2:00PM Water Cooler 2/21/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, I think I’m coming down with the flu, which is going around. This may be shorter than it should be. –lambert


Trump Transition

“Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond ‘H.R.’ McMaster, President Donald Trump’s new pick as national security adviser, does not appear to be a friend of Russia” [Roll Call]. “The 55-year-old McMaster is a combat veteran who won the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest award for bravery, during the first Gulf War. He also was described by the White House as having played key roles in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He has a reputation as being a top intellect and strategist in the Army.”

“Will McMaster be willing to speak truth to power on Russia? He has been a Russia hard-liner whose eyes are wide open to the threat that Vladimir Putin represents. After Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine, McMaster prepared a detailed study about how the U.S. Army must modernize to keep up with Russian innovation” [WaPo]. I love the idea of The Blob “speaking truth to power.”

“Demographics and GDP” [Calculated Risk]. Economists making the argument that restricting immigration will decrease labor force growth, and hence GDP. But talking about GDP without talking about distribution is worse than useless, it’s obfuscatory. Averages conceal.

“The attendees said that Homan said ICE has the authority to target all 11 million undocumented immigrants for removal from the country under President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order but that the agency does not have the resources to do that” [Roll Call]. “The initial data Homan provided Thursday was that 683 undocumented immigrants were apprehended across five cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, the Democrats said. However, there have been additional arrests in cities like Denver that were not included in the data ICE provided, they said. The list of charges for those apprehended includes traffic offenses and trespassing, “as well as some serious crimes that no one would disagree about,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California said. Among the 683 apprehended, 176 were listed as non-criminal, the Democrats said.”

“Riots erupt in Sweden’s capital just days after Trump comments” [WaPo]. I guess a lot of snark on the Twitter is going to have to vanish down the memory hole now. I thought the IKEA jokes were the best; it would be a shame to see them go.

“From a legal standpoint, if the Washington Post’s reporting based on leaks by nine officials is true, we are nearly certain that they violated 18 U.S.C. § 798, while we are very far from certain that Flynn violated the Logan Act, since we have not seen a transcript of his conversation with the Russian ambassador. And yet the left obsesses over the latter at the expense of the former” [Above the Law]. The writer conflates the left with liberals, but yes, the outrage does seem a little “Any stick to beat a dog”-ish.

Our Famously Free Press

“A Stylometric Inquiry into Hyperpartisan and Fake News” (pdf) [Archiv.org]. “[W]e approach it from a different angle by investigating the writing style of fake news in relation to hyperpartisan news. In this regard, we analyze for the first time whether hyperpartisan news can be distinguished by its style from mainstream news (it can), whether satire can be distinguished from both (it can, too), and whether fake news can be detected via style alone (it can’t).” I like “hyperpartisan.” Conceptually, I think Judy Miller’s WMD stories are “fake news,” so any algorithm would have had to select for them, which is unlikely, since they reflected conventional wisdom and policy choices.

“[O]perating liberal political theories about ‘speech’ — the theories that, whether we ‘believe’ them are not, tend to be the ones that predominantly guide people’s actions and responses — are centuries behind the state of knowledge about how language works. It is still assumed that language is basically a neutral conduit, transferring meaning from one to the other, rather than something which is done to you. Meaning itself is treated as something contained in the language, which we may decide to unpack and digest, rather than as a form of intending, something which acts on us, by means of the very materiality of language and what it activates in us. If language does things to us, if we find that disagreeing is somehow just not adequate as a response, if it makes us want to throw a punch, or a brick, it must be because we’re triggered snowflakes who can’t deal with the argument” [Leninology (DB)].

2016 Post Mortem

“Keith Ellison: ‘The Democratic Party doesn’t exist for Democrats'” [WaPo]. “”Democrats have to come to grips with the idea that the Democratic Party doesn’t exist for Democrats, it is for the American people.” And: “And true to his progressive roots, Ellison also believes “the Democratic Party should always be the party that stands with the aspiring working people of America.'” No. No, no, no, no, no, no. That “aspiring” is just liberal bushwa, and translates to “credential-seeking.” Worse, it implicitly sorts the working class into the deserving aspirational (HappyVille), and the non-deserving non-aspirational (Pain City). And we know who’s going to be doing the sorting.

“Rep. John Lewis explains why he’s endorsing Ellison for DNC chair” [Guardian]. Do I have to be nice to Lewis now, or is he a revolving hero?

Neera Tanden enforcing orthodoxy in the Times: “Whoever prevails as chairman must resist the pressure to follow an uninformed and ill-fated quest for winning over conservative white working-class voters in the Midwest. The solution for Democrats is not to chase Trump defectors. The path to victory involves reinspiring those whites who drifted to third-party candidates and then focusing on the ample opportunities in the Southwest and the South” [Steve Phillips (CAP), NYT]. Weird that the Democrat Establishment feels no need to flip back Obama voters who voted for Trump. Irredeemable?

Neera Tanden enforcing orthodoxy at TAP: “Why Democrats Need to Forget About ‘Reaching Out'” [Paul Waldman, The American Prospect]. “Right now, the Democrats’ constituents are feeling horrified, terrified, and generally pissed off. Which is just what produces the kind of midterm election they need. That’s because midterm elections are all about enthusiasm—which almost always means anger.” So, no need to organize anything: Screaming “Putin!” and sex scandals will do the job, along with so much gaslighting that real threats can’t be distinguished from phantoms. Strategic hate management…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Trump’s problem isn’t the deep state; it’s the broad state. He’s facing pushback not only from intelligence agencies, but from civilian bureaucracies, too” [Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times].

“What has been remarkable about the protests that have engulfed the country over the past month isn’t just the scope or even the regularity, but the creativity and novelty of tactics” [In These Times]. “And so far this new protest movement has been primarily oppositional, responding to attacks posed by the new government. Any program to win power must also set out a bold vision of a different kind of society, one focused on the needs of working people that serves as a true alternative to the type of racist and corporate-dominated agenda currently being carried out.” Creative tactics are always a sign of health. And it’s good that the writer is for transforming Resistance into small-r revolution (a la Sanders, et al.) rather than Restoration (a la the Neera Tandens of this world). I don’t think much of “corporate-dominated agenda,” though, because that formulation conveniently erases the role that the 10% plays in carrying that agenda out.

UPDATE “Is the Democratic party with the resistance? This weekend might tell” [Bill McKibben, Guardian]. “[T]he single most remarkable statistics of the 2016 election season were the four- and five- and six-to-one margins by which Sanders won young voters. That he was able to overcome that inherent distrust means he may be able to do the party a great service, and deliver it a generation of voters who are not otherwise inclined to affiliate with institutions of any sort. Ellison is the bridge to that world, and it would be political malpractice to draw it up. But he’s also the bridge to the world of movements, which supply the passion and spirit and creativity that the DNC requires at least as badly as it needs credibility.” It’s a question of whether the Democrat Party will decapitate “the” resistance (watch those definite articles!). I’d really like to see Neera Tanden remove #TheResistance logo from her Twitter profile and trash “it”/”them.” That would be a very, very positive sign.

“[I]t isn’t clear that Trump possesses the political temperament to deal effectively with the kind of politics that inevitably emerge when the country struggles to move from an established era to a new and often frightening new day. The country is split down the middle—between those clinging to the era of globalism and those who despise it; between those who want to control immigration and those who think such efforts are tantamount to racism; between those who believe that radical Islamist fundamentalism emanates out of Islam itself and those who think such thinking is bigotry or Islamophobia; between those who view Trump’s election as necessary and those who consider it a threat to the common weal” [The American Conservatives]. Tens of thousands of “deaths from despair” in deindustrialized America and conservatives can’t bring themselves to talk about it either any more than liberals can.

“Odd Lots: Why It’s Really Hard to Create a New Currency in a Revolution” [Bloomberg]. Podcast interviewing Rebecca Spang, “The author of Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution], about the monetary history of the French Revolution. Her book examines the disastrous attempt to create a new land-backed currency, the Assignat, in the late 1700s. The discussion sheds light on some fundamental issues that are still relevant today. ”

“Five special elections for the House of Representatives are expected to take place over the next few months: California’s 34th congressional district, Georgia 6, Kansas 4, Montana At-large and South Carolina 5. These elections are ‘special’ in the sense that they occur outside the normal two-year November House election cycle — to fill a vacant seat. But other than that, there’s nothing all that special about special elections, making them a decent thermometer reading on the country’s political mood and how voters are responding to President Trump” [FiveThirtyEight].

“[Ruth Benn, coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee], said enthusiasm for tax resistance appeared to be growing in the Trump era, though cautiously. Visits to the committee’s rudimentary website have doubled in recent weeks to about 1,500 a day. The committee estimates that about 8,000 people a year refuse to pay US federal income tax as an act of civil disobedience, and that number is expected to rise. Among famous faces, Mia Farrow has tweeted about tax resistance. Gloria Steinem is also planning to take part in the movement” [Guardian].

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index Flash, February 2017: “The U.S. samples of Markit Economics are reporting slowing conditions this month though at still respectable rates of growth. The PMI manufacturing index flash fell back modestly to 54.3 in February representing only a slightly slower pace in order growth and production. Respondents are reporting strength in domestic orders but weaker growth for exports, and upbeat comments are cited for the energy sector” [Econoday]. “Costs, driven by raw materials, are at a 2-1/2 year high while selling prices are flat in what points to a margin squeeze.”

