2:00PM Water Cooler 12/8/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“TTIP’s Next Order of Business: a ‘Screenshot’: U.S. and European trade officials are taking a “screenshot” of progress made in transatlantic trade talks before putting the TTIP in a deep freeze, EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan said Wednesday” [Politico]. It’s not enough to freeze it. You have to kill it with fire.

“Texas lawmakers optimistic about NAFTA future with President Trump in office” [KXII]. “‘People recognize there are some opportunities where we can improve cooperation,’ said Congressman Will Hurd (R-Texas). … ‘I think a lot of us, Democrats and Republicans, are going to make sure that [Trump] understands…that this relationship between the U.S. and Mexico is important to our basic economy,’ said [Hurd’s colleague Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)].”


Gnashing of Teeth and Rending of Garments

“Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner” [WaPo]. “I’ve lost the desire to attempt the courtship phase. The future is uncertain. I am not the optimistic person I was on the morning of Nov. 8, wearing a T-shirt with ‘Nasty Woman’ written inside a red heart. It makes me want to cry thinking of that. Of seeing my oldest in the shirt I bought her in Washington, D.C., that says ‘Future President.’ There is no room for dating in this place of grief. Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words ‘President-elect Trump.'”

2016 Post Mortem

“Senate Dems, powerless to stop Trump nominees, regret ‘nuclear option’ power play” [CNN]. “Senate Democrats are eager to make Donald Trump pay a political price for nominating staunch conservatives to fill out his Cabinet, hoping to exact revenge for the GOP’s stubborn opposition to President Barack Obama’s nominees. But there is little they can do about it — and some top Democrats are now coming to regret it. That’s because Senate Democrats muscled through an unprecedented rules change in 2013 to weaken the power of the minority party to filibuster Cabinet-level appointees and most judicial nominees, now setting the threshold at 51 votes — rather than 60 — to overcome tactics aimed at derailing nominations.” Nothing shows the strategic — indeed, the moral — bankruptcy more clearly than the fact that they deployed the nuclear option in 2013 to get some appointments passed, and didn’t even consider the nuclear option in 2009, when they could have used to pass single payer. Or a decent stimulus package. If they had wanted to. They paid the price for that in 2010. And we’re still paying the price for their fecklnessness (or active malice) today, with crap programs like ObamaCare (see Health Care below) and Trump’s election.

“This [Republican] strategy of kicking the hell out of Obama all the time, treating him not just as a president from the opposing party but an extreme threat to the American way of life, has been a remarkable political success. It helped Republicans take back the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016. This no-cooperation, no-apologies approach is also on the verge of delivering a conservative majority on the Supreme Court; Republicans violated all kinds of Washington norms when they refused to even pretend to consider any Obama nominee, but they paid no electoral price for it—and probably helped persuade some reluctant Republican voters to back Donald Trump in November by keeping the Court in the balance” [Politico]. “So the party’s anti-Obama strategy has ended up working almost exactly as planned, except that none of the Republican elites who devised it, not even Vice President-elect Pence, envisioned that their new leader would rise to power by attacking Republican elites as well as the Democratic president.”

Trump Transition

“Biden Tells Delawareans to Give Trump a Chance” [Roll Call]. So either the claim that Trump is a fascist was Clintonian bullshit, or Trump is a fascist, and Biden (and Obama) are on board. Which is it?


“What President-elect Trump has the opportunity to do now is to launch a third great wave of suburbanization, one that can revive the American Dream for the Millennial generation, produce jobs and wealth that can power the American economy, and take advantage of changing technology to create a new wave of optimism and dynamism in American life” [The American Interest]. “Creating the infrastructure for the third suburban wave—new highways, ring roads and the rest of it for another suburban expansion—will create enormous numbers of jobs. The opportunity for cheap housing in leafy places will allow millions of young people to get a piece of the American Dream. Funding the construction of this infrastructure and these homes gives Wall Street an opportunity to make a lot of money in ways that don’t drive the rest of the country crazy.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“There is no better proof that today’s populism is deep-rooted and broad-based than Sanders’ astounding $234 million contributions from individuals, not elites.Please name me another presidential candidate who raised 97% of their funding from small donors. Hillary Clinton raised a gargantuan $1.3 billion,of which $188 million came from Super-PACs. A tiny percentage of her total funds came from small donors; her campaign raised $556 million and the Democratic Party’s (elitist) fund-raising committees ponied up another $544 million. Trump’s campaign raised about 27% of its funds from small donors, compared to the Romney campaign’s 6% [Of Two Minds]. Today’s populism has drawn funding from individuals and enterprises who have been left out of globalism’s massive increase in elitist wealth. If we look for issues that crossed party lines, i.e. that drew support from both Sanders and Trump supporters, we find four core issues:

1. Anti-globalism
2. disgust with the Establishment’s self-serving corrupt elites, i.e. anti-elitism
3. Economic nationalism
4. Anti-endless-neocon-wars, drone strikes, foreign entanglements

“After several rounds of votes and appointments, however, only four of the top 15 leadership spots are occupied by lawmakers who aren’t in coastal states, and only one of those — Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) — is from the Midwest” [The Hill]. Like and unlike the Bourbons, the Democrat leadership has learned nothing and forgotten a lot.

“Bernie Sanders Nailed It On Identity Politics and Inequality, and the Media Completely Missed the Point” [Katie Halper, Paste]. “The problem is, for many of the so called intersectionalists who support Clinton and reject Sanders, intersectionality and identity politics include everything except for class. They are so tone deaf about class that they hear the “working class” as a white monolith, as if working class people of color or LGBT people or immigrants don’t exist. Yes, Sanders has spoken about the unique challenges of reaching the white working class, something that would make sense to any intersectionalist who thinks that white supremacy is a real thing. But his use of the word white in this specific context is just more proof that his use of working class without “white,” includes people of all backgrounds. Sanders; critique of inequality, and his attack on the one percent, is one that champions the rights of people from all backgrounds. At the same time, Sanders acknowledges the singular struggles and double (or triple, or quadruple) burdens faced by different people, and how the economic inequality is compounded by racism and sexism.” I think intersectionality, as a method, is excellent, and necessarily includes class. Intersectionality as practiced by neoliberals, necessarily erases class, and degrades intersectionality to IdPol.

“Why “They’re Just Dumb Racists” is Liberalism’s Climate Denialism” [Umair Haque, Medium]. “The people who deny that extremism has economic origins are essentially liberalism’s equivalent of climate change denialists. Conservatives deny the facts on the environment — but liberals do so about the economy. The facts are very clear. Extremism does not rise ex nihilo, from the void. It has a material cause throughout history — whether it is Bolshevik Russia, Weimar Germany, or post-Imperial China. Extremism is always and everywhere a material product of stagnation.”

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of December 3, 2016: Fell 10K [Econoday]. “Outside of year-end volatility the last few weeks, unemployment claims remain very low and consistent with strong demand for labor.” But: “The general trend of the 4 week rolling average is a slowing rate of improvement year-over-year which historically suggests a slowing economy” [Econintersect].

Quarterly Services Survey, Q3 2016: “Information revenue rose 1.8 percent in the third quarter compared to the second quarter with the year-on-year rate at plus 4.9 percent” [Econoday]. “The Census Bureau quarterly services survey focuses on information and technology-related service industries. These include information; professional, scientific and technical services; administrative & support services; and waste management and remediation services.” Why the heck are IT and waste management lumped together? Wait, don’t answer that…

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of December 4, 2016: Up two-tenths [Econoday]. “Like other measures of consumer confidence, the comfort index has shown a burst of life the last two months that ultimately reflects an improving assessment of the labor market.”

Housing: ” Just over 2% of properties have 25% or more negative equity. For reference, about four years ago, in Q3 2012, 9.6% of residential properties had 25% or more negative equity” [Calculated Risk]. “A year ago, in Q3 2015, there were 4.2 million properties with negative equity – now there are 3.2 million. A significant change.”

Housing: “When people think of gentrification, they normally think of tiny sections within a city. But what we are seeing today is global gentrification. For example, in Orange County, the most expensive county in Southern California many people have been pushed into the Inland Empire. Yet the actual employment boom is happening in LA and OC making millions of people commute ungodly hours on the jam packed soul crushing freeways. The Orange Curtain highlights a subtle massive gentrification of an entire county. You have Orange County with a median home price of $710,000 and just a few miles inward you have Riverside County with a median home price of $330,000. The fastest growing counties in SoCal are with Riverside and San Bernardino. In the end, how much is a commute worth though?” [Dr. Housing Bubbble].

Employment Situation: “[M]y general view is the economy is solid, has room to run, however it is past the peak of the employment gains for this business cycle. It appears the peak job gains in this cycle was in 2014” [Calculated Risk]. ” With current demographics, it only takes 60 to 80 thousand jobs added per month to keep the unemployment rate steady (this is far less than in the ’80s or ’90s). Since we are nearing full employment, my initial guess is the economy will add fewer jobs in 2017 than in 2014 or 2015.”

Commodities: “A November to remember: China trade figures trash forecasts” [Asia Times]. “Iron ore imports increased 12% to 91.98 million metric tonnes compared to the same period last year…. Coal imports increased a massive 117% from a year ago, reaching 26.97 million metric tonnes for November. The total volume of coal imports for the first 11 months is now up 9.2% compared to last year. A supply shortage during November spurred the surge in seaborne imports.” I assume because iron and coal are stuff that these figures are a lot harder to game?

Commodities: “The copper price hit an 18-month high on an intraday basis last week as global manufacturing activity continues to pick up and hopes about US president-elect Trump’s $500 billion infrastructure plans lift sentiment” [Mining.com]. “While it’s pulled back from those levels since, official customs data from China, responsible for some 45% of the seaborne trade in the red metal, released on Thursday is seeing the metal turn positive again.”

Shipping: “Favourable one-off incidents [Hanjin] and improving performances across European economies caused airfreight to outperform global GDP in 2016, with that growth forecast to continue into 2017” [The Loadstar].

