Links 3/22/17

Who Killed the Finest Soybean Soil in the World? AgWeb

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware Motherboard (DK).

Monsanto Weed Killer Roundup Faces New Doubts on Safety in Unsealed Documents NYT. “I’m suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I’m covered with some sort of film….”

How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps NYT

The Extreme Temperature Index: Identifying Which Records are Most Significant Weather Underground

Waning global appetite for coal-fired power raises climate hopes FT

Markets hit by biggest decline since before Trump’s election FT. “Uncertainty over healthcare overhaul fuels concerns about pro-business agenda.” Trump told the House loons they should wait a year, but they wouldn’t, and he needs their votes in case the Democrats decide to try for selecting President Pence, so here we are!

The Trump Honeymoon Is Over: Markets Are Now Scared His Promises Won’t Come True NBC

Ally Financial Issues Profit Warning Over Used Car Prices: Jamie Dimon Says “It’s Not Systemic” MishTalk

Payless Is Said to Be Filing for Bankruptcy as Soon as Next Week Bloomberg

Sears and Kmart owner says ‘substantial doubt’ it can stay in business USA Today

Airlines Want Protectionism – U.S. Bans Laptops, Tablets On Competition’s Flights Moon of Alabama


Goldman, Morgan Stanley Signal London Job Moves Ahead of Brexit Bloomberg

What German unification teaches the doomsayers of Brexit FT. “One of the lessons from German unification is that if the political will is there you can make anything happen.” How Nietzschean…


PBOC Said to Inject Liquidity After Interbank Payments Missed Bloomberg

Exclusive – Taiwan central bank asks custodian banks to advise clients to limit inflows Reuters

For More Chinese Firms, It Pays to Make It in the U.S.A. WSJ

China calls for two-state solution to Israel-Palestine conflict International Business Times

Israel and China a ‘Marriage Made in Heaven,’ Says Netanyahu The Diplomat

North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer Reuters

Is the Indian Nuclear Doctrine Evolving? The Wire. Some damn thing in the Himalayas….

Health Care

What’s In The Manager’s Amendment To AHCA? Timothy Jost, Health Affairs. Must-read.

Let’s Not Let the Republicans Make the Obamacare Replacement Debate About the Congressional Budget Office—Fewer People Will Be Covered and Many Will See Big Cost Increases Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review. Be sure to read to the end.

What’s at Stake in a Health Bill That Slashes the Safety Net NYT. Liberals believe in something called the “safety net,” especially when they don’t have to use it, which is most of the time. The left believes in universal public benefits, which (the dominant factions among) liberals actively oppose — Exhibit A, ObamaCare, and which you should remember whenever you hear a liberal say “strengthen Social Security” — and seek to undermine where they exist.

Buffalo Buyoff? Provision added to health bill targets New York lawmakers CNN. So now the bill is a Christmas tree. Shocking.

Trump, Koch brothers at odds over ‘Trumpcare’ vote Reuters

Trump sounds done with health care before he’s really started Politico. A means to an end…

Provider-sponsored insurance plans owed big risk-corridor payments Modern Health Care

Our Famously Free Press

Crisis at the Independent Journal Review after Rex Tillerson’s Asia trip: Report Salon (DK). Weird headline, since the “crisis” has nothing to do with Tillerson, but rather with a Judy Miller-style CT-esque kerfuffle. For grins, here is the Tillerson hagiography piece at IJR.

Q&A: How The Guardian is working to burst the media bubble Guardian. It’s telling that J.D. Vance is the darling of the Acela Corridor, while Chris Arnade is in the Guardian.

New Cold War

A Breach in the Anti-Putin Groupthink Consortium News (CL), on this article Russia, Trump, and a New Détente Foreign Affairs (unlocked (!!)). Important!

Trump to attend NATO summit in Brussels amid complaint allies owe ‘vast sums’ USA Today

Exclusive – Tillerson urges Senate ratification of Montenegro’s NATO membership Reuters

Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data VOA. That would be DNC contractor CrowdStrike. Remember that the FBI never forensically examined DNC servers; they relied on CrowdStrike findings. Oopsie.

Fact Checking Wikileaks’ Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed (Part 1) Another Word for It (part 2).

Edward Snowden’s Hong Kong barrister authenticates hotel records debunking mystery gap claim Charlie Savage. Claim made by Edward J. Epstein.

Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s Accusers Is a Fraud The Intercept. Greenwald’s version of the same story.

Trump Transition

Donald Trump will resign ‘soon’, says top Democrat Dianne Feinstein The Independent (stormcrow).

Trump’s Credibility Crisis Arrives James Fallows, The Atlantic. Wolf, wolf? Perhaps not: A President’s Credibility Editorial Page, WSJ

Big Labor signals an easy confirmation for Acosta as labor secretary McClatchy

On Deck: Perdue’s Poverty Policies WSJ

Donald Trump Is Filling Top Pentagon and Homeland Security Positions With Defense Contractors The Intercept

Ivanka Trump Is Officially Unofficially in the West Wing Vanity Fair

How Indian IT companies are devising strategy to beat Donald Trump’s visa ban The Economic Times (J-LS).

Why open borders are crucial for innovation WaPo

Much of What We Think We Know Is Wrong Der Spiegel. No doubt, but covers the migration debate.

Class Warfare

No Sympathy for the Hillbilly Frank Rich, New York Magazine. I’m going to take a blowtorch to Frank’s soufflé for Monday, so I’d be interested in your reactions to this piece.

Trump has no idea how to tend his garden Garrison Keillor, WaPo. “And now, years later, you realize that writing a column of 750 words is not so different from hoeing.”

The smug style in American liberalism: It’s not helping, folks — but there’s a better way Salon and Liberal shaming of Appalachia: Inside the media elite’s obsession with the “hillbilly problem” Salon. When you’ve lost Salon….

Dozens of Mich. water systems top Snyder’s lead limit Detroit News

South Africa’s San people issue ethics code to scientists Nature

The Brain Takes a Guided Tour of London Scientific American (CL).

David Rockefeller & October Surprise Case Consortium News

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Ed

      They may be on to something. Kansas has no coastline and the climate there is already pretty horrible. Its bad enough that they may even be one of those few places to benefit from climate change.

      There is a huge amount of ecological destruction happening, mainly due to global human overpopulation, much of which has nothing to do with the climate and which is being ignored because modern humans can only handle one thought at a time or something. Kansas for example depends on underground aquifers that are being depleted. They are being depleted by the industrial farming needed to feed seven billion people. This doesn’t fit into the conversation.

      1. craazyboy

        One of the “popular” climate change scenarios is the Dustbowl and Kansas would be ground zero for that. See the movie, “Interstellar” for the appropriate simulation. No crops leads to no cows, etc….

          1. JohnnyGL

            Boy, if that ain’t typical of the thinking in tech world these days. Let’s come up with a ridiculous invention to do a job that can already be done quite effectively. :)

            There’s a thing called a ‘plant’ that can handle it. In fact, it can hold the dirt in place, too. This helps prevent dust bowls. :)

            Much like the hype around carbon-capture and storage. Let’s burn carbon to hold carbon! Even though plants can already do this and don’t need maintenance or up-front capital investment!

            Let’s also create ‘smart’ highways that can accommodate self-driving cars. Except, we already have these, they’re called ‘trains’ and they’re cheaper and already proven to work!

            Thanks for cracking me up and inspiring my rant! :)

              1. Vatch

                That’s a lot like Chicken Little in the novel “The Space Merchants”, by Pohl and Kornbluth.

      2. MoiAussie

        Agree 100% that there’re plenty of human practices other than burning fossil fuels causing ecological destruction, and am happy to bring them into the conversation: Big Ag, mining, forestry, fracking, water extraction, land clearing, dams, Pharma, plastics, pesticides, overfishing, nuclear energy, air pollution, conflicts, etc etc etc
        The key message in this story, however, is:

        The Kansas fires — the largest in state history — burned more than 400,000 acres here in Clark County alone…

        ie another dismal record broken. And the causes:

        Weeks without snow or rain and late-winter temperatures scraping 80 degrees are threatening to create even more blazes in Western states grappling with the growing fire danger posed by climate change

        So hoping that CC is going to make things better for Kansas is textbook wishful thinking.

        The maps also show that there is hardly anywhere in the US where a majority surveyed feel that CC is going to affect them personally. Boiling frogs and all that.

        1. Code Name D


          The thing is we are heading into burn season. Where farmers deliberately burn pasture in preparation for planting. These fires burn hot and fast, but also burn out quickly, consisting mostly of grass and crop cuttings. This makes controlling these fires a lot easer than forest fires.

          I have heard in the news some grass fires getting out of control lately, mostly because of high winds and unauthorized burning. But officials do not seem to be concerned or over-taxed in the least.

          Are we sure this isn’t just media hype?

          1. MoiAussie

            Yeah, it’s burn season. But in February the Texas panhandle was hit with “a blistering heatwave so hot it would have been out of place on some summer days”.

            “The states affected all had a top-five warmest February on record, which helped dry out the vegetation and set the stage for the fires,” Jeff Masters told Gizmodo. In February, temperatures hit 87 degrees Fahrenheit in Laverne, Oklahoma. The average high is just 62. Then in March it crept up to 91 degrees when the normal high is 66. The heat, and accompanying low humidity, exacerbated the usual winter conditions where grasses go dormant and “cure”.

            But officials do not seem to be concerned or over-taxed in the least.

            It took fire fighting crews spanning four states more than a week to finally end the inferno (gizmodo).

            7 dead, 1.6 million acres burned.

            Meanwhile in the opposite hemisphere, Worst Wildfires in Chile’s History Have Left Devastation in Their Wake. More hype perhaps. Better get it fact-checked.

      3. MoiAussie

        Kansas for example depends on underground aquifers that are being depleted. They are being depleted by the industrial farming needed to feed seven billion people.

        They are being depleted by the industrial farming needed to maximise short term shareholder profits. BigAg cares nothing for people starving in far off places.

        1. Paid Minion

          Lets be accurate. They are using aquifers to grow corn (a crop that needs a lot of water) in Western Kansas. Why corn? For animal feed, to the feedlots. Local corn is cheaper than corn shipped from Iowa. (Its also used for biofuels, thanks to CornBelt politicians)

          Yeah,its stupid, but the reality is that no one is stampeding out to live in western Kansas anyway. The view is that without it, you might as well give everything west of Salina/Wichita back to the buffalo or Native Americans. Except for the fact that western Kansas agriculture primarily the thing that keeps Wichita afloat. (that, airplane manufacturing, and the Kochs, but I digress…….)

          Plus, using local production reduces air pollution. By how much? Who knows, but someone could probably produce an estimate.

          The truth: Range fires, like drought in Kansas are nothing new. Even back in the days of prairie schooners. Eliminating every internal combustion vehicle in the country wont change that

          1. Knot Galt

            How much of that land is owned by large corporations?

            As the book I sourced below suggests, returning the land to the buffalo and Native Americans is what should, and needs, to be done.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Returning the land because we have no use for it, or because it’s a good principle.

              If latter, what other territories need to be returned?


              San Francisco?

      4. Knot Galt

        A good read is The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. He chronicles the time before and during the Great Dust Bowl. The ecology of the area has yet to recover and is IMHO an example of our collective hubris that blithely ignores the affects of man made climate change.

        When you read about the hissing of centipedes as they are crushed from taking the frying pan to the side of walls, it does nothing to prepare you for the stories of dust pneumonia that killed hundreds if not thousands of people who emigrated to the Oklahoma panhandle in search of a livelihood and pursuit of riches. From Katrina to the Kansas wildfires, are these just the precursors to greater environmental disasters, of our own making, to come?

  1. vlade

    Comparing German unification and Brexit is like comparing a reunion of a feuding faimily with a divorce. In the first one, giving up the various feuds and bad will is an absolute precondition to even starting, in the second one the divorce is likely happening because of the bad will and feuds build up.

    If you really wanted to compare brexit with something, break up of USSR would be a better comparable (well, actually, ACW would be an even better one if it didn’t end up in a war).

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      If Brexit happens, Scotland will certainly leave the UK. Then Ireland is next. Then Wales and the rest of the Celtic states.

      It’d be some nice schadenfreude to see all of the upper/upper-middle class English nationalists throw the mother of all hissy fits as they realize (or rather, deny) that their desperate, preening grasp for nostalgia only ended up accelerating their descent into the world they feared. It’ll be like American liberals throwing a temper tantrum over Trumpism destroying their delusions of the End of History, only ten times better.

      1. paul

        I wish I shared your certainty. The UK establishment will fight tooth and nail to keep scotland in the UK and they can stoop very low indeed (they certainly did in the last two scottish referendums).

        They have no policy concepts beyond financial services,looting the public sector and resource extraction.

        Scotland leaving plus The City going Space1999 would leave the rump UK in almost unimaginably deep and fetid shit.

        As Mark Blyth would say, they haven’t really thought this through.

        1. Pavel

          Love the Space 1999 reference! Thanks for the smile.

          Brexit is indeed turning into the Perfect Storm for the UK establishment. The wealthy will be all right of course (decamped if need be to Paris or Luxembourg or wherever) but the proles will end up suffering as usual.

          It may not end up a hard Brexit, but people are nervous enough now to start planning for it — that alone creates its own momentum and mindset.

          Luckily the Brits have in Mrs T May a creative thinker, a skilled negotiator, and highly intelligent leader. Oh wait a minute.

          1. hemeantwell

            Love the Space 1999 reference! Thanks for the smile

            +1, as the crappy but unforgettable guitar-driven opening music wah-wahs through my noggin.

        2. Mark P.

          ‘If Brexit happens, Scotland will certainly leave the UK’.

          Scotland can certainly vote for independence.

          Firstly, though, it doesn’t have its own sovereign currency but runs on the GB sterling, so London owns its money. How did that work for Greece with the Troika? Wasn’t the currency issue the game-stopper during Alex Salmond’s run at Scottish independence the last time, in fact?

          Secondly, Scotland is also running spending deficits that the Eurozone won’t countenance and last time I looked relied on capital transfers from London/GB as a whole. That would have to change for it to join the the EU.

          Thirdly, Spain and maybe others already in the EU are likely to block a secessionist candidate like Scotland from entering the EU.

          1. paul

            Firstly, if it’s not an independent country how can it have its own currency? To have your own currency you have to have political independence.
            (A Scottish currency (the groat) was considered last time but the deadbeats and double agents in the bureacracy pleaded it would be too complicated for the punters to grasp)

            I am firmly of the opinion that an independent country deserves the advantages of an independent currency.

            Secondly, scotland does not run any spending deficits, it can only spend what Westminster dispenses. It also raises in tax per capita what it spends.

            Thirdly, an spanish MEP, Estaban Pons, from rajoy’s party has stated that an independent Scotland is an entirely different case from catalonia

            Apart from these 3 points, you may be onto something.

                  1. paul

                    These rely on GERS figures, a pile of shit cooked up by a blue tory scottish secretary,Ian Lang, with the express purpose of undermining confidence in an independent scotland

                    Gers and real economists

                    Real worlds are pretty subjective these days, but condescension has the same stale whiff in all of them.

              1. paul

                I suppose I might be, but why bother educating myself when you know it all?

                Scotland has been producing its own bank notes and accounting for them for a very long time, our atm hoppers can handle as many as we want to stuff in them.

          2. Oregoncharles

            English control of the pound might not be straightforward.

            Legally, as a theoretically co-equal member of the UK, seems like Scotland would have just as good a claim to it as England. Practically, I understand from someone here (Clive?) that Scotland prints its own currency, which is visually distinct from London pounds. Stamp a big thistle on it and problem solved (yes, I know, things just get interesting from there.) Interesting choice of national symbol, the thistle. Maybe there’s something I don’t know; how would London prevent them using the same bills? Suddenly, they’d be a separate country, not subject to UK law.

            You have a better point about the Euro and the EU, especially since adopting the Euro would put them in precisely the place of Greece. Yes, Spain would probably try to stop them; but Spain will not have the same government very long, and Valencia might well be its own country by then. Europe is devolving all over – I once saw a map of the “lost nations” of Europe; they’re everywhere.

