2:00PM Water Cooler 5/4/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Apple commits $1 billion To U.S. manufacturing fund: With an eye toward empowering ‘the next generation of developers,’ Apple CEO Tim Cook announced late Wednesday that his company will be pouring $1 billion into a fund designed to encourage advanced manufacturing in the United States” [Politico]. In (nominally) offshore cash? [Politico].


Obama Legacy

“The Center” [The Obama Presidential Center].

Through participatory and immersive experiences, the Center will tell Barack and Michelle Obama’s story, while lifting the hood on the mechanics of change and inspiring visitors to spark their own.

You don’t lift the hood on mechanics. You lift the hood on a car, and mechanics work under that hood. And are users really going to “spark their own” “mechanics of change”? Will the mechanics be bending over when they get sparked? Honestly, the whole site is full of hollow-sounding, Orwellian deadness, and the projects is obviously going to suck up a great deal of money (for Google VR to handle those “participatory and immersive experiences,” for example). Ka-ching.

“This evening, Obama discusses his Center and his two-terms in the White House in a closed-to-the press dinner before Chicago’s wealthy and civic elite, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago” [Chicago Sun-Times]. “The dinner will take place at The Chicago Club, 81 E. Van Buren. Obama’s speech was not publicly announced by either the Obama Foundation or his post-presidential office. Obama has come under some criticism for taking a $400,000 speaking engagement later this year. An Obama source told the Sun-Times Obama is not charging for his appearance before the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.” Well, no. He’s collecting for it, right? I mean, come on.


“Stars turn out for Planned Parenthood gala honoring Clinton” [AP]. It’s like she never left, isn’t it? Readers, this is perhaps the time to explain that last night I had a dream, and this was my dream: I was speaking to Hillary Clinton — she was wearing a tweedy, Chanel-style heather-colored jacket — and told her that while I supported her in 2008 (true!), “I don’t think you should run in 2020.” Although she said nothing, her face froze; her body language was very, very negative. The bright side is that now I can file all the Clinton stories under 2020.

“I Tattooed Chelsea Clinton’s Face on My Body and I Regret Nothing” [Vice].

2016 Post Mortem

“The first thing I remember feeling about the 2016 US election was a kind of speechlessness. On 9 November, no one had any idea what to say in the bars and pubs in New York. Conversations could take place only in the form of mutual interrogation. No one had any declarative sentences to offer. The only consensus was that no one knew what happened” [Guardian]. “That consensus is now gone – every woman on the street can riff on the Russians, James Comey and the creaky electoral system – but the anxiety remains. The engine of all argument right now is a very bitter sort of fear we felt right after the whole thing blew up.” “We”? “Every woman”?

Our Famously Free Press

“Facebook enters war against psy-ops and fake news, acknowledges election hijinks” [Ars Technica]. OK, if state-sponsored psy-ops in the news-flow need to be eradicated, does that include the Bush administration’s WMDs operation?

“There are two big problems with America’s news and information landscape: concentration of media, and new ways for the powerful to game it” [The Atlantic].

Democrats in Disarray

Not happy about this:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Meet the Left Radical Who Will Likely Be Jackson, Mississippi’s Next Mayor” [In These Times]. A bit more interesting than Ossoff, no?

“Jackson, Mississippi, Just Nominated Radical Activist Chokwe Antar Lumumba to Be the Next Mayor” [The Nation]. A chance for the left to deliver on potholes…

“Campus Politics and the Administrative Mind” [Current Affairs]. Let’s be open to the possibility that protesting to try to get college administrators to do stuff doesn’t translate well to other political environments…

“The Zogby Poll: Trump overall approval down, but up among Hispanics” [Zogby Analytics].

Stats Watch

Readers: Lots of material today, because I’m including yesterday’s Stats, too. –lambert

Productivity and Costs, Q1 2017 (First Estimate): “It took more hours to produce at a slower rate in the latest quarter in what is yet another unfavorable productivity report” [Econoday]. “Weak productivity raises the cost of labor which came in well above expectations at an annualized 3.0 percent.” You say “raises the cost of labor” like that’s a bad thing!

Factory Orders, March 2017: “Factory orders, like much of the economy, fizzled in March, up only 0.2 percent and skewed higher for a third month in a row by aircraft” [Econoday]. “Aircraft had a weak year last year and have been making up lost ground so far this year. But how long Boeing can give total orders a lift is uncertain, and the performance of the wider factory sector, despite sky high strength in many anecdotal reports, has been no better than mixed.” And but: “According to the seasonally adjusted data, it was military aircraft that caused the increase” [Econintersect]. “The data in this series is noisy so I would rely on the unadjusted 3 month rolling averages which was improved. Note that when one inflation adjusts, the numbers are good but not as good as the headlines. Backlog improved – but remains in contraction year-over-year.”

ADP Employment Report, April 2017 (yesterday): “ADP’s estimate isn’t going to rattle any nerves ahead of April employment, at 177,000 and right in line with expectations for what is expected to be solid payroll growth in Friday’s report” [Econoday]. “There is little immediate reaction to today’s results.”

Jobless Claims, week of April 29, 2017: “Week-to-week volatility has been pronounced but the trend in jobless claims is clearly favorable” [Econoday].

Gallup Good Jobs Rate, April 2017: “The U.S. workforce participation rate essentially held steady at 67.6 percent in April, little changed from 67.8 percent in March. The rate is roughly the same as a year ago, when workforce participation was 67.3 percent” [Econoday]. “The percentage of the population who is underemployed rose to 14.0 percent in April, up from 13.5 percent last month. The current underemployment rate is roughly equal to that of January (14.1 percent) and February (13.9 percent), as well as a year ago (13.8 percent). Underemployment is still far better than its high point of 20.3 percent recorded in March 2010.”

Challenger Job-Cut Report, April 2017: “Challenger’s layoff count for April is a moderate 36,602, right in line with recent trend and pointing to healthy conditions in the labor market ahead of tomorrow’s employment report” [Econoday]. “Retail has been at the top of the layoff list all year and is once again in April, at 11,669. Next is autos at 3,424 and health care at 3,153.” And: “Employers have announced a total of 162,803 planned job cuts through the first four months of 2017. That is down 35 percent from the 249,061 job cuts tracked during the same period a year ago. It is the lowest January-April total since 2014, when the opening four months of the year saw 161,639 job cuts” [Econintersect].

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, April 17 (yesterday): “Gallup’s job creation index reading was plus 36 in April, one point off the record high of plus 37 in March. The Midwest led the regions at plus 42 — the first time any region has topped plus 40 in the nine-year history of the index” [Econoday]. “Workers in the Midwest became increasingly likely to say their companies were hiring rather than firing in April, even as workers elsewhere reported more stagnant job creation patterns. In the other three U.S. regions, the East, South and West, the job creation index dropped one point each from March.” Hmm. Trump country.

Purchasing Managers’ Services Index, April 2017 (yesterday): “Order growth is described as subdued and, in what is a negative indication for Friday’s employment report, the sample reported the weakest growth in hiring in nearly 7 years” [Econoday]. “Despite the late April bounce in the headline, there are plenty of red signals in this report that don’t point to a second quarter surge for the economy.”

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, April 2017 (yesterday): “Two different samples and two very different results from PMI services, which was released earlier this morning and was very soft, and ISM non-manufacturing which is pointing to sharp acceleration” [Econoday]. “O]ne detail both this report and PMI services do agree on is that hiring during April was slow. This is not a positive indication for Friday’s employment report where solid growth is the expectation.” But: “This suggests faster expansion in April than in March” [Calculated Risk].

International Trade, March 2017: “Breaking down the data between goods and services shows a small widening in the goods deficit to $65.5 billion offset in part by a modest looking but still constructive $0.4 billion dollar rise in the surplus on services. The overall decline in exports and imports is a concern, but today’s report has several positives, not only the surplus on services but also the rise in capital goods exports” [Econoday]. “On the import side most components are lower especially capital goods in what, along with capital goods shipments and nonresidential construction spending, is another contrast with the first-quarter GDP surge in nonresidential investment.” And but: “But the data in this series wobbles and the 3 month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3 month averages are accelerating” [Econintersect]. “This data will have minimal impact on 1Q2017 GDP.” And: “Exports are 15% above the pre-recession peak and up 9% compared to March 2016; imports are 1% above the pre-recession peak, and up 7% compared to March 2016” [Calculated Risk]. “In general, trade has been picking up, but has declined slightly the last two months.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 20, 2017: “The consumer comfort index, like other confidence readings, continues to hold at expansion highs” [Econoday].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of April 28, 2017 (yesterday): “Rose a seasonally adjusted 4 percent” [Econoday]. “The strong rebound in purchase applications stands in sharp contrast to refinancing.”

Credit: “Borrowing by small U.S. firms stalled in March, as business owners remained cautious about investing amid policy uncertainty, data released on Monday showed” [Reuters].

Retail: “Retail Bankruptcies Are Rising Fast: 10 Companies That May Be Next” [247 Wall Street]. This article is dangerously close to stock-picking, but I’m including it because — granted, I may be showing my age, here — the only brand I recognize is Sears. And you can certainly argue that Sears — despite owning the most depressing store I have ever entered, at the Bangor Mall — is a “squillionaire with bright ideas” story, not an “Internet’s killing retail” story.

Auto: “[Motor vehicle sales were] low and worse than expected, and inline with the deceleration in bank auto lending, as previously discussed, which doesn’t bode well for other sales measures tied to credit expansion” [Mosler Economics].

Auto: “Big Summer Shutdowns Loom for U.S. Auto Plants as Sales Sputter” [Bloomberg]. “Manufacturers used to shut plants for a week or two in July for maintenance and to keep inventories in check. As sales boomed in recent years, most factories cranked out cars without a break. This summer, widespread closures may be back, and for weeks longer than before. The reason: four straight months of declining sales and little expectation the trend will reverse anytime soon.” This too is Trump country.

Auto: “A surprising drop in U.S. auto demand is sending shudders through the industry’s global supply chain. GM’s sales declined 5.8% in April from a year ago, and Ford and Fiat Chrysler reported drops of around 7%, leaving a glut of unsold cars and trucks on dealers’ lots. The weak figures threaten a nearly eight-year winning streaK for the auto industry, and some manufacturers are already shutting down some production… Auto makers have already scaled back work on passenger cars as fuel prices have remained low, shifting factory output to gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. But demand for those vehicles is looking shaky as well, putting assembly-line workers and parts suppliers on notice” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “Significance of Stack Date and why it is important” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. For container geeks. And something to consider for those trying to automate the supplly chain…

Shipping: “Leading shippers are increasingly using supply chains as strategic tools – as a business enabler, revenue driver and differentiator, according to supply chain expert and author Mark Millar, who says the latest strategic thinking is that “supply chain is the business” of many companies that are not ostensibly logistics specialists” [Lloyd’s List]. “‘Twenty-first-century supply chains have transformed into worldwide inter-connected supply-and-demand networks – exposed to the vulnerabilities of our uncertain world – and with profound interdependencies,’ he adds. ‘This has led to greater deployment of collaborative partnerships, frequently involving outsourcing and off-shoring, creating elongated webs that embrace multiple stakeholders.'” The author is a consultant talking his deck. But it’s an interesting deck.

Shipping: “The U.S. maritime regulator has rejected an application by Japan’s three biggest shipping companies to operate as a merged company while their transaction is still being finalized back home” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “Uber’s ‘upfront’ pricing is helping it overcharge passengers” [Quartz]. An Uber driver agreed to share their data: “Over 165 trips from early March to early April, Uber overcharged this driver’s passengers by a total of $85.54. In other words, the total upfront fares paid by riders were that much higher than the fares used to calculate driver pay. The company lost money overall on UberPool, its carpooling service, but more than made it up by overcharging customers who booked trips on UberX and its other private ride options.”

