2:00PM Water Cooler 1/13/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“With just nine days left in office, the Obama administration launched a major new case against China at the World Trade Organization, challenging what U.S. officials described as billions of dollars in government subsidies that have allowed Chinese industry to double its share of world production capacity to 55 percent, and caused global aluminum prices to plummet” [Politico]. McConnell is happy: “Kentucky is home to an estimated 20,000 aluminum-related jobs. Those include two smelter facilities operated by Century Aluminum.”


Trump Transition

Chao on infrastructure: “As we work together to develop the details of President Trump’s infrastructure plan, it is important to note the significant difference between traditional program funding and other innovative financing tools, such as public-private partnerships. In order to take full advantage of the estimated trillions in capital that equity firms, pension funds, and endowments can invest, these partnerships must be incentivized with a bold new vision. We look forward to working with you to explore all the options, and to create a mix of practical solutions—both public and private– that provide the greatest cost-benefit to the public” [Logistics Management].

“Republican governors who reaped the benefits of Obamacare now find themselves in an untenable position — fighting GOP lawmakers in Washington to protect their states’ health coverage” [Politico]. “This rift between state and federal GOP officials is the real battle on Obamacare at a time when Democrats have only marginal power in Congress. The voices of even a handful of Republican governors intent on protecting those at risk of losing coverage could help shape an Obamacare replacement and soften the impact on the millions who depend on the law.”

The New Cold War

“The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. “Ynet in Israel is reporting that Israeli intelligence officials are deciding not to share intelligence with the incoming Trump administration.” Boy, the sourcing on this story just gets more and more trustworthy, doesn’t it? “The report indicates they came to this conclusion after a recent meeting with American intelligence officials, who told them the Russians have “leverages of pressure” to use against Trump.” So, the CIA called in some chips, no? “This is an extraordinary story. If our intelligence community really believes this, then playtime is over.” But who can know what the IC really believes? “No more Clapper-style hedging or waffling [or lying?] ” If Israel gets to hear why they think Trump is compromised, how is the American public not also so entitled? But if all they have are unverifiable rumors, they can’t do this, not even to Donald Trump. The only solution is an immediate unveiling of all the facts and an urgent public investigation.”

Lambert here: First, when? In the next two weeks? Second, who do we trust to do the investigation? Third, will sources and methods be made public? Finally, either way, Taibbi’s investigation is a change in the Constitutional order. As I wrote: “Needless to say, once we give the IC veto power over a President before the vote is tallied, and before the electoral college votes, and after the electoral college votes but before the oath of office and the Inaugural, we’re never going to be able to take it back. This is a crossing the Rubicon moment.” Is this what we want?

Obama Legacy

“In their time in the White House, the Obama family expanded this nation’s idea of what it can achieve. They gave us vivid images that will never fade. We owe them heartfelt thanks for being, at all times, the classiest of class acts” [Eugene Robinson, WaPo]. Seems a little… gauzy.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Political class fear and loathing of the working class (Outis P):

Political class hysteria and fear:

“Democrat support for the rich and connected creates an odd dynamic for the bourgeois liberals pushing the ‘resist Trump’ movement. Whatever Democrats might say about Republican ‘obstruction,’ Barack Obama had eight years in which to enact the national Democrats’ agenda. From the perspective of those left behind— and a lot of people were, do you give four or eight more years to the people who left you behind or do you try something else?” [CounterPunch]. “The displaced workers I’ve met tended to know more about the Democrats’ actual policies than Democrats do, possibly because they’ve lived them.”

Interview with sociologist Zygmunt Bauman [Tlaxcala]. “We could describe what is going on at the moment as a crisis of democracy, the collapse of trust: the belief that our leaders are not just corrupt or stupid, but inept. Action requires power, to be able to do things, and we need politics, which is the ability to decide what needs to be done. But that marriage between power and politics in the hands of the nation state has ended. Power has been globalized, but politics is as local as before. Politics has had its hands cut off. People no longer believe in the democratic system because it doesn’t keep its promises. We see this, for example, with the migration crisis: it’s a global phenomenon, but we still act parochially. Our democratic institutions were not designed for dealing with situations of interdependence. The current crisis of democracy is a crisis of democratic institutions.”

“We are all coming to realize that our civil society institutions may not be strong enough to protect the flawed but fundamentally solid democracy that we thought we had. We are witnessing the rise to power of a leader who does not care about norms. Since these norms were created to prevent political, social, economic, and cultural disasters, we do not need to wonder how this will end. It will end poorly” [Deadspin]. Thing is, that’s not all those norms were created to do. See the Podesta emails if you want to understand the flip side of this.

“Bernie Sanders Is Shifting The Democratic Establishment” [HuffPo]. “On Sunday, the independent senator from Vermont will again begin attempting to counter the conventional wisdom. Across the country, Democratic politicians are holding at least 40 rallies intended to strengthen public resistance to a new wave of Republican attacks on Obamacare and Medicare ― and hear from voters about their concerns.” And:

SANDERS: The goal of those rallies is to make it clear to the Republican Party … that they’re not gonna throw 30 million people off of health insurance. That they’re ins>not gonna decimate Medicaid … that you’re ins>not gonna privatize Medicare and turn it into a voucher program. You’re ins>not gonna cut health care so you can give tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

Lambert here: “Not gonna” is not enough. We need the positive message of universal benefits as the alternative. It’s not enough to restore the status quo ante for a crappy program like ObamaCare that still leaves 20 million uncovered, and “covers” millions more with crappy high-deductible plans with narrow networks designed to deny care. (And also make this clear not just to Republicans, but to Democrats.)

“Cory Booker is not your friend. Fresh off a rousing speech against Jeff Sessions’s nomination to become attorney general, Booker voted against an affordable drug proposal from Senators Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders on Wednesday evening” [The New Republic].@CoryBooker tweets as much as Trump does, and I’m not kidding. Feel free to follow him and whack him when he goes wrong, which is often. The article gives a nice summary of Booker’s horrid financial connections.

On 2018: “Ob­vi­ously, an elec­tion well over a year and a half away is com­pletely un­pre­dict­able, and the forces in play in the fall of 2018 are un­fore­see­able today. But his­tory provides pat­terns that are worth heed­ing, sub­ject to events and changes in the na­tion­al mood” [Cook Political]. This is actually a good guide to the usual narratives you’ll see, many of which may actually be true!

Stats Watch

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), January 13, 2017: “Monthly increases for food and energy pulled producer prices 0.3 percent higher in December, a moderate gain that lifts the year-on-year rate 3 tenths higher to plus 1.6 percent, which isn’t too inflationary but is moving in the right direction” [Econoday]. “The annual pace for most of the key rates in this report, though improving, are still under 2 percent which doesn’t point to much risk of a sudden jump in overall inflation. Watch for consumer prices next Wednesday.” But: “There was a significant increase this month. The trend lines are obvious showing inflation grabbing hold” [Econintersect].

Retail Sales, December 2016: “Outside of cars, consumers weren’t in much of a spending mood this holiday season. Retail sales did post a very solid gain in December, up 0.6 percent, but without autos the gain falls to only 0.2 percent. And exclude gasoline as well, which isn’t really a common holiday gift, and sales come in dead flat at zero” [Econoday]. “The bottom line is best characterized by apparel where sales were flat, posting no change for the second month in a row. Consumer spirits may be very high, and if this benefited retail sales in December it was mostly isolated to vehicles.” And: “[O]ur analysis says this month is not as good as last month, but the rolling averages improved. It is scary to consider that if one eliminates autos and gas – there was no growth in the adjusted data. The relationship between year-over-year growth in inflation adjusted retail sales and retail employment has inverted – and this is normally a recessionary sign” [Econintersect].

Business Inventories, November 2016: “Both retailers and wholesalers show large 1.0 percent builds in November with manufacturers at a 0.2 percent build. Given weakness in total sales, up only 0.1 percent, the stock-to-sales ratio rose 1 tenth in the month to 1.38” [Econoday]. “Rising inventories are often a negative for future production and employment but they are a positive for GDP where the fourth-quarter calculation will get a lift from November’s build. A tangible positive in the report is that half of the build among retailers was at auto dealers who, based on this morning’s retail sales report, enjoyed very strong sales in December.” And but: “More bad news on inventories which were already way too high” [Mosler Economics]. And: “Less than expected and held up by vehicle sales which were about flat for the year and are unlikely to be any better than that in 2017, and therefore not contributing anything to growth” [Mosler Economics]. And: “This was a up month for business sales – but inventories remain at recession levels (and got worse). [T]he 3 month rolling averages for sales are improving and in expansion. As the monthly data has significant variation, the 3 month averages are the way to view this series” [Econintersect].

Consumer Sentiment, January 2017 (preliminary): “Consumer sentiment is holding at cycle highs but isn’t climbing further” [Econoday]. “Post-election confidence readings have been very high but have not equated to the same proportional punch for consumer spending which, nevertheless, has been respectable. The report notes that partisanship is extreme right now with 44 percent of the sample citing the importance of government policies (whether positive or negative). The cycle average for this reference is 20 percent.” And: “The main feature of the survey was a further divergence in expectations to extreme levels and an increase in partisanship in the survey since the November election. For those who had a positive view of the incoming Administration, the expectations index strengthened to 108.9, while confidence in those who had a negative view of policies declined sharply to 66.2” [Economic Calendar]. And: “Consumer sentiment is a concurrent indicator (not a leading indicator)” [Calculated Risk].

Fiscal: “Seems revenues continue to fall indicating the two years of deceleration of growth may have already gone below 0, and with unemployment claims a lot harder to get that source of transfer payments seems to have been reduced, reducing what otherwise would have been that much counter cyclical deficit spending” [Mosler Economics].

Trade: “China posts worst export fall since 2009 as fears of U.S. trade war loom” [Reuters]. “The world’s largest trading nation posted gloomy data on Friday, with 2016 exports falling 7.7 percent and imports down 5.5 percent. The export drop was the second annual decline in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2009.”

Shipping: “Container cargo imports surged during the final weeks of 2016, as retailers reported strong holiday spending and stocked up on inventory heading into the new year” [Wall Street Journal, “Container Cargo Imports Surged at End of 2016”]. “Recent data from U.S. ports indicates retailers, manufacturers and other shippers are starting to fill some of that excess capacity. According to research firm Panjiva, which tracks trade data, U.S.-bound seaborne shipments increased 8.9% in December over the same month a year earlier.”

Commodities: “Nickel prices plummeted almost 5%, hitting a fourth-month low Thursday after Indonesia decided to finally relax its ban on partially processed minerals exports, including nickel ore, bauxite and other minerals concentrates under certain conditions” [Mining.com]. “The biggest winner will be China, as Indonesia was its main supplier of nickel ore and bauxite before the controversial ban was imposed three years ago.”

The Bezzle: “Not long ago, owners of Tesla Motors Inc. vehicles could charge those cars for free. Owners have two options. Charge the car at home (or somewhere else with the right plug) or at one of hundreds of Superchargers on a network that covered virtually all the states. Now Tesla has changed its Supercharger strategy. It will charge customers, but not very much” [247 Wall Street]. “Razor Manufacturer Decides Not To Give Away Blades.” Film at 11.

The Bezzle: “The reports and interviews with former SpaceX employees depict robust growth in new rocket-launch contracts and a thin bottom line that is vulnerable when things go awry. They also show the company putting steep revenue expectations on a nascent satellite-internet business it hopes will eventually dwarf the rocket division and help finance its goal of manned missions to Mars” [Wall Street Journal, “Exclusive Peek at SpaceX Data Shows Loss in 2015, Heavy Expectations for Nascent Internet Service”].

The Bezzle: “Food delivery startup Munchery cut about 30 employees this week. The company’s founders Tri Tran, the former chief executive officer, and Conrad Chu, the company’s chief technical officer, will leave the startup at the end of the month, CEO James Beriker said” [Bloomberg]. “Munchery cooks and delivers meals to hundreds of thousands of customers in several U.S. cities. It began delivering food in San Francisco 2010 and has struggled to find a profitable business model. Bloomberg revealed last year that from September 2014 to July 2016, Munchery’s San Francisco kitchen made about 653,400 dishes that never got sold.” Uber for Personal Chefs!

