2:00PM Water Cooler 1/19/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Trump Transition


“Truly, has there ever been as dramatic a contrast between outgoing and incoming chief executives as Barack Obama and Donald Trump? Actually, yes: the refined John Quincy Adams and the rough-hewn populist Andrew Jackson despised each other. Jackson believed he had been cheated out of the White House by a corrupt bargain during 1824’s House of Representatives “run-off” that installed Adams as president. Jackson spent four years making sure that wrong was righted on Inauguration Day 1829″ [Larry Sabato]. And many, many other examples. So, please forget this “not normal ZOMG!!!!” foo-frah Democrat hysterics are pushing.

“President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Treasury Department initially failed to disclose his interests in a Cayman Islands corporation, as well as more than $100 million in personal assets, according to a memo by Democratic staffers on the Senate Finance Committee that was obtained by The Washington Post” [WaPo]. “Republicans raised similar concerns about outgoing Treasury Secretary Jack Lew during his confirmation in 2013, pointing to his own ties to entities in the Cayman Islands and bonuses received while at Citigroup. Lew was confirmed by the Senate by a wide margin of 71-26 votes.” And Timmy Geithner didn’t pay his taxes. Can’t the Democrat staffers do better than this nothingburger?

“In a feisty exchange with Sen. Bernie Sanders at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, HHS nominee Rep. Tom Price said he hadn’t had “extensive discussions” with Trump on issues like Medicaid and Medicare but he expected they’d remain in place” [MarketWatch]. Hmm.

“‘With notable exceptions, we’ve had a political culture in which presidents largely respect a series of unwritten rules that help democracy and the rule of law flourish,’ said Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. ‘What’s striking about Trump is he flouts norms that have previously been respected by both parties on a daily basis. He calls things into question that have never been questioned before” [Associated Press]. I don’t think I even heard the word “norms” until maybe six weeks ago. I’m suspicious of words that just pop into the discourse, and suddenly “everybody” is using it. Is it possible the “norms” could be problematic?

“Rather than focus their energy on sinking one or two Trump nominees, to make a statement about their potential power even in the minority, Senate Democrats have used a scattershot approach that involves going deep into briefing books on virtually all of his picks. At Education, Justice, the EPA, Health and Human Services – point by point, the focus has been on how nominees would stray policy from the mainstream…. Yet with only 48 Senate votes, Democrats are unlikely to block any nominee unless questions of ethics or financial irregularities make confirmation untenable. That makes this a battle for the long haul [or general cluelessness], going at the ideological underpinnings of the incoming administration. It may pay off. But it may also misunderstand the source of Trump’s power: His base gravitated to him despite his ideology, not because of it” [Rick Klein, ABC]. “[T]he mainstream.”

“Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy” [The Hill]. “Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years. The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition…. It’s not clear whether Trump’s first budget will include reforms to Social Security or Medicare, two major drivers of the federal deficit.”

“At 12:01 p.m. Friday, Donald Trump’s aides will deploy a team of temporary political appointees into federal agencies to begin laying the groundwork for the president-elect’s agenda while his nominees await Senate confirmation, sources familiar with the plan told POLITICO” [Politico]. “While the transition team has been building the so-called beachhead teams for months, they are taking on outsize importance because few of Trump’s nominees will be confirmed by the time he’s sworn in…. Beachhead members will get badges just like any other federal employee and begin to take over the agencies, said Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, which advises incoming administrations on transitions. The goal is to ensure a smooth transfer of power not just at the White House, but at crucial federal agencies as well. ‘The beachhead team is a newish structure, built by the [Mitt] Romney transition,’ Stier said. ‘The basic concept is a recognition that incoming administrations do not have the full confirmed team in place. How do you put people in to keep the agencies running?'” The Romney transition? Huh?

2016 Post Mortem

“How Trump Won: The Midwest” [RealClearPolitics]. “Donald Trump picked up a whopping 50 more electoral votes from this region than Mitt Romney did, and very nearly added 10 more. Moreover, these pickups largely surprised analysts. It is therefore useful to spend some time looking at how it happened.” Well, we all know why that is. It’s because Putin prevented Clinton from campaigning in Wisconsin. Well worth a read for the maps, which tell the story vividly. And then there’s this at the county level:

We’ll look at Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin in some detail, but outside of those states, we can see that the Democratic coalition has been reduced to: two counties with Indian reservations in North Dakota; four such counties in South Dakota, plus Vermillion County (home to University of South Dakota); one in Nebraska (Douglas County, which includes Omaha); two in Kansas (Douglas County, which included the University of Kansas and Wyandotte); three in Missouri (Boone, including the University of Missouri; St. Louis City, and Jackson, which includes Kansas City); and three in Indiana (Lake, including Gary; Marion, including Indianapolis; and Monroe, which includes Indiana University). In Illinois, the counties are more numerous, but follow the same basic pattern; the only difference is Chicago – a massive metropolitan area – along with a few blue-collar towns where Democrats maintain residual strength.


Realignment and Legitimacy

“Voter Registration, The Democrats’ Sleeping Giant” [Alice Marshall, Down with Tyranny]. “I am told that it isn’t worth the effort to mobilize marginal voters, that it is too expensive. But Republicans don’t think so. Republicans spend millions of dollars on voter suppression. For some reason Democrats have never drawn the obvious conclusion, that they can win elections by pushing back against voter suppression. Somehow Democrats think they can win elections even when much of their base stays home.” That’s what the establishment Democrats think…. Read the whole thing.

“What’s clear from interviews with several dozen top Democratic politicians and operatives at all levels, however, is that there is no comeback strategy—just a collection of half-formed ideas, all of them challenged by reality. And for whatever scheme they come up with, Democrats don’t even have a flag-carrier. Barack Obama? He doesn’t want the job. Hillary Clinton? Too damaged. Bernie Sanders? Too socialist. Joe Biden? Too tied to Obama. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer? Too Washington. Elizabeth Warren? Maybe. And all of them old, old, old” [Politico]. This is an interesting article that’s worth a read, especially for what it leaves out. Notice the illustration at the top: Warren, Schumer, Pelosi. Can you think of anyone missing? I searched the article for “Sanders,” and found two (2) hits. One I just quoted: “Bernie Sanders? Too socialist.” The second: “‘A lot of Democrats laughed at Bernie Sanders when he proposed free college. First of all, that’s not impossible,’ [Connecticut’s Chris] Murphy says, but more to the point, “it’s a way to communicate a really important issue in terms that people will understand.'” Maybe the Democrats should use Politico for bird-cage liner and stop at that?

“When the candidates met for a forum Wednesday night sponsored by the Huffington Post at George Washington University, they sought to downplay their divisions and play up party unity. There was so little dissent among the seven participants that at one point, when asked whether they thought the DNC tipped the scale for a candidate (Hillary Clinton) in the 2016 primary — a criticism lodged frequently and vociferously by Sanders’ supporters — none of the participants raised their hands” [RealClearPolitics]. Dear Lord.

“Sanders supporters all over California were mobilized by emails and text messages to participate in recent Delegate Assembly District elections. Turnout for these caucuses was twice what it has been in recent years all over California. There were also twice as many people running for the seats. ” [Monterey Herald]. “Along with increased participation, most districts around the state report a level of enthusiasm not seen in years — and younger, more diverse faces.”

“The weekend before the Phoenix forum, Sanders supporters – organized in part by his post-election campaign group, Our Revolution – flooded the usually-sleepy meetings at which California Democrats elect their delegates. The result, according to Sanders, is that more than half of the party’s ground-level leadership comes from the movement, in a state he famously lost to Hillary Clinton. Our Revolution has been working the states where Sanders did even better, like Colorado, Nebraska and Washington, to put progressives in charge. The problem for Ellison is that the DNC vote will come before this is reflected in the states’ DNC membership” [WaPo].

“Jones’ campaign, in both subtle and overt ways, has attacked the notion of black vs. white, north vs. south. She lives in the West End, just north of Delmar, but her campaign hashtag of #onestlouis suggests that the only path to victory spans both sides of the street. To that end, she intends to win votes not only from her north city base, but also from the young white progressives who’ve begun to shake up the city’s status quo. So far, the enthusiastic support she’s finding from many white, south-city Berniecrats suggests the plan is no fool’s errand” [RiverFront Times].

“To aid in [the California] effort, Our Revolution launched several tools to help promote the delegate elections and the progressive candidates, including sending over 110,000 emails and 40,000 text messages to inform and mobilize voters” [Independent Voter Network].

Stats Watch

Housing Starts, December 2016: “Housing starts extended their wild ride of volatility in December, up 11.3 percent in the month to a 1.226 million annualized rate which beats the Econoday consensus for 1.200 million. But the rise is confined to multi-unit starts which jumped 57 percent to a 431,000 rate, a contrast to the 4.0 percent decline to 795,000 for single-family starts” [Econoday]. “Single-family homes, which pack the most cost and price punch, are the focus of the housing market and today’s results are mixed, with permits a positive but starts a tangible negative. In sum, lack of available supply remains an obstacle to sales acceleration for housing.” But: “The nature of this industry normally has large variations from month to month so the rolling averages are the best way to view this series – and it shows permits collapsing, and even completions decelerating – not good as it is showing a contracting sector” [Econintersect]. The bottom line is that permits for 2016 is statistically unchanged from 2015, but construction completions are up 10%. Looking at residential construction employment, the year-over-year growth of employment is slightly BELOW the growth of housing starts. This is easily explained with the poor growth in housing starts.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of January 15, 2016: Strong, but “failed to push higher” [Econoday].

