2:00PM Water Cooler 1/24/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“President Trump’s Executive Orders Formally Bury TPP’s Corpse, but What About TTIP, TISA, China BIT?” [Lori Wallach, Public Citizen]. “If President Trump intends to replace our failed trade policy, a first step must be to end negotiations now underway for more deals based on the damaging NAFTA/TPP model so its notable that today’s announcement did not end talks to establish the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement and the U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty – all of which would replicate and expand the TPP/NAFTA model Trump says he is ending.” Important!

And just as a reminder:

Hilarity ensues as all the Clintonites start backtracking from the anti-TPP positions they took in 2016.


Trump Transition

On “Russian hacking”: “Under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate clause, [members of Congress] have a complete legal shield to go to the House floor and disclose, in lurid detail, exactly how Putin and his minions tried to subvert our democratic process” [The Hill]. “It has worked before. It was the Speech and Debate clause that gave then-Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) the standing—and the duty—to read the Pentagon Papers into the record so the public would know that RAND analyst-turned-whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was telling a huge truth about the big lie that was the Vietnam War… Perhaps instead of boycotting Trump’s inauguration, House and Senate members with knowledge of the Russian attack should’ve been on the floors of their respective chambers informing the public of the facts as they know them. Back in the day, we called such things ‘Congressional oversight.'” As the headline says: “Put up or shut up.” Maybe John R. Lewis could do it?

“Andrew Puzder’s 16-Year Record of Discrimination Lawsuits” [Capital & Main]. “Today, 10 days before Andrew Puzder’s Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination for U.S. Secretary of Labor, Capital & Main releases the results of its investigations into the corporation he has led since 2000. Our stories show that CKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains, has been the target of an unusually high number of employee lawsuits, including complaints alleging racial and age discrimination, and sexual harassment. We present our findings in three stories” here, here, and here. Hoo boy. Actual reporting. What’s wrong with these people?

“Trump seeks to revive Dakota Access, Keystone XL oil pipelines” [WaPo]. Did I miss the WaPo editorial thanking the #NoDAPL effort for a job well done? Anyhow: “He also signed an executive order to expedite environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects, lamenting the existing ‘incredibly cumbersome, long, horrible permitting process.'” Which, if our landfill experience is any guide, is heavily weighted in favor of doing the project, no matter the impact. I would trade a more streamlined process for greatly relaxed standing requirements and much more testimony under oath, sooner. If business craves certainty, we can give it to them by turning down bad projects.

“Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens” [Guardian].

“President Trump is naming Ajit Pai chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai, who is a favorite of industry groups, opposed many of [Chairman Tom] Wheeler’s initiatives since first being appointed to the FCC in 2012. That includes staunch opposition to Wheeler’s net neutrality rules” [The Hill].

“14 Senate Democrats Fall in Line Behind Trump CIA Pick Who Left Door Open to Torture” [The Intercept]. But, you know, fascism, #resistance, yadda, yadda, yadda.

“Senate Democrats on Tuesday will propose spending $1 trillion on transportation and other infrastructure projects over 10 years in an attempt to engage President Donald Trump on an issue where they hope to find common ground” [Talking Points Memo]. But, you know, fascism, #resistance, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Women’s March

“Top Democrats Missed Women’s Marches to Attend Luxury Donor Retreat Thrown by Clinton Henchman [Slate]. Odd headline from Slate, not known for savaging the Democrat establishment…

“People are in the streets protesting Donald Trump. But when does protest actually work?” [Erica Chenoweth, WaPo]. (Long-time NC readers will remember this post on Chenoweth from 2012.) Worth a read: ” The average nonviolent campaign takes about three years to run its course (that’s more than three times as short as the average violent campaign, by the way). These things do not unfold overnight.” So, 2020….

“The Exhausting Work of Tallying America’s Largest Protest” [The Atlantic]. Chenoweth once more, and Jeremey Pressman of UConn. “The Women’s March has some of the hallmarks of the beginning of a successful movement, Chenoweth said. The ability to mobilize large numbers of people is often associated with the creation of an effective campaign. The fact that the march was inclusive and broad rather than tied to a specific policy goal helped draw big numbers, Chenoweth said, and the explicitly non-violent nature of the protests helped attract even more. The level of organization on display at events large to small bodes well for the social movement, as does the proportion of march participants who aren’t usually politically engaged.”

“One in 45 California residents attended Women’s March” [Sacramento Bee]. And Chenoweth once more…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Social Media-Powered Berniecrats Try to Move the Party Left” [Wired]. “Though the group has largely disappeared from the headlines, the Tea Party’s success in driving the GOP to power—and to the right—is manifest. The Justice Democrats, a hodgepodge of Sanders-campaign veterans and liberal media types, hope to have the same effect. Right now the group numbers just 12 people, but they claim the digital platform experience of The Young Turk Network (with a YouTube channel that has over 3 billion views), the Sanders campaign, and the popular streaming and YouTubing Secular Talk Radio. That digital-first approach might confer a few advantages…” Thinking back to Tahrir Square, no. The social media stuff came after the organizing. I’m a bit old-fashioned on this, and I’m a bit like Vince Lombardi in winning: “On-the-ground organizing isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index Flash, January 2017: “Production is also as strong as it’s been since March 2015 while growth in new orders is the best since November 2014. Purchasing activity is up, inventories are rising, employment is improving, and selling prices are showing traction. One note of caution is that order growth is centered in the domestic economy as export orders remain flat” [Econoday]. “The Philly Fed report at mid-month reads much like this report, both pointing to a significant pop higher for a factory sector that slogged through 2016.”

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, January 2017: “Manufacturing activity in the Fifth district expanded for the third consecutive month in January” [Econoday]. “But it was expectations that registered the strongest readings, as manufacturers were optimistic about their business prospects in the next six months, with the index for planned capital spending rising….” And: “For the third month, the regional Fed surveys seem to be saying uniformly that growth is expanding. The Richmond Fed subcategories were strong” [Econintersect]. Trump gets a tailwind if this continues into 2018.

Existing Home Sales, December 2016: “Lack of homes on the market is increasingly the salient feature of the housing sector, one that is holding down sales. Existing home sales fell 2.8 percent in December to a lower-than-expected 5.490 million annualized rate” [Econoday]. “Supply is the lowest it’s been since at least 1999 according to the National Association of Realtors… Yet the lack of supply isn’t making for new price increases as the median, at $232,000, is down 0.9 percent on the month for a year-on-year rate of only plus 4.0 percent. This is down from 6.5 percent in November and is now back to multi-year lows.” And: “Last month’s home sales were elevated by anticipation of higher mortgage interest rates – and this month’s sales reversed last months surge. Still it was a good year, but lack of inventory is going to continue to drive home prices higher and constrain real growth in this sector” [Econintersect]. And: “Two of the key reasons inventory is low: 1) A large number of single family home and condos were converted to rental units…. Many of these houses were purchased by investors, and rents have increased substantially, and the investors are not selling (even though prices have increased too). Most of these rental conversions were at the lower end, and that is limiting the supply for first time buyers. 2) Baby boomers are aging in place (people tend to downsize when they are 75 or 80, in another 10 to 20 years for the boomers). Instead we are seeing a surge in home improvement spending, and this is also limiting supply” [Calculated Risk].

Commodities: “Bullishness about the impact of Trump’s $500 billion infrastructure plans has cooled down considerably since then, but at $2.6430 per pound ($5,872 a tonne) in New York on Monday the bellwether metal [copper] is up by more than a third in value since hitting near-six year lows this time last year” [Mining.com].

Commodities: “Sources said the new Egypt gold concessions are being offered under production sharing contracts with Egypt’s government. An arrangement very common in the global oil and gas industry — but exceptionally rare in mining (one of the only other nations holding onto production sharing in mining, Myanmar, recently scrapped that requirement as part of its 2015 mining law overhaul)” [ETF Daily News].

Supply Chain: “E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. said it plans to build a highly automated warehouse in Texas that will become the 21st facility in its “Amazon Robotics fulfillment network,” a cluster of high-speed, high-density warehouses that can each hold 50 percent more inventory than a DC staffed by humans alone, the company said Wednesday” [DC Velocity].

Shipping: “The average freight rates earned by container shipping lines operating on Shanghai Containerised Freight Index routes in 2016 were 7%, or $42, lower versus 2015 as dismal market fundamentals continued to drag” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “Brace yourselves, 2016 might just be the beginning of the bloodbath for shipyards. For the first 10 months, only 96 yards managed to win new orders versus 246 throughout 2015 and 331 in 2014, according to Clarksons” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “British robotics startup Starship Technologies is using a $17.2 million venture capital injection to expand the U.S. trials of its self-driving parcel-delivery robots to new cities, the firm said Wednesday” [DC Velocity]. “Each robot, which has a maximum capacity of 20 pounds and a top speed of 4 mph, relies on suites of sensors to scoot along sidewalks and cross crosswalks. To date, Starship robots have covered over 16,000 miles during trials in 16 countries and 59 cities as the company continues to refine its technology, Martinson said.” On sidewalks? Are these people demented? And 16,000 miles is nothing.