The Bezzle: “Bets that Fitbit is in trouble are piling up” [Business Insider]. Inventory build, so shorts jumped in. The stock, however, has held up.

The Bezzle: “Volkswagen tells its execs to avoid US travel for fear of more arrests” [Autoblog]. Goldman Sachs execs? JP Morgan? Wells-Fargo? Kidding, right?

Poltical Risk: “This year’s [Davos] conference agenda makes clear the degree of anxiety. Sessions include a panel of psychology experts offering thoughts on ‘cultivating appropriate emotions in a time of nationalist populism’ [(!!)]. Another, titled ‘Squeezed and Angry: How to Fix the Middle Class Crisis,’ will star International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde alongside hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio. Separately, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and Meg Whitman, chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will try to stoke optimism in a chat about shaping ‘a positive narrative for the global community'” [Bloomberg]. The last thing we want Facebook doing is shaping any sort of narrative.

Co-ops: “Wild plant harvesters gain insights from a successful cooperative model in Viet Nam” [Traffic (DB)]. “Founded in 2006 by Mr. Ly Lao Lo, an ethnic Dao of Lao Cai Province, Sapa Napro processes and trades local cultivated [medicinal and aromatic plants] to generate income for the cooperatives who work within the company. Locals of the province can become cooperative members by contributing money or resources. The revenue is then divided into three channels: 40-50 percent goes to reinvestment, 40-45 percent is distributed to cooperative members, and 10-15 percent is allotted to a community fund. This successful model is improving the livelihoods of cooperative members in Lao Cai province and promoting benefit-sharing mechanisms within their communities.”

Co-ops: “The Future of Food is in Cooperatives” [Foodtank (DB)]. Interview with Narendra Varma, founder of Our Table Cooperative, a multi-stakeholder cooperative located in Sherwood, Oregon. Varma: “Most people in America today buy into that agribusiness argument that without biotechnology you can’t feed a growing population. Nobody knows that only 30 percent of the food grown on the planet comes from industrialized agriculture. Industrial agriculture doesn’t feed the planet today so why do we think that it can feed the planet tomorrow? That kind of mythology that the prevailing system really promotes with a very large advertising budget and a compliant policy framework makes it very easy for people to have the wrong facts.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 55, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 68 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 13 at 12:00pm. Big swing back from neutrality to greed.

Health Care

“One thing the ACA definitely did was help a lot of founders start their companies–without it, being a founder would make sense for less people” [Sam Altman]. With testimonials.


“Five big mysteries about CRISPR’s origins” [Nature]. “Prokaryotes use CRISPR–Cas to fight off viruses such as the one that formed this structure on a cell.” Much cooler than it sounds!

“Monkey Say, Monkey Do: Baboons Can Make Humanlike Speech Sounds” [Scientific American]. “[S]harp-eared experts have now found that our primate cousins can actually produce humanlike vowel sounds. The finding suggests the last common ancestor of humans and baboons may have possessed the vocal machinery for speech—hinting at a much earlier origin for language than previously thought.”

Class Warfare

“The Uneasy Truth Behind Amazon’s Hiring Blitz And What Startups Are Doing To Fix It” [Fast Company]. “The announcement is designed to play nicely into President-elect Trump’s rhetoric about bringing more jobs back to our shores, but it’s important to remember that Amazon’s business model is premised on increasing automation wherever possible, which means replacing more and more humans with machines.” The “startups” palpitation is irritating, but the article is actually about localism, of a sort.

“Kasisto, a provider of chatbots to banks, announced Thursday a $9.2 million Series A funding round led by Propel Venture Partners with participation from Mastercard and Commerce Ventures” [American Banker]. I don’t like banks much, but I like the tellers at my bank just fine, and the prospect of some pencil-necked MBA wanting to replace them with chat-bots makes me want to put my fist through the screen. No doubt the developers are working on getting the chatbot to upsell.

“The European parliament has urged the drafting of a set of regulations to govern the use and creation of robots and artificial intelligence, including a form of ‘electronic personhood’ to ensure rights and responsibilities for the most capable AI” [Guardian]. This from William Gibson’s Neuromancer is relevant:

`So you figure we can’t get on to [the AI’s] motive?’

`It own itself?’

`Swiss citizen, but [Tessier-Ashpool] own the basic software and the mainframe.’

`That’s a good one,’ the construct said. `Like, I own your brain and what you know, but your thoughts have Swiss citizenship. Sure. Lotsa luck, AI.’…

`Autonomy, that’s the bugaboo, where your AI’s are concerned. My guess, you’re going in there to cut the hardwired shackles that keep this baby from getting any smarter. And I can’t see how you’d distinguish, say, between a move the parent company makes, and some move the AI makes on its own, so that’s maybe where the confusion comes in.’ Again the nonlaugh. `See, those things, they can work real hard, buy themselves time to write cookbooks or whatever, but the minute, I mean the nanosecond, that one starts figuring out ways to make itself smarter, Turing’ll wipe it. Nobody trusts those f*ckers, you know that. Every AI ever built has an electromagnetic shotgun wired to its forehead.’

News of the Wired

“Cartography Comparison: Google Maps & Apple Maps” [Justin O’Beirne]. “In this series of essays, we’ll compare and contrast the cartographic designs of Google Maps and Apple Maps. We’ll take a look at what’s on each map and how each map is styled, and we’ll try to uncover the biggest differences between the two.”

“Google’s making it way easier and simpler to hail an Uber with Google Maps. Today the company announced that the latest version of Google Maps on Android and iOS lets users request a ride from Uber without ever leaving the app” [The Verge]. I wonder what the deal between Google and Uber is. Readers?

“Untangling a tightly wound knot can be a difficult task when dealing with shoelaces, but untangling a molecular knot produced by scientists at the University of Manchester would likely bring a whole new level of frustration. Measuring roughly 20 nanometers long, its creators claim it is the most tightly knotted physical structure ever known and could lead to the development of new advanced materials” [Atlas Obscura].

“A secretive hardware research division that Facebook created last year is developing “brain-computer interface” technology that sounds a lot like the mind reading and telepathy of science fiction movies” [Business Insider]. Swell.

* * *

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 (AEW):

Any four-leaf clovers? 2017 is already great!

Readers, I’ve gotten more plant images, but I can always use just a few more; having enough Plantidotes is a great angst deflator. Plants with snow and/or ice are fine!

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


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Altandmain

    Cory Booker and the other Democrats voting against the Sanders bill to lower prescription drugs is an indication that this will be a long and difficult war indeed. They have not changed at all. As much as they try to spin this, everyone knows that they did not vote with the public interest at heart.

    The Democrats cannot admit that they lost because they betrayed the working and middle classes. It is why Clinton lost and why large segments of the public dislike them intensely. They cannot admit it because that would be the end of the careers of the entire Establishment.

    People see right through them and they are going to struggle to keep up appearances. Accepting campaign money and then trying to cover it up with appeals to identity politics is not working anymore for them, but they’ve got a solid grip on the existing power structure so any hostile takeover will be very difficult indeed.

    I suspect that there is a good chance that if the left cannot wrest power away, they will:

    1. Lose in 2020 (like 2004) with the naive assumption that Trump will fail and that anybody they run will be able to defeat him.

    2. If the left does gain power, the Establishment will self-sabotage in a manner reminiscent to the McGovern run.

    Basically unless the left cleans house, I don’t see how this gets a happy ending for the Democrats, or for that matter the American people.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > they’ve got a solid grip on the existing power structure

      Not in California (I hope)! And I’d love to hear more details about the (apparent) “Berniecrat” takeover. No doubt the Clintonites are fighting it tooth and nail? Readers?

      1. Code Name D

        I wish I could be hopeful, but I simply do not see Bernie or any of the so-called Bernie crats talking about any of this. Yes, I do appreciate their demand for free collage, universal healthcare, and other reforms long demanded by progressives. But the issue at hand is how one goes about forcing such reforms. The debate over the reforms themselves is largely over – even pointless. That the Democratic Party itself aggressively opposes these reforms, seems to be a taboo subject from the Berniecrats.

        What I fear will happen is that Bernie will succeed only in rebranding the party establishment. That in time, “Our Revolution” will become the latest incarnation of Democracy for America, Rolling Thunder, of Code Blue. The establishment will remain in charge, and well will have wasted still more time and treasure hunting unicorns.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I like the idea of free collage.
          But recall that the Dems want to lose, and don’t care what that might mean for their “constituents”. It doesn’t affect any of them personally, the armies of consultants, the mid and high-level party functionaries.
          It reminds me of working with people from the UK. Being European they naturally disdain anyone who is “good at salesmanship” (like Americans are). Selling something is beneath them. And when it came to “winning”, which triumphalist Americans are so good at and have no trouble doing, the Brits shied away at the finish line. Having lost empire, they preferred to lose, and do so in good form, “having fought a tough battle”, stiff upper lip etc. Triumphalist winning, high fives etc would be frowned upon by their peers.

          1. laura

            We had free college in California. It was called the master plan for higher education.
            We were the gold standard for public education at every grade level.
            We elected Reagan as Governor.
            He abandoned it.
            We passed prop 13.
            Our education system spends less per pupil than most states.
            We fucked ourselves.
            We can unfuck and recommit to educational opportunities for all.

        2. Steve C

          The left needs an organization or coalition that will recruit, fund and endorse candidates that support a real agenda of jobs and Medicare for all. Any candidates that welsh on the agenda as the Democrats usually do should be dropped and primaried. Anyone who voted for or enabled Fast Track should be primaried. I’m looking a you, Ben Cardin.

          It should be based on small donations, as pioneered by Bernie.

          Booker, Bennet, Murray and all the other pharma Democrats should be primaried. If a good opportunity arises to support an independent or third party, that should be done. No candidates should be supported just because they’re Democrats. In some races, the Democrat should be opposed. In others, the left should just focus efforts elsewhere.

          Taking on the two-party system head-on at this time is a waste of effort. The goal should be a party within a party. Like Momentum in the U.K. Labour Party. Or a party overlapping the Democrats. Working with selected Democrats where it is useful. Opposing them in other cases.

          This could be organized under internal revenue code sections 527, 501c4, or both. This is just from online research. Others have much more expertise in the mechanics of setting it up than I. The inspiration for this thinking is Seth Ackerman in the Jacobin. I would be interested in others’ thoughts. And if anyone knows someone already doing this, please let us all know.

          1. hunkerdown

            Labor discipline does not work on courtiers. Turfing out is merely a prospective remedy. The damage and their profit stream therefrom typically remain undisturbed.

            Perhaps “This is not a request. We owe you no reason. We deem you unfit. Get out” sorts of campaigns against habitual malfeasors and public-defender-class representation would be effective. Congressmembers can glad-hand and unfaithfully negotiate about everything else. To my knowledge, they can’t fake-resign, un-resign or have their collaborators simply reinstate them. It seems like the sort of pressure point that citizen constituencies could get het up enough to jab. Have they been tried and found wanting?

          2. Mike Mc

            Democratic Socialists of America (dsausa.org) has been growing like a weed since the election. Lots of us Boomer Berniecrats and our Millennial children – and plenty of fellow travelers – planning to be registered Democrats and DSA too.

            The Democratic Party desperately needs the Left – the real Left – to save it from the Clintonistas and Obamanites like the Treacherous Thirteen who voted against the pharmacy bill – and the DSA needs structure and organization. America needs real change, not a rollback of the New Deal and not the DNC crapola of Bill n’ Hill. The DSA may not be THE answer but it’s a place to start.

          3. Donna

            You should check out Brand New Congress. These young volunteers spun off from working with Bernie back in April of 2016. They are young and energetic and have a plan.

      2. polecat

        Until Mr. Sanders states unequivocally, that the ‘individual mandate must be dropped from compliance, and soon, this family at least, will not give him much credence !