Jobless Claims, week of January 14, 2017: “In a solid signal of strength for the January employment report, initial jobless claims fell a very sharp 15,000 to a much lower-than-expected level of 234,000” [Econoday]. And: “This was below the consensus forecast. This is the lowest level for the four week average since 1973 (with a much larger population)” [Calculated Risk]. And: “Claim levels are at 40 year lows (with the normal range around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion” [Econintersect].

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, January 2017: “Standout is a modest word to describe the strength of the Philly Fed report for January which is signaling major factory acceleration across readings” [Econoday]. “Special superlatives belong to prices with input costs up nearly 4-1/2 points to 32.5 and the highest reading since February 2012 and selling prices up nearly 19 points to 26.8 to signal the best price traction of the entire economic cycle, since July 2008.” And: “The data overall will maintain confidence in the underlying manufacturing trend and the prices component will also be an important focus, especially as there was also a stronger inflation reading in the New York Empire State index reported earlier in the week” [Economic Calendar].

Industrial Production (yesterday): “There are Trumped up expectations and undesired auto inventory building, and then there’s the reality of a very weak economy” [Mosler Economics].

Commodities: “Fourth-quarter total revenue carloads slipped 3% compared with 2015. Freight revenue for coal retreated 6% in the fourth-quarter to $699 million, compared with 25% for the year. Revenue for the industrial products segment fell 2% compared with 12% annually. The Intermodal business, which moves freight using a combination of trains and trucks, were nearly flat at $969 million, an improvement to the 9% slide tallied for the year” [Wall Street Journal, “Union Pacific Boosted by Easing Commodities Slump”].

Shipping: “December Cass Freight Index report shows continued signs of improvement” [Logistics Management]. “On the freight shipments side, Cass reported that December shipments were up 3.5 percent annually at 1.074, following a slight 0.3 percent decline in November, and October’s 2.7 percent gain, which marked the first time it headed up in the previous 20 months…. “If the winter of the over all freight recession we’ve been in for more than a year and a half in the U.S. is not over yet, it is certainly showing promising signs of thawing,” wrote Donald Broughton, the report’s author and transportation analyst at Avondale Partners.” And: “‘Repeatedly we have watched in a host of different markets, volume goes up before pricing starts to improve and volume goes down before pricing starts to weaken,’ [Broughton] wrote. ‘Even in markets as basic as the weather, the number of hours of sunshine (start to decline) falls long before the temperature starts to fall.'” I dunno if the weather is a market. But still…

Shipping: “‘Americans today live much differently than previous generations,’ [Fran Inman, senior vice president of Majestic Realty Co.] said. ‘We are consuming far more – whereas in 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that each American required the movement of 40 tons of freight annually, that number has jumped to 63 tons annually.” The report is a report rather transparently designed as input to Trump’s (proposed) infrastructure program, but that jump from 40 to 63 tons of freight per person, and in the space of seven years, strikes me as extraordinary (if true). That’s a lot of “stuff”!

Shipping: “Yang Ming labelled the new Hanjin by Drewry” [Splash 247]. “Drewry Financial Research Services has described Taiwan’s second largest containerline as the next Hanjin while slapping its stock as unattractive in a new report. … Drewry said Yang Ming ‘now takes the slot left vacant by Hanjin Shipping, as it has the most leveraged balance sheet in the industry’… Yang Ming’s net gearing stood at 437% at the end of the third quarter last year, well above the industry average of 124% and nearly five times its closest regional peer, Evergreen Marine, and 12 times that of Wan Hai.”

Retail: “YouTube has started to contribute significantly to Alphabet’s revenue. Based on earnings reports, this is nearly all video advertising” [247 Wall Street]. It’s not doing well in streaming video, unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime, but who goes to YouTube for that?

The Bezzle: “Good model goes bad as court finds Swift’s drivers are employees, not contractors” [DC Velocity]. “Good” model? Why? “The plaintiffs had alleged that the language in the IEL leases, combined with “at will” termination agreements written into the contractor agreements, meant that drivers could be released at any time and still be on the hook for the remaining lease payments because they would be considered in default. They also argued that they could only drive for Swift, and that any attempt to leave would subject them to a crushing debt burden. The arrangement amounted to “forced labor” for drivers during the lease period, which could extend for four years, according to the plaintiffs.”

The Bezzle: “Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOG) is scaling back its support for money-losing “moonshot” ventures that had little to do with its core search advertising business, as the company’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, reins in costs” [CBS].

Political Risk: “I suggest that the large public company has had its day. Public listing is not needed to raise essential capital, as was the case in its 19th and early 20th-century heyday. The stock markets today are for speculation, for games by competing algorithms and profit-taking for insiders. We should discourage “public” ownership in favour of private ownership and partnerships. Then, more people with the power to control will also have an incentive to think long term and to contain risk” [The Conversation]. Hmm…

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 55, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 19 at 11:50am. Into the grey area of neutrality. “What instruments we have agree….”


“What really happened during the supposed climate change ‘hiatus’?” [Christian Science Monitor]. “Researchers have independently replicated NOAA’s recalibration of sea surface temperature data to uncover what really happened from 1998 to 2012.”

“What comes after Standing Rock?” [Vice]. “In the upcoming years, there should be a lot written about why the tens of thousands traveled to Standing Rock and why so many stayed, despite its remoteness, freezing temperatures, and what felt, for months, like a hopeless mission…. What we can’t project yet is what it meant that they actually won, even if winning only meant a temporary end to the drilling of the pipeline.” Good thoughtful piece from a writer who was there long enough to develope the Standing Rock hacking cough.

“New technique predicts frequency of heavy precipitation with global warming” [Phys.org].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“‘Still a city of slaves’ – Selma, in the words of those who live there” [Chris Arnade, Guardian]. “Tomorrow media & dignitaries will go to Selma & walk across a bridge. Then leave without reporting ON Selma now.” The lead:

en figures clambered over piles of rubble from the old cotton warehouse, picking up bricks. It was a cold day for Selma, Alabama, close to freezing, and as the sun disappeared they gathered to warm their hands over makeshift fires. For 10 hours they removed bricks from piles mixed with wood and metal, chipping each recovered brick free of mortar, and then stacked them. The bricks were handmade in the 1870s, and a foreman was paying them between $10 and $20 in cash for a pile of 500.

“The results show that as many as half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055. But while the findings suggests that 60 percent of all jobs may have 30 percent of their constituent tasks taken over by robots, they also show that only 5 percent of jobs will become fully automated. In other words, the analysis suggests that in the next 40 years most jobs will change, or in the worst case shrink, rather than being devoured” [MIT Technology Review]. Perhaps I should have filed this under The Bezzle…

News of the Wired

“Japanese toilet industry agrees to standardize complex bidet controls” [The Verge].

“Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging” [Science Bulletin]. Listen up, bloggers!

* * *

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 ():

RH comments: “Shallow pond in the woods. Look for the trail thru the cattails across
the way.”

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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. Vatch

    Actually, yes: the refined John Quincy Adams and the rough-hewn populist Andrew Jackson despised each other.

    And let’s not forget that John Quincy Adams was a dedicated abolitionist, and Andrew Jackson was a slaveowner who committed ethnic cleansing against American Indians.

    1. cocomaan

      This is absolutely the case. It’s also absolutely the case that Trump has tapped into the vein of Americanism that resulted in Jackson. The Democrats acted like, and still act as if, this vein doesn’t exist, or is so preposterous as a concept that it’s not worth mentioning. How many times have you seen Democrats say, “No president has ever done ______!!!!”

      Chances are, Andrew Jackson did ____ and did it more than once.

      1. carl

        Jackson came from the Borderers, the folks who emigrated from the English/Scottish border, and whose violent heritage explains much of what they brought to America. The influence of the Borderers is still felt today, as is the other three groups who came over. See Albion’s Seed for more details.

  2. Carolinian

    I don’t think I even heard the word “norms”

    Previous term was High Broderism. Won’t be long before Broder’s journalistic progeny start talking about how Trump “trashed the place, and it wasn’t his place.” The DC permanent government gets very sniffy about the “norms.”

    1. grizziz

      I think if you get into the literature regarding conservative and libertarian thought, norms do a lot of the heavy lifting to control behavior in the absence of written law. Community standards is a more lofty construction for the liberal set.

    2. Rhondda

      That Brendan Nyhan is an umm, interesting person. Quite the go-to guy. Budding fact-checker, etc. Lots of interesting info there on Google for foily dot connectors.

      Norms. Not Normal. Normalize. I’d venture a bet that Mr. Nyhan chooses words with forethought and care. His area of expertise appears to be more poli sci than guv — changing the minds of partisans who have become impervious to facts. How useful. Perhaps he’ll make full prof soon.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Another word for norms is protocol. The way everybody has always done it, though not required by law. Like kissing the MSM’s hiney. Trump will do the stuff that is required by LAW. He looks at the norms and says he can do better. The norms is why this country is ate up like a soup sandwich. Dissatisfaction with the norms is the whole reason he got elected.