The Bezzle: “As far as its contribution to the body of supply chain knowledge, I do not see much. Amazon obviously employs some very sharp minds, but some of its innovations seem to be solutions looking for a problem. Drones are certainly a part of our future, but I do not see delivering pizzas or shoes as their highest and best use. As for its latest innovation—a plan to use blimps as airborne warehouses equipped with drones to make speedy deliveries—the notion of a DC in the sky is pretty exciting stuff and has Star Trek fans salivating as they await Captain Kirk’s assumption of command. But a practical contribution to the supply chain field? I don’t think so” [DC Velocity]. Interesting comparison from a veteran analyst on innovation (really!) at Walmart vs. Amazon. Walmart wins.

Political Risk: “Trump’s First 100 Days: Key Economic Calendar Events to Follow” [Economic Calendar]. “Growth trends will be important and the first reading for US first-quarter GDP is scheduled to be released right at the end of the first 100 days on April 28th. This will be a very important data releases as it will provide insights into the first-quarter performance and shape Trump’s on-going policy agenda.”

Concentration: “”When There Isn’t Enough Churning of Big Corporations, the Economy Stagnates”: Q&A with Bernard Yeung” [ProMarket].

Fiscal Policy: “Federal deficits are expected to rise for the first time in nearly a decade, driving up the federal debt to almost unprecedented levels, according to an analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. While the federal deficit is projected to drop in 2017 and 2018, CBO projects it will rise to $601 billion in 2019 thanks to rising Social Security and Medicare costs” [The Hill (Re Silc)]. Gives whoever’s President in 2020 an economic tailwind…

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 50, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 23 at 1:11pm. Not only dull, but the cause of dullness in others.

The 420

“Here’s the science behind why weed relaxes us — or, at least, what we know so far” [Tech.Mic]. For example: “A Southern California legend for decades, the sometimes elusive King Louis XIII is indeed fit for a monarch. Its dominant notes are of a pine forest, and even at over 20% THC, reviewers say it provides balance between dreamy chill and basic functionality. Others describe a combination head rush and body high that causes any pent-up worries to simply melt away. But whatever your reason for smoking this strain, it’s certainly meant to be savored.” When is there going to be a Robert Parker of weed?

Health Care

“Executive actions Trump could take to change the ACA” [The Incidental Economist]. This is very long list, and if you are on Medicaid or in the individual insurance market, you should read it:


  • Allow work requirements, premiums, and more cost-sharing under 1115 waivers.
  • Allow states to limit how long beneficiaries can be continuously enrolled in the program under 1115 waivers.
  • Permit more states to use Medicaid dollars to subsidize private exchange coverage.

This post also shows the defects of the Clintonite’s vaunted incrementalism; small changes are just as easy to undo as to do. If Obama had rammed through Medicare for All in 2009, it wouild be much harder to undo than this stuff; Medicare Part B proves the same point.

“Coverage and Access for Americans With Chronic Disease Under the Affordable Care Act: A Quasi-Experimental Study” [Annals of Internal Medicine, January 24, 2017 (republished by PNHP)]. From the article:

Overall, after the ACA took effect, 14.9% of persons with chronic disease nationally continued to lack insurance, 22.8% had to forgo a physician visit, 18.1% did not have a personal physician, and 27.6% did not have a checkup. In addition, we found the persistent lack of coverage and access after ACA implementation was particularly great among racial minorities, despite the greater gains as a result of the ACA. Approximately one fifth of blacks had persistent post-ACA gaps, ranging from 17.5% lacking coverage to 26.8% forgoing a physician visit. Approximately one third of Hispanics had persistence post-ACA gaps, ranging from 29.7% lacking coverage to 32.9% forgoing a physician visit.

Wait, what? Minorities unfairly treated by a Democrat program?

Imperial Collapse Watch

“A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA” [Council on Foreign Relations]. “Joshua Kurlantzick, a Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow for Southeast Asia, mines extensive interviews and recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) records to give a definitive account of the secret war in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of Laos, which lasted from 1961 to 1973, and was the largest covert operation in U.S. history. The conflict forever changed the CIA from a relatively small spying agency into an organization with vast paramilitary powers.”

Guillotine Watch

“Hawaiians call Mark Zuckerberg ‘the face of neocolonialism’ over land lawsuits” [Guardian]. “Before westerners came to Hawaii, stewardship of the land, or ‘āina, was a collective responsibility, characterized by [a] familial relationship to the land… Privatization came in 1848 with the Māhele, which began the process of divvying up parcels between the king, the government and the people. The Kuleana Act of 1850 was intended to allow Native Hawaiians to claim title to lands they were cultivating, but ultimately less than 1% of Hawaii’s land area was granted to indigenous people.”

“Conflicts of interest in medicine: pervasive, worrisome, and detrimental to healthcare” [Health News Watch]. Must-read. This is just horrible stuff.

Class Warfare

“Why the U.S. Has a Monopoly on Jobless Recoveries” [Bloomberg]. “[T]he U.S. is different. When bad times hit, American companies try to replace people with machines, while foreign companies hire back workers. Why this difference exists is a mystery.”

“FORCING an End to DC Homelessness Through Housing-Wage Employment” [Eric Jonathan Sheptock, Google.docs]. “It’s also worth noting that a failure to comprehensively address the employment issues of people at CCNV, at other shelters or who are tenuously housed fits snuggly into the framework of gentrification — whether by intent or ignorance. Taken together, these considerations begin to paint a very bleak picture in terms of the culture that runs across multiple admins — a culture that includes but is not limited to aiding gentrification, failing to give answers to those who deserve them and targeting any person who points out these systemic flaws in an effort to discredit them or dissuade them from advocating effectively.” I’d be interested to hear from others knowledgeable in the field.

“Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money” [Quartz]. “But what often gets lost in these conversations is that the most common shared trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital—family money, an inheritance, or a pedigree and connections that allow for access to financial stability. While it seems that entrepreneurs tend to have an admirable penchant for risk, it’s usually that access to money which allows them to take risks.

And this is a key advantage: When basic needs are met, it’s easier to be creative; when you know you have a safety net, you are more willing to take risks.”

News of the Wired

“Case Studies” [Calling Bullshit (Re Silc)]. I have the feeling that the two professors running this site may shortly be overwhelmed….

“10 Times Mauhaus Cat Cafe Was the Cutest Thing on the Internet” [Riverfront Times]. Paging King Louis XIII…

* * *

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 (HR):

From atop a beaver dam in Vinalhaven, ME. Brrrr!

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


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. rich

    Ed Silverman reports in @statnews @pharmalot that @OIGatHHS is “carefully reviewing”@KEI_DC letter on #Spinraza.
    Should the federal government seize patents on a Biogen drug that starts at $750,000 a year?

    https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2017/01/24/biogen-spinraza-patents-ionis/ …

    the twitter link has excerpt from article, if you can’t access….how many forget where they received their seed $ when they come to market with pricing?hmmm

  2. oho

    >>When bad times hit, American companies try to replace people with machines, while foreign companies hire back workers. Why this difference exists is a mystery.”

    geometrically-growing health care costs probably have something to do w/it.

    “health” not used in that article

    1. Portia

      in my experience, American bosses do not like employees at all. at all. employees want raises, hell, they want to be paid. they want the bosses’ money, for heaven’s sake. they have much better uses for their money than to throw it down a hole into an employee’s paycheck.

      1. fred

        Robots don’t go on strike. Robots work at peak capacity 24/7.
        Bosses don’t have money, owners do.

        1. Portia

          bosses’ salaries are tied to worker productivity, if they are not business owners. bosses who are owners do have money, and are loathe to part with it. there are many many small businesses, and even managers and franchise owners get bonuses the workers will never see, earned off their backs, and by saving the company money by forcing workers to do the work of 3 employees and cutting pay simultaneously. that earns bosses a bonus. a machine could have made the comment you just made, fred, but I doubt it would have cared enough to make the effort.

          1. LT

            When enough of all types of robots can be made in a way where replacing them will be cheaper than providing health insurance or any kind of insurance….

            Game over.

            That is the reason for the focus on short term maximum profit for the few now. The people connected enough want to get all they can now.
            A prepper is a form of a horder.

        2. LT

          And neither bosses or owners have anything without customers or clients.
          You really don’t start a business with an idea, you start it with customers.

      2. Octopii

        Employees are seriously a pain in the rear. Even if they actually come to work regularly, they require careful followup to fix the stuff they didn’t do right. Maybe American companies would rather train the robot once and stop worrying.

        1. LT

          The only difference is they won’t see the robots mistakes. It reminds me of that plane crash not long ago.
          The pilots using autopilot did not think their computer could be wrong and did nothing in time (that they could have) to save themselves and everyone else in the plane

        2. LT

          They won’t see the computer error.
          Remember the plane crash not long ago?
          Pilots didn’t believe their autopilot and plane system couldn’t be wrong and they didn’t make adjustments in time.
          Everybody died.

          1. Octopii

            I assume you’re talking about Air France 447. It wasn’t really the computer’s fault — it had conflicting sensor data and the autopilot disengaged. One of the pilots panicked and wouldn’t release the stick that he was pulling back, causing the plane to stall all the way down to the ocean. Or maybe you mean Asiana at SFO, which would not have happened had the pilots been better trained at hand flying.

