2:00PM Water Cooler 1/18/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Our Famously Free Press

2017 is already great:

Trump Transition

“A Revolution In Administrative Law” [Richard Epstein, Hoover Institute]. “In all cases, de novo review of questions of law is a matter of the highest importance for constitutional and institutional safeguards of the rule of law. We need it today.”

“Sanders wants folks to hound Trump about his campaign vow not to mess with Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. Repeatedly in recent weeks—on social media, in interviews, and even on the floor of the Senate—the senator has called on the incoming president to either pledge to veto any bill that threatens entitlements or to admit he lied to the American people” [The Atlantic]. “This was Sanders’s first significant foray as the Democrats’ head of outreach. (The event was touted as “Our First Stand.”) Even more notably, it was also his first attempt to rally the revolutionaries who fueled his White House run around something other than his candidacy.”

“In anticipation of [Trump’s] speech, U.K. bookies have put together an inauguration speech special, taking bets on which exact words or phrases the new president will use” [MarketWatch]. “Aside from the buzzword betting, gamblers can also try their luck with Trump’s tie color and speech length on inauguration day. Both Ladbrokes and William Hill see the Donald picking a red tie for his big day and keeping his speech shorter than 20 minutes.”

“Trump inauguration’s ‘Cabinet dinner’ offers access for cash” [Politico]. And read all the way to the last paragraph: “‘The way that I think about about is that what is happening right now is that President-elect Trump is pulling back the curtain on what has been going on for a while,’ said Meredith McGehee, a government ethics expert and strategic adviser at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. ‘These are all of the ways we have of raising money. He’s just doing it without shame or compunction.'” As I keep saying, wonderfully clarifying.

“BRAIN DUMP FROM A KEY REPUBLICAN: ‘Folks just need to calm down. We’re not flying blind here. The president-elect is going to express himself in all sorts of ways but you have to understand that he and his team are talking to Hill leaders about these issues every single day. And all of our conversations are moving us closer, not apart. Tax reform in particular is going to be a long process with many ups and downs, and so everyone should take a breather for now and appreciate that we’re working as one team'” [Politico]. So John Dean doesn’t have to wake up screaming, any more. Or more precisely, he should wake up screaming, but from different dreams.

“Ivanka gives us true feminist power broker” [Boston Herald]. Indeed! As Madeline Albright said: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” So I hope those members of the Democratic nomenklatura who are women will put partisanship aside, and work for what’s truly important.

“Tough political talk about manufacturing has some companies looking to crunch the numbers behind moving production to the U.S. The studies in many cases are in their early stages, but the WSJ’s Richard Teitelbaum reports the economic analyses are coming as an overhaul of the U.S. tax code looms and President-elect Donald Trump seems to be calling out big-name companies on a near-daily basis for plans to expand abroad” [Wall Street Journal].

And for the Black Lives Matter charter supporters counselling “resistance”:

And one more with the same theme:

2016 Post Mortem

“State lawmaker wants students taught about ‘Russian interference’ in last year’s presidential election” [Los Angeles Times]. “Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) said his proposal would require the California Board of Education to develop a curriculum plan that addresses the allegations made in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory on Nov. 8. ‘California is the largest textbook market in the nation,’ Levine said in a statement Tuesday. ‘Through this legislation, we can make sure students in California and across the United States receive accurate information about the 2016 presidential election.’ Levine’s proposal, introduced three days before Trump takes office, hinges on the Jan. 5 congressional testimony of U.S. intelligence officials that senior Russian officials approved an operation designed to interfere with the presidential race between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.” Liberal Democrats really have lost their minds.

“I was stunned to read a recent story in the British Guardian suggesting that the CIA and FBI had “taken various factors into consideration before deciding [the dossier] had credibility. They include Trump’s public comments during the campaign, when he urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.” Is there really anyone who did not hear that ‘urging’ as a classically outrageous Trumpian joke? Yet that is here cited as major confirmation of his sinister Russian connections” [The American Conservative]. Seriously, but not literally…

“DNC Chair Candidate Tom Perez Refuses to Support Ban on Corporate Money and Lobbyists” [The Intercept]. “We also asked to clarify Perez’s position on lobbyist donations to the DNC, given that he did not make his position clear when speaking recently to the Huffington Post. Hinjosa responded with a link to Perez’s comments that forum in Phoenix last Saturday, despite the fact Perez again did not take a position.” Notice the corruption? They like it.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“When President-elect Donald Trump replaces Barack Obama on January 20, the Democratic Party will find itself more removed from power than at almost any point since the party’s creation” [NBC]. “Simply put, Democrats’ once vaunted coalition of the ascendant — younger, multiethnic, educated, and urban — failed them in 2016, and in 2014 and 2010 before that. That coalition proved to have major handicaps, part demographic and part geographic, that have been hollowing out the party for years.” Not to preen, but NC readers have been familiar with this idea for some time.

“Trump’s America: Switching sides in struggling Pa. county” [AP]. Why Trump won Pennsylvania, with a fine Marie Antoinette moment at the end.

Obama Hagiography

Jonathan Chait’s new book, Audacity : “Chait believes, is that left and liberal criticism of Barack Obama stems mainly from psychological damage” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. Left-wing criticism of the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that it constituted a massive giveaway to the insurance industry, for example, “made no sense from a liberal standpoint, or even a socialist standpoint. Instead, it reflected a kind of infantile rejection of the compromises inherent in governing.'” Attaboy.

“Chait insists that Obama won decisive victories in the most important battles. The stimulus was “a gigantic success”; Obamacare will be remembered as “one of the most ambitious and successful social reforms in the history of the United States”; and in the war to tame Wall Street, “The good guys won'” [The New Republic]. “What Chait has to leave out to mount his defense of Obama is just as striking as what he includes. On economic policy, Chait passes by the administration’s fumbling efforts to relieve households weighed down by crippling debts. On health care, Chait downplays the fact that large stretches of the country, mostly rural and poor, have struggled to attract insurers; enrollment is more than eight million below what the Congressional Budget Office projected. On national security, readers will search in vain for the name Edward Snowden, or any consideration of the surveillance state that thrived under Obama’s watch. Chait glides past the escalation in deportations—well over two million—that Obama presided over. And a chapter on racial politics compiles outrageous statements from Rush Limbaugh but doesn’t mention Black Lives Matter.”

“What will we mean when someday we refer to Obama Lit? I think we’ll be discussing novels about authenticity, or about ‘problems of authenticity'” [New York Magazine]. “That we’ve been passing through an era that especially prizes authenticity in fiction is no coincidence. These were years when America was governed by someone who’d written a genuine literary self-portrait, whose identity was inscribed with the traumas of the age of colonialism and its unraveling, whose political appeal hinged on an aura of authenticity and whose opponents attacked him by casting doubt on the authenticity of that identity. Now, as he leaves the scene, we’re troubled by questions of fakeness….”