        1. Anon

          Hmmmph…weeks of post-mortem commentary attributing the surprise election to many things…who would’ve thought it was simple dissatisfaction with norms.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            I don’t think there is anything simple about either political norms, or how people might feel about them.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    About the DWT article about voter registration and the Democrats, the last cycle demonstrated Democrat Party elites despise the base and lusted after suburban Republicans.

    Oh and Gerry Connolly is an epic tool.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Despise might be too strong a term, but they sure don’t want to get sweaty in the summer in Virginia handing out voter registration forms. Or actually guiding people through the reg process. Or any of the other things a winner actually needs to do to get votes.

      Democrats have never drawn the obvious conclusion, that they can win elections by pushing back against voter suppression.”

      No. They’ve drawn this conclusion and ignored it. Their “pushback” has consisted of snarling about it in coastal Establishment media where they do nothing but preach to their fellow congregants. They will not get out of their offices and engage in the physically demanding work of obtaining (and retaining) voters. The upper echelon Republicans are nearly as snooty. However, they run the whole show now, absent the far west and most of New England/New York. They will be getting rid of mail-in registration. Probably in the next year, citing it as a vehicle for fraud. (By which they mean the “fraud” of voting while nonwhite. Or poor. Etc.) They will accelerate restrictions on early voting hours in every state where they can. They may eliminate early voting in a few of them.

      Every day that has past since 11/08/2016 I become more of Sanderista.

      1. Steve C

        Our Revolution’s organizing the takeover of the California party is heartening. They told people where to be and why and people did it. That’s the way to seize power.

        I’m sick of organizations that hold rallies and stage actions and conduct campaigns over an issue. That’s all just self-indulgent self expression and has just wasted time. Take it straight to the politicians and pull the rug out from under them. That’s the only thing that will change anything.

        I hope this is a model for how Our Revolution will organize state by state.

      2. Anon

        Put another way: They’ll gladly say that they’ll fight for x, but never win. I can only conclude that they’re content with voter suppression.

  4. broadsteve

    So you’ve never come across Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing as the stages of group development?

    My expectation is that US politics will be permanently stuck at the ‘Storming’ stage for the foreseeable and absent workable agreed norms, it won’t get to performing much at all.

  5. Big River Bandido

    The Hill article is a perfect example of how the mainstream media promulgates its most baldfaced lies:

    “It’s not clear whether Trump’s first budget will include reforms to Social Security or Medicare, two major drivers of the federal deficit.”

    That’s getting the relationship between Social Security and the federal deficit completely, and intentionally, backwards.

    1. Jim Haygood

      What, the federal deficit causes Social Security? Ex-interest, Soc Sec added $70.4 billion to the federal deficit in calendar year 2015 [Trustees Report, page 7].

      It’s the $11.4 trillion unfunded obligation [Trustees Report, page 5] that’s the elephant in the room. Responsibly managed pension plans, subject to Erisa, would have seven years to make up that underfunding.

      But Soc Sec is managed by politicians, and isn’t subject to the Erisa code of sound practice. If (hypothetically) Soc Sec took 30 years to make up its funding shortfall, that would add another $380 billion to the annual federal deficit — a pretty substantial hit.

      But in reality, there are no plans to bring Soc Sec’s funding up to snuff, now or ever. The 535 KongressKlowns are just going to run it into the ground until the checks bounce.

      Since they have no fiduciary obligation to their victims beneficiaries, you and I have no standing to sue their @ss off in court. Somebody already tried that in 1960. The Supreme Court brushed him off, saying “It’s just a welfare program. Gotta problem, write your KongressKlown. Have a nice day, gramps.

      1. Katharine

        Unfunded obligation. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the erstwhile surplus that got borrowed, would it?

        1. craazyboy

          Relax. The projected “unfunded obligation” is just one more thing that will be underwater 70 years from now.

        2. Jim Haygood

          The erstwhile surplus was borrowed by issuing IOUs called “non-marketable Treasuries” to the Trust Fund.

          Functionally, this maneuver raked off Social Security’s positive cash flow without adding to the public debt. But public debt will rise when these non-marketable Treasuries are redeemed.

          If the Trust Fund held only marketable Treasuries then public debt would be $2.8 trillion higher than it is today. This is the amount held in the trust fund.

          That’s why the Treasury makes a distinction between public debt and total debt including government trust funds. All of the trust funds will ripen into public debt when they mature and have to funded by public borrowing.

          If government trust funds held only marketable Treasuries, there would be no need for such a distinction. All Treasury debt would be public debt, using honest and transparent accounting.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Public debt does not include non-marketable Treasuries.

            Is this self-evident truth or just playing with definitions?

            And was there failure of fiduciary duty for the Trust Fund trustees to accept non-marketable Treasuries? Were they told to do so by an act of Congress? Why didn’t Congress just require the Trust Fund to invest in the US government, Incorporated, class US (Uncle Sam) shares – take an equity position?

            1. craazyboy

              Haygood is using the spin invented by the Pete Peterson crowd.

              1) The treasuries held by the SS Fund don’t need to be “marketable”. By law, the Trust Fund redeems them directly with the Treasury when they mature. The Treasury comes up with the money to pay them off same as with all Treasury spending – taxes(!) and/or sell new Treasury bonds. (let’s call those IOUs so they sound scary too)

              2) The clever word game of the Century – The total debt of the USG does include the SS Fund. This is called the National Debt. The number you usually see in the news is this. Presently around $20 Trillion. It does get broken down into two parts. One is the Trust Fund currently around $2.8 Trillion. The rest is called “Debt held by the public”, the amount being roughly 20T MINUS 2.8T. These are the US treasury bonds – and happen to be held by anyone’s “public”, including central banks around the world. The term of endearment used by Peterson acolytes, and Haywood, for “Debt held by the public”, is “public debt”.

              This, not so coincidently, leads to misleading statements like Haygood’s,

              “Functionally, this maneuver raked off Social Security’s positive cash flow without adding to the public debt. But public debt will rise when these non-marketable Treasuries are redeemed.

              If the Trust Fund held only marketable Treasuries then public debt would be $2.8 trillion higher than it is today. This is the amount held in the trust fund.”

              We are then supposed to conclude there is some scary accounting surprise coming – like maybe our SS isn’t really there. Surprised GWB! hahaha.

              But in reality the National Debt, which includes the SS Trust Fund, is $20T. NOT $20T PLUS $2.8T.

              And getting back to basics, the money came from employee and employer deductions. Per SS law, any surplus after paying out benefits to current retirees, MUST go to the Trust Fund and the Trust Fund MUST buy these “special treasuries”, which was thought to be the best and safest way to invest surplus SS Funds.

              I’m also wondering why, for years now, Haygood feels it necessary to post this and other Pete Peterson fake news over and over again at NC.

              1. HopeLB

                Thank You Craazyboy!I really pray/hope/wish Yves and Lambert make you our Correspondent at the expanded WH pressclub.

              2. Optimader

                Whats another couple Trillion anyway? Who cares?
                If we cant spend it on social security then whats money good for?
                I for one plan on spanking everyone’s grandchildren for every nickel i can suck out

                1. ewmayer

                  They are simply using the Total Public Debt Outstanding number from the Treasury’s own “Debt To The Penny” website:


                  In the Treasury data, ‘Intragovernmental Holdings’ – currently around $5.5 Trillion – represent to total borrowings from the various government trust funds. Clearly the Treasury itself recognizes that that is just another form of government borrowing, an accounting gimmick to make the ‘headline’ Public Debt numbers look lower.

        3. Pat

          Don’t forget the productivity increases that DID NOT go into wage increases for workers, but to the top who effectively pay less in taxes than the average garbage collector. Wage increases that would have meant a higher cap and higher contributions into the trust fund.

          The theft has been long standing, and wide ranging and despite his objections, if Jim is as smart as he thinks he is at some point he will stop trying to make the people who paid into this program who demand their EARNED BENEFITS the problem and stop backing the thieves.

          Edited to add: Reading his most recent comment, he isn’t entirely coming from the point of the view of the thieves. He actually wants a most honest representation of the accounting. I still think he needs to come from a different place, but…

      2. cwaltz

        Exactly how much of the general fund that we’ve had over the years has been because of Social Security?

        We should probably start with cutting the DoD which coincidentally provides ZERO in terms of funds to the actual budget if we’re really concerned with cutting things that contribute to the deficit, not a fund that not only sustained itself but provided Congress with a slush fund that they utilized to do everything from cut taxes to fund unnecessary wars.

        Your comment kind of reminds me of a person saying they should quit their job to help their budget when the problem isn’t the job but the person’s unrealistic budget.

        Additionally by the way, Congress could lift the cap on income and virtually guarantee that the program would be funded for 75 more years.


        1. Katharine

          Thanks! I like your budget priorities, and also your bringing up that obvious, appropriate, and so often scrupulously ignored solution to the funding problem.

    2. Katharine

      Thanks! I was just getting ready with a similar comment and you beat me to it. And the hocus-pocus that is offered in various places to justify that claim boggles my mind (which may boggle easily, but no matter):

      The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says that even if Social Security is viewed as an “off-budget program,” it still indirectly adds to the on-budget deficit.