Shipping: “The pending sale of the biggest container terminal at California’s Port of Long Beach may trigger more waves of change across container shipping competition” [Wall Street Journal]. Hanjin had to sell off its stake, and now Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. and Mediterranean Shipping Co might buy it.

Shipping: “A coalition of retailers, manufacturers, truckers and other business groups are appealing to the Federal Maritime Commission to stop port operators from charging unfair fees for cargo pick-up delays caused by uncontrollable incidents like storms and worker strikes” [Politico]. “‘Recent events involving port congestion, labor strife, an ocean carrier bankruptcy, inclement weather and other disruption events have had crippling effects on U.S. ports and the stakeholders who rely on the efficient movement of goods,’ the 25-member Coalition for Fair Port Practices said in their petition.”

Manufacturing: “A bigger piece of the Apple Inc. supply chain may be moving to the U.S. Foxconn Technology Group, a major producer of the iPhone and other Apple products, says it is in talks to expand in the U.S.” [Wall Street Journal]. “It isn’t clear that any Foxconn expansion in the U.S. would be to make Apple products, and shifting the assembly would trigger big changes across the extensive distribution network that pulls high-value components into Foxconn sites.” Will they bring their suicide nets?

The Bezzle: “Deutsche Bank’s ‘smoking gun’ evidence to expand U.S. silver rigging case” [Reuters].

Fodder for the Bulls: “Investors have so far managed to find the right balance between taking Trump seriously and literally, to a certain extent. Since Election Day, small-cap stocks have rallied more than 12 percent, suggesting the market sees Trump’s ‘America First’ policies benefiting them the most. Because they have less exposure to foreign markets than blue-chip companies, small caps are in an attractive position to take advantage of lower corporate taxes, streamlined regulations and a stronger U.S. dollar” [ETF Daily News].

Honey for the Bears: “More concerning, though, is the current weakness in U.S. capital goods exports. Capital goods are the complex big ticket items where advanced, technically sophisticated economies are supposed to excel. Aircraft, turbines, semiconductors, oil drilling equipment, telecommunications switching equipment, and the like. The U.S. now runs a deficit in capital goods—$60 billion in the first ten months of the year, which projects out to $70 billion for the full year. U.S. imports of capital goods also now exceed U.S. imports of consumer goods. That is sometimes lost in the coverage of trade issues; the U.S. deficit right now isn’t all iPhones and other consumer goods” [Brad Setzer, Council on Foreign Relations]. “Nominal capital goods exports are down around $20 billion year to date (aircraft engines and semi-conductors are up, but almost every other category is down—with the biggest falls in categories linked to oil drilling and mining). Nominal imports are also down, but by less. Real capital goods exports are down 3.5 percent year over year (and 2.5 percent in the last three months of data; October actually had a somewhat smaller fall). They have been held back by the global fall in capital investment in drilling and mining, and by the impact of the strong dollar…. Real capital goods imports are down 1 percent year over year (and are up modestly in the last three months of data). The weakness in capital goods imports earlier in the year likely reflects the broader fall off in investment in mining and drilling that followed the commodity price correction in 2014. A growing economy would—under normal circumstances—lead this to rise.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 84 Extreme Greed (previous close: 83, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 71 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 8 at 11:28am. Big jump!

Health Care

“Life in Obamacare’s Dead Zone” [New York Times]. “Excluded from the Affordable Care Act because of politics, thousands of poor Americans grapple with the toll — physical and psychological — of being uninsured.”

Of course, just they’re insured, doesn’t mean they get health care if, for example, they can’t pay the deductibles. See this tweetstorm:



“This study [by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality] examined the association between high-deductible health plans and high out-of-pocket burdens among those with employer-sponsored insurance by income level. Two key results stand out. First, the frequency of high family out-of-pocket burdens increased sharply with plan deductible levels among low-income enrollees (those with family incomes below 250 percent of poverty), reflecting both higher health care spending and higher premium contributions. In contrast, there were much smaller differences in high burden frequencies by deductible level in the higher-income groups. Second, regardless of deductible level, those in the low-income group were far more likely to have high burdens compared to those in the higher-income groups” [PNHP].

“The Obama Years: Tepid Palliation for America’s Health Scourges” [Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, American Journal of Public Heatlh]. “Access to care has improved, but remains abysmal, in part because many who gained coverage cannot afford to use it. In 2014, 66 million working-age adults skipped doctor visits, tests, or prescriptions because of costs—down from 80 million in 2012—while collection agencies dunned 37 million for medical debts, a reduction of 4 million.3 Post-ACA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that medical debts still account for 52% of all bills sent to collection agencies.”

“Insurers’ Flawed Directories Leave Patients Scrambling for In-Network Doctors” [New York Times]. ObamaCare’s problem with innaccurate directories has been festering since the program was launched. It’s still not fixed.


“Both the Arctic and Antarctic experienced record lows in sea ice extent in November, with scientists astonished to see Arctic ice actually retreating at a time when the region enters the cold darkness of winter” [Guardian]. On the bright side, the cruise ships won’t need ice-breakers.

“‘With regard to the Dakota Access Pipeline, that’s something that we support construction of and we’ll review the full situation when we’re in the White House to make appropriate determination at that time,’ said Trump spokesman Jason Miller” [New York Daily News].

“The Svalbard Global Seed Vault preserves the world’s agricultural heritage” [PRI]. “Inside the vault, rows of shelves hold boxes; each box contains about 400 to 500 seed samples, all in individual packets. Each packet has 500 seeds. Currently, the vault stores about 500 million seeds. Most of these seeds will stay viable for several thousand years. ‘You have to walk down the aisles with some humility, because what you’re seeing is the results of agricultural evolution over the last 15,000 years,’ [founder Cary Fowler] says. ‘It’s essentially a biological history of agriculture. Everything that agriculture can be in the future is represented in that diversity.'” If you believe agriculture wasn’t a terrible mistake. What about wild seeds?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Walter Scott Case Was a Test” [Slate]. “You can think of the Slager trial as a proposition. Given an obvious injustice—the methodical shooting of a fleeing suspect—would a jury convict a police officer of criminal violence? Would it reject the idea that wearing a badge grants almost total impunity for any action? These questions were answered with terrible clarity: No.”

“Perhaps better than most on the American left today, the old advocates of the antebellum system of slavery understood the ideological connections between abolitionism and socialism. They were what one could call “intersectionalists of the Right,” since they sought to demonstrate how abolitionism, socialism, women’s emancipation, and other progressive struggles were all linked to attacks on the rights of property” [Jacobin].

“The Worst States for Black Americans” [247 Wall Street].

Imperial Collapse Watch

“The CIA’s Torture Architect Says Harsh Interrogations Needed More Than Ever” [Buzzfeed]. “‘I’m not advocating that we torture people. I’m advocating that we have a civil debate,’ Mitchell said.” Classic.

“Girl Posting to Twitter From Aleppo Gains Sympathy, but Doubts Follow” [New York Times]. Dubious digital evidence from Syria? Incroyable!

Class Warfare

From the Department of America is Already Great: “U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993” [WaPo]. “A year ago, research by Case and Angus Deaton, also an economist at Princeton, brought worldwide attention to the unexpected jump in mortality rates among white middle-aged Americans. That trend was blamed on what are sometimes called diseases of despair: overdoses, alcoholism and suicide. The new report raises the possibility that major illnesses may be eroding prospects for an even wider group of Americans.” Yeah. A “wider group ” like everybody but the 10% and up.

“It is increasingly common for governments to give poor people money. Rather than grant services or particular goods to those in poverty, such as food or housing, governments have found that it is more effective and efficient to simply hand out cash. In some cases, these cash transfers are conditional on doing something the government deems good, like sending your children to school or getting vaccinated. In other cases, they’re entirely unconditional” [Quartz]. And surprise! They don’t spend the money on liquor and cigarettes!

“Some on the Left have taken the view that full employment is a regressive goal because automation is steadily reducing capitalism’s need for workers. Better to redistribute to the surplus population through a universal basic income. But the idea that machines are about to supplant workers is a trope as old as capitalism itself. It always looks plausible because so many particular tasks are always in the process of being automated, and new wonders are always just around the corner. And yet new jobs have always come along. Maybe this time of driverless cars and machine learning really will be different, but it would be foolish to place our political bets on it, especially before it starts showing up in the productivity growth stats” [Jacobin].

“Impressive Lyft parents” (backup from the Lyft blog):

And the same story in chart form (Piketty, Saez, Zucman):

News of the Wired

“Does the centralization of the Web change both the diffusion of knowledge and the philosophical definition of knowledge itself? By exploring the origins of the Semantic Web in the philosophy of Carnap and of Google’s machine learning approach in Heidegger, we demonstrate that competing philosophical schools are deeply embedded in artificial intelligence and its evolution in the Web. Finally, we conclude that a decentralized approach to knowledge is necessary in order to bring the Web to its full potential as a project for the spread of human autonomy” [First Monday]. Just a little dense… But not bullshit, and right on point when we think about the effects of a centralized (that is, monopolistic) approach to knowledge as exemplified by Facebook, and other Silicon Valley wannabe censors.

* * *

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:


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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.


  1. Watt4Bob

    So either the claim that Trump is a fascist was Clintonian bullshit, or Trump is a fascist, and Biden (and Obama) are on board. Which is it?

    Rhetorical question right?

    Saw a great post somewhere the other day;

    “So you’re angry now?
    Where have you been for the last 25 years?”

      1. Watt4Bob

        Yeah, that’s what I tell my kids.

        All adds up to the same question; when did you wake up and start paying attention?

        For me it was the Chilean coup, so yeah 1973.

    1. savedbyirony

      I remember when growing up in the seventies seeing t-shirts with the statement “if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention”. They may have gone out of fashion, but their message never became dated.