The Bezzle: “Uber and Waymo Duel at Key Hearing Over Driverless Car Technology” [New York Times]. “At stake is what Uber and Waymo both believe could be a multibillion-dollar opportunity in the transportation industry in which autonomous cars move people around without the need or expense of human drivers.”

The Bezzle: “Major NYC Crime Ring Used Fake Uber Drivers to Hide Drug Deals: Sources” [NBC New York]. “As part of the operation, the six suspects placed fake Uber logos and stickers on vehicles to fit into the neighborhoods and not raise suspicions, according to sources. Heroin and cocaine were sold to more than 100 customers in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, the sources said. The dealers weren’t drivers for Uber and it appears they didn’t use the Uber app, but they did utilize the company’s logo to disguise their vehicles while making deliveries, sources said.” That’s so meta. Is there something about the sharing economy that attracts crooks?

The Bezzle: “The Art Market’s Modigliani Forgery Epidemic” [Vanity Fair]. “The only question is: How many Modiglianis are fakes?” The catalogue raisonné situation seems volatile, to say the least. I Googled “”Travis Kalanick’ Modigliani” but no such luck…

Political Risk: “CFR Sovereign Risk Tracker” [Council on Foreign Relations].

Five Horsemen, May 4, 2017:

Five Horsemen May4

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 47 Neutral (previous close: 51, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 28 at 12:01pm. “Put and Call Options” are registering Extreme Greed. Safe Haven Demand is registering Extreme Fear. Mr. Market placing a bet with his broker on Line 1, with the realtor handling his mountain redoubt in Montana on hold?

Health Care

Readers: I don’t think the House vote will have taken place by press-the-submit-button time, but the media’s whip counts were converging on passage. –lambert

UPDATE “House Passes Measure to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act” [New York Times]. 217-213. “As Republicans crossed 217 votes, Democrats heckled them with ‘Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey goodbye.'” Classy! I understand the endowment effect, but if ObamaCare was so great, why the heck didn’t Clinton run on it? “You never had it so good,” as the slogan goes….

“The American Health Care Act: the Obamacare repeal bill the House will vote on, explained” [Sarah Kliff, Vox].

“Trump Health Care Plan Would Give Wealthy Republican Lawmakers A Tax Break” [International Business Times].

“GOP Health Bill Jeopardizes Out-of-Pocket Caps in Employer Plans” [Wall Street Journal]. “Many people who obtain health insurance through their employers—about half of the country—could be at risk of losing protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses, due to a little-noticed provision of the House Republican health-care bill to be considered Thursday, health-policy experts say. The provision, part of a last-minute amendment, lets states obtain waivers from certain Affordable Care Act insurance regulations. Insurers in states that obtain the waivers could be freed from a regulation mandating that they cover 10 particular types of health services, among them maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health treatment and hospitalization.”

“Proposed High Risk Pool Funding Likely Insufficient to Cover Insurance Needs for Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions” [Avalere]

“Compare Proposals to Replace The Affordable Care Act” [Kaiser Health News].

“Infographic: How Does U.S. Health Care Stack Up to the Developed World?” [Foreign Policy]. The horror has come to the attention of The Blob…

“If You Give a Health Policy Maker a Cookie” (from former Obama health care adviser Bob Kocher) [Vox]. I know! I know! Pick me! Pick me! The answer: They’ll never mention single payer, not once, and they’ll lie about universal coverage! (This is actually a vomit-inducing screed children’s book-style apologia for ObamaCare’s markets-first, neoliberal solution, along the lines of “Why Mommie Is A Democrat.”) For example:

Excellent anecdotes on this tweetstorm. Neoliberals should read it:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Texas Police Officer Fired for Shooting and Killing 15-Year-Old in a Car Driving Away” [Slate]. “‘After reviewing the video, I don’t believe that [the shooting] met our core values,’ [Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber] said at a press conference Tuesday.” Some might disagree…


“The strongest earthquake in Oklahoma’s history likely was caused by oil and gas operators injecting vastly increased amounts of toxic wastewater underground three years before it struck, a new study suggests” [Inside Climate News]. “Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed injection data from the most active disposal wells in the area where the 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit last September. They found that there had been a sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of wastewater injected in the first half of 2013 at some of the wells. That contributed “a fair amount of stress on the fault and would have accelerated the natural faulting process significantly,” said Andrew Barbour, a USGS geophysicist who led the study.”

“Announcing the Radical Mycology Mixtape Project” [Radical Mycology]. “So, from now until August 1, 2017, Radical Mycology will be accepting demos for consideration from all music genre and audio performance types – with the only filter being that the piece should relate to or be inspired by (radical) mycology in some manner.”

Guillotine Watch

“The Wrongest Profession” [Dean Baker, The Baffler]. “Even the great progress for the world’s poor touted in the famous “elephant graph” turns out to be largely illusory. If China is removed from the sample, the performance of the rest of the developing world since 1988 looks rather mediocre. While the pain of working people in wealthy countries is acute, they are not alone. Outside of China, people in the developing world have little to show for the economic growth of the last three and a half decades. As for China itself, the gains of its huge population are real, but the country certainly did not follow Washington’s model of deficit-slashing, bubble-driven policies for developing countries.” I’m picking out the quote on the “elephant graph,” but it’s all very good. Fun stuff!@

“H-1B limits is ‘stupidest policy in the entire American political system,’ says Google’s Schmidt” [CNBC]. Wowsers. Really?

“Google’s Getting Students Into US History With VR — And Free “Hamilton” Tickets” [BuzzFeed]. “The six-week #EduHam course brings American Revolution–themed studies to life as a part of students’ regular history classes using curriculum developed by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.” More “participatory and immersive experiences.”

Class Warfare

“Coastal liberals often paint rural voters in broad strokes, but the truth is there are large groups of socially aware and intelligent young people living in forgotten rural areas all over the country” [Vice]. And they can’t all move to Brooklyn and become artisanal pickle makers. Or sell blood to Peter Thiel. Well worth a read.

“Teen socialist idols” [Harpers (1999)]. Buffy the Vampire Slayer….

“Sold for Parts” [Pro Publica]. As policy, open borders cheap labor.

“A farm town weighs protections for immigrants” [High Country News]. Open borders cheap labor.

“Digital divide persists even as lower-income Americans make gains in tech adoption” [Pew Research (PDF)]. “Roughly three-in-ten adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year don’t own a smartphone. Nearly half don’t have home broadband services or a traditional computer. And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. By comparison, many of these devices are nearly ubiquitous among adults from households earning $100,000 or more a year…. In 2016, one-fifth of adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year were “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they owned a smartphone but did not have broadband internet at home. This represents an increase from 12% in 2013. In contrast, only 4% of those living in households earning $100,000 or more fell into this category in either year. This reliance on smartphones also means that the less affluent are more likely to use them for tasks traditionally reserved for larger screens.”

News of the Wired

“Programming as a Way of Thinking” [Scientific American]. “The power of modern programming languages is that they are expressive, readable, concise, precise, and executable.” Python vs. Fortran.

“The second 6 months of 2016 was the first time that a majority of American homes had only wireless telephones. Preliminary results from the July–December 2016 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that 50.8% of American homes did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone (also known as cellular telephones, cell phones, or mobile phones)—an increase of 2.5 percentage points since the second 6 months of 2015” (PDF) [National Center for Health Statistics].

“”Jesus’ Invaded Home, Prayed with Man, Stole Golf Cart, Asked to Fornicate with Police: This May Be Greatest Criminal Narrative of All Time” [Cleveland Scene]. OK. but why the golf cart?

* * *

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 (Kokuanani):

My favorite flower, and I stupidly planted the last batch of bulbs too near the strawberry patch, which invaded their space…

* * *

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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. cocomaan

    No worries. Irises can be transplanted pretty easily. We split out our bulbs last year and I think we had a 100% transplant success with a whole mess of them.

    They are really great blooms. Smells like you’re getting away with something.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Apparently irises are not tasty to deer and elk, making them good plantings for Wildland-Urban Interface areas [this is an actual term used in California codes].

      Though I’ve heard of elk ripping them out, giving the irises a couple of chews, spitting them out — ptui! — then moving on to tastier lawns. It’s their version of wine tasting: sniff, swirl in the mouth, expectorate.

      1. polecat

        Al parts of the Iris are poisonous …. so don’t lick your fingers after transplanting … especially children ! Make sure they wear gloves, and wash up after helping in the garden !!

    2. a different chris

      >Irises can be transplanted pretty easily

      I would like to have Irises again, but I was always forced to transplant since I might get a decent 2nd year but after that grass has always completely invaded the iris patch. Since they pretty much sit on the ground surface I couldn’t mulch them like I could stuff like peonies.

      So how do you keep the grass from invading? Or do I just have a particularly virulent form of grass?

      1. Ivy

        Strip off the grass, a healthy workout that avoids the use of Roundup. Then put down landscape mesh with holes for the irises, and add mulch.

  2. JohnnyGL


    Interesting read to see where the 538 pundits see things. First part on health care and min wage, they all agree that the Dem base and electorate are moving left on econ issues and the 2020 nominee will probably need to reflect that change.

    My favorite part is how Nate Silver himself rapidly transitions from Single-Payer to something called a “supercharged public option”. I don’t know about the rest of the Nakedcap community, but I’m always in favor of anything that’s “supercharged”. I mean, it can’t be another bait-and-switch, can it???? LOL?!?!?!

    In other news, none of them seem terribly convinced by Cuomo or Booker. Much like the rest of the public, I suppose.

    1. Pat

      Having seen Booker in action, I would not count him out. I may not get it, but the guy has both charisma, crowd and individual people skills. Cuomo, has about as much chance of being President as Jeb Bush did after Trump.

      But it is nice of Nate to finally notice that 1.) the majority of the public has already moved ‘far left’ as defined today on certain core issues like having health care and getting a long over due raise, and 2.) that politicians also have to notice that. Too bad he hasn’t figured out they are not so accepting of pretty words signifying nothing like ‘Affordable Care’.

      1. Uahsenaa

        Booker is decent in person, but he has the massive albatross of Wall Street money hanging around his neck, just like Clinton. Not to mention, he’s already been called out several times for some of his dodgier votes in the Senate. It wouldn’t take a whole lot for a primary opponent to paint him the way Sanders did Clinton, and he wouldn’t necessarily have the benefit of a predetermined DNC coronation to protect him from that criticism like she did in the 2016 primaries.

        If single-payer wins out in CA, then it will be much harder for those aspiring to progressive-hood to hide behind weasel policies like the public option, be it super-charged or no. And free college tuition (admittedly, of a limited sort) has already made headway in New York. The Overton window has moved substantially just since the election. Primary Dems will be hard-pressed to pretend the political landscape even resembles that of 2016, much less 2008, when things like the public option were de rigeur.

        1. Darius

          Booker is not as good as Obama at the inspiring young man thing and he’s been less artful in being a Wall Street errand boy.

        2. PH

          Booker is shallow and warped.

          His idea of nirvana is being liked by Republicans. He is not alone in this. Carper comes to mind. But he is pathological in his obsequious devotion to bi-partisanship.

          He is bought and sold by natural gas and chemical companies.

          Major yuk.

        3. Pat

          I really hope so. Despite my belief that Booker on the campaign trail is going to be pulling in people like flies to honey, he is someone else who would sell out his mother. But unless and until them in context, But after Bill Clinton, Obama and yes, Trump, I can’t throw out his chances without seeing the race in context. He has about two and a half years to confuse the record and with his people skills, that may be enough.