Commodities: “After digging into a deep financial hole in recent years, some of the world’s biggest mining companies are climbing out with copper. The industrial metal has surged more than 30% in the past year… with demand outpacing production while giving mining giants including Rio Tinto PLC, Anglo American PLC, BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore PLC relief after the recent commodities downturn sent them to the edge of financial disaster. The metal’s resurgence partly has been driven by a government stimulus program in China, where over 40% of the world’s copper is consumed” [Wall Street Journal]. “But the turnaround is also driven partly by restrained production, which explains why businesses like bulk shipping companies aren’t reaping the benefits. Demand for copper is expected to outpace production in 2017 for the first time in six years, and it could remain in deficit for the next three or four years.

Commodities: “Iron ore futures in China surged more than 5 percent to a record high on Tuesday, pushed by a sustained rally in steel prices as investors bet on strong demand and tighter supply as Beijing tackles excess production capacity” [Reuters].

Shipping: “Cass Freight Index Report indicates the freight recession appears to be over” [Logistics Management]. Stuff is moving! “Many freight transportation and logistics executives and analysts consider the Cass Freight Index to be the most accurate barometer of freight volumes and market conditions, with many analysts noting that the Cass Freight Index sometimes leads the American Trucking Associations (ATA) tonnage index at turning points, which lends to the value of the Cass Freight Index.”

Shipping: “The Home Depot knows do-it-yourself projects. When the third-largest US importer of containerized goods decided it had to cut carbon emissions from its supply chain, it used the tools it had at hand, including a dedicated truck fleet and a network of specialized distribution centers, to design and build more efficient and greener ways of getting goods to customers” [Journal of Commerce]. ‘We’ve found that a 2 to 5 percent reduction in carbon emissions, while increasing revenue, can be meaningful and impactful,’ [Michelle Livingstone, vice president of transportation for The Home Depot] said. ‘That’s what we’re trying to achieve this year.'”

Shipping: “The clock is ticking before the launch of two new mega-alliances on 1 April, but a long pause in announcing details has caused planning headaches to ports and shippers, according to container shipping analyst Drewry” [Lloyd’s Loading].

Shipping: ” Mitch McConnell’s Freighted Ties to a Shadowy Shipping Company” [Lee Fang, The Nation]. ” [T]he Republican Senate minority leader has the closest of ties to the owner of the Ping May, the vessel containing the illicit materials [ninety pounds, of cocaine]: the Foremost Maritime Corporation, a firm founded and owned by McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family. Though Foremost has played a pivotal role in McConnell’s life, bestowing the senator with most of his personal wealth and generating thousands in donations to his campaign committees, the drug bust went unnoticed in Kentucky, where every bit of McConnell-related news has generated fodder for the campaign trail. That’s because, like many international shipping companies, Chao’s firm is shrouded from public view, concealing its identity and limiting its legal liability through an array of tax shelters and foreign registrations. Registered through a limited liability company in the Marshall Islands, the Ping May flies the Liberian flag.” Chao is, of course, the Secretary of Transportation.

Shipping: “[UPS] has successfully tested a drone that launches from the top of a vehicle, autonomously delivers a package to final destination and then returns to the vehicle, all while the delivery driver is able to continue along his/her land-based route in order to make a separate delivery” [Air Cargo News].

The Bezzle: “On Thursday, federal agents arrested Mark Charles Barnett of Ocala, Florida, accusing him of attempting to plant bombs in at least 10 Target stores along the East Coast with the intention of profitably trading on the subsequent stock price dislocations” [Dealbreaker]. Florida Man!

The Bezzle: “Musk has started digging a pit in the SpaceX parking lot as a “demo tunnel” that can accommodate cars and serve as the basis of an underground transportation network, according to the report” [Business Insider].

Rapture Index, February 20, 2016: Closes down 1 on earthquakes (“The lack of large quakes in populated areas has downgraded this category”) [Econintersect]. Record High: 189, October 10, 2016. Current: 180.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 21 at 12:10pm.


“The menacing floodwaters last week forced the emergency evacuation of 188,000 residents. Yet the impending disaster came as no surprise to officials in Butte and Plumas counties. The rural counties, which surround Lake Oroville, had challenged the state’s environmental review of dam operations in a 2008 lawsuit, arguing the state “recklessly failed” to properly account for climate change in its long-term dam management plan” [Scientific American]. Plumas County, at least, is reliably Republican at the state and national level, which is interesting.

Class Warfare

“Rich People Literally See the World Differently” [New York Magazine]. “In something of a dark irony, the respondents of higher socioeconomic status rated themselves as more empathic — a “better-than-average effect” that [Michael Varnum, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University] followed up on in a separate study — when in reality the opposite was true. The results “show that people who are higher in socioeconomic status have diminished neural responses to others’ pain,” the authors write. “These findings suggest that empathy, at least some early component of it, is reduced among those who are higher in status.” And unlike self-reports, brain imaging sidesteps ‘social desirability bias,’ where people want to give replies that make them look good or more empathic. ‘If you’re looking at pictures of people in pain or not in pain, it’s pretty unlikely that you know how to enhance those brain responses,” Varnum [says]… Moreover, in a 2016 study, Varnum and colleagues found evidence suggesting that people from lower social classes have a more sensitive mirror neuron system — which is thought to simulate the things you see others experience — when watching a video of hand movements. ‘Our cognitive systems, the degree to which they’re attuned to other people in the environment, is affected by our own social class,’ he says.”

“Where Shadow Economies Are Well Established” [Econointersect]. Only 5% of GDP in the US, versus 21.5% in Greece. However, the US shadow economy is said to be smaller than Switzerland (6.0%) and the Netherlands (5.4%), and three countries in the Anglosphere (the UK, Australia, and Canada) are over 9%. So intuitively, that 5% figure seems low.

“Facebook isn’t a social network, it is a scanner that digitises human beings. It is, for all intents and purposes, the camera that captures your soul. Facebook’s business is to simulate you and to own and control your simulation, thereby owning and controlling you” [Aral Balkan]. “I call the business model of Facebook, Google, and the venture-capital-funded long tail of Silicon Valley startups “people farming”. Facebook is a factory farm for human beings. And Mark’s manifesto is nothing more than a panicked billionaire’s latest sophomoric attempt to decorate an unpalatable business model grounded in the abuse of human rights with faux moral purpose to stave off regulation and justify what is unabashedly a colonial desire: to create a global fiefdom by connecting all of us to Facebook, Inc.” Not so sure on this “individual sovereignty” stuff, but he’s got Facebook dead to rights.

“Despite challenges, the New York City area could be the solution for America’s absent apparel manufacturing. With the recent political landscape and push to bring production back to the U.S., the New York City area could again serve as America’s major manufacturing hub. Beyond relocation of staff and materials, consumers are at the heart of this movement too. If consumers buy local and minimize their fast fashion purchases, apparel manufacturing will be more likely to happen in the city in coming years” [Sourcing Journal].

News of the Wired

“Cane used to beat members of Pink Floyd finally added to museum” [AV Club (PT)]. Friends, there’s good news tonight!

“New Zealand appeals court upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling” [Ars Technica]. “In a ruling issued Monday afternoon local time (late Sunday night, Eastern Standard Time), Justice Murray Gilbert of the High Court of New Zealand ruled that while he agreed with one of Dotcom’s attorneys’ primary arguments—’that online communication of copyright protected works to the public is not a criminal offence in New Zealand’—the judge noted that nevertheless, Dotcom and his co-defendants remain eligible for extradition based on other elements in the case.”

“You’re a completely different person at 14 and 77, the longest-running personality study ever has found” [Quartz]. Don’t I know it! “If your patterns of thought, emotions, and behavior so drastically alter over the decades, can you truly be considered the same person in old age as you were as a teenager? This question ties in with broader theories about the nature of the self. For example, there is growing neuroscience research that supports the ancient Buddhist belief that our notion of a stable ‘self’ is nothing more than an illusion.”

Simon Stålenhag, uber-creepy:

Some truth in this:

* * *

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 (via):

Crown shyness in Dryobalanops aromatica (Kapur trees) in Forest Research Center, Kuala Lumpur.

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. jo6pac

    If you are getting the flu please keep it on your side of the intertubes. Please take care of yourself and get well soon.

    1. Bullwinkle

      Ditto. With the yo-yo weather we’ve been having on the East Coast I’m surprised more people aren’t sick. Take care.

    2. polecat

      Yeah, but you never know … maybe Lambert will accidentally stumble and touch the all-seeing-eye of the IC Sauron, infecting it with digiflu …. thereby rendering it ‘un’effective ….. permanently !

    3. tongorad

      From the Cap’n Trips Dept:
      I heard on the radio that some of the smaller public school districts located in small town TX suspended school last week because of the virulent flu epidemic. For example, my nephew’s high school has less than 200 students. Small classes at close quarters + nasty, aggressive flu virus is not a good combo!

  2. Lee

    Did you get the flu shot? I did some months ago but I’ve been reading that it is only 48% effective. Lot’s of sneezing and coughing among my fellow citizens here in SF bay area. Get well soon.

    1. Arizona Slim

      My mother got the flu from a flu shot. Which is why I’ve never gotten one. We tend to react in similar ways, mom and me.

      1. Vatch

        People don’t get influenza from flu shots, although it sometimes seems as though they do. Here are some of the possibilities for what does happen:

        1. Since it takes two to four weeks for the immunity to take effect, if a person is exposed to the flu virus prior to the vaccination or a short time after being vaccinated, she is at risk of getting the flu.
        2. A flu vaccine provides protection against either three or four strains of virus, so if a person is exposed to a different strain, the vaccine provides no protection.
        3. Some people have a reaction which feels like a case of influenza, but it is really much milder than a genuine case of influenza.
        4. A person might have an allergic reaction to something in the vaccine. Eggs are a possibility.
        5. Maybe a batch of the vaccine didn’t have enough of one of the strains of deactivated virus, so it failed to provide immunity.
        6. A few people experience Guillain–Barré syndrome, which can be very serious, but it is not influenza.

