2:00PM Water Cooler 4/14/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Trump Transition

“Does Steve Bannon Have Something to Offer?” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal]. Nooners returns to Bannon’s 2014 talk (linked to at NC here). Cutting freely: “The West is currently facing a ‘crisis of capitalism,’ he said. The world was able to recover after the world wars in part thanks to ‘an enlightened form of capitalism’ that generated ‘tremendous wealth’ broadly distributed among all classes…. Capitalists, he said, now must ask: “What is the purpose of whatever I’m doing with this wealth? What is the purpose of what I’m doing with the ability that God has given us . . . to actually be a creator of jobs and a creator of wealth?… Policy changes accompanying Mr. Bannon’s diminishment this week included the president’s speaking approvingly of the Export-Import Bank and NATO, declaring that China isn’t a currency manipulator after all, suggesting the dollar may be too strong, and hitting Syria and Afghanistan. None of that sounds like Candidate Trump. It is possible what we are seeing is simply the rise of a more moderate or conciliatory or establishment Trump White House. But it also looks like the rise of the Wall Street Mr. Bannon painted as tending to see people as commodities.” (And before we go down the racism route, it’s especially noteworthy that most of the bodies blown to pink mist in the wars supported so vigorously by the political class and both party establishments were brown, many of them were wearing hijabs at the time, and plenty of them were “babies.”)


MT: “Quist Campaign Fundraising Tops $1.3 Million” [Montana NPR]. “His campaign says he raised nearly a million dollars in March alone, via more than 22,000 individual contributions, with an average donation of $40 each. There’s no evidence that the national Democratic party is spending on Quist’s behalf, but groups affiliated with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are backing him.”

MT: “Democrat Rob Quist, a musician and songwriter from Creston, has a negative net worth, according to his financial disclosure form, and reported just shy of $29,000 of personal income last year — including about $15,000 in Social Security payments. Quist is 69 years old” [KRTV]. “Republican Greg Gianforte, 55, … reported 2016 income ranging from $2.3 million to $15.7 million – and assets valued between $65 million and $315 million.” You’d think the national Democrats would have recruited Gianforte…

MT: “It’s interesting to watch commercials slamming Rob Quist saying he is unfit to be a representative due to financial problems dating back several years. His response; it stemmed from medical bills. My response is, “But for the grace of God so go I'” [Letter to the Editor, Bozeman Daily Chronicle].

MT: “Bernie Sanders Says He’s Willing To Campaign For Montana Populist Rob Quist” [HuffPo]. Get a motel room, camp out there for a month?

MT: “Donald Trump Jr. will join Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte at rallies in Kalispell, Hamilton, Billings and Bozeman next Friday and Saturday. The campaign did not give exact locations for the rallies, which won’t be free, but they think Trump Jr. will be able to help gin up support for Gianforte” [Bozeman Daily Chronicle].

MT: “Rob Quist, the Democratic candidate for Montana’s at-large seat, has been getting the same silent treatment Thompson got” [Slate]. Now, to be fair, the Slate writer believes that it’s the DCCC’s job to be “realistic” about where to spend their money. But when Ossoff has a war chest of $8.3 million, much of it from California, and the DCCC can’t stump up $20K for a mailer for Thompson, it looks like they don’t care enough to fake it. “‘We have to all acknowledge that those seats are held by Republicans and they’ve been held by Republicans for quite some time,’ Rep. Denny Heck, the DCCC’s recruitment chair, said during February’s House Democrat retreat regarding its involvement in a series of four spring special elections.” Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser, as Vince Lombardi said.

GA-06: “The Re­pub­lic­an field has be­come in­creas­ingly frac­tured and con­ten­tious, while Os­soff quickly con­sol­id­ated sup­port from Demo­crats around the coun­try and in Geor­gia, win­ning en­dorse­ments from would-be rivals and in­vest­ments from ma­jor out­side groups” [National Journal]. “Voters in­tent on sup­port­ing a Re­pub­lic­an will have 11 to choose from… [Os­soff] has led every re­cent pub­lic poll of the race, though he is still be­low 50 per­cent.” (Unless Ossoff wins 50%, he’s forced into a run-off.) Speculating freely, a Republican “loss” here could rebound to their benefit long-term, since Ossoff is faithfully replicating the Clintonite strategy; which the Republicans have already beaten once.

KS-04: “Whether it was the troubles of Trump, Brownback or a combination of the two—or just the usual pattern of special elections—Republican turnout plummeted on Tuesday. Based on the unofficial results, Estes suffered a 62 percent drop in votes compared to the Republican candidate in 2016, while Thompson’s Democratic decline was only 32 percent” [Politico]. If Republican turnout plummeted because of the Republican health care debacle, or Trump’s flip-flop toward hawkishness, some percentage of those voters could surely have been picked up by a Sanders Democrat (with a little more money).

“Perez and Sanders will travel to states their party lost beginning on April 17 until April 22. The tour aims to make amends with Democratic voters who felt neglected during the 2016 presidential election” [Salon]. “Felt neglected.” Oh, it’s all about f-e-e-e-lings…. “‘We’ll be traveling — and Tom will be traveling with me — to traditionally conservative states,’ Sanders told the Washington Post. ‘It’s absolutely absurd that the Democratic Party has turned its back on working people in literally half the country.'” Absurd it may be, but that’s what the Democrats’ base in the professional classes wants, as Thomas Frank points out (yet again) this morning. I don’t see how this circle gets squared without a thorough housecleaning, which Perez was installed to prevent. We’ll see what the reception is.

“Dems can’t win Trump’s base in 2018, but they’ll try to demoralize it” [CNN]. “American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC, will launch a series of web ads aimed at Trump supporters who are likely to be angered by his recent flip-flops, a spokesman for the groups told CNN… The goal is not necessarily to turn Trump voters into Democrats, since that isn’t likely to happen. But by demoralizing Trump’s base of supporters, Democrats are hopeful they can capitalize on excitement in their base to sweep many Republicans out of power in the House and Senate.” Sure. It’s certainly more cost-effective to hold down turnout rather than win voters over with humane policies like #MedicareForAll, widely supported by voters in both parties.

“Sen. Jeff Flake weathers brutal, 2 1/2-hour Mesa town hall” [Arizona Republic]. “U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake endured a brutal face-to-face confrontation with angry constituents Thursday as liberal voters dominated a standing-room-only audience at a town-hall meeting in downtown Mesa.” Will this change a single vote? Why? Wouldn’t Flake see these voters as, well, “irredeemable”?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The March on Everywhere” [Harpers]. This is important, a must-read (though it’s long; at least try for a good sample). I would like very much to know what readers think of this. It’s an excellent report from the ground, and those are few and far between. I have views, unsurprisingly, but I’d like to hear yours first.

“The coming constitutional convention train-wreck redux” [Alice Marshall, Medium]. “It is not enough to make policy changes, if it were the New Deal would still be intact and even improved upon. Instead it is hanging on by a thread. So what would constitutional protections against finance capitalism look like? You would have to know more about economics, Wall Street, and constitutional law than I do to know how to devise such protections, but clearly that is what is needed.”

Stats Watch

Banks Open, Markets Closed.

Consumer Price Index, March 2017: “Yesterday’s producer price report set up the disappointment for today’s report on consumer prices where the headline fell a very sharp and unexpected 0.3 percent in March. The core rate (less food & energy) fell 0.1 percent which is also unexpected” [Econoday]. “A special negative in the March report is communications which fell a very steep 3.5 percent and reflects cell phone plans which subtracted 1 tenth from both the headline rate and core. Yet other categories are also weak including apparel, down 0.7 percent, and transportation where prices, due to weakness for vehicles, fell 1.4 percent. Housing and medical, two centers of price traction, managed only 0.1 percent gains. … The lack of price traction ultimately points to softness in overall demand for consumer goods and services. And though demand in the labor market is very strong, wage improvement has been only marginal. A report like this points to the need for steady monetary stimulus and will push back expectations for Federal Reserve rate hikes.” So “consumers” aren’t going shopping because “workers” are facing flat wages, and so the answer is… monetary stimulus. Not sure I’m following this. And: “Most elements of the CPI moderated this month lead by the energy sector” [Econintersect].

Retail Sales, March 2017: “First-quarter consumer spending is in trouble. Retail sales fell 0.2 percent in March which is under the Econoday consensus for no change. Importantly, February sales are revised sharply lower, to minus 0.3 percent vs an initial gain of 0.1 percent” [Economy]. “When excluding both vehicles and gasoline, sales could only manage — despite sky high consumer confidence — a second straight 0.1 percent increase… [T]wo special areas of weakness are restaurants which fell 0.6 percent for a second straight decline and building materials which fell 1.5 percent.” Yet again, the surveys say one thing, and the real data says another. Hard to see how Trump’s promises on jobs are going to come true at this rate. And: “Economic growth likely slowed in the first quarter, a period normally associated with tepid increases in GDP” [Economic Calendar]. And: “The decrease in March was below expectations, and sales for February were revised down. A weak report” [Calculated Risk]. Then again: “[T]he three month rolling averages of the unadjusted data improved” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales per capita seems to be in a long term downtrend (but short term trends appear to be growing.”