      2. Big River Bandido

        I don’t see how a politician — from New Jersey, no less — who can be so easily defined as a tool of health insurance and pharma, gets elected President of a nation where he’ll have to appeal to workers in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. I don’t care how many sidewalks he shoveled in Newark. A majority of voters in those states are wise to the neoliberal game. If Brexit (and the likely result of the French runoff) are any clue, the austerity and ID politics blend is completely played out. It’s not going to work — not well enough for any “Democrat” to get to 270, regardless of what happens in Frnace. Similar factors prevented Clinton from winning, and will preclude any chance of Cuomo as well (not withstanding his grating personality).

    2. TK421

      the 2020 nominee will probably need to reflect that change.

      Yes, because the Democratic nominating process is free and fair and open, and highly responsive to the public.

      1. Pat

        Perhaps they should have added “if they want to win”, in order to make it clear the choice the Democratic leadership truly face. (And the Democratic voting base if the leadership decides to go down with the grift ignoring the will of their base and the voting public).

        1. Romancing The Loan

          if the leadership decides to go down with the grift ignoring the will of their base and the voting public

          Yet again.

          Pelosi said today she didn’t see single payer as something the Ds should run on in 2018. So, you know, breathless anticipation.

          1. RUKidding

            Pelosi and all (or at least most) are so totally bought off that they will never ever vote for Single Payer. NEVER.

            Why citizens keep wanting to trust these rapacious criminals is beyond my understanding.

            1. Carla

              Nobody wants to trust them, and nobody does. But what are voters going to do? Vote for their to-the-right-of-Attila-the-hun counterparts?

              I vote 3rd party, along with 1% of the electorate. That’s not exactly a winning strategy either. Until people on the “left” desert the Democrat party wholesale and start a new party, there’s no hope for the electoral system.

        2. TK421

          I understand that you are a rational person and you approach things rationally. But the Democratic leadership would much rather lose with a Hillary-type than win with Bernie. They don’t exist to win, they exist to serve their donors.

          1. JohnnyGL

            That’s true, but if they don’t win, the donors won’t bother writing checks anymore.

            1. markopher

              I think it is better for the wealthy elites to keep donating to the democrats no matter how much they lose because they are an easily controlled “opposition”, whereas if the democrats die out slowly something will emerge to its left to replace it, and the donors will (at least temporarily) only have control over one of the two major parties, which would be a disaster for them.

              1. Carla

                “whereas if the democrats die out slowly something will emerge to its left to replace it,”

                Well that’s on us, ain’t it? How pathetic is that? Let’s just wait around with our thumbs up our asses, secure in our faith that the democrats will eventually die out.

                Why not adopt Lambert’s expression and apply it to the frigging democrats: “Kill it with fire!”

            2. Mark P.

              JohnnyGL wrote: ‘That’s true, but if they don’t win, the donors won’t bother writing checks anymore.’

              It’s a problem, isn’t it?

              Not that most of them aren’t denying it as hard as they possibly can, in the hopes that it’ll just go away.

              1. PH

                Bluedog leaders think populism will blow over. Think populism is “problem” only in deep blue coastal states. Think populists cannot win in purple states; think only Republican-lite can win in purple states.

                We must find good Progrssive candidates in at least acouple purple states and win.

                Meanwhile, win some Dem primaries in deepblue states.

                Only then will bluedog leaders be even slightly chastened.

            3. Big River Bandido

              Sure they will. The lower the Democrats’ actual political fortunes go, the cheaper they are to buy off.

        3. different clue

          The DemParty leaders define winning differently than you or I would define it. I would consider a New Deal Revival to be a kind of winning. The InnerParty Dems consider preventing any ReNew Deal from ever emerging to be the kind of winning which they and their owner-patrons are interested in.

        4. John k

          It’s well known they would rather lose with a rep right winger than win with a progressive, no matter how popular. Bot more than that… the more reprehensible the rep the better because it seems more likely they can win next time on the rebound, proving their hope they can continue trashing progressives and courting reps.
          Won’t work for this (former) one.

          Never, ever.

    3. PKMKII

      Well what a literal supercharger does is compress air before feeding into the engine. And the compression increases the temperature. So Nate’s calling for a public option with more hot air!

      1. jpj

        Hot rodders colloquially call them “blowers,” which is apt, as I’m sure whatever this amounts to will certainly blow.

        1. Butch In Waukegan

          “I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows.” — Bart Simpson

          1. David J.

            The Democratic party is like a fan: If you stand in front of it, it blows. If you stand behind it, it sucks. And if you stand right next to it, it doesn’t do a damn thing for ya.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama just happened. It will be a while before it can happen again.

      Booker is a goofier and loopy who seems like hes out to host a self help seminar. Obama had his followers, but there was a fair amount of anti-Clinton and anti-war support for him in 2008.

      Cuomo is the son of a governor. He has no charisma and has accomplished jack. If he was the Democratic governor of Wyoming despite his New York roots, that would be one thing,but he has been governor of New York and has not developed anything beyond appearing to really want to run for President.

      Sanders did best among people who receive their news from the internet which means they have unfiltered access to his past. They don’t rely on Maddow. Sanders isn’t just some guy saying nice things. He has a record much like Hillary. One has fought for women and children, and one, as Jimmy Dore put it, sounded like a female Bill O’Reilly in the 90’s.

      Going forward, candidates will not be able to hide from the past. The Clintons are gone beyond spoilers, and no Democrat holds popular power anymore. The popular figures are Sanders, not a Democrat, and Warren, a lifelong Republican.

      1. PH

        Warren has lots of flaws. Lazy. Bad staff (inability to recruit good staff is a frightening deficiency). Very narrow interests (aspects of finance) and cautious to near inert.

        But she is a fireball lefty next to the rest of them, except Bernie.

        Oh, boy.

        1. WhyPrivate?

          Really Warren a lifelong Republican? Just curious if that’s like a by upbringing kind of thing.

          I can see where there is a certain kind of narrowness to her focus. I haven’t, for example, really heard her raise her voice for single payer. Not that she wouldn’t vote for it…

        2. Swamp Yankee

          Warren doesn’t seem all that interested in those of us Bay Staters who live outside of Route 128. Haven’t heard much from her on, e.g., opioids. I wouldn’t be surprised if she loses in ’18 (cf. her weak polling from back in January). She seems to epitomize that class of what I call educational colonialists*, who come here, drive prices up and people out of their neighborhoods, and then evince indifference/quaint patronization at best, virulent contempt and patrician class/regional hatred at worst, for those of us who are actually from here.

          We see that, and we don’t like it. If I were Warren, I’d be spending more time in New Bedford and Northbridge, less time on Bill Maher.

          * This doesn’t describe everyone, of course, who come here for school. But all too many.

    5. Praedor

      Meh. What they REALLY mean is the candidate will need to say things the base wants to hear but then run hard right after being elected. Same old same old.

      I am totally done with democraps.

  3. Harold

    They look like the species Iris germanica, which blooms a little earlier than the big garden hybrids. Tough, disease resistant plants and a welcome sight in late spring.

  4. allan

    Anti-antidote: Noise pollution is invading even the most protected natural areas [Science]

    The great outdoors is becoming a lot less peaceful. Noise pollution from humans has doubled sound levels in more than half of all protected areas in the United States—from local nature reserves to national parks—and it has made some places ten times louder, according to a new study. And the cacophony isn’t just bad for animals using natural sounds to hunt and forage—it could also be detrimental to human health. …

    The excess noise can do more than just annoy park visitors. It can also undo the benefits of spending time in nature, like improved mood and memory retention. For plants and animals, the ruckus can disrupt entire communities. Some plants need silence for seed dispersal—revving cars can scare away rodents that might otherwise do the job. Animals need silence to hear predators approaching or to communicate with their mates: A bird whose song would normally travel 100 meters would, with a tenfold increase in noise, have its melody stifled to a 10-meter radius. “In so many landscapes, both people and other organisms are living in shrunken perceptual worlds,” says Clinton Francis, an ecologist at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, who was not involved in the work. …

    Where some see “shrunken perceptual worlds” others see disruptive investment opportunities.
    Like access to fresh water, silence is not a human right
    but rather a scarce commodity that needs to be price discovered.

    1. diptherio

      Worst thing about being in the wilderness is hearing a plane fly over. Who knew you could make so much noise from 30,000 feet?

    2. RUKidding

      I used to live in Australia and am lucky enough to go back for visits with my friends pretty regularly. One couple I know has retired and bought a small farm north of the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. It took me a day to figure out what was SO different: no airplanes ever flew overhead the whole 5 days I was there. I told my friends about how lucky they are – well they do call Aus the Lucky Country for a reason – and they couldn’t quite relate to my excitement… albeit they “got” it intellectually.

      It’s quite amazing how much of a difference that – to not have planes flying overhead – makes when you’re out in either rural or wilderness areas.

      1. polecat

        Yeah, but what about all that space junk whirling overhead …. satellites included ??? .. don’t they make noise ?

        1. RUKidding

          The stratosphere – or whichever sphere it is – is certainly full of a lotta stuff – satellites, space stations, what have you. Never heard any noise from ’em however. ;-)

        2. Anon

          No, they don’t make “noise” (sound). Sounds we hear on earth are vibrations transmitted through the earths atmosphere from some point of origination to your (and others) ears (sensors). There is no sound in deep space (satellite locations).

    3. Big River Bandido

      That quote rings so true with me, and I admit don’t get enough time in nature because there’s so little of it in my urban neighborhood. But why shouldn’t “citizens” (residents of cities) also have the benefit of “peace and quiet space”? Amtrak’s Quiet Car is a great idea. Too bad Amtrak doesn’t really want it and won’t enforce their own policy to make it function, but their charade is exemplary of how the mob mentality has degraded public manners and the civility of the common space, and how institutions just don’t give a rat.

      Whether you’re in an open or enclosed area, the noise level in urban public spaces is out of control, and a great contributor to antisocial behavior in those environments. The constant screams of sirens, the paranoid wailing of car alarms, and the bleating and blaring from teevees and radios plays like the soundtrack of a psychotic nightmare which deprives people of sleep and peace of mind. One siren or car alarm in my neighborhood can ruin the sleep of a thousand people in four city blocks, and the sound travels a lot farther than that. I dread trips to the grocery store, for fear of being force-fed yet another insipid, skin-crawling record by Michael Bublé or Adam Lambert.

      And is there any wonder that travelers at the major airports are stressed out? If you go to LaGuardia or JFK or O’Hare, you can hear all kinds of music in the shops and terminal corridor speakers: “four on the floor” disco, EDM, urban contemporary, and so-called “chart hits”. All at once, along with teevees and cell phones. There’s a teevee monitor for CNN mounted into the ceilings — every fifteen to twenty feet.
      Often, Wolf Blitzer’s so loud he drowns out the announcements for your flight. If only there was so much as a square meter where you could wait for a flight and hear *none* of that, other than the announcements, but there isn’t, anywhere. And if somehow you *do* manage to find such a space, you can be sure that some asshole in a pinstriped suit and penny loafers, negotiating his next deal into his cell phone, will come and take the seat next to you — or, if there’s no seat there, he’ll pace up and down by the windows so that his voice bounces off the glass and can be heard by everyone at the gate.

      Oh, and those scenarios I just described? That’s what it’s like at 5AM. The rest of the day, it’s even worse.

      Sadly, one of the most offensive weapons of noise pollution is music — an art form intended to uplift and which at its best still does — but in its common and debased form it is used (and abused) like a stimulant. It’s like music only in the way that fast food is like…food.

      All these “commercial messages” compete for eyes and ears which mostly aren’t watching, and certainly aren’t listening, although that’s not the same thing as not hearing.