  2. craazyboy

    Just in case you needed further evidence that neoliberalism is a dehumanizing dystopian nightmare

    Being born in a taxi cab used to be considered a bad thing.

    1. Pat

      And that was when the customer was having the baby!

      Okay, I get the company being oblivious that women due any minute are not likely to be driving unless they desperately need money, but shouldn’t the possible safety problems of a driver distracted by contractions or water breaking occur to them.

      1. craazyboy

        No-slip galoshes and muscle relaxers. HR probably mentions it in the Associate’s Orientation pamphlet.

    2. Watt4Bob

      Had a very close call along those lines back when I was driving.

      Very early morning, blizzard conditions, and when I arrived at the address, very panicked young couple.

      Fortunately they were going to a hospital a very short distance away.

      I did carry a handful of heart-attack victims over the years, one of which was a customer at a Bath House, whose employees carried/pushed the guy up the stairs and into my cab.

      I ran all the traffic lights on the way, and when I got to the emergency room, the people there yelled at him until he got out of the cab on his own even though he had his feet jammed under my seat and had his back arched so violently that he no longer made contact with the back seat.

      He somehow got himself out and on the gurney.

  3. Bjornasson

    Looking at the disastrous loss of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, and the break up of the West Antarctic ice shelf, it is impossible to come to any conclusion other than ‘we’re fucked’.

    If it were possible to take a dispassionate view of our planet from space, we would see an existential environmental crisis enveloping a species largely too busy distracting itself with activities driving precisely that crisis and as a consequence, hurtling toward extinction.

    I talk to people about this and their response is almost always – meh, it’s gonna be alright for at least our (and the next) generation, so why bother giving up our chance at a good life. Even if that conservative estimate were true, it reflects an astoundingly self-centered and short-sighted view of existence; I blame it on the cultural programming that everyone deserves, and can achieve, a ‘comfortable’, energy-intensive life.

    It makes me even more sad that this attitude is largely universal, including back in India, where a lot of people haven’t even reached the realization that they need to conserve resources (even if they don’t really do it). And its not like we didn’t have alternative life-philosophies – many influential religious schools in India have preached a simple life of subsistence and reflection. But they have lost, to all of our great detriment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The theory of human relativity.

      If you pay one dollar more for the same seat as the guy next to you, it’s injustice.

      Even as the whole species is f***ked, it’s about who is less f***ked, and who is more…to the bitter end.

      So, conversing resources in India? “Let those nations consuming a lot start first!!!”

      Or, “I MUST be rich enough to own several homes, in case the one in Santa Monica goes underwater.” Others will suffer this looming crisis, but it won’t happen to me (before it happens to those stupid, uneducated, poor deplorables.” “I am still ahead, relatively speaking.”

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The latest information from both poles is absolutely terrifying. I did think it wouldn’t be until 2040 or later that things really got serious, but its happening right now. The rate of change is accelerating and there is almost certainly little or nothing we can do to stop it. I was active in campaigning on climate change in the 1990’s – I recently met up with a crew of my activist friends from that period and most have just given up and quietly accept that the chance to make real change is gone. Future generations will quite rightly never forgive this generation for its greed and stupidity in the face of overwhelming evidence.

      1. RUKidding

        I was most active on environmental issues and climate change back in the late ’70s to mid ’80s. I never quite gave up and still do this and that. But I think it was about in the mid ’90s that it seemed pretty hopeless. People world-wide just aren’t interested, and the level of putrid propaganda in this country is just beyond the pale.

        I donate to several organizations whom I think (hard to tell sometimes) are doing good work, but the info I get from them (newsletters, etc) sure are not hopeful. The change is now happening very very quickly, and if I think about it enough, I’m pretty frightened about what’s going to happen.

        I’m old enough that perhaps I’ll slip through the cracks, but I marvel at my neices and nephews who’ve have mostly all chosen to have a lot of kids. Their futures? Egad. They’re all very religious, so they’ve been indoctrinated (brainwashed?) to believe that they’ll be “taken care of.” Hence, a very careless, heedless, mindless attitude towards climate change.

        I’ve given up attempting to discuss it with them. They really don’t want to hear anything. I wish them well. I don’t think it’s going to be good. Hope I’m wrong.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I don’t think its a case of giving up as much as surrendering to the inevitable. Everyone still does their bit, but I sense (and this includes me) a general sense of feeling that making personal sacrifices is pointless in the face of such odds. Everyone is just living their life as best they can. There are moments of optimism of course, and the feeling that for some, it might not be so bad. But its unavoidable now to know that anyone under the age of 60 is likely to see very serious effects in their lifetime, its not just about the children. They, of course, will get it worse.

          1. Procopius

            Probably by 2040 there will be parts of the Earth’s surface, at least for part of the year, that are literally uninhabitable. I expect that by 2300 most of the Earth’s surface, except at the poles and maybe even there, will be uninhabitable for at least part of the year. Eventually we will reach the point where humanity is going to have to go underground, as in Isaac Asimov’s novels, or go extinct. Wasn’t it one of the Emirates where the mid-day temperature reached 150° F last year?

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      I’ll say it again. We are not all f*cked. If sea levels rise 3 feet, some billions of us are in big trouble. But that probably just means better spring skiing in Davos.

      There is a difference between extinction and boom/bust cycles.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As an economist was known to have said, ‘In the long run, we are all in trouble…”

        To the billionaires, though, it’s not the destination, but the journey, or the path it takes.

        It’s not that we are all f**ked, but how to make money during the journey, as it unfolds – and it will likely unfold with Gardens of Eden here and there, all over the world.

        “What a lovely day!”

        1. HopeLB

          I bet some elites have studied NASA’s map of sea level rise and are buying up the land. The Bushes purchased a massive tract in South America a few years back and after Time Mag’s prediction that only Utah will be stable during the next century, the NSA put their Spyverse there. The rest of need to join together and reforest/orchard all suburban yards and useless lawn strips. Think of all the jobs particularly in Autumn!

        2. jawbone

          And domes, built by Trump Inc.

          Not sure how he’ll handle the climate change consequences as they hit Manhattan…but he’s old enough he’ll miss the worst. Domes over his golf courses might be a challenge…but for private mansions probably easy peasy.

          The kids and grandkids will be doing dome design competitions, etc., so their real estate businesses will continue to be profitable.

      2. subgenius

        Yes, we are.

        A large part of the infrastructure allowing this ‘civilization’ will be destroyed by that kind of change. That change is a result of an increase in atmospheric, land and sea temperatures. Those changes will decimate long-standing ecosystems on which we depend.

        Add to that waste/pollution issues of a toxic nature, and the ‘exploitation’ of material resources.

        We are, in fact fucked. Because people are apparently incapable of joining the dots or are just to narcissistic or sociopathic.

      3. Aumua

        We are not all f*cked.

        We are all one species, and the problems of some of us, are the problems of all of us. That is the only way of looking at it that is going to work. To solve our collective problems we have to all work together at it, or at least a certain tipping percentage of us have to. Worldwide, together. The very idea of, for instance advancing America’s interests first, ostensibly over those of the human race, and other life forms on our planet, is failure. “America” is just an idea itself, an imaginary border. Maybe it will be more real if we build a wall, I don’t know.

        With the collapse we’re headed for, Americans are going to suffer and possibly die out along with the rest of the human beings. The problems of some of us are the problems of all of us. Except the elites, they can get their great skiing in Davos, for a little while.

    4. DakotabornKansan

      A thermometer isn’t liberal or conservative.

      “Nature’s best thermometer, perhaps its most sensitive and unambiguous indicator of climate change, is ice. When ice gets sufficiently warm, it melts. Ice asks no questions, presents no arguments, reads no newspapers, listens to no debates. It is not burdened by ideology and carries no political baggage as it crosses the threshold from solid to liquid. It just melts.” – Henry Pollack, A World Without Ice.

      No snow, no ice? http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/9081154/

      Every extinction event appears to be unhappy, and fatally so, in its own way:

      Life and death. http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/4351958/

      “In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.” – ecologist Paul Ehrlich

    5. Knot Galt

      Humanity and civilization is being attacked on several fronts. Add on other stories of our damaged environment. For example, it was reported today in Oregon that Gold Beach, on the southwest corner of the State, has measurable amounts of radiation showing up on the coast from Fukushima. So not only do we have rising sea levels; we have radioactive raising sea levels.

      I don’t care what type of home or how many you have, no one can escape this. And it’s gonna be four more years of more hell before anything can be done about it and some say we have already passed the point of no return. We truly are a circle-jerk society, aren’t we?

      1. Aumua

        it was reported today in Oregon that Gold Beach, on the southwest corner of the State, has measurable amounts of radiation showing up on the coast from Fukushima.*

        * extremely low levels

        It needs to be added, with all of the scaremongering and b.s. that’s happened over Fukushima.

        1. Skip Intro

          Since the effect exposure from those radioisotopes is cumulative, and they tend to bioaccumulate, the fact that they are measurable translates into a similarly measurable number of cancers and other health impacts, all so that a corrupt scam can produce plutonium for a nuclear weapons program. As reassuring as the /de rigeur/ disclaimer is meant to be, it is really just more industry propaganda.

    6. Oregoncharles

      It helps to make it personal. The projected sea level rise if all the ice melts is about 200 feet. Our house is at 220 ft.; we’re close to 200 river miles from the sea. Most of the Willamette would be an arm of the sea, to say nothing of the lower Columbia.

      Personally, I wouldn’t want to buy property much below that elevation.

      Everyone should check the elevation where they are; there are some surprises in store. And yes, 200′ is now projected to be a long way out – but all the projections so far have been very conservative. Again, surprises in store.

      1. Aumua

        If it gets to where all the ice melts, then sea level is going to be one of the least of our problems, as we could only survive on a small percentage of the remaining land anyway. But I just had an idea: what if the great flood of the Bible, and other mythologies was something in the future?

  4. ChiGal in Carolina

    Gorgeous cloud. Again I say, there oughtta be elementidotes for inanimate wonders like sand (stone), sea, and sky.

