policies, that person is removed (demoted, sidelined, or transferred to another agency). Those governmental employees that stay year after year (the “weebees”) just do the work, they have no power, and they definitely cannot make any decisions for the agency.

      Reply
      1. Vatch

        In some government agencies, the high ranking career employees seem to be rather good at manipulating the political appointees. This does not apply to all agencies; the primary examples are in the military, intelligence, financial, and justice realms. Unsurprisingly, these are the agencies that are the heaviest users of secrecy. There’s also a lot of cross pollination between portions of the private sector (completely unelected, of course), and the murky deep state. Some of this involves the “revolving door”, but some is just shadowy cooperation, such as we see among the NSA and various giants in telecommunications and Silicon Valley, or among Wall Street, the Treasury Department, and the Federal Reserve. The public does not elect those people.

        Reply
        1. justanotherprogressive

          I don’t think there is much “manipulation” needed. After all the politicos come from the lobby/contractor/donor class, whether they be Democrat or Republican and they are already unwilling to change anything that they perceive as giving them power and control…..

          But I guess it is easier to believe in a “Deep State” than realize that those shiny new politicians we just elected really do not want to change anything……

          Reply
          1. Vatch

            Some of us believe that there is both a deep state and that there are elected politicians who wish to preserve the status quo.

            Reply
            1. likbez

              When weI say “deep state” we typically understand this term as “intelligence agencies”; we say “intelligence agencies” and mean “deep state”.

              From Wikispooks ( https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Deep_state ):

              “The phrase “deep state” derives from the Turkish “derin devlet”, which emerged after the 1996 Susurluk incident so dramatically unmasked the Turkish deep state. It has experienced a surge of use in 2017, though often not in keeping with the meaning attributed by the diplomat who coined the phrase.

              …As powerful and self-interest groups (probably even more dominated by psychopaths and sociopaths than other large hierarchies), deep states seek to frustrate radical and progressive change, so as to preserve their own power, and that of the establishment in general. In contrast to overtly authoritarian rule, deep states must operate more or less secretly, like terrorist groups, so preserving secrecy is a high priority. Control of the commercially-controlled media is essential to the effective preservation of secrecy need for the deep state to work effectively. In the US this is effected through deep state control of the CIA. With the apparatus of nation states under their control, their subterfuges can be elaborate and complex. The deep states of the world have a natural common interest in hiding their existence, which predisposes them to mutual assistance. As a Turkish cartoon put it in 1997 “Deep state protects its own.”[5] ”

              I think the term “deep state” is closely connected with the notion of “national security state” and by extension with the term “military industrial complex”. And the core of deep state are always intelligence agencies which tend to escape the control of the governments and in turn attempt to control the government that should control them. There are certain requirement for such agencies that very few agencies outside intelligence agencies meet.

              1. Institualized ability to collect dirt of politicians, or access to such information collected by other agencies.

              2. The veil of secrecy over the actions and funding. Access to some “non-controlled” or “semi-controlled” funding for “special operations” and “actions”

              3. Set of people trained for conducting covert operations, especially false flag operations.

              4. Experience with covert operations abroad that can be transferred to the “home territory” in case of necessity. Peter Dale Scott refers in a recent essay to “A Supranational Deep State”, noting how their international integration effectively allows intelligence agencies to evade even the limited control national governments had on them in the first half of the 20th century.

              5. Infiltrated, or at lease “influencable” on the level of “useful contacts” with publishers and top journalists media. Deep state generally controls corporate media as Church commission established long ago.

              Any agency that meets whose three criteria is “by definition” belongs to deep state. That means that outside Pentagon and three letter agencies only State Department (which now performs a part of functions of CIA as for color revolutions preparation) and Energy Department can qualify.

              Reply
          2. hunkerdown

            Try Charles Hugh Smith‘s working definition:

            The Deep State is fundamentally the public-private centralized nodes that collect, archive and curate dominant narratives and their supporting evidence, and disseminate these narratives (and their implicit teleologies) to the public via the media and to the state agencies via formal and informal inter-departmental communication channels.

            In other words, the people who, in the public mind, define and legitimize (or delegitimize) the agenda and the members and objectives of the ideal power structure you describe, which, contrary to almost any anecdotal observation of office politics in general, seems to contain no dotted lines, no stovepipes, perfect subordination, no split allegiances or conflicting interests, and no other indirect pressures from within or without. Sounds more liberal than progressive, tbh.