      1. WhyPrivate?

        It’s a mad sonic world too, it’s true.

        I’ll think of your post next time I travel.

  5. Corbin Dallas

    AHCA passed. What a revolting group of people. Rape is considered a “pre-existing” condition to these inhuman GOP congresspeople. The only thing this might do is tip us toward single payer, but with the Ds so zombified by the Pelosi of the world, I don’t see it happening. Still, Pelosi or no Pelosi, this is *all* on the GOP. They want millions of people to go back to not being insured. So, so, so sad.

    Nice dig by the way at the “core values” of American police ;-) Not so far from the “pro-lifers” of the GOP!

    1. TK421

      this is *all* on the GOP

      Horsepuckey. If the Democrats had used their power in 2009 to pass something good, we wouldn’t be worrying about repeal.

      1. Corbin Dallas

        I agree that the Ds suck, thats what I said. But its the D fault they voted to repeal this? I mean they have ZERO power right now. What happened today has absolutely nothing to do with the Dems. But sure, keep blaming them.

        1. Matt

          I hear what you’re saying but, unfortunately, there are many Dems who genuinely don’t understand what’s so bad about Obamacare. I’ve seen more than a few of them on Twitter lament how the GOP is trying to destroy “universal healthcare.” That anyone could believe that the ACA came anywhere close to universal healthcare is astonishing. While this terrible bill that’s going to make a bad situation worse is all on the GOP, the Democrats paved the way for it when they did have power. If this bill passes, and all the Democrats got is “In 2018, when we win the elections, we’ll restore Obamacare!”, AHCA is here to stay.

        2. Pat

          Well I will, largely because they doubled down on protect the ACA rather than saying: “okay this didn’t work because we tried ‘market based’ reform designed by Republicans rather than noticing what has worked the world over and going for single payer. You want it repealed, we understand why. Despite being better for some than we had before it is still too expensive and ends up denying too many care. What we want in America is Medicare for All. Now. And any repeal that is not single payer along the lines of Medicare for All is going to be just as bad OR worse than ACA, and will ultimately cost the American people personally and as taxpayers far too much money much of which will go into the pockets of Insurance company executives whose whole reason for business is to sell you insurance you don’t use, either because you don’t need it OR because they can deny you access to the health care you are paying to be able to get.”

          1. PH

            None of the Dem candidates in GA special election put that on their campaign website.

            There are taboos that politicians and political consultants and even, some casual wingnuts running for Congress on a whim dare not say because they are convinced voters will not go along.

            I do not know if voters will go along. But the first step is to find candidates who dare to speak out for singlepayer and peace.

            1. John k

              Bernie proved progressive positions work. Problem is both current and wannabe pols know the money is on the other side, both for campaigns and later, for retirement. Only true believers will sign up.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Every…single…poll on issues, for a couple of decades, showed large majorities supported single payer healthcare – large, as in 70%. Even Republicans support it.

              There might be places where it wouldn’t fly, but not many.

        3. TK421

          its the D fault they voted to repeal this?

          The Ds passed an unpopular, unwieldy, ineffective, death-spiraling Frankenstein’s monster of a plan that few people are willing to defend, rather than a strong, effective, and popular solution like Medicare For All that the Rs wouldn’t dare touch. So yes, they bear a large share of responsibility.

          Right now my mother is reading about the repeal vote and basically planning her own funeral. Obama and his lackeys could have helped her, but they threw her to the wolves. They should burn in Hell.

          1. PKMKII

            Question is, were the votes there to pass Medicare for All in ’09-’10, even if they did nuke the filibuster? And if not, is the neoliberal Frankenstein’s monster preferable to the Mad Max situation we had before it?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              The country voted for hope and change. Obama was the greatest orator of our time. The Republicans were thoroughly discredited as a party. If Obama had led the way, no question in my mind it would have passed. Of course, he didn’t, and probably wouldn’t have, but that’s because Obama is a McClellan and not a Grant.

              1. PKMKII

                It would have had to require nuking the filibuster; no amount of bully pulpiting would have gotten Lieberman to go along with the public option, let alone Medicare for all. And yeah, Obama wouldn’t (didn’t) have done that. Man was too married to the idea of doing things the “respectful” way in DC.

                But even if he had, I’m not convinced it would have passed. I think the value of the bully pulpit move is overrated, if it has any anymore (see: Republicans yawning at Trump’s ultimatum).

                1. Pat

                  There were many things that could have been used to get Lieberman to go along, none of it bully pulpit, all of it big stick. But that would have meant that someone other Kucinich would need to be shown the light. But then Barry and Joe were besties, so much that Lieberman faced NO payback from the Dems for telling the world to vote for John McCain. They were on the same page, along with Baucus and the Emanuel brothers, and…

                  Could Medicare for All be passed? Maybe not all at once, but they certainly could have done Medikids (which because of child health issues included prenatal and obstetrics) and maybe lowered the Medicare entry age to 50 or 55. With a plan leaked on every front page in America to continue to move towards covering every America after passage. There was a route for this. But frankly the reason we got the Heritage/Dole/Romney plan as rewritten by Insurance/pharma/private medical was BECAUSE it was the Republican plan and they thought it was going to be a win/win bipartisan health reform- the legacy of a lifetime. After they figured out it was going to be all theirs they couldn’t back out. I’ve always figured they just did it to avoid the embarrassment, walked away and hoped it would work the way the Republicans had said it would despite all evidence to the contrary.

                2. Darius

                  Why do nonRepublicans keep ignoring budget reconciliation? Is this willful self-disempowerment? The bill passed today is a budget reconciliation bill. It isn’t subject to the Senate filibuster. Doesn’t mean the Senate will pass this manure pile.

                  Obama could have gotten a budget reconciliation bill loaded like a Christmas tree if he had an agenda. Most of the Democrats would have followed him anywhere in early 2009. The Republicans were afraid of him for the five minutes it took them to get his number. Even some of them may have been intimidated into voting for it the way Republicans intimidated a number of Democrats into voting for the Bush tax cuts.

                  The Republicans never got 60 senators to vote for Bush’s tax cuts. They used budget reconciliation each time. The Republicans know all this. Democrats either don’t know this or don’t want to.

                  Please people. Know basic procedure. Obama didn’t have to jump through hoops to pass a basic liberal agenda. He could have used budget reconciliation, just as the Republicans always do, and Democrats rarely do.

                  1. John k

                    Great points.
                    Dems suck, not least big o. He never ever would have supported any progressive position. Think black Romney. Or clinton.
                    He’s just as against the deplorable 47% deplorable takers as they are. And just as rep, too.

                3. marym

                  They chose not to eliminate the filibuster and not to use reconciliation (except when they needed it for a few last provisions) . They didn’t want a better bill then and they still don’t.

                4. Marina Bart

                  Don’t forget that Obama and the Democratic establishment helped Lieberman the “independent” beat the actual Democratic candidate who was to Lieberman’s left, when Connecticut rejected Lieberman in the primary.

                  They were working towards what they wanted: a situation where they could use more openly corporate sell-outs like Lieberman and Baucus as faux obstacles to make sure they had an excuse to not give citizens what they wanted and needed.

                  It wasn’t an accident, and Obama wasn’t victimized by the Republicans. He started backtracking on every single of one his campaign promises practically the second the votes came in election night. Of course, he had already privately done this. It’s just that it started being revealed at that point.

                  Citi picked his cabinet. #NeverForget

              2. polecat

                “Obama was the greatest orator of our time.”

                Oh Please ! Without a teleprompter, the great(est) orator (whose time ?) couldn’t orate his way out of a recyclable plastic bag … unless the noun ‘folks’ was interspersed every other sentence !!!

                Obama, a most grating poseur …

                1. Montanamaven

                  Thanks Polecat, I agree whole heartedly. His style was actually fairly drone like. He went up and then down in every sentence. He spoke platitudes with great force. If that is the definition of an “orator’ than, yes , he was an orator. But an “orator” can also be a “film flam man” an Elmer Gantry. But if you define an orator as someone who conveyed great ideas, he was a nothingburger.

                2. HopeLB

                  I agree. Obama is not a great orator and his insincere use “folks” vocally dripped of his disdain. (He should have used “lessers” if he wanted some real authenticity and human feeling to be projected.
                  Stoller had an article saying Obama is just a Hamiltonian. Here in 08′, standing next to Sen Casey, in front of a war memorial, Obama’s entire speech used the Founder Hamilton as a narrative device, expounding Hamiltoin’s greatness and sort of promising a return to Hamilton’s vision. I thought then,having just read a book on Jefferson and his hatred for Hamilton and the bankers, is this a dog whistle signal to the bankers?

              3. PH

                It might or might not have been possible. But it would never have occurred to O to try. Not who he was or is.

              4. wilroncanada

                Sorry Lambert, I disagree. Even from up here in the frozen north, one could spot Obama as the typically USian snake oil salesman, and looking at his limited record in both national and state offices, along with the source of his original support, would have confirmed it. In addition, if that was what the best of oratory in the US had become, bring on REAL artificial intelligence.

                Obama was elected through the showing-up of that non-aligned middle for the same reason that Trump was elected last year–The Alternative.

                Response to Lambert at 4:11. Already covered by others.

            2. Jeff W

              were the votes there to pass Medicare for All in ’09-’10, even if they did nuke the filibuster?

              Ian Welsh, whom I respect, thought there were (or at least did not rule it out).

              But that’s not the question. The question is “How much better off would we be with Medicare-for-All on the agenda even if it could not pass in 2009–2010?” If X is on the agenda, X might come to fruition at some point or it might not. If X is not on the agenda, it never does.

              And, lambert, I disagree that President Obama “is a McClellan.” McClellan presumably wanted to win the Civil War.

              1. Big River Bandido

                I think the “McClellan Democrat” metaphor is perfect. Not least because McClellan himself was a Democrat. And completely ineffective, unless of course his goal was to lose the war.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From the CNN article in the Links:

            Prior to the health reform law, consumers who have or who previously had medical issues — even if it were years earlier and completely resolved — could be denied coverage or charged much more in premiums. Obamacare remedies that by requiring insurers to cover everyone and charge them the same amount, regardless of their health history. Also, it mandates all policies cover 10 essential health benefits, including prescription drugs, hospitalization and doctors’ visits, so the sick could be assured their treatments are covered.

            “The rules under Obamacare were comprehensive,” said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

            This expansive coverage, however, comes with a high price tag. It bumps up the cost of premiums for everyone. That’s why the conservative Freedom Caucus set its sights on getting rid of these popular provisions.

            Related: Key GOP lawmakers flip on health care after Trump meeting
            Under the most recent version of the GOP repeal bill, states would be allowed to opt out of requiring insurers to cover everyone at the same price and to offer all 10 essential health benefits in all policies. This would likely lead insurers to jack up rates for those with pre-existing conditions who didn’t maintain continuous coverage and to offer skimpy plans that don’t pay for the treatments the sick need.</blockquote


            1. Is it still a plan if it doesn't offer 'doctors visits?'

            That is scary. And I have to ask, is it me not reading it correctly, or is it on the writer?

            2. It bumps up the cost of premiums for everyone…those popular provisions.

            Probably the situation is more complex. Intuitively, more costly for everyone is not often associated with being popular.

            3. jack up rates for those with pre-existing conditions who didn't maintain continuous coverage.

            Those with pre-existing conditions are today covered for those who are not paying a penalty. They are in 'continuous' coverage, are they not? And the risk is jacked up rates – that is, a money issue.

            The difference between Medicare for All, and Free Medicare for All is also a money issue.