Business Inventories, February 2017: “Business inventories came in as expected in February, rising 0.3 percent for a second month in a build that will help support first-quarter GDP estimates” [Econoday]. “[T]he inventory-to-sales ratio which is unchanged at 1.35.” And but: “Our primary monitoring tool – the 3 month rolling averages for sales – declined but remain in expansion” [Business Insider].

Retail: “Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) said on Tuesday it is eliminating more U.S. corporate jobs this month” [Reuters]. “Wal-Mart’s job cuts started in 2016 when the retailer said it was eliminating 7,000 back-office positions and moving more of its workforce to the sales floor. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart cut more than a 1,000 corporate positions, mostly in its human resources department.”

Commodities: “British scientists find sub-sea minerals treasure trove” [Mining.com]. “A British team of scientists has discovered an underwater deposit of diverse minerals in the Atlantic, about 500km off the Canary Islands, which contains vast amounts of tellurium, used in the making of solar panels, wind turbines and electronics… The finding, part of a broader research project called MarineE-tech, is significant as the deposit is estimated to hold 2,670 tonnes of tellurium or 5% of the global reserves.”

Commodities: “The latest report by the International Copper Study Group which includes full year 2016 estimates shows world mine copper production jumped by 5.3%, or 1 million tonnes last year to 20.16 million tonnes” [Mining.com].

Shipping: “LA area Port Traffic increased in March” [Calculated Risk]. “Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported – and usually some hints about the trade report since LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation’s container port traffic…. On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic was up 1.6% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in February. Outbound traffic was up 0.8% compared to 12 months ending in February.”

Shipping: “The art of handling a freight tender” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. “Imagine a MNC (Multi-National Company) who have multiple brands to be exported from their 20 odd group companies to around 200 countries globally where they are present…. Or imagine you are one of the lucky service providers invited to bid or tender for this business.. Visualise the dynamics involved in coordinating the movement of these containers across the 20 operating companies into 200 countries for these thousands of containers.” It’s a combinatorial explosion. It’s gonna take some real software engineering to automate this. Or, failing algorithmic solutions, social engineering.

Shipping: “The Isle of Man has shot up the rankings in recent years and is now the 12th largest register in the world, and among the fastest growing” [Splash 247]. “The Isle of Man is a British register and flies the Red Ensign, but it is not recognised as an EU Flag.”

The Bezzle: “At SolarCity [acquired by Elon Musk last November], crews are provided with ‘panel pay,’ a bonus system that incentivizes speed by paying installers for every panel they install if that rate is higher than their hourly wage. According to [SolarCity worker George] Estrada, the rapid pace led to leaky roofs when holes drilled to secure the panels weren’t properly sealed, requiring return visits after customers complained” [Capital and Main]. “SolarCity, which is based in San Mateo, built its name on a zero-down financing model that leveraged investor dollars and federal tax credits to finance a rapid expansion that has yet to produce positive returns.” Swell. I’ve also done piecework, back in the day. It’s not a recipe for quality.

The Bezzle: “Apple obtains permission to test driverless cars” [MarketWatch].

Public Relations: “10 notable quotes from United passenger’s lawyer — and what they really mean” [MarketWatch]. Fun stuff!

Political Risk: “”Right now United should be focusing more on how to address the social media storm swirling around its brand,” Marzilli said. “The brand has not been moving at social media speed to catch up and get ahead of the crisis. This may be indicative of a breaking point with the public resenting their treatment by large corporations” [MarketWatch]. The Arab Spring started when a single street vendor immolated himself, having been harassed over a permit.

The Fed: “Disappointments on both inflation and retail sales for March might give reason for Federal Reserve officials to think twice about their plan to ratchet up rates as many as three more times this year” [MarketWatch].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 25 Fear (previous close: 28, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 13 at 4:37pm.

Our Famously Free Press

Interview with n+1 publisher: “I told him I was thinking of starting a literary magazine, and he was like, ‘well that’s a bad idea, what could possibly possess you to do that?’ And I said, ‘I really have things I’d like to say and things I’ve written that can’t be published elsewhere. And my friends, the same situation. I want to publish myself and them.’ And he said, surprised, ‘Oh, that’s the only good reason to start a literary journal” [The White Review].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Threats cast at contractors, workers linked to Confederate monument removals, New Orleans official says” [New Orleans Advocate]. I remember taking the Jeff Davis Highway to and from work, when I was in DC. The sensation was… odd.

Guillotine Watch

“Le Cinq, Paris: restaurant review” [Guardian]. An amuse-bouche: “It’s bizarre. Not that the older gentlemen with their nieces on the few other occupied tables seem to care. The restaurant is never more than half full. Pictures of plates are snapped. Mind you I also take pictures, but mine are shot in the manner of a scene of crime officer working methodically.” I have a very vague memory of a movie (Bunuel?) in which diners were served excrement, and forced — whether through raw fear or social pressure — to exclaim how much they enjoyed it. Perhaps this is all a massive and profitable jape by the chef? Épater la bourgeoisie…. Except they aren’t….

Class Warfare

“Cities Where You Don’t Want to Get Sick” [247 Wall Street]. “It is likely no coincidence that all of the worst metropolitan areas in which to get sick are also among the nation’s poorer areas. The median household incomes in all of these areas do not exceed the national median of $53,657 a year. Of the 10 cities, only the Altoona, Pennsylvania area has a poverty rate lower than the national poverty rate of 15.6%.” Class warfare is not a metaphor…

“Drivers of Declining Labor Share of Income” [IMF Blog]. “[A]though technological advancement and global economic integration have been key drivers of global prosperity, their effects on labor shares challenge policymakers to find ways to spread those benefits more broadly. The design of specific policy responses, of course, will have to depend on country circumstances and be anchored in their social contracts.” “Challenge policymakers.” Assuming good faith, noblesse oblige, etc., etc.

“Tax Cuts for the Rich Aren’t an Economic Panacea — and Could Hurt Growth” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]. “In reality, tax cuts — particularly for high-income people — are an ineffective way to spur economic growth, and they’re likely to harm the economy if they add to the deficit or are paired with cuts to investments that support the economy and working families.” A worthy effort, and full of good talking points. That said, “working families” makes my back teeth itch. It’s a liberal tell, because (a) some consultant’s focus group report told them to use their family-friendly words, and (b) it’s a circumlocution for “workers” or “working class.” (For example, do working class singles count? Orphans?)

News of the Wired

“File This Under Nostalgia: New Book Pays Tribute To The Library Card Catalog” [NPR].

“How To Win Friends – The Malamud Strategy” [Another Word for It]. Defeating efforts to privatize access to the law.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here.

And here’s today’s plant (KR):

Another from KR’s backyard: Bugle (?) in the middle ground, with grass and then the dappled sunlight of the woods…

* * *

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


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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Hana M

    On today’s antidote. Yes, that’s definitely Bugle aka Ajuga reptans. Just lovely this time of year! .I really like some of the varieties with bronze leaves for three-season interest.

    1. Bill Smith

      from “Why North Korea Needs Nukes – And How To End That”

      “The country would reunite if China and the U.S. (and Russia) could agree upon its neutrality.”

      Yeah,…. no. The South Korean’s aren’t going to pay the cost of reuniting with the North. And the North Korean government only wants to reunite if the resulting country is run by them.

      Will the North Korean’s end their annual military maneuvers?

    2. Byron the Light Bulb

      Korean leadership is hard to understand. For example, the relationship between King Yeongjo and his son, Crown Prince Sado illustrates what type of authority Korean people expect from their leaders. When Prince Sado went funny in the head and started killing the palace help, King Yeongjo was faced with a dilemma.The king had to lay down the law while being careful not to dishonor a divine being, his son being infallible royalty. So King Yeongjo locked Prince Sado in a four foot rice barrel until nature took its course, killing Sado by dehydration. Then King Yeongjo declared himself the son of Prince Sado and kept on ruling as is the will of the divine. King Yeongjo became more popular than ever, and is historically thought of as an enlightened ruler.

  2. J Bank

    SolarCity, which is based in San Mateo, built its name on a zero-down financing model that leveraged investor dollars and federal tax credits to finance a rapid expansion that has yet to produce positive returns.

    Hmm, sounds like a car company I’ve been reading about. I wonder if their management has anything in common.

  3. dcblogger

    ““Sen. Jeff Flake weathers brutal, 2 1/2-hour Mesa town hall” [Arizona Republic]. “U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake endured a brutal face-to-face confrontation with angry constituents Thursday as liberal voters dominated a standing-room-only audience at a town-hall meeting in downtown Mesa.” Will this change a single vote? Why? Wouldn’t Flake see these voters as, well, “irredeemable”?”

    these ferocious town halls, and the Real News Network has a montage of them, are very effective. Human beings are social creatures. It encourages Democrats and discourages Republicans. Above all it will affect how Republican members are congress vote.