      CRFB, Aug. 13, 2015: If viewed as an off-budget program, Social Security does not directly add to the “on-budget deficit.” However, it indirectly contributes to the on-budget deficit because the interest payments it receives from the general fund are on-budget. It also receives funding from income tax revenue on Social Security benefits, which is technically on-budget, and has at times received general revenue transfers to compensate for policies that would reduce Social Security revenue (such as when lawmakers cut payroll taxes in 2011 and 2012).

      quoted at http://www.factcheck.org/2015/10/sanders-misleads-on-social-security/

      Run that by me again? It adds to the deficit because it is receiving payments? Like the Chinese government and a variety of mutual funds? If receiving interest payments is all it takes, why aren’t they in the discussion too?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Interest payments to the OASDI trust fund totaled $93.3 billion in calendar year 2015 [2016 Trustees Report, page 7].

        $93.3 billion of interest on $2,790 billion of Trust Fund assets represents a return of 3.3%.

        The Trust Fund’s assets increased by $23.0 billion. So the net negative cash flow which had to be financed by public borrowing was $70.3 billion in calendar year 2015.

        1. Pat

          Nope, the “Trust Fund” will only add to the deficit when it has exhausted it’s account. Until that time see the Defense Department over spending. That contributions can no longer hide the true amount that the government is spending over what it takes in is NOT the fault of a program that has been taking in much more than it has spent for decades until recent years. and has that ‘surplus’ to spend. That the surplus was LENT to the Federal Government does not mean it has not and does not still exist – accounting wise.

          But ultimately just as deficits do not matter for war, it is long past time to say deficits really do NOT matter when it comes to taking care of a people in a country with a sovereign currentcy

            1. Jen

              I realize I’m being frightfully naive here, but since when does the timing of an audit depend on the subject’s readiness for same?

              Rules, of course, being for the little people.

        2. Higgs Boson

          So how much is the interest paid on the $4T or so that’s been spent on the wars in the ME? Treasuries financed that too, no?

      2. John Zelnicker

        @Jim Haygood, Katherine and craazyboy – You all seem to forget the we have a sovereign currency and therefore the government can continue to pay Social Security benefits, without regard to the “trust fund” balance, the same way it does now, by instructing the local bank to increase the dollar balance in a beneficiary’s account. It can do this forever, as long as we have a sovereign currency, with or without FICA or any other taxes, since federal taxes do not fund federal spending, including Social Security.

        Bernie’s problem is that he seems to be reluctant to tell the truth that deficits to the government are assets to the non-government and the bigger the deficit, the more assets in the hands of the private sector. We can assume he knows this truth since he hired Stephanie Kelton for the Budget Committee staff.

        1. a different chris

          It’s comical – it’s like speaking with what seems like a normal adult and then suddenly your realize they are seriously worried about Santa Claus.

          1. craazyboy

            Thankyou. I much prefer to pray for Santa to appear for the first time in 2033, if we find out we really need him to fix SS. Otherwise Santa risks capture by the Pentagon the moment a sleigh and reindeer show up on NORAD radar screens.

          2. Katharine

            It’s not comical when the arguments you are laughing about will be treated perfectly seriously by those who are out to impoverish the vast majority of your fellow citizens.

        2. Ruben

          “… the bigger the deficit, the more assets in the hands of the private sector.”

          So the logical and absurd conclusion is that an infinite deficit would create infinite wealth in the private sector.

    3. RUKidding

      It’s not clear whether Trump’s first budget will include reforms to Social Security or Medicare, two major drivers of the federal deficit.

      Big River Bandido: That’s getting the relationship between Social Security and the federal deficit completely, and intentionally, backwards.

      Yes. Just love that fake news. Really aggravating.

      1. flora

        Budget problems? No mention of the war in Iraq? Probably an oversight. From 3 years ago:

        “This estimate was catastrophically wrong: the war in Iraq has cost $823.2bn between 2003 and 2011. Some estimates suggesting that it may eventually cost as much as $3.7tn when factoring in the long-term costs of caring for the wounded and the families of those killed.

        The most striking fact about the cost of the war in Iraq has been the extent to which it has been kept “off the books” of the government’s ledgers and hidden from the American people. This was done by design.”


        “off the books”….

    4. Cynthia

      It’s also worth mentioning that Medicare is being robbed to pay for ObamaCare, which mostly includes the expansion of Medicaid. In fact, many experts in healthcare policy have stated that the “Affordable Care Act” should be renamed the “Medicaid Expansion Act.”

      Oh sure, Medicare has reduced some costs, mostly by penalizing hospitals whose “quality indicator” scores have fallen below average. Hospitals are penalized by Medicare for having below-average scores in terms of such things like high readmission rates and hospital-related infections and falls. But as I have mentioned before, the enormous amount of back-office work required to monitor and track these so-called “quality indicators” has completely cancelled out any cost savings to Medicare.

      What’s worse, all of this very costly back-office work has caused hospitals to make cuts to the bedside, leaving fewer and fewer doctors and nurses to care for and treat patients. This alone is reason enough to repeal Obamacare, IMO.

  6. fresno dan


    But I don’t think any are quite as painstakingly wrong as Senator John McCain. Someone should call up the Guinness World Record folks, because the wrong-per-sentence ratio of McCain’s angry statement might just set a new world record. Let’s dig in.

    MCCAIN: “President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence is a grave mistake that I fear will encourage further acts of espionage and undermine military discipline.”

    Wait. Really? Manning has been in prison for seven years, with a significant portion of that being held in solitary confinement, sometimes being made to strip naked before being able to sleep. This was called “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of article 16 of the convention against torture” by the United Nations. You would think, of all people, Senator John McCain, who similarly was held in solitary confinement and tortured for extended periods while being held captive for 5 and a half years in Vietnam, would recognize that “only” 7 years of such treatment wouldn’t exactly encourage more of Manning’s behavior.

    Second, what Manning did was not “espionage” and for McCain to suggest it is, means McCain either has no idea what he’s talking about, or is lying. Manning leaked diplomatic cables and related information exposing vast wrongdoing by the US, to Wikileaks, who partnered with a number of respected press outlets to reveal the wrongdoing. That’s not espionage. That’s classic whistleblowing. And, yes, in case you’ve forgotten, Manning’s leaks revealed a hell of a lot of wrongdoing by the US government.

    Oh come on. We’ve highlighted repeatedly how the “proper channels” claim is a complete joke.*** The “proper channels” have a long history of retaliating against whistleblowers such that everyone now knows the best way to destroy your life is to use the proper channels.

    First of all, Manning did not endanger the lives of American troops, diplomats and intelligence sources. During Manning’s sentencing hearing, following her conviction, the US military admitted no one died because of Manning’s leaks. So why does this myth still persist? Mainly because it’s politically convenient to lie and pretend that whistleblowing leaks must “cost lives.” [[propaganda – is this EVER marked as FAKE NEWS – I guess it all depends on who is faking what]]

    Finally, as Marcy Wheeler correctly points out, McCain isn’t just completely wrong with most of his statement, he’s a total hypocrite as well. After all, McCain has been one of the most vocal supporters of General David Petraeus, a man who was convicted of giving classified information (much more serious than anything leaked by Manning) to his mistress. When there was talk of demoting Petraeus for this fairly serious breach, McCain said he was going to launch a Congressional investigation. And, more recently, McCain had this to say about Petraeus:

    MCCAIN: “People make mistakes in life, they pay a price and move on.”

    ***I would love to interrogate McCain about the Trump “dossier” he gave to the intelligence services. Does he believe that is credible intelligence? Or would he admit it is just a way to stick it to Trump because Trump is not a Russiaphobe???

    1. RUKidding

      My loathing of McCain knows no bounds. McCain’s simply been out of control since he lost to “that one,” aka the blah.

      Now he’s got a major hissy fit with Trump bc Trump made fun of him (some of it unsporting, to be sure, but mostly well deserved, imo). I have friends who now revere McCain and the Graham Cracker because they’re so “moral” for going after Trump. Egad & OMG. Please.

      McCain’s hypocrisy knows no bounds but is especially evident here with his horrid lies about Chelsea Manning, especially given his big suck up to David BETRAYus.

      I pine for the day when I never have to hear anything else about McCain ever again.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        It’s gotta chap him to no end that he lost in 2000 and 2008 to the two most unqualified people to ever hold the office up to this point.

        But he’s MIC-apologist, Russia-hating saber-rattling warmonger scum, so I don’t feel bad for him.

      2. peter

        Besides, there’s just no stopping him. I wonder what drives these people. I mean, I’m pretty sure part of the reason he lost 8 years ago was that he was considered too old for the job by many. Why don’t these people just retire and repent?

        1. RUKidding

          Why doesn’t McCain retire and repent? Why should he? He keeps getting re-elected, sadly. That’s: a) lotsa money for him (not just from salary), b) various oppo for naked grabs for power, c) he doesn’t have to deal with his richy-rich wife if he’s running around the planet causing problems, and d) he was, at least until recently, still being invited to blather on the Sunday shows, so Pride, Hubris, Ego, etc.

          Why stop now when the rightwingnut gravy train has been so good to him, even if he lost big time to W and Obama?

    2. Jim Haygood

      MCCAIN: “People make mistakes in life, they pay a price and move on.”