          3. Ian

            This is a gift to the corporate democrats as it provides cover for and shifts blame to the GOP in regards to a system that was well on its way to painfully dying. The people that keep focus on single payer will be blamed even more as well for worsening the situation. A lot more revisionism is coming our way as the terrible reality that was Obama will be made out to look like Trump is the root cause of what is going on. As stated earlier, if Trump wanted to destroy the Dems all he’d have to do is let ACA be run by the Dems and let that run it’s natural course, now the GOP own it. As shown by the first commenter. Political Kabuki.

            1. Kaleckim

              I don’t buy the logic. The ACA was deeply flawed and not sustainable. How does that justify though creating a much worse program? Besides, the program being universal doesn’t matter to these right wing jackals. Social Security has been successful, near universal and popular, and yet they’ve been trying to privatize it for decades. They’ll try soon I’m sure.

              1. Pat

                Unfortunately so many of them ran for so long on repealing Obamacare, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Their voters are not as stupid as Democrats are, they recognize that the fillibuster is bull. They are doing it to save face. Really look at what they are doing they are throwing it all to the states. The STATES are going to make it all worse. And when they go to run in 2018 or 20 or 22, they can face those voters and say I wasn’t the one that decided to do X, it was the state legislature and the governor. We gave them the tools to make it better, it isn’t my/our fault if they haven’t.

                It was the only way they could figure to get out of being the ones that said that because your kid had X they could be denied insurance (forget afford it, get it at all). Or your spouse…or you. Meanwhile they let the hurry up and die or get a job or win the lottery folks vote to let that happen as well.

              2. Ian

                The Repubs need the Dems the same as the Dems need the Repubs. Back when Obama took over the Dems could have wiped out the Repubs if they had set forth in instituting even a modicum of policies that materially benefited ie. progressive policies the general populace, but they didn’t. They fundamentally betrayed their base and the people that voted them in leading to the rise of the Repubs which further hamstrung the Dems from being able to act in the interests of the general populace. Neither party has any interest in seeing the other party defeated as that continuing conflict allows for the fundamental continual betrayel of governing while behaving like a failed state and provides cover for both sides.The Dems need a boost to remain competitive and on a side note I personally think that Trump is sick of the job and wants to lose for the 2nd term. I don’t think he has the stomach to be a mass murdering war criminal like Bush or Clinton did and do.

                1. Ian

                  And betraying their bases is damn profitable for all involved. Minor addition: Bush, Clinton and Obama.

                    1. Ian

                      This is my take, come 2018 2020, ACA is still in place and unrepealed. Where would the Dems be despite whatever the Repubs did, when the actual progressives could point to a collapsed ACA with severe escalating rates, terrible deductables and terrible networks. How would the Corporate Dems survive that when it is in essence their baby? The AHCA looks like it cut out some of the most popular elements and some of the most expensive ones too, worsening it but likely reducing the rate of escalating costs and preserving the exploitative crap built into it. So yes it is noticebly worse, but it also means the Dems get cover and the core of the system put in place is saved. Now the Dems will be able to point to ACA and say we were better off while the Repubs delay the death spiral and both sides strangle the progressives. Please correct me if I am wrong as I willingly admit, I rarely feel qualified too comment on this site and am always open to more complete perspectives.

          4. David Carl Grimes

            Why repeal Obamacare? Why not let it die a natural death? If there aren’t enough healthy people to subsidize the sick, then Obamacare will enter (or maybe has already entered) a death spiral. If it does, then the Democrats, Obama in particular, own that failure. Or does Trump need this win politically?

            1. polecat

              I and mine did our best to hasten the demise of the ACA by giving it the one fingered salute this year ( by not paying into the extortionate individual mandate) !!

              .. and if the corrupt Senate, and by extension Pres. Orange Meteor, bring about a crapified version of a crapified deathcare law, we will turn our backs on that as well !

        4. Byron the Light Bulb

          Corbin, if you hadn’t noticed folks around here are believers in the neo-chekist Protocols of Incumbent Democrats. Peace and blessings be upon St. Bernard, may his long list of legislative victories let us celebrate next year in Vermont. Amen.

        5. jrs

          and probably wouldn’t even happen if Hillary was president. Look I’m in Cali, I vote however I feel in the irrelevant general, but that is the reality. We’d be stuck with the ACA which isn’t great but …

          True we might have single payer in a decade or so (possibly) as they may be pushing blowback as this is a bridge to far in a way the ACA wasn’t quite. But the mean time is a mean time indeed – so mostly try not to die before then, even if you think you have health insurance now, because you may not soon enough.

          1. Marina Bart

            The ACA is dying anyway, it wouldn’t last ten years no matter what. It’s doing very little good as it is right now, and it’s doing it by handing huge amounts of grifter cash to the insurance industry, while setting a pretty creepy precedent about forcing citizens to give private companies money without getting anything back in return.

            And we’d be openly at war, right now, on the Russian Front, if Hillary had won. We’d be in an open shooting war in Syria, with the New York Times screaming about how it’s a fight for freedom and babies — even more than it already is. TPP would be the law of the land, which means the law of the global corporate ruling empire.

            Even if the Senate passes AHCA — which would hurt my family, I think (haven’t checked the details, but we’re vulnerable in couple of different ways) — I have no regrets about Hillary losing. None. She’s have the privatization of Social Security fast-tracked, too. I’m not sure the Freedom Caucus would have saved us again. She didn’t have Obama’s financial need to hide his venality while in office. She’s already been paid for what she was supposed to do.

            1. Adamski

              Bernie 2020. The beach house the Clintonians complain about can be his Winter White House, he can rename it Mar-A-Barto.

            2. jrs

              Dying maybe, so said the Aetna CEO but they are kind of biased and have withdrawn from the ACA. Or really they have some kind of expertise, such as it is, but also their own interest etc. going on there.

              I never bought we would be at war with Russia. Where the Trump administration will score in warlike-ness in general is a question for which we don’t have enough information to answer yet.

              Whether TPP comes back in some other form is a question for which we don’t have enough information to answer yet, the European one (TTIP) does not seem completely dead yet. One can say it’s a reprieve, but if this breather doesn’t even last a couple of years before one of these trade agreements is forced on us (Congress does still have Fast Track), it’s hard to say it was one at all frankly.

              AHCA can harm family members here too, in the long run if they need expanded Medicaid and it isn’t there. Since they still are able to afford ACA plans at present, as for changes to ACA plans like pre-existing conditions, I think blue states are going to block a lot of this stuff in their states (that’s not a certainty but I think it’s highly probable). So if it’s left up to the states, I think those living in deep blue states might avoid much of the purely insurance based changes. Red states are going to be ENTIRELY 3rd world by the time Republicans are done with them.

        6. NotTimothyGeithner

          Given Hillary and Bill’s political record and high negatives, yes, the people who put up those grifters are part of the problem.

          The people who ignored the lessons of previous policy attempts, including the warnings of the architect of social security about means tested unwieldy bureaucracies, are part of the problem.

          They are capable of knowing better and chose not to. They are not part of the solution going forward. Worrying about Obama’s legacy is a waste of time. People need to be honest about what ACA is and what its limitation are and why people were lied to {and they were lied to.} If you don’t $500, you don’t have insurance. This is most households. Jim Messina is currently collecting donations for his friend’s medical bills.

          1. PH

            Agree we need to look forward.

            And not count on reality to suddenly enlighten the public. Lies are often told and often effective. Doubly effective when you offer the public a scapegost it wants to hate.

            We need a positive message, and new serious messengers. If we can find any.

        7. Praedor

          I no longer buy into the “we don’t control the House/Senate so we can’t do anything” spiel. Here’s the reality:

          When the Dems are in control, the GOP runs the agenda (and the Democraps whine about how obstructionist the GOP is).

          When the Dems are in the minority, the GOP runs the agenda (and the Democraps whine about how they aren’t in control).

          Every time. They only logical conclusion is IT’S A SCAM. The Democraps are scammers. They LIKE what the GOP is doing and what they do because they NEVER EVER really resist (they don’t want to be “obstructionists”…the horror!).

      2. Vatch

        If the Democrats had used their power in 2009 to pass something good, we wouldn’t be worrying about repeal.

        Even if the Democrats had passed something good in 2009 or 2010, instead of The Thing that they did pass, the Republicans would still be trying to repeal it. They would probably claim that is costs too much or that it is socialism, so it must be repealed.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          These things aren’t static. If the Democrats had passed Medicare for All in 2009, they win in 2010 (holding onto the Senate), and win the Presidency in 2012 and 2016, as people claim the universal direct material benefit.

          1. Vatch

            What you say is quite possible. But we’ll never know; it’s also possible that the Republicans would have won the Presidency in 2012, because Medicare for All would have proved that Obama is a socialist. We underestimate the power of big money in politics at our peril. People frequently vote against their interests, and many people simply don’t vote, which is also against their interests.

            1. Vatch

              Clarification: When I said “Medicare for All would have proved that Obama is a socialist”, I meant that this is what Republicans would have claimed, and many people would have believed them. I did not mean that he really would have been a socialist.

              1. Jeff W

                “…it’s also possible that the Republicans would have won the Presidency in 2012, because Medicare for All would have proved that Obama is a socialist.”

                That’s possible but far more unlikely. Given the reality of Medicare-for-All, people would adjust their view of what “socialist” meant—either Medicare-for-All is not that or, if it is, then “socialist” is not so bad. Opponents of Social Security and Medicare similarly vilified those programs as “socialism”—no one cared.

                1. Darius

                  See Marina Bart’s post from yesterday. If Obama had implemented an actual full employment policy, the Democrats would have been the dominant political force for a generation.

                2. Vatch

                  @Jeff W:

                  Opponents of Social Security and Medicare similarly vilified those programs as “socialism”—no one cared.

                  Actually, a lot of people did and do care, unfortunately. Try changing the mind of a person who believes that Social Security will be bankrupt 20 years from now. Social Security began very slowly, and Medicare initially only affected a relatively small portion of the population.

                  I don’t disagree with you; I’ve asked my Representative to co-sponsor HR676, I voted for and donated to Sanders, etc.


                  If Obama had implemented an actual full employment policy, the Democrats would have been the dominant political force for a generation.

                  How would he have done that? Republicans and a lot of Democrats are adamantly opposed to such policies. You’re not wrong, but the possibility of enacting something like that is quite remote.

                  You want real change? Support some of these people, and we might get genuine change in 2018, 2020, or later:


                  1. HopeLB

                    He could have gotten full employment done by putting all of the big betting banks into receivership, using a bailout to start a Fed Peoples Postal Bank (or 50 separate state owned banks) that remortgaged homes in foreclosure and jump started the economy with infrastructure and a green energy manhattan-like project. The entire nation was infuriated at the banksters and ready for a big change. Pam and Russ Martens estimate the actual bailout to have been 16 trillion.

                  2. Darius

                    Parties presiding over broad based prosperity tend to succeed. Parties that preside over stagnation, like the Democrats tend to lose.

          2. John k

            And Clinton would have run on the very popular uni Medicare that reps might have been stupid enough to promise to kill… no matter in her heart she hates it… because plus the spending would have softened the recession.

        2. Jeff W

          I agree with lambert.

          And the entire frame of the debate changes, besides. Everyone in the US can (presumably) go to the doctor or the hospital without worrying about co-pays, co-insurance, co-deductibles. No one’s dealing with what’s in-network or out-of-network. No one has to fight with the insurance company about insurance claims or even be concerned that his or her insurance premium is paid on time. No one is going bankrupt because of medical bills. The Republicans are stuck with arguing that whatever system they’re proposing is somehow better than that.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Medicare has ” co-pays, co-insurance, co-deductibles.” The co-insurance can be quite substantial – I wound up paying an unexpected $1500 when I had surgery. The hospital had not predicted that. Granted, that was cheap surgery; but a lot of people would have been in deep trouble faced with that expense. It didn’t improve our situation any, either.