        1. Darius

          I’ve gotten the flu shot every year for 26 years, during which time I never got the flu. It doesn’t, of course, prove cause and effect. I speculate I have some resistance to most of the strains out there. I and my family also got the shot that had bird flu in it, providing some protection, fervently do we pray, against new strains evolving in China.

          1. Ed Miller

            We are each unique (??) so I have a different story. I haven’t gotten a flu shot in 10 years, when one was free at work, and have rarely ever gotten them over 30+ years.

            I am a believer in Vitamin C and exercise as the best approach. Just as important is getting lots of rest/sleep at the first sign of unusual fatigue, but diet also probably helps. I take 1000 mg of C with each meal, or 3000 mg/day. As I get older (70 this year) I take an Airborne tablet each day if I sense any weariness in winter so I really go mega-C.

            I only get sniffles, no full blown colds, and this has been true for many years whether working or not. My only weakness has been a sinus infection once each winter which required antibiotics, but I recently stopped those by being aggressive about keeping my face, nose and ears warm in cold weather.

            I can’t even recall in which decade I last had the flu. I earnestly believe that mega-C dosages and a good workout (I swim now to protect my joints) are the best for one’s health.

            When I have gotten sick I always sleep it off – no TV, no computer – just shut down the brain as much as possible for a day or so.

            1. Anon

              And you probably aren’t around school age kids or exchanging money with clerks at a large, metropolitan store.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              If I feel myself coming down with a cold, my solutions are:

              1) Lots of orange juice <-- Vitamin C in natural form 2) Extremely spicy food <-- Capsaicin for the immune system 3) Oscillococcinum <-- I know this is a homeopathic remedy, and that there's no scientific basis for it working, but it works for me and it's the biggest selling flu remedy in France. I've also turned others on to it, who report "It worked!" For their kids. YMMV...

        2. justanotherprogressive

          7. The reason you feel so sick when you have the flu is because of the body’s immune reaction to the virus. Some people have that same immune reaction to the flu vaccine (sometimes the body doesn’t know the difference between live and dead virus) and think they’ve gotten the flu, but they haven’t.

          1. Vatch

            I was trying to say something like that in my #3, but I think your description in #7 is better than mine in #3.

    2. djrichard

      Lambert, if it’s the flu hope you get through it quickly!

      I got the flu this winter. They swabbed the inside of my nose and it came up negative for the two strains they were testing for. Presumably that’s what the flu shots were targeting as well?

      I haven’t had flu in forever, but I think lack of sleep did me in this year.

    3. JeffC

      I read this years ago:

      The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

      And having thereby been suitably terrified by that history of the 1918 flu pandemic, I’ve had a flu vaccination every year since and will have one every year in the future. Do the same, all.

      1. Oregoncharles

        They aren’t vaccinating for that particular flu. They did manage to dig it up in an old cemetery, though. Some scientists have no ethical judgement whatsoever.

    4. Fastball

      There is another disease proliferating among Colorado residents. While it superficially resembles the flu, it is best described as “the cold from hell”. You will be out a minimum of 3 days with uncontrollable sneezing, running nose and fatigue. Probably longer.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      Last I checked, the literature on flu shots was awfully contested. In general, I like to avoid medical intervention as much as I can, and not only because I don’t want to spend the money.

  3. Roger Smith

    “Riots erupt in Sweden’s capital just days after Trump comments” [WaPo]

    The headline edits on this are as follows:

    – Overnight Riots in Predominantly Immigrant Stockholm Suburb
    – Riot in Stockholm Suburb After Drug Suspect Arrested
    – Riots erupt in Sweden’s capital just days after Trump comments

    The first headline was in the old meta-data, then when I just checked recently it was scrubbed and moved from the WaPo Europe page to WaPo WorldViews, scrubbing the old url data. Unfortunately no cache data seems to be available for a good look at the page.

    1. Baby Gerald

      Thanks for offering the background on this story’s ever-mutating headline. Incredible.

      I imagine the copy editor saying something like this to the writer after the first version ran:

      ‘OK, but can you downplay the immigrant angle? Play up the drug suspect angle’.

      The next editor up the chain of command reads it and says something like this to the copy editor in a gruff J. Jonah Jameson kind of voice:

      ‘Yeah, but how can we blame this on Trump? Play up the Trump comments angle!’

  4. Judith

    The phrase speaking truth to power. The American Friends Service Committee published the pamphlet Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence in 1955, It was written by a group a people who included Bayard Rustin (who may have originated the phrase). I have had an on-again off-again relationship with the Quakers since 1980. To me, the use of such a phrase about McMaster seems a perversion.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      The phrase “speaking truth to power” was also used by the early critics of the Warren Commission like Mark Lane. MacMaster has been in the military his whole life, but is known as a maverick. It remains to be seen what he’ll do vis a vis Russia. The hope, however feeble, is that he will help achieve détente with Russia and move toward world peace. If he does, this would be speaking truth to the powers that be presently, who seem to want WW3.

      1. fred

        “It remains to be seen what he’ll do vis a vis Russia.”

        He won’t do a damn thing vis a vis Russia except give advice to the President.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          He might be used in back channel rapprochement as Flynn apparently attempted. I agree that Trump is the boss. Too much of a big deal is made over all of his cabinet appointments. They all will take orders from the prez, until such time the prez just says “the hell with it” and decides to concentrate exclusively on his golf game. Which is not beyond the realm of possibility.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      His book Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam is likely the reason that phrase is being used with regard to him. IIRC at the time he wrote it he was still a Colonel or Lt. Colonel, and shortly after its publication he was passed over the first time he was being considered for the next step up, and the cognoscenti thought it was all but certain he’d be passed over a second time because of the book, in which case it would mark the end of his uniformed career.

      FWIW, here’s what Col. Lang of Sic Semper Tyrannis thinks of him:

      “I have long considered LTG McMaster to be the best officer of his generation in every way that matters.”

      1. a different chris

        I am not ungrateful for any book like that, but nice that he waited until freaking late 1997 to pile on to the new “conventional wisdom”, huh?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        John Robb thinks highly of McMasters too (on the Twitter, which I’m too lazy to go find).

        So the politics are interesting in that:

        1) Some smart military bloggers of good faith think it’s a good appointment

        2) Trump was able to interview and hire a good candidate. After all, liberal icon McCain (!) likes him, so what issue could there be? So maybe all the yammering about the chaotic process* and “Fascist!” will die down, now. Ha ha, only kidding!

        Then again:

        3) The Blob seems to be sleeping after a kill (defenestrating Flynn). I don’t like that if it makes war with Russia more likely. Maybe the military can be bought off with toys, but can the civilians? I can really believe the Kristols and Powers of this world would foment a war to get in the Green Room.

        NOTE * Trump fired people all the way to the Presidency. Whatever he’s doing, it works for him. Of course, the 10% all wish they had tenure, to that’s probably one source of their hatred and fear.

        1. Hemang

          The Conscience Keeper of Capitalism , The Economist thinks highly of McMasters too. But then the backfired pile of The Economist endorsements and likes is high of late that would turn Beghot in his grave.

    3. neighbor7

      But as a cliche, “speak truth to power” has always offended me. Non-cliched speech has more truth and more power.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Meanwhile, his supporters were screaming about it. Especially here in AZ. Where we had demonstrations after the primary election.

    2. Liberal Mole

      I expect he knew inflaming his supporters’ anger with the truth wouldn’t help the party, and the options after the facts were not going to be productive either. Demanding, through legal channels, a recount or a new election? A new caucus? Would never happen in time to help him.

      I haven’t forgotten the corruption of the Democratic party and I never will. My congresswoman is the one whose daughter purchased the rat ridden brownstone for 6 million from the official who “lost” those 100,000 voters in the primary.

        1. Liberal Mole

          Unfortunately, our gerrymandered district is so blue that no one runs against her. Its even been rumored to be “given” to Chelsea Clinton when Lowey retires.

          1. different clue

            This would be a particular time for Bernie people in that district ( if any) to find a credible primary opponent and primary Chelsea very hard. It would also be a fine time for any lefter-than-Bernie greens and others to find a very credible green-or-other-third-party candidate to run very hard against a wounded Chelsea if the Bernie challenger could make Chelsea’s primary victory pyrrhic. Perhaps all the disaffected Democrats might even vote Republican just that one time to get Chelsea defeated.

            One way or another, Chelsea should be Nadered and kept out of the office.
            Otherwise the Clinton Family of Foundations will be given new life to stalk the earth for years to come, grifting . . . grifting . . . grifting . . .

  5. Pat

    Call me cynical, which I am, but unless and until Ellison is elected AND makes moves to clear the deadwood of the political consultancy class and the DLC/Third Way/New Democrats from any positions of power within the party I will just consider the endorsements of Lewis and Schumer et al to be kabuki meant to fool the unwashed Bernie supporting masses. I see no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt after the garbage Lewis pulled during the primaries.

    I am not familiar enough with Lewis’ modus operandi, but would not be surprised if it is reminiscent of Schumer’s man behind the curtain act. You know the one where he takes a progressive/liberal position in public (votes/statements) but works hard behind the scenes to make sure those positions never reach fruition.

    1. HotFlash

      the unwashed Bernie supporting masses

      Call me a Bernie-supporting individual, although washed, actually. But these guys, really? I suspect that Schumer and Lewis are trying to get in front of the parade. Like the coveted Bernie email list — heh, good luck, suckers.

      1. jsn

        Schumer, “man behind the curtain?!?”