            The North Sea oil fields belong to Scotland, not England. What do you want to bet England is set up to run on North Sea oil? Sure, they could import oil from elsewhere; but the transition would be ugly. Lots of ugliness to go around, and lots of intermarriage and interdependence. If the Brits are sane, they kiss each other goodbye. The offer has worked well for them so far, as for Canada. That isn’t to say they WOULD be sane, of course; no one knows.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you. I agree and am looking forward.

        It won’t just be the upper class. There are “narrow little nationalists” (how Ted Heath described Maggie Thatcher) in the middle and working classes, too.

        Some of these nationalists are of immigrant origin, one way of being accepted. One I know, a Lebanese, said the EU is bullying the UK. Said Lebanese works in PR, including for Libyan rebels.

      3. vidimi

        it’s funny to see england refute the same arguments it uses to justify a break with europe re scotland

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Germany united successfully because they share the same currency, very generously credited to former E. Germany at 2:1 and traded under a single bond market. EU? Not so much. Interest rate policy that suits Germany but nobody else.

    2. DanB

      There still exists vastly differing perceptions and interpretations -as well as an unacknowledged status hierarchy- of German unification between East and West Germans. As NC readers can appreciate, the East German point of view is either defined as whining, nostalgia, and an inability to function in a capitalist economy, or it is simply ignored by mainstream German media. I recently published a book about the intellectual class of East Germany -scientists, academics, writers, artists, media- that documents how they saw unification in1990 as “die Abwicklung” (dismantling) of East Germany. This interpretation persist to this day. While “feud” is an understandable description, it obscures the sociological forces at play: cultural/ideological identity and class conflict. Just as today liberal elites are stigmatizing “Hillbillies” for voting for Trump en mass -an essentially false narrative- the West Germans stigmatized East Germans variously as feral, country bumpkins, rubes, and possessing authoritarian personality traits. The 1990 new word of the year in Germany was “Besserwessi”, a reference to the presumed superiority of the West Germans and inferiority of East Germans.

      1. sinbad66

        Lived in Germany when the wall came down and throughout the 90s. Your interpretation is spot on. Resentment from the East Germans because the West Germans looked down upon them; resentment from the West Germans because of the unification tax they had to pay to rebuild the East. They also seem to resent the perception that easterners wanted everything right now, when it took the West a couple of decades to get to where it was at. A prevalent joke at the time was to ship all of the easterners back and build the wall 10 meters higher!

      2. vlade

        I didn’t want to go into all that, as that demolishes the article even further. If you try to demolish instituions and ways that are > generation old, you’re in for some troubles I’d say (regardless of how good/bad the institutions were).

  2. fresno dan

    No Sympathy for the Hillbilly Frank Rich, New York Magazine. I’m going to take a blowtorch to Frank’s soufflé for Monday, so I’d be interested in your reactions to this piece.

    The toughest critics of white blue-collar Trump voters are conservatives. Witness Kevin D. Williamson, who skewered “the white working class’s descent into dysfunction” in National Review as Trump was piling up his victories in the GOP primaries last March. Raised in working-class West Texas, Williamson had no interest in emulating the efforts of coastal liberals to scale empathy walls. Instead, he condemns Trump voters for being “in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.” He chastises them for embracing victimhood by blaming their plight on “outside forces” like globalization, the Establishment, China, Washington, immigrants — and “the Man” who “closed the factories down.”

    I get the impression that Rich thinks Williamson is on to something – which shows how wrong Rich is right there. 2nd there seems to be this idea that the dems will PERFORM better than repubs – I agree – the dems will assure that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – where in the world does Rich get the idea that the 90% has NOT been in a downward slide for 40 years under BOTH parties???. Again, people didn’t vote FOR Trump, they voted against the status quo that keeps saying there is low unemployment.
    And finally, Trump got scarcely any more white voters than Romney. Clinton lost her base, which apparently didn’t buy that “America is still great.”

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      Liberals are completely around the bend right now. Clinton was the perfect avatar of their hopes and dreams: a warmongering, hyper-credentialled, celebrity-drenched, technocratic arriviste. And she was rejected in favor of a billionaire clown r*pist. So, they’re unsurprisingly lashing out. Despite conservatism’s many, many weaknesses the liberals have no clear path to victory short-term or even long-term except for lucky black swans or hazy demographics — demographics which have implicitly rejected their worldview.

      Those of you who were around in the 1970s: did the left-of-center freak out this much after McGovern went down in flames? Hillary Clinton has failed harder than any US Presidential candidate since Herbert Hoover. It really feels like it’s time for a reckoning. Not a new coat of paint like when Dukakis went down, but a complete uprooting of every Clinton-Obama Democrat.

      1. jinbaltimore

        Hillary Clinton has failed harder than any US Presidential candidate since Herbert Hoover

        Um, no. Great exercise in hyperbole though.

            1. Deadl E Cheese

              George McGovern didn’t take the Democratic party down with him like Abuela and Obama did. Yeah, he got whipped harder in the electoral college, but in terms of post-election political power which standardbearer left the non-reactionaries worse off? That would be Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, two stomachs of the same Judas goat.

              1. Archangel

                Let’s also remember that the Democratic Party establishment, led by a bitter and resentful Hubert Humphrey, including their traditional allies the unions, hung McGovern out to dry. They felt losing to a Republican was more palatable than winning with a progressive, even then.

              2. jinbaltimore

                Mondale’s loss (see link above one for McGovern) led to most diminished power for D’s in decades, but maybe you weren’t around for the Democratic wasteland that was the US during the Reagan years?

                1. Deadl E Cheese

                  The GOP lost Senate seats in 1984. In statehouses, they were still behind 2 to 1. Dems still had the House. Mondale’s loss was bad, but it was nowhere near as devastating as Clinton’s.

                  The Third Way Dems have somehow brainwashed Democratic partisans into thinking that the New Deal Democrats were dinosaurs and that their crackpot pragmatism was the only way to save the country from reactionaries. That they maintain this fiction despite being destroyed more thoroughly than even the folk devils of McGovern, Carter, and Mondale would have Goebbels peeing his pants with rage-envy.

                  1. jinbaltimore

                    That they maintain this fiction despite being destroyed more thoroughly than even the folk devils of McGovern, Carter, and Mondale

                    Again, unproven claim. I get wanting it to be true though.

                    1. Deadl E Cheese

                      The heck are you talking about? “McGovern Must Never Happen Again!” has been the rallying cry of Third Way Democrats for decades. Every time anyone to their left questioned one of their reactionary spasms on war or austerity or mass incarceration or money in politics or whatever, they justified their sellouts with ‘surely you don’t want Jones McGovern to return, do you?’

                      That’s predictable and understandable. Centrists can’t appeal to people morally or materially, so they have to appeal in this way. What’s NOT understandable is how they manage to maintain this line of argument despite Obama and the Clintons leaving the party in smoldering ruins.

                      Why people, even the soulless bourgeois centrists these candidates were designed in a lab to serve, view Clinton and especially Obama as anything but a continually disaster and a blundering Judas goat is a mystery.

                    2. jinbaltimore

                      It is a sign that have lost the argument when your use of buzz words (in this case “centrist, bourgeois”) increases.

                  1. Deadl E Cheese

                    Yes, AND? Which candidate left the Democratic Party in worse shape? The post-Mondale Democratic Party still had some muscle left in it. The post-Clinton Democratic Party does not.

                    Also, Clinton only gained two seats in an environment where the Republicans had a lot more seats up for grabs. Mondale Democrats had to defend 14 seats to the GOP’s 19. Clinton Democrats had to defend 10 seats to the GOP’s 24.

                2. different clue

                  The same Rust Belt Democrats who voted for Reagan were still voting for Democratic Senators and Representatives. They didn’t strongly and severely vote against Democratic Senators and Representatives until President Clinton adopted the Republican Free Trade Treason agenda and got just enough Democrats in the House and Senate to adopt it too . . . to get it passed.

                  It was that deceitful betrayal by the Clintonites and their New Yuppie Scumocrats that earned the DemParty its minority position in the House and Senate.

                  And Mommy Wokest supports the Trade Treason Agenda, just like her husband Slicky Bill does. So her hostility to Factory America was well known. Trump seemed a hopeful unknown by comparison.

                  Perhaps Sanders and his younger successors as he keeps aging can lead movements to purge and burn all the Clintonite Filth out of regional and local DemParty structures in the fading industrial areas. Perhaps they can then move on to conquer, purge, burn and disinfect the DemParty in its Privileged Liberal heartlands. Or perhaps it can at least force the Privileged Liberals to join the Republican Party, which is the Privileged Liberals’ true social-class home.

        1. Deadl E Cheese

          You’re right. Obama is a lot more responsible than Abuela; the Democratic Party going from a supermajority to its weakest state in four generations wasn’t done in a single cycle. That said, she had a prime chance against the most unpopular candidate in history to win back the Senate and maybe even break the House gerrymander and grossly failed to do either.

          But looking at 2009 versus 2017? Yeah. That’s some Herbert Hoover-level fail.

          1. Whatever

            Can’t discount the effect of the systematic assaults on her character and integrity, the “emails”
            YUGE scandal, while Trump got a free pass while being *under FBI investigation*.

            The anger is at the maddening double standard re “scandal” and “corruption”, the Putin army of bullshit-spreading trolls, and the Comey letter. Take that away and the loon doesn’t become president.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              It’s absurd on its face to think that a Secretary of State privatizing her email server isn’t a major scandal in its own right. If it’s allowed, we literally have no way to hold political appointees accountable at all. It also is an obvious avenue to open corruption (even if the FBI did let Clinton get away the deleting half her mail — Chelsea’s wedding, yoga lessons, yeah right — before she turned the server over to investigators).

              I know that Democrat pissing and moaning on “But her email” has had the knobs turned up to 11 for months now, with some success, but in my view the entire episode rendered her unqualified for high office.

              1. Ulysses

                “It’s absurd on its face to think that a Secretary of State privatizing her email server isn’t a major scandal in its own right. If it’s allowed, we literally have no way to hold political appointees accountable at all.”

                Very well said!

                The inverted totalitarian regime, that rules us now, has made it impossible for private citizens to actually have any privacy– under the baleful Eye of Sauron that is the Surveillance State. Yet people, who purport to be “public servants,” easily evade any public scrutiny of their (mis)deeds while holding public office!!


            2. Pat

              I know Lambert has taken on the legal aspects of that email scandal, but let me point out the judgment aspects.

              Despite the various, obviously fake, excuses for using her own server, the simple fact was that Hillary Rodham Clinton did not think her work product should be available to the public, regardless of the law. It was all designed to avoid the FOIA. She took the job knowing that it was subject to public scrutinization, because well political advancement. But rather than accept that yes, people would be scrutinizing her because of her decades of lying to the public (sorry despite the excuses after a certain point you have to recognize that she lied often regarding her record, her intentions and yes her actions) she chose, let me repeat she CHOSE, to try to hide her work product instead of running her department transparently. She even lied on her final paperwork about the server by claiming to have provided all work product while producing not one email from the server.

              There were many things during her tenure as both Senator and as Secretary of State that brought her judgment into question – but the email server made it clear that she had no respect for the law, no respect for the public, her boss, and their right to see what she was doing and that she would outright lie to do this, even in response to legal actions. (See her first response to the request for all work product from the Judicial Watch case). It was huge, and not a ‘nothing burger’ as the Clinton camp and her supporters would have people believe. And this doesn’t even address how easy this choice would make corruption and collusion between the office of Secretary of State and the now largely defunct Clinton Foundation.

              Frankly as I said all along: America’s choice was evil, insane and unfit or evil, insane and unfit. We were going to lose no matter which piece of smelly manure aka loon was elected.

              1. fosforos

                And just to think–if Sanders had “cared,” even a little bitty bit, about “those damned e-mails” we wouldn’t be plagued by that Trumpe-l’oeil now!

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    ‘The last apparent straw’ trick to get attention, known to many.

                    If the economy collapses on Trump’s watch, it’ll be all his fault.

                    And if there is no such a thing as bad publicity, then, you would embrace.

              2. Antifa

                For many, it was a choice between evil, insane, and supremely capable of criminal conspiracies, and evil, insane, and a bumbling newbie halfwit.

                Better a clown than a genius at evil deeds.

            3. lyman alpha blob

              The difference being the Clinton was investigated after it was shown that she had committed what should have been considered crimes. You don’t get to to the public’s business on a private server that the government can’t access. The investigation in her case was done to cover up her wrongdoing.

              Completely different from the current investigations of Trump where no wrongdoing has been shown. If anyone had any proof about anything criminal we’d have heard about it long before now. They are looking for a ‘gotcha’ they can nail him on – kind of like what happened to Bubba back in the 90s….

            4. shinola

              Character? Integrity?

              These words don’t belong in any discussion of HRC unless preceded by the phrase “lack of”.

              And anyone who is still trying to blame Putin for Clinton’s massive personal failures has no credibility in my book.

              Oh well, whatever…

            5. different clue

              Senator SecState Clinton lost me when she said that “when” elected, she would put her husband Bill Clinton “in charge” of the Economic Recovery. The same Bill Clinton who achieved NAFTA, MFN for China and WTO membership “for” America? Yes, that Bill Clinton.

              That was a significant unforced error and own goal on Clinton’s part. Though at least she was honest enough to say she supports Free Trade Treason Agreements that early in the process, thereby giving me time to seek other options while it was still possible.

              As to troll armies, who had bigger ones? Putin? Or David Brock? What does the forensic evidence say?

          2. jinbaltimore

            Would have been good to know your criteria for “most failed candidate” at same time as your original comment. Without that, yeah, just hyperbole.

            1. Deadl E Cheese

              Her squeaker loss in the EC is only a small aspect of her failure. Her failure and incompetence is multifaceted. Fractal, even.

              Hillary Clinton had a prime chance not just to commandingly win the White House, but to claw her way to a governing majority after the most unpopular candidate in history was nominated.

              If LBJ had barely managed to squeak by in the EC yet managed to lose the House and Senate to Goldwater of all people, he’d be one of the biggest failed candidates of all time, too.

              1. Pavel

                For god’s sake, Team Clinton raised and spent one *billion* dollars and couldn’t beat the most disliked and untrusted candidate in US history? (No 2 = HRC of course.)

                I doubt George McGovern had a two-to-one spending advantage over Nixon.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Also this – most failed media ever.

              Voters stopped believing in them in 2016. And not being able to face the unpleasant truth, they have thrashed back, first with a list of blogs working for Putin, then the fake news charge, and what you see everyday now.

              Hillary is not alone. Misery of failing loves company.

            3. uncle tungsten

              A failed political candidate is one who has no concept of political math 101. That’s the primary measure. Clinton p!ssed on Bernie Sanders millions of voters, preferring instead to chase a few thousand (at best, and likely imaginary) republican voters. FAIL!

              The second criterion for a failed political candidate is to advocate an arid and demonstrably unpopular ‘more of the same’ policy agenda in a climate of heightened clamor for something better and more serving of the people who are asked to vote. FAIL!

              The third criterion is trust. Bernie Sanders understands that ethic. The other two? FAIL!!

              There are more but….. we are where we are. Good luck with sacking Comey.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Seems reasonable to me. Solid endorsements by the establishment — every newspaper editorial board in the country but for two, IIRC — and most pollsters, along with the support of the entire Democrat establishment, much of the Republican Establishment, with over a billion dollars to spend and a campaign laser-focused, as it were, on the personal weaknesses of a candidate who had a lot of personal weaknesses, and everybody expecting them to win — including the Trump campaign! — and still they failed.

          I’d say that’s failing pretty hard. Who do you think failed harder? Kerry? Gore? Mondale? Dukakis? Carter? Humphrey?

      2. Christopher Fay

        Are you saying Hillary has issues due to being rejected by a billionaire clown rapist, her husband?

        1. Steve H.

          Clintons are (or is?) a two-headed four-forked-tongued entity. Their control of a billion-dollar organization is a joint venture, two for the price of one. So did he reject a billionaire?

            1. Paid Minion

              “Two for the price of one”

              More like pro-wrestling “tag teams”. The one in the ring wrestles under the gaze of the referee, while the ones outside the ring do the nefarious stuff.

              It’s a family “business plan”……..when the family business is selling influence/policy.

      3. Michael Fiorillo

        In answer to your question at the beginning of Paragraph #2, no, ther hysteria was nowhere near the same.

        People were upset, needless to say, but they didn’t expect McGovern to win, and they didn’t feel compelled to blame his loss on the Evil Russkies.