            Hence the call for IMPROVED Medicare for All.

        3. Big River Bandido

          Programs that are truly universal are politically impervious because when everyone gains from the program, the constituency to defend the program mobilizes very naturally.

          ACA is a political sitting duck for two primary reasons: it benefits only *some* people, naturally alienating everyone else; and it’s designed not to deliver health care to people who need it, but to deliver health care customers to the insurance companies. That’s a much harder thing to defend. In my view, not worth defending at all — partly because its very presence tamps down the obvious appeal of the better solution, Medicare For All.

        4. Praedor

          It would be politically impossible to repeal single-payer once it’s passed. EVERYONE having healthcare would scream bloody murder (and literally commit justified bloody murder) if the GOP tried to take healthcare away from so many people. Howls of outrage.

          It would be pitchfork and rope time for politicians.

    2. RUKidding

      I fear that we are so screwed.

      One thing that *might* awaken some people is that this stinking sh*tpile of horse manure is going to eff up employer health care plans, as well.

      So some of the latte liberal and entitled conservative upper classes might get a taste of their own medicine. We’ll see how much they like it.

      I fear that it will take the entitled professional class to raise a huge stink before anything is done to make things better. I fear that even that may not be enough.

      1. Jess

        Not sure if it will, but can’t wait to see the howls from my neoliberal Hollywood friends if the AHCA passes the Senate and then blows up portions of the employer-provided guild health plans for the DGA, WGA, SAG, etc.

        1. polecat

          Hollywood. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of hypocrites !

          I would add to the rolls EVERY government employee, all across the board … Fed, State, County, and Local… every … single … one !
          See how fast we’d get to single payer/medicare-for-all then !!!

          1. crittermom

            “I would add to the rolls EVERY government employee, all across the board … Fed, State, County, and Local… every … single … one !
            See how fast we’d get to single payer/medicare-for-all then !!!”

  6. Alex Morfesis

    Bezzle fake uber fake-ish news drug dealers…wow…one whole year and one kilo and six people…

    ummm…from gypsy cabs to black cars until(&maybe still) $ 1500 green medallions…this has been par for the course for a couple of decades…black cars with no passengers cruising up and down broadway, st nicholas and amsterdam avenue and all buying gas from that same overpriced gas station for some reason…just bad judgment…but those vigilant Mounties will catch Boris and natasha on Riverdale ave one of these days…gah rone teed…

    1. Huey Long

      The DEA Strike Force, made up of federal, state and local agencies, investigated the case.

      Apparently they had a whole team of feds, state police, and city cops working on this too!

      I noticed the guys they busted were up in the Bronx. Why is it the drug dealers in poor minority neighborhoods always have the cops on their butts, but the dealers peddling coke to PE guys and NYU students never seem to get busted…

      1. alex morfesis

        its easier to keep your conviction numbers looking good if you muscle up on targets…oops…sorry…criminals who can’t afford a solidly connected attorney and does not have friends and family who can raise money when you “freeze” the “bad guys” assets…or it could just be coincidence…besides…you are probably guaranteed not to know any of the customers/victims if you are not from where you pounce, follow and arrest…

  7. Pat

    Once again foreign policy turns out to be Sanders true Achilles Heel. I’m never happy with politicians who fail to recognize that the true foreign influence in our policy is Israel and that they have not been honest players in the Middle Eastern mess for a very long time.

    And condemning BDS is pretty much attacking an American freedom of expression which says I can vote with my pocketbook. Just as it is every neoliberals right to boycott any product produced or marketed by the Trump family and attempt to demand anything they invest in either by choice or as a group also not support those businesses, it is the right of any American to control what their money is spent on and how their investments are made.

    And considering that Israel recently passed laws essentially seizing Palestinian lands they allowed their citizens to illegally settle on… well I’m sure they would just say I’m not seeing the side of the squatters.

    1. Quentin

      When it comes to Israel, forget it! The US is locked in a suicide pact. Sanders and Warren are deeply complicit in the plot.

    2. Jim Haygood

      We are united in our desire to see the United Nations improve its treatment of Israel and to eliminate anti-Semitism.

      Well, there they go again: resorting to the sleazy old wheeze of conflating any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

      Criticizing Israel’s illegal occupation, colonization and annexation of Arab lands — a process which “celebrates” its 50th anniversary next month — has zero to do with the religion or ethnicity of the offenders.

      Parrying every criticism with the stock rejoinder “But you’re prejudiced against us” is a kind of adolescent refusal to engage, from the little country that never grew up. No wonder US Kongress Klowns see a mirror of themselves in Israel’s exorbitant privilege.

      1. Carolinian

        Not to mention our UN Klown. Nikki thinks she’s some day going to be the first Southern belle/ethnic background president.

      2. wilroncanada

        Jim Haywood
        …from the little country that never grew up
        Plagiarized from the little country, grown to big country, that never grew up.

        1. Huey Long

          I guess they’re “paying it forward” to the Palestinians so they can guilt trip the world into Palestinian-zionism 2000 years from now.

          Those Palestinians are ingrates I tell ya!

  8. Huey Long

    RE: Famously Free Press

    “Facebook enters war against psy-ops and fake news, acknowledges election hijinks” [Ars Technica]. OK, if state-sponsored psy-ops in the news-flow need to be eradicated, does that include the Bush administration’s WMDs operation?

    Speaking of USG psy-ops, does this include the modern day equivalent of the CIA’s Mockingbird program, run by one of our 16 or 17 intel agencies?

    I mean CIA has come out and said that they’re no longer in the business of buying domestic journalists for propaganda propagation purposes, but that doesn’t mean that this function hasn’t been transferred to NSA or DIA since we peasants are prohibited from knowing exactly what these agencies are up too.

      1. hunkerdown

        The Global Engagement Center services Ignatius’ account now, perhaps. #ProduceTheNote

    1. clarky90

      Re, not merely Fake News, but rather precisely targeted Psychological Operations News! I noticed correlations in my “Google News” yesterday. They know much of what I “believe in” (probably from my search history).

      I am gluten free (for 40 years now), and yesterday I get a link to a Harvard Study (by Scientists) showing that avoiding gluten increases my chance of heart disease. I fast intermittently and I get a link to a study showing that intermittent fasting is not effective as a weight loss regime (I IF for other reasons than weight loss, ha ha google, FAIL). I supported Trump, so I get links to articles about what a “Useless sack of shite” Trump, all of his family and anybody remotely associated with him, are. Never positive or neutral. Also, I am statin-free, and they sent me links to a “study” showing that the avoidance of statins is silly tin-foilish behavior.

      It is unremitting. I have ignored, rather than noticed, this til now. I habitually look at google news first thing in the morning, to see about local earthquakes, weather events, gossip etc. Yesterday it finally occurred to me (I grokked) that they were targeting my core belief system! Bastards!

      I know they can do this with adds. I was looking for car tires, and now every other web page I open has car tire adds etc…..

      1. clarky90

        It just occurred to me. This is Industrial-strength, i-Gaslighting.

        “Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and de-legitimize the target’s beliefs”


        1. JerseyJeffersonian


          I have shifted all of my search activities to DuckDuckGo, fundamentally for the same reasons as you are lamenting. DDG doesn’t follow you all over the Internet with ads (or worse, personally tailored “information operations”). And generally, they produce pretty good search results.

          Now, if I visit a commercial site, then I get stalked, but at least the stalking is related to my own interests and tastes, not some effort to fuck with me through gaslighting.

          1. clarky90

            Thanks JJ. I just added DDG as an extension to Chrome and will use it exclusively.

  9. Vatch

    “H-1B limits is ‘stupidest policy in the entire American political system,’ says Google’s Schmidt” [CNBC]. Wowsers. Really?

    Just today, in the Links section, there is a link to an article about Private Equity magnates who are sad because they think that people don’t understand them. Now this from fellow gazillionaire Eric Schmidt. How on Earth do such clueless people manage to become rich?

    1. RUKidding

      How on Earth do such clueless people manage to become rich?

      Because they’re not clueless about everything. And they’re socio/psychopaths who are utterly ruthless otherwise.

      It does tend to blow my mind that they appear to “care” that others may intensely dislike them for their rapacious greedy villainy. That part is weird.

      1. Huey Long

        It does tend to blow my mind that they appear to “care” that others may intensely dislike them for their rapacious greedy villainy. That part is weird.

        I think they know on some level that public opinion matters and that the docility of the American public depends largely on the American public perceiving themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” as Steinbeck put it.

        I think they fear the day when squillionaires are no longer held in high regard because then they might get the Ceaușescu treatment by and angry mob someday.

        1. Mark P.

          ‘It does tend to blow my mind that they appear to “care” that others may intensely dislike them for their rapacious greedy villainy. That part is weird.’

          Not necessarily. In real life, there’s more of a diagnostic blur/crossover between intense narcissism and being a sociopath than the textbook psychiatric definitions presuppose.

      2. Vatch

        I suppose that some of the ones who claim to care what other people think about them are narcissists. And ultra rich people tend to be surrounded by sycophants. That’s gotta warp their sense of reality.

  10. Alex Morfesis

    That tim cook is so generous…giving back one whole week of profits back to america…oops…did I say giving…investing 1 whole week of profits back in america…because apple could have used the infrastructure and human capital in germany or the uk or even china to build itself…he owes America nothing…

  11. Huey Long

    RE: Israel “Mistreatment”

    Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker etc sign letter criticizing UN’s “mistreatment” of Israel, condemning #BDS. #FreePalestine

    While I expect this sort of thing out of Booker and Warren, I’m very disappointed in Bernie. The brutality of the Israeli regime makes the governments of apartheid-era South Africa and post-UDI Rhodesia look angelic by comparison.

    1. RUKidding

      This is nothing new for Sanders, nor for Warren or Booker.

      It’s one of the reasons I’ve always had reservations about Sanders. That said, given the execrable crop of losers we had to choose from last year, clearly Sanders was the pick of the litter by a long shot.

      Too bad the DNC made damn good and sure that Sanders never stood a chance, but let’s all praise Clinton because…

    2. John k

      It is disappointing. But maybe Bernie’s domestic agenda fill his plate. He’s already taking on pharma, insurance, banks, 1%, MSM, dem elites, Clinton, fossil… maybe doesn’t need Israel, Saudi, CIA, MIC, too. That’s a rough bunch… Wouldn’t do progressives any good if he had an accident.

  12. giantsquid

    The letter Sanders signed asks that the U.N. eliminate or reform its standing committees that “serve no purpose other than to attack Israel or inspire the anti-Israel boycott, sanctions, and divestment (BDS) movement”. Is that a condemnation of the BDS movement?

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Near enough to reinforce my deep misgivings about Sanders’ foreign policy savvy. Playing footsie with the professional Zionists is not at all commendable to me. Sorta like playing footsie with corporate Democrats. All that happens is that they get something from you while all the while plotting how to shiv you. It is not sufficient merely to “Know thy Enemy”; you must know who is the Enemy of Your Blood, and act accordingly, and consistently.

    2. UserFriendly

      I agree it doesn’t look good, but I don’t see why he would have put Zogby and West on the platform committee if he was anti BDS. I feel like there is more to this we aren’t hearing.

  13. JTMcPhee

    And repeal the hairball known as Obamacare and replace it with Even Worse, in three, two, one…

    Horse trading? Horseshoe!t.