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, December 2016: “A weather-boosted 6.6 percent surge in utility output fed an outsized 0.8 percent gain in industrial production for December, one that follows however a downward revised and very sharp 0.7 percent decline in November” [Econoday]. “The big story in this report, however, is another soft reading for manufacturing production…” And: “. As there was significant downward revision in last month’s data, the best way to view this is the 3 month rolling averages which improved but remain in contraction. Manufacturing employment growth has evaporated” [Econintersect]. And: “Despite President-elect Trump’s best efforts to keep production on shore, another run-up in the dollar since the election is not going to be helpful for manufacturers. Once tax and regulatory reform begin to kick in (presumably in the second half of this year), manufacturers may have a lot to cheer about, but, for now, the near-term outlook remains tepid at best” [Amherst Pierpont Securities, Across the Curve].

Consumer Price Index, December 2016: Energy prices are moving higher and are lifting the overall rate of consumer inflation, which now nearly matches the core rate (less food & energy). The CPI rose 0.3 percent in December to lift the year-on-year rate by 4 tenths to 2.1 percent. This yearly rate had been badly trailing the core rate for the past 2-1/2 years, since the oil price collapse in the summer of 2014. Now the overall rate compares with 2.2 percent for the core rate which rose a modest 0.2 percent in December” [Econoday]. And: “Those nasty energy prices caused the spike in the headline CPI, This is the highest rate of inflation seen in over one year” [Econintersect]. And: “[T]he Consumer Price Index (CPI) is showing that inflation is at the 2.0% to 2.5% target range that was set by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen” [247 Wall Street]. “If Yellen sees another report like this, it seems safe to at least wonder if the next interest rate hike may come sooner than expected.”

Architecture Billings Index: “up sharply” [American Institute of Architects] (leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity). AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker: “However, December is an atypical month for interpreting trends.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of January 13, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 5.0 percent in the January 13 week, while applications for refinancing rose 7 percent” [Econoday].

Housing Market Index, January 2017: “Home builders are as confident as they have been since the sub-prime boom 10 years ago” [Econoday]. “The rise in mortgage rates isn’t denting any of the enthusiasm among home builders for what they see ahead as another strong year, perhaps an even stronger year.”

Housing: “Rents rose 4% compared to a year ago in December, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s the strongest yearly gain since December 2007, the month the Great Recession began” [MarketWatch].

Retail: “The internet is closing a bunch of Iowa mall stores and forcing changes” [Des Moines Register]. “‘Retail is different than it used to be,’ said Paul Stender, the longtime general manager of Valley West Mall in West Des Moines.’ We are doing more things with food and entertainment to give shoppers things they can’t get online.'”

Commodities: “The bullishness about the impact of Trump’s $500 billion infrastructure plans and solid growth in top consumer China on demand for the bellwether metal [copper] has cooled down considerably” [Mining.com]. “The decline came despite a plunge in the value of the US dollar which usually moves in the opposite direction of commodity prices following comments by president elect Trump questioning Washington’s decades old strong dollar policy.”

Shipping: “The essence of freight forwarding is to ensure that the cargo is picked up from the seller and delivered to the buyer at the required place, at the right price and in the same condition that it is picked up from origin using the most suitable resources and routing possible” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. Also be aware that a freight forwarder is different from a clearing agent, a NVOCC and a freight broker.” Oh…

Shipping: “”The freight brokers are also very fragmented, antiquated, and operate in a closed way. This prevents transparency of information, knowledge of all real-time trucking supply, misses the opportunity to optimise utilization of trucking space and ultimately to drive down prices and costs for the very end customers. This is another incentive driving change.” [Lloyd’s Loading List].

Shipping: “French container consultants Alphaliner suggest 2017 will be another record year for containership scrapping with some 750,000 teu of ships set to be torched this year” [Splash 247].

Brexit: “The UK’s plan unveiled yesterday to abandon the EU customs union’s Common External Tariff could lead to a 20% rise in the cost of exports and cost UK businesses £44 billion a year, according to one international shipping expert” [Lloyds Loading List].

Brexit: “HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver said trading operations that generate about 20 percent of revenue for the lender’s investment bank in London may move to Paris, quantifying some of the aftershocks for the U.K. after Brexit” [Bloomberg].

The Bezzle: “What I Wish I’d Known About Equity Before Joining A Unicorn” [Yossorion, Github]. “The correct amount to value your options at is $0. Think of them more as a lottery ticket. If they pay off, great, but your employment deal should be good enough that you’d still join even if they weren’t in your contract.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 Greed (previous close: 58, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 61 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 18 at 12:09pm. Mr. Market still hiding under his desk?


“Bats have brain cells that keep track of their angle and distance to a target, researchers have discovered. The neurons, called ‘vector cells’, are a key piece of the mammalian’s brain complex navigation system — and something that neuroscientists have been seeking for years” [Nature].

“By analyzing the fossil record through molecular data, scientists had estimated that the nightshade family was about 30 million years old, making it a relatively young plant family. But paleontologists in the Patagonia region in Argentina have discovered 52 million-year-old fossilized tomatillos, which are also nightshades. The discovery could push the age of the entire plant family, perhaps, back to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth” [New York Times].

“A Revolutionary Way To Grow Tomatoes!” [Slate (RH)]. Dunno. This sounds like work. “Let vines be vines” is my motto.

“The Discount Rate for the Social Cost of Carbon” [RegBlog]. “[W]hen we discuss regulatory policy, we are taking a societal perspective, in which I am just one of many billions who are affected. From this perspective, a preference for present people over future people becomes a form of moral prejudice, such as caring more about white people than black people. The same issue arises if we care more about co-nationals than about foreigners. From a moral and societal point of view, such preferences for unequal treatment are difficult to justify. If we end up doing so because our self-serving preferences express themselves in the behavior of citizens in a democracy, that is not a justification so much as an unpleasant fact.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchorwoman-turned-education advocate, will be Facebook’s new director for news partnerships, ending her editorial leadership of The 74, an education website” [WaPo]. “Brown, a journalist at NBC News before moving to CNN, entered the world of education advocacy several years ago, working to end teacher tenure and in support of charter schools. She served on the board of directors of the controversial “no-excuses” Success Academy Charter Schools network in New York and co-founded The 74. She has become a prominent — and sometimes combative — voice in education reform.” So if Zuckerberg runs for President, this is a signal of what his policies on education and privatization generally will be.

“New York Times Study Calls for Rapid Change in Newsroom” [New York Times]. “In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Baquet acknowledged that The Times had long valued its meticulous editing, and reducing its editor ranks represented a ‘significant cultural transformation.’ But, he said, ‘I do not believe that eliminating some of that editing will make us a lesser institution.'”