        Liberalism at the time was still tethered to the New Deal, unlike now, when working people of every pigmentation are little more than servers and sources of rentier wealth.

        If only Those People would get some training!

        1. Deadl E Cheese

          If only Those People would get some training!

          You ever see that Pokemon Go to the Polls video? Clinton’s hamhanded pandering was enough, but what was REALLY telling (and unfortunately this part gets cut out) was how she said that the Democratic Party’s plan for the <10% involved apps and infrastructure. I am not making this up.

        2. different clue

          I remember reading that the young McGovern-volunteer Clintons were just “hearbroken” when their candidate McGovern lost.

          I offer this theory: Clinton burned with hatred and a desire for revenge against the “Factory Democrats” who voted against his beloved McGovern. He nursed his grudge and bided his time until he became President, and then had his revenge against all those Nixon Voters by supporting and signing Free Trade Treason Agreements designed to destroy millions of those Nixon Voters’ jobs and lives and futures.

    2. craazyboy

      They all might be Rednecks!

      “He chastises them for punching far above typical Redneck IQ scores by identifying that their plight stems largely from “outside forces” like globalization, the Establishment, China, Washington, immigrants — and “the Man” who “closed the factories down.”

      The Gubmint – we’re here to help!

      Who ya gonna believe – The Gubmint or your lyin’ eyes!

      Then, prices on used cars went to hell. Can’t even start yer own junk yard no more. :(

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Your mention of Rednecks prompted me to write a comment which seems to have been eaten by Skynet or perhaps deemed unworthy. The gist was that Frank is eager to condemn Trump supporters as irredeemable racists while assuming such sentiments don’t exist among the liberals.

        I pointed out that Randy Newman nailed this attitude with his song ‘Rednecks’ from the early 70s and listed the lyrics with all his naughty words in it. Feel free to whack that comment if necessary. If anyone cares to give the song a listen check it out here.

        1. craazyboy

          I remember that. That was back in the Good Olde Days when the uppity N folk were stealing the Redneck jobs. Then the neolibs figured out how to make the jobs go “poof!”. Even so, they still fancy themselves as being the clever folks.

    3. Steve H.

      This is the best Frank Rich piece in over a year, and also the worst.

      Lest we forget who he was, “What That Regan Woman Knows” was immensely important to my understanding of the money-go-round of the msm and politics. He was insightful and full of heart as a theater critic, to applying that perspective to the kayfabe of American politics. No one was better placed to dissect Trump than he was.

      Wha’ happen? Was it his Manhattan intelligenstia hatred of Trump? Or did his award-winning ‘Veep’ venture put him inside a hall of mirrors of rich performers, making him as ridiculous as Sarah Silverman? I don’t think he was playing to his base, he genuinely seemed to lose his unique perspective.

      The parts of this article are good components. The Zito quote, Thomas Frank… I’d only wish he’d addressed 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump. And his second premise is correct, the Democrats are not getting a deep core of voters to go their way. But nowhere does he address the moral authority of religious fundamentalism, as deeply opposed to western elite corruption as al-Queda, with a precipitation point around abortion. (His ‘right to choose’ crack at the end means he is not unaware of the issue.) Nowhere does he address the ultimate causes of the divergence of wages from productivity. He sneers at the genetic half of behavior while ignoring the part we can do something about, that behavior is contingent on conditions, which is something Herrnstein did deeply important work on.

      And he lost his heart. As on-target as he is about the political reality of Democratic appeal to the interests of such voters, he used to have the actors ability to step into the perspective of a character, a person. His implicit agreement of those people as ‘negative assets’ is disturbing. His word choice of ‘deserve to die’ is disgusting. His call for indulging in anger to write people off is buying into the worst divisiveness of Clintons campaign. His withering is a real loss of a voice for understanding, and is worth mourning.

      1. HopeLB

        “He sneers at the genetic half of behavior while ignoring the part we can do something about, that behavior is contingent on conditions, which is something Herrnstein did deeply important work on.”

        We can even do something about the genetic part if we had the will! Genes are affected by both increased environmental exposure to toxins in poor communities and are influenced by the stress of imposed neoliberal conditions as the latest research shows;

        1. Steve H.

          Yes, your link confirms that conditions affect how genes are expressed, the epigenetics of poverty. It’s not like your DNA is all-determining, not with mitochondrial DNA being a different line and maternally dependent, and gut bacteria with their own DNA affecting our available energy and expressing neurologically.

          After I wrote my comment, I saw this at Counterpunch: The Meaning of Life. Still mulling, but here’s an excerpt: “Thus, what appears to be a simple and apolitical scientific “finding”, say of a genetic predisposition to obesity, generates inferences that are highly valued by institutions (such as the food industry) that cause obesity but wish to resist pressure on them for social change.”

          1. susan the other

            and another thing that we don’t consider is just how readily adaptive DNA seems to be; it’s like we really don’t look at how fast we and everything else changes… like great rolls of fat were actually pretty cool during the last ice age if you consider the voluptuousness of the Venus of Willendorf – an effigy to fertility done 30,000 years ago (?) that is a true blob with eyeballs and toes. We are getting fat now for other reasons than we do not exercise and we eat too much – our bodies (I’m convinced) are responding to air pollution and one of the mechanisms we humans have for isolating toxins is to shuffle them off into fat storage – so I betcha that mechanism has gone into overdrive – but does anybody look at that possibility. No no.

      2. IDontKnow

        Yes, good and bad. He’s tapping an olde established meme of Americana, literature (and humanity):

        Free Air is not kind to the petty and conniving rural dwellers, but Lewis’ most devastating take on small-town life appears in Main Street. Lewis, a product of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, rails against the idea that these remote burgs are the source of all that is good. Rather, they infect their residents with “the village virus”, symptomized by a firm ignorance, self-satisfaction, and general intolerance of anyone who doesn’t look or think like they do. Will Kennicott loves weekend driving, but he never gets too far out of town. All the roads he takes lead him back to Gopher Prairie.

        What Rick lacks, commodiously, is balance:

        That’s not to say that Lewis touts cities as unqualifiedly good. What is gained by their cosmopolitan sensibility, culture, and good food is lost in a lack of intimacy and familiarity. There is a reason Claire and her exhausted father had left the East Coast. It’s easy and hard in different ways. “We need to know men like that in this pink-frosting playing at living we have in the cities”, she says to an aristocratic suitor, in defense of Milt’s working-class father. The Innocents, the novel Lewis wrote before Free Air, follows the long-married Applebys as they leave New York City to open a tea room in the quiet country. It’s a rare soul that can reside in a city and not be corrupted by it.

        Applebys, sums up the city side, does it not. Microwaved factory food served as a treat, to a certain class, by a corporation abusing Lewis’s message – sums up that other form of smug ignorance that Frank wallows in.

      3. Detroit Dan

        Thanks for posting that 4chan article, Steve H. I found it extremely well written and constructive.

    4. KurtisMayfield

      Frank Rich offered not one solution or idea for the Democratic party. The article read like a list of critiques of other people’s opinions without one fact listed.As was stated yesterday by another poster, it’s Democratic party TINA, or go die.

    5. Carolinian

      That New Yorkers can be tremendous provincials is a cliche that bears repeating. Long before the New Yorker put Putin on the cover they featured that famous cover cartoon: a map of a giant NYC surrounded by a tiny USA beyond the Hudson that might as well be one of the “Stans.” Frank Rich–having given up his NY theater critic day job for politics–could be exhibit A. That he sees himself as having more in common with a National Review writer than those losers in the great beyond says it all about our ossified “liberals.”

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Carolinian.

        Rich also writes for the execrable, but luckily failing, Guardian.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Trump: Give me all your Hillbillies.

        Then laughed all the way to the White House.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        Thanks, Carolinian, for reminding me of this. This is the cover:

        Saul Steinberg, from The New Yorker, March 29, 1976.

        In other words, right at the start of the neoliberal dispensation. The New Yorker used to have some self-awareness, some sense of irony. No longer. Lost, like so much else.

    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      Since college educated whites voted overwhelmingly for Trump, why aren’t the Democratic elites who swore Hillary would win two “moderate Republicans” for every “deplorable” they lost? Rich is simply going to bat for his Clintonista pals, who spent a billion dollars, had the entire msm, universal name recognition, and years to run, and simply lost to a casino owner.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Rich reasons like he never went to college.

        Maybe he’s a self-hating closet hillbilly.

    7. nobody

      Lambert, the correct formulation for “I’m going to take a blowtorch to Frank’s soufflé” is “I’ma get medieval on his ass with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.”

    8. flora

      No Sympathy for the Hillbilly – Frank Rich, New York Magazine.

      I remember when Les Miserables was the must see musical. People loved it. Liberals I know got tickets and were in raptures about its meaning; the courage of the downtrodden; the cruelty of the state toward the poor and the dispossessed; the resistance by poor and starving les miserables to the predations of govt sanctioned oppressions by the rich and comfortable.

      Hugo was writing about a time in France over 150 years ago, safely in the past, long ago and far away. Today my fine liberal friends look in disgust at current US voters who are desperate for change to a system destroying their livelihoods and who voted for Trump. My fine liberal friends call them the “deplorables.” Les Deplorables, if you will. My fine liberal friends see no inconsistency in celebrating Les Miserables the musical while also despising a group of our fellow US citizens – Les Deplorables.

      Rich says: “But it’s one thing for the Democratic Party to drain its own swamp of special interests and another for it to waste time and energy chasing unreachable voters in the base of Trump’s electorate.”

      Rich is willing to throw the US Les Deplorables under the tractor. He’s still in denial about the economic state of the country outside of the coastal enclaves of prosperity. He talks about better pr and messaging and outreach. He sounds alarmed by the idea that anyone would take les deplorables issues seriously; offer anything beyond lip service. Why?

      1. flora

        Rich displays an undercurrent of vengeance against Trump voters, particularly against les deplorable Trump voters, imo. Is Rich auditioning for the role of Inspector Javert?

      2. jrs

        Perhaps it is not in the power of Dems, even better Dems, say they were all Sanders, to convert people. Perhaps for class consciousness they would need maybe something like labor unions to educate on the ground level.

        1. flora

          I’d settle for Dems converting the Dem party into something that represents the little guy instead of Wall St.

    9. inhibi

      Its dumb enough to think along the 2 party lines, but its even dumber to blame others for choosing between 2 evils. Such hypocrisy

    10. Stormcrow

      Comeback for Hillary?

      I keep seeing the occasional article around the edges which claims that Hillary may make a bid for a comeback.
      I can’t see this as plausible. Am I missing something? Of course there is always the wonderful Chelsea.
      (If this matter has been discussed in these threads before, I apologize for having missed it.)

      Mook: Clinton May Run Again In 2020

      1. flora

        The Clintons: first time as tragedy, second time as farce. Third time as Harold Stassen.*

        *”He was a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 1948, considered for a time to be the front-runner. He thereafter regularly continued to run for that and other offices, such that his name became most identified with his status as a perennial candidate.”

        1. Stormcrow

          Yes. But unlike HRC, Stassen was a noble if somewhat tragic figure. For HRC both times as farce.

    11. Veri

      Well, the article does not explain this:

      Unknown Write-In Candidate Wins Special Election in North Philadelphia–416783953.html

      The article on AN is more about telling you what to believe, than informing.

      Interestingly enough, other articles written by party nomenklatura are appearing.

      No Sympathy for the Hillbilly

      Well written propaganda. Read closely and it is contradictory and divisive.

      WaPo even asserts that only 3% of Trump voters regret their decision. WaPo is doing some serious crack smoking. 60% of voters who voted for Hillary or Trump, did not like who they voted for. They just liked the other candidate less.

      That and Bernie Sanders can walk into a town hall in supposedly Trump country and walk out with their full support – which gives testimony to the lie of the AN article and other stories appearing elsewhere.

      There is major effort on behalf of both parties to convince voters they are they are the only choices, that division is good for you.

      I am not hinting that the effort is coordinated. Herds respond the same.

  3. pretzelattack

    i tried to read that frank rich article, but my blood pressure kept going up. just insufferable.

    1. David J.

      Me, too. I generally enjoy reading Frank Rich’s stuff, but this was a slog. Among other short-sighted remarks, he says:

      “There’s no way liberals can counter these voters’ blind faith in a huckster who’s sold them this snake oil. The notion that they can be won over by some sort of new New Deal — “domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance),” as Mark Lilla puts it — is wishful thinking. These voters are so adamantly opposed to government programs that in some cases they refuse to accept the fact that aid they already receive comes from Washington — witness the “Keep Government Out of My Medicare!” placards at the early tea-party protests.”

      I lived in Butler County, Ohio in the late 70s and early 80s, then lived on the east coast in Neoliberal-ville, then moved to Kentucky in the mid 90s. In general, I found more or less similar proportions of virtuous and not-so-virtuous people in both regions. People are people.

      I want to believe that Rich knows this, but writing off the very people who are low-information citizens and thus are easily persuaded by rhetoric and nostrums is a big mistake. The failure here, as I see it–and as I argued with both Trump supporters and Clinton supporters during the campaign–is that 40 years of economic decline is the cause for much of the alienation of regular folks. And shame on the Democrats for not being capable of developing a counter-ideology with corresponding rhetoric to offset the relentless economic and anti-government bull put forth by the Republicans these past few decades.

      That’s the problem. Shirking that responsibility, indeed, embracing Republican-litehood, is the primary reason that the working class–everywhere–has more or less embraced populist ideas. And, imo, in despair, they have embraced what I call bad populism. Rich mentions Louisiana in derogatory terms, but forgets that Huey Long did a lot to get FDR elected. And, of course, Sanders nowadays is the best current example of what I call good populism. The defining characteristic? An actual program that unambiguously is tuned to the general welfare.

      I’m not going to give up the fight. I’m lucky, when I need a little self-pep talk I can go down the street a couple of miles to visit Ashland, Henry Clay’s estate. Now there was a mensch.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is about deflection. The Clinton scheme was to win “moderate suburban Republicans” (fascists for the most part) such as doctors, accountants, and engineers by pointing to stock markets and such. For every vote picked it up, it would be two votes in the grand scheme as one was taken away from the Republicans. Democrats have been salivating about these scams for years. Clinton 2016 didn’t change.

        The problem is every time the Dems do this they lose and lose big because it ignores two critical issues:

        -suburban republicans are right wing nuts, yes, your friendly dentist is a nutter.
        -the Republican Id is dedicated to hatred of liberals, not necessarily the left (hatred of the left is up to the individual)

        Can an elite Democrat point to an election where running to the right carried the day? They can’t, and quite simply, we are discussing political malfeasance on an epic scale. Does the “deplorable” narrative explain major turnout declines in cities such as Detroit? Hey, the blacks will vote because TINA and black “leadership” told them too. Obama said not voting would be a personal insult to him, the great one.

        What recent election tell us is if you worked for the Clinton campaign you shouldn’t be allowed to knock doors for a school board candidate. They need to blame an other who is both all powerful, grossly incompetent, and can’t be seen. How often do large donors go to middle class neighborhoods?

      2. fresno dan

        David J.
        March 22, 2017 at 9:09 am

        I agree.
        “…domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance),” as Mark Lilla puts it — is wishful thinking.”

        What annoys me about Rich is he puts forth this proposition that “liberals” have been putting forth all these great “universal” programs but the bad repubs stop them…Uh, the NON universal insurance coverage scheme??? And what ever happened to the programs to take care of the factory workers being displaced by NAFTA???? When your p*ssing on people, don’t tell them your providing free apple juice and expect them to thank you….

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It’s clarifying to see liberals abandoning the concept of universal benefits.

          Clinton argued against a universal college tuition benefit because Trump’s kids might benefit.

          Now Rich argues against universal health care because the (white) working class might benefit.

          The policy outcome is the same in either case. (And let’s remember that means-testing and gatekeeping are a jobs guarantee for credentialed professionals in Clinton’s 10% base.)

      3. freedeomny

        I too could not read the entire article. What I don’t get is why Dems keep blaming Trumps win on a specific demographic that Rich feels can just be thrown away. Why is no one talking about the educated voter who was in no way going to vote for Hilary? All they keep saying is “unite”. I have worked in the NYC financial/real estate industry for almost 30 years. Only two people on my floor (out of apprx 40) voted for HC. All of the colleagues on my floor are college educated and would be considered middle class-upper middle class. I have to think that this isn’t an anomaly.