            Reply
            1. Aumua

              The Deep State is a great phrase that very succinctly sums up a lot of angles, for me. The State has reached its expiration date, but it doesn’t want to go just yet, so it’s digging in Deep. It’s hunkered down. It’s grabbing and holding on as close to the roots of society, biology and planet as it can, and it’s going to take some doing to rip it out, cause it’s not going to let go by itself.

              Reply
            2. gepay

              Of course the main stream media wants to project their view (or the view that the Powers That Be want projected) of what the deep state is . Here is what my view is close to – Let’s look at a US regional power center – Chicago
              Chicago has long been a place where deep politics reigned.

              . Demaris ‘Captive City’

              From the moment of its incorporation as a city in 1837, Chicago has been systematically seduced, looted, and pilloried by an aeonian horde of venal politicians, mercenary businessmen, and sadistic gangsters. Nothing has changed in more than a century and a half. The same illustrious triumvirate performs the same heinous disservices and the same dedicated newspapers bleat the same inanities. If there has been any change at all, it has been within the triumvirate itself.
              In the beginning, the dominant member was the business tycoon, whether it be in land speculation, railroads, hotels, meat packing, or public utilities, Pirates like Potter Palmer, Phillip Armour, George Pullman, Charles T. Yerkes, and Samuel Insull fed the city with one hand and bled it dry with the other.
              Around the turn of the century, with the population explosion out of control, the politician gained the upper hand over his partners in the coalition. It remained for the gangster to complete the circle in 1933 following the murder of Mayor Cermak. Today it is nearly impossible to differentiate among the partners – the businessman is a politician – the politician is a gangster – the gangster is a businessman.

              “Who is responsible for the powerful Chicago rackets which have blighted business, looted the treasuries of labor unions, padded public contracts, made puppets of policemen, cowed the courts, maimed and murdered with immunity? It is not a dark mystery which cannot be solved. Yet exasperated citizens are repeatedly asking – why are not these rackets smashed and the racketeers put in jail? The answer is that racketeers are useful to certain men favorably situated in business, in politics, a portion of the press, and even in some of the professions. It is only when the racketeer becomes too strong and gets out of hand that the cry is raised by privileged persons that the racketeer must go.”
              Lightnin’ (June 1940)
              I believe a recent President came from the Chicago area and one of his key -whatever Rahm is? – is now mayor.
              This is true in countries like Turkey – or India – or Germany – and certainly the US – Is it not true that how the Federal Reserve System would be implemented was decided upon by a small group of financiers and a couple of politicians on Jekyll island. Or that the price of oil was going to raised in the 70s at a Bilderberg meeting in Sweden – Now that Bilderberger meeting are fairly well known I imagine the real decisions are made at other meetings we haven’t become aware of. – Just like in the 50s into the 60s the dirt was implemented by the CIA but when people became aware, the center for operations just moved But the world is a big place with many power centers so its confusing – different smallish groups meeting in secrecy decide different programs- the world is too big to decide everything but what “they” decide is important is made to happen. maybe you believe the fantastic story the government said of how 911 happened but did anybody get fired or demoted.cui bono. this will get my comments moderated or maybe banned

              Reply
    2. Chris

      Years ago, while working in an Australian state public service department, we considered ‘Yes Minister’ to be a documentary, and used it amongst ourselves as training material.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        My favorite episode is “Jobs for the Boys.” My favorite line: “Great courage of course. But whatever possessed you?”

        (Messing about with the VPN to get the full page…)

        Reply
      2. RUKidding

        Indeed. I have used it as such, myself! Not snark.

        A most excellent book and series. Should be required viewing.

        Reply
    3. witters

      Yes, Minister was a neoliberal attack on government as such. It set the “entrepreneurial” political hero/leader against the corrupt “civil service”. It made the latter the “deep state”, thereby tainting forever the welfare state as an evil hidden conspiracy that (mysteriously) pandered to the meritocratically worthless. If that is what you mean by “Deep State” then you can have it.

      Reply
  6. Huey Long

    It is now known that a perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse…. [P]erfection of planning is a symptom of decay. During a period of exciting discovery or progress there is no time to plan the perfect headquarters. The time for that comes later, when all the important work has been done. Perfection, we know, is finality; and finality is death.