    1. different clue

      Will they try to understand what these irredeemable town hall attendees want? And then vote the opposite way . . . to “teach them a lesson”?

    1. diptherio

      Unfortunately for Gianforte, he’s a techy billionaire who couldn’t even ride Trump’s coattails to victory in the gubernatorial election. Now that Trump has pissed off a majority of his voters by acting like a typical Washington politico, he’s really got nothing going for him in this state.

      Quist, on the other hand, has a way with folksy wisdom that appeals to everybody: “Money is like bull***t, if you pile it all up in one place it starts to stink, but if you spread it around, it makes everything grow.” Put your money on the musician, even if the national Dems won’t give him the time of day.

      However, Quist is far from perfect as a candidate. He’s got his share of skeletons, although I don’t know how much they’ll sway anybody, given that being “sued by a bank” is sure to earn brownie points with plenty of people.

      Flathead County court and property records indicate the popular musician turned politician has been turned over to collections; sued by a bank after not repaying a loan; and accused of fraud and deceit by a former member of Mission Mountain Wood Band, the group that vaulted Quist to Montana stardom in the 1970s.

      Financial records filed with the U.S. House also show that Quist has reported drawing a salary from his campaign, a practice that isn’t illegal but also not typical. Quist won the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S House on March 5, defeating seven other candidates in a nominating convention.


      1. Vatch

        Thanks for the link to the article.

        Quist has reported drawing a salary from his campaign, a practice that isn’t illegal but also not typical.

        It’s atypical because most Democrats or Republicans who run for Congress are wealthy.

        From the article:

        Quist attributed the debt trail Friday to 20 years of sporadic illness brought on by a gallbladder operation gone bad in 1996. The candidate said a surgeon accidentally cut his bile duct, a tube that delivers bile from the liver to the small intestine. The duct had to be repaired, and Quist has been infection-prone ever since. He said a legal settlement with the Kalispell surgeon prevents him from discussing the botched operation in further detail.

        Quist said his debt problems, which are multiple, are bound to his poor health.

        The oldest case involves Kraig Trippel, a Kalispell excavator who did $5,960 worth of work for Rob and Bonni Quist in the spring of 2001 but had to file a lien for payment after most of the bill went unpaid.

        The date of the work is important because it’s 10 years before the health episode Quist said kept him from paying his property taxes earlier this decade. That tax debt crept to nearly $15,000 before the Department of Revenue filed liens for three years of unpaid taxes on Quist’s 20-acre ranch.

        I’m confused. The botched gall bladder operation was in 1996, the home repair work was in 2001, yet the article says “The date of the work is important because it’s 10 years before the health episode”. Perhaps Mr. Quist has had more than one serious health episode, but most people would consider 1996 to be prior to 2001.

        1. montanamaven

          The Green Party Candidate, Thomas Breck, lost the case to be put on the ballot for the special election. He and two other independent candidates did win a verdict from the judge on April 8 to reduce the # of signatures needed from 14,278 to 400 since they only had 5 days from march 1 to march 6 to gather them. But the date when the signatures were due was still March 6. So Breck only had 15 signatures at that time. Green Party in Montana
          Breck has a compelling story.

          “For 20 years I was a carpenter, and I became a displaced worker and went back to school,” Breck began. “Then, this last November, I went to Standing Rock and what I saw there appalled me and motivated me to become involved in a way that I never had before. I became a Bernie (Sanders) delegate and saw the Democratic convention be rigged before my eyes, and saw that the Millennials and the people with the most at stake as far as the future goes were being marginalized.”

          Thomas Breck Interview

          And so we are left with Gianforte, Quist, and Libertarian Mark Wicks.

          Oh and here is a nice little tidbit I found from an interview with Breck who was formerly a Democrat.

          “At the Democratic State convention, when Amanda Curtiss did not get the nomination I had more than half a dozen people call me and tell me ‘I’m in on your campaign’ and the only thing they were waiting for was whether or not they were going to let the progressive have the nomination or going to prop up a quasi-celebrity instead,” Thomas Breck.

          Read More: MT Green Party Candidate Has Big Legal Hurdles to Cross, Says State Democrats Hinder as Well | http://newstalkkgvo.com/mt-green-party-candidate-has-big-legal-and-democratic-party-hurdles-to-cross/?trackback=tsmclip

          People like to say that politics is messy. Messy is to soft a term for swimming in a cesspool.

    2. different clue

      Someone should study what the Clintonites do. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate cannot afford to leasurely study the Clintonites. He should assume the Clintonites will try to undermine, oppose, sabotage and destroy his campaign every way possible in order to get the RepubliClintonite elected.

      Hopefully the Democratic candidate can attract so much Bitter Berner money and support that he ( and they) can crush and smash the interfering Clintonites as they try to defeat the Democratic candidate in this race.

      1. Procopius

        I’m looking forward to reading Al From’s book about how and why Bill Clinton and Rahm Emanuel and From and the many other members of the DLC decided to destroy the Democratic Party. As I understand it, the reasoning was that in order to achieve anything, the first thing a political party needs to do is get elected. OK, but then why do they insist on undercutting any liberal candidate and only support right-wing millionaires? It seems they have an ideology, but it’s hard to parse out what it is, exactly.

  4. Fiery Hunt

    So evidently, the theater general called for the MOAB use without imput from Trump.


    So did Gen. John Nicholson choose to send a message to North Korea on his own?!? Or did he not care one way or the other about the rest of the world’s reaction to the munition’s use?!? Is this a good thing i.e. focus on the battle at hand…or is this dogs of war slipping their leash?

    And yeah, I know it’s Fox but still…

    1. J Bank

      Well when your cabinet is 4/5ths empty, how can you be on top of every little thing? It looks like Trump is changing his platform so that he can recruit some good people to fill these positions finally.

      1. Vatch

        I think the Agriculture and Labor positions are the only empty slots remaining in his cabinet. Perhaps you are referring to vacancies in the deputy and under secretary positions of the executive branch departments.

          1. Vatch

            I know, he has a lot of vacant positions at secondary levels, but you said that the cabinet is 4/5 empty. Of the 15 cabinet positions, 13 have been filled. There are 7 or 8 other cabinet level positions, and only 1 (the Trade Representative) is vacant. But yes, there are plenty of vacancies below the cabinet level, and that clearly indicates that something is wrong.

      1. Vatch

        I couldn’t find the National Reconnaissance Office or the National Security Agency on the lists.

        1. Propertius

          Unlike CIA, they’re both a part of DoD. Eliminate that and you’ve taken care of them *and* the F-35. ;-)

          1. UserFriendly

            The only part of the MIC I didn’t ditch was the coast guard…. The mental image of John McCain and Lindsey Graham trying to start a war with a tug boat made me laugh.

            But in the second bit I did get rid of the executive office of the president: the white house.

    2. DH

      Way over-hyped in the media. The media would be quiet if five B-52s flew over and dropped bombs on the tunnels but using a new toy with a cool nickname …….

      1. Edward E

        The MOAB did remind me of all the women in Trump’s life, you know, the super flashy bombshells that ultimately never really do that much.

  5. a different chris

    >This is important, a must-read

    Warning, by the end of pg 2 you will want to hang yourself after reading about what her mother had done with her life. I now am sure I just wasted mine!

    1. shinola

      I read the whole thing & I agree – wasted time. Underwhelming. I think “meh” probably best describes my opinion of the piece.

      In my very first election as a newly minted voter, I voted for McGovern with no expectation of him winning – I did expect him to make a better showing. I find it hard to believe that anyone who was paying attention would really think he had a chance, much less be brought to tears over the outcome.

      But then I’m a male WASP. What do I know?

      1. different clue

        Were you prepared for the near-unanimity of Democratic Inner Party support for Nixon against McGovern? Is there any reason you should have been?

        For that matter, was McGovern himself ready for it? Was there any reason he should have been?

        But now we know. It is one of history’s lessons. Any Real Democrat should know what to expect from the Clintobamacrat Party of today.

    2. reslez

      “The March on Everywhere”, a March About Nothing. So many photos of “clever” and “witty” protester signs that ridicule Trump’s personal appearance. You really had nothing better to say? Nothing about actual meaningful economic issues that might make a few people in the 1% uncomfortable? No? What a surprise. Let’s all celebrate our snark because we, personally, are comfortable… and alienate anyone who might have voted for Trump out of desperation. A few more signs about a living wage or Medicare For All and people watching at home, who oppose you, might have perked up a bit. But I guess you don’t want their support.

      The article was full of identity idiocy, people taught to classify themselves along identitarian lines and feel sad about it despite securing comfortable spots among the elite, while ignoring the greater things that bring every group together: getting family blogged by the rich! Day after day, unions are crushed, people struggle to survive, the rich take more and more. What a waste of time. These sad people are so ineffectual and hardly seem aware of it. This is our Left! Carefully pruned, lacking teeth and thorns, mouthing generic “resistance”. If any change comes to this country it will come from the Right. And if you value women’s rights, that’s something to rue.