        Since he first got elected its been common knowledge here in New York that the most dangerous place in the city is between Chuck and a camera.

        He’s definitely trying to get in front of the parade so he can try to lead it into a safe (for him) ditch.

      2. ChrisPacific

        They need to stop calling it the Bernie List and start calling it what it is: the list of people who want Scandinavian-style socialist capitalism, a national health system, policies to address inequality, and Wall Street to be held accountable under the law. What good would it do Democrats to have it? They don’t stand for any of those things.

        1. Katharine

          But they are still–and this really does amaze me–too clueless to understand the connection between standing for those things and getting support from that list.

          1. aab

            Don’t forget there are TWO important uses for that list, for the Democratic Party: to get more money and volunteer labor out of as many suckers as they can con, AND to know who to block from voting in the 2018/2020 Democratic primaries, if they haven’t started giving money.

            I recently had a very sad exchange with a formerly hardcore Berner who is now all in on “Putin installed his puppet Trump, and Trump, Pence and Ryan are all about to be removed from office so unicorns, rainbows, and progressive Hillary Clinton may run rampant through the land.”

            So there are certainly people on that list that have already been conned and will continue to be conned. I also know former Berners who are hardcore Trump supporters now. Bernie’s list has a big range of people on it.

              1. aab

                The detailed reporting and testimonials on voter suppression in the primaries, particularly what happened in Brooklyn and in California, strongly suggest that individual voters’ registrations were changed to prevent their being able to vote in the primary. There were apartment buildings in Brooklyn, IIRC, where everybody had voted in the last election (so the Sandy excuse wouldn’t hold), most but not all of them found their registrations changed on election day, the people effected were Bernie voters, the people unaffected were Hillary voters, and the next building over untouched. I believe a married couple testified that they had registered together, voted together in the last several elections, and the one who had donated to Bernie had had their registration flipped, and the one intending to vote for Hillary had not.

                I understand how segmentation works, and I realize there are other data-driven ways they could have targeted people with less granular information. Blocking ALL college students at UCLA by not delivering the new registration pages is a sledgehammer approach that was likely to be effective because of the massive differential between the two candidates in terms of college student support. I’m sure some of the suppression decision-making was like that.

                But given what we know about their systemic capacity to do this sort of thing, as well as their already expressed believe in the power of data sorting and segmenting, it seems more logical than not that they will at least attempt to prevent Bernie listers from voting in the primaries in the future, if they haven’t been giving the party money. That kind of database cross-check would be easy to do.

                I know you’re teasing, but I get really prickly about this issue. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean no one’s out to get you.

                Part of the power of gaslighting is that the victim starts disbelieving everything they see, because they no longer trust their own perception. I think enough of the Democratic Party’s malfeasance has been proven that while I may be mistaken about this, I’m not being paranoid.

          2. ChrisAtRU

            In true #DragonScroll style, I’d like to see Bernie turn over this list with all the pomp and circumstance its mythology demands, and then have it be opened and revealed to be blank.

            The power of the list is inside you …


        2. different clue

          “Bernie List” is a whole lot easier to say then that whole long bunch of words and phrases that you gave us. No one is going to repeat that whole long list of words and phrases every time they want to refer to The List.

          So perhaps the trick is to use the word Bernie List together with your long bunch of words and phrases in the same sentence over and over in so many times and so many places . . . . that the word Bernie List comes to MEAN . . . all that-there stuff that you said there. That way, every time anyone hears the word Bernie List, they automatically think of . . . . that whole buncha stuff that you said in your comment.

          Meanwhile, other people might want to come up with other easy phrases for it. Like . . . Campaign Rebel Mailing List or some such thing. Or the Bernie Rebel List. Or the New Deal Warrior List.

          1. ChrisPacific

            Yes, I did think of that afterward. Given that it’s intended to convince Democrats that it will be useless to them, you should theoretically only need to say it once and they will recoil in horror and never mention it again. But should there be a need to refer to it in a short and pithy way (in the media, for example) I’d suggest taking one of the positions, phrasing it in a short and catchy way, and using it as a proxy for all of them. For example: the Medicare For All List.

        3. Mel

          The general thinking seems to be that the people named on that list are Bernie’s property, and his to give. I doubt that Bernie thinks of it that way, but the DNC members do. Ditto during the latter part of the campaign, when Bernie was supposed to load his delegates into a truck and dump them in Hillary’s driveway one morning. Private property is part of America.

        4. different clue

          Or how about calling it the NoClintonNoBama List?

          Someone said I should use nicer language than that, but after I read a couple of recent Riverdaughter posts and threads, I realized that millions of ClintoBama Democrats are our blood enemies and will have to be fought to victory or to the death. There is no hope of compromise or even any trace of human contact with these Clinton supporters.

          But no one here has to take my word for that. People can read the posts and the threads for themselves and decide for themselves whether there is any hope of avoiding conflict with these people or not. Here are the links.



          1. aab

            I don’t need to follow that link to learn this. Twitter is evidence enough.

            That’s another advantage to focusing on policy. It really helps cut to the chase with Clintonians and such. They never have an answer to that.

          2. Bittercup

            It’s the Metafilter election threads (election2016, potus45) that really make me despair. Once in a while someone new will gently push back on a prevailing orthodoxy, and promptly get eviscerated.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > blood enemies

            I think the rot in the Democrat Party goes all the way down to the ground level (my “thousand thumbs on the scale” theory of election rigging). That’s not to say that a hostile takeover isn’t desireable/necessary, or that the termite-infested (to mix metaphors) parts of the foundation can’t be repaired, but that Ellison is going to have to be awfully careful in his definition of “unity.” Unity based on Sanders policies? Sure. Unity based on “We’re all Democrats together and share the same values?” No. We don’t share the same values. Of course, if it’s Perez, the rot is irretrievable.

            You can’t put the guy who explained to the DNC (Podesta mail) how to smear Sanders as a racist in charge of the party without sending Sanders people an invitation to leave. DSA keeps tweeting out pictures of biggish meetings in urban areas, and they seem not have the baggage of failure and dysfunction of the GP, or the baggage of the (Cuomo-endorsing) WFP.

      3. Kokuanani

        It’s an indication of their stupidity that Schumer/DNC et al. think that getting the “Bernie list,” and sending out some message, will result in a high percentage of people on the list responding to that message — in any way other than mailing a brick back to them with the postage-paid card.

    2. Benedict@Large

      As for what the Democratic elites want and will actually push for, either party will do quite well enough. Why the party exists as a separate entity today is to keep the real left silenced and out of power. They may give lip service to more than this, but it’s Lucy with the football when it’s actually time to do something about it.

  6. Alex Morfesis

    LS: no need to be nice to Lewis…just because rommel was killed after that staged photoshoot of july 20th, did not absolve him of his previous acts…

    and one moment of looking at a broken wall clock when it is actually that time does not mean the clock is working again…

    John Lewis…

    Can’t think of anything snappy to add…

    1. aab

      Whatever self-interest led John Lewis to endorse Ellison is irrelevant to me. John Lewis is a corrupt old man who doesn’t care about his constituents or anybody else not named John Lewis, as far as I can tell.

      If we can remake the system such that John Lewis dare not be an obstacle to the left, good. Merely endorsing Ellison is barely a baby step in that direction. The Soros family is backing Ellison. I hear they have cash on hand.

  7. charles leseau

    That ‘front lines of fascism vs communism’ bit brought the ever elusive belly laugh here. Thanks.

  8. Lee

    Mia Farrow has tweeted about tax resistance. Gloria Steinem is also planning to take part in the movement” [Guardian].

    A couple more rich people not paying taxes. What else is new?

    1. carl

      Wesley Snipes found out that a “principled stance” in refusing to pay taxes helped him not at all in his prison cell.

    2. aab

      What utter hypocrites. Bombing women and children to smithereens is okay, though, Mia and Gloria? Leaving the majority of Americans behind to the point of an epidemic of despair and death is not worth your resistance?

      Let’s see the perp walk of them being taken into custody and shipped to Rikers. Otherwise, I’ll assume this is just cocktail party chatter from two women who must be categorized as ignorant, frauds, or both.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    I think the states that legalized marijuana have a pretty good handle on just how big the underground market is in the United States.

    1. cocomaan

      Yep, 5% seems really low. Just consider the number of people on food stamps (40+ million) and their movements above and below board in our economy. That’s around 10% of the population. Many of those folks are involved in at least some kind of black market.

      Cash income, cash personnel outlays, illegal drug trade, Rx trade, weapons, human trafficking, counterfeiting of welfare benefits/cash/identification, and anything related to how illegal immigrants live in our country is all underground.

      There’s no way that’s 5% of the economy. Of course, if you’re counting HFTs handing money to themselves over and over again, sure, it’s only 5%.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Several of the black men whacked by the cops were in System D. Loose cigarettes, bootleg CDs. Third World stuff, like you’d see along the road in Cambodia or Thailand.

  10. Tertium Squid

    Musk has started digging a pit in the SpaceX parking lot as a “demo tunnel” that can accommodate cars and serve as the basis of an underground transportation network

    So he’s doing a pivot from Moonraker-style Bond Villain to Dr. No?

  11. Paid Minion

    UPS drones

    Up next…….(.LOL)

    Headline: “High Schoolers mug UPS drones”

    “We hate the noisy SOBs. One Drone………one baseball bat……….no problem”.

    All of these drone/self driving schemes depend on a benign operating environment (Note that nobody is working on this program in Mogadishu). Which at the current rate of job losses/underemployment, may not last much longer.