    Following this line of reasoning, it seems to me that the US military establishment has been in decline ever since the Pentagon was built and the temporary Navy Dept. buildings erected on the National Mall were razed. Being that the Pentagon opened in 1943 and the buildings on the Mall were razed in 1970, which roughly coincides with our costly imperial adventures in Korea and Vietnam, I think Parkinson’s Law #6 is dead on here.

    Reply
      1. Huey Long

        Apple Park was announced by Jobs in 2006 coinciding with Apple’s switch to Intel processors in for their computer lines, and the peak of iPod sales. The iPhone debuted shortly thereafter in 2007.

        I think you’re on to something…

        Reply
      2. Jim Haygood

        Me too. A rule of thumb called the Edifice Complex holds that when companies build palatial headquarters, their growth days are over as management’s focus turns to feathering their nests rather than scrapping for customers (as Apple’s customers already know).

        Apple’s giant new flying saucer building in Cupertino opens for occupancy this month. Make of it what you will.

        Reply
    1. TarheelDem

      You and James Carroll, The House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power

      Because he used to play in the Pentagon as a kid and demonstrated against the War in Vietnam outside of of (DIA Director) dad’s office window, there is a lot of interesting chapter and verse to argue the point you both make.

      Reply
    1. Ruben

      In defense of science, most scientists are busy studying anarchistic nature. Centrally controlled social human structures are in the domain of experts in the field of speech, gestures and posturing. Occasionally however, we turn our attention to human structures making discoveries. They do not yield easily to productive study. As we advance in the conquest of new territory, we have left a few armies surrounding intractable problems of human social structures, like medieval armies that leave behind smaller units to siege fortified cities that do no yield. If you the peoples were to leave us scientists the power to organize social human structures, we promise … wait!

      Reply
    1. Huey Long

      Does management serve any purpose these days besides screwing workers for the benefit of squillionaire bankers and c-suite executives?

      Oh, right I forgot!

      They use all that MBA knowledge to game the finance system and tax laws for the benefit of squillionaire bankers and c-suite executives too.

      /snark

      Reply
  7. grayslady

    I don’t know why everyone is calling the Raise the Wage Act “Bernie Sanders’ Minimum Wage Act,” since the bill was introduced by Patty Murray. Further, the Act doesn’t have anyone receiving $15 until 2024. If you live in Seattle and work for a large employer (over 500 employees), you will receive $15 per hour minimum either in 2017 or 2018, depending on whether or not the company provides health insurance as a benefit. People are hurting now. They need $15 per hour now. Once again, the Dems are “fighting” but not trying to win.

    Reply
    1. JustAnObserver

      Seems that Boeing in are trying to get under that 500 employees in Seattle hurdle in the next 2 years.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      He introduced the bill:

      With four times as many Democratic co-sponsors as he had just two years ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday morning re-introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

      In 2015, Sanders introduced similar legislation with just five co-sponsors. On Wednesday, he boasted 21, in addition to lead co-sponsor Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). They are:

      Reply
      1. grayslady

        Actually, Patty Murray introduced the bill on April 30, 2015, which would have raised the minimum wage gradually to $12 by 2020. There were 32 original co-sponsors, all Dems. Bernie introduced a similar bill on July 22, 2015, with Ed Markey as the original co-sponsor, which would have raised the minimum wage to $15 dollars by 2020. Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a companion bill in the House. The most recent bill is a re-introduction of Murray’s bill, with Sanders now supporting $15 by 2024.

        I know that many here continue to wish to believe that Sanders hasn’t sold out to the Dems, but the evidence becomes clearer that he is no longer the fighter he was when he ran for President.

        Reply
        1. John k

          I hope you’re wrong. But the wind did go out of his sails when he lost NY, before that he was still hoping.
          I continue to see him as fighting for us, but the dems keep kicking him…
          the only way to kick back is third party, but a monumental effort for an older fellow. Imagine MSM, Mic, dems, reps, insurance, banks, the 1%… and then the challenge to register in even a majority of states…
          Easier to take over greens and convert to functional, but no indication he’s thinking that.

          Reply
  8. Linda

    “The Clinton Comedy of Errors” [Current Affairs].

    I was going to share here a particular paragraph and one parenthetical sentence, with my added hahahahahaha, but decided against it so as not to offend or upset any possible Clinton supporting Nakeds. You will need to read the article and guess.