            In general I agree with you though: above a certain level of complexity, it’s impossible to error proof the automation.

    2. Sam Adams

      No mystery. China and the Europeans have historical memories. Unhappy Chinese and French peasants have a way of toppling and forcing the elites up a scaffold. Americans don’t have a historic memory.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In rural China, they recall fondly Mao’s barefoot doctors.

        From Wiki:

        Village doctors began charging patients for their services,[3] and because of the new economic incentives,[1] they began to shift their focus to treatment of chronic conditions rather than preventative care.[1]

    3. jgordon

      You may not know this, but if you hire an employee in America you suddenly have 8 vicious government bureaucrats peering over your shoulders and a gang of attack lawyers at the ready to haul you into court. Also the wages you would pay employees often only amount half of what they actually cost, due to various fees and taxes the government imposes on you for having that employee.

      Deny it if you will, but it’s for these reasons precisely that I would sooner cut off a finger than hire an employee for my business. Under the table, robots, software, contractors, outsourcing–anything is better than having to hire an employee in America. I’d explore any and all options before I was forced to shoot myself in the foot like that.

      1. PhilM

        +100. Starting from scratch? Pay cash. Pay contractors. Outsource to small proprietors.

        But hire a single employee and the company can be toast within a year. Just too much complexity, too much to know and do “under penalty of law,” civil and criminal.

        1. LT

          You sound like you are a craftsman or artisan. Those types of businesses work better as sole propietorships anyway…
          Then there’s the “family” businesses which are also a different animal.
          However, I bet a lot of your customers are dreaded “employees.”

      2. Oregoncharles

        A bit overstated, but the reason I gave up hiring people and took on a partner. I didn’t have to find, train, and supervise him, year after year. But that’s partly because I’m in landscaping, a very seasonal business. It’s also because I’m a good gardener but a not very good businessman.

        In fact, most landscaping companies do use employees,and make money at it. Granted, at least around here, most of said employees are recent immigrants. I tried that, too; good guy, but it would have worked better if I spoke Spanish. I did learn some; eg, the words for “shovel” and “stick” are separated only by gender.

        1. jgordon

          Sorry, but I don’t have the genetic predisposition to throw myself into a fire for the good of society. In fact, I would go so far as to say that any society that forces its productive members to destroy themselves is pretty close to imploding in any event, so patriotic and righteous self-sacrifice for the whole won’t even accomplish anything anyway.

    4. paul Tioxon

      Typical American Capitalist remark, based upon the most capitalist national mindset that money makes the world go round in the land whose business is business. America has had only one power elite, the wealthy. Whether plantation capitalist with agriculture as the basis of the commodity they sold for a profit, or the traders, bankers and manufacturers whose commodities made profits from profits, or fabricated goods or simply brokered deals. The relationship, the social ties that bind were non-existent, bound up by the market which reduced us all to labor inputs with a price.

      When we are let go, we may not come back to a job because in many cases, the job was eliminated by automation. After WWII, Detroit invested in new auto plants, outside of the city of Detroit and with labor saving machinery, not quite robots, which eliminated a lot of the brute strength jobs, like placing an engine inside of a car on the assembly line. Ford and GM especially invested heavily in productivity increasing capital investments, the cost which could not be matched by some of its rivals, such as Packard Motors, Studebaker and the eventually, America Motors. The NAACP and the UAW were painfully aware in their internally produced economic research papers of the harm automation by the management of auto makers wreaked upon workers. The sad story is outlined by Tom Sugrue in his ground breaking study of Detroit: THE ORIGINS OF THE URBAN CRISIS, 1996.

      In Philadelphia, General Electric was one of the largest private employers, which soon abandoned the city after WWII due to wage demands and strikes here and across the US. The story is repeated over and over where run away factories are built out in the suburbs and then down South and part of their design was modernized construction of enormous single level, sprawling factory floors and new labor saving equipment. Not necessarily robots, but heavy load moving motorized gantry cranes operated and guided by single person, when a team used to be required. These and other rationalized industrial designs increase productivity and reduced labor. All with the goal in mind of crushing unions and their rank and file.

      Europe on the other hand has other elites, the ones the capitalist fought to make a place for themselves in the world and eventually, a capitalist world that the church and aristocratic land owners find themselves enmeshed within. If you think 500,000 women in front of the White House is rattling some nerves, imagine a crowds of 150,000 almost every week gathering front of St Peter squares to see and hear the Pope. Protestant America, especially Joe Sixpack and Susie Soccer mom does not get the social ties and the conflicting political elites of Europe. Over there,they have Social Democrats and Christian Democrats who proudly wear their identities and keep a check on the more rapacious urges of the noveau riche. Noblesse Oblige, Catholic Encyclical pronouncements on social issues, these mean nothing to the heartless market of the USA. Just read the commentariat at Naked Capitalism, where everyone thinks they know everything simply by following the money. If only it were so simple!


      ROME — Pope Francis remains a powerful magnet for humanity, drawing almost 6 million people to events in Rome during the course of 2014, according to figures released Monday by the Vatican. The numbers represent a small dip from 2013, when Vatican statistics showed that 6.6 million people attended events

  3. Portia

    I almost died laughing when I heard My Kellyanne ™ use the new (to me) term “alternative facts”.

    Hours later, Trump then ordered his new press secretary, Sean Spicer, to hold an emergency press briefing to claim, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” Then, on Sunday, Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway, defended Spicer’s demonstrably false statement by saying he “gave alternative facts.

    Democracy now at about 30:00 https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/24/outright_lies_constant_tweets_alternative_facts

    so, could this become a new legal argument? the plaintiff and defendant, occupying parallel universes, offer “alternative facts” to bolster their respective cases, and the Judge/Jury decide which facts they like better? Like a Reality Show, like The Apprentice?

      1. Jim Haygood

        When you do Heisenberg’s experiment with a cat [dead/not dead], it’s “alternative fates.” ;-)

        1. rd

          Its actually become the Spicer Certainty Principle, where the desired outcome is fixed and known in advance regardless of data value or observational method. It also means that Schroedinger’s Cat is defined to be whatever Trump says it is, alive or dead.

          The FDA will be immediately instituting these new principles into new drug studies where the pharma companies are permitted to state their results prior to conducting the experiments. It will greatly expedite technological breakthroughs in medicine resulting in huge cost savings. This approach will be further expanded into the 25% of federal regulations remaining at the end of 2017.

          1. jsn

            Well, Heisenberg, from his superposition was uncertain about the cats weight in relationship to its speed, being able to measure the one property or the other but not both.

            Schrodinger, being more grounded, knew, once he opened his box, that his cat was dead or alive, he just couldn’t tell until he looked.

            Trumps superposition is whatever he says it is until a more effective power proves otherwise.

            1. Jake Mudrosti

              Well, Heisenberg, from his superposition was uncertain about the cats weight in relationship to its speed, being able to measure the one property or the other but not both.

              The level of wrongness in this comment is over 9000. That’s not even remotely close to what the uncertainty principle means, or what Heisenberg ever said.

              This sort of thing undermines any comment about a Trump administration’s general shaky grasp of facts. It’s easy to laugh at Trump, but apparently hard to check source material. “Help me,” I believe, is the phrase that fits the NC house style.

      2. Adam Eran

        So… Dr. Heisenberg is driving home one day when a cop stops him. “Hey buddy, did you know you were going 90 mile per hour back there?” says the cop.

        “Great!” says Heisenberg. “Now I’m lost!”

        1. craazyboy

          The cop continues, “No you’re not. I caught you. You are right here!”

          Dr. H. responds, “Then you can not possibly know my speed!”


            1. polecat

              But the cop couldn’t catch the good doctor, because, due to the time-shift, he had yet to appear !

    1. hunkerdown

      so, could this become a new legal argument? the plaintiff and defendant, occupying parallel universes, offer “alternative facts” to bolster their respective cases, and the Judge/Jury decide which facts they like better? Like a Reality Show, like The Apprentice?

      It worked for party politics and common law court for as long as it has. Even still, “not intended to be a factual statement” is a tough act to follow, but “alternative facts” makes a solid try at it.

    2. clarky90

      Einstein built a good career and reputation using “alternative facts”. Are you listening, high and mighty MSM, “Fearless Guardians of the Real (Party Line) Truth”?

    3. clinical wasteman

      Or not so new? Sounds like a regular criminal court hearing to me, except that:
      1. there’s apparently a jury involved. What happened to good new-fashioned coercive plea-“bargaining”?
      2. the “parallel universes” thing would only make sense if the cops hadn’t already impounded all the alternatives, usually including the truth.

      As for Schroedinger/Heisenberg, knowbuddhau is right about the captor of the cat, but if you do Heisenberg’s experiment with a bomb, you get no-alternative realities, and — unless you do it to other people far away — you don’t get to live in the one you’re left with for long. A Certainty Principle? Or at least a parallel universe where TINA is true for once?