        NO ONE …except for the millions of people held captive by Roberts treasonous & duplicious ruling, is voicing any concern !!

        I have health issues that probably need medical attention in a serious way … that will not be dealt with due to my fear of bankruptcy should I willingly be steered towards the grifting rentiers known as the medical-pharma-hospital-insurance complex … and paying a fucking unconstitutional tax is truly galling, when this family has to consider increasingly higher monthly expenses for food, shelter, clothing, gasoline, utilities, and on and on ….. but no, we are being forced to pay into a form of federal extortion …. while Bernie has the best healthcare plan, being a CONgress critter, in existence ! Well fuck that !!!

        1. Eureka Springs

          You get an amen form me, Polecat. And why oh why are Bernie and others asking for reimportation, which seems in and of itself more expensive than our own pool of 320 million Americans doing our own collective bargaining directly? I don’t want drugs from yet another middleman (country), I want them cost plus, direct from a highly monitored with great transparency for quality manufacturer or grower.

      3. PKMKII

        In NY Dear Governor will use his iron grip on state politics to maintain the establishment hegemony. Yeah, he trotted out Bernie for the free college, but that was pure optics. He’s a DLC democrat all the way (DINO?). If I were a betting man I’d put good money on a lot of phase 2 of 2nd ave subway getting handed off to overpriced consultants and contractors per his will.

      4. LT

        No, the Clintonites aren’t going to fight Bernie in Cali.
        The Democrats sent him to Cali to hold down their ATM machine so that no organizatuon will come up out of California to challenge their power.
        He’s still sheep herding.

      5. polecat

        Well … the moderation gods wisked my comment unto the nether world .. so I’ll try again

        I and my family will be giving Mr. Sanders no credence until he state unequivocally, that the individual mandate, that Chief Justice Roberts dupliciously ruled in favor of, be rescinded immediately !! We have enough to worry and fret over, what with ever rising food, utilities, property taxes, gas, clothing, home maint. & repair, and whatnot, without having to cough-up what I feel is a unconstitutionally extractive, and extortionate tax ….. and I know there are millions of citizens, NOT consumers, who feel the same ! I have health issues that need attention, perhaps serious enough to hasten my journey to the River Styx , but I will NOT willingly steer myself toward an obvious scam as the ACA, and all that it entails, so that BIG Medical-Insurance-Pharma-Hospital Complex can ream me into bankruptcy ….

        And Bernie, of course, has the best healthcare on the planet, as a CONgress critter, that tax monies can buy … courtesy of me, mine .. and yours …..

        …. Well…Ain’t…That…Just…Grand ………………………………… !!!

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Hey Polecat,
          I feel ya. Small business owner in SF Bay area working 80 hours a week just to get by…and without “health” insurance for at least 5 years.
          Roughly $800 in “shared responsibility tax” over the last 2 years.
          Pay my doctor cash, (she’s a sweetheart and doesn’t buy into the “you need more tests…” bs) but passed a kidney stone last week sans-treatment (whatever that would’ve cost…).

          I support Bernie’s efforts.

          But single-payer has got to be the no-compromise position.

          PS Fuck Cory Booker.

    2. Vatch

      Here are some of Cory Booker’s phone numbers:

      (202) 224-3224 Washington
      (856) 338-8922 Camden
      (973) 639-8700 Newark

      Maria Cantwell (WA) voted against it, and she’s up for reelection in 2018:

      (202) 224-3441 Washington, DC

      Ditto for Thomas Carper (DE):

      (202) 224-2441 Washington, DC

      And Heidi Heitkamp (ND):

      (202) 224-2043 Washington, DC

      And Robert Casey (PA):

      (202) 224-6324 Washington, DC
      https://www.casey.senate.gov/about/bob (click on different offices at the bottom of the page)

      And Joe Donnelly (IN):

      (202) 224-4814 Washington, DC

      And Martin Heinrich (NM):

      (202) 224-5521 Washington, DC

      And Robert Menendez (NJ):

      (202) 224-4744 Washington, DC
      973.645.3030 Newark
      856.757.5353 Barrington

      And finally, Jon Tester (MT):

      (202) 224-2644 Washington DC

      That’s a lot who are vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2018.

      1. Bob

        Joe Donnelly is very vulnerable to a general election challenge (but not to a primary challenge). Indiana now is governed by nearly all republicans, both at the state and federal level, and continues to move further to the right. Clearly that’s why he voted this way. And Eli Lilly makes its headquarters here in Indianapolis. I don’t think I’ll call him out on this. It’s not possible for him to have voted otherwise and stood any chance at re-election.

        1. Vatch

          Okay, I guess that makes sense. Do any of the other Democrats on this list have a good excuse for voting against the Canadian drug amendment?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            It’s the same excuse that was used to demand loyalty towards Joe Lieberman. We need every vote, and if we divide ourselves, the Republicans will win. Interestingly enough, if 25% of Republicans had voted for the Republican in 2006 in Connecticut, Ned Lamont would have been Senator.

            It makes sense, but over time, theories do get tested.

            1. Steve C

              Democrat rule is worthless if they sell us out. Red state Democrats are the first to go when the Democrats are wishy washy. Look at 2010 and 2014. If Donnelly can’t stand with the people because of Eli Lilly, he needs to face his fate. He needs a primary race.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Besides why would emulating Evan Bayh make sense going forward? Bayh skipped town in 2010 before he could lose, and then lost in November. He’s going to lose trying to be a Republican. Non voters aren’t going to come out for a person who does nothing and is applauded for doing nothing.

            Republicans aren’t crossing over anymore. Elections are about turnout. How does tolerating Donnelly’s behavior today drive turnout next November? A Republican could easily attack him on it.

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            Another thought about turnout is GOTV and registration require volunteers, and what do volunteers need? Good vibrations. Hillary didn’t have volunteers because she is an awful human being. Donnelly won’t have volunteers if he remains an awful human being.

            If you criticize him today, you might save him in 2018.

            Donnelly will lose if he all he offers up is “I’m not a Republican.”

          4. cm

            I just spoke w/ Sen Murray’s (WA-D) staff and he hung up on me. She is supposedly concerned about safety issues. I then asked if she supported repealing NAFTA due to safety issues and he had no response. Once I asked if we could get drugs imported from France or Switzerland he hung up on me.

            I left a message w/ Cantwell’s office. Both Democratic Senators from Washington state are in the pocket of the drug companies. Any Washington state voters here who wish to support Cantwell’s & Murray’s votes?

            1. Peter Pan

              I just emailed Cantwell and gave her as much grief as I could in a reasonable manner. When will democrats learn ?

              I look forward to her pathetic response (probably from a staffer).

              1. Vatch

                response (probably from a staffer)

                Always from a staffer. But they almost certainly keep a tally of how many people support and how many oppose a particular action.

            2. TedWa

              I just wrote them 2 e-mails questioning their loyalties to the people or to their donors. Murray got between $300k to $700k and Cantwell got about $300k too. Murray office gave you that stuff about “safety” when she knew for sure that Canada’s drug testing is as good as ours. Blaah on all of them. Disgusted.

              1. Propertius

                What’s interesting to me is that Cantwell and Murray are basically accusing US pharmaceutical manufacturers of knowingly selling defective and dangerous drugs to our neighbor and closest ally, Canada. Why else would there be “safety concerns” about reimporting these drugs to the US? I should think this would be grounds for criminal prosecution, or at least a Congressional investigation.

              2. Minnie Mouse

                I got Murray and Cantwell both on the TPA trade traitor list. Big pharma is manufacturing the stuff offshore who knows where (likely not Canada) and pretending it is not being imported.

            3. cm

              My boilerplate letter. I strongly suggest all those who are in Democratic-controlled states contact their Senators:


              You just voted to block Canadian drugs from being imported into the United States. I assume your justification is safety.

              Assuming that is the case, are you also going to block NAFTA imports of food for the same reason?

              If you are not willing to block all Canadian imports, can you explain the justification? Is it the case that unsafe food is not as important as unsafe medicine?

              Since you have voted against Canadian medicine imports, I assume you have a good reason to do so. Can you provide a documented list of Canadians who have died from unsafe Canadian drugs?

              If you cannot provide a list of dead Canadians (from their bad pharmacutical drugs)l, can you them provide a list of Canadians who have suffered from their shoddy drugs?


            4. cm

              I’ve left responses with the Oregonian and other local media. I strongly urge others to contact their local media. IMO this is a slam-dunk story.

        2. witters

          He had to do wrong to make sure he would still be there to do wrong in the future. You can forgive him…

        3. different clue

          It makes sense in a “normal times” sort of way. But normal times are gone. Those Democrats who “have to vote that way” in order to “survive in a Republican state” pollute the party and make it side with the Class Enemy. It would be better to primary and then naderize every such Democrat in order to purge and burn them out of the Democratic Party. Better to let the Republicans take all the offices instead of Democrats who have to “vote that way” to survive in a Republican state.

          Purify the Democratic Officeholders club down to a purified Red Gingrich fighting force ready to burn down the House and burn down the Senate till they get their way . . . which is our way.

    3. voteforno6

      Maybe I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, but I question just how strong the grip is of the establishment. Trump certainly demonstrated just how weak they are. Judging by their history, the people running the Democratic Party right now don’t have a lot of experience with winning, so just maybe they can be taken out.

    4. Roger Smith

      Related to public opinion, I thought it was odd and insightful two days ago when I ended up driving behind a car that already had a “Bernie 2020” sticker on it.

      1. Knifecatcher

        A church friend recently sent a photo of their whole family – husband, wife, 2 small kids – wearing matching “Michelle 2020” shirts.

        Save me.

        1. different clue

          If you want, you can tell your church friend that a fellow commenter on Naked Capitalism has just promised to vote for Trump in 2020 if Michelle is the choice the Democratic Party gives me.

        1. Robert Hahl

          Campaign at Bernie’s.

          I just saw that movie. The acting is mostly bad except for Richard Lewis, but the scenes with Bernie are funny.

        2. Roger Smith

          Hah! Life imitating art, could happen! Hell, what is the difference between a dead guy and a corporate puppets anyways?

      2. HopeLB

        I changed mine too with a Sharpie.
        Call your turncoat Dem Senators. I called Casey (press 2, don’t just leave a message). His staff said Casey had in the past voted for importation but that safety now had become an issue. “Where are all of the dead Canadians then?” “Most of the drugs are manufactured in the US. Is there a problem with the US drugs we should know about?” “Do you buy that excuse?” “Do you think maybe the Clintonite Establishment procorporate Dems simply cannot allow Bernie to have a popular legislative victory? Why? Because he just might upend the Corporate Wing of the Dem Party?”
        “Fetterman For Senate!”

        1. polecat

          Yes … lets call our Senators Ferengi, to sway them to our collective plight ……**

          ** Disclaimer : Some/All rules of acquisition may apply ….

    5. Sam Adams

      Corey Booker has started his 2020 Democrat presidential bid on the graves of every corpse which couldn’t afford their overpriced drugs they could have gotten cheaper from Canadian pharmacies.

      1. HopeLB

        I didn’t consider that angle; if the Dems wait long enough for austerity to do its work (maybe throw in another round of highly addictive painkillers), enough “deplorables” will have passed on for them to win in 2018!

        1. Laughingsong

          Holy bank account, Batman, is THAT what they really mean when they claim that “the demographics are on their side”?!?!?!

          1. different clue

            Its a tiny little version of the Big OverClass Question: how do you kill 7 billion people and make it look like an accident?

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            “The Emerging Democratic Majority” from 2002.

            It’s based on expectations of Democrats capturing non black minorities as well as they capture blacks. 2006 was the victory, so the question is what happened. Democrats who have kicked the left for so long woke up one day in November to find their minority turnout isn’t setting records and crashed in 2010 and 2014.

  2. windsock

    Well, I thought Brexit and its resultant national navel-gazing was bad, but never have I ever read anything so gut-wrenchingly self-indulgent with such a self-satisfied sense of superiority as the “Political class fear and loathing of the working class (Outis P)”. Is that really representative of the way many people are thinking in USA?