      1. Ernesto Lyon

        People who analyze the world on race/gender/sexuality without first looking at economic discrimination are either idiots or conspirators.

        The net outcome of all discrimination is economic deprivation. All the identity -isms play out
        in the economic crippling of the discriminated class. Privilege isn’t about whiteness, maleness,
        or heterosexuality, it’s about money.

        The Obamas, for example, are much more similar to privileged whites than they are to poor black families or poor white families for that matter. They may face some racial exclusion, in theory, at the upper layers of society, but given their wealth and connections their blackness is a relatively minor discriminatory burden for them directly.

        In terms of suffering, poor whites in economically barren locales have it much worse, so how is it fair to give the Obama’s the additional sympathy and not the impoverished white family being eaten alive by a broken economy?

        Why do wealthy gays and trans people deserve equal sympathy to poor gays and trans people?

        To ignore economic class when economic class is the real privilege token is intellectually bankrupt.

        1. MoiAussie

          What you said, it’s all about class. At the risk of being boring I’ll repost a link which is quite germaine. Despite the victory of the left candidate Moreno over his billionaire opponent in Ecuador, a former Correa adviser has this perspective on the result: The Political Left in Ecuador No Longer Exists. After some detail about the election process, it makes some totally US-relevant points about “progressives” no longer being progressive.

          I think Lenín Moreno is a man with a more tolerant mood, and he has expressed, during his electoral campaign, the will to dialogue with sectors that are critical of officialism. In that sense I think it’s possible that he will govern conflicts with the existing dissident politics of the social movements in a different way.

          Having said that, with respect to advancing toward a model of development that is not damaging to the environment, that decriminalizes abortion, that transcends a model of society marked by its patriarchal character, that understands that the capitalist mode of production and reproduction can be replaced by another model that is not so harmful to society, and many other things that must configure any program clearly of the Left — we’ll have to see. […]

          There is therefore a mismatch, which has become more evident over the years, between what progressivism is today and the inalienable values articulated in the history of social struggles led by the Left.

          It is enough to highlight how progressivism lacks any sense of class in the current moment, how it has forgotten debates linked to private property, over who controls the means of production, or how it has forgotten all references to real nationalization of the strategic sectors, or of the sectors that would develop its capacity to intervene in the public interest, among many other things that form part of the historical legacy and values of the Left.

      2. Marina Bart

        That’s not my left. That’s nobody’s left. That’s just liberalism, working as designed.

        It is the job of those of us on the actual left to help people mentally imprisoned by identity politics and the deceit and propaganda of the Democratic elite to free them from their mental chains, so they can work with us to free us all from our economic and corporate chains.

        Like that poor taxi driver currently arguing in the United debacle comments section that only children fight back against corporate theft and state violence. He’s being infuriating, but I also feel very sorry for him.

        1. different clue

          I think I remember another commenter talking about the “pussies” with their “cell phones taking pictures” who said we should all learn to accept this violence. I remember replying to him that I sincerely hope he suffers every bit of the violence he wants the rest of us to get used to.

          But his comment ( and my reply) seem to have been deleted. So if he is out there somewhere reading this, let me renew my sincere hope that he suffers every bit of the violence he wants the rest of us to learn to expect. And I sincerely hope that all the witnesses to it somehow magically know who he is and refuse to take a picture, or testify, or anything else on his behalf. Let him live out the meaning of his own creed.

      3. different clue

        Well . . . many of the left with teeth and thorns were jailed, silenced, assassinated, etc. over the decades, were they not?

        So a process of Darwinian selection has left us with the Left we are left with today.

        Since so much of the “firm” left and the “hard” left merely exist to show the rest of us what brilliant intellectuals they are, I hope that some other group emerges with some other name for itself. Something like New Deal Reactionaries or New Deal Revivalists or Social Populists or something. Anything. Many things all giving themselves a try.

      4. PH

        If any change comes to this country, it will come from the right.

        What are you suggesting? A good thing or a bad thing? Anything specific?

      5. PH

        I think most of the comments here are unfair to the protesters and the article.

        The article struck me as sincere, and probably an accurate reflection of the feelings of many participants.

        As for the protest, most people in the world have an incomplete understanding of it. To build a cultural consensus we must talk among ourselves, one flawed view talking with other flawed views. Yelling “dolt” seems like an ineffective organizing strategy to me. Also yelling “pampered white woman” does not seem likely to help.

        President Trump is a disaster for peace and for the environment and for basically everything he touches. I have not come here with “I told you so” because it does not help, but for all the smug comments about the March, you might want to think about that.

        It is relevant. When Trump was elected, many of us knew that a very bad and dangerous moment had arrived. We wanted to register our opposition to that future. That is not enough. But it was worthwhile.

        Much more needs to be done. But if you want to convince people to change their views, then start with common decency and respect for sincere people.

    3. curlydan

      I made it through all 14 or 15 page clicks but not without some skimming. Basically, it was a LONG description of the post-inaugural march, the variety of people there, and the good feelings emanating from the march. But that’s pretty much what all marches are like, large and small. I felt pretty similar in the few marches I’ve been in.

      Post-march, I’m glad people are giving Republicans hell in town halls but discouraged when 99% of the population buys the Syrian bombing or MOAB bomb stories hook, line, and sinker.

      1. jawbone

        There’s that detailed take down of the WH’s defense of the Trump administration’s take that the sarin attack was done by the Syrian government.

        By Prof. Theodore Postol.


        He even goes over how the August 2013 Obama WH f’d up their defense of saying the Syrian government did that sarin attack.

        Maybe every senator and rep should be sent this assessment. ASAP. Toss in Congress Critters who you think might not be getting it/

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Every senator and every rep wants to investigate Russia and Trump campaign.

          Now that we are gung ho on Syria, the fake news has faded by a lot…though it’s still there, as a reminder.

          So, why should this assessment be sent to the same people at Capitol Hill who warned about many ways the IC could get to you from Sunday? They are feeling ‘mission accomplished’ after taming Trump.

      2. Marina Bart

        I don’t think 99% of the population has bought the bombing stories. Isn’t there robust polling showing this revival isn’t as popular as the original production?

        1. Procopius

          OK, let’s rephrase that to say that 99% of the mainstream media has bought the bombing stories, especially the fable that Assad dropped gas on his people who are held captive by the CIA-backed Jabhat Fateh al Sham. To me it’s no more (or less) absurd than the unanimity I see of people who seem to have accepted the myth that Russia somehow affected our election. From where I sit, half-way around the world, it looks like the whole American electorate is insane. I infer that is not true, because there are still people out there like Prof. Postol who are vainly trying to get people to look at evidence.

          1. Marina Bart

            But the people in the media have been carefully selected for precisely this purpose. They don’t reflect the attitudes and beliefs of the electorate. They all thought Hillary was a shoo-in to win, remember?

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To march is to walk.

        Walking is good for everyone who can walk. We Americans don’t walk enough. Daily would be good…postprandial. Maybe why it feels good to march.

        Townhall meetings are rumored to be paid by color revolutionaries. I have no idea if that theory is valid.

      4. different clue

        Are we sure that 99% of the population buys it? Has anyone done the research on that?

        1. craazyboy

          It’s surely 99% media consensus manufacturing. The only thing I saw in the press the indicated someone with UN level reporting stature whom reportedly visited the site and perhaps even tested lab samples for residue was some Brit Intel agency. The news article didn’t say what day the Brits actually were there, and was even hazy about saying they actually were there and personally collected samples. But 8 full days after the “bombing” incident they reported their findings to the UN. Even so they couldn’t avoid inserting some weasel wording. They said it was sarin gas, or something similar to sarin gas! WTF that may mean. No Q&A session either. So maybe the western IC drew straws and it was Britian’s turn to be Colin Powell???

          But this what passes for yellow crime tape, sequestered evidence, and expert cross examination.

    4. sporble

      I read the whole thing as well, and essentially agree with the previous commenters.
      It was waytoolong and spent a great deal of time on protesting itself (as opposed to identifying causes which should be protested, effective means of protesting, etc.).
      It also seemed to venerate the act of protesting; to me, protesting is only effective/useful if it’s a means to an end (a change in policy, venting frustration, etc.), but I admit: I’m 50 years old and I’ve never attended a protest, so maybe I’m just missing the “protest-gene”.
      I don’t want to step on your toes, Lambert, but I would NOT recommend this piece.

  6. Byron the Light Bulb

    Sirens are wailing Friday in Pyongyang for a pop civil defense drill. Corporations in Seoul have begun evacuating their offices. Air China suspends flights from Beijing to Pyongyang. Is it any surprise President Trump isn’t spending man-hours digesting the latest Nationalism by Derrida koan from Bannon. Trump is too busy slamming his thermobaric septuagenarian schwantz on the sand table in paradoxic ‘roid-raging disengagement. Or did he? This strategic ambiguity appears to be achieving peace through bafflement…it’s working…

  7. JohnnyGL


    Behold! For those who want to know where the id pol endgame lies….especially when combined with mentality of Hamilton-type elites that, overtly or covertly, have a serious disdain for democracy.