    And thanks for the Ocare links, now in the process of enrolling – ugh. Website projects approx 12k for the year for me, including premiums and meeting my deductible while consuming actual care & meds. Most of that is premiums, so in the end very little will be paid by the insurer.

    1. Lemmy

      My best ACA option was a crappy Bronze plan for $504 per month with a $5,000 deductible, so I went rogue instead.
      I signed up for an 11-month short-term policy from Lloyd’s of London for $256 per month with a $5,000 deductible. It’s non-ACA compliant, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be exempt from the tax penalty because our ACA premiums would have exceeded 8% of our adjusted household income.

      Even factoring in the cost of getting 1-month short-term policies to cover next December, it’s still the best solution I could find. Granted, my annual physical costs will come out of my pocket, as will the few screening tests that would have been covered under the ACA. But since my spouse also signed up for the same plan, we’re saving a combined $5,500 in premiums for the year. Even if we spend $1,000-$2,000 on office visits, screenings and meds, we’ll still come out ahead.

      Will it work out? We shall see. At least we’ll have some coverage through 2017 and who knows what changes 2018 will bring.

      1. a different chris

        What exactly does the LoL (just kidding!) policy cover? Curious, since it seems like the gummint should just cover whatever that is for everybody for free, at least as a start. I’m sure you are young and healthy, so LoL themselves would be a lot more for say a 50yr old smoker with our usual host of third-world aliments, but again the US gov’t has no limit of funds *and* has to deal with that person if they make it to Medicare age anyway.

        Obamamometer would have offered that if he knew what a legacy impairing c-f Obamacare would be – of course even then he would offer that right off and then start negotiating it down. Only us stupid nobodies and Trump seem to have gotten the memo that real negotiations always start from impossible positions.

        1. Lemmy

          After you hit the deductible, it covers everything 100% up to a cap of $1 million. I’m no spring chicken (50-something) but I’m healthy (knock on wood) and have a very minor pre-existing condition, which is another thing the LoL policy excludes. It’s t a perfect solution, but it was better than paying $11,000 in premiums plus another $5,000 in deductibles if one of us gets sick.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Yeah, I got preexisting conditions including osteoarthritis and given how Medicare looks to be evaporating, my plan has changed from waiting as long as possible (I’m 59) to have a knee replacement to doing it asap.

            1. jrs

              probably better ASAP if you are going to get it, the younger you are, the easier recovery will be. The surgery is going to be risker and recovery is going to be harder for example at 75 than 59.

            2. Lemmy

              My wife needed knee surgery last year, so she went for an ACA Silver plan with a low deductible ($1,800, I think), knowing she would hit her deductible quickly, what with an MRI, the surgery, therapy, meds, etc. It worked out pretty well.

            3. sleepy

              I became Medicare eligible last month after paying $560 a month for three years for a pretty good blue cross cobra policy. I now pay a grand total of $260 a month for Medicare parts B and D including a supplemental policy that pays most out of pocket expenses and deductibles. Medicare isn’t free and the premiums are a hit to my SS check, but even that is far, far better than for anyone not on Medicare.

              Do Medicare for all. The $260/month could drop due to economies of scale, and give subsidies to those who couldn’t afford it. Even better, pay for it through what would be a minimal tax increase–still far cheaper for the average medical “consumer” than the current system. And, yes, I understand MMT, that taxes for healthcare are unnecessary as a matter of fact, but as a matter of political reality, go for it.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Hmm, thx for the tip. Maybe I should look into that – $250 a month sure sounds sweet. I was looking at the silver plan though, so it has a lower deductible, 3k I think.

        1. Lemmy

          Depending on your age, ACA can be very do-able. If you qualify for subsidies, even more so. The LoL thing feels a bit riskier, but for us the chance to lower our total costs by $5,000 or so was too inviting. I would have preferred an ACA plan, but we just couldn’t swing it.

      3. divadab

        If $504 per month is more than 8% of your income, you should qualify for an ACA subsidy. Something does not compute in your example. Also if you are married filing joint with the IRS, you should have gotten a quote on a combined policy for you and your wife from the ACA exchange – again, something does not compute.

        I agree the ACA is bad but for millions including my family it’s better than what we had. Our policy is a bronze, HSA-eligible, high-deductible plan with a monthly premium of $835 – we get a subsidy of $500 so our net premium is $325 per month.

        You appear to be leaving something out of your example. Probably your wife makes too much money for you to qualify for subsidy.

  5. b.

    “And yet new jobs have always come along.”

    Useful idiocies in defense of 40 hour week – we have always worked thus – “at will”, increasing retirement age, bullshit credentialist makework, decoupling of wages and productivity and on and on and on…

    Job peddlers are neolibs or their stooges. Human being need purpose, and it might just no come in job-lots.

    Peddling “jobs” should be a litmus test to, fittingly, end this “reality distortion”

    1. jrs

      Joy is hearing an IWW person involved in actual and practical and real time now organizing (the prison strike) answering non-nonchalantly when asked what their ultimate goal is: “the end of wage slavery”. As if it was the most natural thing in the world to ask.

    2. hunkerdown

      So right, b. Especially the sentence about purpose.

      But wage labor has always been interested in the power relation. See the story of the 19th century USA laborer who would just no-show for the rest of the month once they got the pay they needed, with the response being, more or less, to ensure that workers couldn’t get what they needed and therefore couldn’t stop coming in.

        1. clinical wasteman

          no, not ‘natural’ but historical: i.e. it does exist, but it’s built into capital specifically. No need for help from Marx here: David Ricardo theorized it accurately, except he didn’t notice that it wasn’t there yesterday. i.e. He was wrong precisely inasmuch as he thought (hoped? prayed?) that the newfangled ‘law’ must be ‘natural’.
          Although — in grafting his gratitude for the providence of land-ownership onto a competent description of the early industrial wage, he may have stumbled on ‘primitive accumulation’ by accident. Or he might have done had he spent more time thinking about owner-managers of the land and of the people working it in the British (& French) Caribbean colonies. The island plantation economy provided the industrial model (in the 18th century, before it took off in Europe) along with the macro-historical ‘seed capital’. Forgive the repetition repetition repetition, but CLR James is decisive on this point.

  6. ChrisFromGeorgia

    “What President-elect Trump has the opportunity to do now is to launch a third great wave of suburbanization, one that can revive the American Dream for the Millennial generation, produce jobs and wealth that can power the American economy, and take advantage of changing technology to create a new wave of optimism and dynamism in American life

    Paging James Kunstler and the ArchDruid … we have a “situation” here … dog about to return to its’ own vomit requires an “intervention!”

    1. jrs

      Meanwhile Dr Housing Bubble above tells the truth about what suburbanization means:

      “For example, in Orange County, the most expensive county in Southern California many people have been pushed into the Inland Empire. Yet the actual employment boom is happening in LA and OC making millions of people commute ungodly hours on the jam packed soul crushing freeways. …. The fastest growing counties in SoCal are with Riverside and San Bernardino. In the end, how much is a commute worth though?”

      suburbanization = spend near every hour of your life you don’t spend at work stuck in traffic. The American dream is more like a nightmare.

      1. Big River Bandido

        …to say nothing of the environmental horrors of having *even more* sprawl, *even more* energy-sucking behemoth homes in the middle of nowhere, and *even more* cars out on the road to get their (usually) single occupants to and from work.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We came from sprawl and it’s OK to return to sprawl.

          That is, we were hunter-gatherers once. If we can bring bison and mammoths back to the sprawl, if we can bring work to those areas, there need not to be more cars on the road.

      2. L

        Agreed, Suburbanization faces interesting fundamental limits that the post does not seem to be under consideration.

        The first is the damn commute itself. Where I live people already have hour plus commutes just to find affordable housing and the existing demand for more roads is turning all those leafy green places to asphalt grey. This is annoying the hell out of everyone, especially the people in existing suburbs that are getting paved over. As this commute goes up the real livability of these places goes down exponentially. California is nuts but even a 1 hour a day will kill you and your family.

        The second is a lack of space. At this point the exurbs in some eastern states are bumping into one-another. Sooner or later there is nowhere else to go.

        The third is the existing space. In this post-baby-boom generation we already have large amounts of housing stock and spaces for it. While those are often occupied we face smaller scale versions of the Detroit problem, empty areas that we seem to be building past not rebuilding.

        Ultimately this creates basic problems. The physical distance limits could be reduced, but not eliminated via rail but that is an anethema to the Republicans who have fought against all such projects at all levels. The lack of space is fundamental however as is the existence of prior suburbs that are not even being gentrified let alone taken care of. At some point those will become costs in their own right.

        1. Knot Galt

          Actually any added growth, in the long run or sustainably, is near impossible. It is very simple.

          No water.

        2. Anonymous

          During rush hour, it takes me 2 hours, regardless of route, to travel 25 miles from Los Angeles to my workplace in a nearby city.

          1. JTMcPhee

            …but if you are driving the right luxurious car with entertainment system and heated and cooled leather seats, it’s QUALITY TIME…

            1. Steve C

              Right wingers are totally socialistic when it comes to taxpayers subsidizing car drivers and the Walmarts that depend on them. The suburbs are the real welfare queens. It all would collapse without generous taxpayer subsidies.

    2. curlydan

      Most millennials and young adults I observe don’t care too much for driving and actually want to live closer to the city core. So go ahead and build it…maybe China could make fun of our future ghost cities!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s a positive feedback loop – people want to live near the ocean, all the nice restaurants are there, the stars are there, air is cooler in the summer, and not as cold in the winter, image-conscious, superficial companies or people want to live there, theaters, museums, all there for the FREE MARKET to allow people to choose to live there, while the suburbs die…unless GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS.

        Or the government can make sure government employment, government funded universities, museums, opera houses, etc. are, and encourage private ones as well to be located in the suburbs and give subsidies to companies to be located there.