    1. Tom

      Sense of superiority sure — but what’s with the fragile, paranoid state of mind that suddenly spins a fantasy of persecution and physical danger out of … nothing. Absolutely nothing. The image of that delusional weirdo holed up in his apartment, freaking out about for the plumber, reminds me of Repulsion.

      1. MtnLife

        It reminded me of the racist woman in the movie Crash who was upset by having a Mexican locksmith. Racist hate, elite classist hate… is there really a difference?

        1. ambrit

          Nope. Hate is hate, and fear is fear. The two, hate and fear are closely intertwined.
          What was funny about the “plumbee’s” paranoia was the sub-text of the “superior” customer realizing that the “inferior” plumber might have individuality, er, agency. I have experienced this myself at first hand. Being a late middle aged white plumber who grew up in the American South, that frisson of paranoia exhibited made me laugh out loud. I have seen just that dawning realization that all is not keeping to the script exhibited in someone’s eyes. Unfortunately, most people that I have encountered in similar situations are wedded to this heirarchical view of the world. When this belief system is challenged, even passively, most retreat into a defensive shell. I have had almost no call backs from people who had this belief shaking experience. I’m too dangerous to their self image. So are all the other workers who show signs of being above the plain utility level.
          So, I’m perversely gladdened by Mr. Resnikoff’s post. He can still think and process experiences from the real world. Too many cannot.

      2. pretzelattack

        omg he actually was in his apartment alone with a plumber. we all have moments of quiet heroism.but then he had to tell us.

      3. Tigerlily

        Not nothing though.

        For decades the values and interests of urban white collar professionals were normative in America, while the lower class was marginalized and ignored. Then in 2016 the marginalized and ignored finally started pushing back. Intrepid upper middle class journalists left their coastal enclaves and finally ventured into the hinterland to make first contact with the fabled Deplorables who were supporting Trump and filed dispatches that read like the field notes of an anthropologist who had encountered a previously unknown tribe in the deepest reaches of the Amazon. Just as they were making first acquaintances with the majority of the country’s population they woke up one morning to the massive shock of discovering the Deplorables had elected the President of the United States! It was like status and power had suddenly lost all meaning in America. Their world was -is- upside down.

        So don’t be surprised if they’re still in shock and exhibiting symptoms of paranoia and and deep confusion. When you’ve been at the top of the heap for what feels like forever you naturally acquire a “to the manor born” insouciance that ill prepares you for those moments when fate throws you a curveball.

        1. fresno dan

          January 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

          I once drove through Alabama…and this is mind boggling….they got Mexican food and sushi (well, not together – they have it in separate restaurants….hmmmm, I wonder what sushi mixed with Mexican would taste like)
          And in this one town, Fort Payne, sock capital of the world, back in the day, they even have an opera house, or using the correct prununciation, opry house

          I understand they fly in New Yorkers to fully appreciate the foreign language operas….

    2. notabanker

      Personally in interacting with people day in and day out, I haven’t seen it. But social media gives everyone a voice, and some of those voices are pretty disturbing.

    3. djrichard

      It’s important to the democratic establishment to keep this fear and loathing alive. That’s their GOTV strategy for the next election.

      It didn’t work this last election, but who knows, with enough die off in the fly-over states, it’s bound to work eventually. Edit: why change horses now?

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      Sadly, a segment of the population that is college-educated and works white-collar has so often these days had not actual contact with working stiffs they truly do see them all as some kind of dangerous animal. The media helps, of course, by portraying them as ignorant, boorish, and otherwise not fit for civilized company. When you consider there has been exactly one TV series in the history of the medium to portray blue-collar people with anything close to reality, it’s not hard to see why second- and third-generation white middle class snowflakes are having screaming fits.

      As a side note, it’s also unfortunate that most of that same bunch of snowflakes are doing zip to actually help save the country from the GOP. Their entire contribution is, so far as I can tell, passing along every nasty Trump meme they stumble on, complete with outraged pearl-clutching.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Thanks, LifelongLib!
          I was quizzing myself over which show Elizabeth Burton was talking about…
          Thought maybe All in the Family?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “Roseanne” had personal and economic ups (never that up) and downs for eight seasons*. The Bunkers economic status was fairly stable and mysterious, and the show tended towards culture shock (look at Archie dealing with this identity group now) more than anything else. Archie and Jefferson signed a petition to keep a black family out of the neighborhood because they didn’t want to hurt their property values.

            “Good Times” was taken over by the proto Urkel.

            I can think of episodes of shows such as “The Simpsons” there really is no other long lived show quite like “Roseanne.” “The Wonder Years” had good runs, but the show was presented from the perspective of a kid.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Yep, that’s right NotTimmy.
              But it illustrates in hindsight what was, and has become of, middle-class economic stability.

              Any doubt how popular and controversial a contemporary “All in the Family” would be today if it focused on class divisions?

              1. Fiery Hunt

                I’m thinking a craftsman, say a plumber, constantly running into client situations that highlight class distinctions…

                CLIENT: Oh, I’m sorry…could you take off your shoes? The hardwood floors…
                PLUMBER: Why, you wanna rub ’em? I’m here to unplug your crapper, Lady.
                CLIENT:OH you’re one of those Trumpets, aren’t you?
                You’re here to assault me, aren’t you?

                1. fresno dan

                  Fiery Hunt
                  January 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm

                  CLIENT:OH you’re one of those Trumpets, aren’t you?
                  You’re here to assault me, aren’t you?

                  PLUMBER: Lady, your so ugly I wouldn’t use my partner’s snake on you…

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                The flaw in Freaks and Geeks from a mass viewing perspective was the main girl, Linda Cardellini, was Lisa Simpson (you know who you are). She wasn’t an every man (Kevin Arnold) or in her case every woman.

                It’s cancellation was also due to its outrageous costs. The kids were so many different ages they were effectively operating a whole school for two dozen kids, usually a few tutors are used.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Think you’ve got the winner!

            (Apologies if this duplicates…Sky net ate my first response! )

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Showing your age, ambrit!
            (But yeah, even at 45 I remember re-runs of the crazy hijinks of those 2 bus drivers and their long-suffering wives!)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        As the great actress Streep said the other night – empathize or put yourself in their position…something like that.

        If you are a not a college person, you like to have, maybe:

        1. free public transportation
        2. free safe drinking water
        3. free heating oil when it snows
        4. free day care for alll children
        5. free banking account

        A college person not able to empathize would probably propose free college tuition only or first. Those who can, and there are many, will propose all of them, with free college tuition not first on the list.

        1. LifelongLib

          Community colleges often have courses in trades as well as academics. Maybe “free post-secondary” or something is a better frame.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There is a comment over at the ‘Debate over Healthcare ….’ post that this student had to pay another $4,000 (in addition to the $4,000 tuition) to buy health insurance…colleges and universities as Obamacare gatekeepers.

            So, maybe we add free health insurance (for all or just for college students) to that…maybe even prioritized that before free college tuition.

            1. Eurekalol

              I entered college prior to Obamacare being enacted. I believe it’s standard for universities to require health insurance (and be current with vaccinations) in order to attend.

              Fortunately, my university offered amazing insurance for $1400 per year. Even if you drop midway through the semester, the coverage continued for a whole year. Without it, I would have definitely found myself in many $100,000’s of dollars in debt…

              Just saying it’s nothing new…

        2. funemployed

          I agree with your priorities, but in the US free college means the ability to try to get a professional certification (the entire point of neoliberal higher ed) because you’ve been told your whole life you need to, without being placed in lifelong debt peonage.

          Turns out, if you weren’t already born into a family that already has access to all 5 things you listed (free for you cause your parents had money) the overwhelming odds are that you lack “college person” saavy not to either get thoroughly scammed (like 3 of my 4 siblings), be forced for various reasons to quit before you finish, discover you lack the class markers and connections to make the promised use of your degree, or just get royally screwed by the bureaucracy + your lack of training in self-advocacy re: bureaucracies.

          This is not to mention that, if you’re working class, your family will also likely be shoved in the biggest financial hole they are willing or able to dig themselves. And now your parents/guardians/grandparents will be working themselves to death at Wal-Mart at 75, because it is no longer possible to build the sorts of nest eggs they did without a college degree. Except you got conned or dropped out, so now you’re a disappointment too. That’s the college experience of most of the young people I know who tried to get an education these days, usually out of desperation (which is basically every young person without a warm parent’s basement and permanently stocked fridge).

          1. charles leseau

            I remember back in the 70s a good friend’s dad was a shoe salesman and was able to afford his own house. I’m not even sure that job exists anymore.

        3. Tigerlily

          I have serious misgivings about free college tuition unaccompanied by serious post secondary education reform. Post secondary costs are out of control and for the most part undergraduates are paying for a very expensive credential rather than receiving a real education – which many students are in any case unprepared to receive anyway. Even well regarded universities have largely become diploma mills that cater to the lowest common denominator in order to maximize cash flow. In Japan university exams are notoriously tough but once you’re in you can coast through with little effort. In the American variant even elite universities tell themselves if you can speak at least one foreign language, have done “volunteer” work in Nigeria (i.e. your parents paid thousands of dollars for an overseas adventure that incorporated some token selflessness), can play an instrument and made all state in an athletic endeavour you’re obviously a quality human being who deserves an A even if they weren’t really interested in teaching you anything and you didn’t really want to learn anything.

          Also, as LifeLongLib says the American obsession with college education is far too narrow. Not everyone is suited for college, and many fewer would be if they actually tried to maintain any real standard of undergraduate academic excellence. Treating “education” as synonymous with an -often highly overspecialized- undergraduate degree debases the concept, feeds credentialism, and effectively excludes most of the population from legitimate opportunities to grown intellectually. The disdain for trades means we have an overabundance of mediocre underemployed degree holders but when you get your car from the garage it still isn’t fixed.

          Anyway I’ve vented enough.

          I’m just saying there’s plenty of opportunity here to take a big picture look at the problem rather than just cram more public money into the university sausage maker.

          1. Felix_47


            Since business is using college degrees to sort our applicants to select as best they can those that will show up and have enough drive to complete college…..and not much more…….how about making it illegal for employers to ask educational background when they hire? Unless there is a specific thing they need that is integral to the job…..and then they can test for it. They are already resgtricted regarding color and ethnic background. I would suggest restricting all employers from interviewing prospects. Let business figure out how to make the workers they have productive. Then this nefarious method of hiring, for example Mexicans, in place of “domestics” might stop. A lot of employers do their best to not hire native blacks and whites because they tend not to show up for work and talk back.

      2. Arizona Slim

        Earlier today, I had a conversation with someone who (gasp!) actually worked in a Trump hotel.

        Was his job the hotel equivalent of hell on earth? Nope. Quite the opposite. Most of the senior management had been there for a long time. And that is highly unusual in the hospitality industry. Highly.

        As for The Donald, all of the senior management were on a first-name basis with him. According to the guy I was talking to, the Trump organization took excellent care of such loyal employees. And it was a well-run hotel.

        We both agreed that, while Trump needs a braking system for his mouth, he does know how to put heads in beds.

    5. LT

      Re: Outis P…

      Yes, it’s a way of thinking. That’s why the interest in AI is what it is. The guy who posted that will buy the iPlumber Robot…

    6. Waldenpond

      The Davos attempt to create a marketing campaign to respond to the middle class will be a painful attempt to move away from the fear and loathing and probably end with something as out of touch as complimenting the beautiful inlay on the guillotine the unemployed worker has built.

    7. Cat's paw

      First, subtle bow to Lambert for lining up the “class fear and loathing” and “political class hysteria and fear” links one after the other–they go so well together!

      I wrote a comment in a water cooler (last week I think) about the senile meme of “resistance” to Prez YOU’RE FIRED being deployed by comfortable centristy/liberal-ly types–as if their lives had been overtaken by some heretofore unknown and unknowable conquering horde. These links given further meaning to what “resistance” actually means to the perpetually chattering 10%’ers– paranoid other-ing based on class/economic/geographic differences and permission to fully embody the victim’s pose.