    I know it’s Huff Po and obviously put up there as clickbait to frighten the right-wingers (and everyone, really) but there’s a kind of logic to these id pol mental games. And this is where it leads.

    1. djrichard

      From the article, “At the same time, a denial of the franchise to white men, could see a redistribution of global assets to their rightful owners.

      If she really wants to disgorge the global wealth from the wealthy, why not set the target appropriately and call it for what is? Revolution.

      Or is the idea to play it safer and pick winners and losers within the existing framework? Such that the losers in this case would be white people. Sure, whatever. Just be aware that if you’re picking winners and losers that the existing winners have a habit of staying on top. More to the point, they’re not going to disgorge their wealth. But hey, I’m sure they’ll offer ladders for her to climb up to join them, so she can leave her brethren behind. They’re looking for the kinds of people who write articles just like this. As a matter of fact, I’m sure they’ll be interested in financing her campaign.

      How about instead of picking winners and losers, we focus on how to have everyone be a winner? The wealthy aren’t going to like that; that could be a good tell you’re looking in the right direction.

    2. Marina Bart

      No, this is just elite feminist nonsense.

      First of all, most white men are also victims of the system, especially now. A lot of the people dying — both on the front lines of our corporate wars and as exploited victims at home — are white men. My husband is currently classified as a “white man,” now that Jews are assimilated enough to the upper class they get to call themselves white (my racist, anti-Semitic, aristocratic grandmother would reject this notion out of hand). He’s nobody’s oppressor, outside of the complicity we all share as Americans.

      Letting comfortable women pretend they have power is just a misdirect. Women are no closer to ruling as a class than they were in ancient Greece. One of the most horrifying aspects of the Clinton campaign, to me, was how she unleashed all this pent-up rage by women, who seemed to profoundly misunderstand who Hillary Clinton was, how she rose to wealth and prominence, what kind of system she was a product of and would protect and defend, and what was going to happen to them under her presidency. Clinton herself as a political figure is an appendage of her husband. She didn’t even care enough or have enough power to install women at the top of the Clinton Foundation OR her own campaign; both were run by men, who were far better paid than comparable women in those organizations.

      And yet here all these women were, braying insults at men publicly, as if they were suddenly some tribe brought to power who would be free to annihilate their opponents. But while a Hutu-like genocide would be immoral, what these women were openly seeking wasn’t even possible. It was never going to happen. Hillary Clinton was a tool of patriarchal control. Those women were only putting themselves at risk by making threats against power they would never be able to act upon, while alienating potential allies that would be absolutely necessary to really change the system. (Why, it’s almost like it was a feature and not a bug that the Clinton campaign would use women to get into power, and betray them once in power, while at the same time alienating potential male allies who could actually help overthrow patriarchal power.)

      I personally have always been opposed to a vision of feminism that views “men” rather than patriarchal ideology and systems as the enemy. Men also suffer under patriarchy. Patriarchy is a system that reinforces elite control, as racism does. Fight the system. Our partners, our brothers, our male friends and neighbors can and should be our allies in this fight against capital and hierarchy. It is both the right approach, and the only effective approach.

      Meanwhile, some woman writing in The Huffington Post, which exists because a woman married a gay man to access his inherited money (note how both aspects of that were driven by patriarchal doctrine), proposing to magically remove suffrage from the owners and ultimate beneficiaries of the system that allows the The Huffington Post to exist is benighted at best, and an destructive distraction regardless of intent.

      1. aletheia33

        marina bart, i agree with your second, third, and fourth paragraphs. thanks for articulating this problem way better than i can.

        to paraphrase upton sinclair, it is difficult for a women to understand something when her status and achievement as a professional depends on her not understanding it.

        1. Marina Bart

          I’d love to read your counterpoint on graf five. I want a way forward to real equality. A world in which some subset of compliant exploiters get to have some marginal increase in power and wealth at the expense of the vast majority of citizens of both genders is not progress to me. Rachel Maddow getting to earn millions as the openly gay mouthpiece of corporate oppression while the average woman across most of the country has less access to abortion, health care, a decent job or a secure retirement than she had 20 years ago is not an improvement.

          I want out of this box, as a woman and a citizen. Focusing on universal benefits is important. But I think finding a better way to think and talk about gender issues also matters. A lot of women are rightfully angry, but they’re aiming their ire in the wrong direction. Their actual needs and desires — even for many 10%ers — would be better met by the left than by liberalism. Right now, liberalism has a lot of women locked in a back room for its use and enjoyment. Let’s get them out of there and on our side.

          1. aletheia33

            actually i agreed with graf 5, should have said 3rd, 4th, and 5th grafs (overlooked the initial one-line one). don’t know what you mean by ”counterpoint.”

            at any rate, you have provided here, and again in your newer post, an eloquent framing of the situation that i’ve been reaching for but unable to articulate to myself, let alone anyone else. i don’t feel i can begin to speak as clearly as you do about some of the delusional expressions of “feminism” i see circulating today.

            i’ll just say for now that even back in the 1970s, when i was in my twenties, i could not figure out how women were going to really change anything by fighting for the rights to compete along with men in the shark tank of the u.s. corporate workplace and to fight in wars on behalf of the u.s. empire.

            how can women maintain solidarity with one another in a corporate world where those who are best at lying and manipulation rise most quickly? why do so many women buy the story that their government plans to liberate women in middle eastern countries by killing babies there?

      2. kgw

        I was going to say,”Would you have my baabyy,” but I see you are already engaged! Excuse me, that’s the wine verbalizing…

        We are all laid low by those who think “I exist!,” until they don’t.

  8. polecat

    Perez to Sanders ….

    Why can’t we be friends
    Why can’t we make amends
    Why can’t we move to the right
    Why can’t stop this fi-iii-ight

    You thought I wouldn’t hit the Corps real tight
    But you don’t know what I’m talkin about

    Why can’t we be friends
    why can’t we make amends
    why can’t we move to the right
    why can’t you see the li-iii-ight

    Small donations were the way to the top .. you said
    But while you slept we sent the horses’ head

    Why can’t we be friends
    Why can’t we make amends
    Why can’t we reason with you
    What are you gonna do-oooo

    1. polecat

      You know we’re real CAPITALISTS at heart
      And you thought Nancy blew a BIG brain-farrrt

      Why can’t we be friends
      Why can’t we make amends
      Why can’t we just be friends
      I think I need to buy some Depends

      I know your good, got heavy cred in the street
      But here’s some IC folks you really should mee-eet

      Why can’t we be friends
      Why can’t we make amends
      Why can’t you move to the right
      Why can’t we get real ti-ii-ight

      If I don’t see you dancing good real soon
      You’ll never git a piece of that .. GRITFING BALOoN

      Why can’t we be friends
      Why can’t we make amends
      Why can’t you see things my way
      why can’t I get you to sway

  9. flora

    In an interesting co-incidence, Sanders won the state primaries (caucuses) in both Kansas and Montana. Hillary won in Georgia.

    The DCCC practically shunned the 2017 KS-04 candidate Thompson and appears to be shunning the Montana candidate Quist. The DCCC is financially supporting and lauding the GA candidate Ossoff.


    1. PKMKII

      The most mind-boggling part of this is that the party has shown willingness to support candidates who deviate from the establishment on social issues (abortion, guns) in order to win in conservative states, despite the propaganda being all about how people have to vote Dem because social issues! Yet, bucking establishment economics in order to win in populist districts? Never, ever, ever.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not mind boggling at all. Its what the party elite value. Social issues come and go, but protecting the wealthy is forever. Their values are simply different than what people project onto them. Hillary dropped her gun control act in the general. She doesn’t care.

    2. montanamaven

      This is from a comment I made above.

      “At the [Montana]Democratic State convention, when Amanda Curtiss did not get the nomination I [Green Party candidate Thomas Breck] had more than half a dozen people call me and tell me ‘I’m in on your campaign’ and the only thing they were waiting for was whether or not they were going to let the progressive have the nomination or going to prop up a quasi-celebrity instead,” Thomas Breck.

      Read More: MT Green Party Candidate Has Big Legal Hurdles to Cross, Says State Democrats Hinder as Well | http://newstalkkgvo.com/mt-green-party-candidate-has-big-legal-and-democratic-party-hurdles-to-cross/?trackback=tsmclip

      OK, from what I can figure out, the “progressive candidate” Amanda Curtis is a good gal; math teacher, State Representative. But she is part of the MT Democratic Party establishment. Enough disruptor type Dems and Bernie Supporters wanted no more business as usual and nominated Quist instead of Curtis.

    3. ChrisAtRU

      Has anyone ever asserted that #HRC not campaigning in WI/MI was some (poor/doomed) attempt at payback? Much like this KS/MT shunning?

      #ThereAreNoCoincidences #TheSacredAndTheProfane

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Stories Ive heard from a trusted source in the 1992 Clinton campaign (shes dead now) don’t paint a pretty picture of the Clintonistas. Without Bill, many of the Clinton loyalists would have fallen down wells or starved to death while lost in corn mazes.