      Heisenberg headed research at the Nazis’ Ordnance Office and the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft right up to the end of the war, after which his useful knowledge of Certainty soon got him reinstated at the renamed Max-Planck Gesellschaft in Operation Paperclip-era “West Germany”. Whereas — at least according to Leonardo Sciascia* — Heisenberg’s Italian colleague Ettore Majorana saw the coming Certainty and decided to “disappear” in March 1938, depriving the world of FIAT-branded nukes. Majorana vanished so mysteriously that Italian historians still argue about whether he drowned himself in the Bay of Naples or fled to Argentina, where Italian Carabinieri last went looking for him in 2013. Which is to say, he is (or was) Schroedinger’s cat.

      *I never thought to check before, but Sciascia’s wonderful ‘La scomparsa di Majorana’ — almost as great as ‘The Council of Egypt’ — seems not to have been translated into English. Watch this space, but rectifying that will take a couple of years if it can be done at all. In the meantime, a few English-language reviews/commentaries show up on the first couple of pages of a DDG search.

      1. David

        clinical wasteman,

        There is an English translation by Sacha Rabinovitch of Sciascia’s piece on Majorana. Published in Britain in 1987 by Carcanet: The Moro Affair and the Mystery of Majorana. The bulk of the volume is the minority report that Sciascia, then a member of parliament, filed to register disagreement with parliament’s official findings on the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro. I came across it by chance in a used-book shop that closed years ago.


        1. clinical wasteman

          Thanks David for taking the trouble to point this out. Good to know this edition exists and was entrusted to a good translator. Not surprised that a small publisher like Carcanet — which also produced one of my very favourite books, Edwin Morgan’s Collected Translations (includes Mayakovsky rendered into Glasgow Scots) — was behind it. (And I’m only slightly disappointed that it’s too late after all to propose it to Carcanet or maybe Seagull.) Perhaps I couldn’t find any reference to it because the combined volume is generally listed under the title of the Moro book, which has also been published separately both in Italian and in English translation. Anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend both books to all NC readers interested in the occluded 20th century and/or a form of writing that’s literary, historical and polemical all at once but antithetical to the sort of Fake Theory that Outis skewered here a while back.

  4. Marbles

    ” when you know you have a safety net, you are more willing to take risks.”

    Isn’t the criticism of the Nordic/European social welfare states that they are not economically dynamic. Very few people take chances, right?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Answer: Norway is not going anywhere.

      What is the question?

      The question is, can Norway ever leave any organization? If the UK can vote for Brexit, can Norway do a Noexit?

    1. mk

      excerpt from above link, Bernie said the first thing repubs will do is change the rules to stay in power:
      But few noticed a sentence that did make it into the package of House rules changes passed Tuesday, making it more difficult to access documents having to do with the operations of a lawmaker’s office.

      “Records created, generated, or received by the congressional office of a Member … are exclusively the personal property of the individual Member [emphasis added]… and such Member … has control over such records.”

      Who cares whether a congressional office’s budget documents, maintained at taxpayer expense, belong to each individual member, rather than Congress as a body?

      Maybe the Justice Department, for one. In investigating allegations of public corruption or misuse of funds, criminal investigators frequently need to subpoena such records.

      Usually, the Fifth Amendment and that bit about self-incrimination does not apply to documents per se, according to Mike Stern, former senior counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 to 2004. But there is something called an “act of production” privilege, meaning that just producing the document would be incriminating in itself.

      That privilege doesn’t apply to government agencies or corporations. But if a lawmaker is being investigated for misuse of taxpayer funds and law enforcement authorities subpoena her spending records, under this rule, she can assert the privilege to withhold them; they belong to her, not to Congress.

  5. Portia

    I read the “conflicts of interest in medicine” article and then remembered that doctors and the AMA lobby against single payer, or universal health care, or Bernie’s baby, whatever you call it, and wondered if the COI is related to doctor opposition, so I did a search. a quote from one link: “Aside from the academic types who are insulated from the economics of medicine, large numbers of practicing doctors don’t favor single payer…. Those who oppose it know that doctors in the UK and Canada don’t have the same autonomy and salary. ” it’s always about the money. the paradigm of American medicine is profit for everyone involved except the patient (which for the patient would be wellness care and timely intervention in disease with good outcome).


    1. Carolinian

      it’s always about the money

      Like, duh. We the consumers know this but the medical industrial complex has “alternate facts” to prove it isn’t true. Lot of that going around.

    2. hreik

      As a physician, I can tell you that NOT ONE other MD i know does not support and want Single payer. Most doctors do NOT belong to the AMA.

        1. HopeLB

          Doctors,at least GP’s who make a bit less than registered plumbers,( not to knock plumbers, plumping is a dirty job and they desreve it) might actually make more money once the fat of HMO administration/billing/marketing is cut. One of the Doctors who wrote the ACA now believes singlepayer is the only wat to go;


      1. HotFlash

        A country physician’s daughter told me that her father was delighted when OMSIP (as it was then called) came in here in Ontario (Canada) in 1966. “We’ll get *paid*!”

    3. Waldenpond

      It’s hard to feel sorry for the docs…. they railed against single payer for the resulting loss of income and prestige and now they are completely under an insurance industry and tech society that hoover off a big hunk of their income and replace a good chunk of their staff with tech. Docs must have a growing sense of vulnerability as staff functions are eliminated, replaced and done remotely.

      1. JTMcPhee

        As noted above, most docs favor single payer, Hate UNsurance corps and their minions, and DO NOT BELONG TO THE AMA. Speaking of alternative facts. I worked for three very good docs who so far have been able to keep and protect their own practice, but all the little parasites are busily wearing them down any they may just become that least of all the breed (speaking generally), “hospitalists.”

        1. PhilM

          The system in the US does not permit “patient first,” whatever the doctor may prefer. Priorities are clear. It’s the government first, then the guild (other doctors), then the insurance companies, then the malpractice litigators, then the disease (which is interesting in and of itself to the scientific mind), then the standard of care proposed by the consensus panel composed of techno-medical cash-extraction business-maximizing disease farmers; then any research protocols, then the economics of therapy relative to the patient’s bank account, and then finally the patient. In other words, the patient Does. Not. Count. At. All.

          Even though a doctor may never join the AMA, it still sends him envelopes stamped “Dues Invoice Enclosed.” When an envelope like that goes into an office environment, the staff just pays it, not knowing the difference. Imagine the AMA doing such an underhanded thing! It’s practically fraud. LOL. Who are they “serving” again?

          The AMA is a black-hearted soulless incorporated Stage IV malignancy, an organization that should be hacked out of the collective professional body of medicine and put in a jar of formaldehyde at the local fair, so people can point and whisper. The CMA, the Canadian Medical Association, is as utterly different from that as their system is from ours. They think of themselves as curators of a precious resource: the collective provision of health to the nation, within the limits of the available resources, with realistic appraisals of what necessarily happens because those resources are, inevitably, limited.

          You still meet doctors who are kind of superhuman. I recently met one who went to Harvard, played football there, seems to have all the time in the world, stays fit, loves his family, talks slowly and clearly to his 88-year-old patients, and does his own refractions, just to make sure the tech did it right. And takes all his own call, every day and every weekend. But that guy must be hiding his halo somewhere, or there’s a really good portrait of him in the attic.

    4. Bob

      You have said this before and you are wrong about the majority of doctors being against single payer. Altho the AMA is against it, only 25% of doctors belong to the AMA. I haven’t belonged for over two decades.
      From Single Payer Action:
      “With a shrinking base of doctors (only 25 percent of doctors nationwide belong) – the AMA is the most conservative of the doctors’ organizations. I just returned from a health care policy forum at the Center for American Progress. As usual, not one of the panelists mentioned single payer. Only during the question period did a self-identified patient/citizen ask the single payer question. And a pit bull-like Nancy Nielsen, president of the AMA, ripped into the questioner. “Sounds more like a statement than a question,” Nielsen said. “And clearly you have a point of view about that. And I don’t happen to share that point of view.” Clearly she doesn’t. But just as clearly, the majority of doctors, probably even a majority of doctors who belong to the AMA, support single payer. Nielsen is in denial and must be defeated.”
      Besides, the AMA is only one of ten organizations fighting single payer. Note AARP, AHIP (private health insurance plans), PHRMA (pharmaceutical corporations), and several other notable groups.

      1. aab

        Is there some way to get doctors linked up with National Nurses as an affiliated group? They seem to be on fire in terms of political activism.

        I think getting more visibility on the reality of how most doctors (not surgeons who own medical testing and/or device companies) are in favor of single payer could help in an outsized way. Older people still revere their doctors, in my experience. The young are already radicalized.

    5. PhilM

      Most generalists would be greatly empowered by single payer. Many OB doctors would happily go to single payer, as long as it was conjoined with the other Canadian wonder-drug, collective liability reform with no malpractice lawsuit ever settled. (They almost all go to court.)

      Malpractice insurance–indeed, almost all insurance–is vastly more expensive because it includes coverage for claims that involve inflated health care costs. It’s not just high-paid specialist doctors opposing single payer: it is the entire vampiric apparatus of office management consultants, practice enhancement journals, billing and documentation consultants, and not least, the ambulance-chasing lawyers, in bed with the liability insurance companies they are suing–who would all be out of business in a minute, with a single-payer system.