    Reply
    1. DJG

      fascinating:

      The defects that are Clinton-specific (or, at least, not fundamental to contemporary Democratic politics) are managerial incompetence and Nixonian levels of cronyism and paranoia. Clinton was obsessed with loyalty, “prizing [it] most among human traits” (above, e.g., virtue). She had downloaded and rooted through the emails of all her 2008 campaign staff to determine who had screwed her, and tried to sniff out “acts of betrayal.” She even assigned “loyalty scores” to various members of Congress, “from one for the most loyal to seven for those who had committed the most egregious acts of treachery.”

      Reply
    2. marku52

      That Current Affairs article is great from one end to the other. It was so good I subscribed to the print edition.

      Reply
      1. Altandmain

        Nathan Robinson, the Editor of Current Affairs writes pretty good articles.

        Here’s another:
        https://static.currentaffairs.org/2016/02/unless-the-democrats-nominate-sanders-a-trump-nomination-means-a-trump-presidency

        Here, a Clinton match-up is highly likely to be an unmitigated electoral disaster, whereas a Sanders candidacy stands a far better chance. Every one of Clinton’s (considerable) weaknesses plays to every one of Trump’s strengths, whereas every one of Trump’s (few) weaknesses plays to every one of Sanders’s strengths. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, running Clinton against Trump is a disastrous, suicidal proposition.

        Every Democrat should take some time to fairly, dispassionately examine Clinton’s track record as a campaigner. Study how the ‘08 campaign was handled, and how this one has gone. Assess her strengths and weaknesses with as little bias or prejudice as possible. Then picture the race against Trump, and think about how it will unfold.

        It’s easy to see that Trump has every single advantage. Because the Republican primary will be over, he can come at her from both right and left as he pleases. As the candidate who thundered against the Iraq War at the Republican debate, he can taunt Clinton over her support for it. He will paint her as a member of the corrupt political establishment, and will even offer proof: “Well, I know you can buy politicians, because I bought Senator Clinton. I gave her money, she came to my wedding.” He can make it appear that Hillary Clinton can be bought, that he can’t, and that he is in charge. It’s also hard to defend against, because it appears to be partly true. Any denial looks like a lie, thus making Hillary’s situation look even worse. And then, when she stumbles, he will mock her as incompetent.

        Note that this was published in February 2016.

        Reply
  9. jerry

    “For those that don’t understand, THIS is what the internet could look like without #NetNeutrality. ISPs could destroy small businesses.”

    Still not sure I get it.. so you’d have to select a package of websites to have access to.. and anything not on the list would be blocked?

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      As explained in a couple of posts above, Web neutrality means that Web traffic management processes don’t discriminate based on who the users or the websites are. Removing Web neutrality would allow service providers to charge websites and/or users premiums for (say) faster page provision. Like other fees that discriminates against the less well-off.

      Reply
    2. JustAnObserver

      No, not quite. If you sign up for the package those sites will have fast access (*). For all the others its back to the 28.8K modem era.

      (*) By US standards that is. By comparison to RoW it’s still pouring glue slow.

      Reply
  10. Kurtismayfield

    And United just settled with the good doctor

    CNN story

    I am not sure about this money quote:

    Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” he said. “In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened…without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago.

    Civil responsibility, not criminal correct? Gosh I still hope the LEOs get procecuted.

    Reply
    1. Linda

      Gosh I still hope the LEOs get prosecuted.

      The Dr. could sue, but the financial settlement from United probably makes it not worth his time. The CNN story says the police officer who did the dragging has been suspended. Wonder what’s going on there. Not fired it seems as of yet.

      Sure would like to know the settlement amount. Anyone with experience in this kind of thing care to guess for me?

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        The amount? Everything he asked for. He had them by the short and curlies. They couldn’t defend the case without looking even worse.

        Now United might go after those cops, who ultimately work for the airlines.

        Reply
  11. LT

    Re: USA Today on Trump voters

    Yes, the article really lacks nuance.
    The stage was perfectly set for Trump to waltz into office.
    No one man caused the oroblems faced today and no one man can fix them.
    Anyone who takes office is immediately faced with fire or frying pan options as the only ones allowed by the elite they serve.
    Example:
    ACA – frying pan
    ACA repeal – fire
    “TrumpCare” AHCA – pergutory

    Reply
  12. LT

    The duopoly and who love will continue to preface “white” before working class as long as it continues to serve the function of eliminating worker solidarity.
    It is a “dog-whistle” to many Democratic Party supporters and they should be offended.
    So I agree, you do not have to use the word “white” when talking about working class issues.