        1. Carla

          Building on your idea:

          Make sure government employment, government funded universities, museums, opera houses, new and refurbished infrastructure, etc. are all centrally located in the Midwest, smack in the center of the country, far from the coasts and those inexorably rising seas. Why do I think Trump will not do this, either?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            He can relocate the capital to the middle of the country, like Brazil did with Brasilia.

            Being a real estate guy, he knows better than anyone to develop a real estate project.

            1. UserFriendly

              haha just picturing all the snotty coastal elites being forced to move to Kansas City is enough to make me smile. Maybe they can pick up MMT while they are there.

              1. sleepy

                From the perspective of a small town in northern Iowa where I live, places like Kansas City and Minneapolis are the coastal elites.

                I’ve been taken lately with the imagery of my Iowa town in winter. It resembles something out of Romania in 1978; I think it deserves a photo shoot of some sort this January.

          2. jrs

            It’s far from rising seas at least, that is true, but I’ve heard pretty bleak predictions for the middle of the country with climate change as well.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Actually, the lower Mississippi valley has little or no elevation. It used to be an inland sea, and probably will be again. Along with southern Florida and all our ports.

      2. armchair

        Trump will make the young people stay out in the exurbs, just like he made Carrier stay in Indiana. Good luck finding hipster gear at WalMart, but it will be young people’s duty to learn to love life without sidewalks. Take a 20 minute drive to the nearest playground for your kids. Choke on that Antarctica! Soprano’s McMansions for everyone! Make it great again!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The McMansions are more likely to be in Santa Monica than, say, Corona.

          The bottleneck issue is that not all of us can be squeezed into urban areas…not even if we miniaturize humans.

          1. armchair

            The issue is that developers are short-sighted idiots who will plow fields and forests under to create neighborhoods with one access road (a bottleneck) and a couple of crappy soul-destroying commercial areas with zero character and nobody under the age of 40 wants to live in these exurban bedroom communities.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Unfortunately, that describes my neighborhood.

              I try to find solace in the open space, being closer to nature (even smelled cow dung all the way from Chino this morning) and having animals friends who have room to roam, without running into a bunch of people.

              As for commercial areas, all or most shopping stores are soul-destroying for this monk-Luddite, except grocery stores.

              I do miss good museums, and I hope the government can intervene to spread culture to us deplorables, so it’s closer and nearer.

              I won’t mind if they split the Los Angeles County Museum up and build a branch nearby.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                And if UCLA can relocate their Art History department to my neighborhood, it’d be great as well.

                They can use their existing building over at Westwood to host rave parties if they want.

            1. aab

              I noticed a fantastic tree house in a back yard of my heavily McMansioned neighborhood. I pointed it out to my husband. It was such a thrill to imagine a child getting to play in it. We live in what was a very family-oriented neighborhood. Used to have a fantastic public elementary school and many parks, in addition to being close to a lot of the major private schools. Every home used to have a front and a back yard. But the houses now run up to the fence and the sidewalk, even when they combine lots.

              When I got a little closer, I saw that the house was an abandoned teardown. I don’t know why it’s sitting there like that. There are properties like that dotting the area.

              That great public school is now a charter. Back in the day, local families resented that poor kids were being bused in. So, win/win for them, I guess.

        2. megamie

          I know its a slogan and I see (in my zip code) plenty of Trump make America great again bumper stickers but when was America great?? Was it an exact date, year, decade?? And I know I am asking a question that will be answered when America was great for each individual.

          1. Jim Haygood

            My answer would be “March 10, 1937” — peak of the Great Depression bull market, just before things fell apart again, then a world war broke out.

            Wish I could time-travel back and meet my folks, see our towns as they used to be.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When our state, California, becomes independent, this progressive beacon will still welcome with open arms illegal American immigrants from Oklahoma, Michigan, etc.

      We may be elitists, but we are progressive in that respect (we need our cheap gardeners and waitresses, sorry, future movie stars).

      1. Fiery Hunt

        What gets me is the study says it’s not the “gig” economy that’s added the most crappy “jawbs”, it’s the conversion of what used to be corporate jobs into “independent contractors”…

        I wonder if Mr Krugman will notice this Harvard study and quit tweeting how great Obama’s Recovery was….

          1. HopeLB

            He knew that already but wanted to be Treas Sec when it happened so he could test his theories like Summers did in Argentina.

  7. cocomaan

    “Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner”

    Are you trying to cause hypertension, Lambert? Reading this has left my ears ringing. This has to be satire, right??! I cannot believe that such a person exists.

    Looking for the Breitbart article that reads roughly, I’ve found peace with my body after Trump’s election because he’s an overweight male and so am I.

    Or, my wife has started to dress like Melania since Donald shoved into the white house, and hooooooooh boy do I like it!.

    The brave new world with such people in it.

    1. ambrit

      Hey, cut Mr or Mz “no desire to procreate” some slack. He, she, or it has come on board with the Masters of the Universe population “stabilization” program. Next on the program: “Illegal immigrants to be sterilized if caught.” Now that qualifies as “skin in the game,” big time!
      For such a supposedly libertine class of people, the Reptilian Illuminatiis promote some seriously Puritan social policies.

    2. Skip Intro

      While the admirable self-culling of the most gullible is in itself newsworthy, I think this piece was highlighted because it shows that the denial/bargaining phases in the Clinton machine’s supporters/victims, characterized by recounts and attempts to nullify the Electoral College, is finally starting to give way to the depression phase.

      1. integer

        Heh. Well said. I’ve really had to hold myself back from commenting on that article, under the principle of ignoring to ensure it goes away.

  8. Lee

    If we look for issues that crossed party lines, i.e. that drew support from both Sanders and Trump supporters, we find four core issues:

    1. Anti-globalism
    2. disgust with the Establishment’s self-serving corrupt elites, i.e. anti-elitism
    3. Economic nationalism
    4. Anti-endless-neocon-wars, drone strikes, foreign entanglements

    I apologize for posting this quote about a hypothetical synthesis of left and right yet again but I keep circling back to it like a vulture over a rotting corpse or a shark smelling blood in the water. Can’t figure out which. Or maybe a more apt metaphor is in order.

    The platform of the Independence Party, as well as its message, is clear and uncompromising: zero tolerance of illegal immigrants; a freeze on legal immigration from Latin America, Africa and Asia; increased tariffs on all imports; a ban on American companies moving their operations to another country or outsourcing abroad; a prohibition on “sovereign wealth funds” investing in the United States. America will withdraw from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund; end all “involvements” in foreign countries; refuse to pay any more interest on our debt to China, essentially defaulting on it; and stop trading with China until China freely floats its currency.
    Profitable companies will be prohibited from laying off workers and cutting payrolls. The federal budget must always be balanced. The Federal Reserve will be abolished.
    Banks will be allowed only to take deposits and make loans. Investment banking will be prohibited. Anyone found to have engaged in insider trading, stock manipulation, or securities fraud will face imprisonment for no less than ten years.

    Robert Reich: 2010 Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future

    1. reslez

      The federal budget must always be balanced.

      This strikes me as the most likely item on this list to actually be enacted into law, yet per MMT it’s also the most disastrous. The sad thing is that if such a law or amendment were to pass, the subsequent depression would be blamed on the government’s mysterious inability to meet its budget targets. As we have seen repeatedly in Europe.

      Nurse: The patient’s condition is getting worse.
      Doctor: That means he hasn’t bled enough. Fetch more leeches!

  9. oho

    ‘that they deployed the nuclear option in 2013 to get some appointments passed, and didn’t even consider the nuclear option in 2009, when they could have used to pass single payer.’

    feature not a bug. and/or never underestimate the incompetence of Democrats.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Agree that it’s a feature not a bug. But I don’t believe it’s incompetence, or even impotence; just playing impotent for teevee. Getting rid of the filibuster (conveniently, only on Cabinet-level appointments) is a most convenient excuse for the Democrats, who are disinclined to obstruct Republican policy anyway.

    2. Vatch

      My understanding of the 2013 “nuclear” option in the Senate is that it only applies to non-Supreme judicial appointments and to executive branch appointments. It does not apply to laws.

      1. hunkerdown

        In other words, they get to decide in advance what they’re going to “fix”. Yet we still see them as competent to determine their own qualifications and rules. Weeeeird.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Nothing shows the strategic — indeed, the moral — bankruptcy more clearly than the fact that [Democrats] deployed the nuclear option [of eliminating 60-vote cloture] in 2013 to get some appointments passed … without considering that the R party would gleefully inherit their nuclear option.

      Just as Democrats didn’t imagine that the “inevitable” Hillary Clinton could possibly lose.

      The R party made the same boneheaded error in 1947 when they proposed Amendment XXII to limit presidents to two terms, after Roosevelt was elected to four. It blew up in their faces in 1988 when Reagan probably could have won a third term, but was (thankfully) ineligible.

      You’d think after 160 years these two dinosaurian parties would have mastered the basics of duopoly. But they really just aren’t very bright.

  10. Steve C

    The Democrats didn’t need to kill the filibuster to get single payer and a bigger stimulus in 2009. They could have used budget reconciliation, which Bush used three times to go around them to get his tax cuts for the rich and pharma giveaways. And now the Republicans are talking about passing two reconciliation bills next year to privatize Medicare, among other things, which I’m sure people like Pelosi secretly support.

    Budget reconciliation is the Republicans’ go-to and the Democrats always act like they never heard of it, except when they dusted it off at the last minute to rescue Obamacare after Scott Brown was elected. At best the Democrats are feckless bumblers. At worst they’re backstabbing traitors.