Class Warfare

“NOBEL LAUREATE TAKES ON PURDUE PHARMA AND OXYCONTIN AS A CORPORATE FRAUD” [High Times (!!)]. “At the recent 2017 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) meeting in Chicago, Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton described the American healthcare system as “optimally designed for rent-seeking and very poorly designed to improve people’s health.” Using the OxyContin epidemic as as example, Deaton referred to the Purdue Pharma-OxyContin situation as a prime example of government-induced fraud.” And:

“There are around 200,000 people who have died from the opioid epidemic, were victims of iatrogenic [physician caused] medicine and disease caused by the medical profession, or from drugs that should not have been prescribed for chronic pain but were pushed by pharmaceutical companies, whose owners have become enormously rich from these opioids,” said Deaton at the conference.

He pointed to the massive, “deadly fraud” perpetrated by Purdue Pharma on the American people and the agency whose job it was to prevent it—the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They call it “class warfare” for a reason….

“How should Deutsche Bank repay consumers for its toxic mortgage mess?” [MarketWatch]. Seppuku?

“What to Make of the ‘Davos Class’ in the Trump Era” [Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times]. Hamburger? “[T]he World Economic Forum has put together an index of what it calls inclusive growth and development, which measures 109 countries according to their progress on economic growth and reducing income inequality and breaks out subsets of those countries to compare with different data sets. According to the index, median income actually declined by 2.4 percent between 2008 and 2013 across the 26 advanced economies where data is available, which may help explain the shifting political winds.”

“‘We need to go to a system where we are protecting workers, not jobs, and society will help people retrain or reorient,’ Richard Baldwin, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said in an interview in Davos. ‘There may just be a need to man up. We have to pay for the social cohesion that we need to keep our societies advancing, and accept that this may be a higher tax burden on people'” [Bloomberg]. Note the confusion on taxes, though of couse elites “manning up” is a pleasant notion….

“Davos Elite Fret About Inequality Over Vintage Wine and Canapés” [New York Times]. The headline is a little too easy, but: “The answers from the corporate executives who comprised a panel could be crudely boiled down to this: The people who have not benefited from globalization need to try harder to emulate those who have succeeded.” Yep. The 10% does this too: These people should just move!

News of the Wired

“Five Architectural Easter Eggs Hiding on Gothic Cathedrals” [Atlas Obscura].

* * *

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 (KR):

KR writes: “The frozen droplets in sunlight were so wonderful I had to take a picture.”

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. EndOfTheWorld

      Or Leonard Peltier. I think the O might be done. Unlike Clinton who let Marc Rich off the hook. Tell me no money exchanged hands on that deal.

          1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

            Typical Obama – for any good thing he does (Manning) he has to appease the forces of Darkness (stickin’ it to Peltier)

      1. Synoia

        No money changed hands in that deal!


        And I did not have sex with that woman!!!

        Pointing at some random woman in the audience…

        True, but still an exquisite lie….

  1. ChrisAtRU


    ” … compromises inherent in governing”

    Neoliberals have turned the entire world into a shit hole based on an edifice of lies. In that odious construct, the above must surely vie for the position of cornerstone.

    #JesusH …

    1. roadrider

      I never knew that shit holes had cornerstones.

      Anyway, “compromises inherent in governing”. Its funny how faux-gressive empty-suit frauds like Obummer and the Clintoons bargain away anything worth having in exchange for basically nothing. That’s not compromising that’s capitulation. In the case of the ACA, it wasn’t even a compromise to begin with – it was a pre-emptive ban on what would have been the top competitor (single-payer) (no Republican made Obummer do that) and a con job regarding the public option that had already been tossed aside in private but was used to sell the legislation.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        It’s the edifice of lies that has cornerstones … ;-)

        And to be sure, “compromise” is neoliberal double speak – yes, it means neolibs get what they want, and the rest of us get the shit holes.


      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        What about Bill Gate’s right to be a billionaire and make money from public schools? Those greedy teachers need to compromise.

        1. roadrider

          Well, all compromises are a result of who has leverage and who doesn’t (except in the case of Obummer who pisses away his leverage and holds up his opponent for four rounds before taking a dive ala Jake LaMotta).

          IMNSHO Gates has a right to be a billionaire as as long as he’s paying a 75-90% top marginal tax rate and not making use of dubious foundation tax shelters. If he can still accumulate many billions of dollars under those circumstances – Te salute Don Gates!

          1. Procopius

            Didn’t Milton Friedman or James Stuart Mill or someone prove that every agreement means both parties got something they want and therefore are necessarily better off than they were before? I ‘m sure I’ve seen that argument. Somewhere.

        1. ambrit

          So, that bes–tten seat truly is fundamental to governance.
          “From where I sit, all is well with the State.”

          1. McKillop

            I once witnessed a washtub, used to collect the feces and urine at a rural home, full and neglected because of its odious and odorous nature and my squeamish nature. The surface seethed with maggots from the eggs various flies had laid. It was fascinating.
            As time passed (I wanted to wait for a while before disposing of the treasure), it turned from evidence of natural corruption to organic fertilizer.
            It seemed a shame to waste the waste so I used it to plant contraband seeds I had. While “vines are vines” so are stalks stalks and both benefit from proper care and nourishment.
            When I shared the fruit of my labour I got a kick out of using the term “this is good shit”.
            Even now it brings and smile to my face and serves as a cornerstone to my conversations about my shady past.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Russia obviously has failed to recruit her.

      One big fail for them, and a small victory for us.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Tulsi Gabbard is also taking a trip to Syria, to assess the situation. She was one of a handful of dems to be invited to Trumpville, presumedly to talk about a possible job offer. Although she stated no job was offered.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It is like being back in school again – one can’t just study squirrels from reading books, but has to go out in the field to really know the subject.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That’s nice.

              Science education, admission or tuition free (tips accepted here – or is that another neoliberal scheme to rent-extract from soapboxers?)

        2. Carolinian

          Well I would think the UN ambassador is suppose to act on the president’s orders, not offer up her own foreign policy as Haley did at the hearing. At least we are rid of her.

      2. JustAnObserver

        Re: MyLessThanPrimeBeef’s “Russia obviously …”

        Shouldn’t that be the other way around ?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps. Often times, I forget whether I am writing from their perspective or ours.

          Here, if Haley wants to oppose Russia, I imagine Russia think it has failed to influence her. For a war hawk, ant time we are opposing Russia, that’s a success.

    1. Code Name D

      Don’t be ridiculous. That would take time away from mandatory readings of Obama’s and Hillary’s autobiography.

      1. Synapsid


        Add to that The Book of Beasts, by T H White. It’s White’s translation of the Bestiary and his commentary alone is worth the read.