      Maybe so. But McShame will still be an AZ-hole till the day he dies. ;-)

      1. nippersmom

        That’s unnecessarily harsh towards McDonald’s. After all, you can get orange juice, milk, salad, and a few other legitimate foods at McDonald’s

    3. alex morfesis

      Jaxxx Dark Sour IPA is the newest brand from Hensley & Co and John (Jack) McCain has agreed to allow his wife to use his image to help market it, as his popularity should help sell the new brew as Arnie Palmer did with that tea thing…

      oh…and john…gus greenbaum is wondering if you and the misses might consider bringing some fresh flowers…no one comes by and visits anymore…


      Frances has done ok, but the rest of the kids of Don Bolles were wondering if you might help them get a job, considering there was no trust fund set up for anyone…

      maybe you could go to the newsmuseum right there in DC and film a commercial for the beer with you sitting in the Datsun B710…


      and they are wondering what color will your parachute be…

      i’m sorry john…what…

      son of a…??


      I didn’t know you had met my mom…

      oh and don’t worry…most of my friends know not to drive with me in my car…and I usually remember to open the windows and the drivers side door before I start my car…

      you know…squirrels can do so much damage…

        1. Jim Haygood


          “In his revised questionnaire, Mr. Mnuchin disclosed several additional financial assets, including $95 million worth of real estate — a co-op in New York City, a residence in Southampton, New York, a residence in Los Angeles, California, and $15 million in real estate holdings in Mexico,” Democratic staff members of the Senate Finance Committee wrote in a memo on Thursday.


          Subtract the $15M in Mexico, and they’re saying that Mnuchin’s NYC co-op, Hamptons house and LA house are valued at $80 million.

          That’s incredible.

          I’d like to live in the apartment above his 5-car garage. ;-)

            1. ambrit

              Not to mention vegetable growing acreage under less than stringent environmental rules. Those vegetables are sold into the U.S. under various “sweetheart” deals. Full faith and credit can be extended to foreign countries. Why, the FDA is supposed to inspect certain Indian pharmaceutical factories in order to assure compliance with American standards. The Indian companies, often subsidiaries of western transnationals, can then sell into Europe and America, having, ‘officially,’ complied with western production standards. Plus, the braseros supply their own living quarters! They’re called pueblos. With all the American agribusinesses moving into Mexico, I might venture to call it the New Enclosure Movement.

  7. dk

    “Voter Registration, The Democrats’ Sleeping Giant” [Alice Marshall, Down with Tyranny].
    That’s what the establishment Democrats think….

    Establishment Dems don’t think, beyond coming up with programs that can attract funding; they do what their donors pay for. Voter registration is considered a poor return on investment by most major donors (Soros, et al). Why? Because it costs money; and then you still have to turn these additional voters out, a further increased expenditure. It’s “cheaper” to have fewer voters, and woo existing swing voters with policy promises and negative messaging.

    This has been explained to me time and again over the decades, by state ED’s, DCCC/DLCC directors and national directors from top PACs. “We’re not doing voter reg, nobody wants to pay for it.” “If we do voter reg, we’ll have a harder time getting donors to put up the money for the rest of our programs.”

    Not to say it’s never done. But the efforts are generally small in scale. Unions are still inclined to do it, but they focus almost exclusively on their existing membership.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        weird, i usually get stuff from bernie incl Our Revolution but this is the first I’m hearing of this.
        thanks for posting it!

        1. Atypical

          They are “Knock Every Door”, former Bernie workers, apparently not connected to anything Bernie now.

          From that site link…

          We’re a group of former Bernie staffers, volunteers and supporters. Some of us have been involved in politics for a long time, and some of us were brand new to this when we joined the Bernie campaign.

          What we have in common is our belief that grassroots organizing – thousands of volunteer organizers talking to their neighbors – is the only way to fix our country.

          Organizers and advisors to #KnockEveryDoor include:

          Becky Bond
          Yong Jung Cho
          Max Cotterill
          Cole Edwards
          Hannah Fertig
          Sam Ghazey
          Ceci Hall
          Lynn Hua
          Zack Malitz
          Kenneth Pennington
          Deborah Sagner
          Hector Sigala
          Larry Stafford Jr.
          Cesar Vargas

      2. Gareth

        In Wisconsin ‘Our Revolution’ is holding a series of something like 25 regional meetings around the state over the next month with the intention of starting an ongoing progressive political organization. Our state really needs this as the Democrat party is comatose. Maybe they’ll even do voter registration!


  8. fresno dan


    Swiss police were pictured this week in Davos testing anti-drone jammers, which resemble massive machine guns, as part of security preparations for the World Economic Forum. The annual gathering of members of the world’s business and political elite has brought more than 3,000 attendees to the skiing resort.

    In Davos, police were testing to make sure the equipment was ready and able to take down any drones potentially carrying out covert missions, said Steffen Wicker, managing director at H.P. Marketing & Consulting Wüst, which makes the jamming guns pictured.
    I find it amazing drones haven’t been used in terrorist attacks in the west.

    1. craazyboy

      They can only carry about a half pound of fertilizer. Trucks are much better.

      I’m more concerned about Russian Trebuchet and Barrel Bomb technology.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It was the German Trebuchet that ended the decade-long siege of Fangyang, and with it, not too long after, the completion of the Mongol conquest of the Southern Song dynasty.

        One version has it that it was brought to China by a German monk.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps the bad guys think it’s cheaper to go with Kamikaze flying pigeons…no, not the Flying Pigeon bicycles of Mao’s China.

  9. craazyboy

    I’m quite certain I don’t use 63 tons of anything a year.

    Also, after the 1980s VCR controls fiasco, you would think the Japanese had learned their lesson when it comes to designing bidet controls.

    1. Katharine

      >I’m quite certain I don’t use 63 tons of anything a year.

      Water? Do the math before you laugh it off. 126,000 pounds/8 pounds per gallon = 15,750 gallons, which comes out at about 43 a day. That would get you categorized as a low-use customer by a lot of water utilities in this country.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Apparently the DOT is taking total US freight volume — that is, all road, rail and air freight shipments, including wholesale trade — and dividing by the population.

        When all raw material and intermediate-stage goods shipments are considered along with final deliveries to end users, 63 tons per capita seems credible.

        It takes a lot of coal to generate the electrons to recharge your Tesla. ;-)

        1. Katharine

          And of course some small fraction, though certainly much less than formerly, is still packaging. But as a per capita number it is remarkable.

          What is really covered? Would it include those pieces of turbines and mysterious concrete objects and pieces of prefab houses one sees traveling on the interstate? And is it possible for things like grain that then becomes flour to get counted more than once? If the estimate is just based on total tons shipped for which they have records, I should think processing and repeat shipping might add something.

          1. a different chris

            And it still makes no sense, who the f came up with this? “X” ton miles would mean something. This is just crap.

    2. YY

      Standardizing pictograms only means that foreigners will be mystified by the one set of pictures as opposed to being mystified by multiple sets of similar pictures. The key to the pictograms are the annotations that accompany the pictures, unfortunately these are in even more obscure language, Japanese. Of all the things that confuse visitors, this issue is minor and the standardization of graphics does absolutely nothing. Like emoji, this language requires a media to disseminate, that is the more successful export of the toilet seats.

    3. Fiver

      It’s the liquids. Water. Gasoline – average American uses 500 gallons (US) /year. Gallon of gas weighs approx. 6 lbs. Milk, juice, pop, beer. Think of the beer, alone.

  10. HopeLB

    The “norm” could refer equally to either Trump’s questioning of globalised neoliberalism,his skepticism about IC/Military spending and goals and the empire building neccessary for globalised neoliberalism’s triumph (control of all the world) or to Trump’s general lack of inhibition to say/do things the larger society detests..
    The Trump and Pence quotes in this do rhyme a bit with Lincoln above;


  11. Elizabeth Burton

    …each American required the movement of 40 tons of freight annually, that number has jumped to 63 tons annually.

    Is there any way to determine whether this is actual increased consumption as opposed to the necessity of having to replace crap that wears out way ahead of when it used to and has to be, therefore, replaced?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As far as food goes, the providers are sourcing globally now. And, so, in addition to your question, there is one more – more distance traveled.

      1. ambrit

        All of this shipping is based upon a cheap source of energy per unit shipped to make it feasible. When the cost of transport goes through the roof, which it sooner or later will, watch the contractions sharpen and intensify until a new world is born.

    2. Knot Galt

      Freight has adopted the Enron model of finance? I’m sure something that has always been there was allowed to be added to the weight and therefore charged to the user.

    1. ambrit

      I’ve mentioned it before, but a MIT collaboration with a medical physiologist determined that the optimal way to excrete is to squat. I’m told by travelers who have returned from that bourne that toilets in Korea are designed that way.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Unquestionably, squatting is how humans defecated back when we lived in the savannah. Ironic that ceramic squatting toilets, built into the floor, persist in Asia to this day, while Toto promotes the very opposite.

        Toto does not appreciate your insinuation that their high-tech throne could encourage hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, etc ;-)

        1. RUKidding

          I backpacked around India and SE Asia in my youth, where squat toilets (if there was a toilet at all) were pretty much all you got. I got used to them and was even OK using them on fast moving trains! Also experienced them in France & Greece back then as indicated, up above.

          Recently traveled to India & various SE Asian countries. Surprised to discover that squat toilets are not as much of a norm as they used to be. Even in restaurants and hotels frequented mostly by the locals, there were more sit toilets, than squats. My Indian friends all had sit toilets in their homes.