      The doctor–who is trying to help, most of the time, which is kind of pathetic and laughable, given their actual outcomes–is probably not the first guy who should be blamed in this fetid stew of corruption.

      1. Portia

        my comment is related to the COI article cited in the links section–questions on how COI affects doctors resistance to single payer. not “first guy” blaming. what’s pathetic and laughable is how my comments get morphed into different shapes as the thread continues. alternative perception at work.

        1. Carolinian

          Sounds like commentariat not up to your high standards. FYI people pushing their own particular take is how this tends to work.

          1. Portia

            yes, making an observation on comment drift–I am really relating this to lack of careful reading when you are going to answer a comment. I would not have said anything if this had been an original comment.

  6. broadsteve

    ‘… we call them game changers and game winners. This is deeply rooted in the Swedish mentality.

    This mindset wasn’t built in the ‘90s: it is an offshoot of the reigning axiom of Swedish culture, known as Jantelagen, or the law of Jante, a set of rules laid out in a 1933 novel that prioritise the collective over the individual and promote humility over hierarchy.

    In a classic example of Jantelagen, Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea and one of the wealthiest people in the world, famously drove his 1993 Volvo until it was no longer roadworthy.

    These ideals are also the driving force behind public policies that permit a high quality of life and allow entrepreneurship to thrive. Sweden has among the highest female and maternal employment rates in the EU because of generous paternity leave laws, equality incentives and readily-available available affordable childcare.


    1. Alex

      I live in Stockholm and the article gets a lot things right in regard to the startup scene – but being in the business section, it’s definitely blind to the neoliberal virus which has also made its way here. There is still plenty of Silicon Valley style hype, which combined with a distinct Scandinavian naïveté results in some interesting investing scandals. The regulators however seem to be a bit more willing to prosecute issues like accounting fraud than the SEC. Stockholm also has a huge problem with housing – a lack of supply combined with super low interest rates has resulted in some insane prices – more than 1000 USD per square foot in the city. If the central bank raises rates, a lot of startup workers will likely not be able to afford their mortgages, as the rental market is dysfunctional due to a rental queue that hasn’t adapted to the demands placed on it.

    2. HopeLB

      Thanks! Sounds like Christianity in action, collectivism and humility, except for the part about not valuing hierarchy. Jesus didn’t but theCatholic Church seems to.

  7. djrichard

    Perhaps instead of boycotting Trump’s inauguration, House and Senate members with knowledge of the Russian attack should’ve been on the floors of their respective chambers informing the public of the facts as they know them.

    Instead of the above, I think the TV series Braindead did a perfect skewering of how the record of the “facts as we know them” are read into the public record. Here’s the link to the full episode: https://www.animmex.site/video/22652/braindead-s01e08-the-path-to-war-part-one-the-gathering-political-storm

    Or if you don’t want to watch the video, I pulled this from the script:

    Scene (32:40 mark): closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee

    Sen Vaynerchuk (chair): Senators Healy, Pollack and Wheatus, we need you to stay here for a second.
    CIA Agent Tellefsen: I have been given permission by my director in the foreign bureau to brief you on a few matters regarding Syria. This is class four confidential, so you can’t take notes and you cannot repeat what is said here to anyone. Before I continue, I need to know that you understand.
    Sen Healy: I understand.
    Sen Pollack: I understand.
    Sen Vaynerchuk: I understand.
    Sen Wheatus: I understand.
    CIA Agent Tellefsen: There is no chemical program in Syria. There is no attempt to bring bioterrorism to the United States. The witnesses you interviewed today and yesterday were frauds. We can’t say any more without revealing ongoing investigations, so this is only for this room. But there is no reason, and I mean none, for suspecting Syria of state-sponsored terrorism. Do you understand?
    Sen Healy: I do, yes.
    Sen Pollack: I do.
    Sen Vaynerchuk: I do. Senator?
    Sen Wheatus: Oh, yeah. I get it. All’s good here. Good.

    Later scene (38:40 mark) – Sen Wheatus being interviewed about said closed door session

    News interviewer Misty: Thank you, Senator. We just have a few quick questions.
    Sen Wheatus: Misty, this is a very troubling time, but, uh, I always have time for you.
    Misty: Now, you were briefed by the CIA today, weren’t you?
    Sen Wheatus: I can’t speak to any specifics. Everything’s confidential, so …
    Misty: Of course. We understand that, Senator, and we won’t press you on it, but can you tell us what the CIA said?
    Sen Wheatus: Unfortunately, no, uh but I can say this. This this briefing today it stunned me. In all my 20 years as a senator, I’ve never been so shocked as by what I heard today.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Seems like just yesterday we was talking about the S&P’s tight 2 percent trading range of the past six weeks.

    No mo’ … today the Nasdaq Composite, Nasdaq 100, and S&P 500 all set record highs. As they say on Planet Japan, BLAKEOUT!

    Now the vocal bears will have to buy, or else endure a painful wedgie administered by Ms Market. A market that’s hitting new highs every day is telling you something. So is a Fear & Greed Index that’s way out of sync with events.

      1. craazyboy

        Maybe like endlessly staring at a pot of boiling water on the stove and typing about in real time. The effects on one’s perceptions are awesome.

  9. fresno dan

    “Here’s the science behind why weed relaxes us — or, at least, what we know so far” [Tech.Mic]. For example: “A Southern California legend for decades, the sometimes elusive King Louis XIII is indeed fit for a monarch. Its dominant notes are of a pine forest, and even at over 20% THC, reviewers say it provides balance between dreamy chill and basic functionality. Others describe a combination head rush and body high that causes any pent-up worries to simply melt away. But whatever your reason for smoking this strain, it’s certainly meant to be savored.” When is there going to be a Robert Parker of weed?
    “When is there going to be a Robert Parker of weed?”
    I volunteer…..merely as a public service.

    1. Waldenpond

      So I looked up Robert Parker… the wine critic? The wine experience without the hangover sounds nice. Robert Parker the crime writer? The serial killer experience not so much.

      1. jo6pac

        Robert parker and his type ruined the wine world with the idea wines needed to be big and bowled. Wine went from a mild 13.5% soon become 15.5 to 17.5 ruining the wine and food experience.

        1. aab

          Hasn’t the Parkerization of wine criticism also led to demonstrating that the price you pay for the wine significantly effects your perception of its flavor?

        2. PhilM

          I remember when a Chianti was a pleasant bottle to have with your dinner. Now it’s just a wannabe. You can still get good Chianti if you buy the really cheap stuff.

    2. ambrit

      You never had a subscription to “High Times?” Oh, My, Dog!
      Well, you don’t read about the DEA kicking in the door of a wine tasting party like you do the same happening to a bud cutting festival.
      If there ever is a Robert Parker of Weed, he or she will have to operate from some more civilized locale than America.

        1. Jim Haygood

          A dispensary with topless [dis]staff?

          I was afraid that a “race to the bottom” would produce this sad result. :-(

  10. Waldenpond

    [“Why the U.S. Has a Monopoly on Jobless Recoveries” [Bloomberg]. “[T]he U.S. is different. When bad times hit, American companies try to replace people with machines, while foreign companies hire back workers. Why this difference exists is a mystery.”]

    hmmm, I remember reading about corporations that outsourced simply because they had contempt for US workers. For some, any profit to be gained by lower wages was eaten up by inefficiencies in the resource/distribution/transportation chain.

    It is the long view…… the profit is to be made returning to a market with an immiserated population that will accept a less than extremely impoverished standard of living.

    1. LT

      “The profit is to be made returning to an immiserated population…”

      But we’re talking about predatory globalists
      The want a One World that is immiserated.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      “Why the U.S. Has a Monopoly on Jobless Recoveries” [Bloomberg]. “[T]he U.S. is different. When bad times hit, American companies try to replace people with machines, while foreign companies hire back workers. Why this difference exists is a mystery.”

      This is a ridiculous claim, at least as regards the past. Robots are not ubiquitous in US manufacturing and mfg is less than 10% of employment. When was the last time you saw a robot at a fast food joint or in health care or education or … Or does he mean computers? How many people have computers displaced in any of the main sectors of US employment? Hardly any. And the further back in time you go, the more ridiculous the claim.

      1. Octopii

        Dunno about you but I see human replacement robots a lot, and not in factories. The self-checkout machine at the grocery store. The self-checkin kiosk at the airport. The ubiquitious phone trees to navigate. Highway tolling with EZ-Pass. Bank ATMs. And on and on.

      2. LT

        The only difference is they won’t see the robots mistakes. It reminds me of that plane crash not long ago.
        The pilots using autopilot did not think their computer could be wrong and did nothing in time (that they could have) to save themselves and everyone else in the plane

  11. Jess

    Any links to Dem politicos backtracking from their anti-TPP stance. Would love to read and rate their linguistic gymnastics.