        1. jrs

          Those voters lean Republican for the same reason many privileged people do, *because* they are privileged. There is no mystery to voting one’s class privilege afterall. And yes the better off do vote more Republican.

          1. freedeomny

            That is not the case in my circle of financial acquaintances…many of whom were hard hit from 2008. I would say 90% of them used to consider themselves Dem but switched over to Ind with Obama. The majority of them were Bernie supporters. This is in NYC – so what would be considered “privileged” anywhere else (from an income standpoint) doesn’t go far in the metropolitan area….

      4. Pookah Harvey

        Great comment. I’ve been living in rural western communities for the past 40 years, some conservative and some progressive. Your statement is dead on:

        “The failure here, as I see it–and as I argued with both Trump supporters and Clinton supporters during the campaign–is that 40 years of economic decline is the cause for much of the alienation of regular folks. And shame on the Democrats for not being capable of developing a counter-ideology with corresponding rhetoric to offset the relentless economic and anti-government bull put forth by the Republicans these past few decades.”

        Idaho is by some measurements the most conservative state in the nation. And yet:

        1. More Syrian refugees live in Boise than NYC and LA combined
        2. The more than 2,000 Bosnian refugees in Boise have recently finished a new Mosque

        This might not be the South but it is definitely Redneck country with 85% voting for Trump in one county. These people are not voting for Trump simply for racist issues but mostly for economic and cultural reasons. The problem as I see it is Nader’s two-headed snake. The establishment for both parties wants to keep their differences limited to social issues while keeping the campaign funds rolling in by maintaining the economic status quo. Both parties have beaten down the white working class economically, but the Democrats have also beaten them down culturally.

        My reading on the Democrat’s problems with the working class whites has been “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto” and the 2007 “Deer Hunting with Jesus”. Both written by people that grew up poor but were able to get good educations and kept close to their roots. Trae Crowder, one of the authors of Manifesto says the best explanation he has gotten for the Redneck problem was a Redneck that came up to him and complained about how Liberals viewed him. “Hell I like to blow stuff up but I’m not a racist”. Upper middle class conservatives vote Republican for economic reasons. The lower middle class vote Republican largely because of cultural issues, knowing neither party gives a s—t about them economically. See Crowder’s “Liberal Redneck – In Defense of Dixie”. I’ve posted this before and it is a push for his book but it definitely is worth a listen.

        The democrats have to cleave the body of Nader’s snake and go back to FDR economic ideas. They have to sever the social issues head that establishment Democrats have saddled them with. Break away from identity politics and accept social positions with which they may not be comfortable. More economic equality will eventually lead to changes in social mores.

        I’m not saying you have to accept idiotic conservative stands on abortion and gun control. But how about standing up for hunting rights on public land? Agree that illegal immigrants are a jobs issue but come down on the real criminals, corporate employers that knowingly use them. Really promote small business by giving them tax loop holes while closing them for large corporations (e.g. subsidize payroll tax for the first $10,000 of income for the self employed)

        1. fresno dan

          Pookah Harvey
          March 22, 2017 at 1:59 pm

          Very good comment Pookah!
          As I post every once in a while

          Wage earners use to get a lot more of the national income. Neither political party appears to want to reverse, or even abate this…because it is against the laws of physics or sumthin’ and if the rich stop getting richer the universe will end so there is nothing to be done.

      5. Jeff W

        Yeah, I managed to read the entire Frank Rich piece even while its utter pointlessness flummoxed me. (The substance was pointless; the meta-point was indeed deflection.)

        So the argument is the Democratic Party should not “waste time and energy chasing unreachable voters in the base of Trump’s electorate”? Who would argue with that? Why chase after any voters that are “unreachable”?

        The obviously more important issue, which Rich manages to allude to, with a hand wave, as a “separate question,” is how many of the people who did not vote for Clinton—that is, those who voted for Trump, voted third party, voted but not for a presidential candidate, or otherwise stayed home (of which there were, apparently, 90 million)—would vote for what he calls “a revamped economic program and a new generation of un-Clinton leaders”? Rich, instead, blathers on about how “we are free to loathe [Trump’s] most loyal voters, who have put the rest of us at risk.” Sure, if that rocks Rich’s boat, but, if I were loathing anyone, it would be a Democratic Party that gave “unenthused,” in Rich’s words, voters “a reason to turn to a third-party candidate or stay home” (or vote for Trump).

      6. Detroit Dan

        Well said, David J.

        Here’s my take:

        Frank Rich, in my opinion, reacts poorly to the Trump phenomenon. His conclusion is to let Trump voters live with their decisions. Liberal empathy and argumentation isn’t likely to change the minds of Trump voters, and we just risk compromising our values, as well as wasting our time and energy, if we indulge these spoiled brats. Here are a couple of quotes:

        ‘The notion that they can be won over by some sort of new New Deal — “domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance),” as Mark Lilla puts it — is wishful thinking’

        ‘Perhaps it’s a smarter idea to just let the GOP own these intractable voters. Liberals looking for a way to empathize with conservatives should endorse the core conservative belief in the importance of personal responsibility.’

        First of all, I think he’s wrong about the impact of “some sort of New Deal”.

        Secondly, I don’t think it’s smart to just ignore the voters in the areas where Trump is popular. Rich may be right that many of these voters are intractable, but many others may not be.

        Rich presents a false dichotomy:
        Listen and be Empathetic OR Be Resolute in our Liberal Convictions

        Of course we can do both.

        Thus we should propose domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance) because we believe these will be good for our country, including our suffering citizens in areas that voted for Trump. Personal responsibility should not be conflated with guilt by class or place of residence.

        Politically, Sun Tzu had a point when he said, in The Art of War,
        “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

        Listening, being empathetic, and proposing more programs to solve working class problems in rural, rust belt, and even southern areas is the strategic, as well as moral, imperative.

    2. RenoDino

      If it makes you feel any better, Rich is looking in completely the wrong place for the loss. The deplorables are not the reason for the defeat. It was identity politics that completely discounted the white male vote as necessary for the win. Experts and consultants for the Democrats were so excited about the shifting demographics of the country to light brown and LGBT that they thought they could pull the plug on straight white men who were either conservative or ignorant or both. But not so fast…it turns out they miscalculated, and they couldn’t win with just a coalition of minorities. And it also turns out that when you piss off white men, they actually come out to vote for your opponent.

      All this lower class white trash bashing that is being done to simply hide the fact the experts and their horrible candidate thought their train was pulling into a glorious rainbow station in a country that doesn’t yet and may never exist.

      Arm chair psychologist might even conclude that Bill is the Bill in Hil Billy.

  4. fresno dan

    A Breach in the Anti-Putin Groupthink Consortium News (CL), on this article Russia, Trump, and a New Détente Foreign Affairs (unlocked (!!)). Important!

    While this predicament has existed since the turn of this past century, it has grown more pronounced since the U.S.-Russia relationship slid into open confrontation in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and sparking a civil war that led Crimea to secede and join Russia and Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region to rise up in rebellion.

    But the only narrative that the vast majority of Americans have heard – and that the opinion centers of Washington and New York have allowed – is the one that blames everything on “Russian aggression.” Those who try to express dissenting opinions – noting, for instance, the intervention in Ukrainian affairs by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as well as the U.S.-funded undermining on Yanukovych’s government – have been essentially banned from both the U.S. mass media and professional journals.
    “For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesn’t get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does.”

    IMHO, tt is hard to give ANY credence to the notion that the US press is free, diverse, or reality based.
    Look at Russia coverage…and how much of a LIE it is, how smug, self satisfied, and self assured, and one gets the impression that a replay of WWI is right around the corner. AND OF COURSE, credit to Trump to change this? INCONCEIVABLE!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The consortiumnews article is really interesting in its argument that the reasoning behind the article is that FA magazine is trying to get onside with the insiders – this certainly suggests that they think Trump is holding firm on this at least. Its also interesting that the article writer was on Sanders team briefly before being bumped out (allegedly) by neocons. It hadn’t occurred to me that there were opportunist neocons jumping on the Sanders bandwagon, I thought it hadn’t gone that far.

      As for the main article, it would seem to most NC readers to be simply a recitation of common sense. But what most puzzles me about the anti-Russian hysteria is the broader motive within the blob. Sometimes, I try to take off my left wing greenie anti-imperialist hat and see things from the other side. But even with a neocon hat on, I still don’t see the logic. There seems to me to be to be a perfectly reasonable neocon case for an alliance of convenience with Russia in order to achieve broader aims in the Middle East and Asia. It actually makes more sense to me to have a Russia ‘on side’ than SA or even China. It seems to me to be some sort of quite toxic groupthink going on. Lets hope this is the first sign of it being challenged from within.

      1. financial matters

        If you think in terms of a long term US/Israeli plan to destabilize countries such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan it can make more sense. The plan doesn’t really include stabilization as much as a plan to create disarray and thus a less formidable opponent.

        Russia has proved to be a major stumbling block in this plan by allying with Iran in Syria. Hillary would have definitely taken this on while Trump seems to want to be more accommodating with Russia.

        So now we seem to have a president who is not a hard core neocon and also the reality on the ground that Russia/Iran seem to have taken the moral high ground as well as being a very strong opponent.

        I think the key thing to watch in how our foreign policy moves forward is our orientation toward Israel and Iran. If we continue unwavering support of Israel and continued hyperventilation toward Russia/Iran that could be problematic.

        1. juliania

          Hmm, nice word that – “disarray”. The thing is this is a criminal plan! People are dying and being forced into leaky boats at sea! Mothers and children! The elderly! This is not a plan anyone who is an ordinary, decent human being should be continuing to put into action. And I’m very sorry to say this, but Trump is continuing this plan. Both here and to a far worse extent, there.

          All of us ordinary, and dare I say decent human beings have been between a rock and a hard place during this election. I would say this has never happened before, if it hadn’t been for the criminal practices of prior presidents, but it has never happened that the US public knew this to be the case and this time it did.

          This time it did.

          1. financial matters

            Criminal indeed. It brings up a Machiavellian type of philosophy that can lead to public and private positions where the private ones can deal more with profits for a huge MIC complex.

            The Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the very profitable war on terror where the communist threat is replaced with an islamic threat come to mind. It makes one wonder how thoroughly 9/11 was investigated which helped open the door to these endeavors.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        “But even with a neocon hat on, I still don’t see the logic.”
        To this financial matters suggests a logic: ” … a plan to create disarray and thus a less formidable opponent ….”
        I question the base assumption that any “logic” or “plan” as such is involved. There is no logic and no logical plan directing the tiller of our ship of state as we drift in a sea of icebergs.

      3. fresno dan

        March 22, 2017 at 11:30 am

        Really glad you brought those points up Plutonium.
        And as for the logic…well, some people just like to fight. Think of all the places we’re spoiling for a fight, and than add the South China Sea. I imagine these people think the supply ships will keep sailing when we’re bombing China….

      4. Mark P.

        PK wrote: ‘But what most puzzles me about the anti-Russian hysteria is the broader motive within the blob.’

        You’re overthinking it. It really is simply about the money. Washington and the U.S. military-industrial complex want a return to Cold War-level military spending. The only plausible enemy is Russia, even though its economy is arguably smaller than Italy.

        I guess I’ll add that I used to go to D.C. occasionally as a journalist. I’ve sat in the audience at a couple of Senate hearings, and watched and listened as vermin like HRC, Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham talked and strutted.

        IMO, the U.S. is a late-stage empire whose foreign policy is centrally driven by its corrupt military keynesianism. There are a few patriots still around like Robert Gates was and, maybe, Mattis and MacChrystal are, and they get to act as the adults. Other than them, it’s essentially the same IBG-YBG attitude driving foreign policy as drove action on Wall Street.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Vaguely and subjectively, it seems to me like the whole Blob is seething for a war — any war*. Part (most) of it is money, but they also have to refresh our military reputation for military potency (not easy after having just lost two major ones). But who?

          One consideration might be that it’s easier to lose a carrier against China than Russia. And if we lose a carrier, we’re done.

          * In retrospect, I give Obama credit for being, well, the lesser evil here.

        2. Ulysses

          “You’re overthinking it. It really is simply about the money. Washington and the U.S. military-industrial complex want a return to Cold War-level military spending.”

          Yep. Hence the present pivot to N. Korea, in order to prop up MIC spending while the Neocons work feverishly to get Trump on board with Cold War 2.0.

    2. HopeLB

      From New Détente Foreign Affairs ;
      “It was also reckless, given Putin’s broad popularity in Russia. But when confronted with this popularity, Obama replied, “Saddam Hussein had a 90 percent poll rating.” He explained, “If you control the media and you’ve taken away everybody’s civil liberties, and you jail dissidents, that’s what happens.” This view is deeply mistaken. ”

      At least Obama knows in his tineetiny heart, why his own “popularity ratings” were reported/reportedly so oddly high; he used all three of these “Putinesque” popularity boosters( if Occupy/whistleblowers are considered dissidents).

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Like WW1 in the multiple hair-triggers for starting hostilaties. But unlike WW1 in that a war really could be all over in a few weeks or months or less and could indeed be a war to end all wars. And with sufficicient latitude in using the word ‘safe’ — it really could be a war to make the world “safe” for democracy.

  5. Darius

    Democrats apparently thinkTrump is on the ropes because of Russia yet, where it really matters, they let him get away with murder. They’re letting the Republicans cap Medicaid without a peep because Russia! Russia! Russia! And they’re about to let the worst ever Supreme Court nominee sail through, as well as Acosta at Labor. Doesn’t sound like Trump is in much trouble. He’s opposed by idiots.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      Democrats and liberals in general are going to push this Russia drivel well past the point of any political utility, because aside from the fact that Trump is their perfect folk devil, any short-term or long-term path out of the hole they’re in will require them to change who they are.

      1. cocomaan

        They may get something out of it in 2018.

        Is anyone else worried that, come 2020 and a possible Democrat president, they direct the intelligence agencies to Zerzetsung people who thought/think that the Russia stuff is hysteria? Because I am.

    2. craazyboy

      Well, Maxine Waters. She can be right twice a day every few years. Diane Feinstein – she is quite certain that is Russia she sees when looking out her bedroom window in Sacramento.

      I think it comes down to whether Trump wants to endure attempted assassination by death from a thousand paper cuts, or decide the blow to his ego from “quitting” or being publically known as a “loser” may be his preferred solution after all.

      Personally, I would have emigrated to Monaco a year ago. But I’ve never really coveted fame and stardom.

      1. Darius

        If anyone gets Trump, it will be the Blob. The Democrats will just be cheering powerlessly from the sidelines.

        1. Deadl E Cheese

          The Blob will only get Trump if he does something really stupid. The Republican base is still on his side and they can’t ‘get’ him unless he’s hit with a war blunder, a grievous scandal (not this Russia BS), a major health issue, or he’s hit with a surprise recession. Most of the non-elite base of the Democratic Party has no appetite for this kind of intrigue and that goes for even fewer non-voters.

          Let’s see how this Syria and NK thing shakes out.

          1. NYPaul

            If ever the trope, ”
            “”are you better off today than you were four years ago………..?”

            the 2020 election will be it

          2. HotFlash

            war blunder, a grievous scandal (not this Russia BS), a major health issue, or he’s hit with a surprise recession.

            1.) war blunder — like what, not getting into one with Russia? China?

            2.) grievous scandal — I agree with The Donald that he could commit murder on 5th Ave and his base wouldn’t care. It is clear that Putin Putin Putin is not working…

            3.) major health issue — now you are talking, that could definitely be arranged…

            4.) surprise recession — also, can be arranged *or* merely needs to be reported. After all, we have reportedly *not* been in a recession for the past what, 5? 7? years.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think the 1000 cuts will get him, he’s an alpha male but anger at all those who oppose him will wear thin. He can either go out with a dark warning (like Ike) or else wait until he has some minor thing go his way and declare victory. But between the psychic demands of the office and the stress on his family I believe he will go in 12-18 months.

      3. Yves Smith

        Trust me, you would never want to live in Monaco. It’s tiny, no culture, casinos and eating out seem to be the only entertainment, with way too many tanned middle aged men and young blond women who service them. It feels like a rich ghetto.