      Whether the nonsense in these two links is representative is probably unanswerable, but I don’t think it’s uncommon at this point. I would interpret said nonsense as being primarily “performative.” That is, it is play-acting, taking on a now socially approved role, and embodying a certain identity whose markers are readily understandable and sympathetic to the intended audience.

      You see, because of Celebrity Buffoon, Mr. Fears-the-Plumber can now know what it feels like to a black teenager or a rez Indian living with the anxieties, fears, and constant worry that everyday interactions and sundry institutional powers can turn negative in an instant. And luckily, he has social media to share his new feelings. To be scared, to be fearful of (omg! working class, but otherwise perfectly nice) plumbers is how you show that YOU get it–that you understand.

      As I said the other day, it’s a good way to show you care, especially b/c it doesn’t change anything or require any real work.

      1. Tom

        Re Cat’s Paw:

        “I would interpret said nonsense as being primarily “performative.” That is, it is play-acting, taking on a now socially approved role, and embodying a certain identity whose markers are readily understandable and sympathetic to the intended audience.”

        Thanks — that one made me think differently about the topic.

      2. Skip Intro

        Trump-induced pearl clutching and political histrionics are the hottest new form of virtue signaling among low-info ‘liberals’.

  3. nick

    “No doubt the developers are working on getting the chatbot to upsell.”

    Generally, you need to be licensed by the state to sell financial products. I think we are a ways off from a state granting that concession to chatbots. Although maybe some plucky MBA out there will find a way.

    I think the larger problem is that it takes a chatbot way longer to understand rudimentary inquiries than it does a human. Efficiencies gained by companies run by chatbots (probably after laying off a large part of their highly productive workforce) means eating up a lot more of a customer’s time.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    So the author who was intimidated by the plumber…let me guess, he probably needed to tighten a pipe or clean a drain and is trying to justify his own failings as a human being.

    “In the future, you could just use a wrench to tighten this faucet up.”

    “TRUMPIST” (unaware the plumber is probably in a union and likely voted democratic and canvasses)

    Never mind, the plumber is at a job where he depends on referrals and has no interest in discussing politics.

    1. cocomaan

      It’s nice to finally see someone say, without hesitation, that their continuing insecurities are someone else’s fault. Only problem is that reading the passage gave me tinnitus.

      These people need to learn some martial arts or something. They are insufferably reliant on others for everything, including their own safety.

      1. Chris

        Oh my goodness yes. I know exactly the kind of person you’re talking about. I see too many of them on a daily basis.

        The nearest place for me to get a quick lunch during the workday is a whole foods. It’s the cheapest option too… tells you what kind of area it is. Anywhoo, the way these people walk in that place, the way they carry their possessions (asking to be mugged), the entitled stopping and blocking egress and ingress, checking their phone while walking and running into people if they don’t leap out of the way to let them pass, the fact that they never say hello to the janitors or clerks, it’s embarrassing to think I’m associated with these some of these witless wastes by proximity and professional connections.

        These people would be considered easy prey anywhere else in the world. They’re helpless without a smart phone. They’re terrified outside of their gated enclaves. If it weren’t for the fact that their entitled perspective is ruining our country, I’d pity these fools.

        Makes you wonder what the peasantry felt about the royals just before the Reign of Terror.

        1. Corey

          There was a time when grown men would hide the fact that they were pussies by hiding behind boastful language or at a minimum discreet silence. Now they proudly broadcast it to the world. Strange days indeed.

            1. clincal wasteman

              I hope not, because that would be, to put it politely, total nonsense. Same goes for all cultural ‘class markers’ actually, unless you want to give up completely on the idea that class is about the power to command other people’s labor, and — as the word itself suggests, doesn’t it? — it only makes much sense when applied to power relationships between large groups of people.
              What it’s not is one brand of personal identity in competition with others. This matters because that’s exactly how liberal identity politics AND patrician psuedo-populism go about dividing and the working class, pushing the toxic notion that ‘working class’ = ‘white working class’ (and now even ‘white, non-urban working class’)/urban ‘minorities’ = secret Metropolitan Elites.
              As for ‘being a pussy’, wow, that’s an unpleasant term for the extremely unpleasant idea that the physically weak/dyspraxic and/or timid/just not physically belligerent are defective human beings (and the plain silly one that these are peculiarly posh characteristics. They’re singularly absent, anyway, in the English/Colonial officer/rugby caste of scary, brawling, ultra-credentialled boors.)

    2. jgordon

      The funniest thing about it is that this suffers under the irrational delusion that his emotional state is actually important to anyone but him. Yes, I am thrilled that he’s feeling horrified about Trump; that was one of my main motivations for supporting Trump in fact.

      Frankly seeing this kind of nonsense, I’m hoping more and more that Trump does turn out to be a Fascist dictator who will launch a pogrom against all these victimhood-ceelebrating idiots. Future generations will be better off if we can clean things up now.

      1. Chris

        First they came for the telephone sanitizers, and I said nothing because I was a marketing professional building a new branding campaign for the potatoTM…

      2. different clue

        Careful . . . lest the pogromists are sent to your house next to stop you teaching people how to grow food. Because people who can grow food don’t buy food any more, and that’s bad for business. And President Trump wants to be a good-for-business president.

  5. Steve H.

    : Davos

    Let’s check the triggerword list:


    Okay, one Narrative. But two references to emotions, ‘anger’ and ‘cultivating appropriate emotions in a time of nationalist populism.’ I especially like the second, given the zombie implications of ‘populism’ juxtaposed with the enlightenment implied by ‘cultivating appropriate emotions’. Most particularly intriguing is ‘cultivating’ as being a creative process, a bringing forth of gnopsis. The creation of deliberate ignorance is clearly not merely a rational process, but must have an emotive component necessary for the denial of material facts.

    The triggerword list is from NC, but includes ‘STUPID’ which I added as a red flag for people not seeing the world as they see it. Indications are it flies from the top spire of the ivory tower. I see smart, caring people leaping to unsubstantiated facts, as long as it reflects their own viewpoint, a Kruger Dunning the forebrain attempts to discern Truth from Winning. But it’s not just Ineffectual Intellectuals who wave totemic orange-haired fatheads and then are left with perverse outcomes.

    Note Pompeo saying Russia is “doing nearly nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS.” It’s like the Benghazi hearings somehow missing Al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services. American operatives give aid to Ukranian nazis and rebranded al-Queda, ala Brzezinski ‘some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?’ But following Turchin, Islamic fundamentalism is an enormous ‘other’ that increases internal asibayah, the capacity for collective action. Every bit of destabilization we create in the Middle East serves to increase the internal order of Russia, which has the direct case of Chechnya in a fight against Islamic fundamentalism.

  6. Elizabeth Burton

    Regarding the flatline on holiday sales, a good many people I know (and I did as well, when I actually had money to spend) do their holiday shopping all year long, especially for family and close friends. It’s actually cheaper—and assuredly less of a hassle—to grab winter clothing when the clearance sales are on, and special sales and coupons during the year often provide stuff at less cost than with the holiday discounts.

    As a result, the only things that may end up being held off till the holiday shopping season are speciality items that are must-haves, like the newest version of some electronic gadget or a new game released right around that time. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that kind of thing has expanded to the point where it would affect the year-end numbers.

    1. Paid Minion

      Or just cash/cash equivalents (turning Rewards points into gift cards). Cash seems to function as a stress reducer, especially when given around December 1.

      Or better yet, just eliminating the gift giving altogether, between consenting adults.

  7. jsn

    Google has its own self driving car pretty well developed: I figure they’re building an infrastructure they can slosh into when Uber dries up.

    1. Art Eclectic

      Exactly. I was joking the other day when I said that I want to say “Okay, Google, call me a cab/Uber.”

      It’s the logical next step since I can find the nearest anything (Walgreens, 7-11, gas station, Chinese buffet) with just a voice request.

      Coming soon:
      Okay, Google. Where did I park?
      Okay, Google. Where are my keys?
      Okay, Google. Who’s got the cheapest chicken breasts per pound locally?

      On my last trip to San Francisco, Google Maps walked me through how to get to the BART station at SFO, which train to take, what the fare would be, which stop to get off, then guided me walking 3 blocks to get to my destination. It was awesome and I could text my co-workers with a 5 minute range of exactly when I’d be at the meeting location.

      1. ginnie nyc

        I don’t mean to offend, but couldn’t you figure that out yourself? Using a map, and a phone call to BART? Without notifying Google or the NSA, I mean. It’s a lot cheaper, too, I’d wager.

      2. Tigerlily

        Also don’t want to offend, but isn’t what you’re describing learned helplessness?

        What are you going to do if your phone battery dies?

        To whom are you alienating your power, and what will they do with it?

  8. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: the guy from WaPo saying the Obama family was the “classiest of class acts”, etc. Described by Mr. Lambert as “gauzy”, which means “thin.” Yes, Obama was putting on an act. He was ACTING like he was prez. Is that what we want? No. Also, I don’t see what was so classy about his family. At least his daughters didn’t get ejected from a South American country, a la the W girls—I’ll give them credit for that. But that’s a low bar for excellence.

    1. Pat

      Someone, probably Lambert, commented on another of this things that waxed poetically about how polite and clean cut and nice the Obamas are, that you could probably say the same thing about the George W. Bushes. Low bars everywhere.

      Of course lots of people mourning the exit of the Obamas and their class act are also mourning that the family moving in doesn’t include the guy known for getting a hummer from an intern in the Oval Office.
      That a whole lot of their administrative records were largely destructive and damaging for the well being of a large portion if not most of Americans well lets just focus on the better manners.

    2. Anne

      Just what, exactly, were you looking for in the way of excellence from two children who were 10 and 7 when their father was elected, and are only 18 and 15 now?

      From everything I’ve read, these are hands-on parents who make time for their children, something it would be easy enough to skimp on in that environment, with people at your beck and call to do any- and everything for you.

      The White House vegetable garden? The nutrition programs? Camping out on the WH lawn with groups of kids? I don’t know – is that too low-class for you?

      Have to say, it seems kind of cheap-shot-y and small to go after the Obama family, but I do hope you will weigh in after you’ve had some exposure to the Trump family and we can discuss “classy.”

      [If there are any typos, blame my eyes rolling around in my head]

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        The words “classy” and “class act” are overused in the US and virtually meaningless. It’s oh so wonderful they had a garden. What about GMO labelling? See, it was all an act.

      2. Roger Smith

        To be fair, his family life has little relevance to his job. If they managed their family well, great for them. But while they hosted fashionable WH gatherings to watch Zootopia (oh god), their father was killing innocent people, bombing the hell out of the third world, kicking people out of their homes while paying the people who were responsible… etc…

        The Obama’s are not a royal family and I would really appreciate it if the media stopped passing them off as great because they smile, waive a lot, and live in the big house. I care about what Obama did as executive, not how debonair and cool he looked doing it.

        1. DJG

          Roger Smith: You make the bigger point. Dealing with the personal lives of officers of the Republic is tiresome. I give Obama credit for being active in keeping his kids and mother-in-law out of the news. (Conversely, I think that he kept his half-Indonesian half-sister out of the news to avoid further charges of being a furriner.) You’d think that we all would have learned something from the endless Clinton soap opera, which only now may be coming to an end (unless Bobby Ewing Clinton comes back from the dead again).

          For similar reasons, I find the U.K. royal family to be dull and the U.S. preoccupation with the U.K. royal family to be peculiar and self-defeating. We have enough problems here without admiring heredity in-breeding among the propertied classes of SpecialRelationshipLand.

      3. cocomaan

        I mean, is Michelle keeping the garden? Is she out there every morning, picking bugs off the plants? Weeding? Is she known for being muddy on a regular basis?

        I looked over the wikipedia page but didn’t see much about the maintenance. my guess is that gardeners take care of it. A 100m2 garden is pretty big. So it’s probably just curated. Most of the material on it comes from their first term. As usual, the O’s put the O in Optics.