  11. Pat

    Not just Obama’s. That is since 2005. Don’t get me wrong I’m not defending him. Just noting that the reality is that Obama is merely the latest in a long line of people creating a situation where jobs are temporary, do not pay and come with little or no benefits.
    I remember being appalled when George Herbert Walker Bush pushed and got tax credits for companies to build factories outside of America. I had three questions. 1.) why are we encouraging countries to build factories outside of America, 2.) what guarantees did we have that said factories would not replace factories in the US, and 3.) what requirements did we make regarding those factories regarding worker pay/benefits/safety and the environmental impact of the factory. And even being a stupid DFH I knew the answers were to make it easier and cheaper for said companies to move there with maybe a few handouts to selected local persons we wished to advance our oligarch’s interests, None, and None. Don’t you think that was just one small brick in a big wall that has been built to keep workers out in the cold?

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Yeah, I do. I’m in my 40’s. Nixon was President when I was born. From then to now, one long, corrupt line of crapification and crony capitalism. Been self-employed (first as a book store owner, now as a custom stained glass window builder) living in the Bay Area…Mom’s still working at 70, and I’ll likely never own a home (at least not here).

      Can’t we get better leaders?


  12. IHateBanks

    “Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner”

    And thousands, perhaps millions, of potential partners utter a YUGE sigh of relief!

    Sister, get some therapy. Or a dog.


    1. Lee

      I sought partners after my heartrending divorce. Settled on the companionship of dogs and a few friends instead. That and strengthening the connection with my kids are the best emotional decisions of my life.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If anyone is not happy or emotionally low, the best thing to do is get up and do something active.

      Volunteer for Hillary or those with her.

      Go to the Rust Belt and re-educate the deplorables.

      Do something. Get out of the penthouse (the basement belongs to the deplorables).

      Maybe you will meet someone, and involuntarily, through your volunteerism, find a new partner. (Many have found love that way).

    3. Knot Galt

      Pleeze! Get a frickin’ life. With an attitude and perspective like that, her chances in the dating pool are slim to none anyway. And a pet? Not even a dog wants to ne around someone so self important and naïve?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Bet her pre-election dating site profile said, “If you’re a Trump supporter, don’t bother contacting me.”

        Not a good sign for flexibility in other aspects of a relationship.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In the dating game, women have the upper hand, or at least it is so for this one.

          She could afford to choose and, for now, rejecting about 49% (my guess). and still feels comfortable about achieving her goal.

          Most men (i know of) being beggars, aren’t so picky, or can’t afford to.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Most men can’t throw a temper tantrum like her and expect their partners to ‘understand’ – at least not while they are still hope to be in the game.

            Afterwards, yes. Those reprobate men. They hide so well their negatives.

          2. Knot Galt

            I don’t completely agree. I’m divorced, on my second life, and fortunate enough to where women no longer have the upper hand. It’s probably sexist(?), but the mindset of the article reeks of desperation or self-involved loathing? Like Jim Haywood says, “Not a good sign of flexibility . . .”.

            This is indicative of our existing liberal, or progressive, existence(of which I include myself) that I have a hard time embracing. Crying over spilled milk at the same time ignoring to clean it up? I guess the “upper hand” assumes someone will come along and clean it up for you? *snark w/ apologies.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              You’re right – it’s not so for all women….maybe just this one, with the way she is acting, it’s as if (though that is not guaranteed either).

    4. OIFVet

      Did she rend the “Nasty woman” t-shirt, too? What a whiny piece. So the author has “the means to fix our car. I, on my own, can support my family”, yet she has now lost hope: “There is no room for dating in this place of grief. Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words “President-elect Trump.” Gee, a lot of the people who lost their hope long time ago can’t afford to fix their cars or support their families. A large number of Americans can’t come up with $500 in case of an emergency (and that’s about what it must have cost the author to replace her car’s radiator). Her hopelessness seems to be the hissy fit of an entitled child who didn’t get her way this time around. The poor dear! Well then, enjoy your relationship with your vibrator and make sure to buy batteries in bulk from Costco.

        1. Lee

          Hah! I just searched Lena Dunham to find out she does indeed have a sister whom Lena initially claims she sexually abused when they were both children and later back tracked. Dunham takes something that I would regard as innocent childhood experimentation and turns it into a creepy confession. Anything for attention. Enough about this “big pile of pudding.”

    5. Arizona Slim

      I was in a meditation class yesterday afternoon. Our teacher said that many of his students were, shall we say, feeling strong emotions about the election.

      And there was Arizona Slim, trying not to roll eyes or heave a big sigh before the class started. That’s not very Zen.

      Any-hoo, I encouraged my fellow students to read up on U.S. history. We’ve had lousy presidents before, and the nation survived.

      I don’t think that’s what they wanted to hear.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Ok, I’ll bite: Why not? More to the point: if that’s not Zen, what is?

        There’s more to being a buddha than sitting in zazen. Not to express your original mind would just be being a stone buddha.

        The old saying goes, “When walking, just walk. When sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.” To which Alan Watts waggishly replied, “Of course, you can wobble, if you really wobble well!”

        Same would go for rolling your eyes and sighing, IMNSHO.

        Here’s something for your next meeting, which might be more to their liking: a Zen knock-knock joke.

        For years, I avoided the roshi. I couldn’t come up with My Big Question. Then it hit me.

        I went to a dharma talk. When the floor was opened to questions, I made my move. I went on and on, about the travails of a poet trying to bring his great doubt to a point. “So now I have my big question,” I said, as the room fell silent. “Want to hear a knock-knock joke?” It’s a question!

        Trouble was, Harada Roshi of One Drop Tahoma doesn’t speak English. Worse for my big moment, he didn’t even know what a knock-knock joke was. But being a good sport, he wanted to play along.

        (Prompted by the translator, the roshi said, “Who’s there?”)
        (I’ll never forget the scene as that elegant man, in his impressive robes, pursed his lips and gave the reply, “Buddha who?”)
        KNOW! I said, pausing for effect, “BUDDHA YOU!”

        He laughed like a child. The room erupted in more laughter. Mission accomplished.

    6. craazyman

      I’ll take her if she’s hot.

      I’ll plan to put her through a rehabilitation and re-education program. Sometimes involving Spanish wine. That should last about a month, after which, if she’s not too sore, she can walk around and see reality.

      Reality is complicated. It doesn’t easily reduce to linear forumlations, even in many dimensions, or even non-linear formulations in many dimensions. Basically it’s something that requires a multi-conceptual analytical framework where contradictions and paradoxes are to be expected, not seen as evidence of model calibration error.

      Trump is gonna be OK I think. I think his family is who he’s gonna listen to. Whinging and wining liberulls should get an effing life. Get a life! Don’t whinge and wine like whimpering puppy dogs, expecting some benevolent Great Deity of Deliverance from Desperation to pat you on your little head.

      What a bunch of nonsense — I can’t believe the nonsense I read on the internet written (or I really should say “typed” because writing is a word that implicitly contains the idea of reflective mental activity, and I don’t mean reflecting whatever nonsense the tribal mind concocts in orgies of self-justifying diatribes. I mean really thinking fromn first princples, based on perception of the natural world as a phenomenon worthy of serious contemplation in the silence of the mind utilizing God-given Gnostic faculties. Not reflecting in a visual sense but contemplation. I just realized I forgot the closed-parenthesis, so here it is. )

      It sounds like a month of re-education and rehabilitation should do it. If she’s hot, it should be reasonably easy to put her through a liberull-detox program and work her out. She’ll feel better than ever when it’s over! She’ll have a smile on her face and a bounce in her step and she’ll be walking down the street forgetting where she is! hahahahahahha. Even President Trump won’t be a problem. President Who? He’s not so bad, some good, some bad, some I scream about for a few minutes, some I think, Well OK. That’s the result of liberall detox therapy.

      1. OIFVet

        Here she is: https://twitter.com/stepville. Dunno craazyman, just a brief read through her feed and I am convinced that in a month she will break you. You will return here spouting pro-Hillary drivel and ready to head the Grande Armée on its march on Moscow.

        1. craazyman

          wow,. it says she worked as a maid for five years! No foolin, that’s serious. I respect that. I could never ever do something like that.

          for me, it’s Paul Stuart suits and English hand-made shoes. I was at Burberry today in fact looking at cardigan sweaters. One was $895, blue double breasted. it was awesome and I almost bought it, but I didn’t. I still might though. You want to walk down the street and think to yourself “Whoa am I hot or what?” hahahahahaha

          She would never change my mind about politics because I don’t follow politics and don’t have a mind to change. I couldn’t care less if Trump is president. I’m glad he won, actually. But I didn’t vote. I gave Bernie $300 dollars and I would have voted for Bernie. But he quit. Then I quit. It was back to YouTube for me after that.

          Wow. I just read the story and she sounds like a Certified Wacko (CW). Wow she sounds like somebody to keep about 50 yards away, just in case they have a firearm. usually they can’t shoot a can from 3 feet but if they pull the trigger they might get lucky. Panic and hysteria aren’t usually helpful for marksmanship but shlt happens and who knows if it’s a bad luck day. Holy smokes. She needs to learn how to channel. But still, if she really did work 5 years as a maid, I respect that. I really do. Total props to that.

  13. Paid Minion

    The only thing worse than “Nasty Woman” (yeah, that’s a great message to put on your shirt) and the “Doomsday if Trump is elected” cult, are the Republican lunatics who treated Barack Obama like the Anti-Christ…….at a point when government needed to work.

    Yeah……..instead, the plan became “sabotage ever Obama/Democratic initiative, then call them failures”. A real mature way of doing business.

    Meanwhile, back at the Trump Looney-bin. In a country that only creates fast-food McJobs, it makes perfect sense to name a fast-food CEO to be Secretary of Labor.

    Next up…….the EPA Administrator will be someone from the Houston Petrochemical industry. After all, who knows more about polluting the environment?.

    “Running government like a business”, or

    “Government by the BS Artist, for the BS Artist”.

    1. HopeLB

      Obama had two years with a Dem majority. He was never really after getting things working for the hope and change contingent. It was serving the status quoers that gave him energy.