        White is the author of The Once and Future King.

        1. Katharine

          And on another plane altogether, The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts, and its sequel, More Beasts for Worse Children, by Hilaire Belloc.

    2. mcdee

      I grew up in Southern California in the 50s and 60s during the heyday of the John Birch Society. They were scared to death of communists. They saw their influence everywhere. As one of their spokesmen said ”’…they are fiendishly clever and diabolically cunning.” They demanded that Americanism be taught in the public schools.
      If we took some of their literature from that era and substituted “Russian” for “Communist” it would sound like today’s liberal Democrats. California Congressman Adam Schiff, IIRC, recently referred to an interviewer as an “agent of the Kremlin” Incredible! They have lost their minds indeed.

      1. Propertius

        “Americanism vs. Communism” was a required class for high school graduation in Florida back in the 60’s and 70’s.

        Everything old really is new again.

        1. ambrit

          I remember that. Our teacher of that class was an actual Bircher. My AP American History teacher was an original Beat. Talk about whiplash!

        2. wilroncanada

          Wow! No wonder so many are bent in their thinking? My high school history in the late 50s and early 60s in Ontario Canada wasn’t perfect, but we never had a propaganda course like “Exceptionalism” vs. “Satanism” (Americanism vs. Communism). We probably had too much British history, especially in the early years, but my fondest memory is of a teacher we had in grades 11 and 12.
          First, he had an extensive library in the classroom, not one textbook to ape on exams. Each week he would assign a broad period, and set the class free to research in the library for two days. Wednesday he would begin a discussion with a statement such as: Winston Churchill is a warmonger. Of course it would arouse opposition or discussion, during which he, and the rest of the class eventually, as they became more willing to speak out, would demand that the person support arguments with evidence or original thoughts of his/her own. Each Friday we would write an essay in class time summarizing our ideas.
          Unfortunately in grade 13 (Ontario, at the time) we got a dud who wrote six chalkboards of crap every day while lecturing the same crap.
          But, even then, not blatant propaganda.

          PS I still have several albums of the (Chad) Mitchell Trio, great stuff

    3. ChrisPacific

      I would comply, but frame it as an exercise in critical thinking and parsing of media bias. I’m not sure I would last long as an educator in California.

  2. Vatch

    Scott Pruitt is a very poor choice for EPA Administrator.


    Scott Pruitt, who repeatedly has sued the Environmental Protection Agency during his tenure as Oklahoma attorney general, declined to say Wednesday whether he would recuse himself from those ongoing cases if confirmed as the agency’s new leader.

    Questioned by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) on whether he would avoid involvement in eight ongoing cases against the EPA that he had been a party to while in Oklahoma, Pruitt said he would rely on the advice of agency ethics lawyers on a case-by-case basis.

    “If directed to do so, I will do so,” he said, to the dismay of Markey and fellow Democrats.

    “If you don’t agree to recuse yourself, then you become plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury on the cases you are bringing right now as attorney general of Oklahoma against the EPA,” Markey said.

  3. Altandmain

    Not sure if this one has been addressed but, in the UK, Cobryn is under attack again for his questioning of sending troops to the Russian border:


    Looks like the neocons are alive in the UK as well.

    Their Establishment seems to be as bad as in the US. The attacks on Cobryn have been remarkably similar to those on Sanders. It’s just that the rich fear the ill gotten gains are under attack.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump is the big-fish Russian collaborator, bar none, to go after here in America, even as, per the Intercept headline, Jeremy Corbyn is being accused of being a Russian collaborator.

  4. Altandmain

    I think that we need a manifesto too about the “10%”.

    There seems to be a growing divide, perhaps not as visible as say, the 0.1%, but a still growing divide between the 10% and the 90%.

    The wealthiest 90-99% percentiles are living in a different world than the rest of us.

    1. Their wages seem to have done a much better job of keeping up with living costs.

    2. They seem to be able to afford expensive housing in many of the most expensive cities.

    3. Costs such as rising food, insurance, etc, are not really a problem for them. They are sheltered from the consequences of globalization and in many cases profit from it. The decline in manufacturing has not hit their interests really hard either.

    4. While costs such as private school and university are a concern, the fact that they will send their kids to a good university are not. They may also be able to use their personal network to get their kids connections and a good job after.

    5. After their expenses, they probably have a lot left over to save and invest, and so benefit from the rapid appreciation of stocks since 2008.

    6. They may work long hours, but they are not struggling to survive and can afford the “finer” things in life, although not to the same extent as the 0.1%.

    7. Many seem to be completely ignorant about how tough things are for the less well off or frankly, willfully ignorant. They have more in common with the very wealthy in this regard. Their life expectancies are up, perhaps not far from the very rich, while the working class is going down.

    I could go on, but the point is that we seem to have a 10%er problem too. Social mobility in the US and UK are very poor compared to the rest of the Western world as well. That means that the glass ceiling is not so much gender as much as it is class.

    They seem satisfied with the status quo and worse are helping the very wealthy screw over their less well off citizens. Indeed they aspire to join the ranks of the very rich.

    1. Katharine

      Much truth in this. I’m not sure they’ve gained much, but when most others are losing just staying even looks like gain. That alone might not be exasperating, though enviable, but the willful ignorance is galling.

      It’s gotten to the point where my hackles rise every time I see an ad for a Nation cruise. I never liked the concept as a fundraiser, but these days it’s just intolerable. I’d sooner see them do a project with Habitat for Humanity, even though that is not an effective approach to the affordable housing problem, just because it would get them some actual contact with their hard-working and hard-pressed fellow-citizens.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          They might not want contact with the gross, caricature ‘po’ folks’ that the researchers planted to make their study:

          This study took place in affluent, predominantly white areas around Boston, […] In public spaces, the researcher planted a petitioner who was recruiting signatures either in favor of reducing plastic bags, or in favor of a “millionaire’s tax,” which would raise the taxes on people with incomes over a million dollars. Nearby in the pedestrian public space, was a collaborator who was either assigned to present themselves as an affluent person waiting to meet a friend, or an impoverished person resting in the public space.
          This study was designed to identify the effects of seeing a person who appeared poor on unsuspecting participant’s decisions to endorse a wealth redistribution tax

          The bigotries inherent in this set-up are appalling. Starting with the insane level of classism in their characterization of a ‘poor person’. Establishing the fake poor person as ‘resting’ and the fake(?) affluent person as ‘waiting for a friend’. When every honest person knows that the working poor have no time when they aren’t scrambling for a dime, and the affluent consider their comped “working lunchs” to be work! Their po’ folk caricature has to be seen as lying around. They could have designed the study to have the petitioners flog their clipboards near a poor working man doing janitorial upkeep. But, then, they might not have had such a simple, obvious result to publish.