    Reply
    1. Huey Long

      eliminating worker solidarity

      Worker solidarity scares the hell out of the ruling class. This fear is the only reason we workers got the Wagner act legislation passed in 1935.

      Since then we’ve been under assault. First the Taft-Hartley act of 1947, then the Powell memo of 1971, followed by Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers during a 1981 strike.

      Douglass was right when he said that “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

      Count on the status quo continuing until the baristas at Starbucks stage a nationwide sit-down strike, depriving the ruling class and their mandarins of their soy lattes.

      Reply
  13. Z

    Shocker! Campaign workers who worked for a candidate who was totally in the election for herself … were actually totally in it for themselves too!

    What else was there to be in it for …

    Z

    Reply
  14. Z

    Talk of Democratic party unity …

    Want Unity with the Clintons? Give them everything you got. Say thanks. Then tell them that they deserve it because they are better than you. That’s a start …

    Z

    Reply
  15. LT

    Re: Packaged goods purchases

    Or: “Alexa, wait a minute, I just got my hospital bill.”
    Or: “Alexa, wait a minute, rent just went up again.”

    Reply
  16. crittermom

    RE: “Class Warfare”
    That chart spells it out quite clearly, just as Bernie has continued to say.

    I continue to wonder who will pick up the cause if Bernie doesn’t run again?
    Then the answer came to me…

    We need someone on the ballot who exemplifies honesty, intelligence, integrity, common sense and would represent the majority of the people.

    I would nominate you, Lambert, with William Black as your economic advisor.

    You’d have a good contribution base to start with right here on NC.
    And just think–you’d have acres of WH lawn to garden in!

    Reply
  17. Jim Haygood

    Another day, another record in the Nasdaq 100 glamour stock index.

    Half a century ago, Wall Street’s darlings were called the Nifty Fifty. They were also known as “one decision” stocks, since you only needed to buy, never to sell.

    Today we’ve dropped the superfluous zero and narrowed it down to the Fab Five. Among the Heavenly Handful, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook all claimed records today. Apple lagged, as its employees are preoccupied with moving into their posh new digs in the silver spaceship.

    Wonder if it can levitate, or at least whirl like the Seattle Space Needle?

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I’m thinking of a new ETF that only contains companies that are shielded from any capitalist outcomes by unbreachable political moats. Banks, MIC, HIC, Telco, and tech giants shielded from any and all anti-trust worries

      Reply
      1. Huey Long

        You can add legacy broadcast television firms and cable news networks to the list too. I highly doubt the US gov’t will let the Mighty Wurlitzer go belly up.

        Reply
  18. allan

    Court: Employers can pay women less based on past salaries [Seattle Times]

    Employers can legally pay women less than men for the same work based on differences in the workers’ previous salaries, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

    The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower-court ruling saying pay differences based exclusively on prior salaries were discriminatory under the federal Equal Pay Act.

    That’s because the differences were almost certainly the result of gender bias, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Seng said in a 2015 decision.

    A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit cited a 1982 ruling by the court that said employers could use previous salary information as long as they applied it reasonably and had a business policy that justified it. …


    A business policy.
    Like moar profits? Or fostering a bro-mosphere in the workplace?

    Oh, that liberal 9th Circuit …

    Reply
  19. ewmayer

    “Throughout San Francisco and Silicon Valley, cash-rich technology firms have built or are erecting bold, futuristic headquarters that convey their brands to employees and customers [The Economist]” — Here in Cupertino, Apple’s new One Ring To Rule Them All™ is just about complete. Peak hubris!

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      We’ve come a long way from Building 20 at MIT, where radar was invented. It was a ramshackle, 3-story, wooden-framed office/lab building. Its occupants often drilled holes in the floors, ceilings and walls to run piping and wiring to their contraptions.

      Whereas drilling a hole in Apple’s Silver Spaceship will make Dr. Dao’s experience with United look like a love tap.

      Reply
      1. Tom Bradford

        Hey, play fair. The Brits – Sir Robert Watson-Watt, A F Wilkins and H E Wimperis – “invented” RADAR as we know it, and the word itself, in 1935. To improve its power and make RADAR small enough to install in aircraft the Brits also invented the cavity magnetron in early 1940 but didn’’t have the large-scale manufacturing capability to mass-produce it.

        So in 1940 a mission led by Henry Tizard secretly brought the magnetron to the United States and persuaded the US to help develop and produce the device. The MIT Radiation Laboratory was set up and quickly became one of the largest wartime projects, employing about 4000 people. Researchers and workers there made mass-production versions of the magnetron and developed about 100 different radar systems, and the US then and afterwards generally cashed in on British ingenuity handed to them for free.