          Ditto in more westernized establishments and airports, which is somewhat more expected but not the case back in the 70s and 80s. If I was way out in some remote rural area, then I ran into more squat toilets.

          Seems like even Asians are moving away from the squats, which are better for your elimination (but hard on older knees).

          1. cocomaan

            Jacobin had an article awhile ago about sitting and class struggle. Basically that we emulate royalty by sitting. I might have even read it from here on NC.


            No designer has ever made a good chair, because it is impossible. Some are better than others, but all are bad. Not only are chairs a health hazard, they also have a problematic history that has inextricably tied them to our culture of status-obsessed individualism.

            Seems to extend to toilets too.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In ancient China, as in many other ancient places, you would simply sit on a mat.

              Central Asians introduced them to stools and chairs.

              In Japan, however, they persisted with sitting on the tatami floor till the Meiji period. You were forced to stand often.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If you have good balance, you can squat on anything, especially if you don’t feel like sitting on something wet and dirty.

          It’s risky though and no one should try squatting on a non-squatting toilet without checking with one’s doctor and lawyer first.

            1. crittermom

              Yep. First saw it on Shark Tank & have seen ads somewhere since for it.
              I think it’s turned out to be a successful investment for one of the sharks.

      2. JustAnObserver

        There were still large numbers of squatter types in France when my family moved there for a while in the 60s esp. in non-metropolitan areas and in the countryside of the south. Persisted IIRC through the 70s & into the 80s in some places. Still there in e.g. Greece until fairly recently.

        Good for fast thoughput since you’re not going to hang around reading Le Monde/Canard … unless you’ve got ski-racer thigh muscles.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I still remember one in some French country on my tour of Europe after graduation, in the early 80s, as if it were yesterday.

          One thought lingers to today – don’t fall in there.

        2. barrisj

          Recall my bed-sit times in Earl’s Court, London back in the late 60’s…a communal bog with conventional Western toilet and hinged seat. Never could quite sort out why the seat was so often speckled with dreck, until I inadvertently burst into the bog one evening and found your Asian chap up on the seat squatting – and yes, fouling the lot up. Used another floor’s toilet after that experience.

        1. ambrit

          As a plumber I see this product as an interesting work around to facilitate the merging of the two cultures of fertilizer production.

    2. clarky90

      Pilates and yoga 3 to 6 times a week will fix sciatica. A standing desk is the BEST thing you can do for your general good health. Sleep for 8 hours and then sit down? Insane! Destructive of your precious home (your body). Google, Katy Bowman, kinesiologist, about Standing Desk. Avoid surgeons like the Plague.

  12. Dave

    “YouTube has started to contribute significantly to Alphabet’s revenue. Based on earnings reports, this is nearly all video advertising” [247 Wall Street]. It’s not doing well in streaming video, unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime, but who goes to YouTube for that?

    “Streaming video”, do they mean paying to watch movies?
    Yup, we enjoy watching youtube videos of tractor pulls and other such lowbrow stuff.
    Just this week, ads started showing up at the bottom of the video. You can click on the x to delete it but then a few minutes later, another one shows up. Anyone know a good ad blocker for these?

    As a non-techie, it seems to me that a program to automatically click the x on the ads would do the trick.
    We used firefox with ad blocker plus and so never see ads on websites.

  13. Steve H.

    : Black Injustice Tipping Point

    I did not know this, but Black Panther the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby comic hero, and the Black Panther Party first appeared in 1966. And while the superhero appeared in the July issue, the Party began operations in October, and thus the entertainment predates the serious reality.

    I say this because I ventured into the local comic store and saw in the *NEW* section a Black Panther comic, and noted the author – Ta-Nehisi Coates!

    I contemplated several interpretations of this and settled on one provided by Jalen, that people in the entertainment industry (he specifically refers to rappers and basketball players) have to reinvent themselves to maintain continuity, to be a veteran. And this seems to be what our author is doing here. Whether things would be different if the outcome of the election had been different (as in NBC raiding FoxNews, rather than other alternatives) can be speculated upon. But entertainment and politics seemed to have entered a coupled relationship, where transfers from each to either can be accomplished with very little resistance. The causal relationship is not clear so much.

    1. Gareth

      I knew some Black Panthers back in the day and all of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ genius-award money would have gone to the free breakfast for kids program or they would have kicked the crap out of him.

  14. DJG

    Trouble with numbers. Just as the word ‘norms’ has sudden been resurrected, so has the word ‘county.’ Cook County in Illinois has some 5 million residents in a state of 11 or so million. But it’s only one county, according to this new system of reckoning. Likewise, the observation about Missouri–Kansas City and St. Louis–tiny places. Let’s talk population. Yes, Menard County, Illinois, is historic, but it has 13,000 residents.

    Likewise, freight “per person”? A median or a mean? I suspect that what it hides is greater concentration of wealth–enormous shipments of goods to the well-to-do.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Interesting that RCP is basically predicting the demise of the Democratic Party. Yes, the windy city has a big population, but it also has insurmountable problems, among them incipient bankruptcy.

      The Democrats are already toast, but they are in ferocious denial. It would be different if they had a Plan B, but…

      They will go the way of the Whigs.

  15. djrichard

    Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

    That’s austerity. Trump isn’t going to get re-elected in 4 years with an austerity program.

    1. L

      Perhaps not but he can cause havok in the short term which will set us back by years, if not decades. Look at the damage shock austerity is still doing in Europe. Then imagine that here but then add the fact that the DOD budget and others will rise if he has his way meaning that this would be austerity plus higher deficits.

    2. reslez

      Handing over the reins of government to the Heritage Foundation isn’t an auspicious start to a new administration. That said, even if Trump follows through on slashing federal spending by $1 trillion/year and depresses the economy for a decade, he still has plenty of head room before he’s as bad a president as GWB or Obama.

      Maybe we could consider it the price of avoiding TPP and TTIP… assuming he doesn’t reverse himself there.

  16. djrichard

    Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

    That’s austerity. Trump isn’t going to get re-elected in 4 years with an austerity program.

    1. aab

      I am getting a sinking feeling that he is planning for only one term, which means he won’t even feel incentivized by what happened with Obama to do better.

      Of course, Hillary was going to ramp up the austerity, too. I’d love to stop pointing that out, but first the Democrats have to stop pretending she was Queen of Dragons. And now they’re pulling all sorts of stunts that get in the way of whatever effective protect might achieve.

      What a country.

    2. uncle tungsten

      There was a recent Premier (like state governor) in Australia that completely blitzed the public sector. Sacked enormous numbers, gutted state services. It was neoliberal blitzkrieg and lasted four years and was finally only just defeated by one seat.

      Trump will do similar. It was a mighty effective model and I am sure he will be aware of it. Hopefully he will include the CIA in his early steps.

  17. Jason Boxman

    And those Democrat hysterics are all about the grift, as usual. Gotta get paid somehow on an off-cycle, eh?

  18. Vatch

    I don’t know whether this is merely symbolic or if it has real substance. Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduced S.172 – A bill to require the President to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and to make that Agreement ineligible for expedited consideration by Congress. The co-sponsors are Senators Warren, Stabenow, Markey, and Merkley.


  19. L

    The cuts detailed in the Hill Piece are striking to say the least. They include:

    1) the Minority Business Development Agency,
    2) the Economic Development Administration,
    3) the International Trade Administration
    4) Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
    5) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services,
    6) Violence Against Women Grants and
    7) the Legal Services Corporation and
    8) eliminate the Office of Electricity,
    9) Office of Energy Efficiency and
    10) Renewable Energy
    11) Office of Fossil Energy
    12) Overseas Private Investment Corporation,
    13) Paris Climate Change Agreement and the
    14) United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    15) The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (privatized)
    16) National Endowment for the Arts
    17) National Endowment for the Humanities

    Reduced funding for:
    1) DOJ Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.
    2) DOE nuclear physics
    3) advanced scientific computing research,

    Not listed: the DOD.

    1. L

      The article even closes with a quote from an aide to Rand Paul who states:

      “The Trump Administration needs to reform and cut spending dramatically, and targeting waste like the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be a good first step in showing that the Trump Administration is serious about radically reforming the federal budget,”

      Which is interesting because the annual budget of those two agencies are ($147,949,000, $146,021,000). Not chump change but the cost to purchase 1 Littoral combat ship is $637,000,000 and they each cost around $70,000,000 per year to operate.

      Killing Oscar the Grouch is not “serious.” Cutting one littoral would have a bigger impact than most of these cuts. But Trump is promising to vastly expand our surface fleet.

      1. Carolinian

        The NEA, NEH and CPB have been in the Republican gunsights for years and yet they persist. The article you linked said this is just a proposal and has yet to be signed off on by as yet unconfirmed cabinet members. But one reason they do persist is that public protest usually saves them and if you are a congressperson–even Republican–what do you get out of offending constituents by cutting the CPB? It’s not as though public broadcasting is exactly a hotbed of liberalism these days.

        And the same deal with the sell off of public lands which most states don’t want anyway because they would have to pay to maintain them (and the states are of course highly aware of tourist dollars they bring in).

        But thanks for offering the list which ought to get people’s attention.

    2. Katharine

      I think I’ve finally figured out how to parse “Make America great again.” America was “great” when it was a struggling developing country, and Trump aims to return it to that condition as rapidly as possible.