    1. Robert McGregor

      Re: ““[UPS] has successfully tested a drone that launches from the top of a vehicle, autonomously delivers a package to final destination and then returns to the vehicle, all while the delivery driver is able to continue along his/her land-based route in order to make a separate delivery”

      Great. Now UPS drivers will go from being among the most physically fit “Big Corporate” employees–all that hopping out of the truck and quickly delivering piles of boxes–to looking like any other pot-bellied, diabetic over-the-road driver! Technology gives, and it takes away.

      1. Tom

        Uber hopes to cash in on the drone craze by creating an app that matches up shoppers with drone-owning locals who will provide pick up/drop off services from nearby stores/restaurants. I think they’re going to call it Druber.

    2. crittermom

      Sadly, in this recent incident involving a drone in Colorado, it wasn’t the drone that was injured:

      Idiots. The rider warned them to get it outta there as she knew it was spooking the horse.

      Common sense is not so common, as proven once again.
      Maybe if the horse had run over the drone operators rather than spectators, they might have better understood the foolishness of their actions with their ‘toy’.

  12. Code Name D

    It turns out i live in Kansas 4. (I didn’t even know there was an election. That says something, all though perhaps more about me.) I’ll look into it further. But right off the bat I would not read much into it. Wichita itself is fairly purple with the rual areas deep red.

    Democrats have vertualy no strength here. It wouldn’t suprise me if the ew repup runs unapposed. The real watch here is the quality of republican that wins the primary. The moderates are resurging here. I’ll look into it further and report later.

        1. Code Name D

          [QUOTE]Still, given Trump’s volatility, Democrats insist they have a case to make here. They’ve nominated a civil rights lawyer and Army veteran, James Thompson, who happens to be a political newcomer in an era when newcomers have had success. He’s got no voting record. [/QUOTE]
          So Thompson seems to think he has a case to make here because – Trump. I am underwhelmed.
          [QUOTE] “For me the things I wanted to work on are the common-sense things that are going to help solve our problems,” Thompson said at his kickoff. “We need jobs, education, and we need to take care of the veterans in our community.” [/QUOTE]
          By “common-sense”, I think you mean using focus groups to tailor my message in such a way that I will give you what surveys say you want to here without actually committing to any sort of active policy. Still waiting to be wowed here.
          [QUOTE]Democrats already are operating phone banks. [/QUOTE]
          Call now! Operators are standing by! Have your credit card handy when you call.
          [QUOTE] “It’s a big deal,” Kansas Democratic chair Lee Kinch said of the race. “After three weeks of chaos in the Trump administration, voters may be having second thoughts.” [/QUOTE]
          Right, because Thompson is not Trump.
          [QUOTE]These days, the momentum is on the side of the Democrats. [/QUOTE]
          Check please.
          [QUOTE]Meantime, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is under enormous pressure to prove that her party can win seats in the heartland. She was challenged for re-election as leader last fall by an Ohio Democrat who questioned why the party was so weak in the Midwest. [/QUOTE]
          Wait, she was challenged last fall? Nothing since then, really? We are only worried about the Midwest then?
          [QUOTE]But wrestling the 4th away from the GOP will be an enormous lift. [/QUOTE]
          Ah, I see now. Kansas 4th is Pelosi’s latest vanity project. PROOF positive she can win elections! It’s not like issues are important or anything. And what happens to her should Thompson lose? Probably nothing.
          [QUOTE]The Republicans have gone with a well-known entity, state treasurer Ron Estes, who once was Sedgwick County’s treasurer.
          He’s a safe, dependable choice and not flashy. That may be all the Republicans need.
          But Trump isn’t Estes’ only vulnerability. [/QUOTE]
          Trump isn’t Estes only vulnerability? We aren’t even going to bother making the assumption, are we, and just jump right into pretending its true.
          [QUOTE]Democrats will attempt to tether Estes to Gov. Sam Brownback, who continues to rank as the least popular governor in America. [/QUOTE]
          Sooooo… this is going to be a referendum on Trump because… Brownback.
          [QUOTE] In 2014, Estes appeared to side with Brownback’s controversial decision to slash taxes two years earlier. [/QUOTE]
          That’s it? That’s your oppo research? Estes “appeared” to side with Brownback’s controversial tax cuts?
          [QUOTE]In an interview with Bloomberg, Estes was asked if he still supported Brownback’s income-tax plan.
          His answer: “I am cautiously optimistic that it’s going to work.” [/QUOTE]
          FACE PALM! I don’t even know where to begin with this!
          Brownback’s tax cuts are based on the classic neo-conservative/neo-liberal insistence on austerity. Slash taxes, then slash spending to keep the budget balanced, and then hang on for a white-knuckle ride of roaring economic growth. Instead of ending up with more tax revenue than we would know what to do with, Kansas nearly stalled right out of the gate. We got instead a massive hole blown into the budget and crippled education and highway budgets. And let us not mention Brownback’s raiding the highway funds to plug up those holes, causing the delay and out right cancelation of a number of projects.
          I take note that Thompson never expresses any skepticism for austerity, let alone denouncing it himself. We are just to assume this is something that will stick to Este’s wall. And for good reason I suspect because in the past Democrats have even indorsed Brownback’s tax cuts – all be it tepidly. (Their tax cuts wouldn’t be nearly as large, favor the working poor more and the necessary budget cuts that most go along with it would be done in a responsible fashion, and not affect education.) I suspect that if Thompson was ever pressed, he would still support austerity – just you know, done right.
          [QUOTE]Job one for Thompson is to show that he can raise a lot of money fast. [/QUOTE]
          But not only is austerity unimportant. The issues in and of themselves are irrelevant. No, what will “test” Thompson will be how much money he can raise. On your mark! Get ready! GROVEL!!! Berni-crat my ass.
          [QUOTE]If he can, national Democrats may weigh in. He’s a long shot, but then again, these are interesting times. [/QUOTE]
          Long shot! Try place holder. Look, I want to like this guy. Hell, I will vote for anyone who has a clue. And I will try to keep an open mind as I investigate this a little closer. I will be voting (or not voting) in this election. But this is far from a good first impression and just more of the “vote for me or else” variety of Democrat that has become so common these days. Brownback was imminently beatable. But they searched far and wide and managed to find a corporate Democrat to lose to him twice. And they still haven’t figured out that brown-nosing their ideology gets you nowhere.

          Oh and PS: Thanks for the link Nameless.

          1. Nameless

            @Code Name D, I think you should separate Thompson from Kraske, who wrote that article for the KC Star. From my perspective, most of what you are criticizing is what spin Kraske put on the story, and Thompson couldn’t get in much edgewise over the reporter trying to gin up some drama in the race.

            You know your district better than I do, but if you go and look at the primary results, there were plenty of establishment placeholders who could have been nominated in lieu of Thompson. The dems there clearly went with an outsider in the nomination, but he must have shown them something. I’m cynical of politicians generally, but Thompson on the surface seems more iconoclastic and genuine than you are giving him credit for.

            1. Code Name D

              And that is why I love this place. There is never any shortage of people who will put you in your place when you step out of line.

              Fear not. I will defenatly try to keep an open mind.

              I will disagree with you on one point though. That living in a district gives me any sort of special insight that a good interned serch couldn’t provde.

              Like most “red states”, what makes them “red” isn’t the strangth of the conservative movment, but the protracte weakness of the opposition.

              Kansas4 is going to be a heay lift, even the best of conditions. Setting this up as a reforendum aganst Trump however, just strikes me as political malpractice. They are being setup to fail.

              And if Thomson is sold as a Berni-crat and loses, this could be used to discredit the movment.

              But hay, I only found out about this recently. I got a lot of reserch to do. Stil, I walk into this rather sevearly jadded.

    1. Nameless

      The Dems of Kansas 4th District went with a neophyte, Bernie-leaning army veteran, civil rights attorney in lieu of any of the more establishment candidates who ran in the primary.

      Jim Thompson is an interesting candidate, from what I can gather. Fighting an uphill battle, but his story is compelling if he can get it out there in short time. Grew up in poverty (homeless?). Joined the US Army. Educated at Witchita State on the GI Bill. Says he’s running because he feels an obligation to fight for the opportunities that allowed him the leg up he received in life.

      The type of candidate the Dems need more of, so hats off to him for giving it a go. He definitely could use more attention. Regardless of what may be claimed, that election will be a referendum on Trump, given that the vote is for Pompeo’s seat and the Republican opponent is a vocal Trump supporter.


  13. PKMKII

    Re: Neera’s op-eds. I can understand trepidation about reaching out to conservative, white, working-class midwest folks, that it would turn into Democratic candidates attempting to have a “sister souljah” moment; essentially, same ol’ neoliberal economics, but add a milder version of right-wing xenophobia. Which would just be the Republican Lite strategy at a slightly different angle. And yeah, there may be some gains to be made in the southwest and South, what with the northeastern expats. But to beat a dead horse some more: why wouldn’t a message of economic populism resonate just as well in those regions as it would in the Midwest? Are those places devoid of working class people screwed over by decades of neoliberal economics?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Who would give that message of economic populism? People who will never give that message or people who resemble snakes at this point. Chuck Schumer? Nancy Pelosi? They could bring a wealthy celebrity.

      Allan Grayson originally a Congressional District that voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 while Rahm Emmanuel picked candidates who went on to lose in districts that went for Gore and Kerry in 2006. The problem is Team Blue, not the voters.

      Economic populism works. Republicans in blue shirts don’t work.

    2. Katharine

      Re: trepidation about reaching out &c. Amazing that it never seems to occur to candidates to approach people as people: I have some ideas about what this country needs, but I’d really like to hear about what concerns you and what you think it needs, because that would help improve my ideas.