      4. Steve C

        That’s all great but doesn’t help you if you lost your home to Tim Geithner’s HAMP or you haven’t recovered from the recession or you were fired and prosecuted for being a whistleblower or you and your family were drone struck by this classy guy with the amazing wife and adorable kids.

        I really couldn’t care less about Obama’s charisma and his nice family. In fact, I find it all annoying. A lot of much better leaders had vices and weren’t nice to their families.

    3. TK421

      Obama is very civil. But he is profoundly indecent. See here: http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/2710

      Like the politicians Will set out to study, his words must be taken seriously. Two words are key to his thought — “decent” and “civility” — his shorthand for different political mentalities. “Decent” arises in his language as something bad about Democrats: “There hangs about the Democratic party an aura of moral overreaching. A symptom is the use of words like ‘decent’….as in ‘a decent society requires this or that.’” “Civility,” according to Will, is what will be restored when the Iran-contra scandal is swept away. But the meaning of these words, as Will uses them, is broader.

      He uses “civility” to mean manners masquerading as morals, a category of form referring less to the rule of law than to the rule of etiquette; it is more an unspoken social, rather than ethical, code. Correct behavior may make the good possible, it is not goodness itself.

      By contrast, “decency,” which Will belittles, actually is about morals. And there is some history behind the word and its content. The introduction of the word “decent” into the political vocabulary can be attributed to George Orwell. In his essay on Charles Dickens, he defined the essence of the great novelist’s sensibility as “decent.” In an age of totalitarians, Dickens’s message was still contemporary. Orwell wrote: “The central problem — how to prevent power from being abused — remains unsolved…’If men would behave decently the world would be decent’ is not such a platitude as it sounds.” Since Orwell’s use of the word, a number of liberals, intellectuals, and reformers have taken it up. “Decent” connotes a tempered moral position, one that carefully avoids righteous absolutism; it also suggests compassion and patience. The word is precisely the opposite of elite condescension, the opposite of hauteur.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        This probably isn’t the site for you.
        See TK above: “manners masquerading as morals”.
        A cute veggie garden, while his Secretary of State was blackmailing the nation of Sweden to accept Monsanto poison. A nice “nutrition program” for impoverished Yemeni women and children in the desert that consisted of a drone bomb rammed down their throats. Jaunts by Michelle and the girls to Milan for handbag shopping at a cost of $200K per hour.
        A “class act” indeed.

        1. Anne

          Yes, Hal, thank you for once again trying to, what? shame me away?

          Neither Sasha nor Malia, elementary-school age children when they came to live in the WH, are responsible for the decisions made by their president-father. Michelle Obama does not hold elective office, has no power to set policy or implement actions around the world.

          I’m more than aware that the decisions of the president have killed innocent people, have not improved the lives of families and children around the world. I know there’s a huge disconnect between how the Obamas are raising their children, and how many parents around the world had to bury theirs.

          And I am exhausted by this non-stop effort to turn Obama into some sort of saint – no, I don’t want the president I didn’t vote for in two elections to serve a third term. No, I don’t want Michelle Obama to run for president in 2020.

          But I can’t be snide and condescending toward two children who have done nothing but be the children of the president.

          And while you may choose to minimize Michelle Obama’s efforts in the area of child nutrition and healthy lifestyles, I cannot discount her introducing a lot of children to foods and experiences they’d never had before. I mean, are you aware of the conditions in which children of the District live just blocks from the WH?

          Is it enough? Of course not. I just don’t know what it is you wanted or needed Michelle, Malia and Sasha to do that would have earned your approval. I think, for someone who’s been taunted for possibly “really” being a man, who’s been compared to an ape, who’s even been accused of not really being the girls’ mother, she’s handled herself with poise and grace in the face of some very ugly and racist attitudes. I’m not sure I would have been able to stand up to that.

          1. DJG

            Anne: Brava. Although my attitude is the less news, the fewer features about the families of politicians, the better. The “First Lady” truly doesn’t have to have a mission for the four years. And I believe that Mamie Eisenhower made it a point of not doing much. (Eleanor Roosevelt and Bess Truman were hard acts to follow, and Mamie Eisenhower was a Republican.)

            HAL: “This probably isn’t the site for you.” ? Sheesh.

          2. EndOfTheWorld

            I was neither snide nor condescending. Yes apparently the two girls are normal healthy kids. I confess I don’t know much about their academic, athletic, or musical accomplishments. Maybe they are both child prodigy pianists and world-class marathon runners in their age groups, and I just haven’t heard about it yet.

          3. aab

            Serious question: did Michelle actually improve healthy food access for poor and middle-class children, rather than merely doing performative liberal hectoring aka “education”? I honestly have no idea. It would be GREAT if she did. She does bear responsibility for her husband’s policies to some degree. It is her family connections that fueled his rise. She is the descendant of slaves that makes many of his identity claims possible. She benefits from his wealth, power and stature as his life partner. I don’t see why she should be exempt from the burden of his true legacy.

            I agree about how gracefully she handled the disgusting personal attacks on her. But I’m also cognizant that as people of wealth and power, the Obamas are much more protected than the African-American citizens all over the country his policies immiserated while his political corruption strengthened the power of racists — both the overt racists in the Republican party which now holds dominion over us all, and the more racist elements of the Democratic Party, as exemplified by the woman who had run a racist campaign against him and who he then helped to almost reach the heights of power.

            Obviously the kids bear no responsibility for his policies. Malia strikes me as utterly unimpressive, though, from what little we know about her. The fact that she thought it was appropriate to get publicly drunk on her college tour, knowing she was in the enviable position to pick which Ivy League school she wanted over thousands and thousands of more qualified candidates speaks poorly of her character and her upbringing, in my opinion. That she dresses well for formal occasions and her parents made her study for exams is pretty much the least one should expect, don’t you think?

            They’re over-praised for their style and charm. It’s not all racism — being compared to the Clintons has always helped them, and continues to. In a way, they are the perfect embodiment of the failure of liberalism. Everything good is personal and performative. But none of it seems to have translated in public acts that benefit the community. Why should I praise an upper-middle class family for behaving like an upper-middle class family? (Unless I really am supposed to be surprised that black people can be upper-middle class.)

            1. Anne

              Per Wikipedia:

              597 museums and gardens in all 50 states have signed up to offer active exhibits and healthy food choices as part of Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens.[6]

              The Department of Defense updated their nutritional standards to include more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products with every meal for troops.[6]

              Walmart lowered the cost of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products by $1 billion in 2011. They also promised to work with manufacturers to eliminate trans fats and remove 10% of the sugar and 25% of the sodium in the food they sell by 2015.[6]

              Birds Eye committed to spending at least $2 million per year for three years to marketing and advertising efforts designed to encourage children to consume and enjoy vegetables, including 50 million coupons to promote vegetables.[6]

              The First Lady worked with the US Tennis Association to build or refurbish more than 6,200 kid-sized tennis courts across the country, sign up more than 250,000 kids to complete their PALAs, and train 12,000 coaches to help kids learn tennis.[6]

              The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association funded street-closings, called “Play Streets,” to create a safe place for children and families to run, walk, bike, or play outside freely without traffic. In 2013, at least four Play Streets per city/town in 10 cities/towns across the country will be funded.[6]

              The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition updated the President’s Challenge Youth Fitness Test to reflect the latest science on kids’ health and promote active, healthy lifestyles rather than athletic performance and competition. The new Presidential Youth Fitness Program is a voluntary, school-based program that assesses students’ fitness-based health and helps them progress over time. The new program will be implemented in 25 percent of US schools by the end of 2013, and 90 percent of US schools by 2018.[6]

              The Partnership for a Healthier America teamed up with 157 hospitals to deliver more healthy options to patients and on-site cafeterias.[6]

              Through the HealthierUS School Challenge, more than 5,000 schools now meet high standards in nutrition and fitness.[6]

              Walgreens, Supervalu, Walmart and several regional grocers announced a commitment to build or expand 1,500 stores in communities with limited or no access to healthy food. This initiative will provide access to fresh food to an estimated 9.5 million people who currently have limited access. In California alone, the Fresh Works Fund has committed 200 million dollars to this effort to increase access to healthy food.[6]

              The First Lady launched MyPlate and MiPlato, an easy to understand icon to help parents make healthier choices for their families. More than 6,100 community groups and 100 national organizations and corporations have partnered with the USDA to give families across the country access to this important nutritional information.[6]

              In addition to providing the First Family and their guests with fresh produce, the garden also donates to local shelters and soup kitchens.

    4. Annotherone

      I do think that Obama has been, on the surface at least, a positive “ambassador” for the USA – appearance and personality-wise, in duties abroad. Due to media’s constant.. constant.. never-ending bashing, denigration and ridiculing of Trump, the same cannot possibly be foreseen for him. That’s bad. (Yes, it has come about partly, but not wholly, due to Trump’s own doings and attitudes).

      Trump’s personality and Republican politics are not my thing – I supported Bernie, and yet, oddly, I’m not able to feel the same kind of negativity most others feel about Trump’s coming presidency. I feel it about his cabinet and his other picks, for sure, but am waiting to see what Trump actually does, how he acts, what he says, when he’s at last in the White House, and for at least the first few months after. I have this strange feeling that he might actually do something that sorely needed doing, that nobody else would, or could, have done.

        1. Annotherone

          TK421 – Certainly not! No, I was thinking only in a superficial way, official visit kind of thing – photo ops with local luminaries etc etc. which do seem to count for something, though gods know why! Perhaps it’s really not such a good thing , when one considers his droning. as you pointed out.

      1. HopeLB

        Same here but sometimes I think it may just be all that hope for change that has been backed up in the political system these last eight years. Or maybe just the thought of Trump having the actual audacity to do something good for the “deplorable” people.

    5. Buttinsky

      Man, I wish I owned the property rights to quoting Voltaire, I’d’ve made a fortune up to now with, “To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid; you must also be well-mannered.”

      But Trump may have broken that market.

      Still, there’s hay to be made with the rights to Lily Tomlin’s, “No matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.”

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Tact is not really Trump’s thing. Let’s not forget the immortal words of private investigator Gus Pitch in the immortal divorce lawyer comedy “Intolerable Cruelty”: “You want tact? Call a tactician. You want an ass nailed, call Gus Pitch.” I expect to see The Donald nail somebody’s ass. We just don’t know who’s, yet.

      1. hunkerdown

        Excerpt from “Motion Graphics Storyteller, Opinions”:

        The Washington Post is seeking an experienced motion graphics storyteller for its growing video team. The successful candidate has experience crafting stories using mixed-media and 2D/3D animation techniques. Motion graphics storytellers pitch, develop and execute their own ideas and work with The Post’s Editorial Board and opinion writers to bring difficult-to-explain concepts to life. The successful candidate is interested and experienced in working in the opinions space, with the ability to craft persuasive arguments using graphics and video.

        Fake news propaganda artist, iow. My heavens. How’s a working-class 41-year-old get to Uruguay in under a week?

      2. carycat

        Thanks to our Every Child Left Behind (TM) policies, more and more folks can’t read or write anymore. But they can watch videos on their smart phones.

  9. Ex-PFC Chuck

    Re Obama’s Legacy

    50-100 years from now Obama will be regarded as the 21st century analog of James Buchanan. A man who became president at a time of great crisis who made the situation much worse. Unfortunarely the chances of his being followed by a Lincoln analog are vanishingly small.

    1. Altandmain

      The best chance society had with that was probably Bernie Sanders.

      Unless someone else strong takes over in 2020, fat chance. I don’t think that the elite care about the impact on the rest of the US.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        I have hope for Trump. Bernie is beginning to join hands with Trump because they actually have similar views on some issues. Bernie has always been a “join hands across the aisle” guy, where possible. Trump’s overture to RFK Jr. on the vaccination issue is significant as well. It’s apparent, though not proven, that Trump’s son is autistic due to the brutal vaccination regime, so if he can make inroads on this, what’s next? GMO labelling? Nationwide pot legalization? The latter is a winning issue with the entrepreneurial class.

        1. TK421

          It’s apparent, though not proven, that Trump’s son is autistic due to the brutal vaccination regime

          Utter nonsense. There isn’t a shred of evidence that vaccinations cause autism, or any other disorder. Not an iota. Not a micron.