          “Professional” classholes come in both flavors here in atomized America….

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I think the biggest difference between the top 10% and bottom 90% is that the former (think they) “did what they were supposed to do” and it worked out, whereas for the rest it did not. Thus, the top ten are deeply invested in the current “meritocratic” organization of society and not at all interested in substantially reorganizing it, because they are also invested in ensuring that their children, and friends’ children, have the same success they have had.

      But I would disagree that they have much in common with the .1%. They are a middling class.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Picking a victim at random: this discussion makes me nervous. I think a substantial portion of our commenters are top 10%; at least one of the moderators certainly is, don’t know about the rest. I grew up in the top 10%, but have been working more or less poor for most of my life – my own choices, not all of them wise.

        The point? individuals are far more important than classes, even though class does have an effect.

    3. Gaianne

      You have said it: The 10%.

      I know a number of these people, and you are not wrong.

      They think everything is fine, and are a bit indignant that people should be upset.


    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Note that legacy admissions are creating a bias toward a hereditary “meritocracy.”

      On #7, I think they are not ignorant; their answer to everyone is to leave home and get credentialed, just like they did (Chris Arnade has an interesting tweet storm on this). First, that has an aggregation problem. Second, there are values involved in staying put in your own community.

    5. SB in StL

      I am a young(ish) member of the 10%, and have been reading this blog since its inception. I generally agree with most of the positions taken up by Lambert and Yves, as well as the majority of the commentariat. Even the regulars commenting here with whom I might disagree do so with a clarity of thought miles beyond just about any other website I frequent. Simply put, NC rules!

      All that being said, I think many of you posting on this particular thread are making a serious analytic and strategic error by demagoging the “10%” as a class. First, the analytic:

      The diagnosis that we are all clueless, wanna-be elitists intoxicated by our own presupposed “merit,” or, more prosaically ,drunk on the belief that we’ve hit a triple when in fact we were born half-passed second base, might sound reasonable based on the way “we” (especially “millennials”- Barf) are portrayed in the media, including the leftist media of which NC is a part. However, such categorization belies the lived experience of at least those 10%ers living here in flyover country where I reside. It also ignores the well-documented shift in income distribution that makes life in the 10% seem more “comfortable” than it is. Taking myself as an example, my age and nominal income places me right at the edge of 10% (and probably closer to 7% in my City). However, my (non-credentialed) father’s income at my age, while less in nominal terms (and lower on the household distribution list at that time, more like “25%”), enabled my mother to stay at home and raise the kids while providing a level of material existence nearly identical to that of me and my wife, who must also work to maintain that standard of living. In other words, while we might be doing quite well by today’s degraded standards, we’re still getting screwed like the rest of the 99%, including by the accelerating decay of public institutions and public infrastructure.

      Second, the strategic error:

      Some (most?) of “us” may be too brainwashed by and invested in the identity politics of the Democrats and their apparatchiks and the prevailing false dichotomy of Left v/ Right, R.v. D. White v. Black, etc., to realize the economic precarity of our position or the more significant struggles of the working class. But I would argue that this can and will change due to (as Lambert is fond of saying) EVENTS.

      The non-professional Left, of which I consider myself and most of NC’s readership, has two choices as concerns this shift. We can (a) work to bring around the 10% to a leftist view of policy (i.e. the restoration of Civil Society as epitomized by the Bill of Rights and the restoration of economic justice as epitomized by the Progressive movement of the late 19th/early 20th century and the New Deal/Great Society, expanded to include racial, sexual, and religious minorities). Or we can (b) continue to treat them as “lesser” enemies than the 1% (or really .01%), who will be more than happy to co-opt said 10%ers and turn them (even more so?) against the working class and the poor. I believe that the 10%, who may even have some access to the corridors of power, would make better allies than enemies, and that we would better serve our cause by trying to recruit them, rather than demonize them.

      Personally, I’m working on option (a) by trying to direct as many of my peers to places like NC as I can, and by advocating strongly for leftist positions in any forum that will give me a hearing. I eventually hope to run for office myself, though its difficult to find the path and the time while balancing a young family and career. Still, we must all do the best we can and hope its good enough to make some small difference.


  5. clarky90

    The Yellow MSM Press speculates incessantly on the motivation of Donald Trump. They say he is power hungry, or prestige hungry, or money hungry….. But I do not think so.

    Primarily, I believe that Trump intends to save the Republic from the hordes of Trotskyite Internationalists.

    Then, Trump intends to secure the Republic by mentoring his oldest child, Ivanka Trump, to run for and win the Presidency. She will be USA’s first woman and first Jewish, Commander in Chief.

    Ivanka Trump is the worst nightmare of the Self Loving League of Vampires. They have convinced themselves of their Own Immortality. I see Ivanka with a hammer in one hand and a silver spike in the other, boldly striding into the Crypt of Davos. The dust flies.

    Ivanka as Justitia.-“Her attributes are a blindfold, a balance and a sword”.


    I am a fan!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You don’t get to be a billionaire by accident, and the drives to reach that happy estate most definitely include hunger for power, prestige, and money.

      Don’t airbrush the guy. It’s tiresome and distracting.

      1. Punta Pete

        Hmmm. What if IBM had told Bill Gates, “Yes, we would like to buy your operating system, but we will want the exclusive licensing rights. You can’t allow it to be used on any other PC but one sold by IBM.”

  6. cocomaan

    Revolution in tomatoes. There’s so much here to comment on. I’ll try to be brief. To start, file under Bezzle, please, this entire article is an advertisement complete with crappy techie hype over complete nonsense.

    It lets you use better soil than you’ve got in the ground, too—or, more accurately, better “grow media,” because over dozens of trials, Newstead has come up with a customized tomato growing mix that doesn’t use plain old dirt and instead has things like peat moss, perlite, and gypsum.

    In other words, you replace a soil able to be rehabilitated after a little work with peat moss, which is well known as being far from renewable. Great job.

    Finally, Newstead says that because plants in the EarthTainer sit up much higher than in-ground plants, their roots get warmer, which produces fruit much earlier and later in the season (some of his tomatoes are already beginning to fruit).

    No, later in the season they’d be getting colder faster by being out of the ground. This doesn’t make any sense.

    The penultimate part of the article is about indoor grow lights, which people outside the marijuana industry are noticing can be used to grow plants. The only problem being that using electricity to grow tomatoes in the winter isn’t sustainable at all. The article ends with how this product is going to help people in Haiti and Africa. Good grief.

    1. Robert Hahl

      I thought it was really about the wicking feature that saves water, which looks like it makes sense.

  7. Art Eclectic

    I’m not sure who scare me more at this point: Sessions or DeVos. Both are clearly Christian Supremacists, but I’m thinking the damage Sessions does will be harder to fix. Still, the idea of total crackpot like DeVos running Education is something John Dean (and everyone else) should absolutely be having nightmares about.