  12. Jess

    Regarding the issue of illegal, non-citizen immigrants voting, here in CA that may not be a total fabrication. The reason being, since Jan1, 2015, all you need to obtain a Driver’s License is a birth certificate (to prove age), some proof of CA residency (utility bill, even a student ID or library card), and being able to pass the written and driving proficiency test. Because of “motor voter”, at the same time you get your license you can register to vote. There is no requirement to prove citizenship. (This is also why the TSA keeps threatening to stop accepting driver’s licenses from CA and several other states for airline travel ID.)

    A high school classmate of mine runs a very successful machine tool products distribution company with about 135 employees. He claims that illegals among his employees have admitted registering to vote, and actually voting. (I know, he hires illegals in his warehouse, but claims that he simply has to compete price-wise with competitors who do the same.) I would love to see Greg Palast given the funding to hire researchers and do a deep dive into this. I suspect the problem may be real, and may occur in other states as well, but I would like to know if this is a real mountain or just a fluffed-up molehill.

    1. RUKidding

      Some good points, and it’s possibly true that some “illegals” are voting, er, illegally. That said, I do not accept that all nearly 3 million Clinton voters were undocumented and not supposed to vote.

      It would be helpful to investigate, but I’m not sure how accurate the investigation could be.

          1. HopeLB

            Why doesn’t everyone here want a complete analysis of our votes, particularly on hackable by Russians even?) Diebolds? The “movement” should make securing the vote with Lambert’s paper ballots/ publically counted, one of its first priorities. The MSM would love the extra long “Returns are still coming in” election coverage.

            1. That Guy

              I’d love a complete vote analysis. Voter disenfranchisement in the south? Let’s bring it out into the light. Detroit voting irregularities? Let’s toss it out there for everyone to see. Illegals voting? Ohh, that’s going to make for a fun scene. Let’s just get it all out, get all the various corruptions into the light of day, because otherwise it’ll never get cleaned up. The best arguments against doing so are, what, time, cost, and the percieved loss of faith in the voting process? The last one of those, at least, has probably never been weaker anyway. Now’s as good a time as any.

              1. TheCatSaid

                Our elections have been a joke for decades. The situation is splintered (because they’re administered locally, with different rules and different equipment and different processes and different ways of cheating in each locale).

                Few people realize just how totally f****d US elections are, because it’s time consuming to learn about what is going on. Everybody tends to cover up because for some stupid reason we’re supposed to “have confidence” in our fake elections. Also both main political parties are hard at it so no one wants anyone to look too closely.

                Then we have to listen for years to political analysts discuss why people “voted” a certain way–even after multiple people have proven the elections were stolen! (Ohio 2004 is just one example.)

    2. Waldenpond

      I’m in CA. I thought CA was looking at opening state elections for all? Why would they spend money to enforce federal elections? If the feds are concerned, they can pay for it.

    3. clinical wasteman

      A molehole, even if it happened to be perfectly true. In the US, UK, Europe or any of the other border-retentive states that prefer to gorge on cheap foreign labor done elsewhere, a scam like that would reset the overall balance of illegal political interference by “unqualified foreigners” from about 999.5-0.5 on “developed” gourmand states’ side to, dunno, maybe 998-2?
      But where would it end? What if foreign books or websites were allowed to influence voting? I promise to turn myself in tomorrow for reading the passportless B.Traven and the notorious Americans of Midnight Notes and Naked Capitalism before voting to tolerate even the EU rather than wait to see whether I and all my non-natural-born, non-elite, long-term Londoner/Glaswegian/Liverpudlian friends will be downgraded only to Gastarbeiter status or all the way to fugitive/detainee.
      See that same referendum, by the way, for an example of legal immigrants denied their lawful right to vote when it most concerns them. The UK has two types of franchise. One is strictly for parliamentary elections: UK and qualified Commonwealth citizens only. (“Qualified” effectively means “white” or “rich”, since the qualification is based on ancestry or “skill” = income.) So there’s no pretense even here that it’s only the business of natural-born/naturalized citizens. The other, for all other voting (municipal, supramunicipal & EU elections, plus other referenda, as seen in Scotland) includes those two groups, many UK nationals living elsewhere, and EU nationals of five years’ residence. But the government decided to exclude this latter group — i.e. the electorally registered section of the population most directly affected (and bear in mind the ‘five years’ part: these are people whose only home is here, not the seasonal fruit pickers of tabloid fame) — in a breathtaking and barely remarked executive decision.
      A begged question — i.e. one that presupposes the desired answer — is insulting to the collective intelligence and highly dubious in law. For example: dear group x, who, from now, on will qualify as the “demos” in “democracy”, groups x and y or just group x? There are obvious historical precedents for that sort of “democratic mandate” in South Africa, Australia, the US (and still today in Israel/Palestine and Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, which made large minorities stateless overnight on independence), but they’re not often accepted so meekly.
      If you accept that, why not a property qualification for voting too? The reasoning up to the 19th/20th centuries in plenty of places was that a financial “stake in the country” was the only real, respectable sort of stake. My first choice would still be a reverse property qualification (i.e. those who own a certain amount of stuff don’t need to vote, they’re powerful enough already), but even the traditional sort would throw up some interesting results, given the worldwide breakdown of asset ownership in, say, the UK or US. How many votes for the Norwegian Central Bank SWF, Carlos Slim, Bank of China or Qatar Investment Authority?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > who, from now, on will qualify as the “demos” in “democracy”, groups x and y or just group x?

        Well, not the deplorables, for sure. They’re irredeemable….

        1. clinical wasteman

          Yes, that’s been set in stone for a while here too. The list of of epithets used here that are equivalent to “deplorables” is too long and depressing to remember in full (ASBOs, NEETs, Hard To Reach, Problem Families, etc etc etc), and the outrageous slander that these people — rather than a great many of the Homeowners, Taxpayers and Hardworking Families of “leafy” [x]shire — are the racists is repeated endlessly. That’s why I suspect that the only hope lies in the sort of ordinary, unsentimentalized solidarity and human sympathy between settled and itinerant (or “national” and “foreign”) “deplorables” that already exists wherever the two groups live together in large numbers.

  13. curlydan

    According to eHealth who claim they’re “largest private online health insurance exchange”, non-subsidized premiums from the first two months of 2017 exchange enrollment look like this…

    •Average family premium: $1,021 per month for a family not receiving subsidies in the first two months of the 2017 open enrollment period [vs $883 in prev year]
    •In 2013, the year before major Obamacare provisions came into effect, the average family’s premium was $426 per month

    •Average individual premium: $393 per month for an individual not receiving subsidies in the first two months of the 2017 open enrollment period [vs $321 prev year]
    •In 2013, the year before major Obamacare provisions came into effect, the average individual premium was $197 per month

    And they show deductibles, too (you know, what ACA lovers never want to discuss).

    Avg 2017 deductibles for families: $8,352
    Avg 2017 deductibles for individuals: $4,328

    Now that’s sick :(


    1. LT

      And if you become unemployed and have any savings at all, I expect that is all to go to the blood sucking health insurance scam.
      That’s what I think every time I hear “health savings account”.
      Savings are meager (especially with the inflation around actual health care prices and housing) if they exist at all.
      So this is a form of rent extraction for a group of people that want to live comfy after the robots come that won’t need health insurance.

      I saw an article in the Guardian with some dim wit pondering if robots should have “human” rights…they know the bots will ne target practice for many without jobs, but atill have a gun.

  14. Pespi

    My friends in the shipbreaking yards are salivating. They could not be happier. When the junkman is happy, you know times are bad

  15. LT

    Anybody else notice the $1 trillion infrasctructure spending (over 10 years) is coming at the time when some of the biggest investments are (see articles above) even more automated delivery systems and warehouses?
    Notice the investment flows to the companies removing workers from the equation.
    It can’t happen soon enough for them.

    1. aletheia33

      FDR’s first programs were notoriously corrupt, handing out $$ right and left to the players who were in a position to work the game.
      what stopped this was public outrage.
      better regulated programs were then established.

      if only all of us realized how scared TPTB are
      of us taking back from them what they have taken from us.
      they know better than we do the power we hold.

      1. LT

        There was public outrage then that was believed. People’s outrage was believed.
        They will deny outrage until it reaches the point most are scared to go to these days.
        Alot of of bumpin and knockin heads happened. That is where the denial is on the part of the current resistance.
        So we have have an elite that will essentially deny the outrage until it manifests itself in an undeniable form.

      2. LT

        For instance, yesterday’s march didn’t “hit ’em where it hurt.”
        And that’s the pocketbook. Now alliances may have been made, but until those alliances can “hit em where they hurt,”….a non-starter.

        1. alex morfesis

          “A special place in hell” & all that…certainly american women…the most powerful economic force on the globe…if they chose…could enact societal changes in a country…

          want to force change in china…no new shoes for 2 month…

          Naganahapyn…but it is nice to dream

          1. LT

            No…no new shoes for a year or more. 2 months isn’t even a full quarter.

            Then see if the new global “middle class” (at $2 a month can pick up the slack).

          2. LT

            No…no new shoes for a year or more. 2 months isn’t even a full quarter.

            Then see if the new global “middle class” (at $2 an hour can pick up the slack).

          3. LT

            But Alex…your shoe strike has “legs”.
            Liking the idea, but it will need to tied to a specific demand.