        Reply
    1. crittermom

      On days such as this, I am even more grateful for the antidotes du jour, as I must sometimes go back and look at them to remind me of the beauty in this world, after reading of such ugliness from the govt.
      Wow.

      Reply
    2. HopeLB

      Thank you dcblogger for the link. Wish every US citizen was made aware of this “plain sovietness” thumbing its nose at our Constitution.

      Reply
    1. Huey Long

      Tracy Edwards, the PCS union representative for Tate staff, said several workers had contacted her about it, adding that she had originally thought it was a spoof.

      “The staff at Tate are underpaid and overworked, and haven’t had appropriate pay rises, and this just demonstrates how divorced from reality the management at Tate are,” she said. “It seems to me they’ve made a big error of judgment.

      Wow, our “betters” really do live in a bubble. Reading about gaffes such as this reinforces my belief that the ruling class really is going to fly the plane into the mountain. Even the union couldn’t believe it was true!

      Reply
    2. crittermom

      I think staff and employees said it best:
      “The chasm that exists between upper management and the staff on the ground is just farcical and this just made it clearer than ever.”

      And…”The insensitivity is just a cold, hard slap in the face.”

      Wow is right.
      Sounds just like America.

      Reply
      1. windsock

        “Sounds just like America.”

        In some respects, we are worse. The haughtiness of the aristocracy was transmitted to the bourgeoisie with the speed of a virus.

        Reply
  20. Anon

    RE: Dividers on Public Benches

    Unless the homeless population in your vicinity is quite small, this is a design/management tactic that has a long history. The business district in my town uses it to not only restrict reclining, but also stowage of belongings. The businesses complain about pan-handlers driving away potential revenue (while ignoring that fact that most of the folks downtown don’t have money to spend and are just promenading the strip as a form of leisure).

    Most folks don’t recognize that the homeless sleep in the daytime because they’re unable to find safe sleep spots at night. The answer to the homeless issues are: caring, professional outreach; early intervention with housing (especially families/children); dedicated efforts at re-introducing people back into the work force.

    The effort/money required is in the Billion$ for Los Angeles. Bench dividers are not the solution. A compassionate culture is.

    Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      If you ask any homeless advocate, they’ll tell you that simply housing the homeless with some rudimentary transitional counseling is 50% – 80% cheaper than hassling them with police and taking them to emergency rooms–a strictly palliative standard of care.

      The trouble with those savings, however, is that all the costs are front-loaded. Acquiring or leasing the housing and staffing up is expensive. This is the situation for which loans were invented. No private bank will take on such lending, even when the savings demonstrably exist. So…public banking to the rescue (Jerry Brown vetoed money to even study it in California, and although he campaigned on single payer now questions its financial viability…money shortages…best excuse ever!)

      From George Santayana: Americans are a primitive people disguised by the latest inventions.

      Reply
  21. gonzomarx

    Taylor Wimpey to pay up to £130m to settle ground rent scandal
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/27/taylor-wimpey-ground-rent-scandal

    “Homebuyers wanted homes and trusted a plc housebuilder. Taylor Wimpey created an investment asset class – the freehold – which it then traded to anonymous and murky investors, who hide their beneficial ownership behind nominee directors.

    “This ground rent racket is wealth erosion on a massive scale, which has fallen mainly on young first-time buyers and their families. It has revealed the rotten core of leasehold as a form of property tenure.”

    Reply
  22. Ed

    Democrats will shut down the government if Republicans don’t prostrate themselves before the 400 million dollar bronze statue of Obama the Democrats want built on the Mall before the end of June

    Republicans willing to go along with most of this but are pushing for bronze plating instead of a full bronze statue which Hoyer is saying is a “non starter”

    Reply
  23. mk

    Thanks for posting the link to the article on the sex robots, very interesting! This little paragraph got me thinking, and I still don’t know what to think…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Harmony’s [a robot] interactive capability is the culmination of McMullen’s career, the creation that makes him more than a sex toy designer. When I asked if he thought people would one day use sex robots instead of prostitutes, the question offended him. “Yes, but that’s probably last on my list of goals. This is not a toy to me, this is the actual hard work of people who have PhDs. And to denigrate it down to its simplest form of a sex object is similar to saying that about a woman.”

    Reply

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