        1. Massinissa

          If she does that, the Democrats will claim she was taught how to wrestle bears bare handed by The Putin.


          1. ambrit

            Putin, per his equestrian style will teach her to wrestle bears bare chested! Then watch the so called whatevers writhe and moan in their cleft sticks. Is it bold feminism? Is it olde tyme tradition, like the dwellers in the nomad tents? Is it Naturist emancipation? Is it the vindication of the Cities of the Plain, (Washington being a late version of same?) If she were to wrestle with the shade of Gore Vidal, that would be worth paying to see, if only through a scanner darkly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        DeVos is appeasing the Main Street Media, who warns us of the, lest we relax too much, ever dangerous Russian Bear.

        So, while our valiant soldiers fight the Russian Bear, our teachers can do their part fighting bears in our schools.

        Those more timid can hunt squirrels.

          1. cocomaan

            Oh hell no!

            The freaking Democrats and the Russian garbage or the identity politics have sidelined all the actual, glaring problems with the Trump administration.

      1. bob

        Detroit should be attached also.

        The billionaires next door, feeding off the fire.

        They got her up in front of congress quick. Unreal that she’s being proposed for anything but jail.

        1. bob

          Things we’ll never hear-


          “we are concerned about your brother, whom you share numerous business relationships with. Is it true that he currently lives under the protection of a gulf prince who supports ISIS with troops?

          Is it also true that your brother is currently recruiting direct support, in the from of mercenaries, from within the ranks of the US military, who will be deployed to support ISIS, and paid for with money from radical gulf salafists?

          Is it true that he now has a private airforce?”

    1. dbk

      Yes, these (Sessions, DeVos) are the two nominations/hearings I’ve been following, too. I’m not sure about the potential for damage – the prospect of the privatization of the U.S. public school system and its replacement by for-profit charters and vouchers (largely) for evangelical Christian schools is pretty mind-boggling.

  8. barrisj

    The commutation gesture by Obama toward Chelsea Manning is admirable in itself, as a corrective for the diabolical prosecuting and sentencing she received in the first place. However, placing Manning’s release out to May leaves her jailers at Fort Leavenworth ample time to exact additional punishment and degraded treatment upon her person in the intervening 4 mos. Those who have advocated for Manning since she was jailed need to maintain close liaison with the defense team and keep keen vigilance over her well-being until the gates are opened and she actually leaves Leavenworth, walking out rather than being carried out on a gurney.

    1. Foppe

      (Lambert: The summary lists Manning, but she’s absent from your post. Oversight? Shallow State censorship?)

    2. nippersmom

      I give Obama no credit whatsoever for kinda sorta correcting something that a good president- or a decent human being- never would have done in the first place. The bar isn’t set very high these days, and he still falls short.

      1. Spring Texan

        Go read the tweets about Manning at U.S. Dept of Fear . . . I loved them!

        e.g. President Obama has pardoned Chelsea manning, the notorious leaker of documents implicating us in war crimes for which we weren’t punished.

        The tweet about Judith Miller is priceless!

  9. David Carl Grimes

    Anthony Bourdain on the Opioid Epidemic:

    Look, large corporations track their sales very carefully. If you’re pumping in millions of highly addictive narcotic pills to one tiny little town, or one tiny little state, you know what you’re doing. There’s no question, okay? In what way are they different from some corner boy in Baltimore slinging dope? I have a little more sympathy for the corner boy than I do for some billionaire, who’s already doing quite well, knowingly selling narcotics far and above any reasonable or acceptable level of need.

    Now that the number of prescriptions has dropped, under pressure, these same companies are looking internationally, for the same kinds of markets in countries like Cyprus. They’re targeting places that are less familiar with Oxycontin-style problems and selling them the same line of bullshit that they sold America so effectively. So I think it’s egregious.

    Now that the white captain of the football team and his cheerleader girlfriend in small-town America are hooked on dope, maybe we’ll now stop demonizing heroin as a criminal problem and start dealing with it as the medical and public-health problem that it is, and should be.


    1. Propertius

      In what way are they different from some corner boy in Baltimore slinging dope?

      Ethnicity and political clout, of course.

      1. bob

        The corner boy is also making a lot less.

        From the street level, the phama companies are very inefficient. Most people stop with pills and move onto heroin when they can’t afford the pills anymore.

        Heroin is cheaper.

        As far as “earning” money goes, the corner boys are working a lot harder, and providing much better, wider distribution, at a lower cost for the end user.

  10. chicagogal

    “How should Deutsche Bank repay consumers for its toxic mortgage mess?”

    Cashier checks to the evicted and victimized current/former homeowners would be a good start.

    1. jo6pac

      It would be except the bank will mail them to last known address with return to sender. Then with that they’ll use the obomber saying “Well we tried”. Ka-ching

  11. Prufrock

    Ug. Marc Levine is my State Rep. The wealthy “I’m with her” contingent is strong north of San Francisco, and isn’t open to discussion of the shortfalls of the Clintons. He’ll definitely get my feedback on this idiotic proposal.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. If you get a response, please share.

      I thought it was as idiotic case of epistemic closure as what’s going on with Texas textbooks, and that’s a very high bar for idiocy.

  12. nippersmom

    “Simply put, Democrats’ once vaunted coalition of the ascendant — younger, multiethnic, educated, and urban — failed them in 2016, and in 2014 and 2010 before that.”

    Maybe if the Democrats didn’t so consistently fail the members of the so-called coalition, the Party wouldn’t have lost their support. But I guess the Party, like its queen, can only be failed, it can never fail.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      True diversity includes, also,

      1. older
      2. uncredentialed
      3. not-urban

      That is, the ascendant as well as – yes, you can say it – the descendant.

      But if they insist on being bigoted, well, they have to work on helping themselves.

  13. Phil

    “Left-wing criticism of the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that it constituted a massive giveaway to the insurance industry, for example, “made no sense from a liberal standpoint, or even a socialist standpoint. Instead, it reflected a kind of infantile rejection of the compromises inherent in governing.’”

    Yeah, socialists just love it when their huge holdings of health-insurance company stocks take a major uptick; and so far that’s the only clear win from the ACA.

    Audacity doesn’t begin to describe this shameless propagandizing. How about “chutzpah”?

    Also, I really like the formulation to protect “workers,” not “jobs.” That is exactly right, and it is what is done in civilized countries, who see workers as stakeholders with representation in corporate boardrooms. Somebody gets it, at least: the election saw workers turn out for Trump, a mega-capitalist who also claims to see workers as important stakeholders.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Generally schemes to protect workers means some kind of employment guarantee with the same employer through to retirement of that worker. The UAW has negotiated these kinds of guarantees with the (former) Big 3 for thirty years. They allow workforce reductions through attrition. Whereas job guarantees generally protect a certain number of jobs, which means retiring workers get replaced.