          4. LT

            But Alex…your shoe strike has “legs”.
            Liking the idea, but it will need to tied to a specific demand.

        2. PhilM

          Oh for goodness’ sake, all it takes to “hit ’em where it hurts” is a strike. But ohhh, noooo, can’t have one of those in America. The single solitary tool that workers can use to affect government-corporate policy, and it was broken in this country at least eighty years ago.

          Europeans strike when their toilet paper tears in the wrong place. What a bunch of brainwashed drones the Americans truly have become.

          1. LT

            In addition to strikes…all those flimsy, “cheap” clothes that fall off your body that come frome the kind of trade they support….wear them to work as they are coming apart. Don’t replace those either.

            1. aab

              That won’t work. You’ll just be fired, in favor of someone who bought their shoddy clothing more recently. One of the many benefits to the corporations when long term unemployment is extremely high and there’s no real safety net left.

              We need General Strikes. Lots of them. In cities where they will really inconvenience the parasitic class.

  16. LT

    Now note the Medicaid “reforms”.
    Folks, that’s called thinning the herd because there will be no job creation to match an increasing population. And this a belief system of if you don’t “work”, especially in the system designed by imperialism and colonialism, then you do not matter.

    So you can reform qnd change systems all you want, but there has to be an alternati e system or alternative systems somewhere with a different set of values.
    The estahblisment of politicos and the corporate cosmology (all the corpo world promotes) have power only as long as you value the same things that they do.

  17. Edward

    I don’t know if this article has appeared on NC, but Pepe Escobar reports that the China Investment Corporation has proposed financing Trump’s infrastructure initiative. NC has noted problems with financing this plan, but according to Escobar:


    China Investment Corporation (CIC) chairman Ding Xuedong, referring to Trump’s much-vaunted US$1 trillion infrastructure building plan, said that created fabulous investment opportunities for China and his US$800 billion sovereign fund.

    According to Ding, Washington will need at least an astonishing US$8 trillion to fund the infrastructure spectacular. Federal government and US private investors are not enough: “They have to rely on foreign investors.” And CIC is ready for it – focusing already on “alternative investments in the US”.

    Assuming the Trump administration welcomes CIC, and that’s a major “if”, it will be a slow start. Only US$80 billion of CIC’s overseas investments are currently held in US government debt. A massive national security/antitrust controversy will be inevitable. And yet, if successful, the move could be a win-win towards an American Silk Road.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Sounds like the same idea as the US Export-Import Bank, which extends loans for foreign purchases of US products.

      Now it’s China that’s got the manufactured products to sell. They won’t mind buying US steel, if they can sell all the other stuff on credit [“vendor financing”].

  18. clarky90

    Oh Myyyyyyyy God!

    Putin Says Russia Will Be World’s #1 Exporter Of Non-GMO Foods


    “Russia’s Vladimir Putin is taking a bold step against biotech giant Monsanto and genetically modified seeds at large. In a new address to the Russian Parliament Thursday, Putin proudly outlined his plan to make Russia the world’s ‘leading exporter’ of non-GMO foods that are based on ‘ecologically clean’ production.

    Perhaps even more importantly, Putin also went on to harshly criticize food production in the United States, declaring that Western food producers are no longer offering high quality, healthy, and ecologically clean food.”

    1. oho

      ironically, US/EU sanctions have been a big boon to Russian agriculture and made moving to 100% non-GMO easier.

    2. pretzelattack

      i’m just waiting for “progressive” dems to harshly criticise putin for picking on poor defenseless monsanto and depriving the people of gmo products.

      1. jrs

        It wasn’t about the people, it makes a lot more sense if seen strategically, it’s about Russia not becoming ECONOMICALLY dependent on Western GMO seeds via the Western companies that make them. This may indirectly of course benefit the people, but it seems really naive to claim those are the main goals of the movers and the shakers in the world.

      1. polecat

        Well then, my chickens are Russian agents … and, by extension, the eggs I’m eating are making my see Red !

  19. Waldenpond

    Front yard gardening. When my younger offspring moved out (2010/11), I removed the front lawn and put in a small fence, perimeter flower bed for dogs to use and 4 4×8 beds with a center circle (typically strawberries w/crocus or whatever included).

    Over the years I have learned to seed, grow, water, weed, harvest etc.

    But another interesting aspect is watching life go by….. my neighbor thinks it’s odd that people stop and take pictures. I am no longer surprised when someone will bring a group to show them the secret garden they have found, I usually stay bent down or walk out of sight (some are quite possessive). I have watched dogs turn grey then noticed their absence and the walker reappears with a new start.. the dog is very nervous so I offer to be a stop off spot with a treat and a quick handshake so the dog isn’t so terrified by the world. For years and elderly couple frequently walked by, then one day it was just the woman, sometimes with a younger person I imagined was her son. She stopped and explained that they used to have a garden and relocated to town because of age. Just wanted me to know the joy a small front yard garden brought her husband throughout his illness. People like the contractor stakes, painted and labeled, put at the end of a row. They had no idea that turnips make a bright purple gem in the garden nor what a brussell sprout plant looked like (neither did I). Most times people steal a rose (they’ve gotten smart and use a knife) or some sweet peas rather than the snap peas I purposely plant for people to try, but I’ve had several children willing to step in and get strawberries. Just last week I invited a neighborhood 5 year old to come see the 3 chickens in the back.

    I am writing this as I just read the Os fled the state after 3 days of rain, we are now having a week of cold (frozen bird bath) sunny weather, I went out and pulled a bucket of weeds and tossed it in the chicken run and ….

    My neighbor is out mowing their lawn in striped pajamas. Funny how just something so simple as seeing a person in their pajamas gets the memories going.

    1. Rhondda

      Thank you, Waldenpond. I enjoyed your front yard garden rumination. I have a pear and an apple tree out front. People always stop. Some say they have never seen fruit growing on a tree, didn’t know where pears came from, etc. Some go for the thrill of a little thievery when they think no one’s looking. Doesn’t bother me a bit. Plenty and to spare. Plus the removal of some fruit early on just makes those still on the bough bigger come harvest time!

  20. LT

    So tell me again why half of the Beltway is pushing the anti-abortion agenda and the other half is pushing the automation agenda (that doesn’t want “surplus” people)?

    It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

      1. Aumua

        Well it’s a good thing that law enforcement is listed on Donald Trump’s new whitehouse.gov as one of the important issues America is facing.

        Without further comment, I present issue #5 (of six):

        “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community”

    1. John Zelnicker

      @Waldenpond – That’s disgusting. Free speech is no longer free.

      And, in other news, in Acadiana, Louisiana, they are trying to classify resisting arrest and battery on a police officer as a felony hate crime, cause “Blue Lives Matter”. Jeebus!

      The nationwide crackdown on dissent we are seeing in the past few days makes the coordinated attack on the Occupy demonstrations look like child’s play.

      This country is rapidly devolving into the closest thing to a dictatorship that’s possible here.

      1. aletheia33

        i’m confused–
        the country currently is an oligarchic plutocracy. (is that an oxymoron?) it has a shredded constitution and a presidency with vast imperial powers. it fits the definition of a fascist state.

        –what do you see that will halt this country’s devolution at merely “the closest thing”? and what will that closest thing be exactly?

        could you please clarify your meaning?

        1. John Zelnicker

          @aletheia33, (Love the handle) – Not sure about the oxymoron, more likely it’s simply redundant. What I’m referring to is that we still have (ostensibly) three separate branches of government that are not yet subservient to a single dictator. I think that Congress still has some power, if they deign to use it. And, the Supreme Court, while it will certainly end up with a conservative majority, still sees itself as independent and, hopefully, will resist control by the executive. Also, the power of the imperial presidency is not yet quite complete.

          Perhaps I am just allowing my intrinsic optimism too much leeway, but I have heard, for instance, that the Republicans in Congress intend to use Trump to achieve the dreams they have had for the past eight years or more in terms of gutting regulations and the social safety net, and allow him to claim credit, which he will do anyway, which gets them off the hook. Then at some point in the near future, when he oversteps some line that they find intolerable, they will impeach him and happily work with Pence, who was in Congress prior to being governor and is one of their own. But, no one knows for sure.

          I guess I’m placing my faith in Congress being unwilling to completely give up the power and influence they currently have, along with a blind hope that the left will get its sh!t together, organize along class lines rather than by identity silos and present the working class with a program of concrete, material benefits, as Lambert puts it, that will become a counter-power.

          I also think the oligarchs/plutocrats will not give up their power to a dictator; they like things the way they are, with some relatively minor (to them) adjustments re: deregulation and tax decreases.

          All of which is a long way of saying I just refuse to give up hope that things will work out better than they appear from here.

          (I’m done for the night, more tomorrow, if you like.)