  6. Loneprotester

    Where do you even begin to address the open hatred and contempt on display in Frank Rich’s odious piece about the White working class? I’ll give it a quick go. It’s pretty clear that this group has suffered the most from open border, neo-liberal policies advocated by both major parties over the past quarter century. What do they want? For those policies to change. Period. Close the borders and invest in American growth, industry, jobs. They aren’t saying they are the only ones who should get those jobs, just that we should stop incentivizing importing labor to replace (displace) them, and export jobs. For all the justified criticism of Trump and his stumbling first months in office, he really is addressing THAT agenda, and that is why his base remains loyal.

    But here’s an interesting thing that has occurred to me over the past few months, as I’ve watched Democratic poobahs NOT address the reasons why Hillary lost, rev up their base, and attempt to burn down the White House rather than have Trump live in it. African Americans like Keith Ellison and Van Jones have attempted to make what appear to be sincere overtures to the White working class on behalf of their party. And why shouldn’t they? The African American working class was stable and hard-working too, before they succumbed to the same socio-economic forces, the same stigmatization, the same self-destructive vortex of drugs, crime, and family disintegration that the White working class is undergoing today. It just happened fifty years earlier.

    But for their efforts Jones and Ellison have been mostly excoriated by their own party. It’s a shame. We have two parties that can’t see the forest for the trees in terms of social justice and a maverick, unhinged president who can, but may not be able to implement any sort of agenda.

    Rich should have his platform taken away, as his empathy for fellow human beings appears to stop at people he disagrees with politically within his own country, whose wants and needs are absolutely as understandable and legitimate as his own.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      But for their efforts Jones and Ellison have been mostly excoriated by their own party. It’s a shame. We have two parties that can’t see the forest for the trees in terms of social justice and a maverick, unhinged president who can, but may not be able to implement any sort of agenda.

      The Democratic Party, for all of its talk of demographics and unification, does not know anything about coalition politics. To wit:

      It engaged in policies of felon disenfranchisement and mass incarceration to its most loyal constituency in the 90s.
      It strangles the growth of the professional class through high student debt.
      It is an extremely ageist party that regularly scolds and denigrates its Millenial base.
      Not only did they miss a key opportunity to reverse the decline in unionization, its Reinventing Government nonsense directly took an axe to one of the last bastions of post-Reagan unionism.
      And as the cherry on top, it claims to be the party of Latino immigration yet not only did they not pass an immigration reform bill but Obama and Clinton engaged in record deportations.

      It’s not really a surprise that the Democrats are taking a steamy hookworm-infested dump on another voting demographic. Look at how they treat the people they proudly call their base.

    2. J Bookly

      Mr. Rich says: “But it’s one thing for the Democratic Party to drain its own swamp of special interests and another for it to waste time and energy chasing unreachable voters in the base of Trump’s electorate.”

      Um, what is the Democratic Party doing to drain its own swamp? To me, it seems they only want to Dem-splain everything but change nothing.

      Amen to the good points raised by Loneprotester.

    3. NYPaul

      Would love to read an explanation for why the Dems have this great sense of sympathy, empathy, and guilt driven desire to help the African American community/sarc and, nothing but contempt for the downtrodden, “deplorables.”

      I, of course, understand the cynical, corrupting tactics used to capture this demographic (I will never forgive John Lewis for his, “I didn’t see Bernie there,” bullsh*it in the campaign) but I believe it’s a story that truly needs to be exposed.

  7. Uahsenaa

    re: Rich’s no sympathy piece

    My hot take is this (have to take the wee one to school): there are nuggets in his analysis that are spot on, though his prescriptions are bonkers. However, one glaring oversight in his analysis: he claims that democratic defection only happened in blue states where it didn’t matter one way or the other. Ahem, Florida?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      >The claims that democratic defection only happened in blue states where it didn’t matter one way or the other. Ahem, Florida?

      That’s bullshit, given the Obama counties that flipped to Trump.

      Florida’s story isn’t really a flipping counties story; it’s a rural over-voting state, and apparently the Republicans were extremely well-organized in those counties (thanks, amazingly enough, to an executive decision by Trump to fund those efforts). (Too lazy to find the link unless somebody asks…)

  8. fresno dan

    Barris, who in his book, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Biography, claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA — his implausible story became a fantastical 2002 movie directed by first-timer George Clooney and written by Charlie Kaufman — died Tuesday of natural causes [or so they would have you believe ] at his home in Palisades, N.Y., his family announced through publicist Paul Shefrin.
    On The Gong Show, which aired on NBC and in syndication in daytime and primetime from 1976-80, amateurs took to the stage to demonstrate their so-called talent in front of three celebrity judges. Quite often, they made fools of themselves. [[ but not nearly so much as the repub presidential candidates of 2016, but who never would have been allowed on the Gong Show stage for being TOO wacky… ]]

    Barris, CIA assassin? Truth or fiction?

    1. Alex Morfesis

      The truth shall get you fleas…some “realities” should be left alone…the meme that Paul Robeson was just a singer and a communist is much better than the reality that both Hitler and Stalin at one point or another each ordered Robeson to be summarily executed if found…

  9. Jim Haygood

    Taiwan’s TAIEX stock index is approaching 10,000, says the Reuters article linked above. Man, does that bring back memories.

    In the late 1980s, Japanese and Taiwanese stocks were bubbling together. But the ascent of the smaller Taiwan exchange was even more spectacular: the TAIEX delivered a ten-bagger in less than three years, rising from 1,000 in 1996 to 10,013 on June 19, 1989. The TAIEX went on to reach its apex of 12,495 on Feb 10, 1990, about six weeks after Japan’s Nikkei closed at its all-time high of 38,915 on the last day of 1989.

    Brokerage houses in Taipei offered private VIP rooms where “big hands” could invite their friends to quaff champagne and cognac (trading hours were 9 am to noon, mind you) and watch stocks pop and carom on the brightly colored screens. When you’ve seen a bubble in full flower, you won’t soon forget it.

    Today Japan’s Nikkei closed at 19,041, less than half of its record high. Unlike Japan, Taiwan does not face demographic doom. The TAIEX may yet scrabble back to its 1990 bubble record, setting a massive double top separated by a generation.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps that somewhat eased the pain, for some, the pain from the 1950 land reform.

      From Wikipedia:

      In the 1950s, after the Nationalist government came to Taiwan, land reform and community development was carried out by the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction. This course of action was made attractive, in part, by the fact that many of the large landowners were Japanese who had fled, and the other large landowners were compensated with Japanese commercial and industrial properties seized after Taiwan reverted from Japanese rule in 1945. The land program succeeded also because the Kuomintang were mostly from the mainland and had few ties to the remaining indigenous landowners

      The KMT elites thought what a free, great idea to give away other rich people’s properties.

      In a sense, they are still paying for that. Rich people don’t forget easily and they will protest. Protests are not free, but are funded by people with money. Maybe that’s why there is no march for Medicare for All. Who is going to fund that, busing people from one place to another, organizing, etc?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And that was history repeating itself, for something similar happened around the 4th century, when the Jin dynasty fell, and northern Chinese fled to Jiangnan. From Wikipedia:

        The local gentry clans were at odds with the immigrated. As such tensions increased, they loomed larger in Jin’s domestic politics.

        Special “commanderies of immigrants” and “white registers” were created for the massive amount of northern origin Han Chinese who moved south during the Eastern Jin dynasty.[5] The southern Chinese aristocracy was formed from the offspring these migrants.[6] Celestial Masters and the nobility of northern China subdued the nobility of southern China during the Eastern Jin and Western Jin in Jiangnan in particular.[7]

        To house the refugees from north in those commanderies, they probably had to seize something from the southern elites.

  10. RenoDino

    “But here’s the real point: if this change had come from the Obama administration, whose policies I generally supported, I would have assumed there was some real-world evidence behind it. If it had come from the George W. Bush administration, whose foreign policy I generally opposed, I would still have thought, They’re probably not making this up.” –Fallows.

    So that’s the baseline for Fallows, two liars that Fallows believes vs. a liar that Fallows doesn’t believe. And he gets paid a lot to write this crap.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > If it had come from the George W. Bush administration, whose foreign policy I generally opposed, I would still have thought, They’re probably not making this up.”

      After WMDs?!?!?!?

  11. Linda

    ProPublica is fact checking letters Reps and Senators send to constituents about the health care bill.

    When Louisiana resident Andrea Mongler wrote to her senator, Bill Cassidy, in support of the Affordable Care Act, she wasn’t surprised to get an email back detailing the law’s faults. Cassidy, a Republican who is also a physician, has been a vocal critic.

    “Obamacare” he wrote in January, “does not lower costs or improve quality, but rather it raises taxes and allows a presidentially handpicked ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ to determine what coverage and treatments are available to you.”

    There’s one problem with Cassidy’s ominous-sounding assertion: It’s false.

    The Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, includes no “Health Choices Commissioner.” Another bill introduced in Congress in 2009 did include such a position, but the bill died — and besides, the job as outlined in that legislation didn’t have the powers Cassidy ascribed to it.

    Have you corresponded with a member of Congress or senator about the Affordable Care Act? We’d love to see the response you received. Please fill out our short form.

  12. troutbum

    No Sympathy for the Hillbilly Frank Rich, New York Magazine.

    The local Dem party ( county level ) has a simple platform which is a far better response than prescribed by F. Rich:

    1. Universal childcare
    2. Medicare for all
    3. Universal life long learning
    To be clear, universal means free for all.

    1. David, by the lake

      I’d support the idea so long as those programs were established, defined, and managed at the state level (with states joining common platforms via interstate compacts as they see fit). The fundamental problem we have today is seeing everything as a federal program administered from the imperial capital. The people of each state should decide for themselves what level of support they are willing to tax themselves to provide.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        That’s sensible. 50 state IRSes. Then of course, we would need treaties with 49 other states to negotiate movement of people. What a great idea!

        How would this work? Would DC still be administered for Congress? What if you worked in DC? Or New York but lived in New Jersey? Would Albany have a plan for that? When the state legislature changed would the have to renegotiate? What about states with off year elections?

        I suspect you haven’t thought this through. Why should the federal government make decisions on a host of things? If Tallahassee wants rail roads that are non standard they should have non standard tracks.

        1. David, by the lake

          It isn’t all or nothing. There are things appropriate for federal administration. It is just that that set of programs isn’t everything. Preventive healthcare could be provided at a state or multi-state level for residents of the states in question. The same for education — it is up to each state to determine its own program, not the federal government. National defense, foreign policy, interstate transportation networks — yes, those are federal responsibilities. We have over-centralized, I would argue, and that lies at the root of many of our political problems. It is ok for things to be different in different parts of the country, and making allowances for those inherent differences is our best bet to hold the country together as our global hegemony continues to decline. Returning to our foundation as a federal republic of states would be prudent.

          1. Pat

            No, health care should be national. As in you get it whether you live in Peoria or Beverly Hills, moving should be a choice not determined by my disease won’t be treated in this state because state standards. And the same with educational standards, they should be national because we are not a country where you live in the same place for your entire life, no should have to move to get their children a good education or be left in the cold by moving from one state to another because you didn’t learn something in high school. I’m not basing this on money, but simply that as an American living in any state and every state in American you should have access to certain things – health care, education and yes clean air and water.

            1. David, by the lake

              But everything needn’t be exactly the same, conforming to standards set by a central bureaucracy. Governance works best when closest to the people, which means that programs should be managed at most local level feasible, with the federal level being the last resort. We have flipped the entire concept of self-government on its head and made federal programs the default.

              1. Pookah Harvey

                If you want small government you must have small business. Giant international corporations will run roughshod over your local government. They are easily captured and even good local government cannot stand up to the power of today’s monolithic businesses. Enforce anti-monopoly laws and then start discussing dispersing governmental power.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            What isn’t all or nothing? Honestly, I’m trying to determine how this state by state proposal would work. I don’t know of if you are familiar with how state governments operate or what kinds of budgets they have, but to institute major health care changes would require radical changes you clearly haven’t considered.

            I don’t spout that change happens on the local level garbage because I know what kinds of budgets and potential funds states and localities can pass without radical changes which would require treaties with 49 states, territories, and other countries.

            The federal government does all the work. The state passing something as radical as health care would have to more or less create an IRS, negotiate with states who don’t have similar programs, make allowances for people moving. Crikey, Northern Virginia is full of cars registered in Maryland. The states handle that kind of fraud. They can’t handle something important.

            1. David, by the lake

              Nothing would prevent states from willingly cooperating if they so wished. But yes, things would have to run differently than they are today. States (or regionalized groups of states) would have to become more self-sufficient. This is a good thing, since the centralized federal administrative state will become more fragile as our empire declines.

              States are not departments of the federal government, but sovereign governments within their jurisdictions. The federal government was designed with limited powers specifically delegated in the Constitution. We rather set that concept aside as our imperialism kicked into high gear. Decentralized, more regional systems are more robust, and highly centralized systems much less so. This will become more apparent as the century continues. We need to start building the alternative structures now, before they are needed, since their construction will take some time.

              1. NYPaul

                Don’t mean to be a typical, negative, internet naysayer, but, what happens when these progressive States get inundated by the inevitable influx of deplorable hordes from less forward looking states?

      2. tongorad

        Is each state going to have it’s own fiat currency? If not, how are they going to pay for the goodies?

        IME, local government sounds like a cute idea, until you happen to live in ideological shithole such as Texas.
        I despise the term Hillbilly as it is used by Dems, but then again…Texas.

      3. djrichard

        The Fed Gov can recycle *all* dead-money currency that the wealthy and banks have hoovered up from us peons. By either taxing that currency or by swapping bonds for that currency.

        States can’t.
        – Their recycling is limited to whatever currency falls within their boundaries (think WV vs CA or NY).
        – Bond issuance which leads to increasing deficits are not an option for states. Consequently their recycling is fundamentally limited to taxation.
        – And when it comes to taxation, their rate structures are no more progressive than the federal government’s and oftentimes more regressive

        1. tongorad

          The Fed Gov can recycle *all* dead-money currency that the wealthy and banks have hoovered up from us peons. By either taxing that currency or by swapping bonds for that currency.

          Or The Fed Gov could spend money directly without taxing or swapping first…right? MMT to the rescue!

          1. Mel

            Actually, MMT requires both. In the current debating climate, with people arguing that the government can’t do a thing unless it taxes first, then we stress the power of the state to spend.
            But anytime the market is given a say in effecting policy, purchasing power has to be policed. If a big pile of money accumulates in some dead end, it can be used for mischief. Martin Shkreli, Epipen, etc. have given us some examples lately. A whole whack of unproductive M&A activity has given us others. Taxing has to be applied to clean these kinds of situations up.

            1. djrichard

              The mischief would still happen. Idea is to tax the mischief in particular to discourage it. Of course, we’re leagues away from that. Because mischief is the only thing creating demand at the Fed Reserve’s liquidity pump now-of-days. That’s the only game left. So where the Fed Reserve would normally take away the punch bowl by now, well now-of-days it’s left out, as organic growth is pretty much gone. Our only growth model is bubble formation. And it’s only when it gets beyond the pale (e.g. too many of the hoi polloi showing up at the party and making easy money as well) that the Fed Reserve figures it’s time to the plug now of days.

              1. Mel

                I lost the argument when I said M&A, didn’t I? Yes, the banking system can create and has created monstrous amounts of money for any old thing it wants.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s a good start. I would suggest

      1. Clean water for all (universal here mean free for all). Should be good enough for any Third World country or Flint, Michigan, and should be good enough for any town in America.

      2. Free childcare for all.

      3. Free Medicare for all.

      4. Free uncredentialed life long learning for all (we must be able to learn from anyone…monks, preachers, bankers, taxi drivers, bartenders, Hillbillies, hackers, billionaires, etc.)

      5. Free community garden for all…for Garrison Keilor or Diocletian fans.

      1. David, by the lake

        It is important to remember that none of these things is “free” — it all has to be paid for. The question is: given the nature of the public good in question, what is the most appropriate mechanism for paying for it? In some cases, it might be general taxation. In others, such as utility services, user fees are more appropriate. The key is that these goods are provided on an at-cost, not-for-profit basis, and managed as locally as feasible.