        The Clintonistas are not a talented group. Except for 1992 in a three way race where Perot ate up Republican activist types, the Clintonistas don’t have a stellar record.

  10. oho

    >>. This may be indicative of a breaking point with the public resenting their treatment by large corporations” [MarketWatch].

    Dao was the match. The kindling was there for a long time.

    Sadly it boiled down to “if United and Chicago beat up an old Asian man, who won’t they beat up?”

    Next person may be a Scarsdale banker!

    1. JustAnObserver

      NC reader/writer Clive’s comment re something different generalizes here (with apologies for any inexactitude):

      United: A child carrying a can of gasoline running around looking for a match.

  11. Jim A

    GA-06….Would the best Democratic strategy to invest in the #2 democrat so that both names in the runoff were Democrats…

  12. Ranger Rick

    Peggy Noonan is arguing for the return of noblesse oblige. We’re more likely to see the return of the guillotine. Rich man’s burden, indeed.

    1. PhilM

      While I am usually here to defend the unfairly tarred elite, I agree with you that whatever constitutes the elite in the American Empire has no concept of noblesse, much less its obligations. There is no American aristocracy for one simple reason: there is no undivided inheritance of landed wealth. Partible inheritance was one thing, and it left room for a self-imagined aristocracy of wealth and education, one that might form for a generation or two, if not longer; but death duties combined with partible inheritance mean that a true aristocracy cannot develop, and worse, that it does not have any incentive to develop.

      For those who want everyone to start at zero, be careful what you wish for: the only true social powers become corporations, which are immortal.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes things were so much better under the English landed aristocracy…for the aristocracy! True they did fight the wars for Empire and the exploitation of overseas peasants as well as the domestic. But their sense of duty was to a system from which they were so very much the beneficiaries.

        1. djrichard

          I think PhilM is onto something in that we’re on a spoils system now-of-days as well. But the spoils is the wallet share rather than the spoils being the claim to labor head count. If anything, now-of-days, there’s a desire to have no labor head count.

          [Of course, how to continue getting a share of wallet that’s still worth spoiling over when the owner of the wallet doesn’t have a job is the issue. Now-of-days we put such people onto the equivalent of indian reservations. They get beer money for their wallet; not enough to be worth spoiling over.

          Following this tangent further, I’m assuming in the case of the landed aristocracy, people who couldn’t work anymore were left to their relatives to be taken care of. Or did the landed aristocracy engage in welfare for the elderly?]

        2. djrichard

          Some other interesting things to think about. Capital gains (increased asset prices) was not a thing back in the days of landed aristocracy. Hard for that to happen without currency-on-demand (fractional reserve system). I’m sure there were still “playahs” who would borrow their way to wealth, but a much harder game to play. Likely kept everyone’s focus on building the common wealth. [before the dutch system and the ensuing bank-of-england.]

          Compare to what we have now where the elites don’t even need to seek out wallet share. They can simply drive up asset prices through borrowing. Our present day common wealth.

          Also, did the peasants on the land have a currency to use for day to day activities? If so, I’m wondering if the landed aristocracy made a point of recycling x amount of their wealth to their peasants to make sure they still had a decent velocity of money to keep them fully engaged.

          Compare to what we have now where the consequences of low velocity of money is abstract to the elites.

        3. polecat

          One of their ‘duties’ was to starve out the Irish poor ….. or at least stand aside and do nothing while the potato famine ensued ! What ‘s noble about that ?

          1. gepay

            … when the economist William Nassau Senior (who took over Thomas Malthus’s position at the East India College) was told that a million people had died in Ireland’s potato famine. He remarked succinctly: “It is not enough.”

    2. Vatch

      Forget noblesse oblige — that would just be an excuse for plutocratic privilege. Let’s have an increase in the sense of civic duty by people all across the economic spectrum. In other words, people need to vote, among other things, especially in primary elections. And they need to become better informed about current events — for example, by reading Naked Capitalism.

  13. DJG

    The March on Everywhere by Jamison: I am a subscriber to the paper Harper’s magazine, and as I look through the virtual version at Lambert’s suggestion, I recall not having been able to get through the article back in March, for two reasons:

    –It strikes me as a guide for people who have never been to a demonstration, sort of like the New York Times 36 Hours in Yogyakarta (except 36 Hours of Dissidence). Having gone to the Chicago Women’s March, I saw and experienced many of the same things. If the article has a particular value, it is for those commenters here who pooh-poohed the march. Try marching. It was even recommended by Walt Whitman in his famous line, “We must march, my darlings.” She gives a sense of the feeling of solidarity that is in the air at marches: That’s the joy of walking down Michigan Avenue making noise and bumping gently into all the other people there.
    –The article is written in the fullsome lushness of the New High American Baroque. I tend to think that so much of our difficulty comes from plain overwroughtness. The article never truly comes to the point of talking about human rights, yet human rights are what are at issue. I often wonder if baroque overwroughtness has now made democracy and humanity somehow unfashionable, not as cool as edgy Steve Bannon, not as embroidered as a NYTimes bruschetta recipe. I was reminded of this yesterday when Lambert posted the essay in Jacobin about human nature, which also suffered from a baroque style: Why couldn’t the author stoop to speaking about human rights?

    As I’ve mentioned before, an enlightening book for me is Norberto Bobbio’s “Left and Right” (Destra e Sinistra, in the original Italian). Bobbio’s thesis is that the left is still animated by liberty, equality, and solidarity (we passed the limitations of “fraternity” a while back). Why not address these ideas directly? Or are we afraid of equality, which now means a duty to encourage the leveling of our hierarchical and inefficient society?

    The current torture and murder campaign against gayfolk in Chechnya reminds me, too, why human rights have to be named. “Human nature” is what the murderers claim to be defending, and baroque storytelling cannot get to the centrality of the importance of each human being as a human being with dignity.

    1. Absolute Negativity

      I think the people who thought little of the march (and I was one of them) won’t change their minds. Marches are tactics used by political movements, not political movements in themselves. What’s come after the Women’s March? Many personal experiences written by many individuals but nothing which has amounted to a cohesive political struggle. The march didn’t belong to any political movement, after all, and it had no real goal beyond its own existence.

      It’s all well and good to share a collective experience, but if it doesn’t serve any specific political goal, it isn’t a political action. It’s just a walkathon.

      1. different clue

        So . . . to make it more than just having been a walkathon . . . what do all these good-fellowship-well-felt marchers plan to do beTWEEN marches?

    2. aletheia33

      i found the harpers article very interesting. i could not figure out what it was really about. i could not sense any gut passion in the writer for any particular thing. i could not figure out what the march was demonstrating. i could tell that she wanted to express how wonderful she thinks women are as such and that they are wonderfully peace-loving, considerate of one another, willing to cooperate with one another, and inspiring to be together with in large groups. i found the writing bland and without bones. i did not understand what many of the embedded stories were really about.

      i do not have words for what this kind of writing is. i am reluctant to say the piece consists of “bad” writing because that does not really capture what strikes me as off about it. it’s as though something really big is missing, but i can’t quite articulate what that is. it is surprising to read so much concrete description that does not seem to convey much of anything. or maybe something new really is emerging here, in this writing and in the event, and is still too vague to appear as anything but a giant larva, unrecognizable as what it will become.

      one thing i can say for sure is that this writing does not convey a sense that the writer has risked anything in writing it. i know that when i see it, and it ain’t there. also, it is hard for me to imagine how someone manages to refer to so many stories of courage and defiance and of just sweating through things, without conveying the actuality of any of it. it’s as if all of it is soothingly wrapped in a comforter. it evokes for me a vision of women winning out in the end by smothering everything that gets in their way in white pillows. seriously–this could work!

      i’m sure others can express better why the piece did not move me or give me any insight other than the sense that the nature of this writing itself, and the fact that harpers published it, may be a sign of something gone terribly wrong, something terribly missing from our educated elites’ consciousness. i do not believe we will see any significant change until protests occur in which people are committing civil disobedience/risking their lives. this piece of writing seems to me to show forth a frightening unlikelihood that that will happen any time soon.

      i did not see any mentions of the wars (after vietnam). but maybe i missed them.

      the article’s opacity to me makes me wonder if i am even reading it sanely. i hope others can help me see what i’m missing. i really hope what i’m seeing is not a new kind of orwellian non-writing that cannot name anything that is really going on and serves to reassure the reader that democracy, protest, justice, as we once knew them, are still in the picture when they are actually long gone.

      1. flora

        Thank you. The article left me baffled. What was her subject? Was it supposed to be an essay about the woman’s march, with her experience as subtext? Was it supposed to be an Anaïs Nin style of diary journalism about personal experience, the march serving as subtext ? Or was it supposed to be something else all together?