            1. John Zelnicker

              @witters – Hey, I said I’m letting my intrinsic optimism run away with me. Ya gotta find whatever tiny nuggets there may be. But read the rest of the sentence. Congresscritters, like most politicians, are usually loath to give up whatever power they may have. I don’t think that’s so far-fetched to hope that they will eventually rein in the worst excesses of Trump’s authoritarianism. Not that that’s going to produce any significant benefits for the public, but the question was why I think we won’t become a complete dictatorship.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Maybe the whole “hate crimes” concept (like “fake news”) wasn’t such a good idea, seeing how easily it can be captured and turned against its creators.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @Lambert – I have always been of two minds about the concept of hate crimes. It seems to me that singling out crimes against a particular group as somehow worse than the same crimes against a non-favored group can be seen as a violation of the concept of equal protection under the law.

          I’ve always felt that most violent crime against any individual is based, at least in part, on some level of hatred of that person.

  21. voislav

    Re: Calling Bullshit

    The sad part is that you this covers most of modern science. Over-interpretation (correlation vs. causation) and over-extrapolation of data was always rampant (no need to single out economics here), but there are more and more papers published that are a straight garbage in/out exercise due to biases in data. Crapification of science, as Yves would say.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Pressure to publish is doing untold damage to science. I was talking last night to a relative who is a senior and very respected medical academic and he had so many depressing stories about how good science is being eroded as even top posts are being occupied by people who are little more than good self-marketers. So much crap is just being churned out and published, the old gold standard of peer review is meaning less and less.

      1. aab

        I admit that I am confused by Reid’s tweet. She’s well-paid to protect the corporate Democrats. If she hasn’t been aware all year that what she’s saying is often counterfactual feces, she’s much, MUCH less intelligent than I had thought — and I was already ashamed she’s an alum of my school.

        Marcotte doesn’t surprise me. She lives on clicks. It was her job to herd the limply feminist and progressive to Hillary. Now what? She’s not high enough in that ecosystem to get a nice sinecure.

        I am now going to say a positive thing about the “Womens March”(TM). I saw someone tweet out to the Democrats that the millions that marched against the Republicans this weekend will march against the Democrats if they don’t start opposing Trump IN GOVERNMENT,. not just on TV.

        I am skeptical about all of that: being able to all those bourgeois women to pay attention to the real policy action, getting them to care about the stuff that doesn’t directly effect them, mobilizing them for real, messy, risky protest instead of the pink knit cap kind, etc. Having said all that, at least threatening the Democrats with this possibility is worth something. And Marcotte and Reid help with that. If the Democrats alienate comfortable, bourgie women, they won’t make it to 2018 — or perhaps more accurately, they won’t make it out of 2018.

        1. Waldenpond

          Is Warren not running for pres in 2020? Warren and Sherrod Brown voted for Carson. I get that performative collegiality in the D norm (yet, another reason I don’t vote for them) and they are doing their cakewalk voting schtick… but it’s odd. Booker gets to testify and Warren has to suck a lemon on Carson. I wonder who which nominee they’ll select for Booker.

          Sanders is the D official outreach coordinator so it seems they should select a nominee for him too? Even the field for everybody.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Marcotte (a liberal) makes a clear distinction between liberals and the left (Beijer).

      Sadly, Marcotte, a no-longer-useful idiot, has no clue why the Democratic establishment for which she so assiduously supported in the primary behaves as it does.

  22. Kim Kaufman

    A couple of years ago I was on a listserve along with Kevin Zeese. He wrote this in a paragraph I don’t now remember. I plucked this line out and used it under my signature on emails for a while:

    “The next economy will be defined by the struggle to get there.” Kevin Zeese

    So, I don’t believe that violence will get us where we want to go.

  23. steelhead23

    If business craves certainty, we can give it to them by turning down bad projects.

    Lambert, that is seriously funny. I once issued a Notice of Violation to US Steel’s Somerset mine in CO for allowing coal fines from its load-out to pollute its neighbor’s apple orchard. Unbeknownst to me, they were also mining without a permit and illegally undermining the adjacent Blue Ribbon mine – a serious safety matter. Nonetheless, my boss was paid a visit by the governor’s COS and told how important that mine was to the local community (jobs, jobs, jobs) encouraging him to drop the matter. Or, the time while working for county engineering – when we pointed out that a mountain development would have hideously unsafe roads, the commissioners, ever interested in enriching themselves and their friends overruled our rejection of the project as proposed. As a long-time regulator I see that government almost never rejects a proposal. They tend to die only after the applicant has grown frustrated trying to meet the rules. It surely would be a savings to just say no, but that almost never happens.

  24. mk

    “Why the U.S. Has a Monopoly on Jobless Recoveries” [Bloomberg]. “[T]he U.S. is different. When bad times hit, American companies try to replace people with machines, while foreign companies hire back workers. Why this difference exists is a mystery.”
    Pure selfishness.

  25. Rhondda

    Re medical conflicts of interest. Just an observation. Every doctor (not mainly in practice) and medical .org or .com I have ever worked with was, to my mind, conflicted. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. All of them saw what they were doing as totally fine, no conflicts. It was always justified away. Even when they had to twist business models into pretzels, hire shifty lawyers to create shell within shell businesses, etc. Waved away. What I have encountered is mostly good people, who are conflicted (or their biz is) and who don’t see that they are — can barely even see the possibility, in fact. Doctors and top-dawg med people are the height of the credentialed class, god love ’em. Got strings of all-caps after their names like education spoor.

    I imagine this is similar to why everything is FUed everywhere. Goodthinkers — and in this case, doctors, Gooddoers — cannot be bad. Un-possible, impossibility-ism!

    I’m not a bad person.”

      1. jrs

        When we elect someone like Obama (not me personally I voted Green, but the country did elect him and he even won the popular vote) who makes a lot of nice sounding promises, they seem to come into office and do nothing and instantly blame anything and everything for not doing anything. It would be really nice if Obama kept any of his better sounding promises.

        When we elect someone like Trump (despite not winning the popular vote) they instantly keep a whole lot of their promises heaven help us all! Heads you lose, tails they win. A ratchet that can only ever move rightward, a rigged system indeed.

        1. kj1313

          Only good thing about this is that there is real anger emanating from the left with it spilling over in the middle towards appeasement Democrats.

    1. jrs

      And since we care so much about jobs, although I don’t justify all spending on account of: “Jawbs, think of the precious jawbs!” People absolutely WILL lose jobs over this, there is no doubt. Government grants = jobs. When government grants are cut people do lose their livelihood. So there will be researchers who have nothing to tell their spouses and kids but that they are unemployed and need to look for work.

      And these are not just jawbs but many of them the kind of jobs anyone arguing for a job guarantee might see as valuable to the community, testing water quality, doing research etc…

  26. nowhere

    “I would trade a more streamlined process for greatly relaxed standing requirements and much more testimony under oath, sooner. If business craves certainty, we can give it to them by turning down bad projects.”

    Haha…I agree, but I hope you aren’t under the delusion that this approach is on the table.

  27. allan

    Court reinstates conviction of ex-Goldman programmer [NY Post]

    The tortured, eight-year legal saga of Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs programmer, took another twist on Tuesday when a state appeals court voted 5-0 to reinstate his May 2015 conviction.

    Aleynikov, accused of stealing some high-frequency trading code from the Wall Street bank, has twice been convicted on charges related to the theft — once in federal court and again in state court [because double jeopardy is only for little people].

    Twice those convictions were overturned.

    Manhattan DA Goldman outside counsel Cyrus Vance appealed the last court decision, which ended with Tuesday unanimous decision. …

    Exhibit 1732 in Former Democratic Base vs. Elected Officials.

    1. aab

      I guess the PR wing of the Democratic Party has the really good stuff, that it doles out to reporters for The Hill and others when they need a ludicrous piece produced.

      I couldn’t get through the piece. I really tried. Is there a factually correct statement anywhere in there?

      I’m fascinated that the elected Democrats are so deluded it didn’t even occur to them not to play rotating villain with the cabinet nominations. Can’t Schumer hold his caucus together for ANYTHING?

  28. aab

    Has this been covered yet?


    The Clinton campaign thought it would be a good idea to raise a billion dollars and still not pay any of its ground level organizers their overtime pay. It’s perfect, in its way. The party “of workers” can’t even abide by basic norms from the New Deal in order to get voters to vote against their interests.

    Is it possible they really intended to lose?

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, it’s possible. That’s been the pattern at least since Clinton got re-elected: they take turns, two full terms at a time. That means Hillary had to lose. Not sure whether she knew that.

  29. ewmayer

    “While the federal deficit is projected to drop in 2017 and 2018, CBO projects it will rise to $601 billion in 2019 thanks to rising Social Security and Medicare costs” The Hill” — Given the deficit was $1.42 trillion for the most-recent fiscal year, that’s an interesting definition of ‘rise’. The CBO needs to stop using imaginary numbers as a absis for their analyses … making predictions (especially about the future, as Yogi Berra once said) is fraught enough when one starts with actual data. Maybe CBO has a pro-austerian bent?

    [Source: https://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current , and enter the date range 9/30/2015 – 9/30/2016, and compare the start/end numbers for Total Public Debt Outstanding.]

  30. crittermom

    Gorgeous, gorgeous plantidote today! So serene.
    It’s one of those pictures that helps negate all the ugly in the world for a moment, bringing a feeling of peace. Beautiful photography! Much appreciated today, Lambert.

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