        1. Pat

          No the key is that taking care of the people of the United States of America is more important than much of our other priorities in this country. No, we do not need to spend billions on data mining by largely private contractors because TERRORISM. We need to make sure our people are healthy. No, we do not need to subsidize arms manufacturers by giving many countries millions on millions of aid and loans so they can buy lots of military toys. We need to make sure our water is clean and safe to drink, our bridges are safe to cross, and our power supply is secure and adequate. No we do not need to subsidize the life styles of people who produce nothing and demand sacrifices from the American worker because their investments will sell for more OR their bonuses will be higher by treating their income as some public good and taxing it less than the sanitation worker who picks up our garbage and really provides a public good. No our people should be educated, really educated not taught to a test that enriches the test makers.

          It isn’t that some fee should be charged for these things, it already is. In case you haven’t noticed the majority of people in America pay multitudes of fees and taxes – not all of them income based. Instead of going to the public good a large percentage of that money goes into the pockets of private contractors, pet projects that support private projects and yes boondoggles like the most of the MIC.

          1. David, by the lake

            I don’t disagree with your sentiments. When I say at-cost, not-for-profit, I mean exactly that. Utilities (and, I would argue, any natural monopoly) should be run in such a way. Investor-owned utilities should not exist. For-profit prisons should not exist. For-profit schools should not exist. (Private not-for-profit schools are perfectly acceptable.)

            However, I again suggest that central administration of everything is not a good solution and will not withstand the stresses our society is facing. More localized governance allows for the kind of flexibility and adaptability that will be needed.

            1. justanotherprogressive

              Are you suggesting that the ideal situation would be where we all have to town-shop for the best tax services?
              I think you are missing the point that we all pay taxes but that there should be some return on that tax dollar. I have no problem paying for education and safety nets with my tax dollars because that money will return to me in a better quality of life for all of us (sorry, seeing homeless people and people going hungry does NOT improve my quality of life….). However, paying taxes to fund security theater and wars to protect corporate interests provides me very little return on my tax dollar. That is the point.

              1. David, by the lake

                “…paying taxes to fund security theater and wars to protect corporate interests…”

                Absolutely no disagreement there. I am opposed to imperialism (American or otherwise), whether promoted by Democrats or Republicans. And not only on moral grounds, but also because empire is always a bad strategic decision in the long run. We have crested the peak and are heading down the back-slope of ours right now.

                The complex, highly-centralized administrative state is not tenable in the absence of that empire/hegemony, and as our global dominance wanes, that internal structure will become more and more fragile. It would be far better for us to establish a more regionalized governance structure (again, returning to the original premise of the Constitution as delegating specific limited powers to the federal government while reserving all others for the states and the people) so that we have a system/systems that work as DC continues to become more and more dysfunctional.

                Waiting for distant bureaucracies to solve our problems is not helpful. Organizing ourselves to solve our own problems is more so. But this requires active civic engagement by the citizenry, something that has rather fallen by the wayside and desperately needs to be revived.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            Can’t figure out whose side I’m taking in this, probably a little of both.

            In a country of this size, it seems to me any national system needs a national mission and funding source that is flexible enough to respond to different needs in different localities.

            With regard to healthcare, for example, you’d need to spend more on black lung specialists and expertise in West Virginia than you would in Arizona. A functional system, of any kind, would need to reflect both a national commitment and the distinct regional differences inherent in a country as massive as this one.

            The centraliztion / decentralization debate has been raging in some areas of government for decades, as yesterday’s link, A 40-year ‘conspiracy’ at the VA Politico, does a good job of detailing.

            1. Pat

              I suppose what I am imagining is federal oversight into health care in determining coverage guidelines and being a conduit for funds. On a more local level can be determination of staffing requirements and even drug and equipment requisition in order to meet those coverage guidelines.

              What I don’t want is the current block grant leave it to the states to spend it however idea we currently have brewing. For instance, in a civilized country with real health care and not our corporate lobbyist design it all for you world we now have the our current drug epidemic problems would be being addressed by additional funds and hopefully personnel so that hospitals and law enforcement weren’t taking the brunt they are now. (Oh, and maybe Oxy wouldn’t have been so widely prescribed or even available, but that is perhaps still wishful thinking). Some expertise would need to be mobile, epidemics, disasters, etc. And there would need to some funding process for emergencies, etc.

              The thing is that the moment you start talking state and local you get a ‘we can leave all the problems to the states mindset from the federal end’ and a “we decide the winners and losers because money restraints on the states”. I wish to find a system where the states can determine if they need more of X and less of y, but where no locale is shortchanged because of poverty or lack of influence, and where the federal government does recognize that making sure that the 68 year old woman living in a poor county in the middle of America who has struggled to keep a roof over head her whole life should get the same level of treatment for her heart disease as the 68 year old professional woman living in Lake County Illinois or the one in the Bronx or the one in Miami, Florida. Or the kid with pneumonia or the man with prostrate cancer or the…

              No one should be denied or delayed coverage because they do not have insurance, or their insurance company doesn’t cover it like now, or we change but they still get denied coverage because their state doesn’t spend money in their country, or has spent it all because of injuries and illnesses from massive flooding no one counted on. Or even worse because their problem is something associated with women or blacks or jews or… and isn’t covered because the state omitted it.

        2. Buck Eschaton

          “It is important to remember that none of these things is “free” — it all has to be paid for.”

          I’ve been seeing a lot of this here lately…I just want to check-in and see if we’re still predominantly a MMT blog/commenter base here.

          1. tegnost

            No, it just helps to out our friend by the lake as someone who doesn’t understand how money is created or distributed. Maybe he thinks that each state should have it’s own army as well?

            1. djrichard

              LoL, if we could dissolve the powers of the DoD to the states, I would be on board for that.

              But watch out if those states adopted MMT, each creating their own currency. We’d be worse than europe leading up to the World Wars. ;-p

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                In practice, there is no pure capitalistic countries…or pure anything.

                And thus, we get a hybrid mongrel MMT economy:

                1. MMT for military spending
                2. Non-MMT on the domestic front.

          2. David, by the lake

            FWIW, the basis for my comment is far, far less academic. Working at a local utility, it is not uncommon to find customers who believe they have a constitutional right to free electricity. And in my run for a city council seat, I’ve run into folks who want the city to increase services and improve infrastructure, but want their taxes reduced and don’t want to pay for anything. That sort of thing is what I’m referring to.

          1. djrichard

            I’ve seen this statement made previously. Is there a goto reference that fills in the blanks in how that story hangs together?

            I used to be on the same page. In fact, I used to post comments saying the same thing. But I’ve found it easier to think of the Fed Gov as having a balance sheet. Which gets replenished through taxes and swapping bonds for currency.

            And instead what I focus on is how this is a “fountainhead” (to co-opt a phrase) which operates on “virtuous cycle” (to co-opt another phrase). In that the spending by the Fed Gov ends up as dead-money once its been hoovered up by the wealthy and the banks. But instead of the currency staying in their hoards, it gets “liberated” from their hoards by Fed Gov taxes and selling them bonds (so they can hoard the bonds instead). And by being liberated and replenishing the Fed Gov’s balance sheet, it can be spent into the economy again. Hence the virtuous cycle. Indeed this means their hoard of bonds grows perpetually in size, which is nothing to be afraid of. And we shouldn’t be afraid of that, nor the interest we pay on that.

            On the other end of the tail, taxes on wage earners also contributes to the balance sheet of the Fed Gov as well. I supposed there’s an argument to be made that this tax is more of a fiction, in that if it didn’t exist the virtuous cycle of Fed Gov spending would simply go sailing on with nary an issue, by simply focusing on recycling from the dragon hoards.

            But the theory is that it’s also a way to remove surplus from labor so that it doesn’t end up being pledged to debt instead (and thereby driving up the price of housing). [Though that probably works better when hedge funds aren’t gobbling up housing.]

            A more cynical view is that it keeps labor’s skin in-the-game so that labor can identify with the wealthy when the wealthy are given tax relief. That said, FDR had the flip-side mind-set, seeing tax on labor as a way to protect SocSec from those who would gut it.

            Bottom line though, the Fed Gov’s balance sheet can’t go to zero.

            1. Mel

              Lambert made the point quite a while ago that monetary sovereignty is just a special case of sovereignty. A sovereign goverenment can do whatever it decides to do, and no outside authority can stop it.
              So it’s a kind of mistake to say that a sovereign state can’t go bankrupt in its own currency. The state created the bankruptcy laws, and if it wants to enforce them against itself, who’ll stop it? The state’s balancee sheet can go to zero, or any other number if the state decides. This is weirdly theoretical until you come to something like the Troubled Asset Relief Program, where money was made to appear at will for the benefit of some banks that got caught short. The state balance sheet picked up some “assets”, but by the very nature of the program, those “assets” were “troubled”: uneasy, depressed, and probably not worth anything like what people wanted to claim. And if those assets roll over and die on the state’s balance sheet, what then? Nothing, that’s what then. It’s not like the state is counting on those assets. The only effect is that a bunch of powerful, foolish people get to stay powerful despite their foolishness.
              A state’s balance sheet doesn’t have to balance, so it’s strange to call it a balance sheet. Just as the state’s relationship to people who have its money is so unlike regular debt, that it’s strange to call the money “debt”. But that’s another story.

        3. JTFaraday

          People’s QE. But not everything can be paid with People’s QE, so pick the right things.

      2. susan the other

        yes these should all be free to all of us… and we should also always remind ourselves, since we are the government, that it is not only free but it represents a substantial savings both short and long term to the administration of our society… in fact, with this savings we could make other things free, or very cheap, as well….

  13. allan

    Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California [Reuters]

    Dozens of California communities have experienced recent rates of childhood lead poisoning that surpass those of Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher, blood testing data obtained by Reuters shows.

    The data shows how lead poisoning affects even a state known for its environmental advocacy, with high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles. And the figures show that, despite national strides in eliminating lead-based products, hazards remain in areas far from the Rust Belt or East Coast regions filled with old housing and legacy industry.

    In one central Fresno zip code, 13.6 percent of blood tests on children under six years old came back high for lead. That compares to 5 percent across the city of Flint during its recent water contamination crisis. …

    fresno dan to the white courtesy phone.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thus, Free Clean Water for All is listed #1 above.

      That will help to get reduce lead exposure.

    2. Vatch

      This would be a chance for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to demonstrate that he’s not as bad as many of us believe he is. He could work to solve a genuine environmental problem, and at the same time, he could embarrass politicians in a state that voted for Clinton.

      I won’t hold my breath, though. It will be hard for the EPA to be very effective on anything if the 31% budget cuts are passed.

    3. fresno dan

      March 22, 2017 at 9:22 am

      I moved back to Fresno in October of 2016. There were a bunch of articles and things on the local newscasts about discolored water (uh…isn’t any water that comes out with ANY color just wrong? I mean, its suppose to be colorless – though even colorless water can have very bad things in it.)
      There was a article today in the local paper that I was just reading about lead in Fresno’s water – the first I had heard.

      The Fresno Bee: “Many children in California, including those living in nine ZIP codes in Fresno County, tested higher in 2012 for lead exposure than children in Flint, Michigan, REUTERS is reporting.

      The news service report is based on California Department of Public Health data of children’s exposure to lead in about one-fourth of the state’s ZIP codes.”
      Reuters reported that in central Fresno’s 93701 ZIP code, nearly 14 percent of children tested had lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood or higher, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says would warrant a public health response.

      Well, so much for the utility of reading the local paper…..Gotta start checking Reuters more frequently….

      So…..I grew up in 93701. I am hereby requesting exemption and exoneration for everything and anything I post from here on out as I am obviously brain damaged…..Sure, the cocaine, the Oxycontin, the gin, vodka, whiskey, and wine spritzers, excessive imaginary sex, etcetera may have had fleeting minor inconsequential affects, but I think its the water. Let this be a warning children – the safest thing to drink is booze and plenty of it….

      1. allan

        fd, just make sure it’s not Russian booze.

        It’s sobering (so to speak) to use the Reuters interactive map to see what the blood lead levels are in other places. There are some neighborhoods in cities in the Northeast that are even worse than 93701.

  14. GK

    Am I the only one who noticed that the “Smug liberals” Salon piece only cites quotes from online comments, including from troll-heaven Reddit, as evidence for its thesis? The “Liberal shaming” piece is better, though both articles fail to acknowledge that there is plenty of contempt on all sides. Why is coastal liberal contempt more problematic than middle America conservative contempt? I don’t see any evidence that one is more harmful than the other. I don’t agree with the Frank Rick “let them suffer” attitude, but he also argues (1) that the left should harness their anger for political ends just as the right has so successfully, and (2) that the core Trump voters hate government so much that they will not listen to the left until a catastrophe (like the Great Depression) leaves them no choice. I agree that anger can be a potent political tool. I don’t know if the second point is true or not, but I don’t think it can be dismissed out of hand.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      Why is coastal liberal contempt more problematic than middle America conservative contempt? I don’t see any evidence that one is more harmful than the other.

      1.) Coastal liberal smugness has a lot more exposure in our discourse than Heartland America cosnervative smugness. The heyday of middle America conservative smugness (even Trump’s attempt to reinflate it felt inadequate; compare Culture War versus Make America Great Again) was almost a generation ago, while coastal liberal smugness shows no sign of abating. Just in terms of pure fairness, cosmopolitan liberal smugness has an edge. I mean, compare Hillary Clinton’s celebrity endorsements compared to those who went Trump or third-party. The public influence of conservative Middle America is nothing compared to that of our liberal cultural elites.

      2.) Liberalism bills itself as the ideology of pluralism and rationality and MUST get a fair hearing this way because a lot of its positions are counterintuitive compared to that of conservatism or leftism. We can debate how good those values are in abstract, but liberal smugness is self-damaging to its ideology in a way that conservative smugness is not.

      3.) Liberal smugness isn’t merely an affect or even a perception; it straight-up leads them down the spiral of self-inflicted disaster. 2016 was the culmination of this habit, where liberal smugness led to them blowing an easily winnable election.

      4.) Most damagingly, Liberal smugness becomes a substitute for moral and especially material effect. It’s really not lost on anyone but liberals that if California went through with its threat to secede from the barbaric flyover states of the US, they’d become the secondmost carceral nation in history and have racial inequality worse than actual no-fooling fascist states. But as long as they have some other putatively backwards polity to smugly compare themselves to, liberals get to puff themselves up and go ‘America is already great’.

      1. B1whois

        But as long as they have some other putatively backwards polity to smugly compare themselves to, liberals get to puff themselves up and go ‘America is already great’.

        Great observation

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Why is coastal liberal contempt more problematic than middle America conservative contempt?

      In the same way that getting stabbed in the back is more problematic than being punched in the face.

  15. Tertium Squid

    Farmers hacking their tractors

    “What happens in 20 years when there’s a new tractor out and John Deere doesn’t want to fix these anymore?” the farmer using Ukrainian software told me. “Are we supposed to throw the tractor in the garbage, or what?”

    1. Dirk77

      Good for them! One of the things on my list when I retire is to teach a course at a local high school or college on computer hacking.

        1. flora

          I’m cheering the farmers doing this. If Deere sues anyone over DMCA violations Deere will lose its pr/lobbying campaign and see the right to repair laws get fresh traction. So far Deere and Apple and others have been able to beat back right to repair law proposals. One lawsuit against a farmer trying to repair very expensive property he owns will backfire on Deere in a big way. imo.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s like adopting a cat and being told you must buy cat food from the adoption center.

            (We don’t buy cats anymore…we adopt).

  16. Edward E

    I thought Ivanka already has an official role in the new White House, Babysitter in Chief for her daddy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not unless she changes her first name.

      Ivanka is too Slavic to be in the White House, don’t you know?

      “They are coming for us! They are coming for us!”

      They and the Huns.

  17. fritter

    No Sympathy for the Hillbilly
    A lot of analysis based on the thinking that Trump voters were some kind of Rube Goldberg machine. The simpler, and to me more compelling, argument that no matter the political calculus used. Voting for Trump is the best chance the average deplorable voter has had for sticking it to the establishment since Ross Perot. Actually, the only option that I know of. Trump clearly had a shot so it was more effective than staying home or some other protest vote. Now that voters have seen the panic in the acela corridor, and seen those elites face a small part of the misery of the general populace future Trumps will be hard to stop. The opinion polls before/during the primaries showed that a matchup between Trump and Clinton was a nonstarter for the Ds. It was only a surprise to the neoliberals. Trump is how the fly-over states make Liberals feel their pain. Just wait, you think they are panicking over Trump, wait till you see the next guy.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The story is about non voters. The Dems are focused on voters because they don’t want to explain how Hillary blew a billion dollars. We’re there organizers in Detroit where turnout was down? The Philly area? The Ohio cities?