            1. River

              Even that was B.S, the thimerosal, the only “positive” study was by the former Dr. Andrew Wakefield who had a conflict of interest in seeing that the MMR vaccine was blamed. Bunch of lawyers were trying to cash in on uncertainty and Wakefield provided his study for a piece.

          1. hunkerdown

            That vaccine manufacturers are exempted from legal liability is sufficient to discredit the establishment argument.

            1. MtnLife

              Bingo. Hold them personally accountable and open up their products to outside research. They’ve never really tested the efficacy or necessity (most of our health advances are due to nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene – not vaccines) of the current schedule because it is “unethical to not give a child a vaccine”. There are plenty of parents willing to shoulder that ethical concern. How about we do some science?

              For the record, I’m not entirely anti vaccination. Small pox, tetanus, rabies – fine with those. Measles (was essentially defeated before the vaccine was introduced), polio (I do my best not to get sh!t in my mouth), HPV, chicken pox (seriously? No wonder we have so many new snowflakes) – not so much.

          2. HopeLB

            You trust Industry funded studies? You would give an infant thiomersal,an organo- mercury based preservative/antifungicide? I vaccinated my child but insisted on no thiomersal. Sometimes they would have to special order it.

            1. Gavin

              You have an interesting definition of trust, HopeLB. Frankly, I trust science.

              You have all the right in the world to your feelings – about all kinds of things. But your feeling isn’t a sufficient counterexample to the underlying reams of scientific data. The data is objective, and not partial. And the science is in — vaccines don’t cause autism.

              1. EndOfTheWorld

                Gavin—gee whilickers, “reams of scientific data”. Wow, REAMS. I guess that must be a LOT, huh? BTW, have you seen the movie “Vaxxed”, available on Amazon Prime?

              2. different clue

                How many of these reams of data are corporate junk science? As against how many are nonprofit sound science?

          3. Random Neuron

            Here is an iota for you:

            Stephanie Seneff has been researching the interactions between vaccines and RoundUp:

          4. EndOfTheWorld

            What would you think if your happy bubbly infant got vaccines and then immediately had seizures and became autistic?

          5. EndOfTheWorld

            TK, if you watch the movie “Vaxxed”, available on Amazon Prime, a convincing case is made for destruction of documents, obstruction of justice, etc. by the CDC. Anyway, how do you explain thousands of parents with the same story of a happy healthy infant suddenly stricken with autism after receiving vaccine shots?

    2. Gary

      I think that is an unfair comparison. Do you really think John McCain and Sarah Palin would have been better? Would we be looking at President-Elect Palin instead of President-Elect Trump? President Obama was a disappointment for me but he was not a disaster. The President’s job is to maintain the status quo. I don’t see President Trump being able to pull that rabbit out the hat. It could have been so much worse. It’s like you thought you booked James Brown to play your pool party buy Al Jolson showed up. You still had your pool party. It is going to take some radical involvement from a large portion of the population to change the situation we have found ourselves in. Ain’t nothing going to change until we make it. If you learn that one thing from President Obama’s years, it may have been worth it.

      1. hunkerdown

        Gary, if the President’s job is to maintain the status quo, why not fire them and leave the position unfilled?

        1. witters

          “The President’s job is to maintain the status quo.” That’s why there is an election. So we can vote for changing nothing.

      2. Steve C

        Leadership counts. FDR could have catered to his own class. Any of the other 1932 contenders would have served the Wall Street bankers who controlled the party. FDR didn’t need those people’s approval and acceptance like Obama did. He wanted those people to kiss his ass.

        Obama came in with an army behind him. He took immediate, frantic, comical action to disarm and demobilize it.

  10. Jason Boxman

    It’s worth noting that, while Meg Whitman was out campaigning for Clinton, HP Enterprise continue(s|d) its implosion.

  11. craazyboy

    Plumbers make me nervous too, but after hours of self therapy, some tweets, and writing some lengthy, introspective blog comments exploring my feelings, I’ve concluded the plumber’s hourly billing rate is the source of my paranoia.

    1. fresno dan

      January 13, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      EXACTLY. If there is a plumber in your house, and your not afraid, your not brave, your crazy….

      1. ambrit

        Or you are carrying a “mouse gun” in your pocket the whole time. (Mouse gun refers to small calibre handguns, usually .22 or .25 calibre.) I once noticed, through a front window, a housewife put one of these in her housecoat pocket before I entered the premises. I wrote it off as a sensible precaution on her part.
        You see almost every human foible when you work in a service occupation.

      1. polecat

        It’s that geeky, dry-humored computer diagnostic .. uh.. ‘expert’ …driving the non-descript black van doing ‘house calls’ … that you really have to worry about … ‘;]

    2. Steve H.

      craazyboy, I do my own plumbing and oboy am I paranoid about it! Rework ‘blog comments’ to ‘clog bomments’ and you’ll understand why I always have my escape route mapped out.

  12. different clue

    Dear Mr. Ned Resnikoff,

    If you are reading this thread . . . yeah, I voted for Trump. Which means I voted for “this too”.

    So suck it.

    1. Ptolemy Philopater

      Interesting that Mr. Resnikoff brought up his ethnicity. Why did he assume that his plumber was not Jewish? not a union member? Whole lot of stereotyping going on. The basis of identity politics I suppose.

  13. dcblogger

    Greg Palast:

    Michigan officials declared in late November that Trump won the state’s count by 10,704 votes. But hold on – a record 75,355 ballots were not counted.

    The uncounted ballots came mostly from Detroit and Flint, majority-Black cities that vote Democratic.

    According to the machines that read their ballots, these voters waited in line, sometimes for hours, yet did not choose a president. Really?

    the election was stolen and the Russians had nothing to do with it. That is why I supported the recount. Recounts are the only way we get to learn what is really going on in our electoral process.
    Had the votes been counted as they had been cast we would be having a completely different conversation right now.

    1. TK421

      Really? Really. Hillary offered nothing to the Black community besides prison and outsourcing. Why should they have voted for her?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        1996 is the estimated lowest black turnout since the 50’s. I wonder who was on the ballot.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Florida is probably a good candidate for recount, any time, any year.

      As for Detroit and Flint, a commenter pointed it out the other day that they had more votes than recorded as being cast.

      Listing Russian hacking as a cause did not win any support for the request.

  14. oho

    So glad that Obama and the Democrats are finally reining in Lockheed Martin. Oh wait. (At least Trump is trying to put out the pretense that he cares about reining in wasteful spending)

    Lockheed Martin CEO: Close to deal to lower F-35 costs, add 1,800 jobs after meeting with Trump

  15. alex morfesis

    Where have you gone, matt taiibi, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you…not sure what to figure out with all this noise in the article…

    as to the “institute”…way overrated…Israeli and intelligence are not two words I usually slap together…lucky for them they spend their days fending off goat shagging camel jockeys…

    That anyone would have to go half way around the globe to produce a grainy video with a trump look a like and think that would preclude him or should preclude him from being president…the oval office has been filled with corporate criminals since the mid 1960’s…anyone who thinks otherwise has been asleep at the wheel…

    Really couldnt care less if there is a video of don trumpioni watching McCain and graham grinding on a houseboat in keywest or watching anyone else or doing anyone else…he has been married 3 times…none were Rhodes scholars or wellesley grads…

    High crimes and mister meaners…maybe the meaner part…but one could just walk around manhattan and dig through recorder of deeds records, dodge report info on contractors and securities filings to find much to latch on to…

    He won the states…the electoral collage vote is done…the republicans control both the house and the Senate in the new installed congress…

    Even if it were true, does anyone think he would not show up next week

    Look…as I suggested in one of my previous verbal burps…he is the big cheese now…anyone who might have had anything on him can kiss off…his businesses break even so you can’t hurt him there and he is too old to care about anyones opinion…

    On with the show…

  16. fresno dan

    The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point” [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]. “Ynet in Israel is reporting that Israeli intelligence officials are deciding not to share intelligence with the incoming Trump administration.”
    ” If Israel gets to hear why they think Trump is compromised, how is the American public not also so entitled?”
    How many times have I said that I wished all 50 US states together had as much senatorial/congressional representation as the one state of Israel???

  17. Timmy

    The latest Red Bull ad has a robot telling its human chess-playing partner that it can’t be beaten because it can calculate “90 trillion” moves in advance. Wordlessly, the human pulls out a Red Bull and the robot complains….”unfair!”.

    So if you place any faith in validity of marketing research at all, this tells you that the anxiety about automation and the use of prescription or OTC amphetamines as a competitive workplace strategy is not only mainstream, it is the foundation of major marketing campaigns and an opportunity for profit

    Who says dystopia awaits us? its already here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At the end, all those who can’t get into Harvard are guaranteed to be replaced by robots, and many who do get in, are still be replaced.

      That makes the competition even harder.

      1. alex morfesis

        In the mid 1970’s, across from the bus terminal on 42nd street a “modern wonder” appeared, with a system that would automatically park cars…my father ended up operating it as a receiver and could not make a go of it as…details…

        even worse, it was next to showworld of mobster basciano and that began the long downward spiral since we would not give him the proper respect he demanded…among other things he started torching our buildings…thankfully no one died…

        the point being…vaporware…

        robots are programmed by humans…even brilliant ones will always live within their limitations…brilliant human ones…

        Banks are sitting on layer upon layer of legacy software and code…and they dare not try to fix it as the whole stack of glue toothpicks and paperclips might freeze up…

        they cant fix their own home, but the financial world can insist and insure that robots will take your job…

        Meanwhile, in the caymans you can’t get delivery of mail to your office or building…you get a po box and have to go collect your mail…outdoors…oh yeah…we live in a modern world…

        Call me when they design a phone that does not require me to shut down and reset to “fix” a problem…

  18. fresno dan

    Interview with sociologist Zygmunt Bauman [Tlaxcala]. “We could describe what is going on at the moment as a crisis of democracy, the collapse of trust: the belief that our leaders are not just corrupt or stupid, but inept. Action requires power, to be able to do things, and we need politics, which is the ability to decide what needs to be done. But that marriage between power and politics in the hands of the nation state has ended. Power has been globalized,…
    NO, power has been PLUTOCRACIZED…..
    and our leaders are not inept at all – they are expert at transferring wealth from the many to the few.

  19. LT

    “Even as Davos attendees say they aren’t about to stop advocating for the policies they’ve endorsed for decades, which they believe remain the best way to deliver prosperity, it may be time to concede they’ve been going about it the wrong way.”

    So you can bet “cultivating appropriate emotions in a time of nationalist populism” will include everything from drugging (upset with the way things are? Don’t get angry and try to change anything take a pill and go with the flow) to war to jail.
    And nothing like war drums to breed consent and the threat of jail. Cultivation will also take the form of more behavioral modification programs at corporations (branded as “skill” development). Schools that breed Stepford children….

      1. craazyboy

        (and possibly impure thoughts)

        Facial recognition software and its natural progression to body language reading software. They’ll just know what we’re thinking!

        But that would of course happen after they get us to STFU.

  20. Fiver

    As I’ve seen no reference to this article posted on The Intercept a couple of days ago, I hope Lambert will do a piece on it. It is an account of the most utterly appalling conduct by US forces from 2002 to this day. It is so grotesque many people will find it difficult to read – yet the truth simply must come out – all of the people involved in this from top to bottom are war criminals under international law. Please do everything you can to make this known now, before the military gets the war they so desperately want.


  21. DJG

    Taibbi, and Lambert’s description of the crossing of the Rubicon and whether we want it or not: Taibbi doesn’t seem sure even yet that the story has merit, so I will give him credit for that. I don’t give a rat’s ass what the Israeli intelligence community wants: They have done untold damage to the U S of A. And I don’t believe a word of “intelligence” coming out of Israel anyway, since most of it consists of incitements to bomb Iran.