    2. jrs

      wouldn’t a socialist standpoint be that the government should own the insurance companies? And well then you are really back to single payer.

      Yes need to protect “workers” not “jobs” otherwise you end up with jobs under any conditions, horrible pay, horrible working conditions, horrible hours. But it’s jobs isn’t it? Screw that.

    3. Synoia

      made no sense from a liberal standpoint, or even a socialist standpoint. Instead, it reflected a kind of infantile rejection of the compromises inherent in governing

      Best description of the process of writing the ACA I’ve read.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Trump, a mega-capitalist who also claims to see workers as important stakeholders.

      Really? I suppose in the PR events, yes (and I don’t mind being pandered to, believe me!)

      But policy, now that’s another thing. We’ll have to see.

      1. ambrit

        There is credible evidence establishing the presence of a mobile anti-aircraft missile launcher on a ridge above the Standing Rock site. The link is to a supposed “tinfoil hat” site, so, no link now. The man seen in the short video was later shot in his hand by “authorities”, presumably with a rubber bullet. His little finger was broken, and blood all over. Claims that he was targeted because he was holding his cellphone in that hand while recording police actions.
        This all looks like the Pinkertons “busting” unions a hundred years ago. “The more things change…”

  14. Waldenpond

    Trump access for cash fundraising… and the Ds are planning an event and it was reported that the student ticket price is $150 plus fees and taxes. snort.

  15. Plenue

    “These were years when America was governed by someone who’d written a genuine literary self-portrait…”

    Anyone actually read Obama’s books? They aren’t very good.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’ve read both of his books.

      He began the “Dreams” book with some white-hot rage about rich people bringing their dogs into his NYC nabe so that the dogs could take a dump. And then the book got bland in a hurry.

      Quite frankly, I was hoping for some class war with dog droppings. But that’s just my evil sense of humor talking.

      1. ambrit

        Wait, wait, don’t tell me. As per Her Holiness, there are always two versions of everything. So, one of the autobiographies is supposed to be “private.” Someone has some ‘splainen’ to do.

  16. djrichard


    “If you are not in arse-breaking poverty, you just want nice stuff to be said. And Barack Obama is a president that says nice stuff,” Brand said.

    “At least we get to see a nice guy saying nice stuff, while those children are being bombed in other countries.

    “If that’s what our democracy is reduced to – the stuff we listen to while the same thing happens – then that’s not a very good system is it?”

  17. lyman alpha blob

    “The correct amount to value your options at is $0. Think of them more as a lottery ticket. If they pay off, great, but your employment deal should be good enough that you’d still join even if they weren’t in your contract.”


    Back when I worked for WAMU bank, the company decided to grant stock options to all of its employees right down to the teller level. Can’t remember if this was before or after they colluded with other banks to cut our pay, but that’s beside the point. We had a meeting where the branch manager regaled the lower level workers with this new plan and a lot of them were just 18 year old kids with no financial acumen so I decided to explain the difference between stock and stock options, specifically that the former would be worth something immediately whereas the latter may turn out to be completely worthless. The manager looked at me as if I’d just publicly cuckolded him.

    Needless to say I’m pretty sure not too many people retired early on their WAMU options.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope not too many sincere customers purchased financial products from these 18 year old kids with no financial acumen.

      Though, come to think of it, that was (or would have been) a very good reason for top management to have them do some selling at each branch.

    1. jrs

      Does this guy even have any clue whatsoever about what neoliberal even means? Yes if you support neoliberal trade agreements you are neoliberal.

    2. Jay M

      as somebody who lived through the anti-war years of the 60’s-70’s when I hear “far left” these days for some reason my head always whips to the center-right

      1. nippersdad

        When I hear the words “far left” I always have to wonder who they are talking about. I strongly suspect that if we actually had a viable “far left” they would be much more circumspect in their language.

        I’d love to see this guy say something like this to a real Black Panther (or even Killer Mike) and see how he reacts.

        1. aab

          Killer Mike is founding a bank. Only in our debased current situation would ANYONE perceive him as far left. He’s a cool dude, but not any kind of hardcore revolutionary. One of his potential strengths is his pragmatic but fundamentally honorable hustle.

    3. ChrisAtRU

      Wow … shows there is much work to be done. Couple nice responses toward the bottom though – called him out … politely. #BetterThanIWouldHaveDoneProbably

      1. hunkerdown

        There is much work to be done, for sure, but fortunately it’s just one kind of work for now, just bouncing the overserved out of the bar.

    4. bob

      ” It just so happened that Booker’s vote took place on the same day he took the UNPRECEDENTED step in testifying against Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) during the latter’s confirmation hearing for Attorney General.”

      Yes, the far left used all their corporate big bucks to re-arraigne and lobby DC for control of everything, to make Corey Booker look bad.

      It’s not even to the level of a conspiracy theory, they usually have some grain of truth attached.

    5. integer

      Where would one start?

      By making a mental note to never bother reading anything written by Sammy Leonard ever again? He’s long on emotions and short on understanding. My favorite section was this:

      [Sanders’] large cult of rabid worshippers are the slimiest and most deceitful pieces of shit on this earth (and the ones most deserving of getting their heads bashed in). Notice that I wrote “cult of rabid worshippers” and NOT “supporters” because his supporters were at least willing to accept that Hillary Clinton won the Dem nomination, support her in the general election, and in many cases did the work necessary to make sure she would be elected.

      Wow indeed.

      1. integer

        Adding: The D-party and their propaganda machine have really brainwashed done a number on people like Leonard.

  18. ChrisAtRU


    Since they’re so fond of telling the proles to “do better” or get “replaced by robots”, I found this tweet particularly sweet.

    #ThenTheyCameForMe … #IfOnlyFirstAsWell

    "Free Trade" discussion Davos in 2020 pic.twitter.com/ODwIqqbXPo— Disney Star Wars (@Disney_StarWars) January 18, 2017

  19. alex morfesis

    Taking side bets…Lithuania, Estonia or Latvia…which head of security services in baltic country provided or claims to have the mystery trump sex tapes of now both st pete & moscow…funny how that works…

    roger corman cut and paste movie production…

    trump says america may not protect the “staten island” of europe since they don’t pay what they should for Nato and…poof, like magic…

    we fixxx you amerikanski…


    so…someone is spending federal money based on the drunken ramblings on of some ex cop in staten island who insists that bakery is really a mafia front…oops…I mean a sober country that would never lie to get american taxpayers to pay for military protection they don’t want to pay for themselves…

    is there a qui tam case in there somewhere ??

    paging Luke Lirot, attorney luke lirot to the courtesy phone…

    now what is a bribe and what is a donation…??

    democratic party members insisting that american resources be spent due to a claim by some baltic parties who could not possibly have any ulterior motives…

    when the dust settles will the democratic party exist in 2018 ?

    it is a private business enterprise, not a public utility
    (or so they insist…)

    a private rico filing might be in order…

    tortious interference…??

    sad ending for jeffersons party…

  20. Darthbobber

    Chait’s book largely has value as a textbook example of the box canyon the entire line of thought he’s associated with has arrived at. And of the continued inability to see it as a box canyon.