      Listening is part of every real conversation, and yet too many candidates go out, or worse, send their volunteers out, with no plan to do anything but talk.

    3. sleepy

      As Lambert alludes to, in much of the upper Midwest those Trump voters she writes off have voted for democrats for decades and are far less conservative than you think. For example, Hillary carried heavily democratic and “liberal” Minnesota by only 1.5%.

      Nor do I think Trump’s appeal up here was primarily based on xenophobia, but rather on jobs and the bleak economic outlook of the rural areas and small cities, and a protest against that status quo.

      1. RUKidding


        A friend subscribes to this magazine, and I read this article yesterday. Many of the people who voted for Trump this time around had voted for Obama in the past. They’re not hopeless bigots. They’re desperate, as has been pointed out ad nauseum. There’s a few lines in this article about how the local D party wanted Clinton visit WI, but, of course, Her Royal Highness couldn’t be bothered to lower herself to visit the dreadful smelly peons there, when she could be sucking up to rich white hip urban Republicans, whom Clinton believed would vote for her – but then they did not.

        Eh? Guess what? Clinton lost. Too bad, so sad Clinton. They hated you, too.

        The Democratic Party continues to prove that they have absolutly no interest in appealing to what WAS their traditional base of blue collar workers, including union members. Nay verily, the high and mighty wish to continue to LECTURE to the horrible BernieBros for how abjectly appalling we all are and traitors and shameless idiots because I guess telling us how awful we are will surely ENLIGHTEN us to want to vote for grifters like Clinton, Schumer, Pelosi and the new latest greatest Corey Booker (who voted against getting cheap drugs from Canada). Fahgeddaboud people who are working numerous jawbs but struggling to pay basic bills.

        LET. Them. Eat. Cake.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          The thing is, I’m not sure a single vote would have changed if Hillary had come to Wisconsin a couple of times. In fact, I think it is distinctly possible that her campaign understood how unpopular she was in these parts and decided that letting surrogates represent her was a better strategy. Democrats in Wisconsin have been radicalized since 2010 and are especially attuned to political BS (of the Obama “new pair of shoes” variety). So anything she said to us would have been either true (that she had no idea how to help or interest in helping ordinary people here and elsewhere) and therefore unhelpful or BS and therefore unhelpful.

        2. RMO

          Sure didn’t take them long to forget about how the 2016 election strategy worked out, did it? Remember how they didn’t need any of those voters because for every one they lost they would gain several moderate Republicans? Oh,right. That strategy did work beautifully, the only reason Clinton lost was because of Putin hacking the election, contaminating the U.S. water supply resulting in a loss of everyone’s Purity Of Essence, making dogs and cats live together in sin…

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      The nice thing about advocating for universal programs that bring concrete material benefits to everyone, especially the working class, is that you don’t have make categories like “conservative, white, working-class midwest folks” the starting point of your thinking any more. Of course, there are an awful lot of political and media consultants who make their living exploiting the differences between those categories.

  14. Tim

    Shipping: “[UPS] has successfully tested a drone that launches from the top of a vehicle, autonomously delivers a package to final destination and then returns to the vehicle, all while the delivery driver is able to continue along his/her land-based route in order to make a separate delivery”

    What part of airworthiness don’t these knucklheads understand, and where is the FAA? Airplanes aren’t safe to keep passengers from dying in a crash, they are safe to keep airplanes from crashing into people on the ground.

    A UAV with a package flying a hundred feet off the grounds at speed is still a deadly threat.

    As an aerospace engineer I always feel safe getting on an airplane, but I shouldn’t have to feel unsafe walking out the door of my house because UPS wants to save a few bucks.

    1. tegnost

      my favorite super bowl commercial was the one with the pizzas dropping on peoples heads that eventually panned to the drone traffic jam in the sky

  15. Baby Gerald

    Minor edit Re: “A Stylometric Inquiry into Hyperpartisan and Fake News”– the link credit should read ‘arxiv.org’ not archiv.org.

  16. knowbuddhau

    “This question ties in with broader theories about the nature of the self. For example, there is growing neuroscience research that supports the ancient Buddhist belief that our notion of a stable ‘self’ is nothing more than an illusion.'”

    Ok, I’ll say this for the rest of the Buddhists in the commentariat: told ya so.

    In fact, you’re not the same person you were when you began reading this, nor am I the same as when I began typing. Quantum fluctuations and all that, doncha know. It’s in this sense that many Zen practitioners understand reincarnation.

    May also surprise people to learn that there are no things in nature, only events. If you don’t believe me, make a fist. Now, that’s a thing, right? A fact even: can be observed and reported over time from many perspectives. Now open your hand. What happened to the fist? It was always an event misinterpreted as a thing. And so are you, dear reader. (The answer is, it went back into the Void from which we’re all arising even now.)

    This relates to the empathy article, too. The Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis was my bailiwick back in the day. As an undergrad, I went looking for the line between one person and another. Turns out, it isn’t there. I kept expecting to learn, in neurophyisology classes, where the self was. Never happened.

    Does being rich make people less empathic, and thus less altruistic? Or is self-selection involved: were they stingy bastards to begin with, that being how they got rich? Dunno. Do suspect, though, that having to ignore the effects of ones enrichment on those impoverished to make it so, may dull the sense of empathy.

    I often wonder how the world would be different, if we didn’t have the very necessary ability to ignore the effects of our actions on others. If doctors and nurses couldn’t ignore your pain when they say, “This might sting a little,” they couldn’t hurt you to help you. So some ability to ignore the pain of others is necessary, it seems.

    From the 30K foot view, if indeed we all are one perfectly interdependent event, then we all share being, and compassion is the proper basis for being human. The altruism “problem,” of why one person would help another even at great cost, including risk of death, just disappears.

    That’s why I so love the Sanskrit expression, Tat tvam asi, Thou art that. I imagine a child asking me, in all innocence, “Uncle, what’s that?” So I tell them, TTA, baby, adding, “And guess what? That loves that!” Imagine what people would be like, being brought up not to feel cellf-imprisoned in cellves (sic) of our own mistaken making.

    Long story short, I ended up realizing that all I had done was reinvent Buddhism. So despite all appearances, I think my college education was a spectacular success. Just not in the ways most people mean.

    It’s said that love of money is the root of all evil. I think it’s the illusion of the self. A useful, maybe even necessary illusion, but not to be taken too seriously.

    1. Eric Patton

      Waiting for a female Dalai Lama event, and an explanation as to why there hasn’t been one already. You know, with all the enlightenment and all.

      1. knowbuddhau

        An excellent point, one I raised at the time of my stunningly successful mondo: where are all the matriarchs? Long and rather fanciful lists of patriarchs, but not a matriarch among them? Are we to believe women don’t become enlightened? I was accused of trying to politicize things.

        Yes, there are many examples of individual women in the literature. But not a single one of a matriarch of a school.

        I feel I should point out that the Dalai Lama is not the pope of Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism is one type, and it’s not the type I practice.

    2. djrichard

      My identity seems to be bound up in what I think I have figured out. One of my favorite ministers used to say something along the line of, “be weary of thinking you have everything figured out, God will pull the rug out from underneath you”. And that’s bore out every fricken time, lol.

    3. JTFaraday

      My off the top thoughts about that are that people who have had certain experiences may re-experience them on some level when observing others in those same circumstances, and this is “empathy.” Less well resourced/ protected people likely have more of these experiences, (but then it may depend on what we’re talking about).

      On the other hand, as you say, people (sometimes need to) harden themselves. I’m not convinced that less well off people are more empathetic. Personally, when I have felt pressed (and I was), I’ve been less sensitive to others. I see no reason to give the Sainted working class any more credit than that. So I don’t.

  17. Steely Glint

    Congratulations to NC, Yves, and Lambert for getting a nice mention for Lambert’s excellent post on Medicare for all by Thom Hartmann on his radio show. He & Bernie have beating that drum for years. Nice to hear him quoting from the post. Maybe that will help with the flu.

      1. Steely Glint

        He quoted to Pew Research numbers. I’ve heard him refer to NC several times. He stumbles over the pronunciation of Yves.

  18. dcblogger

    “Whoever prevails as chairman must resist the pressure to follow an uninformed and ill-fated quest for winning over conservative white working-class voters in the Midwest. The solution for Democrats is not to chase Trump defectors. The path to victory involves reinspiring those whites who drifted to third-party candidates and then focusing on the ample opportunities in the Southwest and the South”

    Hey, I know what, perhaps the DNC could endorse HR676, Medicare for All, thuse winning traditional white working class Trump voters PLUS Green Party members. How about that?

    1. sleepy

      If Tandeen thinks it’s hopeless to win over the lifelong dems who voted for Trump in, e.g., my home state of Iowa or Wisconsin or Michigan, she is dreaming if she anticipates making inroads with hardcore gopper voters in states like Texas, Louisiana or South Carolina.

      1. jrs

        It doesn’t say winning over (back) lifelong Dems (for which who knows what the actual numbers are), it says winning over CONSERVATIVE white working-class voters. That’s not how lifelong Dems would usually be described (and especially not those to the left of the candidates), but many registered Republicans might be described as conservative.

        Conservative voters in the midwest or even on the left coast etc.. may not be that much different from those in the south. I mean if we’re really talking conservatives, the outlook may be similar. Yea the south has cultural issues that drive it so far right, but right wing people elsewhere may not be all that different.

        1. jrs

          And yes I think winning over actual conservatives, if that’s what one is dealing with, is mostly a waste of time. Yes Republicans vote consistently, with superior determination and party loyalty, but most of them are not the Dems to win. Get Dems to actually vote (and any independents who are actually open to voting Dem and non-voters). And make sure they don’t get disenfranchised at the polls when they do.