      The whole premise behind the 50 state strategy is Kerry left thousands of votes on the table in safe blue districts where not everyone votes because the Congressional, state legislature seats, and local govern end spots are in the bag and the non voters would vote for the party in power anyway. Across the state, this is the difference between winning and losing. Back in 2006, George Allen hit his targets even after his incident. Jim Webb won because the Congressional campaigns across the state made sure blue precincts reached close to 90% turnout. In 2005, Tim Kaine won against a fairly well liked Republican who exceeded his targets because the Kaine campaign supported heavily by the DNC focused on turnout, turnout, turnout, not persuasion of Republicans.

      Democratic elites who drowned on about wining “moderate Republicans” and future demographic waves should be fired. Ohio urban areas which are easy to organize saw significant drops. If Obama won because of high turnout in those areas, wouldn’t the natural plan be to repeat the winning formula? Yes, it would, so why blame poor rural whites? The answer is deflection.

      1. Pat

        I bed to differ slightly. You are right that it is deflection it is just that they aren’t focused on voters either. The voters they are demonizing are largely figments of their imagination. Just as they had no clue that their assumptions about voters who previously voted for Obama had no basis (they’ll just turn out for Hillary as well), they make a whole lot of assumptions about Trump voters that are just emotionally based. They are all racist, all misogynist, all stupid, all voting against their own interests, don’t really know what is going on in their own lives at all….

        Fact: Clinton was hated before this campaign began, and that never changed despite her multiple attempts at reintroduction.
        Fact: Clinton ran a campaign with little or no substance with a focus on “I’m not Trump I’m not going to change things” in a year when voters were seeking change.
        Fact: The financial crisis recovery never happened for the majority of Americans.
        Fact: Globalization disguised as ‘trade’ was used to hollow out manufacturing in America which hollowed out the middle class throughout this country. Immigration has been being used to do it in other industries. People have either seen their wages fail to keep up with inflation or drop well below living and middle class levels over the last decades, while the top/elite have made out like…well bandits.
        Fact: ACA was NOT successful because with the exception of the Medicaid expansion it actually increased costs and lessened access to actual health care for a large section of Americans.
        Fact: The Democratic Party has ignored voter suppression and actively weakened state and local parties in order to consolidate power over the last eight years leading to the losses of state legislatures, governorships and both Houses of Congress and didn’t see that this might also hamper a Presidential campaign.

        Meanwhile Trump pretty much brought out the same people Romney did four years earlier and won. Funny how that happened. Policy failure, local organization and turn out, and ill thought out candidate selection didn’t doom the Democrats at all

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yep. The cliches:

          1) You can’t beat something with nothing


          2) Change vs more of the same

          cover a lot of 2016. That, and “It’s the economy, stupid.”

      2. fritter

        No, its about Hillary losing. It jumps around from one topic to the next but basically its just another blame the deplorable s recipe for losing. From the article

        Perhaps it’s a smarter idea to just let the GOP own these intractable voters. Liberals looking for a way to empathize with conservatives should endorse the core conservative belief in the importance of personal responsibility. Let Trump’s white working-class base take responsibility for its own votes — or in some cases failure to vote — and live with the election’s consequences.

        Getting more people to vote won’t make Hillary more popular, nor will it change the track record of D establishment. As strategy it make sense, but only if the party is not Bankrupt. They would have nominated Sanders if that were the case. Its pretty obvious at this point that D elites still control the party and have nothing for the 99% but more of the same. They are talking about “moderate Republicans” because they are the only group left to propagandize.

        1. Deadl E Cheese

          Counter counterpoint: it’s about both. Like Trump being the avatar of herrenvolk conservatism, Hillary Clinton was and is the apotheosis of technocratic liberalism. They can’t just pull a Ford-style No True Scotsman.

          If Hillary Clinton was fatally flawed, then so are all of her predecessors and successors. Hence why, unlike with Gore and Kerry, the Democrats are grasping for exogenous explanations to her defeat. And when those run thin, they’ll occasionally deign to choke down personal explanations (she has a hard time connecting with voters, etc.). But the idea of a STRUCTURAL explanation for her failure is unthinkable, even among the less indoctrinated members of the Woke Centrist Death Cult, because a structural explanation would also indict the entire post-Dukakis Democratic leadership. Hence the fevered attempts at exculpating her. Her fate is their fate; her failure is their failure.

          1. craazyboy

            Woke Centrist Death Cult. hahahaha.

            I’m beginning to love the word “Woke”. I couldn’t come up with a better “self mocking” word if I tried, really, really, hard.

            UnWoke just rolls of the cerebral cortex…

            Visions of an Orwellian 1984 remake, the cast being a Morlock elite , controlling “woke” zombies and preying upon the remaining Blonde Bros with their wild and crazy hair, and their decidedly unwoke, but scantily clad and deeply tanned Swedish blonde hotties, whom are destined to go to a special place in Hell.

            It’s really blockbuster stuff.

            1. HotFlash

              Maybe it’s because I’m just checking in after a really, really long day, but right now I think I’d pay money to see that. Roll those cameras, craazyboy!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I suspect the dems are just pissed that the proletariat has refused to recognize and acknowledge their entitled, elite superiority, and have further refused to be satisfied with the crumbs that they have been tossed “in their best interests.”

      See today’s post Who Benefits From the Mayo Clinic Explicitly Putting Commercially Insured Patients Ahead of Some Government Insured Patients? for an explanation of how “valuable” the crumb of Medicaid as “healthcare” is proving to be to the ingrates who refused to appropriately signal their appreciation with their votes.

      It should come as no surprise to anyone that the dems have no patience for those who, exasperatingly, resist rewarding the party for bestowing benefits, however meager, that they didn’t deserve or earn in the first place. Just cut the ungrateful lot of them loose and be done with it.

    3. Mark P.

      Fritter wrote: ‘Now that voters have seen the panic in the acela corridor, and seen those elites face a small part of the misery of the general populace future Trumps will be hard to stop … wait till you see the next guy’

      Yup. Essentially, Trump is a giant 2X4 that a large segment of the American people have picked up in their desperation and used to sock the so-called elite alongside the head.

      Since that elite are still doing their best not to get the message — It was the Russkies! The deplorable hillbillies! — and since the American people now know the elite is vulnerable, there’ll be more.

  18. fresno dan

    Rep. Louie Gohmert, an outspoken House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

    Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.

    Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure.

    As I sit here in my antenna-ed fuzzy red hammer and sickled bunny slippers in my basement lair wearing my commie pajamas, sending off my latest clandestine missive to Putin, and I realize that we will not sell the rope with which capitalists hang themselves…. And how the love of rubles is the root of all evil….and fun. We will sell them oil on which they will slip and break their necks.

  19. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Payless Is Said to Be Filing for Bankruptcy as Soon as Next Week

    Seeing the headline, I was surprised to find these clowns were still in business. I would have thought they’d gone under years ago.

    Used to work in the restaurant biz and didn’t want to spend a lot of money on work shoes that would get trashed quickly so gave Payless a try. Once. The shoes I purchased fell apart in about a week.

    Don’t think this retailer can blame Amazon for their demise – more likely a result of over-crapification.

    1. human

      I’ve bought a number of name brand shoes from them … also crap, but, the price was right. We are experiencing the initial effects of the current failed global business model.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Comparing the initial acquisition cost vs. cost per year of use, the price may or may not be right.

  20. Dave

    Re: Frank Rich article.

    The Democrats went full neocon. Can’t go much further right. Trump moved left and won.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      I think this is more liberals showing who they really are when they don’t have the Marxists and anarchists shaming them into not acting like entitled Yuppie peacocks. Orthodox liberalism has always struggled with the problem of cultural smugness; viewed in historical context, it was the New Deal Dems who were the aberration, not the Clinton-Obama Dems.

  21. Olga

    David Rockefeller & October Surprise Case Consortium News – this is from 2005, but still a very important piece. Not only does it shed light on the Iran hostage crisis, but also provides insight into the “cia-think” ways. It turns out that having a president who is “principled” is a no-go…

  22. Pat

    Have not read the Frank Rich piece yet. Did see a discussion with him recently. One nice thing was that he at least acknowledged that Clinton was a terrible candidate who was so packaged she couldn’t answer a simple what’s your favorite question because it hadn’t been focused tested. And that the campaign was badly run.

    What he didn’t acknowledge as such but also touched on was that he has lived in three bubbles in his own life. First describing how his show can portray Washington without naming parties is that it is a bubble based on self-protection as a huge part of the continuing DC status quo is due to the people who are not elected but work in the system regardless of which party is in power (something he learned growing up there.) That he has used many of the skills he learned as the Times theater critic (which is a very much a bubble of upper class intelligentsia coupled with the high end theater bubble). And now his successful turn at producing in Hollywood has meant an entirely different bubble. So his primary experiences have been the DC bubble, the NY Art Scene bubble AND the Hollywood Entertainment bubble.

    It might be a toss up who has less contact with members of the struggling working class: Tom Friedman and his cab drivers and Frank Rich and well…maybe waiters.

  23. ProNewerDeal

    iirc, per a Lambert article, Harvard Public Health Profs estimated that the USians annual deaths due to the US not having Canada-style MedicareForAll was 45K USians/yr pre-ACA, & that with the ACA, “eventually” by ~2022 it would be limited to “only” 30K/yr. (My aside, these numbers mean that the Est. pol class Bush43, 0bama, Clintons, Romney, P Ryan, etc & the funders that own them are responsible for murdering orders of magnitude more Muricans than any Foreign Boogyman Du Jour like Al Qa3da could ever dream of)

    Have the Harvard Profs updated their projections? How many would die under the AHCA/TrumpRyan”Care” bill?

    PS Any D Team sycophant noting truthfully how the AHCA will kill people, should be reminded that their Dear Leader 0bama’s ACA & his killing of MedicareForAll or even a “Public Option” also killed 30-45K USians/yr for 8 yrs.

    1. DanB

      Public health, a field I was once in, is loyal to the 1%, as opposed to voicing criticism and calling for reforms to benefit the health of the nation. Consider the virtual silence of schools of public health as the Flint water crisis played out; U of Mich’s school of public health is essentially down the road from Flint. And an epidemiologist in the state Govt. of Mich. was falsifying data about Flint’s water. These are merely two illustrations that come to mind.

  24. lyman alpha blob

    Frank Rich clearly has not listed to Dwight Yoakam’s latest album which I’ve been enjoying immensely. He took a bunch of his country tunes and rerecorded them in bluegrass style and since he was putting it together at about the time of Prince’s death, he also threw in a bluegrass version of Purple Rain to close the album out.

    Readers of a certain age should get a chuckle out of the title – “Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…

    Kick up your heels Frankie – it’ll make you feel better. Yee haw!

  25. justanotherprogressive

    “When you’ve lost Salon…. ”

    It is interesting to track what has happened to Salon over the past few years. Their readership started to increase as we got closer to the primaries (expected) and then started dying down after they came out full bore for Clinton, and is still dropping. I know they had at least one editorial staff change (maybe more than one?) during this period when many of my favorite writers left or were fired(?). Perhaps they are finally starting to realize that another change is needed? I can only hope……

    I stopped reading Salon when it seemed like every single article was written by the Clinton Campaign and I am not sure what they are doing right now really impresses me all that much…..

      1. justanotherprogressive

        True! I’ve never seen another writer who felt so “put upon” because she was born female….

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Money is not everything…all the time..

        I think many billionaires religiously believe propaganda or brainwashing is a patriotic duty.

  26. ScottW

    Trump Voter: I supported him because he is going to blow up the status quo and stick it to the elites.

    Liberal Response: I hope the Trump hillbillys suffer because they voted to blow up the status quo.

    Two peas in a pod.

    As for any viable solutions by either side . . .

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Blow up.



      Different ways to say no to the status quo.

      Wanting to blow up the status quo is not the same as wishing suffering for whose want to blow it up.

  27. Eureka Springs

    Someone mix Rich another Moscow Mule in a copper cup. Wonderfully ‘clarifying’ for those who have not seen the liberal limelight for what it is.

    Thanks Frank! Keep it going.

  28. Jim Haygood

    Holland’s icon of northern European fiscal rectitude, Jeb Dieselboom — HE’S BACK, flogging the Club Med slackers reeking of olive oil:

    The head of eurozone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is facing calls to resign over comments that were seen as an attack on southern European states.

    Anyone demanding EU solidarity also had obligations, he said. “I can’t spend all my money on liquor and women and then go and ask for your support.”

    Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said he should stand down. Condemning the remarks as racist and xenophobic, Mr Costa said Europe would only become credible as a common project “on the day Mr Dijsselbloem is no longer president of the Eurogroup or when there is a clear apology to the countries and peoples who have been profoundly offended by these comments”.

    I met a gin-soaked barroom queen in Lisbon
    She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
    She had to heave me right across her shoulder
    Cause I just can’t seem to drink you off my mind

    It’s those honnnnnnn-on-on-onnnn-ky tonk women
    Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues

    — Rolling Stones

    1. fosforos

      Coming after the Dutch voters wiped out his “Labor” party, he seems to be choking on his own bile…

  29. cocomaan

    The more I look around, including going to InfoWars and Breitbart, Trump’s mouthpieces, the more I think Trump actually wants AHCA to fail. Those two outlets are railing against Ryan as a traitor and the AHCA as not only DOA but also horrible bills.

    The window for it to pass is incredibly narrow, with people like Rand Paul beating the drum against it.

    Anyone else getting that feeling? Maybe it’s just me.

    1. MLS

      I suppose it’s possible, but what’s the result? Trump moves on to things like tax reform and infrastructure spending? It’s unlike him to simply accept defeat in such a manner and allow the Dems to pile on. If he never cared about getting the bill passed, why bring it up? To appease the base and say, “look, we tried”? Not really sure how he looks like a winner in that scenario.

      So do they go back and re-craft the bill all over again? Not sure how that creates a favorable impression of Trump either given the time that would consume.

      I’m just not seeing how he benefits from it’s pre-planned failure (but then, maybe i’m not thinking creatively enough).

      1. cocomaan

        Total conjecture, but maybe he has another healthcare plan in mind. I agree, it’s too much of a weeping sore of a wound on the body politic for it to be ignored.

      2. JTFaraday

        ” If he never cared about getting the bill passed, why bring it up?”

        To inflict damage on Paul Ryan.

    2. JTFaraday

      Ditto. I also think he wants the gruesome and sadistic Paul Ryan, whose repulsive fingerprints are all over this bill and who fancies himself some sort of respectable and competent policy wonk, to experience a very high profile failure.

    1. voteforno6

      I had to check, to make sure the story wasn’t dated April 1st.

      Anyway, you left out the subtitle: “No really, this isn’t The Onion.”

    2. paul

      Maybe it’s a way of saying that she has already done more than enough for her fellow americans and it would be plain greedy to ask for more.

      She deserves an abundance of me-time.

      1. Clive

        And a Nobel Peace Prize?

        Why not is what I say, they apparently hand those out like confetti.

      2. clarky90

        Maybe it is time to nominate Chelsea for the Nobel Peace Prize? IMHO, she has done more than enough to win!

        1. paul

          I was thinking of the miss america crown, but there is a special place in hell for the ageist,pageant running deplorables who have set the cut off at 26,

          the contest is now judged on competitors’ talent performances and interviews in addition to their physical appearance.

          Sort of like the chocolate nobel for economisers

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Interesting – I had no idea that being handed a string of sinecures counted as ‘achievement’ now.

      Where’s Molly Ivins when we need her?

  30. KateF

    On Frank Rich –

    He does make some good points about the Democrats failures, and HRCs in particular – which was more than I expected from him. But at the end, when he’s condemning Trump’s voters to a fiery death in hell- he says maybe finally they’ll come out of the bubble and take the alternative. Trouble is, there is no alternative, or very few of them, in the Democratic Party. He insists that of those 60 plus million Trump voters, that even Universal Healthcare wouldn’t convince them (he must be very busy, having spoken with 60 million individuals to come to that conclusion).