      1. JustAnObserver

        As has been said before the Republicans have spent decades on the project of returning the US to the 50s … 1850s that is. Back to a time when

        “men were real men and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were *real* small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri”. As the Adams who didn’t become POTUS put it.

  20. Pavel

    I have to say I’m rather disappointed in The Grauniad’s description of the Manning pardon (gratefully received, of course, but she should never have been imprisoned in the first place):

    Manning, a whistleblower and former military intelligence analyst in Iraq, was arrested seven years ago after she leaked 700,000 documents and diplomatic cables, the biggest leak of classified material in US history. The released documents exposed the inner workings of US diplomacy and details about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning passed the the files to WikiLeaks, who worked with media organizations, including the Guardian, to publish the findings.

    [Emphasis mine]

    The Guardian: Chelsea Manning thanks Barack Obama for ‘giving me a chance’

    Surely it would have been a bit more accurate to state that “the released documents exposed war crimes“?

    Manning’s imprisonment and torture was yet another crime, this one perpetrated by Mr Peace Prize himself. Shame.

    1. RUKidding

      And Manning’s imprisonment happened after Mr. Constitutional Law Professor and Sitting POTUS very publically declared Manning Guilty before Manning even came to trial, much less had a conviction.

      Thanks, Obama.

      Not that impressed, albeit very glad, that Obamma pardoned Manning. It was very very least he could do after Manning got an undeservedly and unnecessarily long sentence that included torture.

      1. Pat

        Commutation of her sentence, it is NOT a pardon, so Obama didn’t even manage the least he could do by your standards (and mine).

        1. RWood

          “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

          ― Martin Luther King Jr.

          There are numerous bodies on that arc.

    2. uncle tungsten

      I wonder if Soros owns the grauniad? It sure has been infected with neoliberal apologists for a long time now. The current editor must have come from the WaPo.

  21. LT


    “Europeans see their economy more like lotteries…”

    Indeed, they would “get it” first, because they actually lived Feudalism and Monarchies…where by birth one is officially privileged. The USA tries to keep it “unofficial”.

    But you can not dissuade Americans from the lotto economy. Without the deluded dream, it would be hard to get enough drug prescriptions to numb one to the perils of the hamster wheel. I guess that is where religion (especially prosperity gospel) picks up the slack to keep the chains tight.

  22. Kronosaurus

    The trope that Clinton lost the midwest because she didn’t campaign there enough is as tiring as the trope that she lost because of Putin. The bottom line is that she lost because of a decades-long propaganda effort to make her out to be the evilest politician ever. When the hacks/leaks occured they had especially fertile ground in which to sprout forth. We can’t attribute them to the cause of her demise but they certainly played a part. My respect for NC is diminished because instead of recognizing that they played a role NC seems to be bending over backward to downplay them. Of course we have doubts about who pulled them off. But they occurred. That is fact. And while yes, Jackson following Adams was unique, come on. Trump as president is not normal and worthy of a ZOMG. The Simpsons thought it was so strange they put it in an episide many years ago. The Simpsons is not funny because they portray a normal reality. So why is NC trying so hard to be a contrarian in all this? I get that it sees itself as being a balancer. Balance the crazies on the left against the crazies on the right. But sometimes their critiques of the crazies on the left come across as apolgists for the right.

    1. Gareth

      I live in Wisconsin. Clinton made at least three other crucial mistakes here: 1- Believing her poll numbers when locals told her she was in trouble 2- Bleeding the state party dry through the Hillary victory fund grift 3- Spending her ad money in the final weeks on the “Think of the children” ads which looked as though they were paid for by the Trump campaign.

      So, you’re right she didn’t lose solely because she failed to campaign in the state.

      1. reslez

        Mistake #4: Being a corrupt grifter. If Hillary had a different last name she’d be under indictment. Mishandling classified info isn’t something most people can get away with, but that’s merely the most obvious crime she could be charged with.

        “Trump as president is not normal”: An elderly famous rich white male becomes president. Looks pretty standard to me.

      2. Steve C

        She lost probably because she was the millionaires’ candidate and used identity politics as a smokescreen.

    2. Knot Galt

      It goes much deeper with the mistrust that Hillary and the DNC sowed. You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting something. So for starters; Victoria Nuland. And I don’t hold NC responsible for Hillary’s terrible performance at the debates. Most of all, I think the DNC and Hillary did this to themselves. Smug complacency and coronations are the things of Revolution.

      Besides, like many others, I’m leery of a Republican controlled Congress. Hillary was more Republican than Trump. The weight of the nails, laid on top of her coffin alone, sealed her fate.

    3. Timmy

      When you attend an elite legal institution with, presumably, elite education in ethics, and then just a few years later, as an office of the court, enthusiastically use a transparently illegal and entirely common collusive strategy to share unearned futures trading profits with co-criminals, you invite both increased scrutiny and a deep skepticism of one’s ethics, particularly given the sophisticated level of her professional training and the very early age she showed a willingness to cut corners for personal gain. Hillary always walked the line of stupid or evil: in cattle trading, in setting up a private email address for a public function, and in setting up a foundation that took donations from clients of her public role. People who know her say she isn’t stupid. She did these things with her eyes open and she invited everything that happened to her. She owns all of it, herself, alone.

    4. RUKidding

      Eh? Campaigning for rich white suburban Republican votes, rather than, you know, bothering to go to visit the poor parts of the country to campaign for what used to be traditional base of the so-called “Democratic” Party was, IMHO, a yuuuge part of Clinton’s problem.

      I noticed that teeny tiny little factoid along about August and started predicting she’d lose. Right after the Dem Convention, Clinton dropped out of campaigning to go swan around with rich people, pop/sports stars and actors. She never went to WI. Only had two campaign stops in MI. Spent little time in PA.

      Gee I wonder why Clinton lost those states?? Funny about that.

      In the meantime, much as I don’t like Trump, he was out there on the campaign trail. I forget the numbers, but he he made quite a lot more campaign stops and rallies than Clinton. And he stated right out that he was going for the Electoral College. He figured out which places to go to and what to say to the “deplorables” (another yuuuuuge mistake of Clintons).

      Yes, the emails hack/leaks definitely had an affect, but what did they show? That Clinton and the DNC were sleazy; that they screwed around with Primary to ensure that Sanders didn’t win. And then to top it off, Clinton and her idiotic surrogates did nothing to court Sanders’ voters. Instead they chose to diss and mock “BernieBros” and make fun of them figuring that they had no place else to go. So guess what? Some Sanders voters chose either not to vote or voted third party. Way to go, Clinton. Great campaign strategy that was. That was Clinton’s fault.

      Heckuva way to run a campaign.

      Clinton ran against Trump. She Lost.

      The sooner the worthless Democratic Party actually takes a good look and reckons with what happened – rather than running around like headless chickens blaming everyone else, including Russia, for their miserable failure – the better off we’d all be.

      Fact is: yes, Clinton went into the campaign with huge negatives. Some of that was her “fault,” and some was “unfair” smear campaigns by the media, etc. But she KNEW that going in, so she should have worked triply hard to overcome that. Fact is, she didn’t. She courted Republicans, who were very unlikey to vote for her – and they didn’t. Her traditional base – poor people, union workers, working class people and even lower middle class people – aren’t stupid. They saw she could give a tinker’s damn about them and either stayed home or voted for Trump.

      Blame it on NC if you want. It’s Clinton’s fault.

      1. Steve C

        Don’t forget the Hillary-Obama Democrats have left the party a smoking wreck out of power at every level of government.

      2. JustAnObserver

        “The sooner the worthless Democratic Party actually takes a good look and reckons with what happened …”.

        And when the auditors report comes in with the conclusion that its “no longer a going concern” and should be liquidated or put in Chap 11 ? My suspicion is the Dem nomenklatura, in those parts of their souls they hide even from themselves, know this is the answer. The rot that started with Al From & the DLC has gone sooo deep there’s now no way back.

    5. nippersdad

      Decades long propaganda effort? So, I suppose that her support for, literally, every offshoring trade deal for thirty years didn’t qualify her for a “John Deere letter” from the rust belt? I think you give NC far too much credit. She spent her life dissing the base of the Democratic Party in every possible way, and they returned the favor twice when given the opportunity.

      There are still a lot of people that refuse to vote for utterly corrupt war criminals, and the rest of the Party should have recognized that fact before they moved heaven and earth to try and drag her foul smelling carcass over the finish line.Say hello to David Brock for me, and tell him that you will need far better talking points next time.

      1. aab

        Remember when during a debate with Bernie, she went on and on about how Kissinger praised her as Secretary of State, AS IF THAT SHOULDN’T DISQUALIFY HER AS A DEMOCRAT?

        For god’s sake.

        Kissinger. Her Republican mentor, Kissinger. SHE SAID IT HERSELF. She vacations with him. Please.

        NC doesn’t buy in to the idea that the email leaks were unjust or a major reason she lost because NC cultivates facts, reason and logic. Which is why I’m hooked on this place.

        1. Fiver

          Kissinger apparently was triangulating with both Clinton and Trump as the election unfolded. Perhaps he has an idea how to unwind high-consumption globalization and get the US off of the oil addiction he placed at the heart of US economic/financial/geopolitical policy and power. Or maybe he’ll agree with Trump, and bomb China.