          1. Darius

            The Democrats need to be the party of the working class of any color. End of story.

            Economic justice is racial justice.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Economic justice is racial justice.

              I think economic justice is necessary but not sufficient for racial justice. And I think that racial justice cannot be achieved without economic justice. (That’s Adolph Reed’s point, summarized as “neoliberalism = identity politics.”

        2. sleepy

          I had assumed that Tandeen was referring to those working class voters in my area of the upper midwest who had switched from Obama to Trump, and had also assumed that anyone not voting for Hillary was by her definition conservative. That’s how narrow-visioned most professional dems seem to be, particularly her.

          My Iowa county had voted for the dem nominee for president in every election since 1984. It’s 95% white and it’s working class and went for Trump this go-around. I spent most of my life in the deep South and a voting demographic like that hasn’t existed down there to any large degree in decades. I was trying to draw that distinction, and questioning why Tandeed would write those midwesterners off.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The failure by Democrats to respond in any way to the Case Deaton study, or to address the opioid epidemic in any way, is gradually forcing me to the reluctant conclusion that the dominant factions of the Democrat base in the professional class hate working people and want them to die*.

            That they cannot admit this to themselves is one reason for their fear and hysteria and the intensity of their virtue signaling. I say reluctant because these are my people and my class of origin. But the numbers on excess deaths are pretty compelling, if you look at them, and they won’t look.

            * Not that the conservatives are better. But they don’t pretend to be better.

            1. Foppe

              But why would — and how could — they suddenly start seeing this as a public health issue, when they happily endorse the WoD as a population control measure (via criminalization, which requires personal responsibility-talk plus the usual denial of the relevance of socioeconomic context)? I’m not sure you can address one without (having to) rethink(ing) the other, and that’s just too scary.And that’s ignoring the whole “losers of globalization” story.

              If there is one thing Listen, Liberal made clear to me, it is that meritocracy is just as pernicious a social ladder as is the one conservatives use, with exactly the same moral logic attached. All pleading for the return of noblesse oblige does, is to paper it over.

    2. jrs

      Is there much evidence that there are many white working class voters that switched from Obama to Trump? We have data on REGIONS that switched NOT INDIVIDUALS is my understanding. So we might be chasing unicorns here.

      the data I’ve seen just says that: 1) many white working class people voted for Trump but I don’t think we know who they voted for before, maybe those individuals consistently vote the R ticket 2) Democrats had much reduced turnout but R’s did not have much increased turnout from prior elections.

      So maybe getting the Dems who didn’t turn up to vote to do so IS a viable strategy.

      1. tegnost

        sure a viable strategy, but what actions do you see them taking to achieve that goal? Currently all I see is “how can we get to yes here” used car salesmanship. Maybe you see some other acts of contrition I’m missing? And re conservatives, hillary went all in for them and they didn’t deliver for her

        1. tegnost

          adding I think you’re right that is the “way forward” as it were, but it requires steps I don’t feel are likely to happen, recent example being the much cited drug import vote

  19. allan

    Wells Fargo fires 4 senior managers in sales scandal inquiry

    Wells Fargo’s board of directors fired four senior managers as part of its investigation into the bank’s sales practices scandal.

    Tuesday’s announcement is the first public firing of managers and executives since Wells acknowledged in September that its employees opened up to 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customer authorization in order to meet lofty sales goals. …

    The board also voted to deny any 2016 bonuses to the executives, and they will forfeit any unvested stock and stock options.

    Karma demands that the executives’ employment contracts prevent them from suing
    … because binding arbitration.

  20. hreik

    Leaving this here from my last issue of The Nation:

    <The Evil That Men Do

    In 1944, Nation Washington editor I.F. Stone begged his fellow journalists to publicize the plight of European Jews, then being denied entry to the United States. “I need not dwell upon the authen- ticated horrors of the Nazi intern- ment camps and death chambers for Jews,” Stone wrote. “That is not tragic but a kind of insane horror. It is our part in this which is tragic. The essence of tragedy is not the doing
    of evil by evil men but the doing of evil by good men, out of weakness, indecision, sloth, inability to act in accordance with what they know to be right.
    The tragic element in the fate of the Jews of Europe lies in the failure of their friends in the West to shake loose from customary ways and bureaucratic habit, to risk in- expediency and defy prejudice, to be wholehearted, to care….

    “There is much we could have done to save the Jews of Europe before the war. There is much we could have done since the war began. There are still things we could do today which would give new lives to a few and hope to many. The hope that all is not black in the world for his chil- dren can be strong sustenance for a man starving in a camp or entering a gas chamber. But to feel that your friends and allies are wishy-washy folk who mean what they say but haven’t got the gumption to live up to it must brew a poisonous despair.”

    —Richard Kreitner/blockquote>

  21. RUKidding

    Trump’s wall looms over San Diego


    When candidate Donald Trump kept saying he wanted to wall off Mexico, I naturally wise-cracked that his real goal must be to keep the Mexicans in, because too many were leaving the United States.

    Article discusses the need for certain types of workers, and often, such workers are Mexican and Central American. Also points out that over the past several years, there’s been a net loss of Mexicans in America, as more return home.

    I read that the Donald was exhorting his fans at his most recent “campaign rally” in Florida about building the Wall to much clapping and cheering. What, pray tell, do Florida citizens know about the border and issues with it?? Nice that these people, who are so little affected by the alleged “problems” are the ones most in favor of this time and money wasting exercise in absolute futility.

    My patience with waiting to see what Trump does is wearing very thin, as the costs mount for him to keep spending MY tax dollars on senseless useless “campaign rallies” with his sycophantic fans. bah!

  22. David

    “The country is split down the middle.”

    And it always has been. The differences have been papered over by one thing or another (first military defeat of one faction by the other, later the benefits flowing from a global empire) but they have never been resolved. As our empire declines, those (regional) differences will bubble to the surface (and already are) and put significant strain on an increasingly fragile social compact. Give things another decade or two to simmer and I wouldn’t be surprised to see legitimacy crises for the federal government and substantive nullification/secession movements arising.

    1. LT

      When crisis of legitamacy hits the global scale (and it has), the favorite tool in the Deep State handbook – where there are no competing interests, only a mind-numbing conformity that will erase any idea of idea of divisions – is war. War culture is where it all intersects.
      Hear them beating?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the Deep State handbook

        “the” Deep State? Really? There’s one universal handbook? National or international? No opportunism, all planned in advance?

        It’s too late to stop it, but it’s certainly odd that a virulently memetic phrase that seems to have the effect of nullifying critical and strategic thinking seems to have spread like kudzu… Or bird flu…

          1. LT

            War culture is not fake. The USA has a permanent war culture and economy that transcends elections.
            That’s the context. Parsing words over a definition of a term instead of debating the context strikes me as a form of denialism to face the hard truth about what a war culture manifests.

        1. LT

          Actually, read the context of what I’m saying instead of parsing words over a definition.
          War culture. NC just put up a link today in 2p Water Cooler about the same intersection of the belief system. War economy and war culture is the ideology that never leaves, no matter who is elected.

        2. LT

          See your “Baffler” post on the “New Praetorianism” 2/22 Water Cooler.

          But I see what your issue is…one little word “handbook”. But I know there is no handbook. It’s just a turn of phrase, flippant yes, but referring to an all encompassing ideology whether practiced consciously or unconsciously.

          You know exactly what I mean by war culture? I’d certainly hope so.

          1. LT

            That author hears the war drums beating as well.
            And it’s the context of my post, which may use hyperbole and does not take up article length space – is in reference to similar phenoms.

            I guess I have rember hyperbole and irony don’t play well in the age of internet sensitivity, where the playback of this culture in real time is showing an ugly face in the mirror.

  23. JohnnyGL


    Abby Martin interviews outgoing President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. Correa was probably the most successful of the wave of “pink tide” leaders that swept many parts of Latin America in the early 21st Century.

    Even the likes of Jim Haygood can’t pick on Correa for monetary indiscretions (as he loves to do with Venezuela) because Ecuador adopted the dollar as its currency after a round of hyper-inflation and default in the late 90s. In spite of having to get by without the use of monetary policy, Correa seems to have been quite successful in his reforms of the country.

  24. MartyH

    Ahh … yes … the famous “Russian Incursion into Ukraine” … count on the WaPo to flog The Party Line. Echoes of Iraqi WMDs IMHO.

  25. JeffC

    “Our cognitive systems, the degree to which they’re attuned to other people in the environment, is affected by our own social class.”

    Or more likely, the “affecting” goes the other way. One ends up in a social class that is in part determined by one’s level of empathy. The utterly heartless have a competitive advantage in corporate ladder climbing.

    1. aab

      I honestly wonder about that. It might have been a function of my very unusual childhood, but I always felt out of place at boarding school and college — despite my technically being of the “correct class” — because of my intense empathy and highly emotive nature, neither of which is welcome in the upper middle class.

      I still remember sitting in the dining hall at Harvard weeping over an attempted genocide in Ireland hundreds of years ago, while everybody around me either gawked or looked away in discomfort at the idea that our studies should actually affect us.

  26. Steve H.

    : Lakers promote Magic Johnson to president of basketball operations

    The url says indicates executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss was fired.

    Jim Buss is a co-owner of the Lakers who said three years ago he’d resign in three years if they weren’t in the playoffs.

    So this was an ownership choice, to send a message that Magic Johnson is going to be the Boss In Charge. The fact of a firing instead of a resignation stamps a date that an irrevocable commitment has been made and the Head Boss In Charge will be holding people accountable.