      2. marym

        If this were the 1970’s this writing style would be more suitable to describe a music festival than a protest march….warm summer day, people pleasantly stoned, with their beads and their tie dye, sharing snacks, telling disjointed bits of stories, feeling all one-with-the-universe. It seems like a description of something similar to what happened as the “movement” of the 60’s melted into the “counter-culture” – except without the movement (or the drugs). I hope it’s just one person’s writing style.

      3. montanamaven

        What is solidarity? The dictionary says “it is ties in society that bind people together as one” like a family or a tribe or being pissed off your candidate lost. But for me solidarity is about coming together to mutually aid one another. It is the crux of making gains in working people’s live. Unions. To STAND in solidarity. To WALK the picket line. So I would hope that you and others who felt joy at walking down Michigan Avenue will also join with your sisters and brothers the next time the Hyatt workers strike the hotel chain or protest your local Whole Foods or standing up for a co worker. Standing in the cold, walking the picket line may not bring you the same warm feelings as the women’s march, but it is where you get a sense of doing something together for mutual aid and cooperation. It is the opposite of patriarchy. It is fraternity and sorority. It is action. And, as Aletheia33 points out, there is risk involved.

      4. Gaianne

        “i really hope what i’m seeing is not a new kind of orwellian non-writing that cannot name anything that is really going on and serves to reassure the reader that democracy, protest, justice, as we once knew them, are still in the picture when they are actually long gone.”

        Thank you.

        Reading your words I get the queasy feeling that, yes, that is EXACTLY what you are seeing.

        But then I think: What of this woman’s self-described inheritance as a daughter of a family of activism? Somehow, and I don’t know how, it has been bleached of all goals, purpose, and strategy so that all that is left are the overly-examined good feelings of fighting the (under-examined) good fight.

        One small point about the article–a thing I remember from the late 60s and early 70s: She spends so much time worrying about guilt, and so little on correcting behaviors that need correcting. This did not work well back then either.


        1. gepay

          I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief. — Franz Kafka, in a letter to a friend

    1. Uahsenaa

      That Bloomberg article is so bizarre in the way it bends over backwards to put a positive spin on what are straightforwardly bad financials. The whole “revenue growth outpaced increase in losses” is so muddled, because losses already includes revenue in its calculation. The proper comparison is revenue to costs, which, given the 6.1% increase in losses the article cites, means increases in costs are outpacing growth in revenue. I.e. things are actually getting worse, financially speaking.

      Yet, Bloomberg uncritically repeats Uber’s line that “we’re fine, we’re all fine here… how are you?

  14. djrichard

    “Does Steve Bannon Have Something to Offer?” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal].

    Without being able to read the article, I was going to say that the answer was to be as sheepdog. In the same way that Bernie seemingly was the sheepdog to keep the bros from defecting (as much as he could) from Hillary, Bannon has that option of playing that same role for Trump (call them Bannon Bros? lol). And that makes Bannon powerful.

    That made Sanders powerful too, but he didn’t seem to realize how much power he had. Or he didn’t want to be too unseemly about exploiting it. Hard to know.

    Anyways, if I were Bannon, I would be playing that hand for all its worth right now. And be prepared to walk. If he really wanted to up the ante, wouldn’t it be cool if he defected and backed Bernie? I think he could actually pull that off.

    1. different clue

      But would Bannon back Bernie if Bernie doesn’t support Bannon’s White Grievance / White Power Nationalism? And would Bannon back Bernie if Bernie doesn’t support Bannon’s effort to abolish the Regulatory State which makes sure that “if it says aspirin on the label, it isn’t arsenic that’s in the bottle” ?

    2. craazyboy

      I think Bannon may even be sincere on his predatory capitalism views. He does have a large following and his own media megaphone so maybe he can educate his followers on the issue(s) and maybe get them to sing from a more eloquent hymnbook.

      However, we just got another demonstration of how easily one gets unseated from anywhere close to the levers of power whenever one makes threatening noises about the finances of rich people and offers a cure the 99% would approve of.

      Altho he comes with weird mental baggage. Tax cuts for corporations and rich people are the way forward to equitable opportunity and income distribution???

      Supply side was so 80s, and I thought everyone just got a good Laffer outta it?

  15. ProNewerDeal

    from the Crapification of Murica files, case #4080:

    Anyone know of a means to record a internet-based phone call, with a service like Google Voice or Skype, on a Win7 laptop?

    I interacted with a Gov Customer No-Service recently. They sent a vague letter requesting certain documents. I called to clarify exactly what documents they needed. I asked if the CSR rep could email me that exact wording she said on the phone with respect to the documents. She refused, claiming she was “unable to do so”. Now if the follow up, the next CSR2 contradicts CSR1 & says the documents are insufficient, I will have no proof of the prior “promise” of CSR1.

    If I had that recording technology, at the call start, I could state I am recording this conversation for my “quality control purposes”, & have protection re evidence of the CSR1’s instructions.

    In contrast on a similar issue of requesting email verification, a private electronics vendor did send me an email indicating that I had jumped “jumped through their hoop”, completed their “action item” & the warranty was initated & valid for 12 months until Apr XX, 2018.

    At least being a government issue, if the government does screw me over, I can theoretically contact my relevant elected legislatureperson’s Constituent Services, at least that’s what Thom Hartmann mentioned, & my elected Rep’s office actually proved helpful the one time I contacted it.

      1. neighbor7

        A crime is a crime. The “hate crime” discourse strikes me as an unnecessary ideological overlay. Not “thoughtcrime,” but close?

    1. Dandelion

      It’s the T, not the G, L, or B, and specifically it’s the T who are biological males. They’ve already forced an astonishng level of speech suppression in academic, psychotherapy, and medical communities. If a patient tells a therapist he’s T, a therapist can’t challenge that diagnosis or even suggest exploring more deeply those feelings without risking their license for engaging in “conversion therapy.” Basically, for the T, spoken thought based on the fact that surgery can’t actually change biological sex is hate speech, and the use of incorrect pronouns is violence. They’re mostly targeting for hate speech violations any feminists who don’t support males in female prisons, mental health bedrooms, homeless and domestic violence shelters, dorm rooms and locker rooms, or competing against females in sports — all of which is already happening, to the documented detriment of females. Also guilty of hate speech are those who question putting prepubescent children for 5 or more years on the chemotherapy drugs developed for prostate cancer when there are no studies on using it this way, and then cross-sex hormones that sterilize these kids, many of whom, it seems from their own or their parents’ words, would have grown up to be gay or lesbian. Many G, L, and B are aware of these issues and are not happy at being grouped with the T. Unfortunately there is very big pharma and medical care money at play, as well as Pritzker billions in support.

      1. DJG

        Dandelion: Yep, there are some worrisome stats out there. Margaret Talbott, in an article for the New Yorker a while back, estimated that a third of transgender kids are gay / lesbian. So you end up with the result, heteronormativity, being presented as a kind of liberation. I belong to an organization in which the spokesperson for LGBT issues had a lesbian daughter who transitioned to become a son who is now married. Disruptive!

        We are a long way from same-sex desire and its endless historical evidence.

  16. Steely Glint

    Off subject, but concerning the United beating, I heard an interesting idea. Instead of starting with a low offer for your ticket/seat, why not start high? Kind of like “who want’s to be a thousandaire, raise your arms in the air”. Start at $5000.00 and half the boarding area or passengers stand up. Then begin lowering the offer until the number left standing meets the airline requirement. They will feel like winners!! Could even be an interesting app.

    1. Marina Bart

      No, each of them will picture having $5,000 the instant they stand up, so as the number goes down, each of them will feel that money has been stolen from them. That would be an excellent way to start a riot on an airplane.

      1. Steely Glint

        Don’t agree. Americans like game shows (Trump comes to mind). Except for the blood thirsty, I would expect them to be totally engaged in a good way

    2. John k

      Interesting idea. And many would seriously consider volunteering. But most crappy airlines have lots of restrictions on the offer. Always ask if it’s cash. If a voucher, is it a single one or multiple? Transferable? Etc.

      1. Steely Glint

        The suggestion was made to a lawyer involved with airline litigation. I suppose airlines could exploit the idea (notice exploit instead of “loop hole” an innocent term for those who choose not to uphold law & instead find a way around it) who gave it a thumbs up/brilliant idea.

  17. Randy

    A little irony. Corporate pawn shop goes belly up. Pawn America declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  18. different clue

    If Ossoff of Georgia is a Clintonite, the Bernies of all stripes and types should oppose the Ossoff in its election. If the Bernies feel they can bite the bullet and wade through the sewage to destroy a Clintonite and drive it out of politics as part of a longer range effort to purge the Clintonite filth out of the Democratic Party; they might even bring themselves to do the “Willy Stark” thing and vote FOR the likeliest Republican IN ORDER to defeat and destroy the Clintonite Ossoff.

    Such an action would show that it is possible to destroy a Clintonite and drive it out of politics. Step by step, Real Democrats could declintanimate the Democrat Party and make it Democratic again.