    6. hunkerdown

      So, the DNC’s core belief in misleading the public isn’t enough reason to reject it outright? Very interested in the thought process that leads to such an interesting conclusion.

      I suspect it has to do with that people have rejected liberal norms, liberal performative norming, liberal guiding classes, liberal mutual admiration, and perhaps liberalism itself, as lies intended to exploit them. And they’d be right.

    7. mk

      Hilary was defeated by her own actions. She knew she would be running for President and she didn’t prepare properly. End of Story.

    8. Pat

      Trump is President because Clinton ran an incredibly stupid campaign. Sorry, but that is the case. Oh, she had help. But she is the epitome of the Democratic Party Status Quo.

      There are many reasons she lost and I was going to go into a lot, but think of it this way – She and her supposedly seasoned campaign management team apparently forgot that you have to win voters outside of the cities and win the electoral college. Mind you this might be a case of the chicken and the egg, winning with voters has not been on the Party’s agenda for eight years. The Democratic Party has been decimated by Hillary and Bill and Obama and their friends who have been running it for the last eight years. They have spent millions on ineffective operatives and grift and essentially bankrupted it. They are like Zucker and NBC, who took a number 1 network to 5 of 5 – and then said he started programming for the margins. Well, the Party started campaigning for the margins after 2009. They didn’t organize, they didn’t fight voter disenfranchisement, they didn’t do the hard and not so lucrative voter registration and local party building. Clinton is not the entire reason why the Democrats went from having the Presidency, the House, the Senate, a majority of Governors and states to having lost the big three and Republican control of state legislatures having reached the greatest point since the Civil War. Thirty-two state legislatures and 33 governorships are held by Republicans, with 17 states holding Republican veto-proof majorities in their state legislatures. That didn’t happen because Clinton was subjected to a decades long propaganda effort. That took real mismanagement, arrogance and being tone deaf about what the voters wanted. She wasn’t just the status quo candidate she was the candidate of the Status Quo Democratic Party.

      1. Justicia

        Spot on. The Dems bear much of the blame for this train wreck. Counties that went for Obama twice, went for The Twit this time because they got zilch for their support of Obama.

    9. aab

      I’m coming late to this, and need to read all the other responses which, so far, seem excellent.

      But if you’re open to considering that you are wrong, here’s one simple response to “NC won’t admit it’s the emails that did her in”: go look at Yves’ Politico piece from the primary. I am quoted in it. This was from long before the email leak. And please don’t tell me I was propagandized by the Republicans; that’s meretricious nonsense. I can back up my loathing of Hillary Clinton with a long list of HER actions, HER policies and HER statements, publicly made. I’m not going to reiterate them here; they’re in the NC archives. I’ve got news for you — I am not the only person like that in America. And frankly, she lost in the end not because of intellectuals and activists, but because citizens battered by her husband’s policies and Obama’s policies, as well as her own history, campaign messaging, and campaign tactics, didn’t come out for her. The email leak is an excuse, and you are falling for it. Hillary Clinton lost because she is an inept campaigner and manager, with no real governing accomplishments, who was the standard barer for a party and ideology that immiserated the many to enrich the few. That scam was going to fail eventually, and it’s not surprising this is the time it did.

      Who are these crazies on the left, anyway?

    10. alex morfesis

      Trump got lucky…but no one can run for president and squawk how things are going to be worse and there is just nothing that can be done…

      My first political recollection was being in miami for the 72 convention…mcgovern did not offer america any bright future…

      Come home america…

      pleasant but not inspired…

      Nixon was …

      now more than ever…

      not great but he was the incumbent…

      Jimmy had those J.C. signs with the born again crowd who frightened me with all that hayseus cry-sst chatter that I thought some lunatic might help jimmy go see that cry-sst a little sooner than planned…also…

      “A leader for a change…”

      Didn’t exactly get the girls swooning
      But worked in 76…

      Ronnie ray-gun gave us in 1980:

      Let’s make america great again…
      (Sounds somewhat familiar)

      Dukakis rambled on about…

      “On your side”…and then foolishly wore that helmet…

      Bush 1 burped out…1000 points of…

      William jefferson (car driver to the airport ) gave us…

      The people, for a change…

      But he also had ross perot helping…

      I’m ross…you’re the boss…

      Oh and pat Buchanan burped out…

      America First…
      (where did I hear that recently…??)

      Bob doles winning slogan…

      Bob Dole…
      a better man for a better america

      That just chokes ya up, don’t it ???

      Al Gore (Vidal) burped out…

      Leadership for a new millennium…
      (thousand year reich ??)

      And bush 2…

      karl rove & my brother in florida are really close friends

      And prez obama…

      Change you can believe in…

      (Notice that change thingee…
      worked for carter, clinton 1 & obama)

      $hillary gave us…

      I am withHer(ed)…

      very very inspiring

      And the winner…he had so many slogan…

      Make america trump again…

      I ain’t her…

      But his winner was…

      “I like wrestling too…”

      (or something like that…)

      The winners insist they want to win

      Charlie sheen…


      Actually…now that it dawns on me…

      We just elected
      president charlie sheen

      I dont see nc “defending” el donald…

      it is just the dumbocrats & $hilleristas are confused…

      the election is over…

      the electoral votes are counted…

      Ms. adlai stevenson has lost for a second time

      Where was all this energy and bombasity these last 8 years when congressional republicans were discooperative ?

      10 hours or so until el donaldo…the big cheese (big cheeto) gets the football…which can not be used without the consent and cooperation of the Secretary of defense…

      Trump and his billionaire marauders are going to try to pick the bone clean and hopefully they will at least leave some marrow in that chicken bone so we might survive by breaking the edge and hoovering it up…

      Billionaires can always steal more…

      And so it begins…

    11. uncle tungsten

      Chris Hedges nails it:
      “The Democratic Party leadership cannot face, and certainly cannot publicly admit, that its callous betrayal of the working and middle class triggered a nationwide revolt that resulted in the election of Trump.

      It has been pounded since President Barack Obama took office, losing 68 seats in the House, 12 seats in the Senate and 10 governorships.

      It lost more than 1,000 elected positions between 2008 and 2012 nationwide.

      Since 2010, Republicans have replaced 900 Democratic state legislators.

      If this was a real party, the entire leadership would be sacked. But it is not a real party. It is the shell of a party propped up by corporate money and hyperventilating media.”

    1. RUKidding

      GAH. That’s just insane.

      It’s bad enough if these lands are SOLD, but at the very least, if they’re sold for their REAL value, at least we’d make some money from the transaction. Good gawd.

      I thought whomever it is that Trump picked for Secy of Interior said that no public lands would be sold or transferred. I hope I heard that correctly, and that’s what happens.

      Won’t hold my breath.

    2. hunkerdown

      The NIH does the same thing. So does the USPTO. Primitive accumulation is still primitive accumulation, no matter how much the drug companies pay the Democratic Party and their neolib hacks.

    1. Art Eclectic

      Thank you for that. I just registered for Los Angeles. These POS’s must be stopped. Republicans cannot be allowed to win their longstanding war on women.

      1. Quentin

        Now wouldn’t that have been absolutely sensibly revolutionary: People’s March! Instead the organizers chose to continue wandering in the identity politics wilderness of the appallingly failed Democratic Hillary Clinton campaign. As the Guardian online states today, the women’s demonstrations and protests will go the way of Occupy because they all encompass no route to power.

  23. Oguk

    Also from the RealClearPolitics story:

    The Minnesota congressman [Ellison] also said he would push Sanders to share his valuable database of supporters with the DNC, which the Vermont senator has not yet committed to do. “We are in an emergency situation,” he said.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  24. Victoria

    I noticed “norms” too. As always, unsourced–whose norms? where are they written? I’ve also noticed (when Trump’s foreign policy is discussed) the notion of the “Order” or the “World Order,” e.g. by David Brooks on PBS. Again, whose “Order” are we speaking of?

  25. Tony Wikrent

    Lincoln’s second Inaugural Address is probably the greatest, but after watching the Republicans’ obstructionism these past eight years, combined with having read quite a bit about the end of Reconstruction, and the return to power of the Southern oligarchy, I have concluded that “with malice toward none, with charity to all” was one of the most harmful mistakes committed in American political history.

    A few other similarly spectacular mistakes were the compromises with slaveholders, including at the Constitutional Convention, and Franklin Roosevelt’s refusal to fully investigate and prosecute the Business Plot.

    1. Tony Wikrent

      And, the most recent huge political mistake: Obama’s refusal to prosecute Wall Street and banking executives.

  26. Jon Cloke

    The similarities between the Dems in the US and New Labour in the UK continue to amaze me, as does the path of the two parties. Our Revolution, like Momentum, may be doing well at a constituency/local level, but the structures of the Democrats/Labour as a party have been carefully subjected to centralized control by the DNC/NEC.

    The local activist base can want what they like, but what used to be called the ‘Steve Israel’ problem, ensuring the worst and most venal candidates for State/national Houses and Senates, is a system still in the control of those people like Cory Booker, Pelosi, Schumer etc who do very well out of the system as is and who would rather keep control of the Dems in opposition than reform the system they profit from…

    Plus, as with Corbyn, all of your MSM (with Darth Scrotum Rupert Murdoch leading the charge) is now going to pile onto the Bernie, Our Revolution and the Dems and paint them as traitors and communists… you have been warned!

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