    It brings two names to my mind. Yoo-Hoo, Russell Westbrook!*!*! More pertinent to this blog is Michael Flynn. His firing looks like a victory for the IC, but it might not go so well if the HBOC holds people accountable for the leak.

  27. Benedict@Large

    That quartet under 2016 Post Mortem (on Ellison, Lewis, and Tanden(2)) is simply suffocating. Just this morning I was writing (on Facebook) that the Democratic Party exists only to block the real Left out of media coverage of its ideas, and that actually winning offices served no purpose to them other than to better sell their snake oil to a trusting electorate. I could hardly have chosen four better links to make this very point.

  28. Plenue

    >Cane used to beat members of Pink Floyd finally added to museum”

    “According to Waters, the bamboo was once used to administer “flimsy” beatings across his before-it-was-famous ass, wielded reluctantly by a Cambridge school headmaster who “didn’t really have his heart” in it. (Why even become an educator, then?)”

    Has anyone ever written an exploration of the origins of the casual, gleeful cruelty of British elite education? I’ve never understood it. Though watching things like this:


    where everyone is smiles and it’s all one big lark, explains a hell of a lot about the British Empire.

    1. Katharine

      Giles Fraser has had a couple of Comment items at the Guardian in recent weeks. This one tries to look at the connections, if not necessarily origins:


      Some of the descriptions of the Royal Navy in the 18th century are pretty blood-curdling also (even just those I ran across in a biography of Jane Austen). They do suggest a connection with the needs of Empire, but with the decline of that one wonders about simple sadism.

  29. Code Name D

    Meditations on “fake news” and journalism. This may interest you.
    This was posted by a guy who goes by the take line Anti Citizen X and he likes to talk about the basics of philosophy. Usually he likes to bash on religion, Christians in particular, so he is a bit outside his comfort zone here. It’s about an hour and a half long, so put it on the background.

  30. ewmayer

    Re. CA flooding: The rural counties, which surround Lake Oroville, had challenged the state’s environmental review of dam operations in a 2008 lawsuit, arguing the state “recklessly failed” to properly account for climate change in its long-term dam management plan” [Scientific American]

    But there is 0 evidence that the present very-wet winter has anything to do with climate change. The 1861 CA flood disaster certainly didn’t, coming as it did when humankind had barely started to budge atmospheric CO2 levels above their pre-industrial levels. How about simply “the state recklessly failed to properly account for ongoing maintenance, upgrades and the historical occurrence of extremely wet winters in its long-term dam management plan.” Why dubiously invoke the heavily politicized bogeyman of “oogah boogah global warming” when the state’s “build it and hope it fails on the next guy’s watch” ‘management plan’ was plain for anyone to see?

    1. barefoot charley

      Because climate change is officially real in California, though it often stops at the Nevada border.

  31. Adam Reilly

    “Whoever prevails as chairman must resist the pressure to follow an uninformed and ill-fated quest for winning over conservative white working-class voters in the Midwest.”

    Yeah, as per Chuck Schumer, the electoral goldmine is trying to appeal to the conservative white upper class. If Neera Tanden wants to identify uninformed and ill-fated strategies, maybe she should start with basically every tactic the Clinton campaign used.

    1. VietnamVet

      Neera Tanden is writing off the working class because the only way to end their despair is with meaningful jobs. That will only happen if there is government fiscal stimulus and an end to corporate looting. In the 1930s the New Deal worked and brought back confidence in the future because of the government jobs funded by the redistribution of wealth. Exactly the last thing that her wealthy donors want to hear. This is at the heart of the basic problem for the Trump Administration if he perseveres. Bluster and Private Public Partnerships won’t provide the multitude of good jobs that his supporters demand.

      1. aab


        I think it’s a combination of “who can we use culture and identity to hook, without offering ANY redistributive or universal benefits” and “who can we put together in such an identitarian coalition who will tolerate each other?”

        Part of their dilemma is who can they add to a purely identitarian agenda who is white, in the states where they need more votes? Because they have coached their remaining party identifiers to believe that people who work at other than graduate school educated management or “creative” jobs or who live in the midwest are all racists and sexists. How can they expect their loyal voters to accept such terrible people in their party? Why, that’s almost as bad as the terrible, terrible BernieBros (TM).

        1. JTFaraday

          The Bernie Bros, as distinct from normal people who supported Sanders, did not help themselves by defining themselves AGAINST the liberal women and black people in the D-Party coalition.

          Electorally speaking, this was as dumb as the liberal pundit class going on and on about the racist white people in PA and OH in 2008, while still expecting them to come out and vote for Obama. Eventually, social democrats will figure that out. Till then, they’ll lose.

          It doesn’t help that the real reason the D-Party is neoliberal is that it chased desirable white men to the right economically for 40 years in a failed bid to win them back from the Republicans. Just because one learns a new fact– the D-Party uses demographics and the culture war to keep liberal women and black people in the party, while positioning a few token people (Obama, HRC, Neera Tanden) to take the hits– doesn’t mean the old facts cease to exist.

          So, yes, liberal women and black people have good cause to be leery of big swinging d***s who talk smack about them.

          1. JTFaraday

            And if you doubt that the D-Party is now and always has been run by white men, ask yourself who Neera Tanden works for.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Bluster and Private Public Partnerships won’t provide the multitude of good jobs that his supporters demand.

        Heaven forfend that the Democrat Party position itself to take advantage of Trump’s inevitable failure!

  32. allan

    Uber CEO Apologizes for Company Culture After Harassment Claims [Bloomberg]

    At a meeting open to all Uber Technologies Inc. employees on Tuesday, Travis Kalanick apologized for cultural failings at his company after a former employee alleged she was harassed and discriminated against while working there.

    Alongside board member [and surprising validator] Arianna Huffington and Uber’s head of human resources, Kalanick spoke at his ride-hailing company’s San Francisco headquarters in a meeting that lasted for more than a hour, according to people who watched the event. Uber’s chief executive officer, at times with tears in his eyes, apologized for a lack of diversity in the company’s workforce and for not properly responding to employee complaints, …

    File under We Don’t Believe You.

      1. aab

        I’m assuming someone showed him the Naked Capitalism articles right before he gave his speech.

        Because we know he wouldn’t cry for any of his employees.

    1. cm

      Sad to see at least one female Uber employee (who is somehow a diversity leader?) apparently thinks he is sincere:

      As a female engineer, specifically a female engineer at Uber, and specifically specifically a vocal female engineer at Uber who spends about 20% of her time working on improving diversity and inclusion, I have made myself a beacon for conversations about this sort of issue.

      Her blindness is astonishing:

      I am at Uber because Uber needs me.

      Like it or not, Uber is going to be an important company and I’d rather it reach its potential with smart, empathetic, diverse people at the helm than that I walk out today and wash my hands of it.

      It’s infuriating that something like what happened to Susan can go undetected for so long, and it makes me queasy that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

      I bolded the “undetected” because it WASN’T undetected!!!

  33. freedomny

    So I had my beautiful niece and her boyfriend (prob fiancee) over to my house 2 weeks ago. We talked politics – the dem party – Trump – student debt, etc. We came to the conclusion that you can’t have 20% of the population not wanting change because “I’ve Got Mine” when you have 80% stretched and completely freaked out. Because that is how society collapses. I think a lot of Millenials seem to get it…

    On the other hand…had to speak with my 84 yr old Mother (Trump voter) who raved about Medicare because she had to go to the emergency room 4 times in the past 2 months and only paid $13. She then raved about Paul Ryan. I had to tell her that Paul wants to cut her Medicare and that if that happened she would be out thousands of dollars.

    It’s all education….

    1. Anon

      Well, since it takes ~90 days for Medicare to process claims, those emergency room visits have yet to be processed. I can assure you that a bill larger than $13 is forthcoming. (The annual deductible alone is now $168.)

  34. Karl Kolchak

    Apologies if someone has already posted this essay. I think the author is right on the money about the fast deevolution of American politics and how it is going to lead to war one way or another. My only disagreement with the author is where he expresses hope for the possibility that one party or the other might turn to a more “moderate” leader down the line, when the history since 9/11 has shown a straight opposite trajectory towards more and more extremism. To me, the key moment came when Obama withdrew the last American troops from Iraq in 2010 without any the country doing any Vietnam War-like soul searching in the aftermath.


    “Here’s the hard truth: There is a fundamental synergy between Democratic chauvinist exceptionalism, GOP clash-of-civilizations dogma, and Trump’s grotesque strongman antics. The Democrats may prefer a reboot of Cold War apocalypticism; Trump, for his part, looks eager to tear up global treaties, toss international law aside, and throw American weight around in building a new twenty-first century order of Great Powers. Maybe he will get his way, maybe he won’t. Maybe one of the parties will produce a more telegenic, more reasonable, and more “moderate” leader down the line. Any of these scenarios, though, skirts ever closer to disaster, and all take as unspoken that the essential business of the American state is a fundamental orientation toward war.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Obama withdrew the last American troops from Iraq in 2010 without any the country doing any Vietnam War-like soul searching in the aftermath.

      Look forward and not back….

  35. meeps

    Today’s plantidote is delightful. The ground-level perspective reveals that light would be scant within the enclosed space, were it not for the phenomenon of canopy disengagement. The photo leaves the distinct impression that even the most favored denizens of the forest are ‘mindful’ not to encroach on certain boundaries. Perhaps the favored denizens of finance and politics should holiday in Kuala Lumpur…

    Feel better, Lambert!

  36. witters

    “If your patterns of thought, emotions, and behavior so drastically alter over the decades, can you truly be considered the same person in old age as you were as a teenager?”

    Yes. That is what you (what “I”) was like then!

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