    Look, there are plenty of willfully ignorant, culturally frightening people in the world. There are racists and sexists and all the rest of the “ists” – but I just don’t believe that most people want to spend their time hating on others. They just want to live their lives in a solid, secure, decent way. And I’m sure there are white, “hillbilly” folks who game some government systems – but certainly not the majority. Just like any other demographic.

    Seems to me what old Frank is doing, is stereotyping millions of people, in the same way that liberals become hysterical when someone says even the slightest thing that can be taken out of context by someone who said something that can be construed as stereotyping a race or gender or whatever, but of course, only those that are approved – minorities, women, gays, trans etc. .

    And the problem with all this hyperventilating over these issues by liberals, is that it’s not getting them anywhere, nor will it. He wants to attack white people of low income or whatever – because that’s just easy and doesn’t require him to contemplate his own elite experience and how that may differ from the experience of the majority – of all races and persuasions. If more Leftists, minorities, women, young people came out to vote, then his beloved HRC would’ve won those states. If the Democratic Party really fought for the common good and against corporate interests, then people would flock to vote for them. It’s really not that complicated. But Rich and others of his ilk use as a template the marvelous Obama and the rhetoric of, I feel your pain – so if the voters are too “stupid” to believe them, or if they feel so disgusted by what they see and hear from Democratic politicians and experience in their lives, and are so angry and disengaged, or so desperate for something better to happen, then they deserve to die or get Trump to further ruin their lives.

    Like I said, this just isn’t going to help them. During the election, I’d say to my husband (a blue-collar, union guy, white, and very LEFT) if HRC wants to win, she should lie like she’s never lied before. Talk about big things – universal healthcare, breaking up conglomerates, putting power back into the hands of the people, end of militarism, talk of peace and all that good stuff. $15 minimum wage? Forget it! Let’s shoot for $20. People still wouldn’t have trusted her maybe, but they might have thought twice and voted for her. They will never, ever win again – at any level – if they keep up this neoliberal, identity-politics, militarism, corporatism stuff. One thing that Obama did big time, was expose the corruption at the heart of our political system. So many people expected more, hoped for more, and he not only disappointed them, he humiliated them for even believing in him and a better day. And though many people voted for HRC, the enthusiasm for her wasn’t there. It just was the lesser-evil theory.

    I do believe that if Democratic politicians were actually moral and ethical – that if they really believed in the common good and the purpose of a country is not to grow the economy, but to have a good society, maybe even a great one – and if they spoke that way – then people would vote for them. Sure, some would say that’s naïve or whatever, but how does anyone know I’m not right – it really hasn’t been tried much.

    1. voteforno6

      A friend of mine is a lobbyist for a large corporation. When he got to D.C., he had some hope that the Democrats there would at least be better than the Republicans. He was disappointed, to say the least. He also told me that you never wanted to show a wine list to a legislator – they’ll immediately go to the top of it. When you think about it, it’s quite remarkable that even a lobbyist doesn’t think much of the political class.

      On another note, comparing Frank Rich and his ilk with Bernie Sanders is quite instructive (especially that town hall he held in McDowell County). It’s quite obvious that Sanders is just a better person than all of them. That might be part of why they hate him so much.

      1. KateF

        I really don’t know how some people live with themselves. Even though, to be honest, I can be judgmental, for most people, I feel pretty open-minded – life is tough, a lot of people are just struggling to do the best they can – all that jazz – so I don’t write them off, and I certainly don’t dismiss them just because we may not agree on a few issues (my physical therapist is a self-described conservative republican – who is from Russia actually – and I love having political conversations with him. We have many differences, but we’re both moral, ethical people so within that we find a lot of common ground). But, I really have no tolerance for people with power that abuse it. And like you said, even just the wine list thing – such a small, but essentially unethical act. And Bernie recently said that the trouble with “some” Democrats is that they’d rather go down with the Titanic as long as they have first-class seats. The Democrats are more terrified of universal rights and benefits than the Republican Party (well…maybe not more, but equally).

    2. Tom_Doak

      “And I’m sure there are white, “hillbilly” folks who game some government systems ”

      The question is, why are such people vilified by the right? If they were gaming “government systems” like the tax code, or lobbying rules, they would be praised in the same quarters as smart businesspeople.

    3. JTFaraday

      Honestly, I think all sides of this question are fueling the mental illness on all sides of this question.

      And, yes, one may feel like an intellectual when one “takes a blow torch to X” but I consider all this endlessly spiraling cultural resentment to be mental illness.** It can be a collective one, if you like.

      And, yes, I’ve made this comment in reference to people who both were and weren’t white and male, etc. Equal opportunity, in other words.

      **Like porn, I know it when I see it.

    4. Fiery Hunt

      This comment is EXACTLY nails why the Democrats are getting their butts kicked.
      It’s not that hard to understand.

      Democrats, quit being sycophantic, narcissistic, immoral bas**rds and start being human beings. Start with Medicare for all and don’t stop til corporations are not “persons”.

      To start: toss any Clinton, Pelosi, Feinstein, Schumer, Booker, Harris, Bezos’ and his whole empire, any NYTimes reporter/opinionator, likewise any MSNBC anyone, and the rest of the “Resistance” crew into Boston Harbor a la the real and original Tea Party…

      I want to believe…in my country again.

  31. LT

    Headline: “Markets” are now scared…

    People get scared. In this case, numbers runners get scared.

  32. anon

    On “Misread Data”, the worst part is the monumentally irresponsible behavior of the FBI in failing to seize and search the DNC’s servers when they were denied access. This was supposed to be a counterespionage case for frak’s sake! Or was it? That’s the thing. A lot of people with more field experience in computer security than anyone working for Crowdstrike called b.s. on the firm’s analysis as soon as there was sufficient detail to analyze. The behavior of the 3 letter orgs here, both public (CIA, NSA, FBI) and private (DNC), is what’s frightening: not what some black market hackers may or may not have done (a private black market that the CIA and NSA helped create with lucrative contracts for anyone with a pulse who wasn’t at the moment working for one of our adversaries or allies). These guys are willing to trigger Armageddon with a flimsy pack of lies to distract people from the actual, unchallenged, facts contained in the content of the leaked material. As we’ve seen from the Snowden and latest CIA releases, there are lots of operators in and out of government who could care less if it all gets burned down: as long as they get theirs. But these are people whose fundamental lack of intelligence doesn’t just manifest in their inabililty to grok basic technology, but also in a staggering failure to grasp that they themselves would inevitably be at risk from the consequences of their reckless, malicious, arrogance (the Greeks would say, “hubris”). It’s the leaders on both sides of the Cold War urging the piling up of nuclear weapons while blissfully ignorant of the science predicting nuclear winter all over again.

    1. uncle tungsten

      anon: YES ++
      Crowdstrike should change its name to Cloud Strike as it is just as clever as two children throwing stones at clouds and claiming they hit it.

      Crowdstikes cavalier manufacturing of ‘facts’ is breathtaking in its stupidity. The FBI’s Comey should resign not because he fluffed the Clinton inquiry but because he is rogue and undermining of the democratic foundation. No responsible inquiry by the head of the FBI could delegate or ‘outsource’ evidence without seriously testing it.

      The FBI is rogue and seems beyond reigning in.

  33. Alex Morfesis

    No sympathy for the devil…cue magazine…frank rich…trump has never hidden his secret sauce…he learned it from murdoch productions…there is always another newshole tomorrow that has to be filled…so keep filling it…

    people are too busy surviving to take a deep look at things so pt barnum your way to success…

    Never even thought of reading the self hate book of “hillbilly elegy” when it was obvious evil batshitkrazy tiger momma was behind the book…

    There is nothing wrong with being a nation divided…life would be boring if we all ate the same appetizers…

    $hilleristanis are the former bullied who are now acting as the bullies…the kid no one wanted to pick for kick ball in kindergarten who never got over it and have lived a life waiting for revenge…

    so, as the author of hillbilly elegy has done, he decided to join the sith and become Palpatines apprentice…from what little moi has gathered, he has convinced himself his grandparents had nothing to do with how his mother turned out…sad really…

    This is all so kathartic…but…

    Middletown ohio is not hillbilly country…it is steel town…
    just north of Cincinnati

    and it gave us that hillbilly chick…

    Brooklyn Decker…

    That black hillbilly…

    Clarence Page…

    And that other hillbilly finance guy…

    William Gross…commonly known as bill….

    That bill gross…

    Keep movin people…

    ya been gaslighted again…

  34. Iapetus

    “No Sympathy for the Hillbilly”

    I find it puzzling the Democrats have no sympathy for poor rural Americans because so many of their leaders were brought in during Clinton’s Presidency, a time when tabloids and newspapers relentlessly insulted the Clintons because of their regional affiliation. They referred to Bill Clinton as ‘Bubba’ for over a decade, and I distinctly remember shortly after his fist inauguration an article in the NY Times dedicated to him (can’t find the link) titled “How to Speak Hillbilly”. You would think these memories of unfair treatment, combined with a historic Democratic platform supporting social justice, would make rural voters a natural ally of the Democratic party. My guess is that for certain politicians, personal enrichment can lead you to treat people in the same unfair manner as you were in the past.

  35. Altandmain

    Has anyone read this:

    Five people employed by members of the House of Representatives remain under criminal investigation for unauthorized access to Congressional computers. Former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz employed at least one of those under investigation.
    The criminal investigation into the five, which includes three brothers and a wife of one of the men, started late last year, as reported by Politico in February. The group is being investigated by US Capitol Police over allegations that they removed equipment from over 20 members’ offices, as well as having run a procurement scheme to buy equipment and then overcharge the House.

    House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week Capitol Police are receiving additional help for the investigation. “I won’t speak to the nature of their investigation, but they’re getting the kind of technical assistance they need to do that, this is under an active criminal investigation, their capabilities are pretty strong but they’re also able to go and get the kind of help they need from other sources,” Ryan said.

    Not sure if credible, but there is a lot of dirt right now with the Democrats. Wouldn’t surprise me if there is a lot of dirt the mainstream media won’t report.

    Here’s the Politco article:

    This is looking like the mob though rather than a central government fit to run a nation.

      1. uncle tungsten

        Thanks Rhondda

        The Awan brothers story is mighty interesting! to say the least. I am so impressed at the capacity of the MSM to have put the Max Smart Cone Of Silence over this one.

        This and the Crowd Strike BS stories are the two warp threads that will unravel the Dems security blanket.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s very interesting.

      House sources stressed the investigation, which has been ongoing since late 2016, is focused on equipment theft and not a network hacking issue.

      So it’s a hacking issue, then?

  36. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    RE: Diane Feinstein’s crystal ball.

    Well, she’s the Democratic Party’s face for the Spooks, so she might have been told to pave the way for another assault by Langley on Trump. Frankly, I find Feinstein worse than Trump. She masquerades as some sort of liberal when she’s a bought and paid for tool of the CIA. Trump doesn’t hide his thuggish nature.

    Schumer, who famously warned Trump that the intelligence people have ‘ways of dealing with’ recalcitrant Presidents is out of the same slimy Pit of Perfidy that spawned Feinstein. Clearly it’s a reference to the Kennedy hit.

    1. voteforno6

      Feinstein was speaking to some protesters out in the street, I think. Maybe she was just playing to the crowd, as politicians have been known to do.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        She’s 83 and from California. She’s there for attention at this point. There is no shortage of Democrats capable of standing as members of the minority party in Washington. If she was from Arkansas, I might give her a pass, but she has never demonstrated moral or intellectual leadership. Warren made more noise as an adviser to Obama than Feinstein has made in her entire career. Without her Senate seat, she will be forgotten immediately.

        1. Pat

          But she and her husband would have far less money. I’m not even sure he would still have a business without her ‘connections’. And yes, I do believe that Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum would use her position that way. (*cough* *whisper* corrupt, corrupt, corrupt *cough*)

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Oh, I think it’s VERY clear that Madam Feinstein is only interested in herself and her own…

            God, I’d love to see that crone electorally rejected!

  37. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Israel and China a ‘Marriage Made in Heaven,’ Says Netanyahu The Diplomat

    These days, it’s a good idea to have a pre-nuptial in place before marriage…Heaven (for the religious partner) or earth (for the socialist atheist partner).

  38. Antifa

    If Trump attends the NATO summit with demands for money, he will only make a fool of himself. A close study of NATO’s funding methodology would serve him well, but since it has no pictures, there’s no chance the leader of the free world will read it.

    As for voting Montenegro into NATO — this is a joke, yes? They have 2,500 volunteers in their entire military — Navy, Air Force, and Army. None of these military forces even have a functioning website, ten years after their founding. All Montenegro will get for joining NATO is that Russia might, perhaps, point a spare nuke at them.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Great to hear Trump can “volunteer” to keep $ 250 billion per year that is wasted with NATO making hypocracy safe for german industry…we could build walls and rebuild infrastructure and not worry if germans don’t like american products…

      lucky for the germans, the russians don’t much like Maultaschen…

      and obviously the russians are no real threat since europeans have no interest in defense if american taxpayers are not footing the bill.

      Peace in our time finally…

    2. uncle tungsten

      Rather than demand more money Trump would better just withdraw $US contributions, bring the troops home, give the bases to respective nation states, and let the MIC both in USA and EU deal locally.

      He won’t lose face, he can do it all under the rubric of ‘redirect priorities’.

      Enough of this aggravating, collision course, belligerant NATO posturing.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > since it has no pictures, there’s no chance the leader of the free world will read it.

      How’s that “Trump is stupid” talking point been working out for you so far?

  39. Matt

    The Trump Honeymoon Is Over: Markets Are Now Scared His Promises Won’t Come True NBC

    The markets knew that if Trump was able to put through his tax cuts and make changes to the ACA such that businesses could grow beyond 49 employees without significant financial ramifications, and reduce regulations, then our economy would grow tremendously. Why do the Neo cons and liberals not want America to experience prosperity? Please, just put the politics aside and do what is best for the country.

    Let the man do his thing. If his policies fail the economy or environment in a way that most Americans do not want him re-elected, then so be it. If they do not fail and make poor, average, and wealthy Americans more prosperous, then kudos to him and he will get re-elected.

  40. Veri

    whether Democratic defectors in the Rust Belt or upscale suburbanites who just couldn’t abide Hillary. But that’s a small minority of Trump’s electorate. Otherwise, the Trump vote is overwhelmingly synonymous with the Republican Party as a whole.

    That makes it all the more a fool’s errand for Democrats to fudge or abandon their own values to cater to the white-identity politics of the hard-core, often self-sabotaging Trump voters who helped drive the country into a ditch on Election Day.

    Translation: more of the same like Hillary did to lose.

    A thoroughly craptastic piece of duplicity of Divide et Impera.

    Frank Rich’s article is more of… Ditch the workers while justifying warfare.

  41. Jeff W

    The left believes in universal public benefits…

    From this current piece “Ending the Empathy Gap” in Jacobin:

    In response to efforts like Trumpcare, we should champion universal programs, free of stigma or means testing or empathic hurdles. Children deserve to be fed, not just because it makes them do better in school or because they’re especially sympathetic cases, but because everyone deserves to be fed; policies like a child allowance and universal school lunch would go a long way toward making that a reality.

    It’s also a response to Frank Rich’s “No Sympathy for the Hillbilly” piece.

    Actually, I’ve long thought that the framing of even that—“everyone deserves to be fed”—is bit off, although I agree with it. The focus is properly on what we as a civilized society provide or offer (or seek to ameliorate or to avoid), rather than on what the individual members get.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Jeff W-
      Yours is a world I’d prefer to live in.
      One led by thought, morals, and principles.

  42. John Morrison

    About something Bush had to manage in his first year: “(Not to mention what happened in September of his first year.)” In James Fallow’s “Atlantic” article:

    Here’s something the administration had to manage. The Senate was 50-50 divided between Democrats and Republicans, which gave Vice President Cheney the tie-breaking vote. Then Jim Jeffords left the Republicans, switching control to the Democrats. In the late summer, the Democrats were starting to pay attention to Lefties’ screams about “The Felonious Five” on the Supreme Court and “conflicts of interest”. Private interests were going to fund their own recount of the Florida votes. So what to do about it?

    The solution? 9/11, which was 100% pure concentrated awesome for the Bush Administration.

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