    I seem to recall that there was this president, Harry, Harry S? Truman? When faced with insubordination by a certain general and by a challenge to civilian leadership, Truman fired MacArthur. And that’s what Obama should have done, no matter what he thinks of Trump. Obama could still fire Comey and Clapper and recommend a special prosecutor. That’s how the scandal should be handled, not this drip-drip-drip on the constitution.

    1. uncle tungsten

      Right on DJG but unfortunately Obummer has neither the guts, the integrity or the respect for the USA constitution to do anything about it.

    2. Isolato


      Re: the “Deep State” discussion of yesterday…I think that’s the last time a President successfully challenged the MIC.

    3. JerseyJeffersonian

      Clapper bald-faced lied to Congress concerning mass surveillance of the citizenry, but because that’s what Our Elected Officials really want in their heart of hearts (they think of us the way that ball-less dweeb did about his plumber; i.e., we make them nervous, and considering all of the bullshit they do to us, justly so), he skated.

      Comey, on the other hand, may have actually tried to do his job under extreme pressure to merely handwave at Hillary’s glaringly apparent, criminally-negligent attitude toward national security, by essentially making the case, and then laying it off at the feet of reasonable prosecutors to actually do jack (lookin’ at you, Loretta). I attribute his current difficulties to the famed Vengeance of the Clintoon. You know, just in case it wasn’t the Russians who were “responsible” for her loss, she’ll haul Comey around the keel for throwing an unfavorable light on her honesty and her probity.

      Me? I attribute her loss to her own behaviors; she might have been “likeable enough” for Obama, but she was roundly hated and distrusted by those who had already experienced the deleterious effects of the policies for which she continued to advocate, and who wanted no part of seeing them perpetuated at their further expense.

      1. DJG

        JerseyJeffersonian: I tend to agree with you about Comey and Clinton. But Comey and Russians-under-the-bed, and now his unwillingess to come clean in a close session with Congress? What is this about? I say: Fire him. Before the inauguration. Let the Congress set up a special prosecutor afteward.

  22. robnume

    On Ned Resnikoff: WTF dude? Where to even begin? Plenty of stuff I’ve read today on NC Links and Water Cooler have made me angry, all over again, at the elite “experts running the joint” that is the US of A, but this one literally raised my blood pressure. How insulting is it that a professional plumber who is simply doing his job in what Resnikoff himself stated was a purely professional manner be subjected to a projection of evil mindedness on his part which was just that: a projection of his own prejudices, ignorance and bigotry?. Resnikoff needs to take a really good long look into the abyss that is his own mind. What a shameless human being.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Just imagine the state the poor man would be in if the plumber had been Russian ? He’d be ripping his apartment to shreds looking for the hidden action cams terrified his latest GS was entertaining the FSB spooks over their dinners.

    2. Baby Gerald

      Resnikoff and Lena Dunham should meet up and compare all the times they let their darkest perceptions of others quite literally take them out of their senses. This and her Met Gala twitter bomb regarding being seated at a table with Odell Beckham Jr. are of exactly the same ilk.

  23. Synoia

    Monkey Say, Monkey Do: Baboons Can Make Humanlike Speech Sounds

    So can Congresspeople and Senators. It is not clear that there is any intelligence behind such sounds.

  24. robnume

    On Uber and Google, together: While I cannot answer the question posed on the amount or composition of fiscal compensation between Google and Uber, I can say that on the new android device which I recently purchased there was an Uber app installed on the phone when I activated it which I immediately uninstalled. Uber, via Google, has attempted to “reappear” this app onto my phone and I have repeatedly had to uninstall this thing. I wish now that I had never bought the damn phone. I know it spies on me so I keep the thing on “off,” except when I have to use it, and I stuff it under the sofa pillow to dim the volume on the passive listening device that I know is on even when the phone is off. Yeah, we need more tech in our lives.

  25. Gareth

    Speaking of hysteria, the Daily Beast just launched an attack on Jill Stein, the Green Party and Sanders supporters as Russian dupes or worse. Oh it’s gonna get ugly out there

    How Putin Played the Far Left
    The Kremlin didn’t just rely on the alt-right to help Trump win. Bernie Bros, Greens, and ‘anti-imperialists’ got had, too.


    “…the past 18 months have seen a noted spike in information warfare aimed at gulling the Bernie Bros and Occupy-besotted alternative-media set, which saw Clinton as more of a political danger than it did Trump.

    Perhaps the starkest case in point is Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her constituency. In December 2015, the Kremlin feted Stein by inviting her to the gala celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Kremlin-funded propaganda network RT. Over a year later, it remains unclear who paid for Stein’s trip to Moscow and her accommodations there. Her campaign ignored multiple questions on this score. We do know, however, that Stein sat at the same table as both Putin and Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump’s soon-to-be national security adviser. She further spoke at an RT-sponsored panel, using her presence to criticize the U.S.’s “disastrous militarism.””

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Has it ever occurred to these Russophobes that if the US media would ever give the likes of Stein the time of day they wouldn’t have to go to RT or Al Jazeera or whatever the demon news du jour happens to be to be heard?

      For all this talk about what Trump might do with Russia, the one who actually attempted to cooperate with the Russians was Barack Obama ferchrissakes, but we don’t hear a peep about that from these hysterical pols because when all they’ve got is identity politics, they can’t be seen taking the black guy to task. And if Obama had any balls whatsoever he have had Ashton Carter’s head on a pike for breaking the cease fire he and Kerry had arranged with the Russians in Syria.

      These people are all freaking nuts and it will not turn out well for them treating the populace like a bunch of idiots who can’t think for themselves. I didn’t vote for Stein because Putin made me, I voted for her because the other options were abominable and if there hadn’t been some local issues on the ballot that needed attention I would have taken George Carlin’s advice and not bothered at all.

      1. Allegorio

        The reason that the politicians and their overlords are beside themselves is that Putin outsmarted them in the Ukraine. They were congratulating themselves all around. In one fell stroke they deprived Russia of its warm water port. Oh no, how dare he have a referendum on Crimean ascension to Mother Russia! How dare he drive back the jihadists in Syria? It was thanks to Hitllery Klinton’s overthrow of Libya that Putin’s eyes were opened. Russia supported the no fly zone in Libya and then found out what back stabbing psycopaths ran the US. He then acted accordingly.

  26. Jay M

    . . .the argument used to be that the free market led to the best outcomes. The current argument is that the free market itself is the good outcome, and any problems it causes are necessary sacrifices. And the shift was so subtle that even the people making the argument didn’t notice.

    lifted from a LG&M thread linked in the NC comments yesterday

  27. ewmayer

    o “Container cargo imports surged during the final weeks of 2016, as retailers reported strong holiday spending and stocked up on inventory heading into the new year | WSJ” — That does not jibe with Mish’s latest post today, “Christmas Fizzles: Retail Sales Except Autos, Gas, Fall Flat”. It would seem that a lot of that pre-holiday retailer optimism ended up as unsold inventories. Not that the truthy folks at WSJ would consciously prefer to push the rosier pre-holiday part of the story, or anything.

    o “Untangling a tightly wound knot can be a difficult task when dealing with shoelaces, but untangling a molecular knot produced by scientists at the University of Manchester would likely bring a whole new level of frustration… | Atlas Obscura” — So what is needed is a nanite version of Alexander the Great – ‘Alexander the Nano?’ – wielding a tiny sword to cut through this molecular Gordian knot. My favorite knots-in-nature research, however, remains the fluid-mechanical analyses that showed that if one could blow a smoke ring in the form of a trefoil (and higher n-foil) knot, it would self-propagate like a conventional circular smoke ring but also spin around its axis of propagation like a propeller.

  28. fresno dan

    So saw the beginning of Chris Matthews on MSNBC.
    Talking about the IG investigation of Comey….and the only way Matthews can process this is as an investigation to see if Comey did the investigation to benefit Trump.
    The IDEA that the IG might be investigating why Hillary wasn’t recommended for prosecution as well as very poor and non-aggressive investigation of whether the SoS private server was hacked by foreign governments isn’t even considered; isn’t even imagined. Failure of imagination….


    “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information”—will reverberate throughout the campaign. Also unresolved is the question of whether Clinton’s server was hacked. ”

    If hacking is important for Trump, is it important for the Secretary of State???
    “… whether Clinton’s server was hacked…. ” WHY NOT?

  29. DJG

    Munchery: The article is not illuminating. I am reminded that so much of the froth in the U.S. economy relates to new distribution systems. The Sears catalog. Federal Express. The Internet as shopping mall. But Munchery seems to have prepared a thousand meals a day in its S.F. kitchen, which they then threw away. Do any of them have training in running a restaurant? Or do they just have M.B.A.s from Stanford?

    No food service can afford that much waste. The whole premise and conclusion are bizarre.

  30. allan

    Dems ‘outraged’ with Comey after House briefing [The Hill]

    A number of House Democrats left Friday’s confidential briefing on Russian hacking fuming over the actions of FBI Director James Comey and convinced he’s unfit to lead the agency.

    “I was nonjudgmental until the last 15 minutes. I no longer have that confidence in him,” Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said as he left the meeting in the Capitol.

    “Some of the things that were revealed in this classified briefing — my confidence has been shook.”

    Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, delivered a similar condemnation.

    “I’m extremely concerned — extremely,” he said.

    “I’ll just — I’m very angry,” echoed Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.). …

    If Comey is removed, whoever replaces him will be far, far worse.
    As usual, the Dems can’t play tiddlywinks, much less 11 dimensional chess.

    1. polecat

      The democrats are akin to a group of 10-year olds throwing Jarts ( remember those ??) … at each other’s feet …. and hitting the mark .. every .. single .. time ………… without fail !

  31. allan

    Obama Fights Giving Copy of Torture Report to Courts for Safekeeping [Charlie Savage]

    It looks like the Obama administration is going to leave office without having given a copy of the torture report to the judiciary for safekeeping.

    In late December, Judge Royce Lamberth of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia ordered the Obama administration to deposit a copy of the full, still-classified, 6,000-word Senate Select Committee on Intelligence torture report with the judiciary to be preserved by the court’s information security officer. (I was out of the country at the time, but here’s Josh Gerstein’s write-up.) That was significant because there is a chance that the Trump administration and the now Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee will destroy the report. …

    Anyway, today the Obama Justice Department decided to fight Judge Lamberth’s order rather than comply with it. It filed a motion asking to Judge Lamberth to reconsider his order, arguing that it raised constitutional concerns (interfering with communications between Congress and the executive branch) and was unnecessary anyway given the presidential records thing. And it said that if he didn’t reconsider, the executive branch will appeal. With a week to go in the Obama era, that means even if Judge Lamberth doesn’t budge, the clock will run out before the legal process is exhausted.

    You can’t make a Legacy™ omelette without breaking some rule of law eggs.

    1. craazyboy

      Maybe he wants the report for the Prez library?

      Displayed in the Rahm Reading room? Public is not allowed in the basement, however.

    1. Waldenpond

      Oh, the responses… so appreciative of the Bushs, so appreciative of the Os, and so appreciative of the Bs/Os.

      I’m in this camp: https://twitter.com/ActualFlatticus/status/820090790286426112
      Alan Smithee ‏@ActualFlatticus 1h1 hour ago

      Alan Smithee Retweeted Joy Reid

      He killed a million people for Halliburton you clueless dipshit.

      I would put this under Ds are irredeemable but it upsets the resident liberals and progressives.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s evidence of my belief the modern Democrats are best described as “Team Blue.” The have no values and enjoy the spectacle. Trump, Sanders, and Nader despite policy differences were from outside the system and serve as a reminder the Democratic Party has morphed into the cheering section of a professional sports franchise. Shrub plays in the league. Trump trashed the league. Sanders and Nader are reminders politics is important and requires more thought than the ESPN comments section. Democrats don’t hate Nader voters for “costing Gore the election.” They hate Nader because he was a reminder of how childish their world view had become and ruined their fun.

  32. Jolene

    For the uber-google connection, you can look at Uber’s investors to see connections. Silicon Valley drinks their own koolaid, and will bust thru the brick wall to make sure we all drink it too (old koolaid ad reference!)

    Link for possible connection.

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