    Given where things stand, if Obama did indeed “accomplish nearly everything he set out to do” that’s criticism, not praise.

    I realize its Leonhardt who added “most successful Democrat since Roosevelt” to the accolades, in the course of touting Chait’s book, but I’m sure Chait would accept that characterization. My nearly nonagenerian mother still has a portrait of FDR on the mantlepiece, more than 7 decades after his death. And many of that generation of my family voted Democratic in ’08 specifically because of Roosevelt. Chances of similar fuzzy memories of Obama enduring in time among the common folk? Pretty much nil, I suspect.

  21. Waldenpond

    Ellison is demanding Sanders lists. Summary: today Ellison is at Brock’s donor fete, announced he’s meeting with Saban, he’s demanded Sanders resources (whining the Ds are in an emergency situation) and tomorrow Ellison is meeting with Brock.

    Okay, some people have dumped Sanders when he endorsed Clinton, some when he became recruiter chair, some when he promoted Schumer’s blue cross protest…. how many more will bernout when he gives over his list.

    1. integer

      Someone should send this article about Brock to Trump:


      Trump has talked about having been subjected to regular audits by the IRS, so perhaps Brock would enjoy similar treatment.
      Also, I can’t pass up an opportunity to link to Haim Saban‘s emails from the Podesta leak, in which he shares some choice words about Sanders. I do like how Haim starts the linked email with “[c]all me stupid[,] but…” though. Ok Haim, you’re stupid!

    2. aab

      Oh, that would be it for me.

      I am livid with fury about this. What would be worse? That Ellison is publicly pressuring Bernie in desperation as he sees all hope of winning slipping away, or that he and Bernie privately agreed he could do it?

      Please enjoy the political savvy of Tom Perez, future chair of the DNC: https://twitter.com/TomPerez Note the glorious meme about how under his manly leadership, there will be no spoons. Really. Scroll down and savor it.

      He tweeted a joke about how at least tonight, no chairs were thrown. HAHAHAHAHAHA What a wit, that Tom. He later deleted the tweet. So clueless, nasty AND a coward. What a guy.

  22. nippersdad

    Yet another Wells Fargo success story. This must be an example of all of that banking acumen that Obama “saved” for us. I know nothing about Pittsburgh, but should one be building malls right next to something that lets off a gas flare like that? Seems like that would be kind of a turnoff in a building where everything is offgassing formaldehyde (or something). That mall smell has always seemed flammable to me; no wonder they closed. I would have been having visions of the Hindenburg the entire time I was there.


  23. Procopius

    I’m not going to go read Chait’s encomium, but in Lambert’s summary of what Chait left out one omission snagged my attention. Did Chait also leave out mention of Obama’s establishment of the precedent that the President can order the death of any person, American citizen or not, anywhere on the face of the Earth, whether in the United States or not, who is accused or suspected of being an active participant in a “terrorist” group? I think that precedent is going to come back to haunt us all. I haven’t seen anybody yet discuss whether President Trump is going to make use of that precedent. It hasn’t been mentioned much since in his careful, judicious decision-making President Obama blew away Abdulrahman Al Awlaki, Anwar Al Awlaki’s 16 year old son, but the policy has never been repudiated. No review, no warrant, no charges, no evidence presented shown to the public, no chance to defend yourself, just the President’s careful evaluation of the evidence that has selectively been presented to him. Did Chait mention that as one of the great successes President Obama has had? Or did he leave it out?

  24. Procopius

    So if Zuckerberg runs for President, this is a signal of what his policies on education and privatization generally will be.

    Heck, just look at what he and Corey Booker and Bill Gates did together to the Newark school system, that’ll tell you.

  25. Mitch Ritter

    Re Jonathan Chait’s Obama Legacy hagiography, I made the mistake of attacking Ishmael Reed’s selectively oblivious defense of Obama in print in a Canadian book of essays on the media bullies piling up the right wing Koch-backed TEA PARTY media memes about Obama ‘birther-Kenyan Socialist-Muslim Radical-Commie’ and also in Ishmael Reed’s 3-hour in-depth career-spanning interview on C-SPAN April 2, 2011 posted on YouTube. The near total lack of any left-wing critique (think Cornell West) offering mass media equal exposure and time, should have been apparent. If a majority of the body politic had any better definition of Left\Right wing than they have of Neo-Lib\Neo-Con. Or, Paleo-Lib\Paleo-Con for that matter.

    I was motivated more by my own life’s pain at the rapid downward mobility and attenuation of political horizons as such a cerebral, well-spoken part-time community organizer from Chicago was bringing a skill-set heretofore unseen in White House occupants whose terms were marked by advancing Wall Street’s interests at the expense of Main Street’s. But Chait and Reed are clearly motivated by what they feel can be expected of our elected leaders’ ardor for advancing the Public Interest when the system has long been about elected officials serving Private Interests. That attenuated political horizon that is actually advanced by liberals who in their pragmatism feel that Market Forces work-a-rounds in response to NATIONAL SECURITY RISK socio-econ problems like internal displacement via Housing Crises, falling worker wages proportionate to COLA’s effect on aggregate demand and just check today’s Yahoo News headlines on the 1000th day of no resolution of the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water supply are fundamentally less than legitimate. Like NC’s Water Cooler today noting the template shared by 1960’s Student Civil Rights Hero turned DNC hack Rep. John Lewis’s views on reasonable expectations citizens might have of counting on low-cost higher public education with the responses of AMWAY HEIRESS Betsy DeVos to today’s DNC questions put to her at congressional hearings over her qualifications to serve as the incoming administrations Education Secretary.

    I didn’t hear much questioning of Obama Education Czar Arnie Slam-Dunk Duncan despite the spreading sacrifice zones made of the public education systems for elementary and high school students and the use of the Presidential bully-pulpit to eviscerate such an unprofitable choice for higher education as the Humanities. Meanwhile, using that bully-pulpit of the Reform Presidential Administration of the Chicago community organizer to sell the investment in the skills required by the New Global Order, with both President Obama and his Education Czar Duncan selling the necessity of tech education offered by Profit-Maximizing investment instruments like Corinthian Colleges (corporate bankruptcy took down 50 campuses nationwide) or ITT (130 campus closings and staff terminations while seeking corporate bankruptcy protection).

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