  14. Huey Long

    “The Wrongest Profession” [Dean Baker, The Baffler]. “Even the great progress for the world’s poor touted in the famous “elephant graph” turns out to be largely illusory. If China is removed from the sample, the performance of the rest of the developing world since 1988 looks rather mediocre. While the pain of working people in wealthy countries is acute, they are not alone. Outside of China, people in the developing world have little to show for the economic growth of the last three and a half decades. As for China itself, the gains of its huge population are real, but the country certainly did not follow Washington’s model of deficit-slashing, bubble-driven policies for developing countries.” I’m picking out the quote on the “elephant graph,” but it’s all very good. Fun stuff!@

    The mediocre performance of developing economies is feature, not a bug. Leaders of developing countries who don’t toe the neoliberal line generally fall victims to coups, color revolutions, intel agency dirty tricks, and even full blown invasions.

    Just ask Saddam, Ghadaffi, Alende, Sankara, Lumumba, Noreaga, Milosevic, Bishop, Aguilera, etc.

  15. Huey Long

    “Google’s Getting Students Into US History With VR — And Free “Hamilton” Tickets” [BuzzFeed]. “The six-week #EduHam course brings American Revolution–themed studies to life as a part of students’ regular history classes using curriculum developed by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.” More “participatory and immersive experiences.”

    As a history major, this absolutely disgusts me. Far too much time is already spent in the K-12 system studying the damned revolution every year, along with the civil war and the pilgrims. We don’t need VR and tickets to a broadway propaganda show, we need a history curriculum with more Zinn and less ‘Murica-eff-yeah Bernays Sauce.

    1. RMO

      “Google’s Getting Students Into US History With VR — And Free “Hamilton” Tickets”

      Hamilton tickets?!? That’s like making Amadeus and Lisztomania major parts of a serious music history course.

  16. stillfeelintheberninwi

    Here is some good news. The word is out, we have an excellent independent candidate to run for governor in Wisconsin. Mike McCabe.



    Here is 33 minute video of Mike. I encourage you to watch it. He really has the pulse of Wisconsin and I think the nation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJTN_BFNea0&ab_channel=Wis.community

    This entry is a game changer. Mike is Wisconsin’s Bernie Sanders. We have a non-partisan candidate who can run circles around the current Republican administration. I know many in the Dem party will support him. Some won’t and will throw daggers, but they don’t have the power of the people. Mike has broad support with grassroots people. He is the read deal.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > We have a non-partisan candidate who can run circles around the current Republican administration.

      How does he get ballot access? (I don’t know WI election rukes, at all.)

      1. stillfeelintheberninwi

        He can chose the party he will run under when he takes out his nomination papers which I think will be due in April 2018. Lots of time to decide how to do that. That choice alone will be interesting.

        There is a contested race for the chair of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin. Major challenger is a Bernie supporter. He was a Bernie delegate. The current chair was a Hillary delegate. That came after she said she would vote for whoever won the primary. Bernie won the primary. Lots of bad feelings about that switch.

        State Republicans are busy saying the Dems are in disarray. They even have a website with that name. It will all be interesting.

    2. Eleanor Rigby

      Thank you for bringing Mike McCabe to my attention! His talk is terrific. I have connections to Wisconsin and am going to find out how I can help. We need new voices.

  17. Huey Long

    “Coastal liberals often paint rural voters in broad strokes, but the truth is there are large groups of socially aware and intelligent young people living in forgotten rural areas all over the country” [Vice]. And they can’t all move to Brooklyn and become artisanal pickle makers. Or sell blood to Peter Thiel. Well worth a read.

    I’m friends with plenty of the often maligned “artisanal pickle maker” types who populate northern Brooklyn and I’ll say this about them; they’re socially aware, generally from flyover, and they arrived here that way. They didn’t have a Saul of Tarsus conversion the minute they stepped off the greyhound at the port authority bus terminal.

    They also have lots of friends just like them who visit them here in Brooklyn, but can’t/won’t move here for a variety of reasons.

    Furthermore, most of the pickle-maker types I know aspire to make pickles someday; at the moment they’re working in the gig economy, walking dogs, and doing other crappy jobs just to scrape by. None of them have health insurance either.

    1. PKMKII

      That is the fundamental flaw in the “coastal urban dwellers don’t understand flyover country” meme. A lot of us grew up there, understand it perfectly well, and got out for good reasons.

        1. PKMKII

          You don’t live someplace for ~20 years without gaining an understanding of the place. Just because it leaves you with a negative impression, doesn’t make it illegitimate.

          1. Kurtismayfield

            As a teenager I grew up in what I thought the rest of the US was like. Boy was I wrong. Being a teenager in any place doesn’t necessarily endow one with wisdom.

            1. Anon

              Teenagers aren’t experienced enough to have gained wisdom. That takes time and travel.

      1. stillfeelintheberninwi

        There are plenty of good people still living there. Lots of very decent people who like the out of doors and want less traffic, pollution and a slower pace. Who also are very progressive/educated and don’t buy the “expert/cultural elite” BS of the coastals. We are not a monolith.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Let’s not forget that much of the coasts is also very rural – Oregon, for instance, one of the less urbanized states, but also one of the most progressive.

      2. IowanX

        Agree completely. And visits home to see family reinforce the decision to leave. Not that there’s not a lot of good progressive people all over the red states–there are, and I’ve met a lot of them. Elections are funny–we see a 57%-43% election in a red state, and call it a “wipe-out–never asking who those 43% are, or why turnout in off-year elections are well under 50% (actually about 35% in 2014, according to Fairvote.org.)

        Howard Dean was right, a 50 State solution is required, and there are Citizens in the states willing to do it. There are also D Party minders paid to discourage success, as we know. Lambert is right, the election has been truly clarifying. I’m totally confident Tom Perez is the guy to reinvigorate the 50 state solution./s/

        I’m actually more heartened by the recent posts here: This IS the right kind of discussion to have!

      3. polecat

        I live in ‘western flyover country’ … as in west of the greater ‘Left Coast’ Seattle metropolis. In our little town** the unemployment rate is 4 to 5 digits HIGHER than King County, and much of the state. As an added plus … NOT ! … we have a pretty serious heroin epidemic happening now, as in many other depressed areas of the country! It’s be coming sooo bad that parents here will not let their children play in, at least some of the city parks, for fear of getting stuck by a junkie’s used needle … Add in the trifecta of City, County, and Port Authority officials in various forms of collusion with each other and the local good ol’ boys-n-gals in local ‘bidness’ legacies, then everything is hunky dory …. if your not a tax donkey !

        Hint** … we are Victoria’s ‘fair-haired’ step-child, geographically speaking.

          1. wilroncanada

            Hello Port Angeles. My wife has a cousin in Sequim. You may pay enough attention to Victoria and Vancouver Island news to know about the fentanyl crisis her in “Supernatural BC” too. It is supposed to be, along with Vancouver, the most prosperous part of the country, in addition to the Greater Toronto area. Just shows what “fake news” prosperity really is in much of the first world.

    2. different clue

      There is nothing inherently wrong with artisan pickle makers if they actually get some artisanal pickles made and sold. If they can sell artisanal pickles at an artisanal price to artisanal pickle eaters, they can turn around and pay an artisanal organic price to organic artisanal cucumber growers. The organic artisanal cucumbers growers can use the money thereby earned to buy artisanal soil supplements and ammendments and artisanal organic plant foods. The people selling those organitisanal inputs can then turn around and buy shinola stuff instead of shit-stuff in their own lives. The money-as-medium-of-exchange can be kept flowing in circulateral currents while mediating and permitting the flow of organic artisanal goods and services in circulateral counter-currents.

      Well . . . it can work if enough people are ready to pay a shinola price for shinola pickles to make it work to the extent of supporting little local micro-economies scattered in various places. And keep the artisanal pickle makers surviving until Middle America decides that It Too deserves an artisanal pickle, if it is ready to pay the price.

      Is it a pure joke? Nothing but a joke? Maybe not. Here is a local bussiness making artisanal sauerkrauts and other artisanal fermented foods. They buy shinola vegetables from shinola farmers to make their shinola fermentafood. The fermentables cost a shinola price. If these artisans are paying a shinola price to the shinola farmers for the shinola vegetables, then they are making a start toward growing a little counter-mainstream shinolaconomy here in College Townville.


  18. marym

    Senate won’t vote on House-passed healthcare bill

    Senate Republicans said Thursday they won’t vote on the House-passed bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, but will write their own legislation instead.

    “The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

    1. Huey Long


      Looks like the house GOPers got to throw their base a little red meat while Chucky and the gang will be afforded the opportunity to ride in on a white horse to save Obamacare for the poor unfortunate proles.

      Now that’s what I call reaching across the aisle.

      1. jrs

        or alternately: crazies in the House push even more people to favoring Single Payer for no political gain (no gain for them that is if they can’t get something through the Senate).

        Wait who said these people were smart? Unless they can actually get legislation passed (their horrible legislation) they aren’t just losing the short game in politics but the long game too. Oh well maybe they are at least personally getting rich for making their party and it’s positions even more unpopular?

      2. marym

        Yes, House GOP has finally given Obamacare something to be less evil than. Sigh.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Obamacare will always be honored for being there first.

          The pioneer, the first to scale a certain neoliberal summit, the first trillionaire…things like that.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Mitch McConnell is the guy to watch, not “Upchuck” Schumer. McConnell is the architect who gave Republicans control of all three branches of government (massive resistance to the Obama administration; Merrick Garland, etc.) And he doesn’t want to get rid of the filibuster, so there is considerable horse-trading yet to be done. Also, his wife is in charge of the DOT, so infrastructure ka-ching in the normal course of events, even if Trump doesn’t come up with an actual infrastructure bill. And with the enormous amound of cr*p being hurled about in every direction, McConnell has somehow managed to stay clean.

      I trust McConnell on policy about as far as I can throw a concert grand piano, but the AHCA/ACA story is far from over.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        McConnell should be a Chinese emperor.

        The Son of Heaven is always clean.

      2. Mark P.

        Mitch McConnell is the guy to watch … the architect who gave Republicans control of all three branches of government

        I knew McConnell couldn’t be merely a pretty face.

      3. PH

        McConnell is willing to maintain road spending – and go to some lengths to do so – against the wishes of T party to turn it all over to the states.

        But no one in Repub caucus is pushing for big investment in water infrastructure and mass transit that would get people to work on a new scale. So Mitch is not for that either.

  19. roxy

    “Stars turn out for Planned Parenthood gala honoring Clinton” [AP]. “she shared her new motto: “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.” Eruct.

      1. Ivy

        Rictus, another word applicable to HRHillaryness. Can’t someone take her aside and tell her it really is, finally, mercifully, over? A dirty job, but somebody has to do it. How about Epstein, as he knows his way around such topics?

    1. polecat

      What is it with Clinton, the DNC and these ‘rap’ like rhyming word stringers ?!!

      it all comes across as amateurish, unserious, and, well, ineffective ..

      1. fajensen

        Some focus group told her that, “that Negro Music is really popular” and she would appeal more to voters by sounding more like the Coloured Folks on MTV.

        To someone without a clue, any idea is a good one, so there it is.

    2. Jen

      Enlist? Like in the army?

      And has no one introduced her to the rhetorical power of tricolons?

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “The Zogby Poll: Trump overall approval down, but up among Hispanics” [Zogby Analytics].

    That doesn’t seem intuitive at first glance.

    “What do I do for encore? A bigger wall?”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m completely speculating, but perhaps “undocumented immigrants” are not 100% popular with documented immigrants. Could depend on/interact with different subsets of “Hispanics,” because unbelievable from an identity politics, all Spanish speakers from Latin and South America are not a homogenous mass.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        Too often, it helps with identify politics to lump them into one monolithic block.

      2. Art Eclectic

        Nobody wants competition from lower wage workers. Programmers making $150k don’t want competition from HB1 visa imports making $80k. Fifty year old senior managers don’t want competition from thirty year olds who earn significantly less. Male workers don’t want competition from female workers who will work for less.