      1. aab

        If I was granted one wish, but it couldn’t be used to personally benefit me or deliver any material benefits to anyone, I’d wish for all cessation of the “Meanie Republican” meme. Barack Obama entered office with a big majority in both houses. If the Democratic Party had wanted to — if it had cared about its voters, its proclaimed values, its history or actually governing well and maintaining institutional power, it would have used that majority to break up the banks, jail bankers, pass universal healthcare, delivered a huge stimulus, etc. Imagine what a real party could and would have done. Lift the cap on Social Security. Lower the age at which you can receive your full Social Security benefits. End the rapacious charter movement. Obama and the Democrats could have done so much good. They had a bigger majority than Trump’s — significantly bigger. Obama had an actual mandate for change.

        But nope. And that is not in any way shape or form the Republicans’ fault. Barack Obama had power, and he used that power, exactly as he and his funders intended. There could have been many effective responses to what the Republicans then did — but again, only if you wanted to strengthen the left and its policy positions. But he didn’t. So he was left to play out his designated role of duplicitous, stealth Republican, nibbling away at the social safety net, but not enough for conservatives to approve. Even his banker and billionaire funders got cranky when he occasionally made an attempt to say leftish words to cover his corporatist deeds.

        And even AFTER all that, the Democratic Party was presented with a gift-wrapped package: back Sanders, lock in the largest generation in history as Democratic partisans, correct all the mistakes of the Obama years, win back power, help the citizenry, fend off a right wing takeover. But again, nope. They utterly refused, preferring instead to try to ram Mrs. Clinton into the presidency with chimerical Republican votes.

        I am no fan of the Kentucky Turtle, but if you choose to hand your weapon to an opponent, and then, when someone else gets it back for you when you’re on the ground beaten, and you decide to hand your weapon to your opponent AGAIN, your loss in on you.

        The Republicans want to win. The Democrats want Republican policies to win, as long as their leadership gets a taste. So for Obama and his ilk, it all worked out great. For those of us who don’t like that outcome, it makes more sense to me to blame the people who keep intentionally throwing the game, rather than the ones who are openly and honestly playing to win.

        Shoot. This should have been a reply to Paid Minion. Sorry, Hope.

  14. barrisj

    Not sure if this item was already commented upon, but the Gruan is reporting that Demos in Congress are badgering the Obama Administration to release “all definitive intelligence that implicates Russian assets in hacking activities during the recent US elections”. Herr Trump, OTOH, is dismissing these allegations as, “…politics, and I reject [the intelligence agencies] conclusion…I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they interfered”. Gedouddamyface, fools, I won and we’re moving on! Adam Schiff (D-CA) amongst the most prominent whingers, and struck a pose of extreme dudgeon at the Donald’s curt dismissal…FAB!


      1. OIFVet

        Schiff making me feel bad for Tucker Carlson is a monumental achievement, considering the fact that I have dreamt of twisting Carlson’s bow tie on several occasions.

        1. aab

          Schiff used to be my Congressman. I got to vote for somebody better only after redistricting. He a perfect example of the Democratic machine in California. No voters really ever chose him. He was selected by the machine after putting in his time in a non-elected capacity, at which point he was dropped into a district where he either ran literally or figuratively unopposed. (It was a long time ago now, but I remember being utterly disgusted that I had no alternative to this Waxman-lite stooge representing me at any point in the process.)

          I don’t have anything meaty to add here. I’m just torn between fury and tears about everything going on, and wishing I was more of a drinker. My fundamental maxim, that it is better to know the truth than swallow a comforting lie, is being sorely tested.

          1. OIFVet

            Being more of a drinker wouldn’t solve anything. I tried that for a while, after my deployment. Wasted year and a half…

    1. Gareth

      So Clinton called Trump a fascist but there are all these Ukrainian Neo-nazi links to the Clinton campaign. It kind of makes a person wonder.

    2. DG

      dcblogger: Thanks for the link. Mark Ames at his eye-poppingest. And he backs his assertions with carefully aligned details, as always.

    3. HopeLB

      No surprise there given Victoria Nuland (Kagan’s wife) was handing out cookies to these same Nazi fascists after the Ukrainian coup under Hillary as Sec of State.

    4. knowbuddhau

      Yikes. On the “malice vs. incompetence” spectrum, Ames puts PoN on the blowback/blunder end.

      To be clear, I am not arguing that Chalupa is behind PropOrNot. But it is important to provide context to the boasts by PropOrNot about its Ukrainian nationalist links—within the larger context of the Clinton campaign’s anti-Kremlin hysteria, which crossed the line into Cold War xenophobia time and time again, an anti-Russian xenophobia shared by Clinton’s Ukrainian nationalist allies. To me, it looks like a classic case of blowback: A hyper-nationalist group whose extremism happens to be useful to American geopolitical ambitions, and is therefore nurtured to create problems for our competitor. Indeed, the US has cultivated extreme Ukrainian nationalists as proxies for decades, since the Cold War began.

      You know, it was Her Royal Clinton’s old hero, Barry Goldwater, who said, in his 1964 Republican convention nomination acceptance speech, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

      Here’s an interesting article on the provenance of that immortal line from a libertarian think tank.

  15. Big River Bandido

    re: Gnashing of Teeth and Rending of Garments

    Whoever wrote that neededn’t worry. Their sense of being the lead in their own personal drama ought to be enough to repel any decent potential candidates for a relationship.

  16. Big River Bandido

    Under Realignment and Legitimacy:

    “After several rounds of votes and appointments, however, only four of the top 15 leadership spots are occupied by lawmakers who aren’t in coastal states, and only one of those — Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) — is from the Midwest” [The Hill].

    I live in Crowley’s district in NYS, and grew up in Loebsack’s district in IA, just across the district where Bustos now serves. All three are, each in their own ways, perfect examples of what’s wrong with the Democrats. The fact that two of them are now in the caucus leadership says very clearly to me that Democrats aren’t going to recover in 2018.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Thanks for that. I’m just loving how the leadership positions are of way more import and way ahead of policy, platform, reckoning.

      There should be a whole lot of falling on swords as in what, at least 80 percentile banished never to be eligible for any leadership whatsoever again (and let us help push if need be) going on rather than what we have seen in just this month.

      An entirely anti d process to put it mildly. It’s not a party, you can’t be a member, you have absolutely no say unless you already agree. But hey, someone just needs to take it over and fix it a little. Like that’s going to work.

      Put that hateful, fear-filled, shrill kill cultist Wapo woman with a mean t-shirt at the top of the next ticket… Oh wait!

  17. Pelham

    I’m always frustrated by income growth figures that show the middle class holding about even. I always want to say, “Yes, but …”

    And the qualification, which makes ALL the difference in the world, is that the cost of necessities such as medical care and education that make up most of a middle- or working-class family’s budget have soared well beyond the pace of inflation. And that means that discretionary income — what really matters — is sharply down.

    The middle and working classes aren’t holding their own, as simple wage figures suggest, but are falling way, way behind!

  18. Bugs Bunny

    Today’s Links and Water Cooler have been such a litany of sadness. I hold hope for all of us that the new year will bring news that makes us optimistic about the future. Including for giraffes.

    1. aab

      Thank you for saying that. I started crying scanning down the Water Cooler links — no joke, actual tears — and I haven’t been able to snap out of it. Somehow, seeing someone else say it is consoling.

      I realize this could be taken as just as indulgent as the idiot who thinks her dating problem is the election of Trump, and not her running around self-declaring that she’s a nasty elitist. Since I already feel like I’m too self-revelatory on this site, I have no affirmative defense against that except to say that I’m aware as I type on my laptop, sending data onto the Internet through my home Wifi network, that I am very fortunate compared to a lot of people, and despair is waste of time. Sigh.

      1. katyusha

        A lurker here and I agree with the affects of today’s WC.

        Despair and thoughts of death–will it all seem more bearable with one more spring on the other side of the calendar?

  19. flora

    Nothing shows the strategic — indeed, the moral — bankruptcy more clearly than the fact that [the Dems] deployed the nuclear option in 2013 to get some appointments passed, and didn’t even consider the nuclear option in 2009, when they could have used to pass single payer. Or a decent stimulus package. If they had wanted to. They paid the price for that in 2010. And we’re still paying the price for their fecklnessness (or active malice) today, with crap programs like ObamaCare (see Health Care below) and Trump’s election. ” -Lambert

    Just wanted to repeat that.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Did you see Lambert’s response to your comment about this in yesterday’s Links? He asked you a couple of questions about how it’s happening in the hope of diagnosing the problem.

      1. Ranger Rick

        I had some free time and popped open my browser console to see what there was to see. Lo and behold my browser was blocking the pines.jpg image because it’s being served via http while I’m browsing this page via https.

  20. Jim Haygood

    On a mild up day, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all reached record highs.

    But the star of the show was the Russell 2000 small-cap index, on fire with a 1.41% gain.

    One never knows in the early going whether a secular trend change has occurred. But the ferociously powerful 19 percent gain in small stocks since the Friday before the election is certainly suggestive of such.

    Dow 20K watch: 1.96% away.

  21. Benedict@Large

    Middle of nowhere, TX. Probably a small farm or business. Hard worker. Looking to pass what little he has on to his children.

    $5,000 deductible. That’s one month of Avastin, the center of my chemo. 4 years now. I’ll be on it for life.

    Life. That’s not $5,000. That’s $5,000 per year, probably for the rest of his life. And there’ll be other bills. Maybe loss of income.

    There goes the business he worked so hard to build. Nothing to pass along. It’s a choice.


    Whenever the insurers roll out a new major product, it takes about 3 years before stories like this start rolling out. It takes 5 for them to accumulate and become major media stories. Five years, and the public starts clamoring for something real. Something that actually works. We could have had Sanders. Heck, Clinton said right out, she didn’t have anything to offer. Too many IOUs.

    So now we have Trump. The legacy of Obama, because he could never really be President. He could never really stop the Clinton Machine. Trump is going to replace ObamaCare. And Medicare. Him and Ryan.

    Because it was HER TURN.