    1. different clue

      And no, the circle does not get squared without a thorough housecleaning. Every trace of Clintobamacrat filth will have to be defeated and destroyed step by step. If this means that the Clintobamacrat 10 per centers all leave the Democrat Party and join the Republican Party, then at least the Real Democrats will have a Real Democratic Party again. Such a Real Democratic Party can then go Red Gingrich on the Clintobama Crapublicans’ asses in the House and maybe even the Senate.

  19. Mo's Bike Shop

    “Dems can’t win Trump’s base in 2018, but they’ll try to demoralize it”

    Play to your strengths. /ns

  20. witters

    Sanders is toxic: “Let’s all recognize that, in a world full of disgusting dictators, Bashar Assad maybe ranks at the top. This is a guy, in order to hang on to power, has allowed 400,000 people in his own country to be killed and millions to be displaced. Our goal, long term, has got to work with countries around the world. We cannot do it unilaterally. We’ve got to work with countries around the world for a political solution to get rid of this guy and to finally bring peace and stability to this country, which has been so decimated.”

    It is just a fact. Get over it.

      1. hunkerdown

        I think witters is right. Sanders is toxic because he uses his somewhat earned celebrity to sell the Democrat Party’s foreign policy phantasy. That is something the left will have to get over: the idea that liberals can really, really stand against the system that underpins their theories of human society.

        A more even-handed answer would sound more like, “Syria is just another nation-state in the Westphalian system, with all the blood that entails.”

  21. VietnamVet

    America’s fundamental problem is that we are ruled and informed by a very small credentialed class that live in an echo chamber who serve a very small number of very wealthy families. Thomas Frank’s What to Make of the Age of Trump is the best description of this that I have seen:

    The contradictions that this neo-liberal-con rule is hatching are dangerous.

    In Korea, China will never agree to have a reunification without the withdrawal of all American troops. No sane Chinese leader would allow US troops on the other side of the Yalu River. Especially when the mad men in America are now threatening to bomb North Korea to prevent the next test of a nuclear weapon.

    The cosmopolitan belief of the Russian interference in the 2016 election by release of the DNC e-mails has grown so powerful it has turned on itself. The Obama Administration is now blamed for not preventing something where there is no proof of Russian involvement and which exposes the actual corruption of the political system. This is directly escalating tensions between two nuclear powers.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Democrats were always going to turn on Obama. They were fairly eager to dump him which was part of the bizarre Hillary phenomenon.

      On a practical level, the Democratic Party is largely a pre-Obama entity as Obama never cultivated a new generation, not just losing seats but leaving Democrats who should have retired before Obama took office all over the blue map.

  22. craazyboy

    “File This Under Nostalgia: New Book Pays Tribute To The Library Card Catalog” [NPR].

    Please, DO NOT drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery while listening to NPR!

  23. meeps

    “The March on Everywhere” [Harpers]

    I think placing this under Realignment and Legitimacy is fair, though I’d be hard-pressed to name a human activity that would fall outside of that purview, so that’s my priors. I’m also (among other things) a woman, a feminist, an activist and a humanist.

    As such, I’ll not castigate the author (or anyone else) for participating in the post-inauguration/women’s march–as many did–from afar. She arrived on the scene and she took additional care to write about her impressions. Put another way, she exercised her rights to free speech and to peaceful assembly.
    Her account of exhilaration coupled with aimlessness is telling in that it exposes the critical difference between having ‘rights’ and having the effective organizational capacity for those rights to accomplish anything beyond speaking and gathering. That’s a lovely start, but it’s a long way from restoring full use of the atrophied limb of democracy.

    I sensed a great deal of obligatory duty in her narrative. One can interpret that as noblesse oblige, but any among us is well-advised to investigate what motivates our actions concerning others. Am I doing (x) because my mother/father/boss/partner/Obama would have…? Am I doing (y) because civil rights leaders, soldiers, Jesus gave their lives so I could…? Will I burn in eternal damnation if I don’t (z) and what would that say about my eternal soul? These ghosts upstage actors all the time but are poor guides to action in present circumstances. The author mentioned (several times?) that it was not about her. Would it be a problem if it was? One can martyr oneself all day long (there’s a long history of ‘heroes’ there) or one can ask if they’ve anything in common with those they’d sacrifice themselves for. If so, maybe there’d be some common cause worth showing up for—like an aim, right now. If not, fine. Be who you really are. Is that not revolutionary enough?

    Maybe I’m weird with a warped world-view (I’ll consider it), but I see people as people. When last I checked ALL people need water, food, air, shelter and medicine. Why organize for these rights? Because misery, suffering and death are a certainty for each and every one of us without them–I don’t care who you are. That may suck rocks, but we are biological beings in a material world, no matter what the tribal factions believe, so we’d better get our stuff together and focus on the basics. Or marching on everywhere will lead us nowhere.

  24. Kim Kaufman

    Has this been posted here?

    Daily Kos Is Back | The Huffington Post
    “The liberal site has acquired a new relevance in the era of Democratic resistance to President Donald Trump.”


  25. LupeMax

    re “the March on Everywhere”
    I did not go to the march (or any marches these days) because I view them as “conscience raising” for those who have been “absent” and follow only the infotainment on the MSM (and that includes PBS, NPR) over the last 45 years. I don’t find either unity or comfort in crowds or mobs.

    The article made me feel guilty, tired, and sad at how much we have lost and angry at how there was so little mention of the “common people”-so many of whom are doing much but it’s like swimming upstream, or even swimming on land but they continue. Those are my heros. Not those on the bandstands at the marches.

    I too have been disappointed in Harper’s over the last few months. I wonder what’s up there.

    The article also made me think of an excerpt from Howard Zinn’s collection of autobiographical essays “You Can’t Be Neutral on A Moving Train”, as he traveled around the country in his later years “giving talks.” In the chapter on “The Possibility of Hope” he wrote:

    “What I discovered was heartening. In whatever town, large or small, in whatever state of The Union, there was always a cluster of men and women who cared about the sick, the hungry, the victims of racism, the casualties of war, and who were doing something, however small, in the hope the world would change.
    “Wherever I was- whether Dallas, Texas or Ada, Oklahoma, or Shreveport, Louisiana, or New Orleans or San Diego or Philadelphia, or Presque Isle, Maine, or Bloomington, Indiana, or Olympia, Washington—I found such people. And beyond the handful of activists there seems to behundreds, thousands more who were open to unorthodox ideas.
    “But they tended not to know of each other’s existence, and so, while they persisted, they did so with the desperate patience of Sisyphus endlessly pushing that boulder up the mountain. I tried to tell each group that it was not alone, and that the very people who were disheartened by the absence of a national movement were themselves proof of the potential for such a movement. I suppose I was trying to persuade myself as well as them.”
    Zinn, at least in print, was always optimistic that good would triumph, eventually. Can’t help but wonder what he would say about Trump, the MOAB, climate, War.

    Unfortunately I live in one of those tony suburbs of Boston where the “professional class” dems dominate. Indeed even in my little town I detect a drive to find someone akin to HRC (or at least a professional woman) “moving forward, fighting back” against Trump. And people who don’t read the NY Times and follow politics are ignorable “political junkies…”

  26. LM

    Hello LupeMax,

    You wrote:
    “The article made me feel guilty, tired, and sad at how much we have lost and angry at how there was so little mention of the “common people”-so many of whom are doing much but it’s like swimming upstream, or even swimming on land but they continue. Those are my heros. Not those on the bandstands at the marches. ”

    I think that goes to the heart of the Harper’s piece. Much of the recent women’s march seemed, to me, to be about whom they would exclude.

    Those on the bandstand, Steinem in particular, were among those women in the early-to-mid ’70s, who decided, in their infinite wisdom, to squander the movement’s naissant political capital by heaping insults on nearly half the human race, followed by an unsuccessful ProveYouLoveUsPassTheEqualRightsAmmendment campaign.

    The Harper’s piece reminded me of the scene in the film “The Return of the Seacaucus Seven,’ where the protagonists wax nostalgic over the wonderous street cred of of their previous arrests at political protests, while being booked on banal charges for tresspassing.

  27. Stephen Douglas


    I have a very vague memory of a movie (Bunuel?) in which diners were served excrement, and forced — whether through raw fear or social pressure — to exclaim how much they enjoyed it.

    You are referring to Pasolini’s Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom, the 1975 film, Pasolini’s last (he was murdered before its release) which I had the misfortune of watching a few years ago before Netflix crapified its movie choices. Filmed in black and white, I thought it was done much earlier (like in the late 40s), but to say that the picture is difficult to watch is an understatement, with its continuous scenes of sexual torture, rape, death, and yes, excrement eating.

    In the scene you describe, it’s raw fear that causes the diners to exclaim their “enjoyment.” The film is apparently still banned in some countries. It should be rated R for Revolting. Wikipedia describes it as a “horror art film,” and I couldn’t agree more. The film, which drags on and on and on, makes no point that I can tell, except maybe to the show the banality of evil. An utterly pointless exercise.

    I’m not sure I see the correlation you suggest between the film and the article, but just so you know, it’s not Buñuel.

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