        When resources tighten, people begin to protect their turf more vigorously. Wallholes think that if we only put in a moat and a big gate that’ll stop the hemorrhaging of jobs and wage declines. They don’t realize that the call is coming from inside the house.

      3. timotheus

        The native-born Hispanics around me can be quite reactionary, and some were enthusiastic about Trump from the beginning precisely because he was going to get rid of the unwanted Mexicans and Central Americans. As were some Irish-Americans who seem to have forgotten how great-grandpa was treated. A minority, to be sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that were the explanation for the uptick.

        1. Marina Bart

          Isn’t it possible that a lot of this is that they’re watching him be castrated and think, “So now we’ve got a figurehead instead of woman who likes to overthrow governments and assassinate indigenous leaders? It’s a win!”

          I mean, I do think a lot of it derives from this over-simplified understanding of how cultural, ethnic and biological identity interacts with economic self-interest. But even if you are a recent immigrant and you’re looking at what Trump is doing now versus Hillary’s track record in the Americans, wouldn’t you be relieved?

        2. jrs

          That is true for some. But it might be that the worst they feared from Trump (and why shouldn’t they based on how he campaigned) did not come to pass (whereas sadly the worst many of us feared on NON-identity based issues is either already underway or in progress). Ok I couldn’t say that if his ratings went from 80% approval to 90% approval but the actual figures were:

          The biggest surprise in this new poll is Trump’s approval among Hispanic voters, which is at 45% approval/51% disapproval. In February the numbers were less among Hispanics at 39% approval/53% disapproval.

          compared to general population:
          Since our last poll of likely voters in February, his numbers have decreased from 48% approval to 43% approval in May.

  21. allan

    More good news: Jon Ossoff and his DCCC handlers decide to campaign against government waste and budget deficits. Also too “prioritize high-tech and bio-tech”. It’s a miracle that he didn’t say “bro-tech”.

    He is so awful that I’m thinking of sending Karen Handel a few bucks.
    Because you can’t heighten the contradiction omelette without breaking a few neoliberal eggs.

    1. Big River Bandido

      +1 for the metaphor. Even if you did paraphrase an ad for mayonnaise, it’s the perfect description.

    2. Marina Bart

      If I didn’t have more urgent need of my funds, I’d send her a few.

      It’s important that Ossoff lose, for the left to have a chance of winning in the near future.

  22. cm

    wrt “Programming as a Way of Thinking” the article is not actually from Scientific American, but rather some bozo’s blog that SA hosts. SA is really diluting their brand by doing this sort of nonsense.

    The article is stupid, and slashdot had a go at debunking it. FORTRAN is executable…

    1. JustAnObserver

      Yeah and using Python, an interpreted language, vs. Fortran, a compiled one, as the example just highlights the ignorance.

  23. Jess

    “I Googled “”Travis Kalanick’ Modigliani” but no such luck…”

    Good one.

  24. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    That tweet storm by Hell Frasier rings 100% true from my end.

    As a former fellow New Orleans Bartender (Shout to my Mr Bs and Saenger Peeps in the French Quarter), I witnessed countless horror stories.

    From the waitress who lived out of a motel 45 mins away addicted to Opiates to the 45 y/o waiter with a leg infection. He had to work to save up for the 5K$ deductible. On his infected leg. And the company wasn’t interested in my idea for a fundraiser either.

    To the bartender and waitress who were both forced to go when their tenures got too long by cutting their hours below 32 hours a week, thus insuring Employer sponsored coverage.

    Restaurant employees are on the bottom of the barrel, especially in service-oriented economies like New Orleans where it’s as high as 40% of all employees.

    I always had this dream of starting a bartenders union in the French Quarter. Can you imagine what we could have accomplished had we shut down the flow of liquor on Bourbon St….

    1. Jim Haygood

      Always look for the pecuniary angle:

      Clinton, who will also return to the speakers’ circuit …

      Chelsea can be hired at a six-figure salary for the PAC staff. Maybe hubby Marc, too, since his hedge fund blew up.

      Grifters gotta grift …

      1. Big River Bandido

        I can’t see why Goldman Sachs would be interested in having her as a speaker, seeing as she’s not in a position to do their bidding.

          1. Pat

            Well then Clinton will.just have to eat the loss, it isn’t as if she can sue. She’s​ just another redundant consultant, whose real hold on them of future power to help.or hinder no longer exists. (And yes, I do believe that is typical vampire squid treatment of vendors, suppliers, workers etc who are not in the position to legally force them to fulfill their agreements.)

    2. different clue

      Well . . . this just makes it easier to spot the Clintonites. Any Democratic officeseeker who accepts help from this ClintoPAC has spotlighted itself as the enemy, and can be primaried, Nadered, kamikazaed, etc. until its career in politics is destroyed.

      And the OurRevolutionaries and Bitter Berners can just keep going from Clintonite to Clintonite destroying each one in turn until there are no Clintonites left.

      And did I mention that the formation of this PAC makes it even easier to spot the Clintonite? The Clintonite is the one who accepts support or even any interaction at all with this PAC.

  25. barrisj

    Honestly, to the “Freedom Caucus” and their brethren in the House, being born should also qualify as a “pre-existing condition”.

    1. Art Eclectic

      Basically it does. The only thing they’re interested in is getting a fetus out of the womb. Anything beyond that is off the table.

      1. jrs

        well maybe get the fetus out of the womb, but healthcare doesn’t need to cover pregnancy or anything, so eh fetus out of the womb if mother and child survive and if not oh well can’t be helped …

      2. RUKidding

        The fetus is utterly sacrosanct, and even the mother’s life is worthless. Let her die and die horribly, as long as she carries the fetus to term or close to it.

        However, once the fetus passes through the birth canal, then the baby is totally and utterly on it’s own. Better get a jawb and starting earning some Tubmans to help pay for any possible pre-existing conditions. If the baby has pre-existing conditions, it means that it was sinful and lazy in the womb and deserves to die a slow, horrible, painful death.

        And why should MEN have anything to do with paying for icky female troubles like being pregnant and delivering a child. Don’t women just get that way on their own because they’re sluts?? That’s what Rush said.

  26. Tom

    RE: “The strongest earthquake in Oklahoma’s history likely was caused by oil and gas operators injecting vastly increased amounts of toxic wastewater underground three years before it struck, a new study suggests”
    I would think the first clue to the causal link might be found in the word fracking, a cute shorthand for fracturing.

    1. different clue

      I have read that fracking and deep well injection are two different things . . . connected only in that the huge majority of the used fracking fluid is forcibly injected into the deep wells to get it out of sight and out of mind. Till its extreme pressure-in-place sets off a compensatory earthquake.

  27. RenoDino


    Apple throws a guilt bone to America to investigate the next generation of high tech manufacturing in the U.S as oppose to actually manufacturing something here themselves. Please tell me this a joke.

    Elon Musk, despite all his detractors, has already gone and built it right here in the good old USA. The new Giga Factory is like being on another planet in terms of high tech manufacturing. People here in Reno have seen it and told me about it.


    And when that day comes, Apple will be worth about as much as Tesla is today. Sorry Timmy. You know nothing about innovation and your tired product line proves it.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Unless “innovation” SOLVES one of the survival-scale problems that past “innovation” has caused, I say “Screw it.”

    2. cnchal

      >Apple throws a guilt bone to America to investigate the next generation of high tech manufacturing in the U.S . . .

      That’s only the warm up to the main story. Apple quietly gets billions in R and D subsidies to go along with the one billion (.5% of their $200 billion ‘overseas’ profits stash) initial investment, and then the results are exploited by doing the manufacturing in China. The long con.

    3. John Wright

      One should also credit the state of Nevada as it gambled $1.3 billion in tax benefits on Musk’s factory.

      ” Assuming Tesla meets its obligations under the deal, it will spend 20 years free from sales tax, and 10 years free from property tax, while it receives millions of dollars more in tax credits.”


      One hopes that Nevada, of all states, knows how to gamble wisely.

  28. Pat

    Just a reminder folks, reconcilliation means the Dems don’t have to fillibuster. It is a straight 50+1 vote. Thats how ACA got passed in the first place.

    1. Altandmain

      Maybe if people are desperate enough, they will push hard for universal healthcare like in Canada.

      Oh, who am I kidding….

  29. craazyboy

    “I Tattooed Chelsea Clinton’s Face on My Body and I Regret Nothing” [Vice].

    Finally, some non-fake news. I wonder if it’s a living tattoo and Chelsea is now under the control of a evil Voodoo Princess??

    But I see a pair of blushing pink rosy cheeks and a cute puckered up mouth.

    However, the receding double chin and beard would be a cause for regret, methinks. Tho the Jewish lobby may like it. hahaha. Probably shouldn’t laugh. That’ll be worth 100s of millions in campaign funds. Now I’m bummed out again. Oh well. More news tomorrow.

    1. polecat

      Move along … Those aren’t the cheeks and mouth your looking for … move along .. ‘;(

  30. allan

    ACLU Statement on So-Called ‘Religious Freedom’ Executive Order

    After careful review of the executive order covering the Johnson Amendment signed by President Trump today, the American Civil Liberties Union has determined not to file a lawsuit at this time.

    American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero issued the following statement:

    “Today’s executive order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome. After careful review of the order’s text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process. The order portends but does not yet do harm to the provision of reproductive health services.

    “President Trump’s prior assertion that he wished to ‘totally destroy’ the Johnson Amendment with this order has proven to be a textbook case of ‘fake news.’ …

  31. Altandmain

    From Paste:

    On Foreign Policy, Bernie Sanders is Just Another Tool of the American War Machine

    Peace Sells: Why the Left Needs to Reclaim the Anti-War Mantle

    Finally a review from Current Affairs on Matthew Desmond’s book “Evicted”

  32. Big River Bandido

    Thank you so much for the In These Times article on Chokwe Lumumba. That’s the most hopeful thing I’ve read since the $15/hour minimum wage passed in Seattle. I hope the people’s assembly concept spreads to other cities…and I wonder how this could be adapted/made to work in large cities with entrenched (corrupt) political machines.

    1. jo6pac

      I posted that piece here yesterday and glad it was reposted. I do hope for small changes.

      1. Big River Bandido

        This one doesn’t seem so small to me, which is why it gives me such a lift. Small by itself, yes, but the promise is so great because it’s a solid basis for a mass movement. A “tiny ripple of hope”, perhaps.

  33. ewmayer

    “The first thing I remember feeling about the 2016 US election was a kind of speechlessness. On 9 November, no one had any idea what to say in the bars and pubs in New York. Conversations could take place only in the form of mutual interrogation. No one had any declarative sentences to offer. The only consensus was that no one knew what happened” [Guardian]” — I’m guessing there was a similar vibe in downtown Atlanta after this year’s Super Bowl. At least the Atlanteans didn’t blame Russian influence! [So far as know.]


    NSA collected Americans’ phone records despite law change: report | Reuters

    Of course they did. I love the official rationalizations as to how warrants for just 42 suspects leading to 151 million records being hoovered up is perfectly reasonable – because combinatorial explosion, dontchaknow. And note the numbers cited in the article are what the spooks *admit* to, because we have to take their word for it.

  34. Oregoncharles

    “Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker etc sign letter criticizing UN’s “mistreatment” of Israel, condemning #BDS.”

    My wife is a Palestinian rights/BDS organizer, passionate about it. And the Green Party supports both. So “not happy” is a gross understatement, around here.

    Incidentally, this would rule out a Green Party nomination. Bernie’s foreign-policy record was a barrier before, but this would be a definite deal-killer. It raises questions about personal integrity, or certainly values..

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