    1. Waldenpond

      Can’t afford medical industry…. going through the same thing. Went to doc with symptoms, ordered a bunch of tests and an mri. I looked up the mri as diagnostic and figured out what my doc suspects. It will take a couple of thousand dollars in tests to confirm a diagnosis I can’t afford the meds to treat. I looked up one med, the co-pay used to be $8-12, it’s now $500 a month. The only asset we have to leave is a house. Try to qualify for disability to get medicare and the first thing they do is slap a lien on your house. Reverse mortgage? hell no. I called to refuse the mri and they talked me into a hold but I can’t quite figure out what’s the point.

  22. JacobiteInTraining

    Regarding the power of small donors in todays world: I saw much the same thing when watching the Veterans for Standing Rock GoFundMe donations hit the ground running with a constant stream of $5, $10, $20, & $50 donations. I kept an occasional eye on it for a week as it started to go viral/ballistic and pass their initial 75k goal, then up to 100k, then 200k, then finally all the way past 1 mill.

    Most of these donations appeared to be by individually named people, often with comments included w/the donation, and there didn’t seem to be ‘shenanigans’ in the form of multi-super-high-value ‘anonymous’ donations ‘artificially’ upping the overall total. (as you might expect to see if some filthy rich person was using a bot army for mass donations)

    At the moment, I see there is a listing of 25716 individual donations. Of these, roughly 185 (listed in the ‘Highest Donations’ filter) are between $500 and $5000. of those, only ~9 are between $2000 and $5000. The $5000 being from a cowboy-looking dude named Vincent. (props to him! :)

    In any case, quite fascinating. However, I would expect the Eye of Sauron to start casting its flaming gaze in that general direction because I can’t imagine TPTB are too keen on this whole idea of being able to crowdfund an army. (But hey…in my best Yakov Smirnoff voice – What a Country!!)

    1. DG

      Jacobite in Training: I noticed something similar with the GoFundMe campaign started by Ladonna Bravebull Allard for Sacred Stone Camp. One afternoon, I watched for a couple of minutes, and the entries popped up one after another, $10, $20, $30, with lots of messages of solidarity.


      I don’t like on-line fundraising much, so I sent an old-fashioned paper check to their HQ.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Gratifying indeed, and I agree – sometimes the best way to insure your hard earned shekels make it to *exactly* who you want them to is via old fashioned methods, including checks and even cash direct to the people involved.

        But as long as there is a certain amount of vetting of sites and fund-raisers, the crowdfunding and small donations thing is going to be an unexpectedly effective tool for ‘the little people’ to become force multipliers on issues that matter to them.

        Its also going to be interesting to see where the Veterans For Standing Rocks surplus goes – although I expect that the drilling really isn’t going to stop (despite the Corps of Engineers announcement) and the oilers still hope to just pay their fines and run out the clock until a Trump administration says ‘go ahead!’….it appears as if the Vets may go to Flint next.

        (Wonder how long it would take to crowdfund an Abrams tank…purely for dramatic license, mind you… ;)

  23. BondsOfSteel

    RE: high-deductible health plans

    The reason these plans supposedly existed was that they would be augmented w HSAs. I’m willing to bet that virtually everyone that signed up for a bronze plan did so based on price and did not also contribute to the HSA. The HSA component should also be viewed as a failure.

    Almost all of the Obamacare replacement plans rely heavily on HSAs. Maybe there should be a requirement that you carry a HSA w a balance equal to the deductible in order to sign up for a high-deductible health plan? Or at least price these plans with a HSA contribution that is made by default. (Sorta like how 401k didn’t work until the contribution was selected by default.)

    1. Arizona Slim

      I had one of those HSAs. It was, oh, about a decade ago and it required a special bank account. And, guess what, I couldn’t find a single bank that offered it. Not in Tucson. Uh-uh. No way.

      Ended up having to deal with Mellon Bank, the scourge of Pittsburgh. It was hated when I lived there, and as a Tucson HSA holder, I found out why.

      1. Carl

        As a self-employed person, I’ve had an HSA since they came out in the GWB administration. It is a decent tax write-off and it got me used to high-deductible policies, are the only positive things I can say about it. The HSA policies offered here in TX are ridiculous in pricing compared to the non-HSA offerings. You can’t get a Gold plan in an HSA, for instance, not that I could afford such a thing.c

  24. JohnnyGL


    The Dems are really doubling-down on awfulness. Lots of “fake news” hype. Do they really think this is a winner for them?

    Am I seriously going to have to call my congressional reps to yell at them and explain to them that they lost because they’re awful, not because of ‘fake news’?

    Hillary, please go back into hiding. The world was better without having to hear much from you.

    1. JustAnObserver

      … and all it took was for Jeff Bezos to dribble a little WaPoo on the ashes and Lo! up she rises ahowling & ashrieking. Didn’t imagine for a picosec. that the Clintons/Rubins/DNCers are going to give up.

      Question: Which Senate seat are the Zombie Dems going to try to parachute her into in 2018?

  25. JohnnyGL


    Wow, corp media produces some drivel….Fareed Zakaria is garbage.

    Did racism cause the president to bailout Wall Street?
    Did racism make him pass a crappy ACA that everyone hates?
    Did racism force Obama to do all that melodramatic brinkmanship over the budget crisis that he could have stopped at any point with a platinum coin or invoking the 14th amendment?
    Did racism force him to do everything he could to try to ram TPP through in the lame duck?

  26. Fiver

    Lambert and NC commons,

    The utterly repugnant Clinton Democrats in their demented desire for completely misplaced revenge have given Trump a carte blanche tool with which to threaten all critics of US foreign policy via any association whatever with any information that could portrayed as ‘linked’ somehow to Russia – I’d go so far as to say if the same phrase or even word was used in a Russia Today article and in a same-event-described piece elsewhere, this panel will see subversion:


    I cannot recall anything like this – the losing side, which claims to exist to realize all that is good and just and decent and right, gives a President they just denounced as a tyrant-in-waiting unlimited power to destroy all that is good and just and decent and right. What a despicable collection of shits.

  27. Peter VE

    1) “U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993”
    What other large country sustained a decline in life expectancy in the early 90s? It took Russia 20 years to recover after the loss of their Empire. The drop in life expectancy started in ’89, just as the Empire was going into dissolution.
    2) The American Interest article on the coming 3rd wave of suburbanization is too full of dubious assumptions to list; but several at the top of the list include:
    a) the ability of Millenials to pay for a house way out in the far ‘burbs when they still have $10s of thousands of college debt;
    b) the future of cheap fracked energy when many of the fracked energy companies are bankrupt;
    c) the vast sums of money to repair the existing infrastructure to the existing suburbs (what is the state of the gas line to the house I grew up in in a far suburb of Cleveland which was installed 50 years ago?)
    We could hardly expect less from a magazine founded by the man who thought History Ended in 1989….

  28. gizzardboy

    Trump’s “Third Ring of Suburbs” story would drive J.H. Kunstler at Clusterfuck Nation CRAZY! I’m afraid he would rip out what little hair he has.

  29. RWood

    Do what you want to do
    And go where you’re going to
    Think for yourself
    ‘Cause I won’t be there with you

    Mr. H, Mr. L
    et al. across the universe

  30. Plenue

    >“Girl Posting to Twitter From Aleppo Gains Sympathy, but Doubts Follow” [New York Times].

    Obvious MI6 op. Was shutdown unceremoniously as the East Aleppo pocket began to rapidly collapse.

    Speaking of which, Russia says there will be a several day ceasefire so that 8,000 civilians can evacuate the remaining militant held areas. Hopefully they will be well screened so that no fighters can sneak away. After that they’ll level anyone who still wants to fight.

  31. giantsquid

    “What about wild seeds?”

    From “The Svalbard Global Seed Vault preserves the world’s agricultural heritage”:

    “Diversity is cropping up all the time, so seed collection will never really end, Fowler says. “We would like to get more of the wild relatives of our domesticated crops. They’re pretty tough plants, and in a situation where the weather is bad or there’s global warming, those kinds of traits are really interesting and useful for agriculture.””

    I assume this means that they already have seeds for some wild varieties and obviously they’re seeking to add more.

  32. JTMcPhee

    What a sudden change, it seems to me, in the nature of NC comments… Wonder why that is… I’m sure it’s just me, of course. Tit for tats, dating and shaming stuff, a reduction in substance. Maybe it’s just because things really are in the sh!tter, nearly fully crapified (though that is probably an asymptotic function?), and so many of us grok it even if it’s nowhere near the conscious level yet…

    My little addition to the “sadness” for this evening:

    Boeing Blusters Over Tweet | US State Dept Clears $668M Stryker Sale to Peru | $619B Defense Bill May Send MANPADS to Syria

    Dec 08, 2016 00:58 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff


    What could possibly go wrong with any of just those few headline items (among the thousands that populate the content of just the one “industry aggregator” among many, the “Defense (sic) Industry Daily”)?

    Can’t make this stuff up, but it is happening 24/7/365, trillions of dollars, death always in the air right behind profit…

    And of course “we” are all supposed to be doing “something” to all cooperate to keep the worst from happening, biospherically speaking. And still there are so many who are looking for Hope of Change under the Trump Brand. As fokking if…

    1. integer

      It is always darkest right before dawn, though I’m not seeing what you are seeing wrt the comments.

  33. RWood

    only grassroots resistance movements fight dispossession and violation of fundamental rights; isolated, without resources: “They have their backs to the wall. But they have their ears to the ground, and they are in touch with grim reality. If they got together, if they were supported and strengthened, they could grow into a force to reckon with. Their battle, when it is fought, will have to be an idealistic one—not a rigidly ideological one.”

    Aryndhati Roy, from Field Notes on Democracy

    “Great courage is required in order to be able … to strive to reach that narrow passage, around whose threshold all hell flames, to decide to take this step serenely, accompanied by danger though it is, and to flow out into nothingness.”

    Konrad Lorenz, from The Waning of Humaneness

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